201. Must not valiantly push officers onto hand grenades to save the squad.
Someone has just chucked a grenade into the room where The Squad
is. One of the squad throws their body over the grenade and makes a Heroic Sacrifice
examined this in 2007 and confirmed the myth; jumping on a grenade will significantly reduce the injuries to those around, but it's still a very good idea to get clear. Note that this confirmation only applies to soft, squishy things like a human body — placing a grenade in a harder object, like, say, a refrigerator, will actually increase
the damage done, as the hard object turns to even more fragments that can kill. Human bodies are much more effective at absorbing the released energy and shrapnel without fragmenting.
In reality, this is rarely advisable as the proper course of action when a grenade lands near is to get as far away as possible before detonation (grabbing it and throwing it away is not advised unless there is no other resort). Fortified positions, from concrete bunkers to hand dug foxholes, generally have depressions so that grenades that get thrown in can be kicked aside into the depressions and ignored while they detonate safely. On the other hand, the enemy may have cooked itnote
before throwing it in the first place, giving anyone nearby little chance to react.
Compare Taking the Bullet
, Tuck and Cover
Related to Rocket jumping
or variations of it, but the desired effects are completely different. Contrast Explosive Stupidity
, where the subject unintentionally blows themselves up.
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- In the Chick Tract "The Chaplain", an evangelist soldier jumps onto a grenade and sacrifices himself to save his unit, prompting a previously violent soldier to convert. Notably, not only were his squadmates so close that they probably would have been killed anyway, the soldier survives long enough to deliver touching last words.
- Inverted in The Darkness. A grenade is thrown into a mafia meeting and Jackie instantly pushes one of his mooks on top of it.
- A one-shot Legion of Super-Heroes villain was created when a soldier threw himself on top of a high-tech grenade to save his unit. The Applied Phlebotinum grenade threw him centuries into the future and put him out of phase with the universe.
- The final fate of Captain Storm, the leader of the World War II incarnation of The Losers in The DCU.
- In issue 28 of Marvel Comics G.I. Joe series, Tripwire attempts to save the lives of other Joes by throwing himself on top of a makeshift bomb. Roadblock safely disposes of the bomb and lectures Tripwire on uneeded heroism.
- Geiger does this Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #2, catching a grenade thrown by Crossbones and using her body to shield her team mates from the blast. Being super tough, she survives the experience, but it is enough to hospitalise her.
- In one issue of The Simpsons, Krusty the Klown is taping a show at the family's house when Fat Tony's goons send a lit stick of dynamite in through the window. (No, no one douses the fuse) Homer tries to solve the problem by putting the stick under a vase, but Krusty screams that they have to put something heavy over it, so Homer sits on the vase. The resulting blast doesn't kill Homer, but it does send him through the ceiling.
- Inverted and then defied in I Did Not Want To Die. The protagonist deliberately pulls the pin on his last grenade, and instead of jumping on it, the enemy soldiers have an Oh Crap moment right before they are all blown up.
- In Tiberium Wars when Lieutenant Cristos, a Nod Commando, ambushes Colt's fireteam, she disables one of the soldiers while he's securing the front of a building, and shoots out his arms and legs and breaks his jaw, then leaves him on top of an explosive charge. When Colt finds him, he tries to pick the soldier up, only to for the trooper to spasm and throw himself back on the explosive before it can go off.
- in Act of Valor, Lt. Rorke does this to save his SEAL team, as the grenade is dropped from overhead into the middle of the team, and there's no cover for them to reach.
- In The Thin Red Line, a soldier does it with his own grenade, which he had accidentally unlocked while it was still strapped to his vest.
- The film Top Secret spoofs this: a character jumps on a grenade, and several characters near him explode instead.
- Also happens in the German movie Napola (about an elite boarding school run by the Nazis). A group of young students are learning how to properly use stick grenades; one student balks and drops the grenade, staring at it in horror. We see every other boy in that trench splattered with thick dripping gore, absolutely stunned.
- The big bad of Crank uses his bodyguard to do this.
- The Serbian film No Man's Land had something similar occur - a person presumed dead was set up with a bouncing mine underneath them. Then they woke up and, well....
- Happens near the end of the first battle in Starship Troopers 3 with a Bug designed to act as a grenade.
- Parodied in Mel Brooks Silent Movie, with a very shaken-up soda can instead of a grenade. It didn't do much damage to the man besides the can bursting and just hurting, not killing him, but it was treated like he had died.
- Even worse ... the brave man was ordered to jump on the can.
- Done in Child's Play 3 where one of the nebbish cadets realizes that someone's replaced their training munitions with live ones and sacrifices himself to protect his squad, jumping on a grenade thrown by Chucky who was aiming for Andy..
- Occurs in Hobgoblins as part of a soldier's action-carnage-glory hallucination caused by the titular critters. Because the movie's of MST3K quality, the frag grenade somehow sets him on fire and lets him stagger around for a bit before collapsing... and at the end he miraculously recovers with nothing but a few bandages and some crutches to show for his ordeal.
- Invoked in Captain America: The First Avenger. Colonel Phillips throws a fake grenade into a soldier's training exercise, and all of the soldiers run for cover— except Steve Rogers, who didn't know that the grenade was a fake and jumps on it. In the end, it is suggested that his selflessness is a major motivation for him being selected for the Super Soldier program.
- How about jumping with a grenade! In the Action Prologue of Missing in Action 2, Chuck Norris sees a Dirty Communist VC repeatedly bayoneting his dead buddy, so he pulls the pins on a couple of grenades and leaps onto the VC while holding them. Cue huge explosion which of course he survives without even losing his fingers. No wonder Chuck became a Memetic Badass!
- In the Republic Commando novels, clone commando Fi is noted to have done this in order to save a few dozen unarmored cops. Unusually for this trope, Fi himself survived too, because Republic Commandos had very good armour.
- Subverted in the Star Trek: New Frontier short story "Pain Management", Captain Shelby threw herself on a grenade to protect Soleta from Orion mercenaries. She then is annoyed when Soleta shoots her a pitying look, until she realizes that the grenade should have gone off by that point. Soleta deduced that the Orions had removed the detonator since they had stated they wanted both Starfleet officers alive.
- Lampshaded and subverted in one of the short stories in The Things They Carried, entitled How to Write a True War Story. The author first tells the straight version, and then a version in which everyone nearby dies from the blast anyway and the would be hero dies with a pithy remark about this being typical of his life. Among other troperific examples of stories from combat, the author concludes that one need only ask whether it matters if the events really happened to know if a war story is "True".
- Played almost completely straight in A Prayer for Owen Meany as Owen's Heroic Sacrifice, although several others nearby are injured.
- Francis Cassavant does this in Robert Cormier's Heroes, leading to his horrific disfigurement. Though it's later revealed that he was trying to kill himself out of guilt.
- In the fourth Artemis Fowl book, Holly Short arrived at the hotel Artemis and Butler were staying in during a heist, only to find out that the bio-bomb that she had been trying to stop has already detonated (Unknown to her, Butler had the sense to grab Artemis and fling them out the window before the bio-bomb hit) After briefly crossing the Despair Event Horizon, Holly notices another bio-bomb and a transmission from Big Bad Opal Koboi. After the transmission, Holly does this using her helmet, which understandably is destroyed, but buys her enough time to start outflying the blue-rinse
- At the end of the novel Supreme Commander by Nikolai Gudanets (inspired by X-COM), the task force has discovered the location of the alien base on Earth. An abandoned submarine pen in the Arctic, built by the Nazis. They are warned that some aliens are capable of mind-controlling humans, and their armor includes an additional indicator on the HUD, showing a mind control in progress nearby. A squad of four enters a pool area, where the main antagonist is swimming. He mind-controls one of the soldiers and has him throw a grenade in-between his squad. Realizing this, one of the squad members (and a secondary character and possible Love Interest of the protagonist) falls on the grenade. Her own armor protects the squad from damage, but she dies instantly. The alien manages to escape by swimming through an underwater tunnel into the ocean, where he's promptly eaten by a shark.
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, Clark has done this, but being Nigh Invulnerable, the bomb doesn't even scratch him.
- Done by proxy (using an Islamist terrorist) in The Grid and probably understated the damage it would still cause—all that happens is the terrorist's internal organs get scrambled.
- In Red Dwarf, Rimmer jumps on a polymorph who has turned into a grenade. He was Nigh Invulnerable at that point (though he didn't quite know that), though, not to mention Not Himself — in one of the books, it's noted that Rimmer is normally the sort of person who would throw someone else onto the grenade in order to save himself.
- Parodied in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 where Professor Bobo throws not himself, but someone else (Observer/Brain Guy) on a grenade to protect Pearl. Fortunately for Brain Guy, his people have evolved beyond bodies, so he's not even hurt.
- There is an earlier episode where Joel and the 'bots test the Between-Meal Mortar, only to have the Twinkie they launched ricochet back. Joel jumps onto it, but everything gets covered in filling anyway.
- Monk puts a grenade inside a refrigerator in the episode "Mr Monk and the Election", and off course, being Monk, opens the door again to put it in straight.
- For the record, that grenade had a forty-five second fuse. And this episode was used by MythBusters to bust the TV myth that a refrigerator can contain a grenade blast.
- Done in an episode of Mash. Sgt. Rizzo has a dummy grenade that he is using to play practical jokes on people. He is astounded when Maj. Winchester throws himself on top of the grenade to save Rizzo's life. It turns out Winchester knew the grenade was a dummy and wanted to turn the tables on Rizzo.
- Subverted in Star Trek: Voyager. One episode had a holo soldier try to do this. The sad thing is that not only did he fail, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference if he had. It was a special grenade created for destroying (all) holograms in a certian area.
- Battlestar Galactica "The Plan" has a different take on this. A Cylon Centurion has its legs blown off but its gun-arm is still working; a woman throws herself on the muzzle to protect her fellow resistance member.
- A stick of dynamite was accidentally fetched by the family's dog in Monarch of the Glen. The family patriarch threw himself on it.
- Malcolm in the Middle uses the 'grenade in the fridge' variant after the boys' grandfather gives Reece a live hand grenade and he immediately pulls the pin.
- In season 2 of Flashpoint, Sam jumped on a grenade to protect a customs agent. Luckily for him it was just a flashbang.
- In an episode of Baywatch, after annoying everyone with his safety precautions due to an impending visit from the President, a Secret Service agent throws himself on top of what he thinks is a bomb. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a kid's toy. The agent is humiliated by his mistake and apparent incompetence until Mitch truthfully points out that he didn't know that it was merely a toy and his obvious willingness to sacrifice himself to ensure the President's safety proves how good an agent he really is.
- In an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation a bomb tech jumps on top of a bomb that is about to explode. The cops were trapped in a confined space and the bomb might have killed them all. He realized too late that the bomb was booby trapped and he really did not have the time to get away.
- The Carol Burnett Show had a sketch where Tim Conway plays a soldier who saved his unit by swallowing a live hand grenade. He survived, but now has no internal organs.
- What Bruno Mars meant in the title line of his hit "Grenade".
- CHIKARA Pro Wrestling once saw a match in which Chuck Taylor threw a "grenade" at The Colony (three masked wrestlers who had an ant colony theme). Soldier Ant shoves his teammates Fire Ant and Worker Ant out of the ring and dives on the "grenade", taking the "explosion" and saving his teammates. As you can imagine, the spot was played totally for laughs (the grenade throw to the explosion is done in Slow Motion, for Andre's sake!).
- Jumping on an explosive in GURPS causes maximum possible to the jumper but it will protect those around him a bit.
- Variant in Warhammer 40,000: a Space Marine jumped onto an emerging shell that had burrowed itself underground to save his squad. They lived, he didn't.
- Ogryn (Ogre IN SPACE) Nork Dedog saved his commander in this fashion, by jumping on a live grenade (and the enemy grenadier holding it) before it went off. His bulk completely contained the explosion, and being Made of Iron he only gave passing curiosity to his wound.
- Enemies sometimes jump on your grenades in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault at least, even if they are alone and in perfectly good cover.
- They do it in almost all of the games. Sometimes you get ones who are smart enough to kick it away. Don't do it near dogs though, unless you have high cover, because they'll bring it back.
- Princess Victoria does this in Tribes: Vengeance to save several tribeswomen and children, earning the Tribe's respect. However, since she is wearing armor at that moment, she gets better (too bad it's light armor: a heavy suit would have taken the whole blast without a scratch). Still, the next mission revolves around her love interest Daniel stealing an Imperial truck full of medical supplies to treat her against heavy odds.
- In America's Army 3 you earn an achievement if you manage to pull this off and prevent a teammate from being injured by that grenade.
- Team Fortress 2
- The Soldier claims he jumped on no less than 1,455 live grenades during his service in World War 2. Since he was barred from actually serving in the military (he bought his own plane ticket to Europe), it's unlikely that these were Heroic Sacrifices. Or that it happened at all, for that matter.
- Play as the Demoman, and you will do this repeatedly, though not for reasons pertaining to sacrifice.
- A Pyro can do this if he's in proximity to grenades launched by a Demoman at him or his teammates. The pyro will render the grenades as his by "reflecting" them with his airblast. His teammates will not be harmed (unless the server breaks the game by having friendly fire on), but if he's too close when they finally detonate, the pyro will be harmed.
- The last thing the Vato Bros. do before they are cleared of brainwashing in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice is deploy a Prinny bomb to kill the cast. Mao does this trope after some split-second calculation and survives. That's a 1.8 million EQ for ya.
- This and, occasionally, eating a grenade, are frequently solutions in the puzzles of McPixel. Only about 50% of the time are they successful solutions. A specific example would be an level in a foxhole. You steal a soldier's helmet then yell at him until he grabs the bomb and runs away with it.
- Unintentionally invoked in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The master level spells Firestorm and Mass Paralysis (basically large circular waves emanating from the caster) respect line of sight, so enemies standing behind other enemies are unaffected. The problem: it also considers you, the caster an obstacle, making it hard to hit enemies behind you, even though the spells are supposed to radiate out from you. Essentially you jump on your own grenade to protect your enemies.
- Possible to do in "Video Game/Battlefield4". You can dive on any explosive, not just a grenade and save your teammates from the explosion.
- In Schlock Mercenary, Sergeant Schlock accidentally saves his entire team from a flying plasma grenade by eating it. He loses the majority of his body mass, but thanks to some judicious time-travel, he gets better.
- Karate Bears jump on grenades if they want to.
- Abe Simpson once saved the life of Mr. Burns during World War II by clamping his helmet over an artillery shell that had landed in their foxhole and not yet exploded. Since it's one of Grandpa's stories it's best to take it with a grain of salt.
- Bender covers a bomb with his body in Futurama episode to save the other soldiers, and as he is a robot he survives and is decorated for his actions.
- In The Mask, the Mask sits on a bomb. When it explodes, his butt simply expands and that's the extent of the damage.
- He also saved the city from an atom bomb by swallowing it and letting it explode in his stomach. Being cartoonishly indestructible is handy.
- Secondary material tells us that this is how Rodimus Prime impressed his drill sergeant in Transformers Animated - the grenade itself was a dud, but neither he nor the sergeant was aware of that.
- In the Batman The Brave And The Bold episode "Plague of the Prototypes!", G.I. Robot saves Batman and Easy Company by jumping on top of a landmine while storming the beaches on D-Day.
- The Secret Saturdays: In "Where Lies the Engulfer", Zak jumps on one of Doyle's grenades (presumably a stun grenade) and uses the resulting blast to propel himself through a skylight.
- Truth in Television, as a number of U.S. soldiers have been documented sacrificing themselves in this manner in the Korean, Vietnam, and other wars. A few of them have actually survived it.
- Navy SEAL, Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A Monsoor; recently received the Medal of Honor posthumously for doing this in Iraq in 2006 to save the lives of 3 fellow SEALs and 3 Iraqi soldiers.
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
- In addition to the Medal of Honor, his heroism is also being commemorated by the second (of three) destroyer of the Zumwalt class being commissioned, DDG-1001, the USS Micheal Monsoor.
- At least one Canadian got the Victoria Cross for doing this in Hong Kong.
- A canine example of this trope. Gander was a Newfoundland dog who was the mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada who were sent to defend Hong Kong during WWII. During a Japanese attack, Gander picked up a thrown Japanese hand grenade and rushed with it toward the enemy, dying in the ensuing explosion, but saving the lives of several wounded Canadian soldiers. Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal (basically the non-human equivalent of the Victoria Cross), the citation of which reads;
"For saving the lives of Canadian infantrymen during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. On three documented occasions, Gander, the Newfoundland mascot of the Royal Rifles of Canada, engaged the enemy as his regiment joined the Winnipeg Grenadiers, members of Battalion Headquarters "C" Force and other Commonwealth troops in their courageous defense of the island. Twice Gander's attacks halted the enemy's advance and protected groups of wounded soldiers. In a final act of bravery, the war dog was killed in action gathering a grenade. Without Gander's intervention, many more lives would have been lost in the assault."
- A British soldier who did this in Afghanistan received the George Cross, the VC's equivalent for acts of valour performed while not in contact with the enemy. Like the VC, it's an award that most people receive posthumously. His only injury? A nosebleed. The Royal Marine had the time to throw a rucksack over the grenade first, and 'then his own body.
- Jack Lucas did this twice at seventeen because he lied about his age to fight in World War 2. ]] He survived and earned the Medal of Honor, the youngest Marine to earn it.
- Lieutenant Colonel Anthony B. Herbert in his autobiography Soldier, stated that he felt anyone who jumped on a grenade was an idiot, as they should instead either kick it aside, drop to the ground away from it, or if necessary, pick it up and throw it away. Jumping on a grenade was an unnecessary sacrifice most of the time. He especially lambasted the stories and movies and awarding medals for it as it being heroic as very bad examples that numerous people followed to their deaths.
- Nevertheless, some real-life examples of this trope are justified as the person jumping on the grenade is often experienced enough to evaluate the situation and consciously exclude other courses of action.
- In David Hackworth's autobiography About Face he mentions a technique used to test candidates for a raiding company in the Korean War. One of his officers would be fiddling with a grenade (with the explosive removed) during the interview and would 'accidentally' drop it. If the man froze, they didn't want him. If he jumped on the grenade he was crazy or suicidal and the same applied. But if he had the presence of mind to toss the grenade outside or high-tail it out of there, then he was Raider material.
- A CIA agent demonstrating the use of thermite bombs for the impending Bay of Pigs invasion had one explode prematurely. He grabbed the bomb and carried it away from the other explosives, inflicting fatal burns on himself.
- Corporal Dunham
- There was a story circulated in an Army magazine about a Drill Instructor who was demonstrating a grenade to his recruits. He pulled the pin, counted to three, and tossed it into the middle of the group, who panicked and dove for cover. The grenade was a dummy, of course, and the DI berated the recruits because none of them were willing to give their life for another's. A few minutes later he did the same thing, and almost every recruit tried to dive onto it, resulting in a dogpile on the dummy grenade. One single recruit had taken cover, and when the DI asked him why he hadn't dived onto the grenade, the recruit answered, "Sir, someone had to live to tell the story."
- Roi Klein, an IDF major did this in the 2006 Lebanon War to save his fellow soldiers and died. He was totally aware of what he was doing and its consequences as he recited the "Shema Israel" (a Jewish prayer that reaffirms ones belief in God) while launching himself on the grenade.
- With recent advancements in body armor it is becoming more probable to survive jumping on a grenade.
- An utterly cinematic example: Russian police staked out a known dangerous criminal in his apartment for two days and ended up chasing him to a bus stop. The guy took his own girlfriend (and a mother of his child) hostage, and entered the crowd holding a live grenade in one hand and a pistol in the other. Three-man SOBR (SWAT) team almost apprehended him (one of them would clutch the grenade's spade to stop it from priming), but the guy opened fire and was cut down instantly with four hits. SOBR captain Okhrimenko, a 28 y.o. Chechen war veteran, heard the primer click and just plunged onto the damn thing, shielding around 50 civilians from the blast. Even the girlfriend survived. Another Russian officer, an infantry major and batallion commander Solntzev (nicknamed Sun), shielded his troops from the explosion when a rookie's grenade hit the trench parapet during training exercise, shoving the thrower out of the way and jumping towards the grenade.