Created By: Stratadrake on February 26, 2011 Last Edited By: Stratadrake on October 1, 2015

Chokepoint Battle

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Do We Have This One?? Needs More Examples.

When a small group of heroes must battle against a seemingly overwhelming number of enemy Mooks, there are some times where the law of Conservation of Ninjutsu isn't enough to give you an advantage against the incoming horde, and you can't rely on Mook Chivalry to level the playing field either.

In situations like these, one viable strategy is to set up a Chokepoint Battle: Station your heroes behind some manner of narrow entry through which the enemy horde can only advance single file -- and start taking out the army one unit at a time.

  • In one of The Wizard of Oz books [editor's note: please figure out which one!], an army attempting to invade the Emerald City is thwarted by the residents opening front gates just a crack, and using a magical turnstile to transform the invaders into miniature tin soldiers as they enter through it one at a time.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • February 26, 2011
    You would thin we have this one already but I can't find it, either way it's often the case with The Siege and the Last Stand.

    • The Comic, and of course the movie, 300 lives off this trope.
    • Half the tower defence games on the wide world interweb has horde of generic mooks charging down a path where you set up defences to pick them off.
    • Most castles, forts and other defensive structures will attempt to squeeze the attackers into a space open to attack; whether that be boiling hot oil, arrows or machine-gun fire. Once you've breached the fire gate the battle is far from over.

  • February 26, 2011
    In fact, this Trope would basically be about using the local geography to enforce Mook Chivalry. They don't want to attack you one or two at a time, but they have no choice because there isn't room for them to attack en masse. Happens from time to time in Real Life naval warfare, it typically involves what is called "Crossing the T", and often happens when blockaded ships in port are attempting to break out to the open sea.

  • February 26, 2011
    The current entry on Mook Chivalry mentions very briefly (in the examples) that early Dungeons And Dragons often had goblin hordes attacking in a cramped passageway, leading to what was called "The Conga Line of Death." In that case, the horde is just stupid (better to hold back in a larger area), but would Conga Line Of Death be a good name for when the horde has no choice?
  • February 26, 2011
    Blood Brothers of Gor. On tribe of Plains Indians is attacking another; the tribe on defense is holed up on a mountain which has only a narrow pass/trail leading up to it, so the attackers are forced to go up in ones and twos, and are easily picked off.
  • February 27, 2011
    • Yahiko is specifically instructed in this tactic in Rurouni Kenshin when he asks how to face multiple opponents at once.
  • February 27, 2011
    A somewhat broader version of this has been on YKTTW before as Defensive Chokepoint. Some of its examples would fit this version.

    Places where this occur are sometimes described as "Where one man could defend against an army".
  • February 28, 2011
    @Tzin: I'm not sure "conga line" is a good base to build from (when compared to Trauma Conga Line and Humiliation Conga).
  • March 1, 2011
    From Three Hundred: This is the Spartans' strategy to effectively mow down the Persians' army of about a million, little by little. This is done by stationing themselves behind a narrow passageway (I forgot the name).
  • March 3, 2011
    JRR Tolkien's The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son is set in the aftermath of a real historical battle that would have been this except that the defending commander had a bad case of Honor Before Reason and let the invaders come through the chokepoint so they could have a proper battle. (Which the invaders then won easily.)
  • March 3, 2011
    Real Life:
    • The Battle of Thermopylae is the Real Life location of the battle which inspired Three Hundred. Trapped between a mountain side and the sea, the pass at Thermopylae allowed a small number of Greeks to fight a vastly larger army of Persians to a standstill for several days.
  • March 4, 2011
    Ancient myth of Horatio At The Bridge.
  • February 18, 2012
  • February 19, 2012
    I sense a considerable overlap with You Shall Not Pass.

    • In Arcia Chronicles, the Battle of the Chalk Pass, where Alexander and his Wolf Cubs stalled an entire army pretty much by themselves until reinforcements arrived.
  • February 22, 2012
    The Viking at Stamford Bridge: A single Viking on a bridge held back an entire army, until a soldier slipped under the bridge and stabbed him from beneath with a spear.
  • September 30, 2015
  • September 30, 2015
    Western Animation or Film Animated
    • Subverted in Disney's Mulan when Imperial Army General Li tried to set up a bottleneck ambush in the mountain pass approach to a Chinese village. The Hun army received forewarning about this tactic, and was able to thwart the ambush, resulting in the Huns massacring the Chinese battalion and the villagers as well.

  • September 30, 2015
    The Wing Commander film ends this way. The Kilrathi are planning a surprise attack on earth that depends on them using a jump point that leads into the solar system. Only one ship can pass through the jump point at a time, and cannot send messages back. Thus, when the earth defenses are warned of the attack, they're able to park their fleet around the jump point exit and massacre every ship that comes through.
  • October 1, 2015
    Might be part of The Thirty Six Stratagems, but I haven't checked.
  • October 1, 2015
  • October 1, 2015
    ^ Or some simulation thereof.