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Doom Troops

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Surrender now, and we'll kill you painlessly.

"What the enemy cannot see, they cannot fight. What they can see, they will soon learn to fear..."

You can tell by looking at them, these are no ordinary Mooks. Every aspect of them is designed for maximum intimidation; their boots strike the ground with a despair-inducing tromp and their loud breathing sends chills up the enemy's spines. Their uniforms are black, possibly emblazoned with skulls, and almost always have a mask that makes them seem less human. Enemy soldiers would rather surrender than fight them, but they are trained to show no mercy. Every action they take is meant to induce Mook Horror Show in the Red Shirt Army and civilian populace.

In short, scary mooks, elite or otherwise. Expect a lot of Putting on the Reich.

Has nothing to do with the Web Comic Troops Of Doom, the SNES game Doom Troopers, Doom Tropes or the Legion of Doom.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Protect Gear troopers from Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (They're based on SS troops).
  • Hellsing's Iscariot Organization soldiers wear armour and face-covering robes complete with conical hats of the kind traditionally worn during certain Catholic festivals — most commonly the burning of heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. This is clothing that citizens of the American Union have come to associate with the Ku Klux Klan.
  • ANBU in Naruto are supposed to be this. They are masked, nameless elites who carry out assassination missions and who hunt down rogue ninjas and dispose of their bodies to keep village secrets. The silliness of their masks and being the repeated victims of The Worf Effect somewhat ruins the effect, however. They're more of an example of Early Installment Weirdness and don't really serve this trope after the arc that introduces them.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Tiberium Wars presents the Black Hand as these; when a GDI infantry squad encounters a squad, the corporal in command completely flips out in terror at the sight and the entire squad locks up in fear. Later on, when a Black hand unit ambushes a GDI convoy, the mere sight of the Hands is enough to terrify a GDI officer into paralysis. The reputation is well-deserved. Between the weapons the Black Hand use and the ridiculously strong armor they wear, the fact that the corporal survived the engagement at all and managed to kill one of the Hand in single combat is seen as impressive.
  • The 4Chan 40k parody army "Scary Marines".
  • In Queen of Shadows, the Gani tribe (Crab Khan) are primarily used as guards to frighten human slaves out of trying to escape, and as shock troops to send specific messages of fear at the enemy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • While Imperial Stormtroopers are generally considered to be just Mooks, in-universe they`re greatly feared. In fact, the reason they're armored in white is to conjure up mental images of bleached bones. It's the black uniformed Imperial Army soldiers in bell-shaped open-face helmets that are the standard poor bloody infantry, and we see stormtroopers so much because we see Vader so much.
    • Their predecessors, the Separatist battle droids, were made in the likeness of alien skeletons. However, their stupidity and incompetence made them fail as Doom Troops utterly and completely (it didn't help that technical limitations resulted in the aliens in question being shaped differently enough from the droids that it wasn't obvious from the films that the droids were supposed to look like their skeletons). In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the common "Roger-Roger" battle droids are, in fact, comic relief.
    • Then they introduced the B2 super battle droids, which are much bulkier and more menacing than the B1's. Namely, their blasters are mounted on a Super Wrist-Gadget and they can march and shoot with their right hands outstretched, which gives them the appearance of zombies and Nazi troops giving a Sieg Heil salute. The red eyes and scowling faceplate don't help either.
    • There's also the Droidekas, three-legged insectoid-looking droids dual-wielding blaster cannons that can curl up into a ball for fast travel and deploy personal shields capable of stopping conventional blaster fire. In their first appearance, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan have to make a retreat as soon as they show up, as even deflecting their own blaster fire back at them won't work.
    • Revenge of the Sith introduces the anti-Jedi MagnaGuards, used as Dooku and Greivous' personal bodyguards and featuring a more humanoid skeletal appearance and face that invokes Gas Mask Mook imagery. For extra intimidation factor, they have a backup processor inside their body, allowing them to keep fighting even if their head is cut off.
    • In Rogue One. the Imperial Death Trooper carries this role with their sleek jet black armor, green headlights and spec-ops like appearance. Even their name spells death.
  • The movie SS Doomtrooper (which directly inspired the Ubersoldier videogame) had a Super Soldier prototype meant to be one of these. He'd have preferred to stay dead and breaks out.
  • Hydra Soldiers in Captain America: The First Avenger are clearly meant to evoke this trope. Huge, heavily armored, scary masks and high-tech weaponry.
  • The German zombie troops in gas masks in the trench warfare sequence of Sucker Punch.
  • Superman's army in Batman's horrific Bad Future nightmare from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Black-clad, World War 2 German-like helmets, heavily armed, wearing gas masks and supported by Parademons.


  • The Blood Pact from Gaunt's Ghosts, who mortify their flesh, wear scowling grotesque face masks, and deliberately stain their uniforms burgundy with blood.
  • Imperial Sardaukar from Dune. The Fremen become this for Paul and both are breed into the Fish Speakers under Leto II, which in-turn merge with the Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit in the Scattering to become Honored Matres.
  • In the short story The Dragons of Summer Gulch by Robert Reed, the protagonist is a veteran of a doom squadron from an old war. The troops were fitted with scary, fantastically expensive armor crafted with Kevlar and fossilized dragon bones, making it effectively immune to bullets. The squadron would simply pick up a big scary guns and walk toward enemy positions to scare them off before slaughtering anyone dumb enough to not run away. However, the protagonist said that by the end of the war, those who hadn't been gibbed by cannon fire, lucky shots, or hit with dragonbuster ammo were paranoid, broken men.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 gives us two examples, the Death Corps of Krieg for The Empire and all the Space Marine chapters (both good and evil; it's explicitly stated that they eschew camouflage in favor of scariness).
    • Some sub-units take this even further: the Night Lords Legion of Space Marines have this as their hat, going into battle covered in the remains of their enemies, whilst the "Destroyer" units of regular Space Marine Legions were black armored chemical and biological weapon specialists. The reason their wore black? Because their weapons corroded the paint off their armor. Not nice.
    • The new Primaris Marine elite unit, the Reivers, take the intimidation factor of regular Marines and crank it Up to Eleven. The faceplates of their helmets are crafted to resemble skulls and have vox amplifiers built in that turn the Reivers' battle-cries into ear-shattering howls, and the Reivers themselves use grav-chutes and Grappling Hook Pistols to infiltrate behind enemy lines and wreak havoc with rapid-firing bolt carbines, oversized heavy bolt pistols, and enormous, wickedly sharp combat knives. They're essentially the modern Imperium's answer to the old Night Lords Terror Squads.
  • In Strike Legion, not only do we have the Imperial Space Marines, who deck out their armor in Spikes of Villainy and bones and blood of their enemies, we also have the Doom Legion, made up of the most elite and well-armed soldiers in the Imperium.
  • The Coalition States of Rifts used to distribute suits of black body armor with an intimidating gas-mask stylized like a skull. Then they replaced those with suits of body armor sculpted to LOOK like a human skeleton. There's a reason why they're colloquially known as "Dead Boys."
  • BattleTech has the various special operations groups, but particular note goes to the Death Commandos of the Capellan Confederation and the Manei Domini of the Word of Blake. The Death Commandos have the authority to execute any Capellan citizen and even nobility in certain circumstances. Their battlemechs are painted flat black with occasional green trim, and do not utilize the Capellan flag, instead using only their skull unit insignia. The Manei Domini are all heavily augmented, brutal and fanatic warriors from a nation famed for its brutality and fanaticism. The Manei utilize their own series of battlemechs armed with the best technology available. Bonus points go to those units who utilize the AS7-D Atlas, a mech designed for intimidation with a white, skull-shaped cockpit and often fitted with glowing red eyes.
  • In Blue Rose the Lich King of Kern is served by the Knights of the Skull, who wear black armour with silver skull-shaped helmets. He also has a Secret Police, who normally don't draw attention to themselves (being secret and all) but who evoke great fear when they do wear their official red leather uniforms.
  • Magic: The Gathering has two keyword mechanics that denote this on creature cards, both shared by red and black.
    • Intimidate is most on-brand for the trope, and only creatures of the same color or artifact creatures (read: creatures who understand something of the creature with Intimidate or are an emotionless robot) can block them when they attack. Intimidate is actually a minor tweak to a much older mechanic, "Fear," which was the same ability but keyed specifically to black or artifact creatures—meaning only emotionless robots or other monsters could bear to face them.
    • Menace is a new name for an old mechanic that has largely supplanted Intimidate (because Intimidate becomes drastically better or worse based on the opponent's deck, while Menace is pretty flat). Creatures with Menace are too scary to be faced alone, and can only be blocked by at least two defending creatures.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Aku created a whole horde of robot assassins like this in the Samurai Jack episode "Samurai versus Samurai", but despite their ghastly appearance (skulls for heads with gems as eyes, using knives as weapons), they really weren't much better than the rest of his Mecha-Mooks. (After Jack destroyed them all, the pieces pulled themselves together into a giant junk-monster, but that was only slightly more formidable.)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars introduced the BX-series Commando Droids, which are essentially Elite Mook versions of the standard Battle Droids. However, they have much darker-colored plating, more human-like frames (which not only allows them to fit in Clone armor, but shortens their snouts to give them a more gas mask-like face), deeper voices, and Glowing Mechanical Eyes. In addition to their more imposing design traits, they have ninja-like agility, stronger armor and are much more competent fighters (also used as infiltration units). While they are more of a nuisance to Jedi (they are outclassed by Destroyer Droids and MagnaGuards when it comes to threatening Jedi), they are The Dreaded to Clone Troopers and are not subject to comic-relief like the standard Battle Droids.

    Real Life 
  • Hitler's Waffen SS is the Trope Codifier.
  • Guard regiments of XVIII Century and the Napoleonic era were often meant to look imposing, which was achieved by means such as enlistment of exceptionally tall men into their ranks, and uniforms including broad pauldrons and tall caps.
  • British Royal Marines. And the Parachute Regiment.
  • The Saddam era Republican Guard and Special Republican Guard.
  • Just... take a look at these pictures. Dear god, Denmark, France, Iran and Taiwan...
  • The Italian Bersaglieri are a Subversion: they were intended as this and have the combat record and reputation to match, but their Nice Helmet (created to help them aim their weapons, what with their name being Italian for sharpshooters) and propensity to run all the time, even when playing brass (established by their regulations increase their stamina), make them look more ridiculous than scary until Fridge Horror sets in.
  • The United States Marine Corps has such a reputation in some circles. They've spent the last hundred years fine tuning their reputation as a force to be feared on the battlefield, both by deed and by urban legend. You'd never suspect that they are the smallest branch of the US military. Within the Marine Corps, there is Marine Force Recon and MARSOC (which traces its roots to the Marine Raider Battalions of World War II), for the more elite troops. They also are usually allowed to get away with doing much more horrific actions than the other branches of the military.
    • Certain formations of the US Army similarly are known for being particularly fearsome, especially some of the more storied units like the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, infamous for their history of dropping behind enemy lines to generally make a mess of things. Probably best known for this trope however, are the Army Rangers, the Light Infantry component of the Army's Special Operations Command, which traces its roots to the original Ranger battalions formed during WWII (and trained by the British Commandos, who presented them with their trademark berets) and Merrill's Marauders, a jungle warfare unit that fought in Asia during the same war.
  • Red Latvian Riflemen during Russian Civil War. While not amping up the terror factor in appearance, they inspired a saying "If you want an executioner, find a Latvian" solely by following ANY order they were given and their skill and experience from The Great War, including iconic battles like Machine Gun hill and the Death Island.