Chief Master Sergeant Epps:The Air Cavalry arrives!
I hope those F-16s got good aim. Major Lennox:
Yeah? Why's that? Epps:
I told them to hit the orange smoke. (orange smoke drifts between them
You mean that
orange smoke? Epps:
It wasn't my best toss...
The heroes are facing overwhelming odds. Everything looks hopeless
and there is no possible way they can survive this
. It almost looks like they are heading for a Bolivian Army Ending
, when suddenly the enemy gets raked from above
! An allied aircraft swoops overhead and loops around for another pass!
It is often set up to be a complete surprise
to the ones being rescued. That way, when the gunship lowers into place it produces squeals of joy from the audience. The real joy is the look on the enemy's face
when the gunship appears and they have to stare down the gatling guns
, rocket pods
, or whatever heavy firepower is mounted on the craft.
Often preceded by It Has Been an Honor
. It also invokes some resemblance to Death from Above
, and can often include an awesome looking visual of the rescuers doing a flyby, often putting themselves between the rescuees and the bad guys.
Not classified as Deus ex Machina
, since most times it is set up in advance and rarely anticlimactic. And while most examples are of aircraft, specifically helicopter gunships or the Technology Level
equivalent, ground vehicles and ocean vessels with a BFG
mounted can sometimes be used for a Gunship Rescue
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Anime and Manga
- In Elephantmen: War Toys Volume 1, French freedom fighter Yvette is cornered on the roof of a cathedral by several Elephantmen. Then three or four Red Chinese gunships appear and open up on the Elephantmen with More Dakka. Subverted, because the gunships are shot down by the Elephantmen, crash into the cathedral roof, and kill everyone except Yvette who miraculously survives.
- During The Surtur Saga in The Mighty Thor, Sif stays behind to defend a convoy of alien transport ships from horde of demons. When her strength starts failing, she prepares herself to take as many demons as possible with her. Then all the sudden the demons are blasted away and she is greeted by Skuttlebut, an intelligent spaceship who was also sent to protect the convoy.
- In Red Sea Sharks, Tintin's ship is under attack by a submarine. They manage to reach an Amrican warship, but are afraid they'll be sunk by the time it gets there. As they try to avoid the torpedoes, the captain suddenly hears a boom and thinks they've been hit- only to discover it's the destroyer's seaplanes depth-charging the sub.
- Act of Valor has the SEAL team heavily outnumbered and outgunned, hotly pursued by militia forces, and then just as the militia catches up to them, a pair of SWCC boats show up and deliver a literal wall of fire, doing their best to achieve enough dakka in almost two minutes of near-sustained fire.
- Star Wars Series
Han Solo: "You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!"
- Double Subverted in Return of the Jedi when Han and Leia manage to take care of a couple of storm troopers giving them trouble, only for a AT-ST Scout Walker to approach them. They give the Oh, Crap look, only to find out it was the one Chewbacca and the Ewoks hijacked earlier. And in the end they used the communications link in the walker to draw the base guards out rather than just blast open the doors.
- This is not the only time this particular Scout Walker was used this way. Just after hijacking it, Chewie started blowing away other Scout Walkers that had been chewing up the Ewoks pretty badly.
- The Matrix had Neo and Trinity in a helicopter armed with a mini-gun that even the near unstoppable Agents can't dodge.
- In Transformers, the Decepticon Scorponok had several soldiers pinned down and facing imminent death, when they call in two A-10 Warthogs and an AC-130 Spectre. Later in the movie, Megatron is beating the crap out of Optimus, when a bunch of F-22 Raptors swoop in and shoot Megs and Blackout.
- Revenge of the Fallen features an air strike to help the ground troops trying to hold their position that was represented on-screen with a Guinness Record for the largest explosion Hollywood has ever done. Say what you will about Michael Bay as a director, he knows how to blow shit up.
- Dark of the Moon has a subversion, they already knew that none of their aircraft could match the Cybertronian aerial fighters (a F-22 Raptor was shot down with little trouble) and thus they staged a wingsuit entry into the city, in this case the "air" support was actual people. But it was played straight somewhat during the climax, not from physical aircraft but from a series of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a nearby base thinning out the Decepticon ranks.
- The ending of Saving Private Ryan features the US Army Air Forces saving the day, specifically the P-51 Mustang "Tank Busters."
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, after Will Turner stabs Davy Jones' heart and the Dutchman sinks, the EITC armada is about to wipe out the pirate armada... and then the Dutchman explodes from the water, with Will at the helm.
- Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. And even firing at the building.
- An entire fleet of Royal Navy Airborne Aircraft Carriers turns up to rescue the protagonists at the end of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), though they really don't need saving by that stage.
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: Alternate Spock is headed into a massive missile barrage in Spock Prime's little ship, with the computer warning him that the black-hole-creating-stuff in the back will ignite if they're hit. Cue the "Jump-out-of-warp" noise, and the Enterprise blasts into the scene with all guns blazing furiously, picking off every missile. Oh, and they beam Spock out of the little ship and Kirk and Pike off of the bigger one about to be rammed. Big Damn Heroes and Gunship Rescue moment for the Enterprise and her crew, set to an epic, ''epic'' soundtrack.
- In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Captain Sulu and the Excelsior show up to help the Enterprise fight a cloaked Bird-of-Prey. In this case it wasn't necessarily for the firepower but in Sulu's own words "Give them something else to shoot at" while the technicians figured a way around the cloak.
Sulu: Target that explosion and fire!
- The climax to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home played with this, partly for comedy: A whaling vessel is chasing the two humpback whales Kirk and crew need to bring back to the 23rd century to save Earth from a destructive probe. The vessel sights the whales, fires a harpoon - which suddenly bounces off nothing with a metallic clang. Cue the heroes' stolen Bird of Prey decloaking above the water... and the whaling ship urgently attempting to turn around and run away.
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier had Spock as gunner on a Klingon Bird-Of-Prey blowing up a wanna-be God with a timely arrival.
- Star Trek: First Contact: "Sir, there's another ship coming in. ...It's the Enterprise!" Cue the shiny new Enterprise-E swooping in like an avenging angel to save the mangled Defiant (commanded by Worf at the time) from the Borg cube.
- Two Romulan Warbirds under Commander Donatra tried to do this for Enterprise in Star Trek: Nemesis, but were quickly disabled.
- In Behind Enemy Lines, Burnett is cornered by pretty much the entire Serbian Army, but is rescued when a fleet of American helicopters loaded with weapons and angry Marines arrive and completely wreck the Serbians.
- In Blue Thunder, the titular Black Helicopter pulls one of these off when hero Frank Murphy's girlfriend is about to be arrested by the police after being pulled over on a bridge while carrying the Plot Coupon. Cue dramatic engine roar and the sight of Blue Thunder rising up from beneath the bridge, BFG aimed right at the cops. A hilarious Double Subversion follows, as while the Oh, Crap moment gives Murphy's girlfriend a chance to drive off, the cops recover in time to pursue her... until Murphy blows their car in half.
- In a marvelous example of overkill, True Lies has Arnold approaching the terrorists holding out in an office building and proceeds to rip apart the entire floor with an anti-tank weapon on the Harrier-II he was flying.
- In Off Limits two American military policemen are surrounded by corrupt South Vietnamese police. The chief policeman tells the Americans, "I am afraid you are outgunned today." As a helicopter BDG appears from behind the buildings, the lead MP replies, "You still don't get it, do you? We [Americans] are never outgunned!
- At the end of Afghan-Russian War movie The 9th Company. Seven surviving Russian paratroopers (down to half a magazine each) surrounded by at least 50 mujahideen fighters. Cue the arrival of two Mi-24 Hinds.
- In the beginning of Red Dawn (1984), the heroes realize that their escape to the mountains is about to be prematurely cut off by a Soviet roadblock. Just then an Army Huey helicopter turns up and blows the roadblock to pieces, clearing the way for them. (Another chopper, or possibly the same one, shows up later on harassing the Soviets as they secure the town)
- Inverted towards the end, when the Dirty Commies finally catch La Résistance out in the open, and the Wolverines find out that Mi-24 Hinds are out of their league.
- We Were Soldiers:
- In the final battle scene of the movie as the U.S. soldiers crest the hill they are staring down the barrels of the enemy weapons who are about to shoot them. Just as it looks like they are about to get shot to pieces, you see the enemy getting splattered by rockets and minigun fire from Huey Gunships allowing the Americans to finish storming the enemy positions.
- Earlier in the film, the Americans are on the verge of being overrun by the NVA. In a desperation move, they call in a "Broken Arrow", which calls in all available air assets to assist. The NVA get curbstomped, at least for the moment.
- Black Hawk Down is a bit of a subversion of the trope: the eponymous Black Hawks were good for gunship purposes due to their miniguns, but proved too vulnerable to RPG fire. On the other hand, the much smaller Little Birds fulfilled this purpose admirably—they packed more firepower in their rockets and were much more difficult to hit.
- Tears of the Sun ends when Bruce Willis' team of Navy SEAL badasses, having just barely survived a battle with a pursuing enemy army, end up chased into a grassy field. Just when all hope seems lost for them and the refugees they have been escorting, a flight of F/A-18 Hornets comes screaming in and liberally applies napalm amongst the enemy ranks.
- The Bat serves this purpose in the climax of The Dark Knight Rises.
- Man of Steel: Surprisingly, this is achieved more often by the villains than the heroes, as a couple of Kryptonian fighters are part of their limited arsenal and it outclasses anything humans have. The military does help a little with their A-10 Warthogs being able to at least distract and/or disorient their targets, but can't deal any real damage.
- The Heroes of Olympus series:
- Subverted. The Argo II doesn’t get to Camp Jupiter until the day after the invasion.
- It does, however, pull off a lot of rescues in Mark of Athena.
- The War Against the Chtorr. After losing his surrogate children the protagonist decides to drive into an alien-infested zone until something eats him, only to have his Colonel Badass girlfriend turn up in a massively-armed jetcopter gunship and blow up the road in front of his vehicle.
- In The Salvation War, during the battle at Hit between the U.S. Army and the invading demon army, the infantry are heavily pressed by the baldricks because their rifles don't do enough damage to drop the invaders, and they have no air support because of the harpy presence....until the harpies have been culled from the skies by massed anti-air fire. Cue the Apaches.
- In The Dresden Files novel Small Favor Harry Dresden is saved by Badass mercenary Ms. Gard, who proceeds to gun down demons using a minigun on an illegal Huey. While playing "Ride of the Valkyries" on speakers mounted on the chopper. Even Marcone was very impressed. The best part? It is piloted by an actual Valkyrie.
- In Orphanage by Robert Buettner, Metzeger combines this with a heroic sacrifice, crashing a gunship into the alien hive to save his friend and his pregnant wife from being killed in a hopeless siege.
- In 1634: The Baltic War, one of the USE's "timberclad" warships steams to the rescue of the folks escaping from imprisonment in the Tower of London.
- Subverted in the Mass Effect prequel novel. A gunship arrives with lasers blazing to save the outnumbered-and-pinned-down soldiers from mercenaries, only to be shot down by the The Dragon bounty-hunter who not only predicted the gunship, but prepped massive anti-aircraft weaponry beforehand.
- Eisenhorn has a guncutter that turns up at least once per novel. In Xenos when the titular inquisitor is cornered by Glaw, Midas Betancore brings the cutter down and helps Eisenhorn escape with an artefact. In Malleus his daughter Medea saves Eisenhorn from witch-finder Tantalid — "Never argue with a guncutter, asshole". Subverted in Hereticus where Medea flies in to try and save Eisenhorn and company from a Chaos titan, despite Eisenhorn's orders to stay put, and gets shot out of the sky.
- In a two-for-one hybrid of Gunship Rescue with the Biggest Damn Hero ever, Angel City is saved by the timely appearance of the Garuda bird in The Case Of The Toxic Spell Dump. It qualifies as a ship as well as a hero, because in this Magitek setting, the mighty Garuda is being outfitted for space travel by the setting's analog of N.A.S.A.
- The Alchemist by Ken Goddard. When the undercover narcs are pulling the drug deal at the end of the novel, an attempted rip-off is stymied by their pilot turning up in an AH-64 Apache he borrowed from a nearby military base.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- Star Wars EU Novel Shatterpoint played with this trope intensely. Throughout the novel, gunships both repeatedly assault the main characters at the worst possible moments, and rescue a whole bunch of civilians in the nick of time. The climactic sequence involves the rescue cruiser being ambushed, the crippled gunships being saved by Mace Windu commandeering ENEMY gunships, using these in a trojan horse assault, being Gunship Rescued right back by the enemy air fleet, using one of the gunships stolen earlier as a tank to try to pull off the daring assault, having it destroyed, and having a different set of enemies use another set of aircraft to lure the first enemies into a brutal massacre of civilians. Peace only reigns when everyone sends the damn things home.
- Another particularly noticeable example in the EU comes at the end of Choices of One. The local Imperial Fleet (including Pellaeon and Thrawn), which Han, Wedge and Leia have been covertly helping are surrounded and badly outgunned by the true Big Bad of this novel. Cue Lord Darth Vader's personal squadron.. You know, the one from Empire Strikes Back.
- Red Storm Rising: Edwards and his men have been discovered, are pinned down and getting torn apart by a Russian squad. Friendly A-7s manage to kill the Russian mortar teams, but are unable to safely hit the assault troops because of their proximity to the Americans. Then Edwards is hit, hears rotor blades and figures it's the Russian Hind from Keflavik... it's not.
- Another Tom Clancy one in Clear and Present Danger, this time from the perspective of the gunship. A twenty-one-ton Pave Low might make for awesome firepower, but it's not a dedicated gunship, as the crew are keenly aware.
- Ralph Peters's Red Army. Soviet close air support with fuel-air bombs destroy the remaining Dutch tanks about to overrun Kryshinin’s forward security element.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Vor Game, the heroes are hopelessly outnumbered when the commander says, "Whatinhell's that? It's too big to be that fast. It's too fast to be that big." It's the gunship rescue, is what it is.
- In Harry Harrison's alternate history novel Stars and Stripes Forever, Washington D.C. is being invaded until the ironclad Avenger arrives to save the day.
- In the NUMA Series book Atlantis Found, Dirk Pitt and the unarmed icebreaker he came in on are getting pummeled by a U-boat's machine guns and deck gun in Antarctica. They look well and truly screwed until his boss Sandecker pulls some strings and gets the U.S Navy to send the U-boat to the bottom with a destroyer-launched Tomahawk cruise missile.
- John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series features in its later volumes two gorgeous helicopter pilots call-signs "Valkyrie" and "Dragon." Dragon flies a Czech version of a Hind attack helicopter with so much weaponry on it that when she unloads on the bad guys it looks like the helicopter has blown up.
- David Weber is extremely fond of this trope.
- It happens several times in Honor Harrington, which both played this straight and subverted it, depending on the book in question.
- Also is used to good effect in the Mutineer's Moon and Excalibur Alternative universes. "Break off and leave them to us!"
- Despite being clawed and feathery rather than armed with superior firepower, this is the narrative role of the Eagles in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. Almost every time they show up it's to bail out the heroes from a hopeless battle, rescue anyone who needs rescuing, and turn the tide.
- Happens a few times in Parellity, once by Mobius, and once by the CORE.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek
- Airwolf used this all the time, being that the title craft was a gunship.
- Firefly subverts this trope repeatedly.
- Set up and inverted in the original pilot, when During the War, Mal's little group of Independents hang on against impossible odds. You get your moment of Gunship Rescue as the roar of an arriving fleet of aircraft sounds... only to find out that the gunships belong to the other side and they're about to be on the receiving end of all that firepower. Cue the look on Mal's face.
- There's a bluffed GR in the episode "The Train Job", when Wash shows up in Serenity to save the crew from a fight, threatening to "blow another crater in this little moon". Serenity's sudden appearance is apparently so intimidating that the locals back off without stopping to think that, as a transport ship, she doesn't actually have any guns. Jayne laughs at the locals for falling for it.
- Played straight in "Safe", before River can be burnt at the stake. Serenity may not be armed, but Jayne is. Heavily.
Preacher: This is a holy cleansing. You cannot think to thwart God's will.
Mal: Y'all see the man hanging out of the spaceship with the really big gun? I'm not saying you weren't easy to find... but it was kinda out of our way, and he didn't want to come in the first place. Man's lookin' to kill some folk. So really it's HIS will y'all should worry about thwarting!
- Subverted yet again in "Heart of Gold" when Mal's plan for Serenity to provide support in a firefight is screwed up by the bad guys ambushing Wash and Kaylee in the cargo bay.
- Doctor Who had an Airship Rescue moment in "The Sontaran Stratagem"/"The Poison Sky" two-parter, with the Valiant. Although it isn't the guns that save the day, but the jetwash from its rotors that blow away the poison in the immediate area's atmosphere.
- Danny Boy and his space Spitfires, first in "Victory of the Daleks" and then in "A Good Man Goes to War".
- Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. In fact, the Daedalus-class' service record is about 50% Gunship Rescue moments.
- Hell, Atlantis itself has a moment of this during the series finale.
- Also happens with the Beliskner in the episode "Thor's Chariot", where Thor's flagship comes down from the clouds and beams away all enemy Jaffa and destroys every Ha'tak piece-by-piece.
- "Into the Fire" has the survivors of SG-1, -3, -5, -6, and -11 held prisoner by Jaffa. Then the gate opens and Teal'c and General Hammond fly through in a modified death glider that blasts apart the turrets guarding them while a squad of rebel Jaffa led by Bra'tac comes through the gate.
- Another episode involves the heroes trying to get the Asgard of a parallel reality to pull a Gunship Rescue to save that reality's Earth. Viewers are treated to same shot as in "Thor's Chariot", except that Beliskner is hovering over the SGC.
- Lost City, Part 2, the Season 7 finale has SG-1 in a small, unprotected Tel'tak using a modified ring transporter to drill through a mile of ice in Antarctica and Anubis's fleet rapidly approaching their position. The Prometheus, with General Hammond as commander, and a squadron of F-302's show up and the Prometheus parks above the Tel'tak to defend their position.
- The Prometheus herself gets rescued by a Big Damn Gunstation once O'Neill launches a giant swarm of glowing squid missiles that completely destroy the attacking Goa'uld fleet, including Anubis's giant ship.
- Defied in "Camelot." The Ori motherships have come through the Supergate and are curb-stomping the combined forces of several Ha'tak vessels, Asgard ships, and Earth ships. Teal'c comes in raining fire on the Ori with three ships of his own… which proceed to get curb stomped just as easily.
- Averted and then played straight in an early episode of Atlantis: When Sheppard engages in a 12 hour game of cat and mouse with a particularly powerful Wraith, and it's not going at all well, he's relieved to hear Lt. Ford call him on the radio to say that Ford's coming with reinforcements and heavier weapons, and Sheppard compliments Ford on the "nice timing" of the rescue. Ford radios back that he and the reinforcements are still twenty minutes away, to which Sheppard replies "In that case, your timing stinks Lieutenant. Get here when you can." But the big guns still turn the tide in killing off the Wraith.
- Parodied in the Farscape episode "Scratch 'n Sniff" when damsel-in-distress Raxil discovers our heroes preparing to assault the Big Bad's fortress with a couple of pulse pistols.
"Two guns? I mean, I thought you were the great Crichton and D'Argo! I mean, you blew up a Shadow Depository. I mean, I thought you'd bring pelshfer charges...and a plasma bomb...and a really big gunship...but no! You bring nothing! You bring two little weapons that wouldn't kill a negnik!"
- Talyn often played this role in other episodes, such as "Thanks for Sharing" and the "Liars, Guns and Money" Trilogy.
- Battlestar Galactica has just such a moment in the evacuation of New Caprica. The Galactica is going down, it's being pummeled by basestars, it's lost maneuvering thrusters and FTL. Adama has told his crew It Has Been an Honor. Cut back... the Battlestar Pegasus swoops in and destroys one basestar in the first few seconds of firing. The Pegasus then has to take the brunt of the battle and is itself heavily damaged, leading to Lee to conclude Ramming Always Works. It does, killing TWO other basestars.
- In the same episode, when the Resistance forces were pinned down by Cylon fire, Galactica comes to the rescue by jumping into the planet's atmosphere, launching its Viper wing, and jumping out again in time to avoid going splatnote .
Hotdog: Well, this oughta be different.
- Lee did it first when he rescued Tyrol, Cally, and Baltar from Centurions on Kobol in the season 2.
- Power Rangers RPM: Gem and Gemma's or (Hiroto and Miu) debut as involves two gunships that look like a giant chicken and a tiger.
- A rather archaic appearance of the trope happens in the short Hornblower TV series episode 'The Frogs And The Lobsters' when the main characters and a platoon of marines are trapped on a beach and about to be killed by the French, at least, until the HMS Indefatigable opens up.
- Plenty of cases in Babylon 5. A memorable example in "Walkabout", where Sheridan takes the White Star to face off several Shadow vessels. He wants to use Lyta Alexander's Psychic Powers to immobilize the Shadows in order to destroy them. Lyta manages to hold one Shadow ship, while three telepaths on the accompanying Minbari cruiser restrain all but one. Just as it seems the remaining Shadow vessel will blast both the White Star and the Minbari cruiser, a jump point opens, and the Narn cruiser G'Tok appears, blasting its Frickin' Laser Beams at the unsuspecting enemy. This outmatches the Shadows to the point of forcing them into retreat, for the first time since the Shadow War opened. Then G'Kar orders the other ships he brought with him into action...
- During the battle for Babylon 5's independence, Babylon 5 and two cruisers manage to hold back an EarthForce fleet loyal to the President (losing one of their cruisers in the process). Cue jumpgate opening and a large EarthForce fleet arriving, larger than the one they just barely repelled. Then cue more jumpgates, with three Minbari Sharlin-class warcruisers, a White Star, and a very unhappy Delenn.
Delenn: "Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed."
Capt. Drake: "Negative, we have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship."
Delenn: "Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else."
(The fleet proceeds to turn tail and get the hell out of there.)
- During the battle for Earth at the end of season 4, the deranged President Clark turns the Earth Defence Grid against the planet itself. The Agamemnon, captained by Sheridan, is out of ammo and the only ship close enough to destroy the last remaining weapons system. Sheridan orders ramming speed - at which point the Apollo, in a magnificent Heel-Face Turn, comes blazing out of a jump point with all guns firing, saving the hides of both the Agamemnon and Earth itself. Let's not forget that the Apollo had put a cap on this battle, which began with the cinematic beauty in the combined fighting might of Minbari, alien and Earthforce ships and fighters working in destroying the defense grid with astounding might and power in a way never seen before.
- At the final climax in the 1st season episode “Scimitar”, Harm and Meg while driving a limousine are chased by Iraqis in a Soviet made Hind. But at the Kuwait border a U.S. Army Apache saves the day.
- Also in the 5th season episode “The Bridge at Kang So Ri”, two U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles out powers two North Korean Migs.
- An episode of NCIS: Los Angeles has Kensi and Deeks pinned down by mercenaries near the Mexican border with a pair of kidnapped Marines. Cue Sam and Callen coming over the horizon in a helicopter with Sam sitting in the open door with his M4.
- At the ending of "Cows With Guns", the eponymous cows are rescued from "ten thousand coppers" by "chickens in choppers".
- Warhammer 40,000 has several. In the fiction, during the siege of Terra, primarch Rogal Dorn seemingly deserted his post, only to return in the nick of time aboard a city-sized floating superweapon.
- Apocalypse games using flyers can throw this out a lot, especially now that it is (slightly) more affordable to have an entire Elysian army mounted in Valkyries. One can imagine the variety of scenarios that could be put together; a small Imperial Guard garrison set to hold a fortress against an overwhelming tide of Tyranids until a Space Marine company with a Thunderhawk swoops in to the rescue...Or a band of Eldar Guardians holding the line until half a dozen Aspect Warrior-laden Vampires drop out of the sky and start opening Webway portals all over the battlefield...
- The climax of A Miracle of Science, though it was fairly obviously coming. In a bit of a twist, however, the gunship fleet only guarantees everyone's physical safety, and the main character still risks his life to Save the Villain (or rather, the villain's sanity).
- In the "Dead Dogs" arc of Skin Horse, the team and Sweetheart's pack are facing off against a horde of werewolves. Sweetheart is in the middle of her Rousing Speech when Nick, who'd been left behind at the pack's base, shows up with massive reinforcements.
- In Schlock Mercenary troops from the company on the ground have on occasion been rescued by close air support provided by their home ship, as shown here and here, for two examples.
- Early on in Dubious Company, Walter steers his heavily armed airship around in an attempt to do this for Sal. Unfortunately, his airship is wooden and Izor has a squad of mages with him, forcing Walter to retreat and think of a better plan.
- Transformers Animated played it straight in the first season, when Lugnut and Blitzwing were trying to reach the Ark. Ratchet had reactivated the war ship weapons system and the two Decepticons found themselves facing one hell of a Wave Motion Gun in the face. In the end of Season 2, Sari and Ratchet go to get reinforcements... which consists of reactivating the ship they came to Earth on and turning it into Omega Supreme. Also a plain old Big Damn Heroes since, hey, he's both a Humongous Mecha and a battleship.
- Ultra Magnus rescues Bulkhead, Wheeljack, and Miko from Predaking with his space cruiser during the third season of Transformers Prime.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender had a dramatic reversal with the airships the Fire Nation had built, premiering in the pivotal "Day Of Black Sun."
- Also a more traditional one with the use of a War Balloons in the episode "The Northern Air Temple" to protect those living at the Temple. Especially when the Fire Nation thinks they're the ones being reinforced, thanks to the insignia on the balloon. They aren't.
- The beginning of Season 3 ("Volume 2") of Star Wars: Clone Wars has a custom-painted gunship save some Jedi from General Grievous just in the nick of time, in a move almost as cool as Grievous hunting them down in the first place. In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Landing at Point Rain", the clone troopers under Obi-Wan Kenobi are falling back and an injured Obi-Wan lights his saber for their Last Stand... and a squadron of Y-Wings arrive to take out the incoming droids and bugs. One of the few crowning moments given to the Y-Wing bomber.
- A handful of times in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. "New Frontier" where Kidd's ship swoops in and takes out some of the Crown fighters (granted, it was just to get their captain back from the Rangers' custody). In "Renegade Rangers" the Laredo shows up to blast at the battle cruiser the Rogues Gallery stole. Subverted in "Changeling" where the Rangers have to convince the gunship not to open fire on a penal colony asteroid, and inverted in "Armada" where Shane and Niko fly in with a tiny interceptor and broadcast to the gunships how to destroy the Crown Armada.
- In Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, Batman and Robin do this with Batwing to save Barbara Gordon.
- Villainous example in Exo Squad, when Phaeton (actually, his clone) arrives to the besieged Venus with a single ship—a gigantic dreadnought Olympus Mons II, temporarily changing the tide of battle in favor of Neosapiens. Too bad it's blown up by the next episode.
- During the American Civil War, at the Battle of Hampton, ironclad warships were relatively new. On the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads, the Confederacy revealed their shiny new metal behemoth, the CSS Virginia (a rebuilt captured steam frigate, the former USS Merrimack), which almost single handedly mopped the floor with two of the wooden ships that the Union Navy was using. On the second day of the battle, the Virginia came back to the fight to finish off the third Union ship, the USS Minnesota. However, the Union had brought in their own ironclad, the USS Monitor, into a defensive position in front of the Minnesota. Thus began the very first battle between metal warships.
- Also during the American Civil War, at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, the final Confederate assault on Union lines was repulsed with the help of naval artillery fire from the wooden gunboats Lexington and Tyler, steaming on the nearby Tennessee River. Small, shallow draft gunboats were used throughout the war, especially during the Mississippi River campaign, so this trope is bound to crop up quite a few times.
- One major advantage that the river gunboats had was that they could easily transport guns that were significantly heavier and more powerful than land-based units could, which meant that the gunboats were often able to engage enemy artillery positions from a safe distance. Later in the war, ironclad gunboats became more and more common, meaning they could safely engage land-based units even if they weren't outside the enemy guns' range.
- At the Battle of Normandy, American troops who were pinned down at Omaha Beach received some respite in the form of American and Royal Navy destroyers, sailing dangerously close to the beach (several times nearly running aground in the shallows) to engage the shore defenses directly with their 5 inch gun batteries. By the end of the battle, the Navy had lost three Destroyers, a Destroyer Escort, and a troop ship to the enemy defenses in order to help the Army get ashore and inland.
- Reports are that the Libyan rebels in the 2011 civil war, being forced to retreat under fire from government forces, regarded the sudden arrival of French air support as this. To make it even more dramatic, one commander even said that he had thought that the UN resolution authorizing force had been forgotten and that they really had been abandoned.
- Close air support duty tends to lead to this. Guess what most modern aircraft designated as "gunships" are designed for.
- The US Spectre gunship. It's a converted transport plane equiped with an artillery gun, autocannon and two vulcan cannons.
- As mentioned about for Act of Valor, the whole point of SWCC boats is to be this when the SEALs need hot extract, bristling with guns on every corner.
- One real incident was during the 1983 US invasion of Grenada when a unit of SEAL troopers tried to extract the US ambassador, but found themselves surrounded by enemy troops. Cut off from their support, and their communications out, the US troops desperately make a commercial phone call to their base in North Carolina. Once the callers were confirmed as US troops in peril, the base connected them to the theatre operations-headquarters and the commanders diverted an AC-130 gunship to provide air support for the troopers.
- In the World War II Battle of Bulge, things were looking bleak for the Allied troops trying to hold off Nazi Germany's counterattack until the weather cleared midway into the battle, and then the Allied air forces could start striking back from the air.