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Stand Your Ground
"In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance. NOT A STEP BACK"
Joseph Stalin signs ORDER 227

You and your mates face your foes. They may be equally matched or they outnumber you. However your leader decides that if a fight is to break out, everyone's to stand their ground and not run away. There's a choice of running away, but defeat in any form or fashion means humiliation and dishonor. Or in other cases, you simply just die a dog's death. The only honor is in victory.

Frequently combines with In Its Hour of Need — if the person giving the order has any honor.

A cousin to the Last Stand. Related to Hold the Line. Contrast Run or Die, where he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.

Examples

Film
  • Green Street Hooligans is a movie about Elijah Wood's character learning what it means to stand his ground with a bunch of hooligans his sister's fiance used to run- during the events of the movie, the fiance's younger brother runs the firm. The trope name is in fact one of the tag lines for the movie (probable trope namer?)

Literature
  • In Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword, mercenary Captain Kerowyn gives her company the choice between this and running to safety. They unanimously vote to make a Last Stand.
  • Sun Tzu made this point in The Art of War "Throw the troops into a position from which there is no escape, and even when faced with death they will not flee." He also was warning against forcing the enemy into this position, his suggestion for this scenario was to always leave your enemy a possible escape route, then ambush him when he takes it.

LiveActionTV
  • In "A Good Man Goes To War", Madam Vastra declares as the Headless Monks advance on Amy and a flesh duplicate of her daughter Melody, "The child! At all costs, protect the child!"

Music

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.X edition has the Dwarven Defender Prestige Class. Its signature ability, "Defensive Stance" bestows sizable defensive buffs but limits movement to one square.

Video Game
  • In Persona 4, you're given the choice whether or not to tell the men to stand their ground against the girls in the hot springs. Regardless of choice and your courage, you are forced to fall back after the girls' barrage of projectile washtubs.
  • Pokémon: the ability Suction Cups prevents a Pokemon from being switched out. The move Ingrain roots a Pokemon to the ground and prevent it from being switched out whether by the opponent or its trainer.
    • The abilities Arena Trap and Shadow Tag force the opponent the Stand Their Ground.
  • The Dwarfs in Warhammer have a special ability which essentially forces them to stand their ground. They sacrifice their movement for combat bonuses.
  • In the Total War series, archery units have their default tactics set to "Skirmish", which has them automatically withdraw if an enemy unit gets too close to them. You can disable these orders, ordering them to "stand and fight;" this is usually most effective in urban environments where the archers would get close enough to trigger the "retreat" condition without actually getting into melee with enemy units, or if the archer units are equipped with good melee weapons and you need them to bust heads.

Comic
  • In 666, the priest and his soldiers are tasked with defending a science facility while the scientists are being extracted. It turns out to be a trap and they have to hold against a demon legion or two.

Real Life
  • Real Life example in Josef Stalin's WWII Order #227: "Not one step back!" Stalin ordered than a unit would stay at the rear of a battalion to shoot anyone not advancing, and any deserters would be rounded up and used to check for mines. This produced mixed results; on the one hand, desertions and retreats without order dropped very sharply, very quickly; on the other, Stalin was so insistent on taking no step back, he often ensured that his generals would not give out the order to retreat even when it was the sensible thing to do, losing a lot of men and material in situations that would otherwise be at least partially salvageable.
    • The precise mandate of posting rear units to shoot retreating troops was at the very least disliked by commanders for wasting their manpower on not fighting the enemy, and the requirement was withdrawn after three months.
  • Another Real Life example, which predates Stalin by quite some time (1863): in Mexico, the French Foreign Legion, numbering 65 (including officers), held 2,000 soldiers from the Mexican army at bay for days at Camaron. After they ran out of ammo, they ended it with a bayonet charge. Keep in mind that currently, each and every member of the Foreign Legion considers that battle an ideal to aspire to. Don't Cross Them.
    • Due to that Awesome Moment, all Mexican servicemembers are required to salute ALL Legionnaires.
  • Often more inefficient than romantic. The best way to deal with a force that is standing its ground is to march around them, cut of their supplies, and let them starve. This was exactly the tactic used by the Allies against the Japanese forces in the Pacific in WWII.
  • These two Chinese guys who fought back against a group of thugs trying to evict them.
  • Adolf Hitler also liked using this. When his forces in the eastern front were being beaten back by the Soviets, he ordered them to stand their ground. Any attempts to retreat or desert their post would be executed. German armies were forced to fight a defensive war, with dwindling resources and manpower, while the Soviets ground their way with thousands of troops and everything they could throw at them.
  • The Stand Your Ground, Castle and similar laws in some states of the USA, which state that a person can defend themselves against an attacker and has no obligation to try to evade or retreat. SYG applies anywhere in the state, while Castle applies in the home.
Standard Hollywood Strafing ProcedureMilitary and Warfare TropesStorming the Castle

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