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Leeroy Jenkins / Real Life

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Leeroy Jenkins behaviour in real life.

  • Truth in Television: in real life, there were quite a few battles that the losing side could have won if some of the troops didn't attack or charge before the order was given.
    • See, for example, the Battle of Bannockburn. The English army included large numbers of archers, who could potentially have massacred the Scottish schiltrons with little difficulty. Instead, the English knights charged en masse and were slaughtered.
    • And a more extreme example of the same mistake was the Battle of Crécy, at which, according to some accounts, the French knights actually rode over their own archers, such was their eagerness to get to grips with the English. Who shot them down by the hundred. Made worse by the French King Philip of Valois, who ordered his crossbowmen forward, without their pavises (big, thick shields) that they would normally crouch behind in safety while loading their crossbows. The French king was eager to start immediately heedless of a plan. The crossbowmen got cut down like grass to a lawnmower and started to retreat, enraging the king — who ordered the knights to charge over them, and they got bogged down in all the bodies, letting the English cut them down as well.
  • Genghis Khan made Leeroy Jenkinses out of just about every army he or his generals came across, mainly due to their perfected use of the Defensive Feint Trap. On the steppes of Mongolia, it had been a common military and psychological tactic used by steppe tribes, which (until Genghis Khan united them) had constantly battled each other and thus had a lifetime of experience using and anticipating the tactic in order to keep their troops from breaking loose and running into a trap. Pit that against armies that generally either lacked the understanding of Mongolian tactics such as fake retreating (or should have, but looked down on the Mongolians as being too uncivilized to be victorious), and/or were hastily conscripted with inexperienced, many times malnourished peasants that knew little of military tactics to begin with, and who would many times just be made to Zerg Rush an enemy? The conquest of nearly one-fourth of the entire world in the half-century that followed from countless fake routs during battle - even when they were outnumbered several times over - basically speaks for itself.
  • The Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, also known as the Crusade of Nicopolis, where the French Knights (does anybody see a pattern here?) disobeyed orders from the crusade leader (King Sigismud of Hungary), who asked them to wait two hours until the Wallachian scouts, led by their prince Mircea the Elder, returned. The French accused Sigismund of wanting to hoard all the glory and charged. While they were successful at first, overrunning the inexperienced infantry that sultan Bayazid used as bait, they were soon attacked by archers and impaled their horses on a row of spikes that Bayazid had prepared the night before. Did the French retreat? No. They just dismounted and attacked the Janissaries on foot, beating them. Did they now have a break and rest and regroup? No. They attacked the Turkish elite Sipahi cavalry behind the Janissaries on foot, and inevitably came out second best. A lot of French high nobles died that day. Mircea the Elder knew the battle was lost when he saw the French charge and led his troops away from the field and over the Danube, to defend Wallachia from Bayzid's inevitable counter-attack once he was done slaughtering French knights.
  • Some of the least favorable interpretations of France's 19th-century army doctrines, at least those established by Jomini, could probably be defined as turning the French army into a force of Leeroy Jenkins. His book's publication expenses were footed by a revolutionary general, Michel Ney, who also went down in history as this. The French call it élan (momentum). It's been suggested as one of the reasons World War I surgically removed France's then-legendary taste for war after too much élan led to one of the worst death tolls in the war.
  • Older Than Print: At the Battle of Hastings (1066) a group of Norman soldiers, fearing that their Duke, William the Bastard (so named because he was a literal bastard) had died, began to break and run. A detachment from the Saxon shield wall ran after them and was promptly annihilated when William ripped off his helmet to show the fleeing knights he was alive, rallying them. Then the Normans decided to try a couple of fake retreats. Each time, the Saxons fell for it hook, line, and sinker, whittling away their forces bit by bit. Had the Saxons wised up and held their shield wall, William may have had to back down, and the course of English history might have been radically different.note 
  • The Battle of Minisink late in the American Revolutionary War, the only significant battle in the upper Delaware valley, was this at both the strategic and tactical level. After a raiding party led by Joseph Brant, an Iroquois whose military acumen had gotten him commissioned as an officer in the British Army, took advantage of Pulaski's move to Pennsylvania to attack now-undefended Patriot enclaves in the upper Delaware region between New York and Pennsylvania. One of those raids, on Peenpack (now Port Jervis), in early July 1779, incited a group of about 120 local militiamen, little with any actual combat experience, much less training, to gather in Goshen, the county seat, for a revenge mission.

    Their reluctant commander, Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten, suggested the group should wait to be joined by regulars from a nearby Continental Army regiment who could be detached to join them, as he knew this ragtag band would be no match for the skilled Brant and his veterans. But they voted to march anyway, and so all they got was Col. John Hathorn, who had served under Washington earlier, and some other elements of that regiment. At the Minisink ford on the Delaware, Hathorn had the group lay an ambush for Brant's raiders, but those plans were spoiled when one of the militiamen fired early. Calling the ensuing combat a "battle" is rather generous; most of the militiamen were slaughtered and Hathorn was one of the few to make it back to Goshen. It took 40 years for the descendants of the dead to bring what bones they could find at the battlefield back and bury them under a monument on the town's green.
  • It occasionally works the other way, too. At the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the original Union plan was to stop and regroup at the base of the ridge, but the soldiers in the front line — whether due to miscommunication, disregarding the order, tactical circumstancesnote , or simply because everyone to their left and right was doing the same — simply kept going. Considering what happened to start the second phase of Missionary Ridge in the first place, it makes the fact that it ended as a Union victory even more awesome:
    (General Phil Sheridan pulls a flask from his pocket and toasts the Confederate artillery on the ridge)
    General Phil Sheridan: Here's at you!
    (the Rebels open fire on Sheridan and his staff, but only manage to shower them with dirt and make Sheridan furious)
    • Encouraged by Sheridan's shouting, his soldiers charge up the hill towards the Confederate guns, shouting "Chickamauga!", in the words of Ambrose Bierce, "as though the name itself were a weapon"note . This reckless advance worries the commanding Union general, Ulysses S. Grant:
    General U.S. Grant: Who ordered those men up the hill?!
    One of Grant's Aides: No one. They started up without orders. When those fellows get started, all Hell can't stop them!
  • Another highly famous incident in the American Civil War was at Gettysburg. General Dan Sickles, notorious Jerkass extraordinaire, completely ignored orders on the second day given by General Meade, and moved his entire corps forward out of a fortified position to engage the enemy. His entire corp was virtually destroyed in the ensuing battle… but he may have inadvertently saved the entire battle for the Union—General Longstreet was marching his soldiers for a coordinated attack on the Union left while Ewell attacked the Union right, and Sickles' sudden movement spooked Longstreet, causing him to counter-march via a different route under heavier cover, wasting several hours in the process and allowing Union forces to move quickly to counter both attacks.
    • This would also apply to Chamberlain's last-ditch bayonet charge in defense of Little Round Top. Running low on ammunition, he ordered fixed bayonets. As the Texans were regrouping for another assault on the hill, he and his men charged into the middle of the Texans, allowing Chamberlain to hold the hill until reinforcements arrived.
  • An awful lot of the maneuvers in the American Civil War Battle of First Bull Run/First Manassas had a lot of Leeroy Jenkins moments, especially in the case of General Daniel Tyler, ordering a headlong attack by two of Keyes' regiments on the Confederates on Henry Hill without consulting General McDowell. It didn't go so well. This may have been the result of supreme overconfidence: both sides thought the war would begin and end in a matter of weeks; Lincoln's initial call for troops included only a ninety-day commitment.
  • Lieut. Col. George Armstrong Custer may or may not be an example, depending on what interpretation people have of him; in Lost Triumph by Tom Carhart, Custer was a beloved and capable leader, particularly at Gettysburg where his unit prevented the reinforcements from arriving on scene that would have turned Pickett's Charge from a colossal screw up into a game-winning masterstroke. Custer was a major general at 26.note  After the Civil War, Custer's career moved towards more Leeroy Jenkins-type behavior, culminating in the battle of Little Big Horn.
    • Custer's attack against J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry at Gettysburg was incredibly risky, but it was well planned. Custer's brigade was greatly outnumbered by Stuart's division. But Custer also knew the field well and chose the spot to attack that did the most to nullify the advantage of numbers. Custer didn't need to take out Stuart, just prevent him from reaching the main battlefield, and to do that Custer charged headlong into the front of Stuart's column and had his horses literally collide with Stuart's. With Stuart's own front line in the way of the rest of his forces joining the fight, there was no direction available to veer away from their path to the main Gettysburg battlefield. Thus, the cavalry reinforcements that Picket was relying on never arrived, and the Union infantry (initially thrown into disarray) was able to rally back and crush Picket's outnumbered infantry.
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade was a Leeroy Jenkins moment made epic by a well-known poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Though it was caused more by a failure to communicate than actual impatience (some historians have suggested that the British soldiers were intoxicated), and although the actual charge was a complete disaster, it did have the lasting effect of convincing the Russians and the rest of the world that British soldiers were completely nuts, especially since their commander was under the impression that he was supposed to make a Heroic Sacrifice and saw no reason to hold back. And then the French Chasseurs d'Afrique pulled a Leeroy Jenkins themselves, broke the Russian line, and covered the retreat of the Light Brigade, saving their sorry asses. Earlier that same day there was also the maneuver now known as the Thin Red Line, which basically was when the Russians tried a Leeroy Jenkins of their own and got humiliated for their trouble, by a two-men-deep line of Scotsmen, no less.
    • The same thing happened at the Battle of Minden (1759) when a misunderstood order sent a brigade of British infantry advancing on the French lines, and despite everything the French could throw at them, won the day.
      • Less well-remembered from Balaclava is the Charge of the Heavy Brigade. At a key point in the battle, the British Heavy Brigade charged uphill against a numerically superior Russian force (ordinarily a compound tactical error) and won.
      • This is one of the examples used to teach when it is OK to ignore orders, but you better have good proof to the reason you ignored orders.
  • The Swedish army in most of the 17th and 18th-century battles. They always attacked, no matter what kind of a disaster it would lead them into.
    • Likewise, the Swedish Navy of the era. Ironically, it gained its greatest victory (the battle of Svensksund 1790) when it was on defensive and ambushed the Russian fleet in the notoriously diabolical Finnish archipelago.
  • The Italian Bersaglieri started out as what appeared to be a whole battalion of these: they were created by the Kingdom of Sardinia (the predecessor state of unified Italy) as light infantry specialized in charging enemy cavalry and routing it. Then Subverted when, between the excellent training in running, the good aim with what, for the time, were precision weapons (in fact bersagliere is Italian for sharpshooter), and the fact they were smart enough to charge the enemy cavalry on the side, they actually did it. And it's in the Crimean War, the same of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
  • Subverted by King Charles XII of Sweden in the Battle of Narva (1700). His 8,000 Swedes charged impetuously against 40,000 Russians and won. Tsar Peter I simply could not believe the Swedes would charge, even less seek battle against such odds. He would get used to it: the Swedish army always attacked, no matter what the odds were.note . The bookends to Narva is Poltava (1709) where 4,000 Swedes emerged from an attritive push through the Russian perimeter to face 22,000 well-rested Russians. They charged: the final great charge of the Carolean army and the end of Peter's worries.
  • Partially subverted at the Battle of Omdurman when the 21st Lancers charged what they assumed to be a few hundred dervishes, only to find they'd run into about 2,500 of them. Fully subverted in that they still won, despite being outnumbered >6-1 (of the 400 strong 21st Lancers, 70 men and 120 horses were lost).
  • Horatio Nelson, at the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), had something of a Leeroy Jenkins moment. While leading the advance squadron, several of his ships ran aground and his commanding Admiral ordered him to abandon the assault. While trying to read the signal flags, he purposely put his spyglass to his blind eye, said "I really do not see the signal", kept attacking, and won the battle (and indirectly coined the phrase "to turn a blind eye").
    • This one worked out fairly well though.
    • Admiral Parker knew Nelson would keep fighting as long as he saw a chance to win. He also knew that Nelson would make a Heroic Sacrifice unless ordered to retreat. Finally, Parker couldn't see the damn battle owing to all the gunsmoke in the air; he had no idea what was going on, and he was well aware of it. So he put up flags indicating that Nelson had permission to withdraw if he so chose—tacitly giving permission to remain as well. Nelson interpreted it correctly, and the whole "disobeying orders" thing came up later because it makes the story seem romantic. (Not that the bit with the blind eye helped matters.)
  • Gerhard von Blücher, Prussian marshal during the Napoleonic Wars (the one who saved Wellington at Waterloo), was famous for this. His nickname was Marschall Vorwärts (Marshal Forward).
  • As David Farragut is quoted (incorrectly) as saying: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"
  • Referenced, of all places, in this article from the Armed Forces Journal by a U.S. Army Captain who said that the phrase perfectly described U.S. attitudes towards advising Iraqi soldiers.
  • At the Battle of Ain Jalut, a Mongol army that really should have known better (since it was a favourite tactic of theirs) charged blindly after some fleeing Mameluke horsemen and were totally destroyed. Especially painful since it was the only Mongol army for about a thousand miles at the time, and had been specifically placed there to keep the Mamelukes in check.
  • During the English Civil War, King Charles I's nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine became infamous for this. His wing of cavalry would charge, break through the Parliamentary lines - and then keep right on going, often for several miles, chasing a few scattered Roundheads. This worked well enough at Edge Hill, the first major battle of the war, but by the time of Marston Moor and Naseby the Parliamentary armies had learned to just let Rupert's men charge and chase a few of their number down — while the remainder regrouped and went back into a battle which had now lost a third of the Royalist army, including the bulk of the Royalist cavalry. This was a large part of the reason why the Royalists were crushed in those two battles, and by extension a major reason why they lost the whole war, and Charles lost his head.
  • The Battle of Adrianople (1205) with the forces of the Fourth Crusade, led by Baldwin of Flanders and Louis of Blois, versus the Bulgarian-Vlakh-Kuman army of tsar Kaloyan, ended like this. Louis of Blois had just recovered from an illness that had left him unable to participate in the Fourth Crusade's conquest of Constantinople, and he was overeager to show his stuff. When the Kuman cavalry broke and ran, Louis charged willy-nilly after them, with Baldwin chasing Louis trying to stop him. The Kumans then encircled them. Louis died defending Baldwin, who was then captured and eventually killed in prison.
  • Also the original Battle of Adrianople in 378 when then-Emperor Valens was threatened by Fritigern's army of Goths. Valens was safely positioned in the almost-impregnable city of Constantinople but decided this wasn't a good enough chance for a victory, so he moved his army to the much less-defensible city of Adrianople... and then moved them again to the open countryside seven hours north of the city, where he could be certain that all of the Roman Army's equipment and tactical advantage for defending a well-prepared city would be completely useless. Valens' body was never found.

    City defence wasn't the issue. The Goths were plundering the countryside and killing people. As Eastern Roman Emperor and supreme commander of the Roman army, Valens had a duty to stop them. Valens had no reason to believe that he'd lose since the Roman army was the best-trained fighting force on Earth at the time, and the Goths were pretty rag-tag in comparison. However, he lost the battle because he didn't wait for backup from the Western Emperor Gratian, who was on his way from the northwest. Had he waited until the Gothic cavalry returned from foraging (which the Roman scouts initially did not know about until the battle began) and Gratian's armies arrived, victory would have been assured as Fritigern's surprise (and improvised) cavalry charge was what had lead to the humiliating Roman defeat. He also dismissed the advice of his officers, who also urged him to wait.
  • Sgt. Dan Daly was made of this trope. as seen here. At one point during World War I his Marine division was taking cover in a trench while the Germans pounded them. He leaps out of the trench shouts "Come on you sons of bitches, you want to live forever?" and charges at the Germans. The entire division shortly followed him and took the enemy position with few casualties.
  • Rear Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, Royal Navy. A somewhat eccentric character, he was described by the naval historian Andrew Gordon as "in a colloquial if not a clinical sense, insane." At the Battle of Jutland on the 31st May 1916, he was in command of a small cruiser squadron covering the southern flank of the main British Fleet. At about 6pm, as the fleet was deploying into battle formation, Arbuthnot spotted a German cruiser that had been crippled by another British squadron. Instead of taking up position at the rear of the British line, he charged off after the German ship, nearly getting run over by the much larger British battlecruisers sailing up from the south. Unknown to Arbuthnot, said battlecruisers were being chased by the entire German fleet, some of whom spotted Arbuthnot's ship the HMS Defence, and opened fire. Within minutes, the Defence was sunk with everyone on board, including Arbuthnot; another ship, the HMS Warrior, was badly damaged and later had to be abandoned. A third ship from Arbuthnot's squadron, the HMS Black Prince, got separated from the British fleet during the chaos, and during the night accidentally ran into the German fleet and was also sunk with the loss of everyone on board. Only one ship from Arbuthnot's squadron, the HMS Duke of Edinburgh, survived the battle.
    • And that situation only came about because Admiral Sir David Beatty had already had his Leeroy Jenkins moment. Sent ahead by the fleet's supreme commander, Admiral John Jellicoe, to scout for the Germans, he found them alright ... but then ignored standing orders to not engage the Germans until Jellicoe and he could join forces. Beatty compounded his impulsivitynote  by (it is believed) going into battle with his crews ordered to leave ammo supply doors and guns open in order to increase their rate of fire (at the cost of increasing the risk that an enemy hit will cause an explosion that pretty much destroys the whole ship, as it did), cost him and the Royal Navy several ships before the survivors nearly overran Arbuthnot, to which Beatty famously said: "There is something wrong with our bloody ships today."note 
  • Hitler had this going several ways. He picked on Czechoslovakia, which scared his generals as the Czechs had a fair shot at beating the German army in the condition it was... but got away with it because the rest of Europe abandoned the Czechs and their morale collapsed. He went to war with France and Britain about two years before his navy and army thought they were ready for it; the army wanted more time to re-equip with the Panzer III, and the navy projected a need for about 120 submarines to win the war, but only had 42, in the middle of a construction program that was scheduled to be completed in 1948. He topped it by attacking Russia before he'd knocked Britain out of the war or worked out how to actually use all that extra industrial output and manpower in occupied Europe, which might have given him a fair shot at the Russians. He then topped that by declaring war on America just as the Russians started their first round of winter counterattacks, thereby pitting Germany against not one but two enemies it was incapable of defeating.
    • The Jablonków incident of August 25-26, 1939, foreshadowed the September invasion of Poland by one week, with Hitler temporarily postponing the Polish invasion when he learned that Poland had signed a new treaty with Britain promising to lend support if Poland was invaded. All but one of the Abwehr units, one of which was out of reach, led by Lt. Hans-Albrecht Herzner, captured a railway station in the village of Mosty, located in the then-Polish village of Mosty kolo Jabłonkowa, (now known as Mosty u Jablunkova, Czech Republic). The local Polish forces were alerted and Herzner's detachment was forced to withdraw. The Poles dismissed the incident as a blunder, with the Germans referring to this as an incident caused by one insane individual; one week later, in September 1939, the German Abwehr invaded and occupied Poland.
    • In fact, the Germans had bitten off more than they could chew even before they attacked the USA without any need to.note  As early as 1941, Fritz Todt led a committee of Germany's best industrialists, and they found that unless Germany doubled her industrial output, British and Soviet industrial power would leave her for dead. The entry of the USA into the war just sealed the deal.
    • Germany doubled its industrial output and then doubled it again, but it was already 1944.
    • And Hitler never seemed to take into account: 1) If you tick off the people of the lands you're occupying, they will take exception (most notable in the Ukraine, where the people hated the Soviets — but grew to hate the Nazis worse); and 2) the sheer amount of bodies Russia alone could throw at Germany.note 
    • Meanwhile, Mussolini was busy Leeroying up Hitler's plans. While Hitler was planning on turning on the Russians from the beginning, he really wanted to finish his business with Britain first. Then Mussolini had to go and try to rebuild the Roman Empire by invading the Balkans (with even poorer preparations than Germany had at the invasion of Poland, to boot), a move almost guaranteed to bring them into conflict with Russia. Hitler figured it would be better to attack Russia now, while nobody was prepared, rather than let Russia call up its enormous reserves of manpower.note 
  • During World War II, the Polish and Czechoslovak pilots who fought for Britain in the RAF were notorious for simply going into balls-out Unstoppable Rage as soon as they encountered German forces. This was a mostly positive example of Leeroying, though: the No. 303 Polish Squadron had the highest kill rate of any squadron during the Battle of Britain, and its highest-scoring Ace Pilot Josef František was a Czech. František in particular was such a Leeroy that eventually his commander threw up his hands and designated him as a "guest" fighter who was basically permitted to do whatever he wanted, realizing it was no use trying to hold him back.
    • Polish fighter pilots were actually trained to fight like this. Back in Poland they flew mostly PZL P.11 fighters that were much slower (even slower than German bombers) and had weaker guns than their German counterparts but were relatively more nimble. This meant the only way to not get shot out of the sky was to get up close, where speed was less important than maneuverability and the weapons range did not matter. When put behind the cockpits of Hurricanes and Spitfires this made for some frighteningly effective Hit-and-Run Tactics.
    • This extended to their Navy too. During the lead up to the final battle of the KMS Bismarck in 1941, the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun was part of a group who were supposed to harass and keep eyes on Bismarck from afar until the main fleet showed up to finish her off. When HMS Maori, the ship she was partnered with, started her torpedo run the crew realized that Piorun was charging straight at the Bismarck as if to ram it. The crew of the Bismarck were shocked to see the tiny destroyer not only charging them but start flashing "I AM A POLE" with her radio and signal lights, and then open fire with literally everything she had, including the crew reportedly throwing trash and firing pistols at the Bismarck and even bringing musical instruments on deck to play the Polish national anthem at them. Piorun kept this up for an hour and continued to shadow and harass the Bismarck afterwards, defying orders to disengage until they finally had to pull off to refuel. After the main battle commenced the next day and Bismarck was sunk it was found that Bismarck's guns had hit absolutely nothing, which was largely attributed to crew exhaustion from the constant harassment from British ships including the Piorun.
  • During World War II, in the midst of the Allied bombing campaigns over Western Europe, a young American pilot by the name of Robin Olds was scouting ahead of a large formation of bombers when he came across a large gaggle of German fighters who were forming up in preparation to intercept the bombers. Not only did he not contact the rest of his squadron to form up and hit the Germans en masse, he actually mashed his radio key to prevent his wingman from calling out a report on the sighting. He charged headlong into the mass of German fighters, followed by his wingman, and the first moment the Germans realized they were not alone in that slice of sky was when the first pilot called that he'd been hit. This worked in Olds' favor because the Germans were still trying to form up and get organized. The sky was full of fighters, and only a small number of them were enemies. The rest were confused and panicked friendlies who were dodging around every which way trying to figure out if they were the next target of this phantom attacker.
  • The Battle Off Samar, part of the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II. A decoy Japanese fleet baited the bulk of Admiral Halsey's fleet away, leaving Task Force 3, a small force of escort carriers and destroyers - the early 20th century naval equivalent of Red Shirts — to face Admiral Kurita's Center Force, a large formation of battleships and cruisers that outmassed and outgunned the American force by a truly staggering margin.note  The American destroyers attacked the larger force in order to allow the escort carriers a chance to escape, and so ferocious was the American attack, that Admiral Kurita came to the (wrong) conclusion that Admiral Halsey had not taken the bait, and would soon arrive to engage them. Indeed, in the poor visibility that day the American ships' distance (and thus also size) was consistently misinterpreted, and Kurita believed that the tiny escort carriers and destroyers were Halsey's main force of fleet carriers and battleships. The Center Force retreated, resulting in one of the most unexpected victories in the history of naval warfare.
    • Of particular note is Captain Earnest Evans and his destroyer USS Johnston. Taffy 3 was attempting to retreat as quickly as possible with the escorting destroyers laying smoke to allow the carriers a chance to try and escape. Evans without orders turned his ship hard around and at full flank speed charged the attacking Japanese fleet alone. Not only did he close to within torpedo range he managed to take out of the battle two Heavy Cruisers right from the start. It was due to Evan's audacity that the rest of the force also made their own attack runs. To make his bravery even more awesome is that when a squadron of Japanese destroyers led by a cruiser bored in to make a torpedo attack on the retreating Escort Carriers, Evans charged with his heavily damaged destroyer attacking the ships. His attack spoiled their torpedo run once again saving the carriers from attack. This did cost the Johnston as those ships ravaged her sinking the ship. While Evans abandoned ship with his crew, he was never seen again. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.
    • Halsey himself provided an example of the bad form of Leeroy, ignoring the strategic mission in an attempt at tactical victory. The overall battle objective was to land US ground forces on Leyte, with the Navy providing cover against an anticipated IJN counterattack. Instead of waiting for the enemy to come to him (where he would have the help of those very escort carriers providing air cover), he rushed off to try and find the enemy in the open sea (he did, sinking some now-worthless Japanese carriers, which had been sacrificed as decoys precisely because they had no planes available to fly from them), abandoning the landing beaches and supply fleet. More than one historian has guessed that Halsey was attempting to one-up his Blue Oni and rival Raymond Spruance, who had been criticized for letting the Japanese carriers escape at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Had Taffy 3 not made its incredibly ballsy stand, the Japanese heavies would have sailed right up to the landing beaches, sunk the transports, and then shelled the ground forces with near impunity until Halsey finally turned around and came back to chase them away. Aptly summarized by the commander of Taffy 3, Admiral Sprague:
    "That son-of-a-bitch Halsey has left us bare-assed!"
  • Also inverted in World War II; isolationists saw America as this. When it became obvious that the Axis Powers would attack America anyway because, ahem, the Axis Powers attacked America, nobody listened to isolationists for over two decades.note 
  • JNA at Vukovar. Sending tanks into a city with no infantry support? If it isn't stupid, I don't know what is...
  • Torpedo Squadron 8 at the Battle of Midway in WWII. Attacking alone without fighter cover the entire 15-plane squadron was shot down without scoring a single torpedo hit. ENS George Gay was the only member of Torpedo 8 to survive the attack. Fortunately for the U.S. Navy, while the Japanese Combat Air Patrol was chewing up the torpedo bombers, the American dive bombers showed up and were able to attack unopposed, sinking 3 of the 4 Japanese carriers present.
  • Hell, terrorism in general: You'll get captured or killed, and more than likely you'll turn more people against your cause than toward it.
  • Off the battlefield, the 1993 Thanksgiving Day Football Game between the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, leading 14-13 with seconds remaining, managed to block a game-winning field goal attempt from the Miami Dolphins. All Dallas had to do to seal the win is let the ball roll dead. Miami was barred by rule from touching the ball again unless it was touched first by Dallas... which is exactly what happened when Defensive End Leon Lett charged in - past several teammates trying to wave him off and screaming the code word to not touch the ball - and tried to recover the ball. He slipped on the snowy surface and ended up booting the ball forward, where Miami recovered and subsequently re-kicked for the win.
    "Leon was not one of our main special teams players. I’m not even sure he ever worked with special teams previously, so he hadn’t gone through all the rules and regulations like somebody who was on all the special team units. We threw him into the mix because of the snow, thinking that with his size and power, he might be able to block one up the middle. It wasn’t Leon’s fault. We didn’t have him thoroughly prepared for the situation." - Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson
  • If you've ever been on a sports team in your school days, you can remember at least one teammate (possibly you) who lacked the good sense to stick to the game plan, was a showboat, and/or did something monumentally stupid that cost your side a victory.
  • The Japanese Formula 1 race driver Kamui Kobayashi is referred to pull - in the words of a Sky Sport commentator - "Leeroy Jenkins moments", having a tendency of doing sink-or-swim overtaking maneuvers during his F1 careers. Kamui Kobayashi has been called Kamikaze, Cowboyashi, Kobabashi, and Kowasabi.
  • In the realm of business, Leeroy may be a positive role model. Peter Drucker, among others, recommends a "Ready, Fire, Aim" mentality, suggesting that barging forward and firing at a lot of targets can yield better (and will certainly yield quicker) results than involving a bunch of people in planning sessions to select a few targets. "Move fast and break things" is a motto of Silicon Valley start-up culture. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work, with startups hemorrhaging capital while trying to steal market share from each other by cutting costs so low there is no chance at a profit, or just starting up unrealistic business plans with little chance of success. The Dot-com Crash was the natural result of this, with overhyped companies collapsing and causing trillions of dollars in stock value to evaporate in mere months.
  • Among EMTs, firefighters, and other emergency medical personnel, police officers are notorious for running into scenes that may have hazardous materials before the scene is properly secured while neglecting to don protective equipment, and as a result often keel over after stepping inside and have to be transported to the hospital along with the people they were supposed to save. For this reason many refer to them as "Blue Canaries" and the preferred solution is to drag the usually-unconscious cops back to the staging area (if possible to do so without creating more casualties) and wait for HAZMAT to show up.
    • Inside police departments, officers like this, who rush into any situation with an unknown level of danger without calling, or waiting, for backup, are often said to be suffering from "John Wayne syndrome"
    • Obviously, those who survive because a "Blue Canary" rushed in and showed that it was safe for other emergency responders to help save them appreciate their mindset.
  • Part of the reason bank robbers like John Dillinger were able to evade capture for as long as they did were the ineptness of authorities when it came to launching raids to capture them. The FBI's attempt to capture Dillinger and his gang at Little Bohemia Lodge in Wisconsin being a notable blunder. They accidentally opened fire on and killed an innocent civilian, alerting the gang to their presence. Due to the FBI's failure to scope out the place beforehand, Dillinger, Homer Van Meter, John Hamilton, and Tommy Carroll were able to escape via an unguarded route that hadn't been secured, while Baby Face Nelson killed another agent at the house of a nearby switchboard operator and stole the agent's car.
  • Some tragic incidents in the recent history of American law enforcement have resulted from police officers falling victim to this trope:
    • On the morning after Christmas 2001, members of a multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement task force in Mississippi executed a search warrant on a duplex in Prentiss. They found the marijuana they expected to find in one half and arrested the occupants. Then they went into the other half. Officer Ron Jones, who had gotten the tip that led to the warrant (and thus should never have been anywhere near the duplex, much less at the spear point) went in first, all the way into the back room where Cory Maye, who lived there with his girlfriend, fatally shot Jones before he could unholster his gun, thinking the officer was a burglar. Maye was convicted of murder and sentenced to death despite his self-defense plea; an appeals court later reduced the conviction to manslaughter and freed him.
    • More recently, we have the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville. The warrant to search the house she shared with her boyfriend specified that it was a suspected stash house. The plan, by the city's SWAT team, was for officers to stand by at the scene and monitor it until the SWAT officers arrived after having raided two houses elsewhere in the city believed to be the dealers' bases of operations, seen as having a higher risk of violence, and then support the SWAT team as they raided the stash house. But apparently the cops at the stash house couldn't or didn't want to wait, as they decided to execute the warrant on their own. They went in, one got shot by Taylor's boyfriend who says he didn't hear them ID themselves as police, and then began firing blindly and en masse back, killing Taylor.note 
  • Many criminal defendants have been convicted solely because, either out of guilt or braggadocio, they couldn't stop talking about the crimes they committed even after getting Mirandized.
  • Invoked during the War on Terror. USAF Pararescue Jumpers in Afghanistan used the "Leeroy Jenkins!" soundbite for alerts as a tongue-in-cheek reminder that their job involves going into enemy territory on short notice with minimal intelligence.
  • Amusingly, the boxer Lew Jenkins was famously a Leeroy Jenkins in the ring and later in war, although a slight aversion because he ended up the world lightweight champion and later gained the Silver Star in Korea. Lew often had a chuckle about his hot-headed tendencies in interviews.