Created By: Tallens on September 29, 2013 Last Edited By: Tallens on February 8, 2014
Troped

Running The Blockade

Someone tries to get through a blockade.

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Military and Warfare Tropes, Vehicle Tropes, Tropes at Sea


Princess Leia: This bucket of bolts is never going to get us past that blockade.
Han Solo: This baby's got a few surprises left in her, sweetheart.

A blockade or siege on a city or country dependent on trade is something that can put them in dire straits. No goods can come in or leave which stifles their economy, and also means they aren't able to get food either. As it drags on, the people will start to get desperate, and look for a means to get what they need.

Often, if they don't have the military might to break the blockade completely, they get some brash individuals willing run right through it, and hope they can either outrun or outmaneuver the blockading forces. This is known as running the blockade. Chase sequences and close action scenes will probably follow.

Vehicles used in this are usually light and fast, for outmaneuvering mobile units. Heavier ones might be used if there are physical barriers that need to be rammed through, but they are usually too slow to survive a barrage of multiple weapons likely to be found on a blockade.

Often occurs at sea with a Naval Blockade. Compare Leeroy Jenkins.

Examples

Film
  • Star Wars:
    • In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace the Jedi and the Queen escape Naboo through the Trade Federation blockade aboard the Queen's royal cruiser.
    • Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back: Following the Battle of Hoth, Han Solo and Princess Leia have to get through an Imperial blockade aboard the Millennium Falcon, which is complicated by the fact that their hyperdrive is out of order.
  • In Thirteen Days after President Kennedy institutes a "quarantine" around Cuba, the Soviets, not really knowing what to do, decide to send their freighters through anyway. At least one of them slips past the US Navy at some point before being spotted again.
  • 2010: The Year We Make Contact is set against a backdrop of rising US/Soviet tensions which take a dive when a Soviet ship tries to run a US blockade and is destroyed by missile fire.
  • Mad Max: Road Warrior has Max try to drive through the siege/blockade around the oil refinery but is intercepted and almost killed. At the end of the movie he tries again, driving the fuel tanker.

Literature
  • In the book and movie Gone with the Wind Rhett Butler spends most of the American Civil War running the US Navy's blockade, delivering supplies from Europe and elsewhere to the Confederates.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
    • In Foundation and Empire Toran pilots his ship through the blockades set up by the Mule's ships around the planets Terminus and Haven to begin the search for the Second Foundation.
    • In Second Foundation Preem Palver slips through the Kalganian blockade around the Foundation to arrange for the delivery of desperately needed food at premium prices.

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5:
    • The third season opener had a small ship racing past Centauri blockade mines to give Marcus a chance to escape and reach Babyon 5.
    • A fourth season episode has Ivanova trying to deal with a bunch of smugglers to arrange for supplies to be brought in through the Earth Force blockade. Most are reluctant since the penalty if they get caught is much higher than it used to be, but she manages to hammer out an agreement that will benefit all sides.

Video Games
  • At the end of the first part of Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic the main characters escape Taris through the Sith blockade of the planet aboard the Ebon Hawk, using the Sith's own ID codes to keep from being automatically targeted and shot down.
  • Escape Velocity nova: The Aurorian story line normally starts with the player being hired as a blockade runner and then doing multiple supply runs to the Dominance station.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic:
    • When the Jedi and Republic were unable to break the Mandalorian blockade of the Hydian Way, a group of smugglers, sensing the opportunity for profit, came together to start running supplies through it to the increasingly desperate Coruscant. This eventually led to the battle between the smugglers and the Mandalorians which enabled them, and the Republic, to finally break the blockade.
    • During the Battle of Corellia, the Empire forms a blockade around the planet, and General Garza has to contract some smugglers to move troops past it.
  • Star Trek Online: Episode "Cardassian Struggle", mission "Operation Gamma" has the Player Character having to break past Jem'Hadar lines at Deep Space 9 and go through the wormhole to contact the Dominion government and get the time-shifted Jem'Hadar to stand down. You're assisted by a diversionary attack.

Web Comic
  • In Crimson Dark the Cirin Alliance planet Farhaven has been besieged by the Republic of Daranir for quite a while. Vaegyr Ward got offworld on a blockade runner, and in chapter 12 the Farhavenites stage a mass breakout with Alliance military and mercenary support.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When Aang needs to get to get to a Fire Nation temple, he finds a blockade between him and his destination. To get past them, he pulls Appa into a steep dive to build speed and then rushes past, dodging fireballs the whole way. Zuko, following Aang wherever he goes, is about to perform a more traditional run, but Zhou decides to let him through and follow after.
  • In The Legend of Korra Korra uses the Avatar State to punch a hole in the Northern Tribe's blockade of the Southern Tribe's harbor, enabling Varrick's boat to race through before the astonished Northern sailors can collect themselves.

Real Life
  • Blockade runners became essential to the South's survival after the Union blockaded them during the American Civil War, and some became quite noted for it, such as the SS Syren, which successfully penetrated the blockade 33 times.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • September 29, 2013
    acrobox
    Is this specifically about trade embargos or is this more a sister trope to Storming The Castle
  • September 29, 2013
    Tallens
    An embargo is when a country ceases trade with another country, like the US and Cuba, but there is no blockade used there. This is about when there's a Naval Blockade and someone tries to get through it. As for Storming The Castle, there's some similarity I guess, but this can either be trying to get in, or trying to escape.
  • September 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Um, title can be confused to trying to cross any kind of blockade...
  • September 30, 2013
    Tallens
    Possible, but I doubt it.
  • October 3, 2013
    m8e
    • Escape Velocity nova: The Aurorian story line normaly starts with the player being hired as a blockade runner and then doing multiple supply runs to the planet Dominance.
  • October 4, 2013
    Frank75
  • October 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Thinking about it, though, does "running any kind of blockade" count?
  • October 4, 2013
    m8e
    Do'h, Dominance isn't a planet it's a space station. Edited the draft and fixed that.

    ^Space and space ships seem to count, Space Is An Ocean. I think this should be "translatable" to other places too. Maybe just as Played With / non-straight examples?(Like Desert Punk stories using trucks, car etc instead of ships.)
  • October 5, 2013
    Tallens
    Most blockades as we know them took place at sea. When they happen on land, it usually takes the form of The Siege or a barricade. Therefore, running the blockade almost always refers to naval action.
  • October 5, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ So it's mostly an issue of definition? I see...

    I mean, would we count "barricade runners" or "siege runners" as well?
  • October 5, 2013
    Tallens
    Those don't really lend themselves to being run. You either sneak past them or outright break them. Naval blockades are composed of ships that can be outmaneuvered and outrun, enabling you to get past while the blockade itself remains. A barricade probably has static defenses, machine gun nests, barbed wire, maybe mine fields, that make running through a generally bad idea.

    A siege...I don't know of any instances of trying to run one, so if you can think of any I'll think about it.
  • October 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^In Renegades of Gor the city-state Ar's Station is under siege by Cosian regulars supplemented by mercinaries. Tarl works his way through the siege lines as an iternerant merchant, selling his wares. At the Cosian foremost position he runs across No Man's Land to the walls of the city, where he forces them to lift him up in a bucket while under fire from the Cosians. After they bring him up he's arrested as a Cosian spy and sentenced to death, since the Cosians missed him as he was being lifted.
  • October 9, 2013
    Tallens
    ^So, he sneaks through it, then makes a break for it on the other side?
  • October 9, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Considering that "rebel blockade runner" is the most common name for Leia's ship in the beginning of Star Wars A New Hope, would that count? We don't see them run the blockage, but it's implied that they did.
  • October 9, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    ^^Basically, yeah.
  • October 10, 2013
    Tallens
    ^Not quite what I had in mind. Are there any cases of someone actually charging all the way through a siege?

    ^^Is there a specific instance of it running one in the expanded universe? Even if it's only mentioned.
  • October 10, 2013
    nielas
    • Mad Max: Road Warrior has Max try to drive through the siege/blockade around the oil refinery but is intercepted and almost killed. At the end of the movie he tries again, driving the fuel tanker.

  • October 27, 2013
    Tallens
    Any other issues?

  • November 1, 2013
    Tallens
    Any better quotes or ideas for an image?
  • November 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe Aang and co. trying to go past the Fire Nation blockade can work.
  • November 9, 2013
    Tallens
    Already got that.
  • November 9, 2013
    Chernoskill
    deleted
  • November 9, 2013
    Tallens
    Ok, anything else?
  • November 11, 2013
    DAN004
    I mean, the picture...
  • November 23, 2013
    Tallens
    ^If you can find me one. I didn't see any that would have really gotten the point across.
  • November 23, 2013
    SquirrelGuy
    Music: In the country hit Convoy by C.W.Mc Call...
    So we crashed the gate doin' ninety-eight / I says let them truckers roll, 10-4
  • November 24, 2013
    Tallens
    ^I don't think so. That seems to be just crashing through a toll barrier. If it was in context with the encounter with the National Guard earlier maybe.
  • December 7, 2013
    Tallens
    Any more suggestions, comments hats?
  • December 22, 2013
    Owen547
    It seems the examples in this trope contain spoilers, natural for this trope, but perhaps a spoiler warning before the examples could be added.

  • January 4, 2014
    Tallens
    ^Not so sure about that. In a lot of these cases running a blockade is a challenge, but not the penultimate challenge.
  • January 4, 2014
    zarpaulus
    I think one of the Star Wars comics had Han and Chewie using Corellian Corvettes ("blockade runners") for smuggling.
  • January 4, 2014
    Tallens
    Were they actually running a blockade, though? And do you have a specific example?
  • January 12, 2014
    Tallens
    Bump.
  • January 26, 2014
    StarSword
    Literature:

    Webcomics:
    • In Crimson Dark the Cirin Alliance planet Farhaven has been besieged by the Republic of Daranir for quite a while. Vaegyr Ward got offworld on a blockade runner, and in chapter 12 the Farhavenites stage a mass breakout with Alliance military and mercenary support.
  • January 27, 2014
    StarSword
    Video Games:
  • February 7, 2014
    m8e
    Bump, gave this a hat.
  • February 7, 2014
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
      • In Foundation and Empire Toran pilots his ship through the blockades set up by the Mule's ships around the planets Terminus and Haven to begin the search for the Second Foundation.
      • In Second Foundation Preem Palver slips through the Kalganian blockade around the Foundation to arrange for the delivery of desperately needed food at premium prices.
  • February 7, 2014
    Tallens
    We just about ready to run with this?
  • February 8, 2014
    Tallens
    Giving this until tonight then launching.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=d850xsff2iskbhazowhrw2ss&trope=RunningTheBlockade