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Artistic License – Military

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"Do all that stuff we have to do to shoot at him and then FIRE TORPEDOES!"
Submarine Captain, The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Militaries are often incorrectly portrayed in media. Sometimes it's just a matter of not knowing the minutiae, like which branches use which ranks. Other times, it's a matter of Rule of Cool (or Rule of Funny) — the military is just a backdrop for a character to do something awesome (or hilarious). But actually portraying the military accurately is surprisingly difficult, as each country has its own military with its own service branches, which each have their own ranks, rules, scope, and traditions. That leads to the most common reason for incorrect depictions — they just don't really care enough.

Generally, this trope applies to depictions of real-world militaries. But it can also happen in entirely imaginary cultures, if the work establishes one thing and depicts another. You shouldn't see a liberal democracy treat its soldiers more callously than the World War II-era Red Army, or a very hierarchical and repressive culture with very Mildly Military armed forces.

As with most Hollywood Style tropes, common media portrayals of the military tend to influence public perception and lead to people believing myths about the military. Some military fanatics will bristle at these incorrect depictions, but most actual current and former members of the military find them more funny than annoying. Indeed, military films festooned with these errors are often more popular with military members than with the general public. Because of this, the only time you'll really see a work make an effort to avert this trope is if it's Backed by the Pentagon — in which case, a real-world military wants to show itself off to the public.

See also Hollywood Tactics and Mildly Military.

Common errors in depictions of the military:

    open/close all folders 

    Organizational Errors 
  • Incorrect depiction of ranks. Generally, works will know that the Four-Star Badass outranks the Colonel Badass, who outranks the Sergeant Rock, and they will know the basic Military Rank Names (if not the obscenely complicated NATO classifications). But they might not accurately depict what their jobs are, leading to soldiers who seem to be ranked too high or too low. You're not going to see a general actively leading a platoon in the field unless something has gone very wrong. There's also no such thing as a Do-Anything Soldier, especially because different skillsets take years of training to reach.
  • Confusing ranks between service branches, such as naming a navy non-commissioned officer a sergeant instead of a petty officer.
    • Japanese media have a special example here. Both the Imperial Japanese Forces and the Japan Self-Defense Forces use unified rank structures, with the only difference between ranks of the same grade but different services being a prefix or a single kanji to indicate the branch in question, which is typically dropped when context isn't needed. Thus, a tai-i without prefix could refer to either an army captain or a navy lieutenant (NATO OF-2). Media in general uses the Imperial ranks unless they specifically feature the Self-Defense Forces.
  • Failure to distinguish between different branches of the military — army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard, possibly a "space force". Each of these branches has its own rank system, and works which might be aware of the military ranks might not understand that some ranks only apply to some branches of service — after all, there are no "sergeants" in the Navy, nor "admirals" in the Army. Calling all of these branches the "army" is not only inaccurate, but serves to greatly piss off members of service branches that are not the army; in the wrong bar, calling a US Marine a "soldier" will get you a punch in the face.
  • Failure to distinguish between militaries and non-militaries. Some are government entities, like the police or intelligence services, even if in some cases they sure resemble the military. Others are not government entities at all, but rather mercenaries.
  • Failure to understand the military's place in the overall government hierarchy. Not every military has the same level of independence from their country's political machines. To whom do they report, and how much leeway do they have in executing their orders? This can differ from country to country and even from era to era; for instance, the modern-day US military reports to the Department of Defense, but this department did not exist during World War II, and the military branches were consequently more independent back then. Conversely, US forces working with Arabian Gulf militaries have been known to observe that a Saudi or Egyptian colonel has approximately the authority of a US sergeant major for all practical purposes, due to the amount of micromanaging done by the general staff and regime leaders.
  • Failure to respect The Chain of Command. While works might understand the hierarchy, they might forget that you can only go directly to the next step in the hierarchy. This means that you shouldn't see the President, even if he's commander-in-chief, giving orders directly to a private in the field. Nor should you see said private chafing under the orders of his direct superior going to the President to overrule him.
    • There can be a failure to understand the difference between "line" officers, and "staff" officers who are usually non-combat specialists like doctors, dentists & lawyers. Line officers on the other hand are able to take command of a unit if required by casualties or other circumstances, but staff officers are generally speaking, not even eligible for commanding forces, with lower-ranked line officers taking control in a combat situation.
    • In particular, Western media almost universally severely overestimates the amount of authority possessed by a Soviet military unit's political commissar: with the exception of a brief period during World War II (during which the Soviet military underwent significant reorganization in a hurry), they had no real operational authority, rather serving as morale officers in a similar manner to a Western chaplain.
  • Failure to distinguish between commissioned and non-commissioned officers. This extends to forms of address: for example, NCOs are frequently not supposed to be addressed as "sir". Works that do understand this might depict a new recruit making this mistake with a Drill Sergeant Nasty, whose most common response is, "Don't call me sir, I work for a living!"

    Tradition Errors 
  • Misuse of jargon. When works aren't just making it up on the spot, they tend to use archaic or awkward military slang. The worst cases use the wrong branch's slang — US Army privates don't say "aye, aye" unless they're being ironic. Works also tend to misuse "military sounding" language (e.g. Defcon 5 is the lowest state of alert rather than the highest, and "over and out" is a self-contradiction — "over" means "done talking, awaiting response" and "out" means "done talking, no response needed").
  • Incorrect Military Salutes. Different countries and different service branches have different forms of salute, which even change over time. Is the palm of your hand facing downward (the "American style") or outward (the "British style")? Do you or do you not have a weapon? Are you or are you not bareheaded? All of these can differ between countries and service branches. But one thing few works understand is that if you salute incorrectly, it's seriously offensive, especially saluting with your left hand.
  • Incorrect depiction of military funerals. In particular, they tend to mistake the three-volley salute with a 21-Gun Salute — the latter is performed by artillery pieces (which are still "guns" in military parlance) and is reserved for funerals of heads of state. The three-volley salute, which you see at military funerals (and also in other areas like police funerals), look similar but use rifles, fired three times each. The number of riflemen varies between three and nineteen, depending on the rank of the deceased. Oddly, works will generally depict the salute correctly visually, but refer to the event in dialogue as a "21-gun salute".
  • Incorrect uniforms, rank insignia, patches, and medals. These differ not just by country or service branch, but also by era and conflict — you shouldn't see a Gulf War veteran wearing a World War I medal. Works especially have a tendency to fail to distinguish between ranks entirely, and to make the uniforms a lot snazzier than they would be in real life. There's a common belief that depicting US military uniforms perfectly accurately is illegal and can lead to charges of impersonating a military officer, but this is an Urban Legend. It's perfectly fine if you're an actor and only pretending to be in the military for the sake of playing a part in a movie, TV show, or video game. As long as you don't claim you really are a soldier when the cameras stop rolling, you're legally safe. The only way you can get charged for impersonating a military officer is if you're claiming to be a soldier when you weren't, and using that claim to gain some sort of benefit.note 
  • Incorrect depiction of groups that traditionally aren't (or weren't) members of the military. Militaries did not historically allow women or ethnic minorities, or if they did segregated them into their own units or forbade them from having certain jobs like infantry. That may have changed, but some works that depict a historical war will happily use modern demographics when this would not have been allowed. A few may make it a point to show that it's not allowed but nobody cares, or that they're making an effort to blend in (including women pretending to be men). Conversely, there are also prominent historical segregated minority units or minority individuals that get overlooked due to institutional racism and queerphobia limiting circulation of their stories.

    Equipment Errors 
  • Incorrect model weapons. Sometimes it's deliberate; in media it's cheaper and easier to use older weapons as stand-ins for more advanced hardware that it would be too difficult or expensive to obtain.
  • Mistaking any and all Armored Fighting Vehicles for tanks. There's not even any need for this; while tanks are undoubtedly cool, so are APCs. But many creators — and thus many viewers — can't even tell the difference. Part of it might be the prevalence of tanks in previous wars like World War II, while Technology Marches On and militaries have figured out more effective means of doing a tank's job. It's also much easier in Hollywood to obtain a surplus tank than a surplus APC, for a number of reasons.
  • Incorrect use of weapons. Media tends to have no idea how to use a weapon, let alone how to use one safely.

    Regulatory Errors 
  • Buzzing the Deck. While it's a lot of fun, it's against almost all militaries' regulations. And it's also incredibly risky, not just for expensive military equipment but also for its occupants and for the people on the ground. Aircraft are loud, heavy, and Made of Explodium. Even helicopters aren't allowed to get too close to the ground or buildings unless they really need to.
  • Military action in domestic territory. Generally, the military needs to have a damn good reason to do this. US military fighter pilots cannot fire missiles over the territory of the United States without express authorization from the US President, and the US Armed Forces are barred by Congress from being used to enforce domestic law outside of an active insurrection or invasion. On the other hand, countries in continental Europe have special branches of the military dedicated for domestic law enforcement, like the French Gendarmerie or the Italian Carabinieri.
  • Incorrect grooming standards. Militaries are very strict about this, particularly with hair — facial hair standards have varied between country and periodnote , but they are always strictly enforced, and men cannot have long hair, either. In a Mildly Military setting, this is pretty much the first thing they throw out. Works that do remember military grooming standards might make it a point to give a hapless recruit a Traumatic Haircut. Again, this changes from era to era; depending on the circumstances, you might get away with something a little looser.
  • Overly brutal Boot Camp. Every work wants to introduce a Drill Sergeant Nasty, but not all training experiences are unrelenting torture. Only special forces tend to get the real Training from Hell. On the other hand, there are works that don't particularly want the Drill Sergeant Nasty go too far in the other direction, and make boot camp look like summer camp.
  • For that matter, an overly harsh Drill Sergeant Nasty. A drill sergeant, drill instructor, etc. is certainly going to make your life hard during basic training, but it's for the sake of breaking you down to build you back up. The breaking is shown a lot more than the building in media, but the building is an essential part of your training. A drill instructor who keeps producing recruits that can't pass inspections is someone who won't be a drill instructor for very long. Plus, as bad as a drill instructor can be, they're also trained to recognize when a recruit is at their physical and/or mental breaking point, and either direct them to someone who can help them or step in themselves. Many modern militaries would expel or even court-martial a drill sergeant for some of the abuse that the character archetype is known for.
  • Overly brutal military justice. If a character is Court-martialed, it will usually be a summary trial which often ends in the defendant's execution because after all, it's war! Unless the defendant is a Military Maverick, in which case the work will again go too far in the other direction and let them get away with flagrantly disobeying orders. In reality, most courts martial and other forms of trial will end in a combination of 3 different punishments: reduction of rank, withholding of a portion of pay for a time, and restriction to quarters when not on duty (to exclude meals and religious services).
  • No rules against fraternization. Some militaries are very strict about this, banning any kind of social relationship between members of different ranks. Others might allow it (after all, you want everyone to be willing to fight for each other), but they will draw a hard line at an actual romantic relationship.

Since military customs, rules, and traditions vary from country to country and in some cases, branch to branch within the same country, many times what is seen as "wrong" by an audience in one country is actually correct for the military force being shown. Because of this, please make sure that any examples you are about to add are actually inaccurate for the military service depicted.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

  • An ad for Jimmy Kimmel hosting the 2023 Oscars on ABC recreates a very serious scene from Top Gun: Maverick with Jon Hamm and Charles Parnell reprising their rôles as admirals from that movie, and Jimmy Kimmel in place of Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell. If there's any doubt that this is being played for laughs, that vanishes when Double Admiral (not an actual Navy rank) Billy Crystal shows up and Jon Hamm and Charles Parnell come to attention and salute Billy Crystal even though none of them are wearing hats.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The dub of Digimon Tamers mentions the Army and National Guard; Japan has neither, officially, instead having a combined version in the form of the "Defense Forces" which, while technically not a military in the same vein as other countries,* serves the purpose of both. The idea of having a separate Army and National Guard exists only in American doctrines.
  • Divergence Eve identifies Mauve Shirt Luke Walker in English dialog as a chief petty officer, but his bio in the opening credits gives his rank as sergeant. Every other character uses naval-style ranks, and no, the Japanese words for the ranks aren't the same.
  • Ghost in the Shell is well known for being Broad Strokes of any thing military. It's worth noting that Section 9 in most incarnations is not actually a military unit but a special police squad, though Motoko Kusanagi herself is usually a serving JSDF major and Batou a retired Ranger.
    • During Major Kusanagi's battle with the tank in Ghost in the Shell (1995), just before the helicopter pilot covering her departs, he says "Over and out" to her.
    • The Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex episode "Jungle Cruise" has Section 9 tracking down a serial killer who is implied to be an ex-US Navy SEAL. The dialogue mentions he was a petty officer (an enlisted rank) while his photo shows him wearing a very good officer uniform.
    • While the Ghost in the Shell: Arise manga follows the established canon of Batou being a Ranger during his JSDF days, it nevertheless makes him a JMSDF Commander,note  but the only Ranger unit in the modern JSDF, the Western Army Infantry Regiment, explicitly falls under a JGSDF command, even though its soldiers are essentially Marines.
  • In the ending credits of the second volume of Hellsing Ultimate, the survivors of the attack on the Hellsing manor salute the dead at their funeral. Despite being a British organization, they use the American salute. An American-style salute given to Seras by the surviving Wild Geese in volume seven may or may not qualify — the Wild Geese are mercenaries, and said soldiers may have been trained to salute according to American traditions long before taking a job in England.
  • Mostly averted in Marine Corps Yumi, thanks to the experiences of writer and translator Moreno.
    • Happens during the Marine Corp graduation when the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is not depicted properly. This is justified as that symbol is a trademark of the USMC and the authors opt to not use the actual one in the comics.
    • Moreno also points out any flaw in the depiction of the military in the summary below each page. Such as DIs not being as touchy as depicted and etc.
  • Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse: The subtitles for the anime adaptation give the TSF pilots naval ranks, with Yuuya and his squadron members all said to be ensigns. Leaving aside that this seemingly underranks everyone in the main cast except Yuuya (who is a rookie, though a talented one, at the start of the series) and possibly Yui Takamura,note  he's in the US Army and thus should be a second lieutenant. Ditto the other characters in his squadron (all of their countries follow the standard NATO rank system), as well as Red Army ranks (the Soviet Union still exists in Muv-Luv Alternative): the Scarlet Twins should both be ranked junior lieutenant (mladshy leytenant in Russian) rather than ensign, and Zhar Battalion CO Fikatsia Latrova's rank should be lieutenant colonel (podpolkovnik) rather than commander (which wasn't even a rank used in the Soviet Navy: the equivalent in the USSR and most ex-Soviet countries is captain 2nd rank). The titles are actually correct for the Japanese characters, however, as Imperial Japan also still exists due to the Alternate History.
  • Strike Witches:
    • The official subtitles call Mio a Major (an Army/Air Force rank) in the subtitles. It's the right grade, but as a naval officer she should technically be a Lieutenant Commander. They also call Shirley a Lieutenant in episode 5, but since she's an officer in her country's Army, she should technically be a Captain. What makes this error more unusual is that the subtitles correctly referred to her as a First Lieutenant in episode 3 (she was promoted off-screen between the two episodes). The actual dialogue averts this, since the characters use the all-forces rank structure of the Imperial Japanese forces ('shousa' being used to refer to both army majors and navy lieutenant commanders, for instance).
    • To add to the confusion, the Witches in the Joint Fighter Wing hold two ranks: One is for her native country and branch of service she originally is from, which should be addressed by whatever the appropriate title it is for the serving country/branch. And the other is for the League of Nations Air Force (LNAF), which is generally addressed in British Royal Air Force ranks. For example, in a drama CD, Barkhorn states that she is a Shousa (Major) in Karlsland Luftwaffe, but holds the rank of Taii (Captain/Flight Lieutenant) in 501st due to command structure and such.

    Comic Books 
  • Commented on In-Universe in the Kev miniseries of The Authority. Kev, a black ops veteran for the British government, is headed to a booksigning by one of his buddies, and reads it to the others as they go, pointing out such details as a timeline that would have made him pass selection at the age of twelve, among others. When they met, the author cheerfully admits it's all BS (except what he and the rest of the squad went through), since what the audience wants is "fucking Rambo".
  • Larry Hama's run on G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel) had some very realistic depictions of the military, (you know, given the nature of G.I. Joe), but was also about a decade behind on a lot of the smaller details. He strived to keep up to date, but he was mostly writing with what he knew from his time in the Army.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • General Ross pretty much embodies the Armies Are Evil Trope in one man. It not only takes Artistic License but a lot of Suspension of Disbelief on the part of Marvel fans to assume the U.S. Air Force wouldn't have court martialed him, reduced him in rank, and sentenced him to life in Leavenworth after the property damage and civilian casualties his obsession with the Hulk has caused.
    • Another issue is that Ross is repeatedly shown sending infantry and tanks after the Hulk (for all the good it does), when he's an Air Force General. He would have no operational control over ground units beyond Air Force Security Forces or Air Force Special Operations personnel, neither of which would have heavy tanks or infantry. He'd have to have these forces placed under his command by the Secretary of Defense (likely over the strenuous objections of the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff). Extremely unlikely. Possible if the President backed Ross, but unlikely.
  • For that matter, the military is rarely ever competent in the Marvel Universe at all. S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't count, as it's a Government Agency of Fiction.note 
  • The Punisher: Born: During his last tour of duty in The Vietnam War, Frank Castle is identified as a "21 year old Captain". The idea of someone so young holding an officer rank of that caliber is quite hard to believe. It turns out that Nick Fury recommended he be promoted to Captain early after Frank proved himself on a mission to kill a North Vietnamese general.
  • The French-language Belgian comic Les Tuniques Bleues (The Bluecoats), set during The American Civil War, occasionally shows American soldiers saluting French-style, or presenting arms in the French way.
  • Wonder Woman: While Steve Trevor's age is left vague there are constant hints and clues that he's not much older than the Holliday Girls—who are all between 19 and 24 years old during WWII—or may even be in the same age range as them, yet was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel before the war was over, apparently skipping right over Major. Due to the lack of continuity in comics at this time this was only in some stories, as in others the highest rank he seemed to reach during the war was Captain.

    Comic Strips 
  • Beetle Bailey has numerous examples.
    • The outdated uniforms, weapons, open-bay style barracks, etc. usually stand out to most, and nowadays Sgt. Snorkel would be NJP'd and removed from command of Beetle's platoon for striking a subordinate, if not outright put in the brig for how severely he beats him. Oddly enough, there have been a few strips where Snorkel is thrown in the brig with his stripes ripped off after he does something really stupid (like wreck General Halftrack's car in a fit of rage) but this only lasts a day at most.
    • Almost everyone calls Beetle by his nickname (Sgt. Snorkel does almost exclusively). While not completely unheard of, it's essentially his first name (he had the nickname prior to the service) and most nicknames a superior would call you would be something you earned in service. Gen. Halftrack and a few of the Lieutenants do occasionally call him Private Bailey, however.
    • While much of this is intentional (it being a humor strip, after all), the anachronisms are mostly due to being a Long Runner. When Beetle signed up for the Army in Korean war times (both in real life and, back then, the strip), the uniforms, equipment, and procedures were a lot more current.
  • Funky Winkerbean: The saga of Wally Winkerbean saw military protocol and common sense sacrificed to the Rule of Drama:
    • Wally was recalled to a full tour of active duty because he had been discharged one day early and was technically AWOL. note 
    • During his tour in Afghanistan, Wally's unit was ambushed and he was considered Killed In Action as another body was identified as his. note 
    • We find out that Wally was actually a Prisoner Of War, held by insurgents for over a decade. note 
    • His return home was largely ignored outside of his family and friends.note  On top of that, his actual return was basically "Get released by insurgents via prisoner swap, fly back to America, get a physical at Walter Reed, get kicked to the curb." note 
    • And all of this is besides the Diabolus ex Machina effect on his personal life.note 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: When Susan becomes a giant, the military comes and shoots her with a giant Tranquillizer Dart. Even ignoring the dart's enormous size, it is not standard procedure for soldiers to use tranquilizer guns.

  • Justified in Aeon 14, which has little distinction between Space Navy and Standard Sci-Fi Army, with various "Space Forces" using a mishmash of army and navy ranks apparently based on occupational specialty. For example, in Outsystem, main character Tanis Richards holds the Terran Space Force rank of major as a counterterrorism operator. The In-Universe explanation is that a hard administrative division between service branches is considered Cool, but Inefficient by most factions because the "army" is dependent on the space force for transport and logistics, though the TSF and its descendant the Intrepid Space Force notably still maintain a Marine Corps sub-branch.
  • The Flight Engineer mixes up the entry-level Navy and Marine Corps ranks. Second Lieutenant Cynthia Robbins should be an ensign, and the two Marine pilots assigned to Commander Raeder's command in The Privateer are ensigns when they should be second lieutenants.
  • Avalon Hill's The General magazine Volume 25 #3, article "Riding With The Best". In a fictional account of a U.S. Army Sherman tank crew on a mission, the recon platoon leader ends a radio conversation with "Roger, over and out".
  • Jack Ryan
    • Mostly averted in The Hunt for Red October: Tom Clancy got so much about submarine operations right that he was briefly investigated by the Department of Defense to make sure they didn't have any leaks. That said, there are still some mistakes. See also Artistic License – Ships.
      • The main conceit of the "caterpillar" magneto-hydrodynamic drive making the eponymous Red October nearly silent misses that the noisiest thing on a nuclear submarine is the reactor's cooling systems, not the propellers. Soviet submarines were particularly noisy. Diesel-electric submarines such as the Kilo-class are much quieter, but sacrifice speed and underwater endurance.
      • Red October is to be paired with a Lira/Alfa-class attack sub, the Konovalov, for testing the caterpillar drive. The Soviets didn't give individual names to Lira-class boats: they were all given numerical designations beginning with 'K' (e.g. K-63).
    • Clear and Present Danger
      • Tom Clancy messed up with a conversation between an officer and a "Seaman First" in the United States Coast Guard. "Seaman First Class" was a World War II rank, not a contemporary one.
      • In the same book, the Coast Guard cutter Panache has as part of its crew two separate Master Chiefs. For a ship of that size, which would have barely one hundred crew members, one Master Chief would be too many. Justified in that the Coast Guard gave the captain the pick of the litter as far as a strong team of enlisted experts, but still.
  • The Legends of Dune prequels take place tens of thousands of years in the future, which means that the authors were free to create whatever ranks they wish. The idea of a starship commander leading ground troops is still completely ridiculous.
  • In The Magicians, it's stated that one of the students at Brakebills was the son of a five-star general. The United States Army hasn't promoted anybody to that rank since 1950, and the last one (Omar Bradley) died in 1981; the book is set post-2000 and though the series operates on the rule of Like Reality, Unless Noted, there's no clear indication that US military history is really that different within the setting.
  • Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:
    • Questionable since it's a callsign, but everyone refers to Yuuya Bridges as "Top Gun" as befitting his status as an Ace Pilot. The Top Gun program is a US Navy outfit where Aviators practice dogfighting tactics against master pilots in Nevada and Southern California. Sounds fitting doesn't it? Unfortunately, Yuuya is in the US Army.
    • Various fanservice incidents would in real life be grounds for a very swift Court Martial for sexual harassment. Trying to peep on your superior officer bathing in a hot spring comes to mind, as does that officer's own superiors making her take part in a swimsuit photoshoot. (The Muv-Luv franchise started as an eroge series.)
  • In-Universe example in the RCN novel When the Tide Rises. Adele Mundy attends a play loosely based on her own ship's mission in the previous book and spends most of the performance complaining about the inaccuracies in the production. These range from uniform mistakes (putting people in the semi-dress 2nd Class uniform when they ought to be in utilities, for example) to the fact that, while the holographic video portion of the performance consists of actual combat images from Princess Cecile (they were sold to the playwright by a crew member, who sent the money to the families of wounded or dead crew), they combine all the battles since the first book rather than just the fight for Dunbar's World.
  • Too many to count in Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War. To be clear, the author, one William Lind, is a military theorist who wrote the book as much to show his ideas for how leaderless insurgency, clever tactics, light infantry and low-tech conquer all as he did a Take That! against all the forces of liberalism. Some examples include:
    • Live-fire infantry training with offset aim alone preventing casualties, modern warships destroyed with spar torpedoes, Russian T-34s as the ultimate tank design for rear area strikes which are apparently the sole purpose of tanks, antiquated 1950s radar easily spotting stealth bombers, etc. etc. Platoon strength militia units with no logistics or coordination with each other are upheld as vastly superior to existing military, to the point of being called upon to train the actual military. At one point, the protagonist shows his contempt for the established military by sleeping through a briefing containing such useless trivia as local politics, road and weather conditions.
    • Also the hero, John Rumford's, Establishing Character Moment as a young US Marine is interrupting a ceremony honoring the Corps' war dead rather than let a female Marine participate. No woman fought at Iwo Jima, he insists, so no woman has a right to speak the words and honor the dead. In reality, women have been a part of the USMC since 1918, served in combat areas since Vietnam, and as of the story's beginning have been full and equal parts of all save small unit ground combat for over twenty years. There are no male, female, white, black etc. Marines, only Marines. Besides, disrupting a remembrance ceremony is far more disrespectful than any imagined slight. Exactly none of these points come up when his CO chews him out and he gets discharged, only that a congresswoman is hounding him to be inclusive. If anything, his fellow Marines seem to respect his stand on the issue.
    • Crossing over with Artistic License – History, Rumford also asserts that no army that has included female front-line combatants has ever been successful. Hilariously considering the book's above-mentioned idolization of the T-34, the same war that produced said very fine tank also saw the Soviets field female snipers, machine-gunners, tank crew, and combat pilots, the latter including a very famous all-female bomber regiment. In all, ninety women received the Gold Star Medal and the title Hero of the Soviet Union during World War II, most for service in front-line combat.

  • The first verse of Brantley Gilbert's song "One Hell of an Amen" refers to a soldier killed in action as "going out 21 guns blazing". A 21-gun salute is done with artillery pieces, not rifles, and is reserved for the funeral of a former or current president. The salute performed at soldiers' funerals is referred to as a three-volley salute and never has 21 shooters involved. It's possible Gilbert decided "21 guns blazing" was better rhythmically.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Lampshaded when absolutely no attempt is made to accurately depict a submarine's operations. The author says that this is because no matter how much he could have tried to make their actions accurate, someone would have found something wrong. Besides, the final scene fits the style of the comic better.
    Submarine Captain: Do all that stuff we have to do to shoot at him and then FIRE TORPEDOES!

Alternative Title(s): Artistic Licence Military