->''But, who’s sticking in here? Who will defend,''
->''every inch of England no matter what they send?''
->''Who’s standing firm in our own front yard?''
->''The soldiers of the old home guard,''
->''That’s Who!''
--> '''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGTg4N251yM The Soldiers Of The Home Guard]]''', ''Film/BedknobsAndBroomsticks''

You have your army, perhaps it is a BadassArmy, or just a RedshirtArmy, but in any case, it is the standing army of your (nation-)state, with everything that entails. Of course, not everybody in the army does it for a living. Some folks just do it for the bit of extra pay, or the college benefits, or as a way to keep connected with the military after they retire and settle down to [[BabiesEverAfter start a family.]]

These guys are the Home Guard. Typically, they will get called up when the nation [[ThisMeansWar goes to war]], or in the event of a natural disaster or civil unrest. Many of them will be military veterans who got out of the regular army, or folks who had imminent life plans that precluded being away from home permanently. In more desperate situations, the Home Guard might include people who otherwise would not have been accepted into the military, but are being organized into a militia as a last ditch defense of their homes. Depending on a variety of circumstances, they might be equipped with [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece obsolete weapons and equipment from decades past]], or [[TorchesAndPitchforks even less]]. In more ideal situations, they will use the same equipment as the regular troops, to better allow them to serve along side them in combat when needed.

Even the version of the trope where the Home Guard is little more than a RagTagBunchOfMisfits armed with whatever they have on hand, it can be {{justified|Trope}} as freeing up more troops to fight the enemy ''before'' they can invade the home country.

In practice, these forces might also be called the Reserves or the Militia, with either name (in the [[EagleLand United States]], at least) carrying different connotations. From an American point of view, "Militia" sounds more like TrainingThePeacefulVillagers at best, and more like "RightWingMilitiaFanatic" at worse. "Reserves" gives more of an impression of professional soldiers (again, [[WeAllLiveInAmerica from an American audience's perspective.]])

If they end up getting invaded and defeated, expect these guys to help form LaResistance.

Named for the British Home Guard troops who were formed to protect Great Britain in the event of German invasion during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.[[note]]UsefulNotes/NaziGermany had their own version, the ''Volkssturm'', discussed later in this article, though it was far more pathetic and was only formed in the last days of the war.[[/note]]

Most people would be surprised at how much action the Reserves actually see in RealLife, at least in the United States armed forces. In most armed conflicts, the active components are mostly only involved during the main fighting, while the post-war peacekeeping, policing and rebuilding operations, which are just as dangerous or even more so, usually go to the reserve components. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, for example, many United States National Guardsmen and Army Reserves served longer deployments than any of the active components did, and as such were exposed to dangers not seen by those who were involved in the main fighting(those videos you see of [=IEDs=] blowing up [=HMMWVs=] are most likely National Guardsmen or Reserves). Reserve components also tend to be more career-oriented: you see more Reserves staying until retirement age than active component soldiers.

See also TrainingThePeacefulVillagers and InstantMilitia.


* ''Film/BedknobsAndBroomsticks''. The UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 British Home Guard appears several times in the movie, including firing at the retreating Nazi commandos. They even have their own song, which supplies the page quote.
* ''Film/ClashOfTheTitans'': In the remake, the DwindlingParty of soldiers assigned to help Perseus in his mission are from an Honor Guard, distinguished soldiers [[OldSoldier too old to fight on the front lines]] or young inexperienced soldiers who look good in formation. They are all he gets because the rest of the Argosian army had recently been wiped out after picking a fight with Zeus and Hades.
* ''Film/RobinHoodMenInTights:'' The Sheriff and his men. Robin takes a [[TakeThat cheap shot]] at the Sheriff, who seized his family's property while Robin was fighting in the Crusades.
-->'''Robin:''' ''My father couldn't get me into the National Guard.''
-->'''Crowd:''' ''Oooooooohh... ''
* ''Film/TheBigRedOne''. TheSquad find themselves confronted by Volksturm armed with pitchforks and pictures of UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. It looks like a massacre is about to take place, but they quickly surrender when the Sarge fires his gun over their heads.
* In ''Film/FirstBlood'', the local Washington State National Guard is called up to search for John Rambo after he attacks the police station, causes (by accident, admittedly) a deputy to fall out of a helicopter and traps the sheriff and his deputies in the woods. Once Rambo starts firing at them with a stolen M16, several Guardsmen hide behind cover and complain that they never signed up for this and that they have their day jobs to worry about.
* "Film/Fury2014" has the [[ChildSoldiers Hitler Youth]] as a very much active part of the German defenses at the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo.

* Various characters in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series are mentioned in passing as being members of their armed forces' Reserves. Typically, such characters will be a bit older and wiser than their similarly-ranked companions, and officers of the Grayson Space Navy reserve forces are mentioned as having slightly different rank insignia.
* Frequently shows up in the ''Literature/JackRyan'' series by Creator/TomClancy. In particular, a brigade of the North Carolina National Guard plays a pivotal role in ''Executive Orders'', General Gennady Iosefovitch Bondarenko manages to field an entire division of reservists in ''The Bear And The Dragon'', and John Kelly (later [[BadAss John Clark]]) is threatened with being recalled to active duty since he checked the box for joining the reserves in ''Without Remorse''
* In the ''Literature/StarCarrier'' series the Sol System is patrolled by the High Guard, a sub-fleet of the Confederation Navy that acts mostly as an early warning system for Earth and was originally set up to guard against {{Colony Drop}}s. Their ships are rather outdated [[spoiler:and prove no match for the Turusch]].
* ''Literature/TheElenium'': Sparhawk, Platime, and Stragen organize a home guard [[note]]they even use that term[[/note]] to defend the city of Cimmura after Ehlana is restored to her throne. It's not clear how many of the citizens actually have prior military experience, but they manage to impress Wargun a few chapters later.

* ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'': According to WordOfGod, Lee Adama was a member of the Colonial Fleet Reserves.
* ''Series/DadsArmy'': Based on the writers' experiences in the Home Guard during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Most of the humour stems from the fact that the members are too old, too young, or just incompetent in that bumbling English way.
* ''Series/HorribleHistories'' has had several sketches about the British Home Guard.
* The Commonwealth's military in ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'' was divided into the Home and High Guard.
* ''Series/{{MASH}}'': Lt. Col. Henry Blake was in the Army Reserve. Several patients mention they are Guardsmen and were called up.

* Noel Coward's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZUTV6F6IyM "Could You Please Oblige us with a Bren Gun?"]], about the travails of a unit belonging to the trope namer.
* Music/KidRock wrote and recorded "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9Mk6UzIYm8 Warrior]]" for a [[JoinTheArmyTheySaid National Guard advertising campaign]].

* In ''VideoGame/WingCommander IV'', Vagabond mentions that after the Kilrathi War ended, he took a billet in the Reserves, thinking it would be some easy money for little work now that they were at peace. So of course he got recalled to active duty for the next crisis.
** Blair is also in the Reserves, and finds himself recalled as well (by [[LargeHam Maniac]], who throws in a mock-fanfare while issuing the order in a seedy bar).
** In the ''Literature/WingCommander'' novel ''End Run'', Colonel Bondarevsky warns the pilots under his command that the pilots they'll find defending [[spoiler: the Kilrathi homeworld of Kilrah]] will not be typical aging "Home Guard" pilot with "rusting armor", but rather a very well trained and equipped force of some of their most experienced and skilled pilots.
** Also from ''Wing Commander IV'', we have the Border Worlds Militia. In the game, they are shown to be a somewhat ragtag force with modern (if somewhat nonstandard compared to what Confed flies) equipment. In the {{novelization}}, they are flying barely-holding together ships that would have been at home on the flight deck of the ''Tiger's Claw'' ten or twenty years earlier.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'': The Gallian Militia unit that the protagonist commands is an example of a home-guard, constituting members of the nation from all ranks: singers, wealthy heiresses, university students, bakers...
* After the [[spoiler: ultimately-unsuccessful [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs coup attempt]] on the Citadel]] in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', the Council authorizes the founding of a "Citadel Defense Force", structured as a reserve extension of the Citadel's existing police assets. Its initial strength is very low, but it serves as a catch-all for War Assets earned from completing various sidequests and [[TrainingThePeacefulVillagers can grow surprisingly large]] given enough care.

* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' equivalent is the PDF (Planetary Defense Forces). Their quality is variable: depending on the people settling there (usually long-serving Guard regiments), a planet's [=PDF=] could be those of a sedentary population too stupid to dodge the draft or a bunch of veterans from one of the Imperial Guard's more experienced and successful regiments. Nonetheless, they are considered as underequipped and far less competent by the Imperial Guard. We repeat: the ''Imperial Guard'', ButtMonkey CannonFodder extraordinaire, believes the PDF to be beneath them.
** The Cadian Interior Guard is one of the better-equipped PDF units-- one in ten soldiers (soldiers of Cadia [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy being just about everyone at some point in their lives]]), regardless of skill, are recruited to the PDF, so Cadia actually has a home guard better than many planets' best troops. Seeing how as Cadia is a WorldOfBadass sitting right in front of a giant {{Hellgate}} NegativeSpaceWedgie, it's probably for the best.
** The planet of Perlia got a "speedbump's speedbump" in the form of the Planetary Defence Volunteers, established by Literature/CiaphasCain in the sixth novel of the series. The author also used it as a chance to make an extended ShoutOut to Series/DadsArmy.
** The Ultramar Auxilia serve as the [=PDF=] for the Ultramar sector controlled by the Ultramarines. Unlike other [=PDF=], they are disciplined and steeled from training mandated by Ultramarines and the region is prosperous enough for them to be equipped accordingly well - as such the Ultramar Auxilia subverts the HomeGuard trope in the case of many regiments who are meant to be available for deployment outside of Ultramar a bit like the Imperial Guard.
* In ''Tabletopgame/BattleTech'', the various Successor States of the Inner Sphere often have little more than a garrison of a dozen outdated [[HumongousMecha battlemechs]] or a smattering of tanks guarding their non-industrial worlds, though important worlds often get an entire ''[[SuspiciouslySmallArmy platoon]]'' of battlemechs! The [[ProudWarriorRace Clans]] are infamous for their defensive garrisons using third-rate equipment ([[LostTechnology it's still better]] than Inner Sphere gear, though). In Operation Bulldog, a [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge combined offensive]] against Clan Smoke Jaguar as vengeance for their OrbitalBombardment against a civilian city. The IS task force quickly crushes the Smoke Jaguar's homeworld defenders, which are notoriously poorly equipped even among the other Clans.

* The TropeNamer is the British Home Guard, formed during the early years of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (and disbanded soon after, when they were no longer needed).
** Normally the role is taken by the Territorial Army, which was formed in 1908 and currently forms about a quarter of the British Army's manpower. Since the TA was automatically mobilised when the war started, they needed a 'reserve for the reserves' once things got worse.
** It was never quite as poorly-equipped as some fictional examples, however; whilst most of its members were exempt from the draft by virtue of age or a minor disability, nearly all agricultural jobs -farm labourers, gamekeepers and such- were classified as essential war work, and a fair percentage of farm workers owned their own shotguns or small-game rifles. Once Lend-Lease equipment started arriving from the United States, the old First World War-era equipment hastily pressed into service for the regular forces was quickly handed down to them as well.
** Then there was "Croft's Pikes", an unfortunate incident where a bit of hyperbole on Churchill's part[[note]]"every man must have a weapon of some kind, [[TemptingFate be it only a mace or pike]]"[[/note]] [[PoorCommunicationKills was misinterpreted]] and lead to some well-intentioned idiot at the War Office ordering the production of 250,000 pikes made from steel tubes and bayonet blades. This lead to a bit of a scandal, and the whole affair got named for Henry Page Croft, the Undersecretary of War, who tried to defend the decision by claiming that the pike was "a most effective and silent weapon". Accounts vary as to whether any Home Guard units were actually issued with the pikes, but if any of them did they shoved them in the back of the armoury and never used them for anything.
* In the U.S. this is called the National Guard, which traces its lineage back to [[OlderThanTheyThink 1636]], with the formation of the Massachusetts Bay Regiments, local militias formed together by the colonial government into larger units so they could more effectively deal with the Pequot tribes.
** In modern times, National Guardsmen typically are equipped with the same gear as their "Regular" Active Duty brethren, although up until the later years of the Cold War, it wasn't unusual for them to use obsolete equipment that had been cast off by the regular service, particularly for the Air Guard, since military aircraft are considerably more expensive than an infantryman's kit.
*** In addition to the National Guard, certain states even have a State Guard, essentially a National Guard writ small, which the Federal government has no claim to without the Governor's consent. These are typically intended to guarantee that the state will have at least a small reserve force of trained personnel if a crisis arises locally while the National Guard is deployed elsewhere.
* Latvian National Guard (Zemessardze) is the biggest military formation in the country, and have taken up role usually reserved for professional soldiers, like going to missions to other countries, like Iraq. They fit the TV version as their gear mostly is composed from used gear from other countries, like Sweden (most of it, for example, main small arm is Ak. 4 battle rifle, Swedish licensed version of HK G3A3) and USA (backpacks, presents from US National Guard). If you commit yourself into Zemessardze a bit further than your average recruit, you actually get a decent training though, especially in recon, or now, sadly, absent airborne. Often used as a "demo version" of professional armed forces by young men.
** And now they are part of EUBG (European Battle Group) 2013 together with professional soldiers from Lithuania, Sweden (CBRN), Dutch Marines and freakin' [[BadassArmy Royal Marine Commando]].
* The Civil Air Patrol is a civilian organization whose mission includes serving as an Auxiliary of the Air Force when needed. [[note]] Contrary to common belief, they are ''only'' an Auxiliary of the Air Force when serving in that role. The rest of the time, they are essentially a very large, civic-minded private flying club.[[/note]] Originally formed as a way for civil aviation to support the military in time of war [[note]]in most other belligerent countries, civil aviation was ceased during WorldWarII. As it was, the timing proved perfect, as CAP became operational one week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the US into the war[[/note]], they are known for their [[IconicItem red and white Cessnas]], which they use both for pilot training and for performing search and rescue operations over the American wilderness.
** They also serve a function similar to the Boy Scouts or Junior ROTC, training youths and giving them something to do with their free time and giving them a chance to help their communities (among other things, kids in the organization can be trained and serve as Observers on official CAP missions, aiding in Search-and-Rescue operations, and many of them are certified as Disaster First Responders.)
** Those brightly colored civilian airplanes they fly around in? During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, they became something of a LethalJokeCharacter, when the CAP flew yellow-and-red Piper Cubs off the coasts looking for German U-Boats. There was little one of these planes could do to a U-Boat, given that they were unarmed (at first), but they could use their radios to [[SummonBiggerFish call for the]] [[DeathFromAbove Air Corps]], who would happily send a bomber to blow the interloper out of the water. By the end of WWII, the Civil Air Patrol was able to claim two German U-Boats sunk directly by CAP aircrews.
* Although it is very rare, the Boy Scouts themselves have been known to serve in this role in particularly trying times. The Polish Boy Scouts fought against the Germans during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII as part of LaResistance, often serving as scouts and messengers, and at one point late in the war even using ''tanks'' that they had captured from the Germans to help [[BigDamnHeroes liberate a Concentration Camp]].
* Near the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 Nazi Germany had the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkssturm Volkssturm]]. Military service has been part of German culture for decades, so in theory, the Nazis would be able to scrounge up a massive reserve force that could hold off the Soviets. However, in practice, the majority of Volkssturm members were old men and veterans of the First World War. It pretty much boiled down to giving someone a gun and hoping they could kill enough Russians.
** Hitler Youth often ended up manning anti-aircraft guns in Germany. This was actually a fairly sensible use for them as they could at least load and fire and the officers could be trusted with figureing out what to fire at.
* Greek Hoplites ("shieldmen") were traditionally composed of anyone who could own a farm and pay for a shield and corselet. In Athens that was for a long time the main qualification for voting. They were actually fairly effective in a limited manner for bunched up in a phalanx they could trample over anything except another phalanx. Their weakness was that they could not go on long campaigns far away from home as easily as professionals.
* The railroad made putting reserves into battle a practical possibility in the nineteenth century. Prussia gained an advantage over its enemies by realizing first that its soldiers no longer needed to march until they reached the actual battlefield and thus unseasoned reserves had a chance of getting into action without falling by the roadside (as a result of disease and general sluggishness).