My rules are: if you meet a weaker vessel, attack; an equal vessel, attack; and if it is stronger than yours, also attack...
— Admiral Stepan O. Makarov
Whether the characters are fighting men
, they will often attack long after any sensible foe would have attempted surrender or retreat. They may suffer from crippling injuries, or even injuries that will be fatal without treatment
May be justified (among humans) by having their pride hurt or honor involved, having lost so much that only victory can redeem them
, having nowhere to run to
, or having an absolutely crucial need for victory, so that flight would just be prolonging their pain, or (among monsters) by having them maddened in some way, but often enough it's just shown. Or maybe the character is simply a Fearless Fool
Harder to justify, but popular, is that they fight until they drop dead. No one is crippled or disabled by wounds — and not because they took Bottled Heroic Resolve
. This can overlap with Critical Existence Failure
, especially in videogames.
is prone to it, although depending on what he is determined on, he may not engage in it.
Common among Mooks
, though not the most common form of Mook Chivalry
. One sign of The Berserker
, who will often continue to attack after all his foes are down, not being able to distinguish between Friend or Foe
. Lawful Stupid
characters may also engage in it. A We Have Reserves
general usually demands it.
Compare Last Stand
, where retreating from some fights would be carried out whenever practical, and Unconscious Objector
, where they keep attacking even after they're too beaten up to realize they're doing it.
Inversion is Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
. See also Leeroy Jenkins
. Contrast Super-Persistent Predator
. Possible duplication with I Will Fight Some More Forever
. Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!
is a comedy version when this trope is juxtaposed with Oh, Crap
and becomes Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
Not to be confused with Tora! Tora! Tora!
The "AI in Video Games
" equivalent is Suicidal Overconfidence
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Anime and Manga
- Among experienced chess players, this rarely works. A good player will recognize that it is only a good idea to launch an all-out attack when the position calls for it, and often a large part of a game will be spent maneuvering to create such a position. An ill-advised and reckless attack will almost always be fended off by a skilled player, usually leaving the attacker overextended and in serious trouble.
However, before modern theory and strategy were refined, and defensive skills were not nearly as common, many of the masters of the 18th and 19th centuries would play like this, often leading to spectacular victories. Although even back then, it would backfire a decent amount of the time. An aphorism used by the German master Adolf Anderssen was "Attack! Always attack!"
- Why in the name of God any criminal in Metropolis even bothers to point their guns at Superman anymore is a course of continual mystification. Seriously, guys — unless you're packing Kryptonite sabot ammo or have exceedingly powerful firearms that will probably blow your arm off from the recoil unless you're superhumanly strong, don't bother. This is Lampshaded in Rising Stars, where Pyre (who has power similar to the Human Torch) is getting shot at, which, of course, fails to affect him.
Pyre: Y'know, I remember watching the old Superman TV series with George Reeves, and the bad guys would always shoot at Superman, when he showed up. I used to ask myself, why? They know it's not going to hurt him, at most, it'll piss him off, so why shoot at him? You know what it comes down to? The bad guys are always stupid. Dirt-stick-stone stupid.
- Preacher: When the Saint of Killers is going on a rampage in Masada, the Allfather's instructions to his men is to "Rush him. Swamp his guns with your bodies". Given that the Saint is utterly unkillable and that the bullets from his guns will never inflict a wound that is less than fatal, this can only end one way.
- The 2000 AD story Flesh: The Legend of Shamana plays with this.
Shamana and the dinosaurs had worked out a cunning and intricate plan to destroy the flesh factory. The frist wave would go straight in for the kill. Whereas the second wave would employ the classic tactic of going straight in for the kill. Meanwhile, the third wave would employ the saurian strategy of going straight in for the kill. Setting things up nicely for the fourth wave, who would go for the final objective — straight in for the kill.
- Asgardians are prone to this in general, but Thor is one of the worst. He will NEVER run from a fight no matter how outmatched he is, and simply attacking blindly with brute force alone is the only strategy he uses most of the time. He'll fight until he's unconscious or something drags him away, which works well enough for him in his own comics, but in "What If...?" comics this attitude tends to get him killed.
Films — Animation
- In Antz, Z mentions this when he's talking to the Queen and Bala after the termite battle. "You don't think, you just react, you have to attack! Attack! ATTACK!" It's kind of hilarious when you think about who voices Z. Played with in that the ants really do this in the battle, but for the sole purpose of getting everyone in the army killed.
Films — Live-Action
- Warhammer 40,000: Da Orks don't care, they just want More Dakka and killing. They're happily willing to charge forward, waving bloodied weapons and screaming "WAAAAGH!" until the last one is mowed down by bolter fire. Or just plain fire.
- In older background, the reason is explained thus:
Griznak didn't mind the death. He was an Ork. The senseless waste of life didn't appall him. He applauded it. He lived to fight. Fighting was what life was all about. Death was part of fighting, everybody knew that, from the youngest Wildboy to the oldest Nob. Every Ork accepted death the way he accepted the possibility of a buggy accident. It was what happened to someone else. And if it did happen to you, so what? Your soul went back to Gork and Mork to be belched into another body so you could fight again.
- The background material explains that Orks actually grow from spores released by decaying Ork corpses. In other words, getting killed is essential to their reproduction.
- Khorne Berserkers (especially the entire World Eaters Legion) and the Blood Angels Death Company... ah, well, the names of those should give a hint as to why they're examples of this trope.
- Black Templars Space Marines. Most armies would run away when taking casualties...Black Templars move towards the enemy when they lose men.
- GURPS has the disadvantage "On The Edge" which causes this to an almost comical degree. The example given involves using a toothbrush to fight people with guns.
- Well... that's more about roleplaying a character with clinical depression that manifests in not caring whether he lives or dies. "On the Edge" means that the character does things that may appear to be courageous, to people who do not understand what's happening, but when the character stares down a street gang armed only with a toothbrush, he's actually trying to die. "On the Edge" is more a Death Seeker kind of thing, though it's certainly possible in GURPS to be both "On the Edge" and a berserker.
- Background information on demons from Dungeons & Dragons usually depicts them as this. Based on their stats, they're far from stupid, but they enjoy hurting other things so much that they'll often continue fighting a losing battle just to hit you a few more times. And, to be fair, it bears mentioning that dying on the material plane is mostly a mild inconvenience for Outsiders
- Inn the GURPS Martial Arts, it specifically advises against the GM doing this, citing that it wouldn't fun or realistic to do things like that. Thus, enemies who have taken a major wound to run away or surrender.
- Often in RPGs the Game Master will have NPC enemies be unrealistically aggressive and unwilling to flee or surrender. Depending on your opinion and circumstances, this can be a mistake or an Acceptable Break From Reality.
- The Impetuosity rule in Wargames Research Group DBM and DBMM games. Certain troop types are prone to Impetuosity, which means attacking the nearest enemy at sight without further orders. And without caring if they'd get their butts whipped or not. All Warbands and Irregular Knights are prone to this behaviour by default, and certain other types as well. All troops become Impetuous if a broken enemy is at 400 paces or closer. The player must allocate resource points to prevent his troops breaking the formation and attacking the enemy.
- In Paranoia, the doberbot's primary combat tactic is "attack someone until they die, attack someone else until they die, attack someone else until they die..."
- BattleTech, Clan Ice Hellion is best summarized as this, they are quick to attack their foes in lightning speed, but they tend to get into fights with Clans who wield large and more heavily armed mechs, against their light and medium mechs.
- Invoked in Munchkin by the Potion of Idiotic Bravery.
- In the Mouseguard and Torchbearer games, players script exactly three actions ahead, choosing from the options of Attack, Defend, Maneuver, and Feint. Of these, only Attack and Feint actually deal damage against an enemy, and Feint fails automatically if played against Attack. In complex battles there's some use to Maneuver to help set up other players, but 1v1s regularly result in players declaring, quite literally, "Attack / Attack / Attack".
- In Pokémon Live!, Ash has Pikachu repeatedly use Thunder and Thundershock against Mecha Mewtwo, even when it's apparent it's unaffected.
- Olaf utters this exact phrase in Advance Wars on "Max Strikes."
- As does Jugger in his second mission of Dual Strike, though it's justified since he's a machine.
- In The Ancient Art of War, Athena would always use this strategy against you.
- Lampshaded somewhat in inFAMOUS 2. Towards the end of the game, the redneck militia will keep fighting Cole, but they'll beg him not to hurt them while they do it. Turns out, the Big Bad is a Bad Boss. Turns out, Cole is either a Jerkass or a walking exmaple of Good Is Not Nice. Tough break.
- Often combined with Critical Existence Failure: What else should you do with 1 HP left?
- Brütal Legend: "Everything in that general direction must DIE!"
- According to conventional wisdom, this is the best way to play the Blaster and Scrapper archetypes in City of Heroes
- Heroes of Might and Magic:
Sandor: How do you say 'Attack!'
Sandor: How do you say 'Advance!'
Sandor: Oh... 'Move out'?
Sandor: Hold your position?
Kraal: Hmmm. Maybe... 'Gurr-DA!'
Sandor: That sounds pretty aggresive for 'Retreat'..
Kraal: Nnn. Actually means 'Die where you stand'. But is only battle order that doesn't mean 'Attack!'
- This is how pressuring tactics tend to work in fighting games, especially rushdowns. Essentially attacking incessantly and thus keeping the opponent on the defensive at all times, so that they have no choice but to either block constantly (and suffer a slow loss by chip damage) or try finding a place to strike back and risk being hit instead - though just as important as keeping up the attack is knowing how to attack, in order to do so without opening oneself up to a counterattack. If done right, a good rush strategy can be dangerously effective at keeping the opponent from doing anything, though modern games tend to have mechanics that prevent this (such as special blocks which knock the opponent away, or parries).
- Oswald in Odin Sphere packs a dangerously exhausting Super Mode instead of a blocking option, and his high movement and attack speed lends itself naturally to this sort of playstyle. Generally, Oswald is played by ramming into an enemy at high speed, chaining attacks against it, and hoping it runs out of HP before you do. His fighting style reflects his characterization: he has next to no sense of self or sense of self-preservation, and can and will pick a fight with anything without any apparent care for his own survival.
- In World in Conflict, the final mission has the exhausted and heavily outnumbered Americans attacking the Soviet-held Seattle head on. This is mostly because they cannot afford to have the Soviets use the city as a beachhead for Chinese reinforcements, but partly because their commanding officer, Colonel Sawyer, feels it is necessary to redeem his failure in a previous mission. The fact that the city would be nuked by the US if Sawyer failed probably acted as a motivator too. And if the nuke hits the city, the afternotes tell that it led to an all-out nuclear war. Pretty good reasons to throw everything you got.
- An effective strategy when attackers have made some progress in Team Fortress 2 is for one player on a team (often a Scout or Heavy) to throw himself on the objective and die, over and over again. As long as someone keeps tapping the cart or picking up the briefcase, the attackers won't lose their progress. He's probably not doing much fighting, even, electing to go around or just run by enemies rather than risk being too late to the objective.
- Given the sheer amount of wreckage, the Alliance forces at the Battle of the Citadel at the end of Mass Effect 1 qualify. Then again, if they had retreated, Sovereign would have succeeded in bringing in a massive fleet of Reapers, so they kind of had good reason.
- The Turian armed forces approach almost every military conflict like this to beat their opponent into submission. Unfortunately, their much more subtle Salarian allies did not consider this when they created a super-weapon against the Krogans that was so horrifying that just the threat of it would force them to surrender. The Turians did not get the idea why anyone would build a weapon and not use it.
- Admiral Gerrel has this propensity in Mass Effect 3 when fighting over the Quarian homeworld against the Geth. He does so against a disabled Geth dreadnought. While you're still aboard it. You can express your displeasure with his deed by gut-punching him. You also need to do a lot of work beforehand in ME2 and in ME3 to talk him out of doing it again at the end of the Quarian/Geth arc.
- Averted in Batman: Arkham City. Occasionally, when Batman drops in on a group of Mooks, a few will run away. Also, during the first mission of the game, Batman drops into a room with fifty of Two-Face's men, and all but a few flee in terror.
- World of Warcraft's orcs fall into this a lot. Dying on the battlefield is a great honor, running away is cowardly. If they do retreat, it will usually only be to regroup and attack more effectively later - if the battle is unwinnable either way, they're staying until they die.
- Often stated as the Hunter's 'strategy' in the game. "Stab it in the face with arrows until it stops being funny."
- Commando and Ravager paradigm roles in Final Fantasy XIII will keep attacking and casting offensive magic even if there's someone in a blink of being knocked out. The only way to fix the problem is to manually shift the character's role to Medic or use a potion.
- In Rune Factory series. Rune point goes down when you do any action. Charging into enemies non-stop without recovering your RP will grant you a quick defeat as attacking starts consuming a huge amount of HP instead.
- Gears of War. Queen Myrrah paints the Locust's fighting philosophy quite well in the epilogue of the first game.
- Queen Myrrah: "They do not understand. They do not know why we wage this war. Why we cannot stop. Will not stop. Why we will fight and fight and fight. Until we win... Or we die. And we are not dead yet."
- Xenon and Kha'ak ships in the X-Universe games will never, ever retreat. They'll blithely throw tiny scout ships to try and kill your 4 kilometer long destroyers. Pirate and Commonwealth ships are like this 99% of the time, though they will occasionally try to retreat, but by that point, there is usually only one scout ship left.
- Despite the rapidly declining reinforcement count, this is usually the most effective tactic in Battlefield's Rush mode. Though heavy casualties are inevitable, it only takes a few stragglers to get through and act as a spawn point closer to the objective - indeed, the teams that lose are usually the ones that don't Attack! Attack! Attack! enough.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Dual Wielding is useful because it can potentially give you the highest damage output of any fighting style in the game, but the cost is that you can't block in any way. Which leads to situations where you might need to constantly use health potions while attacking just to survive.
- In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team's Giant Battle Ring, this is literally all the characters can do. The game actually disables your only form of healing, so any fight there is 'attack or die horribly'.
- Turning on Rush mode in Persona 3 and 4 speeds up the fight and puts the whole party on autopilot where they do nothing but spam standard physical attacks, even if they're getting their asses handed to them or the enemy is able to reflect their attacks back at them. It's still good for clearing out random encounters when you already know you'll win and just want to speed through the fight, but you still need to keep on eye on it to make sure things aren't going pear-shaped.
- In Pokémon, the move Taunt forces the opponent to use only attacking moves for several turns.
- Choice items give the holder a huge boost in Attack, Special Attack or Speed, but they're locked into using the first move selected. Naturally, the user should be using one of its attacks over and over again.
- Pokémon X and Y introduces the Assault Vest, which raises the Special Defense by 50 percent, but prevents the use of status moves.
- In Vietcong, this is the NVA/VC's only strategy when it goes to attacking US/ARVN bases and Montangard villages. Subverted in some cases, where they bring mortars and tanks with them.
- In Fate/stay night, Shirou exhibits this trope in a number of fights. Most notably in the "Unlimited Blade Works" route where it is extremely effective against Gilgamesh. Since both are owners of virtually unlimited weapons but neither are masters of any of those weapons, it becomes battle of Attack! Attack! Attack!. Even though Gil's weapons are slightly stronger than Shirou's, within the boundaries of "Unlimited Blade Works" Shirou can pull out weapons faster than Gil, allowing him the decisive blow when a frustrated Gil decides to take the extra time to try to pull out Ea.
- Sarge of Red vs. Blue possesses this quality, a sharp contrast to his lazy and cautious subordinates. His main goal at any given time is to find a new way to destroy the Blue Army. This is hampered by the antics of his troops and the general lazy and cautious attitude of the Blues. His secondary goal at any given time is to find a way to incorporate killing Grif into the situation at hand (one of his battle plans involved Grif charging directly at the Blues in such a way that, when he was inevitably shot, his Ludicrous Gibs would clog up their weapons, leaving them vulnerable to attack by the rest of the Reds; all of their emergency response plans start with clobbering Grif, except for the one that starts with shooting him instead).
- Tasakeru: This is Zero's usual tactic. It's when he enters his Tranquil Fury state that he's truly dangerous, though.
- This seems to be the philosophy of Leeroy.
- Bitch from Worm defaults to attack under almost all circumstances. This habit gets exploited by Dragon later by making Bitch fight a robot with a Healing Factor.
- Golgotha from Noob has this as a side effect of her Leeroy Jenkins and Blood Knight combination. The worst she has done can be found in the comic version, where she doesn't let multiple deaths stop her in a game where Continuing Is Painful.
- Almost every single flipping thing in Destroy The Godmodder will do this. Even the ones that are specifically stated to strategize based on their remaining health.
- Invoked word for word by Starscream in the Season 2 finale of Transformers Prime as he leads an armada of Vehicon Generals in an attack on the Autobot base.
- Except [[here it works. And for the Autobots,]] it's terrifying.
- In The Transformers this was Galvatron's attack strategy whenever he was in his more murderous moods. It seemed to alternate between this, Colony Drop or Weapon of the Day (like his predecessor). This particular strategy was deconstructed in one episode with the Decepticons get sick of having Galvatron using this strategy to confront the Autobots (and his mental condition had lead him to assault his allies on the field).
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- This seems to be the main strategy behind firebending in general, being fueled by anger and having few (if any) defensive techniques. Although he tries to seem sophisticated about it, Firelord Ozai for instance seems to rely on this, or twist his advisers' suggestions into this.
- Earthbending similarly requires a head-on, no-hesitation strategy. While the inherent properties of earth make it quite practical for defense as well as attack, those same properties make it pretty obstinate to deal with, so a bender who isn't prepared to grab it by the metaphorical balls and make it his bitch isn't going to get very far, no matter what he plans to actually do with it.
- In the episode of The Boondocks entitled "Shinin'," Riley gets his chain stolen by the neighborhood bully Butch Magnus Milosevic, who is at least a foot taller and appears to be 150 pounds (or more) heavier than Riley. Despite this, Riley confronts Butch alone, mostly out of pride. His punches have no effect on Butch, and Riley continues to get up after being knocked down, bloodied and even at one point shaking on the ground because of the pain he's in.
- This seems to be a personality quirk of Riley's, because he adapts the same attitude when fighting Huey in the episode "Let's Nab Oprah." Despite Huey being bigger, smarter, and well versed in multiple forms of martial arts, he keeps attacking despite his every effort resulting in him getting soundly beaten until the fight is broken up by someone else.
- The French crocodiles' chief mode of assault on The Drinky Crow Show. These exact words are even shouted during their boarding!
- As far as Futurama's Zapp Brannigan]is concerned, there's no problem that can't be solved by sending wave after wave of men at it.
Zapp: [Addressing the troops] As you know, the key to any victory is the element of surprise... SURPRISE! [Pulls lever, airdropping troops onto battlefield]
Zapp: [Explaining how he defeated the Killbots] You see, Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shutdown.
- Megas XLR's Coop: "I stick to my strengths, and smashing stuff is my strengths." and "We tried not smashing it, and that didn't work ... I just need to find the right way to smash it!"
- Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has this mindset.
*When facing down a giant hydra*
Twilight: Oh, what would a brave pony like Rainbow Dash do?
- Although others had taken advantage of it before, Napoleon Bonaparte popularized the "cult of the offensive", that emphasized fast, all-in attacks at the enemy's weak-point. The basic logic of this is that the attacker has a significant inherent advantage over the defender, as the attacker dictates where the fighting will take place while the defender has to react to it; and furthermore, while the defender has to spread his forces everywhere necessary to Hold the Line, the attacker can concentrate everything on where he intends to break through. The greatest use of this was at the Ulm Campaign of 1805, where the French army under Napoleon departed from France in September and marched so blisteringly fast that in only 16 days, the French arrived at the rear of the Austrian army in Württemberg before the Austrians were ready to fight. The French captured 60,000 soldiers without a major confrontation. Although sometimes it fails spectacularly, in many cases a bold assault (even when out-numbered or out-gunned) can take the enemy by surprise and shatter their morale, which was a tactic used very successfully by Heinz Guderian and Erwin Rommel during the Battle of France (1940). Rommel's 7th Panzer Division moved several miles ahead of the German Army, leaving its flanks very vulnerable to counter-attack; but the Allies were in such a disorganized state that Rommel was able to rout any counter-attacks just by doing a massive frontal assault with his tanks.
- The French Army's one standing order at the start of World War One was "Ataque, ataque, tojours l'ataque!" (Attack, attack, always attack!)
- Scientology's stance on handling their detractors is (literally) "always attack, never defend". If you are perfect, world-changing
alien divine beings any criticisms are clearly reflections of the critics' own flaws (hence "What are your crimes? What are your crimes?!" ad nauseam). This plan hasn't been working out too well for them lately, though, now that their enemy is Anonymous. This also shows the limitations of this trope - It's never worked well for them (and has gotten worse with the Internet and the Streisand Effect). "Always attack, never defend" has resulted in them shooting themselves in the foot so often that their detractors have coined the term "footbullet".
- "Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations" has long been a favorite tactic of politicians of every stripe.
- When asked to contribute to Sweden's entrance into the 30-Years War, the Estates of Yeomen famously declared that "Better to stable our horses at the house of our enemies than his in ours." IE: If you have to fight a war, might as well do it far away from home.
- The Swedish army in the late 17th / early 18th century relied on offensive action and lined up a series of great victories. In 1709 the army of Tsar Peter arrived near the small town of Poltava which the Swedes were besieging. The Swedes decided to Attack, but to properly engage they needed to sneak past some redoubts in the Russians' extended defense line. The Swedish army didn't know how to sneak, however, and instead Attacked the redoubts. When the commanders finally managed to get (most of) the surviving troops to disengage and line up on the intended battlefield, the odds were very long: 4000 infantrynote faced 20000 Russians. What to do? Attack! The Swedish army knocked itself out against the Russian line, disintegrated, and was annihilated.
- It worked well in 1700 at Narva. The Swedes attacked in dense snowstorm with 4000 men against tenfold numbers of Russians in fortified positions - and won the day. Mainly because the Russians simply didn't believe anyone would be insane enough to attack in that weather.
- Likewise, the Swedish fleet was all the time on offensive in the War of Gustavus III 1788-1790. They managed to achieve several Pyrrhic victories and catastrophic losses, but they won decisively 1790 in the battle of Rochensalm when they were on defensive.
- The Swedish tactics were known as gĺ-pĺ - literally "go on".
- There's a saying in kendo: "bogyo no tame no bogyo nashi" ("there's no such thing as defense for defense's sake"). Kendo practitioners are trained to respond to attacks by themselves attacking and trying to get there first, rather than focusing on defense.
- The emphasis on attack is nowhere more evident than in Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu, a school of swordsmanship adopted my the Satsuma Clan and used with crushing effectiveness until swords were outlawed in Japan. Practitioners would attack by unleashing a flurry of diagonal blows alternating between left and right. Training (which continues in Kyushu even today) consists of striking a hardwood pole repeatedly with a wooden sword until, over time, it is reduced to an hourglass shape.
- This is in contrast to conventional Western fencing, where the first principle is "don't get hit." If you manage to stab your opponent but get stabbed at the same time, you've still lost, making the Parry-Riposte a standard tactic. This is based on the idea that if a sword is already heading at you at high speed, it's not going to stop dead just because you stick the guy holding it.
- Stop-hits are much more used in epee fencing. This is because epee is based on duels to First Blood and the weapons used were much less likely to be fatal if you got stabbed.
- In Renaissance-era fencing, at least in its German tradition, offense was promoted on the principle that if you don't attack, you won't beat the other guy, and if you only defend yourself, sooner or later he'll find an opening and do this to you. It is generally easier to strike before the other guy does than to master a high-level counter-technique.
- Arguably this translates equally well into real-life application, as some martial arts systems (kali or Wing Chun comes to mind) advocate 'attacking the weapon' as a defensive strategy.
- Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do combat philosophy (by definition not a distinct style) gets it's name from the idea that every move has the potential to end the fight, so a block is a re-purposed attack, and parries are matched with a simultaneous counterattack.
- The last order of battle of admiral Horatio Nelson was Engage the enemy more closely. Royal Navy has always been known of extremely aggressive tactics and doctrines.
- The loss of three battlecruisers in the battle of Jutland 1916 was an example of this. The safety of handling the powder cartouches was sacrificed in order to maximize the firing speed, and the flashproof doors were kept open to enable quick delivery of the powder. It is said if the Germans had had similar doctrine that day, they would have lost eight or nine battlecruisers.
- The very concept of Royal Navy battlecruiser. Regular battleships were designed to strike a rough balance between speed, armour and firepower; battlecruisers were equally massive but had reduced armour thickness in exchange for slightly more speed and even bigger guns. Distinguishing battleships from battlecruisers can be tricky as there was no formal definition of a battlecruiser and battleship/battlecruiser naval guns steadily increased in size during the interwar period (so a battleship could use larger guns than an older battlecruiser). However the relevance of the trope is demonstrated by the fact that the thickest sections of a battleships armour (which protected the most vital areas) were designed to, on paper at least, withstand a hit from the vessel's own main battery. Battlecruiser armour was not.
- Royal Navy battlecruisers were never originally meant to engage battleships. As the name kind of implies, they were intended to fight other cruisers in defense of the British Empire, and other cruisers were faster than the battleships of the era (necessitating the higher speed) yet had smaller and thereby shorter-ranged guns (making armor less of a concern). It was when the need for more big guns led to their being put into action against enemy battleships anyway that they started to fall short. (It's also worth noting that the German battlecruisers of WWI were built differently from the start — carrying slightly smaller guns and having a shorter operational range instead of skimping on protection — because to help make up for the Royal Navy's superior numbers they were intended to stand in the line of battle to begin with.)
- In The Vietnam War, the USA's leadership had to choose between focusing wholeheartedly on promoting economic growth in South Vietnam or invading North Vietnam and ruthlessly exterminating absolutely everybody even tangentially related to the Viet Cong in any capacity - families, villages, districts, everyone. Ideally, the USA would've done both. However, they tried to compromise (limited developmental aid to South Vietnam, limited counter-partisan operations in South Vietnam and strategic bombing of North Vietnam) between the two approaches without giving either the support it really needed. Eventually they realised they didn't want to invest any more money and effort in South Vietnam or invade North Vietnam and kill even more people, so they just gave up like the French had before them. Pity about the 800k-1.8 million dead people and 2 million maimed.
- During World War II, Japanese officers were taught to try and find a chance for an attack even when being attacked, with the spirit of the offensive carefully cultivated among Japanese soldiers. Whatever advantages this had against Guomindang Militia and Guomindang-allied Warlords - whose troops lacked any kind of artillery whatsover, food (though not always to the point of fainting), ammo, and communications equipment more sophisticated and widespread than the odd heliograph (such that shifting operational and even tactical reserves was often impossible for them) - in The Pacific this eventually ended up as the 'Banzai charge' and usually went very badly facing Allied troops - particularly against Americans with their excesses of communications equipment, artillery and automatic small-arms, and ammunition.
- There was also such a strong cultural imperative among the Japanese to not surrender under any circumstances that they would make such a charge knowing they would all die precisely because they would all die.
- Let us not forget the bold effort put forth by the men of Taffy 3 during "The Battle off Samar" during World War II. By responding so aggressively to an obviously superior force, a small force of destroyers and aircraft held off the largest battleship ever constructed along with its battle group. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_off_Samar
- The main reasons this resulted in victory as opposed to a "taking as many of you with me as possible" are A) Good tactics, maneuvering, and gunnery by the light destroyers and destroyer escorts (known as "tin cans" due to their lack of armor) as they charged straight into the formationless Japanese battle group, sinking a few heavy cruisers with close range torpedo runs and wrecking the (essentially unarmored) upper works of heavier ships, moving as quickly and erratically as possible to stay alive, B) the hundreds of aircraft (which were completely unequipped to be taking on any kind of ships, and thus instead flew right at/around the Japanese ships, strafing their decks with machine guns...or in some cases, with nothing at all), combined with the several light destroyers and destroyer escorts rushing a massive battlegroup and ''winning'' and an inaccurate intelligence report that a full American carrier battle group was in the area, led the Japanese officers to believe that they were facing a much larger and more powerful force than they actually were. With the tiny American ships doing massively disproportional damage and charging what should have been suicidal odds without hesitation, hundreds of aircraft attacking from everywhere, strafing their decks and dropping what seemed to be bombs and torpedoes (but were actually depth charges or fuel tanks...), causing the entire battlegroup—already disorganized by the "general attack" order given at the start of the battle by the Japanese commander—to be thrown into complete chaos, maneuvering like crazy all over the place, it very much seemed like they like were facing one. To make matters worse, smoke-screens deliberately created by the destroyers/destroyer escorts helped to conceal the fact that there were only four small escort carriers, instead of potentially several fleet carriers. The end result was that the massive, extremely powerful Center Force retreated right as it was on the verge of total victory, with most of the already-few-in-number light destroyers and destroyer escorts sinking or sunk, and no way to resupply and/or re-equip their planes until it was far too late.
- Though the whole Attack! Attack! Attack! mentality was best summed up by an unidentified sailor. Having damaged practically every ship in the opposing force, left several sunk or sinking, and outclassing the American force ship-to-ship by a ridiculous margin, the Japanese force nonetheless withdraws against the unexpectedly fierce resistance.
American Sailor: Damn it, boys, they're getting away!
- The Principle of the Offensive is one of the Nine Principles of War, and every military in the world teaches it to officer candidates. Only by going on the offensive is it possible to seize the initiative. The Japanese didn't have the industrial base or the resources to support large-scale mechanized warfare, and the massive banzai charges occasionally worked well in China (as the Guomindang used Warlord and Militia troops to take the brunt of Japanese offensives while they would attempt strategic encirclements) and even against some European troops. When they dug in and attempted World War I style static defensive tactics it only resulted in large-scale Last Stand type battles in places like Okinawa and Iwo Jima, because they surrendered the initiative to the Americans, who were then able to act at a time and place of their own choosing. The resulting battles were always very bloody for both sides but the final outcome was never in the slightest doubt: lose the initiative, lose the fight. And the Japanese, strategically speaking, lost the initiative when they failed to hold Guadalcanal, not even one year after Pearl Harbor.
- Actually, it was their losses at Midway which effectively sealed their fate, with those four Carriers gone, they lost a lot of their ability to take war to the Americans. They also failed to use their submarines effectively.
- Legendary Marine commander Chesty Puller never retreated, he merely advanced in a different direction.
"They're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!"
- To be fair, when he said the above quote, he was completely surrounded by Chinese forces. In that case, movement in any direction really is attacking and advancing.
- Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was famous (to his officers, notorious) about taking the offensive early and often, usually at risk to flanking counter attacks, and to the detriment of his supply chain.
"In the absence of any orders, go find something and kill it."
- This was the go to tactic for WWII Pacific Fleet Admiral William "Bull" Halsey. It was so much a reputation for him that the Japanese tried to use this against him multiple times. The entire set up of the Battle of Midway hinged on it. It only worked once at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Haley's first order after seeing the devastation Pearl Harbor was "Attack, Attack, Attack."
- George S. Patton. The guy was famous for maxims like "Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more." He famously treated large scale advances into Italy and Germany as races against other Allied officers to get there first!
"Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don't agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out Before he finds out where my flanks are, I'll be cutting the bastard's throat.
- George Patton has the distinguished honor of being one of the most successful Generals in the history of warfare, in the battles he fought in World War II he captured more land, defeated more enemies, and captured more prisoners of war in a faster time than any other officer in history. It is thought that he was so successful because he utilized the momentum of his Army and kept them moving every waking hour that he could, his tactics of trying to outwit and outrace his contemporary Generals to particular objectives produced very meaningful results.
- The standing orders of outdated British fighter squadrons reputedly became this during World War I. It didn't work.
- This is why the assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich succeeded. On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was being driven on the Dresden-Prague road when a gunman ambushed him as the car slowed on a hairpin turn. The assassin's sub-machine gun jammed. Instead of having his driver, you know, drive, Heydrich ordered a complete stop so he could jump out and attack his attackers. The assassins took the opportunity to toss a bomb at the car. The resulting explosion wounded Heydrich. Instead of falling back through the smoke, Heydrich decided it would be totally awesome if he continued his charge, chasing his bicycle-mounted assassins on foot until he passed out from the shock. He slipped into a coma and died days later. Although his decision to chase the assassin's was meaningless, as, unknown to him, he had already contracted a mortal infection from horsehair car seat fibers becoming embedded inside him due to the grenade blast.
- To say nothing of the dark comedy which attended the pursuit of the Heydrich assassins after the attack. Having cornered them in the cellar of a church, the SS decided they would take the partisans alive, sending a succession of soldiers through the very narrow passage which granted access to the refuge. A good many SS men were Sten-gunned to death in the killzone before the partisans were finally apprehended. And by "apprehended" we mean committing suicide to avoid capture, hammering home how pointless this all was.
- The former page quote is darkly ironic itself, because it comes from Stephan Makarov, one of Tsarist Russia's most distinguished naval commanders, whose reaction to the equivalent of Russia's Pearl Harbor during the Russo-Japanese War and the resulting blockade by chasing the numerically and qualitatively superior Japanese outside the protected harbor. Then, during one pursuit, he was killed when flagship struck-and was sunk by- a mine the IJN had laid specifically to hole the Russian navy up.
- In poker the most successful players are the aggressive ones. As a rule of thumb, it is better to bet/raise than to check/call in order to keep your opponent under constant pressure.
- A Finnish Army guide for young officers: If you do not know what to do, attack. If you do not where to attack, outflank the enemy. If you don't know where to outflank, do it from your right side.
- One of tactics to deal with close ambush is just to try and push through your enemy, straight in his face, without even basic outflank maneuver. Since you are currently sitting is what is commonly refered to as a kill-zone that makes sense.