Exaggerated: A tiny country publicly fields only a small force of defenders, but secretly has trained regiments that wear the colors of The Kingdom, The Federation and The Empire and sends them on raids to keep those three fighting each other.
Double Subverted: Or so The Empire wanted them to believe. In fact, they let it happen, and arranged for all of the evidence of their soldiers' involvement to be erased, leaving The Kingdomunable to prove that the troops were actually from The Empire.
Parodied: All of the Empire's soldiers have a full set of uniforms from every kingdom and country in the world, just so they can do this.
Zig Zagged: The Empire sends its soldiers dressed (badly) as soldiers from The Kingdom to attack The Federation but it fails to convinve the The Federation that its The Kingdom soldiers because the soldiers from the Empire never bothered to grow out their distinctive Imperial Sodlier haircuts, speak only the Imperial language and other basics. HOWEVER, these False Flag soldiers are actually double agents for The Federation, letting themselves be captured and exposed to show The Empire can not be trusted, only their handlers were turned by The Kingdom and though they think they act for The Federation, its The Kingdom they are working for. Of course, the Emperor knows all about it and plans to let the fiasco go on and expose BOTH The Kingdom and The Federation to this duplicity, weakening the alliance between them, all according to the Emperor's plan.
Averted: The Empire invades in full force without warning.
Enforced: The writers want to establish that The Empire is not only evil, but sneaky and manipulative. Having them run a false flag operation also sets The Kingdom against The Federation, letting that drive the early plot before the eventual reveal of the truth.
Lampshaded: "You mean this entire war started because The Empiredressed as the enemy? That's exactly what happened in the last major war! Our government is so stupid!"
Invoked: The Emperor's right-hand man comes to him with a plan for a False Flag Operation, thinking it would be a clever way to achieve the Empire's ends.
Conversed: "Oh no, the villains in this story are Playing Both Sides! I wonder if the heroes will figure it out this time?"
Deconstructed: A few soldiers who participated in the assault become overwhelmed by guilt and reveal the truth, along with proof to back up their claims. Upon learning what really happened, mass rioting erupts in the manipulative country.
To avoid such an incident, the country pulling the false flag operation ensures that everyone under the false flags is slaughtered.
Alternately, they simply discredit the soldiers and paint them as traitors turning on their country in their time of need.
Played For Drama:Marianna's entire motivation for supporting The Empire is because The Kingdom invaded her Doomed Hometown and slaughtered everyone there. But the attack was actually staged by the Empire to justify their declaring war on the Kingdom...