Created By: FrodoGoofballCoTV on March 1, 2011 Last Edited By: FrodoGoofballCoTV on December 10, 2011
Nuked

Military Disaster Gorn

A massive military force is slaughtered to show the horrors of war.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Do We Have This? Should We Have This?? Probably Needs a Better Description / Needs a Better Name. Seen It a Million Times. Rolling Updates underway.

Taking a name vote:

I'm also looking for a consensus on whether to split or examples as shown or only by media type.
The Call goes out. A military force is assebled. They go off to battle boldly and confidently. If this is depicted in detail, expect to see a Million Mook March, Flaunting Your Fleets, a Badass Army showing off their precision skills, or other Scenery Porn.

If the battle is shown, it will typically show armies or units wading into each other and systematically being wiped out one by one.

Cue the aftermath: fields filled with the dead and wounded, seas filled with sinking ships, an Asteroid Thicket comprised of destroyed Space Planes, rows and rows of fresh graves, etc., and (if they're lucky) disorganized clumps of survivors or damaged vehicles limping home.

Differs from Scenery Gorn in that:
  • Scenery Gorn is usually over the entire background scene or setting; Military Disaster Porn can occur in a smaller area, and you can see a hint of Arcadia, Crystal Spires and Togas, Ghibli Hills, etc. in the background or foreground as a contrast.
  • With Scenery Gorn the cause of the destruction may be unknown or if known, unimportant to the plot. With Military Disaster Porn, while the details of the conflict itself may be handwaved, the root cause of the destruction is never in doubt nor unimportant to the plot.
  • The emotional component in Scenery Gorn is a combination of awe and horror at what must have happened to create such a scene, and if taken Up to Eleven, hopelessness. In Military Disaster Porn, there is a necessary added component of loss and sacrifice. The landscape may be salvagable, but the lives can never be restored.

Usually Played for Drama.
  • The writer may be making an antiwar statement in general, or trying to show the pointlessness of the particular conflict. There's also often a suggestion that lives and resources were not merely lost, but squandered, whether due to callousness, desperation, ignorance, etc.
  • The scene may be used to highlight the sacrifices that the people of that era, whether the era occurred in Real Life or only within the story, had to make. For a member of a Martyrdom Culture, this may be considered a good way to die.
  • It can show the danger to anyone facing whoever (or whatever) might inflict a defeat of such magnitude on their opponent, sacrificing an entire Red Shirt Army to The Worf Effect.
  • It can serve as a justification and Call to Adventure: the enemy has reserves, but out of desperation, with the forcess they'd intended to use devastated, friendly commanders may decide they must rely on a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to carry out the mission instead.

Aftermath Shown Only

Comic Books:

Film - Animated
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, the Ingary navy suffers this sort of defeat. We see the parade going off to fight in the background; later the damaged ships return as the local authorities try to discourage the locals from panicking.
  • In Mulan, the discovery of the destroyed army following the song "A Girl Worth Fighting For".

Film - Live Action
  • Oh! What a Lovely War. The film closes with a long slow pan out that ends in an aerial view of soldiers' graves, dizzying in their geometry and scale.
  • The Star Trek movie. The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan and finds the remains of the fleet.
  • In All Quiet on the Western Front, had a particularly gorny shot showing a soldier's body that kept moving after death, perhaps because there was some critter inside.

Music:
  • In the first verse of the They Might Be Giants song "Certain People I Could Name", the narrator describes such a scene, but focuses less on the bloodshed and more on the mannerisms of one character.
    The few surviving samurai survey the battlefield
    Count the arms, the legs and heads, and then divide by five
    Drenched in blood, they move across the screen
    Do I need to point or do you see the one I mean?

Poetry

Battle and Aftermath Shown

Film - Live Action
  • In the movie Gettysburg, Picket's charge.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, Allied forces have cleared Omaha Beach of the Germans, you can look back and see the dead and destroyed covering the beach. Even a "successful" battle manages to look pretty bad.
  • The Starship Troopers movie when the fleet is attacked in orbit around Klendathu.

Live-Action TV
  • In the Firefly pilot, the battle in Serenity Valley.

Poetry
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Tennyson

Occurs multiple times:

Comic Books
  • Happens all the damn time in Les Tuniques Bleues (The bluecoats), a comic book serie about the american civil war.

Live-Action TV

Anime and Manga:
  • Happens Once an Episode in Gall Force. Lampshaded in Gall Force: Stardust War:
    Captain Nebulart, speculating on the outcome of the war: "Only Stardust will be left."
  • The Robotech and Macross francises, most notably the battle between the Earth military forces and Dolza's fleet, which devastated both sides, and is later referred to in-universe as "The Zentraedi Holocaust".
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • March 1, 2011
    sainatsukino
    Happens all the damn time in Les Tuniques Bleues (The bluecoats), a comic book serie about the american civil war
  • March 1, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    So this is Final Battle + After The End + Scenery Porn or something? I don't really think we need this, personally.
  • March 2, 2011
    Fanra
    So this is Final Battle After The End Scenery Porn or something? I don't really think we need this, personally.

    Not exactly. This trope is designed to generate an emotional response. You look over the dead and ruins and think about all the people who died.

    I do wonder if this is only for after all fighting has stopped and you look over the ruins, or if it includes during the fight as you see everyone dying. I've included both types in my examples, remove any that don't fit from the trope launch.

    • The Star Trek movie. The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan and finds the remains of the fleet.
    • Saving Private Ryan, I think. After they manage to clear Omaha Beach of the Germans, you can look back and see the dead and destroyed covering the beach. Even a "successful" battle manages to look pretty bad.
    • The Starship Troopers movie when the fleet is attacked in orbit around Klendathu.
    • Oh! What a Lovely War. The film closes with a long slow pan out that ends in an aerial view of soldiers' graves, dizzying in their geometry and scale.
  • March 2, 2011
    Balmung
    Sounds kinda like a subtrope of Scenery Gorn.
  • March 2, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    @NoirGrimoir, Balmung: Perhaps.

    I'd agree the elements of this are basically you start with Scenery Porn + Final Battle and end up with Final Battle + After The End + Scenery Gorn. However the emotional element as Fanra mentions is vital.
    • With Scenery Gorn, the cause of the destruction may be unknown, unimportant, etc. With Military Disaster Porn, the details of the conflict and its causes may be handwaved, but the root cause of the destruction is never in doubt nor unimportant to the plot. OK, that's arguably The Same But More Specific.
    • As I understand it, Scenery Porn / Scenery Gorn is usually over the entire background scene; Military Disaster Porn can occur in a smaller area, and you can see Arcadia, Crystal Spires And Togas, Ghibli Hills, etc. in the background or foreground as a contrast, such as with the graveyard example, where the presence of the stones suggests the horror of combat, but also a desire to honor the dead and rebuild. I could be wrong on this one.
    • The emotional component in Scenery Gorn is a combination of awe and horror at what must have happened to create such a scene, and if taken Up To Eleven, hopelessness. In Military Disaster Porn, there is a necessary added component of loss and sacrifice. The landscape may be salvagable, but the lives can never be restored.
    • There's also generally a suggestion that lives and resources were not merely lost but squandered, whether due to callousness, desperation, ignorance, etc.
  • March 2, 2011
    Fanra
    In Saving Private Ryan, allied forces have cleared Omaha Beach of the Germans, you can look back and see the dead and destroyed covering the beach. Even a "successful" battle manages to look pretty bad.

    As a Grammar Nazi, I would like to point out that "allied" should be capitalized as "Allied". The "Allies" is a noun for the Allied side of the war, the other side was the Axis.
  • March 2, 2011
    Fanra
    Oh! What a Lovely War. The film closes with a long slow pan out that ends in an aerial view of soldiers' graves, dizzying in their geometry and scale.

    This is listed as "Not Sure" currently. I just want to add that the purpose of the slow pan is to show the huge numbers who died for nothing, or rather, a war that should have been avoided.
  • March 2, 2011
    c0ry
    Would the destroyed village which interrupts the song "A Girl Worth Fighting For" in Mulan count?
  • March 2, 2011
    troacctid
    This is not porn.
  • March 2, 2011
    TheGunheart
  • March 2, 2011
    MisterKerr
    How about the Battle for Serenity Valley in the first pilot of Firefly?
  • March 3, 2011
    TheGunheart
  • March 23, 2011
    Deboss
  • March 24, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Battlestar Galactica lived on this trope, especially the scene of the destruction of the shipyards in "Razor"
  • March 25, 2011
    Tiiba
    I remember one movie, which I think was All Quiet On The Western Front, that had a particularly gorny shot in one such scene: a soldier's dead body kept moving, perhaps because there was some critter inside. Ick.
  • August 16, 2011
    kjnoren
    Carnagophilia. Coined to describe a lot of the books that Baen Books published, especially during the 90s.
  • September 12, 2011
    somerandomdude
    Change it to Gorn in the title and it'll be good.
  • September 13, 2011
    Chabal2

  • September 13, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^My concern with that one is it's done to show just how Bad Ass the Russian is, not to show the horrors of war. I guess it could count, depending on the details.
  • October 5, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Bump: Hats? Suggestions? Concerns?
  • October 5, 2011
    FalconPain
    In the first verse of the They Might Be Giants song "Certain People I Could Name", the narrator describes such a scene, but focuses less on the bloodshed and more on the mannerisms of one character.
    The few surviving samurai survey the battlefield
    Count the arms, the legs and heads, and then divide by five
    Drenched in blood, they move across the screen
    Do I need to point or do you see the one I mean?
  • December 7, 2011
    AP
    • The film version of Patton briefly shows a field littered with dead bodies and busted tanks with only one, single soldier left alive and shaken.
    • The film version of Gone With The Wind is mostly set during the American Civil War but there is at least one long shot showing several Southern soldiers wounded or dead after a battle.
  • December 7, 2011
    Deboss
    Like Decimation Battle Scene more. I don't think that the softsplit is a good idea for this.
  • December 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Kenneth Branaugh version of Henry V has aftermath and to a lesser extent the battle of Agincourt.
  • December 7, 2011
    Omeganian
    The Salvation War has a few cases.
  • December 8, 2011
    Deboss
    Also, I think Red Shirt Army needs a mention somewhere.
  • December 8, 2011
    Twilord
    Live Action Television
    • If the Stargateverse has one example of this, its probably the events of Camelot / Flesh And Blood.
  • December 8, 2011
    nielas
    The Total War series of games models and animates individual soldiers on the battlefield. If you zoom in during a battle you can see ranks of soldiers being cut down. After a massive battle you can see the ground covered with bodies.
  • December 10, 2011
    AgProv
    Literature/ History: George Mac Donald Frasers's Flashman largely documents the total destruction of the British Army that went into Afghanistan in 1848 - victims of faulty political judgement and inept military leadership, forty thousand men went in and three came out. The current war, in British usage, has been described as "Fifth Aghan".
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fxwvzejv6js3hhkhsilaynw0&trope=DiscardedYKTTW