Underequipped Charge

When a character is so fearless or determined that, instead of fleeing, he attacks an overpowering enemy with a laughably underpowered weapon, such as charging a tank with a knife. This is often seen from soldiers (since they usually carry knives in addition to firearms), wherein upon facing an enemy way out of their league and possibly running out of ammo, they pull out their trusty melee Emergency Weapon.

Of course, unless The Cavalry enters the fray in that very moment (which it often does), it might very well cue a Dying Moment of Awesome.

Contrast Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight and Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight. May be the mark of a Proud Warrior Race Guy or a Determinator of any kind. May take the form of Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat! if Played for Laughs.


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  • Carmen pulls a knife at a Brain Bug during the climax of Starship Troopers and actually manages to fend it off until Rico's squad arrives to extract her.
  • In Man of Steel, Colonel Hardy wastes his ammo shooting Faora, then proceeds to pull out a knife and charge her in melee, thus becoming the only human who earns her respect. Of course, Supes saves him just in time to avert his inevitable death at her hands.
  • Sergeant Calhoon in Wreck-It Ralph runs out of bullets in both her guns, covering the Sugar Rush inhabitants' escape, and is fully prepared to fight Cy-Bugs with her knife to prevent them from escaping that world.
  • Predator. The Magical Native American Billy throws down his assault rifle and pulls out a really big knife to fight the title monster in a You Shall Not Pass. It ends badly for him.
    • The Yakuza guy in Predators did the same with notably better results, although not really for him personally.
  • Near the end of When The Last Sword Is Drawn Yoshimura Kanichiro charges a company of musket-armed troops with only his katana and wakizashi. His last words before charging?
    "My honor compels me to fight!"
  • In the Biopic Lafayette about the US Revolutionary War general of the same name, he rallies his troops (who, due to supply shortages, are only given six bullets per soldier) with the following short speech:
    You only have six cartridges, but I have only my sword! Follow me!
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Captain Jack Sparrow, after being handcuffed to the ship the crew was abandoning by Elizabeth Swan, decided that he wouldn't be killed by the Kraken without a fight and choose to charge the behemoth with nothing but his cutlass. It didn't end well for him, but he returned from the dead in the sequel.
  • A little more than midway through The Last Samurai, Nobutada stays behind and to cover the retreat of his father Katsumoto and after running out of arrows, draws his swords and charges at his rifle-wielding enemies. He's repeatedly shot before he makes it close.
  • Seen at the end of Saving Private Ryan, when lacking anything better to do facing a German tank, George Clooney's character draws a pistol and starts shooting at it.
  • Pacific Rim: When an EMP blast completely disables the mecha Striker Eureka, the pilots Herc and Chuck Hansen decide to keep fighting until the bitter end. They climb out of the cockpit and shoot at the kaiju Leatherback with flare guns.

  • Ciaphas Cain series. The title character once charged a daemon of Khorne with nothing but a rusty bayonet and a vial of holy water (presumably people were watching, forcing him into HERO OF THE IMPERIUM mode, or the alternative was worse). Also invoked, in that his reputation is such that (in his own words) when he asks something of someone, "they'd rather take on a Carnifex with a broken chair leg than feel they'd let me down".
  • The Charge Of The Light Brigade, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, an fictionalized account of an actual battle in which a small cavalry detachment attempted to make a break in a line of heavy artillery, with devastating results.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the season finale of Andromeda, Tyr and Harper are trapped in a room with Magog bearing down on them. Tyr fires his final shot at one then throws the gun at them and pulls out a large knife. He gives Harper one too, and together they prepare to face the Magog horde.
  • In the Blackadder episode "Born to be King", Richard IV is believed lost in battle after he charged a Turkish army, on his own, armed only with a small fruit knife. Between Conservation of Ninjutsu, Rule of Funny, and the fact that he's played by BRIAN BLESSED, he triumphed "thanks to his trusty fruit knife".

    Video Games 
  • Republic players in Star Wars: The Old Republic can meet Sergeant Jolis on Balmorra: a Sole Survivor of a fighter squadron who is now determined to come back and retrieve his comrade's black boxes from the overwhelming Imperial presence even though he basically needs instructions from his astromech droid on how to operate his blaster rifle properly.
  • Subverted by a warrior or rogue Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition, who pulls a dagger at the nigh indestructible, magic-slinging Big Bad during the latter's attack on Haven. While it looks like the Inquisitor will charge next, they instead lunge sideways to activate a trebuchet they prepared earlier to fire at the mountainside and cause a slide to bury the entire town.


    Real Life 
  • In May 2004, during the early days of the war in Iraq, a detachment from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders responded to a distress call from 8 British soldiers near Al Amara. But it was an ambush, and the 30 or so men were soon surrounded by more than 150 Iraqi militiamen. After three hours of fighting, their ammunition running low, the commander of the Scottish troops ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge the enemy positions. The Iraqis were completely taken by surprise; 28 were killed and the rest fled with the loss of only 2 Highlanders.
  • That story about cavalry charging tanks you might have heard is actually not an example, in case you wondered.