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"You take a standard G.I. sock, cram it with as much Comp B as it can hold, rig up a simple fuse, then coat the whole thing with axle grease. Now when you throw it, it should stick. It's a bomb that sticks, a 'sticky bomb.'"
If there's a live bomb thrown nearby you, you have a chance to grab it and throw it away. However, if a sticky one is involved, you better run away really fast. And if it's stuck on you ...
Usually adhesive is involved in making the bomb sticky, though things like nails and magnets can be used too. Expect there to be problems when a someone tries to throw such a bomb but gets it stuck on his/her person.
A Sub-Trope of Trick Bomb. Compare with Insert Grenade Here. See also Sticky Situation. Frequently used in a game of Grenade Tag.
Battle of the Bulge (1965): Infantrymen slap plastic explosive sticky bombs onto attacking German tanks.
In the German/Russian movie Stalingrad German infantry in foxholes have to wait for tanks to drive over them so they can stick magnetic bombs on their undersides. Some of the soldiers come to sticky ends.
Hudson Hawk: short range launcher shoots rockets with time-delay fuses that stick to their targets.
In The Dark Knight, Batman uses a sticky-bomb launcher to blast his way into Lau's Hong Kong office, and later to stop the Gotham City SWAT team from killing the Joker's hostages.
In Cloud Atlas, Hae-Joo uses sticky bombs to dispose of some Corporacy aircrafts.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Nick Fury has successfully escaped a large scale ambush when the Winter Soldier makes his introduction, casually striding into the middle of the road and firing a grenade that slides along the road under Nick's SUV, magnetically clamps onto the undercarriage, and explodes.
AbleTeam sets up an ambush for a Salvadorean death squad. One of them sees he's triggered a grenade Booby Trap and runs for his life, not realising the grenade is bouncing after him because it's hooked on his clothing via a monofilament line and a fish hook.
In the first episode of Power Rangers RPM, Dillon fashions a makeshift sticky bomb by sticking a grenade to a wet lollipop. Unrealistic? Yeah. Awesome? Hell Yeah!
In the season 1 finale of Burn Notice, Michael and Fiona build one by plastering tile adhesive over a mop wrapped around a C4-containing piece of Tupperware.
In the video for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock", The Neidermeyer teacher tries to throw a grenade at the rock band, but instead ends up throwing the pin and winds up with the grenade stuck to his hand. He dives into the high school's swimming pool to try defusing it, but it explodes and Neidermayer bangs his head against the diving board.
Limpet Mines from Tabletop GameGURPS: Ultra-Tech work this way. They even came up with good reasons to stick them to yourself.
Warhammer 40,000 has Krak Grenades, Meltabombs, EMP Grenades and various similar weapons to give ordinary infantry a chance against tanks.
Halo: plasma grenades and spike grenades, the former thanks to a coating of searing hot plasma, the latter thanks to... well, the spikes.
Another Day At The Beach, a short film that came with the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack depicts an ODST trooper getting a plasma grenade stuck to his helmet. He quickly yanks the helmet off and flings it away before it explodes.
The two types of grenades actually work differently in how they bounce, too. Plasma grenades stick only to living things and vehicles; they'll bounce right off walls and floors. Spike grenades stick to anything they touch.
Not explained very well, but Star Wars Battlefront's thermal detonators, in contrast to the rather un-sticky one shown in Episode 6, can stick to enemy soldiers if thrown properly.
Battlefront also has concussion grenades that are meant for taking on vehicles: they deal less damage to infantry than thermal detonators but stick to vehicles. Battlefront II removed them entirely and just made thermal detonators stick to vehicles.
Goldeneye Rogue Agent has the "Detonator," which worked a bit like Batman's goo-gun in The Dark Knight. Since the game takes place in the somewhat-fantastical James Bond world, the explosion sends your foes flying but leaves them otherwise intact—no missing legs or anything.
inFAMOUS: Cole has the ability to throw balls of lightning that can stick and explode like Halo's Plasma Grenades. There's even a trophy for sticking enough grenades to Mooks, called "Oh, I See You've Done This Before".
Team Fortress 2: the Demoman has a Stickybomb Launcher. His secondary fire detonates the stickies on command rather than explode instantaneously, so that they can be used to lay traps. Notably, stickies only attach to static objects, not to enemies, probably to avoid griefing.
However, since stickybombs don't need to attach themselves on surfaces to detonate, they just have them out for a certain time, many players use the Stickybomb Launcher for direct or indirect fire at mid-range rather than for traps because of the large splash radius and clip size. The game's achievements list calls these "air burst sticky bombs".
Enemies in Saints Row 2 behave similarly when the player uses demolition charges.
Company of Heroes lets you buy an upgrade for Riflemen that allows them to throw sticky bombs. They are only to be used against vehicles, though.
TimeSplitters has also had plasma grenades as an underslung launcher on the plasma rifle in 2 and as a seperate weapon in Future Perfect. All three games have also had an array of "mines" with various trigger mechanisms (timed mines, remote mines, proximity mines) which can be thrown onto enemies.
Resident Evil 4 has the mine thrower, which basically shoots exploding darts that stick to the target.
Reintroduced in Grand Theft Auto V, with the ability to be both thrown as a short-range command-detonated grenade and placed on a vehicle, wall, or the ground. They also have the special property of blowing open armored car doors when placed directly on them, allowing you to steal the contents.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl has sticky bombs, which you can stick to someone else by running into them before it explodes.
Borderlands has various sticky bomb mods that can be attached to your Protean Grenades, with the expected result. They can be tricky to use, however, since they stick to anything, even the ground. Due to the enemy AI in the game, anyone who sees the grenade will then run away from it, making the grenade pretty much harmless. However, if you get close enough to stick a grenade onto somebody, they will very entertainingly flail around randomly screaming something to the effect of "AAAAAH GET IT OFF ME" before exploding.
Shadow Warrior has these as a weapon. They look like small, metallic spheres with spikes. Can be stuck to the walls or to enemies, and explode if someone is in vicinity for a while.
"Look, you have a new friend!" (after sticking a bomb to someone)
Worms 3D had a 'sticky bomb' - a Cartoon Bomb coated with little suction cups all over. Worked similar to a grenade, minus the bouncing.
A possible setting made the ground of the map sticky, making all kinda of thrown weapons not roll away unlike usual. That didn't make then stick to worms, though, while the actual sticky bomb could do so.
Gears of War features four kinds of grenades that can attached to walls with a melee attack to act as proximity mines, or can be attached to ENEMIES to invoke this trope.
In Dissidia Duodecim: Final Fantasy, Laguna Loire has this as one of his attacks. It can stick to terrain or enemies, and will explode a few seconds after contact.
FEAR, in the spirit of Golden Eye 1997 and Red Faction, has remote bombs that can be stuck on both surfaces and enemies. In the sequel, proximity mines also stick to walls.
Dishonored: the grenade can be upgraded with spikes to stick onto things.
In PlanetSide 2, the Engineer class can equip sticky grenades which will stick onto players and vehicles. Courtesy of their long fuse and small size, they are very good at killing entire groups of enemies when an enemy player runs back to his buddies without realizing there's a grenade stuck to his chest.
MechWarrior Living Legends has all three types of Battlearmor grenades being capable of sticking to any object. C8 explosives work like regular grenades and deal huge amounts of damage to Battlemechs after a relatively long fuse, Inferno grenades burst into a massive fireball after only a second to kill enemy battlearmor (and Aerospace fighters), and NARC grenades stick to enemies and cause friendly missiles to home in on the NARC.
In Nefarious, some of Crow's grenades stick to enemies and can be detonated remotely.
In ThunderCats (2011), the Lizard army had magnetic bombs that stuck to walls and blew them up.
During World War II, the British developed an anti-tank grenade that was little more than a bottle of nitroglycerine coated with glue. The user was expected to run up to an enemy tank, smack the grenade onto the armour, and hope to make it to a safe distance before it went off. Although the whole idea was clearly insane, the "sticky bomb" was nevertheless cheap and quick to manufacture - important advantages given that the British were expecting an imminent Nazi invasion and had been forced to abandon most of their anti-tank guns during the Dunkirk evacuation. The main drawback was that it was terrifyingly easy for the user to get an armed grenade stuck to themselves. In the words of one Home Guard volunteer:
"It was while practicing that a [Home Guard] bomber got his stick bomb stuck to his trouser leg and couldn’t shift it. A quick thinking mate whipped the trousers off and got rid of them and the bomb. After the following explosion the trousers were in a bit of a mess though I think they were a bit of a mess prior to the explosion."
Nearly everyone prior to WW2 had some kind of magnetic mine designed to be thrown a short distance onto a tank. As they were uniformly bad at sticking and required getting within a few feet of an active tank, most nations quickly phased them out a few days after they first tried to actually use them in combat. On the other hand, magnetic mines for naval use are more effective (these however don't stick to a ship — they're just exploded by its magnetic field).
Zimmerit was a paste applied to WWII German vehicles to prevent the magnetic variant from sticking to the vehicle.
Not surprisingly, the Sticky Bombs were quickly replaced with more reliable Anti-Tank weapons, like the Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) Spigot Mortar. And given the major shortcomings of the PIAT (cocking the weapon required considerable strength, especially if done while prone to avoid detection; the projectile would fall out of the tube if it was aimed downwards, and if improperly braced when fired the recoil could potentially dislocate the soldier's shoulder!), that should tell you how bad the sticky bomb was.
The origin of the nailed bomb version would probably be the petard, a siege weapon consisting of a large explosive nailed to a castle door. William Shakespeare references just how easy it was to blow yourself up with it, hence naming the trope.
The very controversial "Operation Tailwind" story that got a bunch of people fired from CNN in the 1990s claimed the existence of a type of anti-personnel mine called "Pot Pie" that was supposed to be deployed using a styrofoam cooler. When it warmed up, it was supposed to extend tendrils that would wrap around whatever was nearby and hold it in place until detonation. Whether this actually existed is unclear; after the producers were fired for alleged shoddy journalism, they sued CNN for millions and got fat settlements, while the executives who fired them were fired as well, leaving the veracity of the entire story more or less permanently unresolvable. Thus are the perils of reporting on The Vietnam War.