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Colonel Kilgore
"You call it hell, I call it home."

"Smell that? You smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... Victory. Someday this war's gonna end..."
Colonel Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

In most if not all war movies, there is a sadistic captain, sergeant or other officer who seems to actually enjoy the war. He runs into battle with a smile on his face and seems sad that the war has to end someday.

Named after Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, though you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a pun on "Kill-Gore" we made.

This trope is the intersection of Blood Knight with Colonel Badass. Not necessarily The Neidermeyer (who wants to get something out of the war), and usually not a General Ripper (who's paranoid and crazy), nor a Sociopathic Soldier. Not necessarily mean to the troops or totally obsessed, just someone who enjoys the war a bit too much. Any commanding officer from a Proud Warrior Race will automatically be this trope; just expect the words "honor in battle" to be thrown around a lot more. See also It Amused Me and Blood Knight.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • A less villainous example would be the original Mobile Suit Gundam's Ramba Ral. He's a pretty nice guy who none the less seems to genuinely enjoy fighting. The point is driven home quite nicely in the novelization, where instead of a soldier he's a secret service agent & bodyguard to Zeon dictator Gihren Zabi, a job he finds no pleasure in & which causes problems in his relationship with his love interest, Hamon.
  • Major Solf Kimblee of Fullmetal Alchemist was one of these during the Ishvallan war. In a campaign in which nearly everyone else was demoralized and guilt-stricken by the atrocities they were committing, Kimblee happily did his job and speaks about loving the sound of screaming and the atmosphere of the battlefield. The Silver Alchemist, Major Giolio Comanche, was another example, entering battle with a Slasher Smile on his face.
  • The Major from Hellsing. Apparently, he likes war a bit. That is, enough to gather the remnants of the Nazi war machine, turn them into vampires, and send them all off in zeppelins to fight the unkillable monstrosity Alucard, just for something to do.

    Comic Books 
  • In Garth Ennis's run, especially in the miniseries Punisher: Born, the Punisher is said to enjoy violence. In Born, Castle tricks a general threatening to close down his firebase into standing in a sniper's view, is said by the narrator to be in love with combat, and apparently "talked" to with a supernatural force which claims that Castle wants battle and urges him to take a deal that will make his war last forever. When everthings falling apart and castle is surrounded by VC, he agrees to the deal. Only afterwards is it revealed that the price of survival and continuing war is his family.
    • Marvel Knights flat out portrays Castle monologuing how he wanted Vietnam to last forever.
  • G.I. Joe's drill instructor, Sgt. Slaughter fits this trope to a tee.

    Film 
  • The Trope Namer is Colonel Kilgore from Apocalypse Now. He's introduced casually Strolling Through the Chaos of a vicious battle. He later speaks poetically about his love of napalm, which "smells like victory." He seems to share equal enthusiasm for combat as he does for his hobby, surfing. He attempts to indulge both pastimes at once, ordering his men to surf in a warzone despite their discomfort (and the bullets whizzing past them into the water).
    • What is truly notable about the character is that he treats war as a natural part of his existence. Kilgore walks into a battlefield filled with explosions and bullets whizzing by as casually as he would to a party or if he were walking around in the comfort of his own home, he doesn't treat these happenings as horrifying. He looks downright sad when he says to Captain Willard and Private Lance that, "someday this war is gonna end." Kilgore loves war as much as he loves life itself.
  • Staff Sargeant Bob Barnes from Platoon to the point of being a Psycho for Hire.
  • Spartan King Leonidas in 300.
  • James of The Hurt Locker - though he gets his fun primarily from disarming bombs. Hunting terrorists will do, though.
  • Battle of the Bulge has the fanatical Colonel Hessler: after disabusing his driver of the idea that the Ardennes offensive will allow Germany to win the war:
    Conrad: "I don't understand. If we have not won, and we have not lost, than what is happening?"
    Hessler: "The best thing possible is happening. The war will go on!"
  • Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar. It helps that Kilgore was one of the inspirations for the character, right down to the coffee-drinking in the middle of an airstrike.
  • The Bastards from Inglourious Basterds, especially Donny.
  • In Crimson Tide during an early dinner table conversation, Captain Ramsey is obviously enamoured with the glory of war and destroying the enemy in the line of duty.
  • General Turgidson from Dr. Strangelove both hates the commies and anticipates the war he is supposed to help prevent with the glee of a five-year old playing with army men.
  • Peacekeeper Commander Thread in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Already one in the book, here he starts the crackdown in District 12 by shooting his pistol into the air.
  • Shan Yu, leader of the invading Hun army of Mulan.
    Shan Yu: This doll came from a village in the Tung Show Pass, where the Imperial Army is waiting.
    Hun Archer: We can avoid them easily.
    Shan Yu: No. The quickest way to the emperor is through that pass. Besides, the little girl will be missing her doll. We should return it to her.

    Literature 
  • In Rick Cook's Limbo System, Major De Lorenzo. His paranoia does manage to save the ship, though he has to be killed to prevent his blowing it up.
  • In Kim Newman's The Hound Of The D'Urbervilles, narrator and Villain Protagonist Colonel Sebastian "Basher" Moran was this, a talented soldier and fairly smart man who also has very few morals, he basically just enjoyed killing people and after being mauled during a tiger hunt, he's sent back to England and basically forced out of the army. He's a classic Blood Knight who takes to murder for hire quite well once he starts working for Professor Moriarty.
  • Lieutenant Sayle of The Drowned Cities is a Sociopathic Soldier who loves the ongoing warfare because it gives him the chance to hurt people. He constantly drives his men into more and more dangerous missions, promising victory, while seeking only further violence.
  • In his long military career, Flashman serves under different commanders that fit every military trope on the site, but he singles out service with the Colonel Kilgore types as the most stressful and dangerous. This is mainly due to the fact that Flashman himself has an undeserved reputation as a Kilgore, and real ones immediately assume he's a kindred spirit.
  • Colonel Prentice, from ''The Last Kashmiri Rose" made his name on the Pathan border, doing counter-raids and reprisals. He had entirely adopted the Pathan Proud Warrior Race ethos.
  • Just about every Calvarian officer depicted in The Reynard Cycle is prone to this, but Drauglir is a particularly good example. Given that Calvarian society is essentially one large armed camp, this is not surprising.
    • Ironically, the one Calvarian general who orders the sadistic torture of the civilian population in order to draw Reynard into a fight with him is depicted as being the sort of man who would far rather be home with his sweetheart, drinking a cup of tea.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While the supreme commander of the Minbari Warrior Caste in Babylon 5 is a bit of a buffoon, his second in command Neroon is a clear example of the trope. He becomes one of the most important secondary characters and one you easily come to Love to Hate. He doesn't fight for his entertainment, but war is his whole existance and purpose.
  • In the BBC series Clone, Colonel Black (Mark Gatiss) casually kills all the subordinates who he feels have failed him and openly enjoys torturing prisoners, especially Ian.
  • The Klingons in Star Trek are a race of Kilgores.
  • M*A*S*H had several of these. Anyone above the rank of major (except for Colonel Potter(Don't forget Lt Col Blake), possibly the Only Sane Man among the upper brass) was kill-happy and wanted nothing more than to increase his kill count.

     Roleplay 
  • Elite Agent Rotor in Dino Attack RPG serves this role, with the bonus of also being an Ace Pilot. The Kilgore components of his character are especially evident in the scenes where he casually listens to classical music... provided he hasn't hooked it up to the speakers of his helicopter and started blaring it across the battlefield while blowing the living daylights out of his enemies. He even got to form a Battle Couple of sorts with fellow pilot Cabin. Atton Rand actually took a great deal of inspiration from Kilgore himself, initially from the infamous "Ride of the Valkyries" scene alone (this being before he actually saw the full movie), and if that weren't obvious enough Rotor becomes best friends with a surfer named Lance Williams.
    • Granted, this is probably what Rotor is at his best. At worst he's a Sociopathic Soldier (his controversial Kangaroo Court and the fact that he got away Scott-free with torturing a child while the guy that actually tried to make up for it took the blame certainly didn't help).
    • It does also make for a rather bleak fate for him after the war finally ends, as Rotor is left unable to adjust to a mundane lifestyle and his relationship with his girlfriend quickly spirals downhill (the fact that she has PTSD from the same war certainly doesn't help). It would hardly be a surprise if he was Driven to Suicide.
    • Also to a lesser extent Agent Ronald "Soldier" E. Army", but nobody takes him as seriously.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Orks live for war. Every Warboss gleefully charges into the fray without a second thought (or a first), followed by countless more Orks with their choppas and gunz regardless of whether they win or lose. And seeing as they release a cloud of spores on death that will mature into even more orks, losing isn't even an option. The only thing keeping them from taking over the galaxy is that they keep fighting each other.
    • It makes them bigger and stronger. That's also how their societal hierarchy works - the bigger you are, the more fights you've walked away from. Their currency is "teef", and it's fortunate that they make shark orthodonture look tame.
    • Any Eldar Exarch has been lost on an Aspect Path is this - doubly so, because that's what distinguishes squad leaders. Their battle commanders ("Autarchs") are Eldar who went down an Aspect Path, had the raw willpower to claw their own way back into what we would consider sanity... and then rinse and repeat.
    • "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!" That's the warcry of the followers of Khorne the Blood God, the Chaos god of war. Much like orks, they don't really care if they win or lose, as all blood spilled in battle goes to Khorne, and his skull throne is made of the skulls of worthy warriors (regardless of original allegiance).
    • The Imperium has Warmaster Macharius, the only thing in his mind is war, and more worlds to conquer, when he thought he couldn't conquer any more worlds he would fall to his knees and weep. Fortunately (for this trope and for players) the grim and dark 41st millenium is in no danger of peace.
      • It also helps that he was directly and blatantly based off of Alexander the Great: he didn't run out of worlds to conquer, he wanted to push into the Eastern Fringe, the only part of the galaxy where the Astronomicon (the only way to know where you're going in Warp space) didn't reach. His men refused and, realizing that his grand crusade had ground to a halt and he was now only good for pacification and consolidation, that is when he cried. He then may or may not have flown off into the Fringe by himself, all in the Emperor's name.

    Video Games 
  • Most of the Team Fortress 2 characters probably count for this. The Soldier continued fighting in WW2 until 1948 because he didn't realize it had ended and was enjoying killing Nazis too much. By Nazis, we mean normal Germans—considering where he first arrived (Poland), maybe not even that close.
    • The Sniper and the Spy kill because that's their job, though they do enjoy it a fair amount. The Heavy loves "Sasha", his minigun more than life itself, and certainly more than the lives that are taken by it. The Medic needs a constant supply of wounded men to "practice medicine" on. The Engineer fights For Science! and what better way to test-run his turrets than with live targets? The Scout is just super-aggressive (and feels he has something to prove, being the youngest of nine children). The Pyro is quite literally insane, and seems to honestly think he/she is spreading happiness and rainbows rather than horrible burning death. The Demoman comes from a long line of proud explosives experts, and his skill with grenades and swords is almost In the Blood.
  • According to his bio, Bill in Left 4 Dead. He's overall a good guy, but suffered from aimlessness and general resentment of his retired life until the Zombie Apocalypse hit, at which point he became the de facto leader of a group of survivors with no military training and helped them become Badass.
  • Metal Gear is full of these guys, some of them mercenaries, others black-ops — and even plain military. Revolver Ocelot is a former Spetnaz who is said to have grown disgusted with Soviet buracracy and gone freelance, where he was able to torture and maim without having to worry about red tape.
    • Colonel Volgin in Metal Gear Solid 3. He's a transparent lunatic and wannabe warlord, but he's also an efficient spymaster. Also, he's so scary that soldiers think twice about deserting.
    • Big Boss himself is arguably an example of this trope. He decides that he only feels truly alive when he has a gun in his hand and he has someone to shoot at, and so he creates his own Private Military Company where he can make a profit out of war and participate in any conflict he chooses without restrictions from military officials. The arguable part is that despite being a warrior Big Boss still has morals and doesn't fight simply because he can, he won't take missions that he views as corrupt.
  • Colonel Cobar of Killzone, whose love of war is second only to his loyalty to General Metrac. Also Colonel Radec, whose badassery goes other places as well.
  • The Hellscream lineage in Warcraft. Grom Hellscream drank demonic blood twice to defeat a powerful foe and skirmished with enemy forces even against direct orders. His son Garrosh may be even worse; he's fought Thrall for leadership of the Horde, goads King Wrynn into a fight whenever he can, and (if the rumors about the Cataclysm expansion are true) invades the Night Elf lands in the middle of the apocalypse and is responsible for the death of Cairne Bloodhoof. To be fair he isn't solely responsible for Cairne's death. As told in The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, Garrosh's weapon was poisoned when he allowed Magatha Grimtotem to anoint it prior to a duel Cairne challenged Garrosh to because he disagreed with Garrosh's style of leading the Horde and thought he was responsible for a massacre on a peaceful meeting. While dueling, Cairne keels over from a minor blow, and it looks like Garrosh killed him. Garrosh then gives his support to Baine Bloodhoof after Baine takes his justice on Magatha.
  • Referenced as a weapon in Bayonetta, a pair of twin Rocket Launchers are named Lt. Col. Kilgore.
  • Call of Duty: World at War has Sgt Reznov, who ruthlessly kills as many Germans in his path. He may have done it for two reasons, 1) revenge and 2) spare then from being sent into prison camps.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Red vs. Blue with Sarge, leader of the Red team. So strongly does he believe in Red Army propaganda, that Grif has come to realise that if Sarge ever claims to have bad news, chances are it's going to be something good like: "Looks like those peace treaties are making progress."
    • Sarge isn't even good to his own men, with his primary strategies being suicide runs even when not necessary, and what little favor he finds in them is largely based on who's kissing up best.

    Real Life 
  • Even though Adolf Hitler never reached the rank of colonel in the German army, this trope resumes his idea of war, hence the persecution of pacifists in Nazi Germany and World War II. Although, having been gassed in the First World War it might be safe to say he didn't so much enjoy fighting so much as he enjoyed being a xenophobic power crazed megalomaniac with sharing issues.
  • General George S. Patton. Perhaps somewhat appropriately, he died in an accident shortly after the war ended. The movie played it up.
  • A certain Company Commander in the US Army's 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment said this to his four platoon leaders.
    "Last time I was in Iraq, I killed three men, with my own weapon. Fuckin shot 'em dead, killed 'em. I enjoyed that. I really did, man. Killing people is fuckin fun. You get this kinda bloodlust. It's hard to control sometimes."
  • Even Gentleman General Robert E. Lee is famously quoted as struggling with this:
    "It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it."
    Cpl. Joshua Ray Person, The Killer Elite
  • Early 19th century Russian Romantic poet Mikhail Lermontov. Also known as "the Demon" (that's what Chechens called him), or "Lieutenant Death" to friends. By his own account, his affair with bloodshed was very much love at first sight; he cut out a Chechen highlander's heart in a flawless, artistic manner in his first battle during a Chechen rebellion that happened while he was exiled to the Russian military in the Caucasus, and never lost his love for war ever since. Hence his nicknames.
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Churchill allegedly declared following VJ day that "If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years!"
  • King Richard the Lionheart was more interested in going in crusades than being king. He would have sold England to fund his crusades if he could've found a buyer and preferred leading his knights into battle to ruling.
  • Ghenghis Khan was attributeed with the "What is best in life?" question and answer. Given his conquests, it seemed like he really liked his work.


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