Main Hollywood Tactics Discussion

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03:39:11 PM Oct 24th 2017
"Assaulting castles as a first resort. This was only done very rarely, and even then they usually just waited outside the castle walls until the enemy starved or surrendered, though this failed as often as it succeeded due to logistical issues on the part of the besieging force."

This part confuses a siege(which were quite common) with storming the castle. And to my knowledge it usually failed because a relief army arrived.
04:04:30 PM Oct 31st 2017
What failed?

Sieges? Most actually ended in negotiated surrender or withdrawal. Relief armies weren't all that common
12:02:45 PM Sep 13th 2017
edited by M4dH4tter
Harry Potterandthe Methodsof Rationality's mention doesn't go into enough detail, it makes the work sound far more convoluted and confusing than it actually is while serving as a bad example of this trope.

Draco's units use proper formation, the text explains why this is a good formation, and then Harry Potter-Evans-Verres defeats this formation with "The power of chaos", a head-on Leeroy Jenkins Zerg Rush with absolutely no tactical worth. He doesn't have superior numbers or superior training or superior skill, he just wins because the writer thinks "The power of chaos" should always triumph over "Copied ideas" like formations that work well. Whether this counts as an aversion of this trope or a straight usage of it is up to you.
12:48:27 PM Dec 20th 2016
A good one for the Orks section under Warhammer 40K-while the Orks generally paint their gear (and themselves!) blue, red, purple and Mork-knows how many other shades of colors, their latent psychic fields actually generate real bonuses for the paint color rather than just hilarity and eyesores (i.e. red paint increases speed, blue paint generates higher luck somehow, and purple makes things harder to spot).
07:30:57 AM Jul 5th 2016
edited by KazutoAbridged
I was wondering about whether it is worth noting in the Dwarf Fortress example that it is possible to avert Hollywood Tactics through creative use of hardened (and ridiculously-deadly) architecture (admittedly turning out to be a case of 'No OSHA compliance' and/or 'Death Course' in the process) though the community tends to view an excessively hardened defensive build as boring. Will assemble the specific text, format to best of my abilities, and submit to the relevant forum topic as well!
06:55:50 AM Jan 16th 2014
The page has been locked a while ago due to persistent Conversation in the Main Page issues.

Please request any edits in this forum discussion - adding them here just makes it easier for them to be missed.
05:42:52 PM Dec 28th 2014
edited by
02:59:39 AM Jan 16th 2014
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings:Tolkien was a history professor, and it shows. Jackson and his screenwriters, while better at characterisation, didn't do the research and always screwed up when they changed the battles.

New or modified examples:

The Helm's Deep downhill cavalry charge, although perhaps this falls into complete absurdity rather than hollywood tactics. In the book, it was infantry.

Faramir at Osgiliath, first time. It's been known on our Earth for, oh, thousands of years that if you're defending a river against superior numbers then 1. you shoot the enemy while they're in the boats and 2. you hit the enemy while they're trying to get off the boats and thus handicapped by splashing through water and mud. Faramir sportingly lets the orcs land safely, also trapping his own troops between the orcs and the river.

Faramir at Osgiliath, second time. Denethor, as a civilian leader should, has commanded what should be done, "retake Osgiliath", without specifying how. Denethor then has lunch. The cavalry charge is Faramir's idea, not forced: he could have rode closer to the city and then dismounted to attack.

The film tries hard to make Denethor more obnoxious and less sympathetic than in the books. Unfortunately, these two battles show that Denethor's distrust of Faramir as a military commander is fully justified.

Battle of Pelennor Fields: Tolkien knew that horses won't charge elephants, and his Haradrim use the mumakil, like the historical Seleucids, as a screen to keep the Rohirrim away. If shooting elephants in the eyes was deemed too gruesome (as opposed to hamstringing them, not to mention slaughtering huge numbers of horses?), they could have at least kept the Gondor infantry attacking the mumakil, not the cavalry.

12:54:48 AM Dec 16th 2013
Babylon 5 There is a very good example of piss-poor tactics in Babylon-5, which I would add to the article were it not locked.

Someone who follows the show more religiously than myself could probably give the name of the episode, where the White Star fleet battles the Earth Alliance's Shadow-enhanced destroyers. The Destroyer commander demonstrates court-martial worthy incompetence when his forces come out of hyperspace, taking the White Stars by surprise and completely encircling them. Said Commander then proceeds to send a signal demanding surrender, thus sacrificing the element of surprise, giving Ivanova's fleet time to array themselves in response to the encirclement, and then meet said attack head-on. All of this rather than open fire immediately upon arrival, devastating the enemy, and then offering to let any survivors surrender. Such incompetence, with such a high cost would see a real-life Admiral at the very least removed from his command. Interestingly, this event is a good example of Hollywood tactics playing out exactly as they should...crushing defeat for the idiot who attempted to employ said tactic.
12:59:14 AM Dec 16th 2013
On a side note, the entry on 'Independence Day' is inaccurate. While the F-18's do indeed fire Sidewinders at the Alien Ships, they are also seen quite clearly in more than one scene firing Harpoon anti-ship missiles at them, and without going nuclear (in situations where they obviously did not wish to) there wasn't anything much heavier they could have thrown at said city-ships. The firing of Sidewinders at the ships should be seen as the fighters throwing anything and everything they have at them. There are a lot of military blunders in that movie, but the use of sidewinders is not one of them, it is a depiction of desperation.
02:19:03 PM Dec 16th 2013
edited by
I think you should take your tirade of 'offering surrender is super duper ultra stupid' elsewhere.
08:12:01 AM Dec 18th 2013
edited by
@Whistler: Requests for editing locked pages should be made here:

[How does the military start out attacking them? They only use fighter jets armed only with pissy little Sidewinders.]

As for your 'Independence Day' note - the entry should be perhaps reworded, e.g. "only with missiles fired from the fighter jets." - but otherwise retained as it still displays the "no combined arms" facet of the Hollywood tactics, as the military (IIRC) does initially attempt to use fighter jets and their relatively light ordnance as the only defensive measure against city-sized spaceships - apparently in Hollywoodland noone bothered to cogitate whether the 20 pound Sidewinder warhead would really damage a spaceship of that size, whether there are not some other, more effective Air-Air missiles, and apparently there are no ground- or sea-based AA/ABM missile systems etc.

Using a sea-skimming anti-ship missile (if the Harpoon was really used) against an aerial target does not seem to be the brightest of tactical ideas, either.
09:18:37 PM Dec 12th 2013
edited by
It should be worth mentioning in the Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn example how, when Zelgius met up with the rest of his army, his forces were in various formations instead of just one huge hulking brute of an army, shouldn't it? Perhaps as a means to contrast with how the cutscene showed it, if nothing else.

Also, perhaps a mention should go to how before he came in, all the other commanders and senators were engaging in such tactics and how it's lampshaded by Zelgius himself and Levail?
10:49:58 AM Oct 29th 2013
edited by
The M*A*S*H example (Hawkeye comes up with the suggestion that they surrender to the sniper. He argues that this would allow them to attend to the wounded, but fails to explain how this makes any sense ...) - this should be somewhat explained and justified, or removed from the Hollywood Tactics page completely. The MASH was a series running on a Black Humor and depicting the absurdity and pointlessness of war (and with Hawkeye as a Dead Pan Snarker extraordinaire), and so the proposal actually makes some sense (sort of) - according to The Laws and Customs of War, medical personnel and chaplains, when surrendering, are to be allowed to "continue to exercise their medical and spiritual functions" - i.e. if the hospital surrendered, the stated objective of "allowing them to attend to the wounded" would be satisfied, and with the hospital being located behind the UN Forces frontlines, liberation from captivity would be matter of time - surely a lonely sniper who infiltrated there possess much greater military strength than a whole mobile hospital unit combined, but he's relatively powerless against any possible liberating force. The problem here seems to be laying chiefly in fact that the sniper is both Genre Savvy (attacking a medical installation is a war crime, so he really does not want to expose himself) and unwilling to be distracted from his harassment fire by following the rules to his disadvantage. Or he just did not care - but Hawkeye's "plan" to exploit the rules of warfare by interpreting them literally by itself is hardly an example of the Hollywood Tactics, though perhaps appealing to absurdity and verging on the insane troll logic. Absurd - yes, impractical - yes, incomprehensible and unreasonable from the conventional military logic point of view - perhaps; but hardly an example of the Hollywood Tactics.
10:37:23 AM Oct 30th 2013
It's removed.
01:23:58 PM Oct 31st 2013
Thank you for a prompt reaction.
12:59:12 PM Mar 25th 2013
The Mongol part in the real life section completely mischaracterizes the Hungarian and Polish forces. Excluding some of the order knights (who were much better off in close combat than their foes), they did not simply charge, they used sound tactics that often were able to match or outmatch the Mongols on a tactical level; the problem for the Europeans was whenever things were going well for them, like at Sajó Bridge, the Mongols could just ride away to fight again another day, or feign a retreat and try again immediately, because they were much swifter than the Hungarian forces (because the Hungarians had chased off their own light cavalry en masse due to infighting and paranoia). European retreats, on the other hand, were devastatingly costly as the Mongols were able to ride them down. Furthermore, their swiftness meant their was not many options for European infantry when mounted archers were shooting them, this was a result of the Mongols having many more horses, it wasn't a choice the European generals had made.
05:37:08 PM Mar 7th 2013
the last point of custers last stand has to removed, because loosing all his men is not a reason to loose the battle, it's the result...
05:22:49 PM Mar 7th 2013
The dragon age entry also needs cleaning up: justifying bad tactics by saying that the king, who isn't the commander, isn't a tactician, while there is a whole army of soldiers and many many many people with battle practice who have the kings ear, and the king is no total idiot, just a glory seeker...
08:59:41 PM Dec 12th 2013
edited by
The entry is indeed problematic. It says that Loghain wanted to kill Cailan and the rest of the army under Cailan's command. One, that was never Loghain's intention — and it's a common misunderstanding amongst the fandom — because that's actually an asenine way to 1) kill your king, even if he was going to do that and 2) not the point.

Loghain's plan was, operating off of what intel they had saying the horde would be larger then before but not too large, to surround them and wipe them out using their numbers. He had repeatedly tried to warn Cailan off of the field and discuss tactics with him even before the Warden's arrival. But the horde was far larger then anyone had anticipated, and could be seen extending far back into the Wilds from the bridge. Even when the beacon is lit, they're still coming.

Add into that the delay of the beacon (due to Darkspawn, though Loghain didn't know that) and how Cailan's forces were cracking under pressure, and what would've happened had he charged is that he would've faced a double envelopment.

As for Cailan being an idiot, well, he is one. He goes into battle without an heir named or even legitimizing his bastard brother that he knew about, repeatedly brushes off Loghain's desire to talk tactics and calls it "boring", and has an unhealthy idealization of the world. The guy is a manchild, through and through. Saying the soldiers could've talked to him about the battle is ignoring how Cailan wouldn't even listen to his GENERAL.

And those things he did — the one volley, the wasting of the Mabari troops, charging out into the open — are all things that cannot be laid at Loghain's feet. Loghain told Cailan to lure the Darkspawn into the open where they could be surrounded, not charge out to meet them and make shoddy use of his resources. Luring your enemy in that situation is best done when you at least have the walls protecting your flanks (the Darkspawn certainly didn't need help charging at them. They just went ahead and did it), while having Archers in the far back firing continuously into the horde and a phalanx formation up front extending a few rows back.

I'd edit it in myself, but the article's locked so I assume only the moderators can do it.
09:00:07 PM Dec 12th 2013
edited by
double post on a lagging computer.
05:12:26 PM Mar 7th 2013
could an admin clear up the MASH entry? In the first paragraph it would be good to know what the flaw in hawkeyes plan actually is. And the second is totally wrong as the pilot says he can't land there.
10:37:43 AM Oct 30th 2013
The entry is removed.
10:04:57 AM Jan 26th 2013
This example isn't clear about whether it actually belongs.
  • During the battle of Marineford in One Piece, Whitebeard's initial tactic of emerging right in the middle of Marineford harbor is visually impressive and carries shock and awe, however that is his only tactic, and left him totally surrounded. (He did, however, stop to notice the Marine warships on opposing sides, and ordered his pirate allies to use their ships to fire on them, correctly noting that it was a encirclement plan. But by then, it was too little, too late.) Meanwhile, the Marines used actual strategy, including combined arms, flanking, fortifications, and psychological warfare. It is testament to the pirates' impressive resolve and power that it isn't a total slaughter from the very beginning... though about halfway through, it becomes clear this will not end well for the pirates.
    • Whitebeard's dramatic entrance wasn't his only tactic; he did keep one ship in reserve out of sight of the enemy, in case things went wrong, and it's the use of that ship that enabled his forces to invade Marineford's main plaza.
04:08:20 AM Jan 29th 2013
Originally it was just another example on the page. Then I decided to add the point below, and that was seen as wrong for some reason.
03:48:19 PM Feb 9th 2013
Gonna move the original example back onto the main page.
02:15:52 PM Jan 4th 2013
An edit I made earlier, which was taken off did have a key bit of useful info in it for the Independence Day trope. I.E. that they fist tested the ship's capabilities with jets, then try a more deadly response with nuclear ordinance.
02:21:00 PM Jan 4th 2013
"partially justified" sounds more like a Justifying Edit to me, honestly, and we don't want those. If you are sure that they did it for that reason, just yank the example.

Speaking for myself, I don't see how they expected fighters to work against giant spaceships at all.
10:02:22 AM Mar 1st 2013
edited by Deepbluediver
People tend to frown on that whole "human test subject" thing.

There was another comment about Independence day a few spaces down, to which I already replied. Basically, that movie belongs in this group because there probably wasn't any good reason to use fighter-jets at all, except that it's cinematic and the director wanted to make "Top Gun with Aliens". Or that the military was thinking "we'll counter their flying forces with OUR flying forces", which even if it was the best conclusion (it's not) would be poor justification.

Most importantly, why do they need to test the capabilities of a city-sized ship with figher-planes at all? If you want to attack a city, do you send in the fighters? Or the BOMBERS? Or why do you even need to us planes? Even if the military did not have the un-manned drone capabilities it does today, there are plenty of OTHER medium or long-range options they could have picked: surface-to-air missiles, naval artillery barage, nuclear missiles fired from a silo, etc. ANY of which might have been more effective/less costly than, or should have been employed in conjunction with, fighter jets.
01:22:19 PM Aug 17th 2013
I agree that testing capabilities of their enemies is a questionable decision but in terms of using fighters I don't think there is much else they could do. What use would ground and naval forces do against an enemy that is primarily in the air and over land? I agree that testing their capabilities would be better done with long range options than fighters but honestly I'm not sure it would have done much good. There is just no good strategy against an enemy with an EVERYTHING PROOF shield. As for the jets with sidewinders the same principle applies, no military in the world is prepared to deal with a city sized spaceship with plot armor level protection. In war you play the hand you're dealt and a nuke is both your best card and most dangerous card.

I guess the entire point is they picked a bad choice out of a fish bowl filled with bad choices. Engaging air with air is one of the few logical choices and it didn't work because a certain secretary of defense didnt tell the people in charge that he already knew such an attack wouldn't succeed.
07:13:15 AM Nov 13th 2012
edited by Deepbluediver
I have an issue with the film entry for King Arthur. It states that luring an enemy into combat in an open field is an inferior tactic to trying to fight them from a position of defensive strength, and normally it would be right, but this is sort of a unique situation.

Assuming we're talking about the most recent film from 2004, the wall isn't a castle or fort, it is just a wall roughly 80 miles long (that's the figure the other wiki gives). Without the Roman soldiers, even if Arthur had managed to station groups of defenders along the wall's entire length and keep them supplied, they would have been spread pretty thin. Had the Saxons retreated and attacked later at a different location, they probably could have easily overcome the small group of localized defenders before reinforcements arrived.

One of the things that makes defensive warfare so tricky is that you need to defend everywhere at once, while the attacker can concentrate their force at a single point. (think Maginot Line vs. German tanks) Attacking a superior force in an open field may not have been a great tactic, but if they tried to defend from behind the wall, it could have eventually resulted in an even SMALLER force being forced to fight the entire Saxon army by themselves.

I don't see this as bad tactics so much as a calculated gamble. In fact, the more I think about it, it seems like it was Hollywood tactics on the Saxon's part for running headlong into an area where they know their enemies are alerted and ready for them, instead of falling back and looking for a better time and place to sneak attack.

Edit: There's actually several other entries that I also think are less "bad tactics" and more "no good choices" (because, let's face it, barely winning the fight makes for good action sequences and drama). My understanding of the trope was that there needs to be better options, militarily speaking, and the commander instead picks one that is riskier, gets more people killed, or is entirely ineffective all on it's own. Anyone else have thoughts?
11:32:58 PM Nov 9th 2012
This entry is written horribly, with Bold Inflation and Conversation in the Main Page.

  • The In-Name-Only Starship Troopers movie, full stop. The tactics and military conduct in this movie are so bad that it makes you think they're deliberately trying to lose* that this is indeed the case]], and would probably need an entire essay dedicated to it to do it justice. However, the film is a subversion; unlike most films all of their incredibly bad ideas don't actually work, and by and large the human troops are completely slaughtered. The writers intent seems to have been to use the enormous casualty rate resulting from them as a way to emphasize that War Is Hell, but the human characters just come across as idiots who dont know how to conduct warfare instead (especially absurd because the entire culture is built around militarism). Notably, the Bugs actually do use decent tactics and combined arms given their limitations. They routinely stage ambushes and the basic drones soak up a lot of casualties, but they were literally born to be cannon fodder.
    • Let's count:
      • Ships parked shoulder-to-shoulder in orbit? Check.
      • Underestimating an enemy that can throw asteroids at you from across the galaxy? Check.
      • Invading with a ground army against an enemy with plenty of open-air targets instead of just nuking them from orbit to clear out the surface emplacements? Check.
      • No artillery, armor, air, or orbital support for your massive ground assault, even when clearly shown having carpet bombing capabilities? Check.
      • After landing, announcing their presence to all of Klendathu by exiting the landing craft screaming while the craft shoot off flares? Check.
      • Attempting the Zerg Rush when the other side is the Zerg? Check.
      • Using horrendously ineffective assault rifles (though to be fair, they have a slung-under shotgun) against an enemy that can survive an entire clip being unloaded into it? Check.
        • To be even more fair, in Real Life it is difficult to change personal infantry weapons. The M-16 rifle was a disaster when first introduced. In recent times the US Army has had several programs to create "advanced" personal infantry weapons which all were dropped after spending billions.
      • The only "tactic" on display is the Circular Firing Squad... one for each bug? Check.
      • No actual tactics whatsoever? Checkmate.
    • Bear in mind the above is from the Battle of Klendathu. Afterward, the Federation gets a little more clever, but their main planetary force still seems to consist of nothing but plain old infantry, with no mechanized support whatsoever, and airborne support showing up for all of one scene and then promptly forgotten about. Word of God tries to Hand Wave this by stating that the Klendathu terrain was horrible for tanks and the like, but that doesn't explain why they don't use their airborne capabilities more often, for either transport or attack.
      • Even worse in the original, they were packing only rifles, no form of heavier weapons whatsoever, when even MGLs were man-portable, never mind RPGs.
    • Morale and training among the soldiers appears to be incredibly poor as well, as the first attack disintegrates into a confused rout literally moments after the first engagement and a few casualties. The Terran military also has a strangely bipolar way of maintaining discipline and unit cohesion. Serious offenses quickly result in corporeal punishment and refusing to fight is threatened with summary execution by shooting, but not only do they organize random parties after a minor engagement, they also do it right in the middle of enemy territory. They're also a-okay with fraternization among the troops, even though actively encouraging romantic attachments between them could seriously undermine their units' combat effectiveness.
      • The training itself throws all forms of safety and sense out the window, without any cover from stray shots in live fire exercises for the troops marching around it, not even a wall.
    • When the people on the ship notice the giant asteroid heading toward Earth, rather than firing their rockets immediately to get out of the way, they wait until the last possible second to dodge out of the way of the giant, seemingly unguided asteroid, which clips off a large part of the ship. Despite this, the captain of the ship compliments the pilot as the best damn pilot in the fleet, instead of telling her she's an incompetent screw-up and a show-off that got a bunch of people needlessly killed. She's also never court-martialed, demoted, or even reprimanded for nearly killing hundreds of people and causing millions in damage by recklessly flying out an interstellar spaceship from spacedock in her first ever piloting duty, an action she even has the nerve to laugh off right afterwards.
    • Briefly averted in the third film, where Colonel Rico rallies his troops and they make the best of their weapons and terrain (using grenade launchers to force the bugs back while the troopers advanced, with troopers walking along the tops of the trenches to give them covering fire). Indeed, his defense of Roku San proved to be quite effective, until the perimeter defenses were shut down by The Mole. Later, the military's introduction of mech units proves to be a vast improvement as well.
09:39:51 AM Jan 21st 2013
I've tried to re-write the example. What do you guys think?

  • Many examples in Starship Troopers. The writer's intent seems to use the high casualties from battles to hammer home the message that War Is Hell, but it's poorly executed and instead the human characters just come off as Too Dumb to Live. Averted by the Bugs, who use combined arms tactics, stage ambushes, and effectively use expendable drones to soak up fire. The "battle of Klendathu" is the biggest offender:
    • Ships are parked in orbit right next to each other, so Bug anti-space weapons can take them out easily, hit after hit. Bonus points is this problem is mentioned by the humans as one of the reasons the attack failed.
    • The humans fight a ground war against an enemy that is planet-bound, instead of simply nuking the place from orbit.
    • The attack force is light infantry (not mechanized), with no armour or air support. While the lack of armour support is Hand Waved by statements that the terrain is unsuitable for tanks and the like, there is no justification for a lack of air-support, either for bombing or rapid deployment of troops, especially when they're shown to have such capabilities.
    • Human infantry are squishy, heavily-outnumbered and armed with weak but massed ranged weapons. Rather than set up kill-zones and Defensive Feint Traps and make use of explosives to counter their numbers, they simply send the enemy rushing over to fight the bugs in a Zerg Rush. Not very good when the enemy is the actual Zerg.
    • Poor morale and troop cohesion, with the whole assault turning into a panicked rout after only a few casualties.
12:38:34 PM Feb 5th 2013
Sounds good to me.
10:55:28 AM May 13th 2013
edited by
The book was written by someone who actually had some idea what he was talking about (Heinlein was a naval officer and graduate of the US Naval Academy). In the book the "light infantry (not mechanized)" are actually Mobile Infantry, which are the Nth century's answer to tanks, being essentially man-sized armour units except with superior mobility. They can cover distances measured in kilometers with a single jet-assisted jump, meaning they're also essentially their own air support. The In Name Only movie was "adapted" by a couple of Hollywood liberals who wanted to make an anti-war war film, so they played up the "poor soldiers dying in Zerg Rush tactics of the Eeevul Government" part. It's worth pointing out that the book is very different in many ways and the flaws pointed out are mostly specific to the movie, and the book generally justifies most examples of what might otherwise be considered bad tactics (for example, sending in the MI instead of Nuking the Site From Orbit because the strategic goal is to capture a specific type of enemy unit, not to indiscriminately slaughter bugs).
11:09:57 AM May 13th 2013
Okay. So?
10:59:04 AM Aug 9th 2014
Guys, you should point out that aside from said message, the film is also clearly intended to be a blatant parody of the book (Therefore, all the Hollywood-style cheesiness is intentional). Said satirical elements should be considered in case this example is rewritten, because to me, it looks like the film is taken way too seriously.
09:09:22 AM Sep 12th 2012
"You totally suck, Arasorn", is what the picture says.
10:30:52 AM Sep 12th 2012
No, it says Aragorn. It's just the font is weird.
12:36:41 AM Sep 6th 2012
Does the Independence Day example belong? The complaint is that it was bad tactics to send a flight of jets armed with sidewinders against the alien bases. The ships are hovering over major cities, and combat bases aren't exactly built that close to them. Mobilizing artillery would have taken hours at a minimum, and scrambling jets for an aerial opponent is fairly standard. They would also want to force the alien bases to move away from populated areas, so outright destroying them wouldn't be their primary objective. And going to the nuclear solution runs the risk of fallout. The only thing they knew about the enemy ship at that point was that it possessed a gigantic laser in its belly; they had no reason to assume the hull would be impervious to conventional ordnance or that it would possess energy shields. I mean, what kind of tactic would you use for a force with unknown armament and capabilities that just revealed it was hostile a few hours ago?
06:55:09 AM Nov 13th 2012
Bunker buster bombs? SAM missiles? The military does have levels of ordinance in between "destroy a single vehicle" and "nuke".

On the one hand, you don't really want to destroy something that big when it's hovering directly over a major population center, but that really means you just wait until it moves somewhere else. In fact, if it's anywhere near the coastline (since that's where many cities are) then you can probably target it with artillery from battleships as well.

Yes, it's true that this may have been a situation with few good responses, but the military seems to have picked the worst of a bad lot.
07:33:01 AM Aug 23rd 2013
I absolutely see fuzzywulfes point. The point being "how do you stop something that is completely invincible?" After the logical attack failed (fighting an Air Force with an Air Force) it is abundantly clear that no combined arms assault could stop it because of the damn shield. The nuke was indeed the only option because any other type of assault was doomed to failure and that would be needlessly wasting resources. Plus they stated that Dallas was evacuated before they launched meaning they pretty much condemned the entire city in order to launch it. If the nuke and the falling ship didnt destroy it then the ship laser would finish the job. The entire point is there is no good decision for fighting an unknown quantity like this. Mistakes will be made but not on the ineptitude of commanders but because there is no precedent for fighting an enemy as unique as this.
08:12:16 PM Aug 25th 2012
"Putting your general in the front lines. At least, so long as him fighting isn't a major part of your strategy. Though historically, whether your general fights from the front or not had a LOT to do with the local culture and concept of what a proper war leader is like. Alexander the Great always fought in the heat of battle, and his men wouldn't have followed him if he had preferred a nice tall hill behind the lines. "

In fact for most of history generals did prefer to be pretty close to the front lines if not actually participating. They wanted to see what was going on as much as possible and they also wanted to be able to pull rank at critical momments. One of the most preferred means was riding up and down just to the rear of the line on a horse where they could see and get where they were needed fast. It was actually often a more dangerous job then a private soldiers which is why generals were looked on as demigods in the past and today are often looked on as support personal in fancy clothes. Wellington for instance, lost half his staff at Waterloo doing this.
07:01:39 AM Nov 13th 2012
edited by Deepbluediver
When massed armies of troops where still a relevant battle tactic (i.e. before radio), the general pretty much needed to be within hailing distance in order to evaluate and make changes to the plan. I think the original comment means when you see a movie or book where the general is not just close to the action, but has in fact engaged in personal combat as a planned tactic. Not only does he endanger himself and his supporting officers as a target, he can't see what's happening elsewhere or give new orders when he's trying to keep from being stabbed in the face.
05:10:52 AM Feb 5th 2012
I don't know enough about Medieval tactics to comment on A Song Of Ice And Fire. At first I thought the books seem to avert this trope, but there are so many battles under so many different circumstances that I don't know how good it actually is. The tactics of the successful commanders seem clever to me, (attacking peasants to make the enemy army stretch itself out to defend them, using ambushes, taking advantage of the opposing commander's mentality to lure them into overreaching themselves etc.) but I don't know enough about real life tactics to know if these would actually work. The characters also mention some instances of where attempting to ride down a phalanx of pikemen has ended very badly, and how leading heavily armoured troops through swampy terrain while being showered with arrows is an equally epic fail, but again, I don't know enough to comment on whether the series as a whole plays this trope straight or averts it.

Can anyone who has read the series and knows a bit about real life medieval tactics help me on this?
11:44:28 AM Dec 23rd 2011
So many justifying edits, ugh.

Sorry that's all.
07:12:06 PM Dec 23rd 2011
There's a button at the top of the page that says "Edit." If you really think there's a problem, stop whining and get to work.
05:20:48 PM Dec 10th 2011
edited by Otookee
R.e. the Chronicles of Narnia: Some confusion there regarding who is talking about which movie. Disambiguation needed.

As far as #1:Lion Witch Wardrobe goes, in my opinion the tactics were fairly reasonable. The Narnians are an army of Ragged Rebels, and the White Witch's forces are Bestial Brutes, so on both sides the tactics need to stay fairly simple to reduce confusion among the troops.

Peter openly admits that he has no tactical experience. He's not really a "leader" but a symbolic rallying point. He needs to be out front, highly visible, to inspire the troops - and also to serve as bait for the Witch. My interpretation was that the goal of the Narnians (hereafter "A" for Aslan) is to draw the Witch's forces ("W") into a trap. The centaur heavy cavalry are most effective on the open plain, so that's where they're deployed, with the best-armored of the light infantry. The archers are deployed atop the cliffs, where they're hard to get to (and the remaining infantry are kept out of sight in the canyon?). The W forces are almost entirely infantry, with very little cavalry, archers, or air support - but they have at least 3:1 numerical superiority, and heavy infantry (the minotaurs) which A lacks.

Neither side has defensive earthworks, stakes, etc. - this probably _is_ a tactical failure on A's part. The W army, believing that they outnumber the A side even more than they actually do, initiate the attack with a charge by about half their forces, with the other half and the Witch remaining in reserve. A's air support, lacking actual bombs, instead play the role of skirmishers, breaking up the W line and slowing its' momentum slightly. A's forces then counter-charge, and melee is joined.

Peter waits until the Witch commits the second half of her forces, then signals for the phoenix to lay down a flame-wall between those reinforcements and the melee. The Witch breaks through it easily (more easily than A expected, from the look of things), but it slows the W reinforcements enough that the A troops can rally and fall back, drawing the W army into the broken terrain where they can't hold formation and have to fight uphill while the archers whittle them down. In MMORPG terms, Peter's group are the tanks: drawing aggro, pulling the W forces into range of the DPS, and then holding them there.

It's not a bad plan, but W's sheer numbers start to overwhelm A's forces - until Aslan arrives with extra reinforcements, which combined with the death of the Witch and the unexpected return-from-the-dead of Aslan himself, demoralize the W army.

It's not clear whether the Narnian counterattack in the canyon consists entirely of de-petrified Narnians from the castle, or if they are simply augmenting a reserve force of A's infantry which was being held in reserve to hit W's flanks once W were squeezed into the canyon (a variant on the classic Hannibal maneuver). The movie makes it seem like the former; the latter would make more tactical sense.

Movie #2(Prince Caspian) is more problematic. The Narnian tactics against the Telmarine cavalry are good (pit trap to stop the charge, followed by a flank attack from hidden ramps) but they don't seem to have had any real plan to stop the (much more numerous) pikemen - who, on their part, are much too eager to break ranks once their slow, stomp-marching squares actually reach the Narnians. The Telmarines show good use of artillery (trebuchets to smash the Howe, multi-shot ballistas to shred the Narnian air force), but after being routed by the walking trees, it's not clear at all just how "we can defeat them if we draw them to the river" was supposed to work. Defeat them by milling around on the shore?

10:54:35 AM Nov 15th 2012
There are a couple of reasons I can think of for wanting to fight near water, such as limiting the direction of attack or disrupting enemy troops with a certain kind of terrain, but that's pure speculation. They might have not really had a strategy and where just trying to keep the soldiers from breaking into a retreat. What sounds better here: "Nobody panic, we have a plan and the situation is totally under control!" or "We're boned and I've got no idea what to do...uhm...everyone let's run that way, ok?"

All the rest makes sense to me.

There are certainly examples on the page of tactics that where questionable in hindsight, when we have full knowledge of the events that played out, but if you where looking at them in real time with limited information, the characters can be making what seems like the best decision AT THAT MOMENT.
08:52:27 PM Oct 19th 2011
"The Iraqi Army in 1991 deploying in Kuwait with its right wing sticking out like a "kick-me" sign."

I would say this was justified because the Iraqis genuinely believed that the Americans were going to attempt an amphibious landing on Kuwait as part of the American deception plan.
08:01:56 PM Dec 6th 2011
Then remove it.
08:06:18 PM Aug 25th 2012
edited by jatay3
No army deserves to have it's flank in the air, holding absolutely still and then justify itself by saying they were fooled by clever deception tactics when said flank gets splattered. If nothing else they could have refused their right and left a swarm of scouts to occupy the territory left behind. That would have been an obvious caution that wouldn't have taken much work even if they thought the Americans were coming from elsewher. As a bonus it would have made them easier to supply and to reinforce and allowed the Iraqis interior lines.
04:30:10 PM Oct 17th 2011
You know, if we're going to have an image from The Return of the King, there should probably be an example to explain it. There used to be one, but there was a bunch of natter and someone removed the whole thing rather than just the natter.
03:17:00 AM Nov 13th 2011
The Lot R films probably deserve to be amongst the largest entries on here. Anyone want to start working on a draft?
04:48:44 PM Dec 3rd 2011
From what I remember, the actual content had a lot of justifying edits and made some notes on actual reasons behind why the characters were using such apparently subpar tactics, which is why the whole thing eventually got axed.
09:55:05 AM Dec 27th 2011
Since all those edits were fanwanking away the films' inarguable flaws regarding military tactics (especially since the books actually had a pretty good grasp of it), can't the flaws just be noted and the natter deleted without prejudice?
07:03:38 PM Jul 28th 2011
"The Borg use NO tactics at all, but they still win because of We Have Reserves, Zerg Rush, AND the ability to adapt to enemy weapons and tactics. They don't care if their units are wiped out, because the next units they send will have adapted to the weapons/tactics the enemy used to defeat the previous units. All that, and a Hive Mind which keeps morale from being an issue."

My quibble with the Borg, is that their adaptability doesn't seem matched by an equally good memory. If they're a Hive Mind, why do they need to adapt to standard issue Starfleet weapons more than once? Or, at worst, after more than one shot in any given encounter? Why do we have the 'they wont attack until they see us a threat' line every time? They've encountered you before and you were a threat then! Besides which, Borg attack any intelligent life-form on principle, whether they're a threat or not!
04:28:20 PM Oct 17th 2011
Irrelevant to the trope itself, but I'll answer:

"If they're a Hive Mind, why do they need to adapt to standard issue Starfleet weapons more than once?" For the same reason you never become immune to the common cold - the weapons can be modified very slightly so that the adaptations no longer work.

"Or, at worst, after more than one shot in any given encounter?" They probably need time to sample/analyze whatever they're adapting to.

"Why do we have the 'they wont attack until they see us a threat' line every time? They've encountered you before and you were a threat then! Besides which, Borg attack any intelligent life-form on principle, whether they're a threat or not!" Blue and Orange Morality? If I had to guess, it's for the same reason we don't take the effort to attack individual microbes. The Borg attack on a large-scale, and they don't seem willing to attack on a smaller scale unless there's a need to.
09:47:13 AM May 25th 2010
Would the martial arts movie clique wherein the protagonist faces multiple enemies who all attack one or two at a time while the others just kind of stand around go here, or does it have its own thread?
12:23:07 PM May 26th 2010
You mean Mook Chivalry?
09:44:25 AM May 28th 2010
"You mean Mook Chivalry?" THAT'S the trope I was trying to think up. Thanks.

Should that go into the list of subtropes?
02:35:20 PM May 28th 2010
07:25:02 AM Mar 8th 2011
By natter he means conversation.

There is a good word to imply conversation "conversation".
08:36:08 PM Mar 10th 2011
....what are you talking about?
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