— Marine Gunnery Sergeant Dan Dalynote echoing King Frederick II of Prussia in the battle of Torgau, 3 November, 1760: "Racker, wollt ihr ewig leben?" (Scoundrels, do you want to live forever?) during World War One.
During the joint infantry-air operation in Simoun, the Ace Pilot Floe grows close to a simple rifleman, only to painfully discover the enormous gap between them.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the mass-produced Grappal Army as cannon fodder; the one-of-a-kind Ganmen and the Gurren Lagann, meanwhile, are the ones who do most of the ass-kicking. Gimmy and Darry, however, are Mauve Shirts and often receive Plot Armor.
And Kamina frequently shouted things such as "Outta the way, cannon fodder!!!" before destroying about a dozen beastmen gunmen with his drills.
"Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder."
In MatchedAberrations are sent to the Outer Provinces as "decoys" to draw the fire of the mysterious Enemy.
The soldiers of the Spartan III program from Ghosts Of Onyx are meant to be this. Their sole purpose is to take the suicide missions that are beyond the skill level of the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers but beneath the potential loss of the Spartan II's.
Live Action Television
Played with in the opening scene of the first episode of Blackadder, when King Richard III and his nephew talk about Edmund at the banquet on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth:
Richard III: You're not putting him anywhere near me, are you?
Richard, Duke of York: No, Uncle. He will somewhere with the rabble.
Richard III: Oh. Arrow fodder?
Richard, Duke of York: Precisely.
Anything fielded by Orcs or Goblins in any tabletop game. Dem humies (stunties, skinnies) just rilly cawn't kil us ladz all, can dey?
And for them, first conscripted troopers which have less training and only the most basic equipment. Then the Planetary Defense Forces which usually are even less skilled and have even less equipment.
For a bit of perspective, in terms of point value a single Space Marine Terminator costs as much as 10 Imperial Guard Conscripts. He can take them all together too, and will probably emerge unscathed unless the Random Number God is grumpy.
The Tyranids have basic troops called Rippers that are sent en masse to enemy lines, causing them to waste ammunition for when the real attack begins with larger and more intelligent troops. The Rippers don't even have digestive systems - after they've consumed all the biomass they can, they are unfit for combat and return to reclamation pools to be consumed for the biomass they contain.
Practically all of the Tyranid's basic troops are used like this this includes the gaunt breeds.
Tau have a habit of turning their enemies into this repeatedly, provided they can stay at a safe distance to do so.
The Orks have their Grotz who are at the very bottom of the Ork hierarchy, their basic roles are cannon fodder, as well as used to clear land mine fields, emergency rations, and even used for football.
Ork Boyz are only slightly less expendable. One of the defining traits of the average Ork Warboss is the ability to view everyone but himself as totally expendable if it leads to a good fight, and one of the defining traits of the Ork mentality is that this is a positive trait for a leader to have.
Paranoia is that rare example where the players themselves are the cannon laser fodder.
This is the role that mortals play in Exalted, because their world just sucks that much. It's even codified in the rules: "extras" — usually defined as anyone without an Essence rating — have only three health levels where everyone else has at least seven. A Fan Nickname for mortals in Exalted combat is "Ablative People Shields".
Most linemen in Blood Bowl. Orcs, for once, avert their usual tendencies, as their players are very hard to hurt and even their linemen can end up as Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder with a few (randomly awarded) MVP awards.
BattleTech Clans have treat their Solahma warriors as this. They are mostly assigned in garrison duty, and are also sent out as shock troopers in weak mechs, combat vehicles, or mere infantry, and are expected to die in battle.
Often used in strategy video games for baseline infantry units, whose basic tactic is Zerg Rush or just to stand there, fire at the enemy, and keep reinforcements coming.
In the Halo series, the Covenant uses the Grunt race as cheap labor, and in the case of the military, cannon fodder. Their fighting skills are laughable at best, as their combat strategy is usually nothing more complex than taking potshots at the enemy and hoping it dies. They also tend to run away when their squad leader is killed. However, Grunts can also be surprisingly dangerous in specific situations. Some variants carry heavy weapons, and even some that don't can overcharge their plasma pistols in Halo Reach, leaving the player without shields. In the first game, Grunts were the only enemy that threw grenades, and if they stuck to a vehicle that you were driving, the only way to survive was to get out of the vehicle and run, and in later games, Grunts led by Brutes will arm two grenades and run at the player if the Brute gets killed. Grunts are also quite formidable in large numbers, and when the entire Grunt race rebelled against the Covenant, it took an Arbiter and a sizable portion of the Covenant's fleet to defeat them.
Perhaps the most relevant example is Men of War: Condemned Heroes. The player goes into tough battles, in a series where you usually get a sufficient amount of men and vehicles, with nothing more than a squad or two - and usually with little ammo. The necessity of capturing enemy equipment is paramount to succeed. The game's producers, 1C, also added the original Orders No. 227, the famous 'Not one step backwards!' from Stalin, as well as a modern analysis of the use of penal battalions, pointing out that while they were brutally treated and suffered beyond heavy casualties, in the eyes of the contemporary Red Army, they were repaying their debt to the Motherland, either in heroism or blood.
In the Strategy RPGiPhone GameRavenmark, some battles sees you command Militiamen, in addition to your core Imperial Legion troops. Basically farmers and local constables with little to no training and basic equipment, pressed into service when an unexpected full-scale invasion stretched the imperial armies beyond capacity. Their most notable ability is that any enemy unit that kills a squad of them is slowed down to 1 move and low initiative in the next round. In other words, they're most useful when their piled-up corpses are impeding the progress of your foes. Of course, whether you use them as such, or try to keep them in reserve until things get truly desperate, is up to you.
In Xenonauts, it is a tactic happily employed by the aliens and sometimes the player too, to a certain degree.
In the X-COM series, it is the default modus operandi of the alien force. The reason: the aliens are effectively countless, they can be easily bred and they have little to no survival instinct.
The Monarch from The Venture Bros. regards his henchmen as basically disposable pawns and often sends platoons of them to be butchered by Brock Samson while he directs them from the safety of his flying cocoon headquarters.
Captain Zapp Brannigan from Futurama makes no attempt to hide the fact that he sees everyone on his crew as completely expendable. His notable "victory" over the Killbots was achieved by feeding them wave after wave of his own men until they reached a pre-programmed kill limit and shut down. He has claimed that when he's in command, "Every mission is a suicide mission!", and he considers clogging the enemy's cannons with the wreckage of his own ships to be a viable combat tactic.
Both averted and subverted in Star Wars:The Clone Wars. The clones are often viewed as this even admitting it themselves, but to the Jedi they are invaluable friends and kept alive as much as possible, not that it helps the Jedi in the end.
During World War II, Japanese infantrymen were called 'senrin' by their officers, referring to the price of mailing a conscription notice: one sen, one rin, or about 1/99th of a yen.
Several Japanese officers who fought on Guadalcanal went further, calling themselves and their men 'teppodama', literally "bullets" in being that expendable.
According to The Other Wiki, the first documented use of the term "cannon fodder" appears in an anti-Napoleonic pamphlet by French writer François-René de Chateaubriand, published in 1814. In it, Chateaubriand lambasted Napoleon's battle strategy, particularly his treatment of new recruits: "the contempt for the lives of men and for France herself has come to the point of calling the conscripts 'the raw material' and 'the cannon fodder'."
The ugly truth is that this has been the purpose of infantry since WWI in conventional warfare. While some armies have embraced it and some haven't, ultimately the infantry's job is to go first and locate targets for the artillery, aircraft, and armored vehicles. That this is frequently accomplished by losing a few of them to fire from a concealed position is an unfortunate inevitability.
Napoleonic armies were raised by conscription, and any conscription armies tend likewise to be Cannon Fodder. Equipment and weapons are expensive, human life is cheap.