(Note from Haru-how do I put in a picture? I wanted a picture of the Retro Lancer. Also, need people to elaborate on 40k and world war examples, I don't know that much about it and I'm not writing an essay on them. I need to write other examples!)
"Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!"
— In Warhammer 40,000
official art, an officer on top of a gigantic
tank's turret draws his saber at the enemy
When someone invents a new bit of military technology, like a rifle with a magazine that outshines everything else and a high rate of fire, or is just more accurate and with more range, people will be unprepared for it. If it gets adopted by the military, they'll use it like their previous, less advanced rifle, thus resulting in shameful ineffectuality on the part of the rifle or in the countermeasures against the previous rifle. Maybe they're standing too close to each other with the rifles, volley-firing, and both sides are made mincemeat. Maybe the enemy is using cavalry charges against machineguns, which make mincemeat of anything in range. Maybe the soldiers are only accustomed to fighting humans, and thus apply human tactics to an alien enemy and are shocked when the enemy doesn't 'play by the rules'
In short, this trope is about when the tactics have not adapted to the technologies currently in use, (or possibly vice versa) or are incredibly ill-equipped to the situation at hand. Whenever it's in effect, expect to see frustration from the average infantryman, denouncing the uselessness of a particular tactic or piece of equipment, and the eventual change in tactics. The part about technology is very much truth in television, just see the American Civil War
and both World Wars. May overlap with We Have Reserves
, if the previous tactics are old enough, and likely to be exacerbated or just made odder by its cousin Schizo Tech
. See also Rock Beats Laser
- The Film of the Book Starship Troopers had Terran troops land on the planet of their enemy, a race of insectlike creatures who seemingly were completely outclassed technologically, and go toe-to-toe with them up close and personal, instead of, say, nuking them all from orbit or just bombing them with various flying craft.
- Comes up in Codex Alera during the first Canim-Human war. Tavi, promoted to commander of the First Aleran legion, realizes the ineffectiveness of using Aleran tactics (Which are mostly, if not entirely fury-based) against the Canim, so he is forced to improvise and add in innovations such as mounted infantry, and holding the shield high to deflect the blows of the immense Canim with the blade low to attack the legs.
- Warhammer 40,000. Oh dear Lord, where do we even begin. To say the technology and tactics there are merely schizo is like saying GIR is "a little crazy". You have roughly a million Imperial worlds, to say nothing of the various non-Imperial worlds, each with differing technology levels ranging from stone age to incredibly futuristic, so the local militias are bound to be very different. The Imperial Guard does sometimes use mid 20th-early 21st century weaponry and the like, and they've been flanderised by most media into using world war 1 tactics and We Have Reserves... a jarring example, but that's not getting into the fact that they tend to use something like modern tactics in some of Sandy Mitchell's novels, augmented by their laser and plasma weapons, and the rare bolter. This troper is not a Warhammer player, so if anyone could explain the IG's tactics further it would be much appreciated.
- Also, the Space Marines. Clad in Power Armor, armed with high-explosive Bolters to be the best soldiers of the Imperium... and they're very melee oriented. Let that sink in, especially when you consider that world war 1 tactics, in the Grimdark future of the 41st millenium, it's frequently just as effective to initiate a Combat Breakdown and start using melee weapons. The Space Wolves are possibly Warhammer's Most Triumphant Example of the effectiveness of melee in the face of alien superguns,(though the Orks may take that title) as they use wolf-mounted cavalry in the grim dark future! Cavalry, I say! I can accept the Space Marine Armor as protecting against most alien weapons other than the Tau, but not the lack of barbed wire. Have other races advanced so far that they forgot about barbed wire and what it does to an animal's legs?
- The Departmento Munitorum, the people who oversee warfare in the 41st millennium, seem to have some perverse hatred for the Imperial Guard as after 10,000 years of warfare nobody has thought to supply them with body armor with more protection from alien weaponry then a soggy t-shirt that's been half exploded. Their tactics have also remained unchanged.
- And a whole bloody lot more... 40k probably deserves its own page.
- Gears of War: Given that before the Pendulum Wars humanity had gone through an era of peace (probably what gave them the time and initiative to make all the stunning buildings!) during which military tech advanced but tactics didn't, and one of its 3 rifles, the Retro Lancer, has a magazine just large enough that it could be used for suppressive fire, but it is often equipped with a bayonet... yeah. Bizarrely, the Pendulum Wars lasted 79 years, so if that bayonet was equipped since the year it was adopted as the official COG service rifle, that suggests we may have a 40k 'melee is just as effective!' scenario cause that bayonet's probably been there a long time. Although it's not clear when the Retro Lancer was invented, it could have been during the war, but it's still an example of schizo tactics if they still had bayonets on a rifle that should have made them obsolete.
- It definitely qualifies for the second part of the definition, the one about the humans being used to fighting human enemies. The reason the Retro Lancer was replaced was because the bayonet wasn't powerful enough against the thick skin of the Locust, and the Locust had a predisposition to melee combat... so they replaced the bayonet with a chainsaw. Which is awesome and all, but... what?
- The American Civil War had soldiers standing in a line in the tactics of the previous wars, which relied on the weapons being incredibly inaccurate and short ranged. Rifles had been developed, and the U.S was using them at musket range... which was essentially point blank for them.
- World War I had the use of tactics which were incredibly out of date for the technologies, such as cavalry in the face of barbed wire and machine gins.
- World War II: Nobody really learned from the previous war, and the French command still trusted the tactics of the Great War... thus leading to atrocities like the Maginot Line, which would have been utterly destroyed by Nazi bombers if the Nazis hadn't just gone around it.
- The Russian Civil War had such moments because of its Schizo Tech nature: Russia's former western allies supported high-tech (by standards of that time) weapons such as tanks, armored cars and light machineguns to both Tsarist Russia before the war started, against Germans, and the Whites against the Reds, but the majority of factions relied on cavalry and infantry formations and pre-WWI tactics (the tactics developed during WWI were proven to be useless because of the very different nature of the war itself, highly mobile rather than entrenched). That's why no one really knew how to use those newfangled inventions fully.