[[quoteright:350:[[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ravagers_6031.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"Steal from everyone."]]

->'''Taggart:''' What do you want me to do, sir?\\
'''Hedley Lamarr:''' I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. [[LongList Take this down]].\\
[Taggart looks for a pen and paper while Hedley talks]\\
'''Hedley Lamarr:''' I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, {{bounty hunter}}s, desperados, [[DumbMuscle mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits]], vipers, [[ColdSniper snipers]], [[ConArtist con men]], Indian agents, [[{{bandito}} Mexican bandits]], muggers, [[DepravedHomosexual buggerers]], bushwhackers, hornswagglers, [[TheRustler horse thieves]], [[ButchLesbian bull dykes]], [[TrainJob train robbers]], [[BankRobbery bank robbers]], [[{{Badass}} ass-kickers]], shit-kickers, and ''[[TheLastOfTheseIsNotLikeTheOthers Methodists]]!''\\
'''Taggart:''' [finding pen and paper] [[TheLongList Could you repeat that, sir]]?
-->-- ''Film/BlazingSaddles''

An army of thieves and whores is a military force made up of the lowliest dregs of society. There's slaves, beggars, prostitutes ([[SonOfAWhore and their kids]]), robbers, criminals, outcasts, lawyers, renegades, carnies, backstabbers, and in general everybody you wouldn't expect to see in a proper army.

Generally, these guys will be the heroes, because UnderdogsNeverLose. In most cases, they're some sort of [[LaResistance rebel army]] opposing their [[TheEmpire imperial oppressors]], who will [[SlobsVersusSnobs of course be well-ordered, disciplined, and often respectable]]. There may also be a theme of uniting the downtrodden to stand against their oppressors.

The [[LegionOfLostSouls French Foreign Legion]] is often characterized this way, both in fiction and real life.

Less optimistic portrayals will feature "penal battalions" where criminals and the dregs of society such as thieves and whores will be conscripted into the military and sent out as [[WeHaveReserves cannon fodder]], or at least be TradingBarsForStripes. See also BoxedCrook.

In RealLife, assembling them into a [[TrainingFromHell properly trained army]] had been a rather hard task not only for reasons of literacy or discipline, but also due to the spread of chronic disease in a population with poor or no access to medical care and proper feeding and living conditions. A recruit from the poorest class in the [[VictorianBritain Victorian Era]] could be expected to have either latent [[VictorianNovelDisease tuberculosis]], syphilis, gonorrhea, bone diseases, or, worse, [[UpToEleven all of them together]], and in crowded military camps germs are easily spread. (The ordinary peasant recruit of the State army was not much healthier either. The British Army Medical Corps [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boer_Wars#Controversy_and_significance found out in 1899]] ''the majority'' of recruits were unfit for combat, even by the low standards of the time.)

See also RagtagBunchOfMisfits for a smaller-scale version. Contrast the CarnivalOfKillers.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The prisoners from the Impel Down escape in ''Manga/OnePiece.''
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', CorruptCorporateExecutive Gato uses an army of mercenaries and thugs to keep a leash on the general populace in the Land of Waves.
* The Black Dog Knights of ''{{Berserk}}'' were made up of the worst criminals of all of Midland. They were so bad that they were sent to a distant prison on the border of the kingdom for their war crimes.
* Askeladd's mercenary band in ''Manga/VinlandSaga'' consists of dregs and raiders who couldn't even find a lord to serve. Thorkell's band is more of a BloodKnight version, consisting of veteran warriors united in their admiration of their commander and their desire to find a good fight. [[spoiler:The two eventually come to blows. Askeladd's group rebels against him, leading Thorkell to [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves kill them all]].]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' the original Gotei 13 consisted of the thirteen most vile and dangerous criminals in Soul Society. This trope still somewhat applies to the modern Gotei as many members, such as Kenpachi, would have been executed in other society.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* The [[TropeNamers name comes from]] the rebel army raised against the tsar in ''Comicbook/NikolaiDante'', which does indeed consist mostly of robbers, prostitutes, pirates, and various people the tsars have trodden on.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanFic]]

* [[FanFic/WeaverNine Weaver Nine's]] Society is a dodgy group of outcasts, criminals, and fugitives forged into one of the most dangerous organizations on earth and united under Weaver's leadership. They are regarded as terrorists by most of the world and joining automatically grants a Kill Order. Based in Kenya and suspected to be the real power controlling most of Africa, they are classified as an S-class threat by the Protectorate.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* Hedley Lamarr organizes one of these for the climactic battle in ''Film/BlazingSaddles''. This is, as the page quote suggests, an evil version.
* [[Creator/NormMacdonald Norm [=MacDonald=]]]'s character from ''Film/DirtyWork'' at the end has a crack team assembled of senior citizens, homeless dudes, and "my loyal army of prostitutes", the latter two of which counted as a ChekhovsGun each.
* ''Film/FleshAndBlood'', features an mercenary band led by Martin (Rutger Hauer), as well as Celine (Susan Tyrell) and Polly (Marina Saura), two camp followers.
* G-rated version in ''Film/MuppetTreasureIsland''. [[spoiler:Most of them turn out to be full-on villains, except Long John Silver, who is AffablyEvil, and Sweetums, who sides with Captain Kermit.]]
-->'''Kermit''': ''Who hired this crew?!'' This is undoubtedly the seediest bunch of villains, cutthroats and scoundrels I ever laid eyes on so ''who hired them?!?!''
* In ''Film/RoboCop3'' [=McDaggett=], the boss of [=OCP=]'s armed force, orders the police to assist in evicting by force the populace of an entire district. The officers refuse and resign en masse. [=McDaggett=] decides the city's lowlives will do just fine, and proceeds to assemble a small army of them and attack. They're quite successful against the armed resistance thanks to being equipped with body armor and heavy weapons (plus OCP had a tank), but then Robocop shows up and slaughters the lot.
* The slave army in ''Film/{{Spartacus}}'' qualifies as this trope. In this case, however, the army loses.
* In ''Film/XXxStateOfTheUnion'', to counter the treasonous GeneralRipper's highly trained team of Marines, Darius gathers the local car-jacking outfit and arms them with weapons (then a tank they jacked). It's even lampshaded: "The fate of the free world in the hands of a bunch of hustlers and thieves."
* The Ravagers in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' are a motley gang of SpacePirates whose only rule is to steal from everyone. In the climax of the film, they've been convinced to help the heroes take down the BigBad.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Gaius Marius' legion in ''Emperor: The Gates of Rome'' is viewed by the more conservative Romans due to Marius abolishing the land requirement for entry, bringing in numerous poor citizens who otherwise would have had no means of supporting themselves. [[AFatherToHisMen And they love him for it]]. In the second book, Spartacus' slave army also qualifies.
* Since Marius also appears the the ''MastersOfRome'' series, his legion fulfills a very similar role, and plays a key role in the first book.
* Temujin's (Genghis Khan's) forces in ''[[{{Conqueror}} Wolf of the Plains]]'' starts out as one of these, as he initially builds up his forces by recruiting the various outcasts and nomads who would otherwise have nobody to stand with.
* The Night's Watch in ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' are like this; most of its members are criminals whose crimes were pardoned in return for joining, and many of the willing volunteers are misfits of some sort. Most people in Westeros consider service on the Wall to be essentially a glorified penal colony. After thousands of years without even seeing The Others they're supposed to defend the Wall from, the Night's Watch has become ridiculously underfunded, to the point that of the 19 forts in the Wall, they can barely man 3 of them by the time the story begins. In ''A Storm of Swords'', some local prostitutes help the Night Watch fight off a Wildling onslaught, making this a quite literal example of the trope. Though granted, many of the Northern houses still know that the Wall is important and look at taking the black as an honorable thing, unlike the southern lands of Westeros.
** In the A Dance With Dragons, Jon adds [[spoiler: wildlings and [[ActionGirl spear wives]]]] to the mix.
** This world also has the Brave Companions, a.k.a. the Bloody Mummers, a mercenary company formed from everyone the rest of the sellsword community rejected. From what we've seen, they accept psychos, creeps, disgraced pedophile priests, mad doctors and common bandits from all Westeros and Essos.
* In one of the ''{{Spellsinger}}'' novels, the communist dragon Falameezar rallies the world's [[ButtMonkey rats and mice]] to rise up against oppression.
* In ''Literature/UnLunDun'', Deeba's army of rebels starts with the... extreme shoppers, and works its way up from there.
* MichaelMoorcock's short story ''To Rescue Tanelorn''. Narjhan raises an army of beggars from Nadsokor and leads them to attack the city of Tanelorn.
* ''PhulesCompany'' has the Omega Company. In the Space Legion in general asking about a recruit's past is a big taboo, and "Omega" is the unofficial "dumping ground" for commanders willing to get rid from recruits they deem unsuitable. Their own sergeant noted that the result "looks more like a schoolyard" and "separated the problem Legionnaires into two groups: the wimps and the hard cases". That is, either unable to function in an army (or society in general) or inveterate criminals. Then the protagonist business shark [[KickedUpstairs promoted]] to command this mob thought it's not as bad as it looks...
--> '''Phule''': It's been done before. Specifically the Devil's Brigade... the first Special Service force, which eventually became...
-->'''Beeker''': The Special Forces. Yes, I'm familiar with the unit. If I might point out, however, that was a joint U.S.-Canadian force. At the beginning, the Americans provided a motley assortment of rejects and criminals, as opposed to the Canadians, who donated a crack fighting unit. While you definitely have your allotment of criminals, I fear you're lacking the offsetting crack fighting unit to serve as an example.
* In ''SagaOfDarrenShan'', the vampeze get around their strict refusal to use projectile weapons by hiring human thugs and cutthroats. Debbie and Alice eventually come up with the idea for the vampires to join forces with humans for the same purpose. Those humans mostly end up being homeless people. It's justified because those are the people the vampeze are feeding off of, so they're only too happy to have a shot for revenge.
* Much of the British Army in the Peninsula as seen in ''{{Sharpe}}''--hence Wellington's quote below under RealLife.
* Victoria's newborn army in ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''. She basically turned whoever she could find. It doesn't work.
* The army John brings to fight the Crusades in ''Literature/DirgeForPresterJohn''. They're the cream of Pentexore, but they have no idea how to form an actual army.
* Played with in the Roman army in ''Literature/BelisariusSeries''. While it clearly has quite a few elements of this in it, and sometimes requires [[OffWithHisHead rigorous persuasion]] from Belisarius to keep them from indulging in war crimes, when put to it they can also act in an honorable enough manner to [[WorthyOpponent impress]] [[ProudWarriorRace Rajputs.]]
* TheBlackCompany is one of these. It was standard practice for the Free Companies not to ask questions about who you were or what you did before you joined up.
* Reynard ends up leading a literal one in ''Literature/TheReynardCycle''. By the third installment in the series it has become an EliteArmy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* In Christian metaphor [[ChurchMilitant The Church]] sometimes compared to this, as every member is a repentant sinner; and sometimes at one time a literal thief or a whore.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Bowzocks from ''Series/GekisouSentaiCarranger'' are pretty much the bad guys from ''Film/BlazingSaddles'' InSPACE, being an army of alien criminals hired to depopulate the Earth [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy to make way for a hyperspace highway]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The Lost and the Damned in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe are a villainous (well, [[BlackAndGreyMorality more villainous than usual]]) version -- they make up various Chaos armies, and are composed of mutants, murderers, heretics, and assorted scum of the Empire.
** From the same universe, the Imperial penal legions follow this trope straight, being armies primarily conscripted from the inmates of Imperial prisons. When the Planetary Defense Force contributions to the Imperial Guard from worlds that serve as incarceration centers, the line between "penal legion" and "Guardsmen" become indistinct.
** Most Penal Legions are formed of people that are desperately trying to clear their records by volunteering instead of accepting execution; given that the PLs are sent to some of the worst parts of the fighting and are considered expendable, this often ends in RedemptionEqualsDeath. It's worth noting that there is no shortage of capital offences in the Imperium (this is an army where you can wind up executed for standing on the same ''planet'' as a heretic) so it's not uncommon for people to be eligible for induction into a Penal Legion for some really odd reasons, to our sensibilities.
** The now discontinued Salvar Chem Dogs. An Imperial Guard regiment consisting entirely of drug addicts, thieves and psychopathic thugs, who are kept in check only by their addictions and promises of large quantities of their fix.
** In fact, you could probably look at ''any'' Imperial Guard regiment raised from a Hive World, and it will probably be this trope.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' adventure [=CM=]1 ''Test of the Warlords''. The domain ruler Longtooth has "Longtooth's Legion", an army of five hundred thieves armed with bows and swords.
* {{Exalted}} has the Vermillion Legion-or, as it had every reason to be called, "The Red-Piss Legion". Had, as thanks to LadyOfWar Tepet Ejava, it's now a BadassArmy. Which is a very good thing, as she's the ''nice'' candidate for the throne of [[TheEmpire the Realm]].
* The Capitol faction of ''MutantChronicles'' has two flavours. The traditional one is the Freedom Brigades, which consists of volunteers willing to trade ten years of brutal service in the solar system's worst hellholes for a clean rap sheet and Capitol citizenship. The other flavour is the Free Marines, Capitol's most famous special forces outfit. In order to be eligible for the Free Marines, you have to have served for at least two years in another special forces unit, been decorated for gallantry under fire at least three times, been recommended for promotion, and been sentenced to death by a court martial.
* The ''VampireTheRequiem'' supplement ''Requiem For Rome'' has the Peregrine College, a collection of the vampiric underclass.
* ''BattleTech'':
** The 17th Recon Regiment, Camacho's Caballeros, is described as half Battlemech regiment, half gypsy caravan, being a big, tightly knit, and constantly squabbling bunch of extremely talented pilots. Their best scout kills HumongousMecha on foot and is the literal [[SonOfAWhore daughter of a whore]] and former petty crim, while the regiment itself is full of very capable warriors who probably couldn't go four days in a more traditional unit without being put in a brig.
** The entire Ghost Regiment division of the Draconis Combine, composed largely of the {{Yakuza}} of the day, which ranges from old hands following their own personal code of honor to thuggish bullies. Being less hidebound due to not having to follow the demands of the samurai code of honor instilled in traditional units, the Ghosts can pull all sorts of nasty stunts without getting more than a reprimand.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The eponymous team of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' consists of a hyperactive Bostonian hoodlum, an Australian game hunter turned assassin (not a crazed gunman!}, a nigh-anonymous pyromaniac [[TheFaceless dressed in an all-concealing jumpsuit]], a crazed civilian who believes he's a soldier, a chain-smoking French quintuple-agent, [[HerrDoktor a saw-wielding German quack with mad scientist tendencies]], a drunken Scottish swordsman/explosives expert, a Russian boxer with a bigass gun, and a shotgun-toting GadgeteerGenius Texan with a robot arm. The last one is the sanest of the group, and he ''cut off his own hand to attach a chunk of metal to the stump'', which speaks volumes about the rest.
* The Player's army in every ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' game will be this by the end, though it also includes many nobles and trained soldiers as well. You will recruit anybody, despite their background, who even remotely dislikes the antagonists or is friends with someone already in your group.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' Ezio assembles a (literal) army of thieves and whores (and mercenaries) to oppose Borgia rule, and in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' he adds an army of Assassins to the mix, people he recruited simply for standing up to the Borgia.
--> ''Ezio, who are the true nobles of Venezia? Men like Carlo Grimaldi and Marco Barbarigo? No! I say we are; the thieves and ''mercenari'' and whores!''
* You can assemble one in ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresIII'', either by hiring them from the Saloon building or summoning them as mercenary group. For some reason, they are more expensive than conventional army.
** The Asian dynasties subvert this, by hiring the [[TheAtoner Repentant]] version of them from Monasteries. They aren't any better or any worse than the ones summoned from Saloon, though.
* The main characters of ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChroniclesIII''. The Nameless includes repeat arsonist, convicted murderer, brothel madame, con artist, draft-dodger, sadistic dominatrix, trigger-happy alcoholic, and money-grubbing mechanic. [[ClearMyName The leader is charged with treason]]. What a merry band of undesirables! This is just one of the many, many way the game is DarkerAndEdgier compared to its earlier installments.
* The [[Franchise/ResidentEvil Umbrella Corporation]] has multiple mercenary units. The Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service, first introduced in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' is comprised largely of convicts, including death row inmates. While their stated goal was to rescue personnel trapped in Raccoon City, it's revealed in-game that the real reason Umbrella sent them in was [[RedShirtArmy so they'd get slaughtered]], allowing the corporation to evaluate the military applications of their various monsters.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the Legion of the Dead, a dwarven army composed of anybody willing to give up every single aspect of their former lives in order to take up arms against the darkspawn. A funeral is held for every new member and in all ways save the obvious they are considered dead by society. Thus, if you're bankrupt, wanted, disgraced, insane or somehow otherwise unfit to live among normal people, you can join the Legion and be accepted and pardoned. And many do. Even non-dwarves can join if they wish (something absolutely unheard of anywhere else in dwarven society) because the Legion is chillingly aware it is a RedShirtArmy-in-waiting and takes all the bodies it can get.
** Even the Grey Wardens are less extreme in presentation but ultimately just as inclusive and binding. In theory, anyone can be conscripted -- from blood-soaked psychopaths right out of the hangman's noose and the lowliest slaves to princes, kings and lords -- and in particular apostate mages (who'd otherwise be executed, lobotomized or imprisoned) are free to fight right alongside everyone else. Their job is to stand between the darkspawn and the world, giving up everything (lives included) so the realm can exist in peace, and they are equally legendary and reviled for their heroism and absolute ruthlessness. In practice the order's reputation has dwindled over the years and there are now far fewer high-status Wardens, leaving a fighting force of oddballs, criminals and peasants sometimes unaware of the sacrifices Gray Warden are expected to make.
* In ''StarCraft'', approximately 50% of the enlisted in the armed forces of the Confederacy of Man/Terran Dominion are brainwashed criminals (running the gamut from thieves and murderers to the occasional political prisoner).
* At one point in ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', your character is given command of a unit of Greycloaks, Neverwinter's civilian militia. If you want, you can recruit new Greycloaks by offering amnesty to any criminals who'll join your forces. This will drastically reduce your army's quality though.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Shepard can make a deal with Aria T'Loak, an asari crimelord, for one of these. In exchange for helping her get command over the three major mercenary groups of the Terminus Systems, she will send a fleet of said mercenaries and criminal scum to help the war against the Reapers.
* In ''VisualNovel/LongLiveTheQueen'', Elodie can grant a mass amnesty to prisoners to fill out her army if Nova is in peril.
* ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' allows you to recruit captured bandits into your force. In addition, your ''normal'' recruits are common peasants who have joined your army in hopes of a better life; your job is to turn them into [[BadassArmy something more than that]].
* The Exiles of ''Videogame/WildStar'' are composed mostly of this, not that they have much choice in the matter.
* The Courier in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' can assemble one from the various factions in the Mojave, recruiting their support in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam to turn the tide for either the NCR, the Legion [[spoiler: or [[WildCard themselves]]]].
* [[ArmiesAreEvil Blackwatch]] from ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' is implied to be this. They need men willing and able to shoot civilians or even each other on the suspicion of being infected/talkative. In comic tie-in to the first game, Peter Randall (who would later become the division's general) was shown to be a fairly unhinged platoon leader during the Vietnam War, and in ''VideoGame/{{Prototype 2}}'', when asked what he would be doing if he wasn't in the unit, a Blackwatch soldier implies he'd either be dead or in prison.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the Union Workers has an army of well-trained thieves, mages, assassins and the like.
* The CORE in ''Webcomic/{{SSDD}}'' relies heavily on conscripted criminals from its member nations for CannonFodder. Tessa was sentenced to two years for assaulting a police officer, and one of her squadmates was a petty thief.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The British Army of the Napoleonic era. Almost entirely made up of the lowest orders of society anyway, convicted criminals made up perhaps a third of the manpower. Their commander in the Peninsular Wars, Sir Arthur Wellesley (perhaps better known by his later title as the Duke of Wellington), described them as "the scum of the Earth". Though he also added, "It is only wonderful that we should be able to make so much out of them". He was right -- they overlapped with BadassArmy.
** Wellesley is also reputed to have said, "I don't know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God, they terrify me."
** "Convicted criminals" in Wellington's army often included debtors, poachers, petty thieves, and others whose crimes were either minor by modern standards or were committed because the perps were down on their luck. It is harder to estimate how many would have been hardened professional criminals.
** The French Royalist army was a deconstruction of this. After the Revolution the Republican government controlled all the manpower available and the Royalists had to recruit from mercenaries and not the best of mercenaries from contemporary accounts. Interestingly the most effective Royalists were partisans like the counterrevolutionaries of the Vendee; these were usually peasants who had their own grudge against the new government, namely their clamping down on the authority of the Catholic Church and accompanying secular programs.
* The Argentinian navy in the 19th Century was something of this. In fact, because most of the convicts that comprised his crews wouldn't remember the sails names, but were experts at card games, Admiral Brown had the sails renamed to cards names.
* The Dirlewanger Brigade of the Waffen-SS from ''UsefulNotes/WorldWar2''. The unit was originally made up of poachers, but was ultimately ranked with any criminals or mental patients the SS could find. Even the rest of the SS was disgusted with them, though that said, their "disgust" was probably based not so much on their behavior as the fact that the brigade was made up of a large number of people who the SS would normally have gassed or shot. Their actions were heinous but "the rest of the SS" was up to ''genocide'', so they were probably considered at worst a reflection of the kind of barbarity they would expect from such a bunch, rather than the ''other'' kind of ''professional'' and ''civilized'' barbarity practiced by themselves.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich-Wilhelm_Kr%C3%BCger SS General Friedrich-Wilhelm Krüger]] (a man who never had any qualms against organizing genocide in Poland): ''"Unless this bunch of criminals disappears from the General Government within a week, I will go myself and lock them up!"''
** By late 1944-early 1945, Dirlewanger's men [[http://www.thedarkpaladin.com/dirlewanger.htm used cloth masks when Army or SS photographers were around]], due to their [[RapePillageAndBurn evil reputation gained during the Warsaw Uprising]] (to which the Reich leadership [[WhatAnIdiot contributed willingly, documenting a lot of things by film and photo]], to make an example of the death of rebellious Poles).
* The "Ever Victorious Army", at least in its earliest incarnation. Formed in 1860 in Shanghai during the Taiping Rebellion, the initial force was recruited by Frederick Townsend Ward (and his backers) mainly from Europeans present in Shanghai, the "scum of the Shanghai docks": Beached sailors, mercenaries, criminals, deserters and expatriates. Those who survived and stuck around became the officer corps for an army of several thousand Chinese soldiers, and this army of dockside scum grew and evolved into possibly the most veteran, well-drilled, and tactically innovative fighting force of the period, first under Ward's leadership, and then under Charles George "Chinese" Gordon.
* Before SunTzu earned his fame, he was given a test from the King: turn 180 concubines into a small army. He pulled it off, though [[YouHaveFailedMe he had to punish some of his officers before they would take him seriously]].
* The American Continental Army started out as this. It was made of people who didn't have any experience of warfare, who didn't have any strong officers who could inspire strong discipline among them, many of them deserted the "army" to go back to their families and farms and didn't return in weeks. It suffered from lack of food, uniforms and ammunition, bad language and diseases were infecting the army so hard that hardened SevenYearsWar veterans were shocked by it, most of the soldiers only fought the revolution half-heartly, alcohol was consumed in great volumes, etc. It's said that when George Washington got to see the "army" he had accepted command of, he had a HeroicBSOD for half a hour before he started cleaning it up.
** In some cases, ironically, the problem of the Continental Army was the reverse. New Englanders at least were small farmers and storekeepers who were to well aware of their dignity as middle class folk to take to military discipline and needed a commander who could work with their cultural eccentricities before they became effective. Historian Fred Anderson draws a picture of that in several of his books.
* Both sides in the USCivilWar suffered from this, but a special mention goes out to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Tigers Wheat’s tigers,]] [[WretchedHive “The sweepings of New Orleans.”]] a unit that Jackson reputedly hid from international observers, not to prevent international observes forming a poor impression of his army, but to stop them getting robbed by the troops and their camp followers. Their reputation on the battlefield was, however, excellent.
* This in fact has often been the make up of armies throughout history. Military life in the ranks was just to distasteful for someone to volunteer for it that didn't find civilian life just as hard unless he was motivated by ideology. When there was no ideological reason and no BarbarianTribe nearby to recruit from, what you are going to end up with is an ArmyOfThievesAndWhores. Until recently the pay was simply not good enough to attract respectable people, unless they were from [[OfficerAndAGentleman nobility]]; which of course sometimes had ''ancestors'' who were part of one of these.
* By the end of the UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar, every army involved.
[[/folder]]

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