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Gunship Rescue

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Johnny Rico: This is Roughnecks 201. We are under heavy attack! ... I request retrieval, now!
Radio Operator: On the outpost? That's crazy!
Johnny: Well I hope you have a crazy pilot. Out!

The heroes are facing overwhelming odds, probably their Last Stand. Everything looks hopeless and there is no possible way they can survive this. There's only enough time for a Final Speech. It almost looks like they are heading for a Bolivian Army Ending, when suddenly... The Air Cavalry is here!! An allied aircraft swoops overhead and loops around for another pass! The enemy (one that uses Hollywood Tactics, anyway) just got raked from above!

It is often set up to be a complete surprise to the ones being rescued. That way, when the gunship lowers into place it produces squeals of joy from the audience. The real joy is the look on the enemy's face when the gunship appears and they have to stare down the machine guns, missile pods, lasers, or whatever other kind of heavy firepower is mounted on the craft.

Often preceded by It Has Been an Honor. It also invokes some resemblance to Death from Above, and can often include an awesome looking visual of the rescuers doing a flyby, often putting themselves between the rescuees and the bad guys. Also likely to include the soul-shaking noise of big aircraft engines... followed a chorus of gun booms, rocket fwooshes and laser pews.

When played straight, this is a variant of The Cavalry. Not classified as Deus ex Machina, since most times it is set up in advance and rarely anticlimactic. And while most examples are of aircraft, specifically helicopter gunships or the Technology Level equivalent, ground vehicles and ocean vessels with a BFG mounted can sometimes be used for a Gunship Rescue. Compare Orbital Bombardment.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The first story arc of Black Lagoon has the Black Lagoon being chased by a Mi-24 Hind-A heavy attack helicopter. Inverted — instead of saving the day, the Hind Gunship is destroyed spectacularly by a surprise torpedo attack of all things.
  • In Episode 5 of Bodacious Space Pirates, the Odette II is being fired upon by the Lightning 11 using optical sights (since the crew had hacked their computer beforehand). The main character, Marika, aboard the Odette II, uses an Improvised Weapon in the form of aiming their solar sails to blind the Lightning 11's gunners. Shortly afterwards, the Bentenmaru and the Barbaroosa, along with several military ships show up to assist them.
  • In Cat Shit One the Mi-24 gunship, call sign Angel One, comes in to rescue our heroes Packy and Botasky just when they thought they are completely surrounded. To quote Packy's words:
    Packy: Well... that's one hell of an angel who came to help us.
  • Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid's first episode has Sousuke being surrounded on a bridge. With nowhere to go, Al recommends self-destruct to avoid capture which Sousuke promptly rejects. The enemy commander starts counting down over loudspeaker... and just as he reaches 'one', the Arbalest launches off the bridge above the water. Cue the Tuatha de Danaan breaking through the surface and launching several cluster missiles at the enemy forces, wiping them all out in a single salvo while retrieving the Arbalest and quickly diving back underwater. Hilariously lampshaded by the shocked and singed enemy commander a while later.
  • The King of Braves GaoGaiGar Final, Episode 7. Palparepa: "Pathetic God of Destruction...what can you do alone against us?" Off-screen Taiga: "He is not alone!" Turn camera to the Division Fleet and cue Taiga's greatest speech ever.
    • Even earlier in the series, during the final battle with the Machine Kings. Volfogg's getting trashed rather badly by Penchinon, then gets saved by the Multi-Dimensional Intelligence Submarine going on a kamikaze strike to Volfogg's 3rd theme. Topped off by Penchinon's attempt to absorb it proving to be a very bad idea as its fusion reactor explodes.
    • Inadvertently invoked by Soldato J and the J-Ark on their debut a few episodes later. While defeating the Primevals was intentional, saving GaoGaiGar in the process...not so much.
  • Gate: This trope is shown oh-so very beautifully during the Defense of Italica from the soldiers-turned-bandits when they decide to raid Italica to try to replace the utter shame they got when they miserably failed to retake Alnus Hill from the vastly superior JSDF forces. Huey and Cobra gunships do their work exquisitely, and the reaction from the Gate-worlders show equal fascination/terror upon viewing such advanced military technological might firsthand, with the Princess and her royal aide reacting to it especially.
  • Halo Legends:
    • In The Package, when the Master Chief and Dr. Halsey are escaping from dozens of Seraphs, the ONI stealth ship PRO-49776 comes to their rescue by blowing up all their remaining pursuers in seconds.
    • Subverted in Homecoming; the Pelican gunship coming in to rescue Daisy and company is itself destroyed.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team. La Verite Episode 11. The gang is trapped in a dire situation, being chased by Konoe's Ax-Crazy sister, when Ryuuka's murder zeppelin shows up, now sporting laser cannons, to save the day.
  • There was a Toad Rescue moment in Naruto. During the invasion of Konoha, a giant three-headed snake was devastating a large region of Konoha, having already breached the defensive wall to allow the invasion force inside. As the Konoha ninja are fighting a losing battle against it a giant toad summon falls from the sky, wiping out the snake summon and turning the tide.
  • In the last episode of Macross Frontier, a Vajra "gunship" is about to blast its Wave-Motion Gun point-blank into the Battle Frontier's bridge, only to have the Macross Quarter — a ship much smaller than Frontier — skewer the Vajra with its own main cannon while coming out of Fold space.
  • In the flashback of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, the armada of the three major powers in the Magic World arrives to stop the end-of-the-world spell, as Nagi defeated the Big Bad one second too late.
  • The arrival of the Moby Dick, Whitebeard's personal flagship early in the Marineford arc of One Piece. The shocker is that it came from underwater taking the entire Marine force at Maineford by surprise!
    • And then one-upped 15 chapters later, when a black replica of Moby Dick arrives in the same way as its predecessor, to save the Whitebeard pirates who survived Admiral Akainu's destruction of their entire fleet's vessels.
  • Rebuild World:
    • When Akira holes up with Katsuragi's merchant convoy for mutual defense from The Swarm of monsters and the three of them are on their last legs, Elena and Sara bust through the enemy answering Katsuragi's Distress Call with Sara blasting the swarm with a BFG in each hand.
    • When Akira is escorting hunters whose Distress Call he answered away from a Scary Scorpion nest, just as Akira is running out of ammo and they're all surrounded, a convoy from the Forward Base blasts through and rescues them.
    • When Akira answers a Distress Call from lower ranked hunters coming from further back in the Big Badass Rig convoy he's escorting, he blasts through The Swarm embattling them but both parties end up nearly overwhelmed by successive waves until the convoy's head of security Mercia rushes back in her Walking Armory Mini-Mecha to save them.
    • Alpha does this a number of times controlling Akira's weapon equipped Cool Bike, one time with Carol on board helping.
  • Arcus Prima's return to active duty in Simoun takes place just in the nick of time to save Messis from an overwhelming Argentum attack.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings features a fantasy version in Chapter 30. Satou has just taken his best shot at the Abyss King, but failed to kill him, and he is too exhausted to defend himself as the Abyss King retaliates. Granart and the other princesses leap to Satou's defense, only to be surrounded by endless hordes of the Abyss King's demons. Just when it seems all hope is lost, Alabaster swoops in on the back of a giant bird to save the day.
  • At the end of The Familiar of Zero's first season, Saito shows up in a WWII-era fighter plane, turning the battle and giving up his chance to go home.
  • In Transformers: Armada, the Decepticons decide to call in Tidal Wave as a backup. Tidal Wave happens to be a gunship. In the sense that he's a Flying Aircraft Carrier with Guns.
  • Durandal gets the medal for her appearance to save Elsa from Gnosis in Xenosaga. Episode 1 goes one better with a heavily-armed mobile space colony, appearing to similarly relieve the Durandal and the colony it is docked with.

    Comic Books 
  • The 24 comic One Shot has a scene where Jack and an informant are being pursued by a chopper full of terrorsts when a CTU helicopter appears to shoot down their pursuers. This keeps Jack and his companion from being gunned down, although the friendly chopper takes damage during the fight and has to land, leaving it unable to evacuate the heroes away from land-based pursuers.
  • In Elephantmen: War Toys Volume 1, French freedom fighter Yvette is cornered on the roof of a cathedral by several Elephantmen. Then three or four Red Chinese gunships appear and open up on the Elephantmen with More Dakka. Subverted, because the gunships are shot down by the Elephantmen, crash into the cathedral roof, and kill everyone except Yvette who miraculously survives.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • During The Surtur Saga, Sif stays behind to defend a convoy of alien transport ships from horde of demons. When her strength starts failing, she prepares herself to take as many demons as possible with her. Then all the sudden the demons are blasted away and she is greeted by Skuttlebut, an intelligent spaceship who was also sent to protect the convoy.
    • Skuttlebutt did it again, during the Godhunter Saga. When Beta Ray Bill was on the receiving end of a curbstomp battle from the Silver Surfer, Skuttlebutt flew in and proceeded to blast Surfer unconscious. You gotta love that ship.
  • In Tintin's "Red Sea Sharks", Tintin's ship is under attack by a submarine. They manage to reach an Amrican warship, but are afraid they'll be sunk by the time it gets there. As they try to avoid the torpedoes, the captain suddenly hears a boom and thinks they've been hit — only to discover it's the cruiser's seaplanes depth-charging the sub.
  • In Wynonna Earp: Season Zero, Wynonna and the remains of the Banditos, her old Badass Biker gang, are holed up in Bloody Porch. Outnumbered and outgunned, they are preparing to make a Last Stand against their foe when suddenly Smitty appears on the horizon, flying a helicopter gunship sporting a Hood Hornament, and loaded with Black badge reinforcements. Suddenly the fight gets a lot fairer.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager Uberfic The Artisans of War, B'Elanna Torres and Annika Hansen are extracted from a bladescraper via a tilt-rotor gunship shooting out the windows, followed by a US marine jetpacking through the broken window, locking them into a hostage rescue harness and flying them back to the helicopter.
  • Goggles and the Tears: In the climax, the Vox Populi arrive in dozens of zeppelins and gunships to help the main characters fight SHODAN, thanks to Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth actually rescuing Chen Lin earlier.
  • A Hollow in Equestria: Ulquiorra performs the living equivalent of a gunship rescue. The ponies are facing off against the arc Big Bad Nightmare Moon barely able to hold their own even with reinforcements, and ultimately getting wasted for their efforts. Just when it seems all hope is lost, Ulquiorra comes in out of nowhere, delivers a badass one liner, and deploys a cero right in her open mouth at point-blank range.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: The chapter "Fear" see Glynda Goodwitch, Team JNPR, and Team RWBY all driven to exhaustion following a prolonged fight with a terentatek. The terentatek had no-selled almost all of their attacks and was preparing to finish them off when it's interrupted by the arrival of a Bullhead that Glynda had radioed in prior to the battle. The dropship then unloads hundreds of high-caliber Dust rounds and a barrage of missiles which break through the terentatek's previously impenetrable armor. This gives the heroes time to recover and regroup to finish the creature off.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa: Subverted in Chapters 32 and 33. Faced with Northampton's impalement of Takanami, Naganami calls in fire support from the Chinese bombers on overwatch. The attacker proceeds to Teleport Spam her way around the incoming missiles and then use Judgment Cuts to slice both bombers in half, killing all but one of the aircrew. Later on, additional fire support is deployed from Australian F-35s firing antiship missiles, and both the Demons and Northampton dodge the missiles before the latter tries to Judgment Cut them as well. Naganami ends up having to save the saviors, and for her troubles she gets punched into a missile meant for Northampton.
  • The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs: Tuvok uses Voyager's Aeroshuttle to pull out a fireteam led by Ayala when they come under attack by the Kazon-Nistrim, torpedoing a Kazon ground position and dogfighting with Kazon fighters on the way back out.
  • Origins: Aria T'Loak's forces attempting to retake Omega (which has by then crashed into the Citadel) are rescued in this fashion by geth. Said geth had been waging a guerrilla war against the invaders, and having noticed that potential allies were in trouble, swooped in with what forces they had. It even leads to an airdropped geth colossus serving as a mount for the remaining organic forces. Arguably, Trans-Galactic Republic forces in the previous work count as well when they smash Reapers.
  • Pony POV Series: There's one of these in the Shining Armor Arc, during Shining's first battle with Makarov's forces. Just when it looks like Shining and the Griffon special forces unit he's working with are going to be wiped out, in comes the rest of the Royal Guard, complete with armed airships.
  • The Weaver Option: Taylor's army is on the verge of being overrun by a daemonic horde led by Fulgrim. Just as things are looking grim, a Webway gate opens and the Flamewrought, Vulkan's personal battleship arrives, devastating the daemons and deploying veteran Space Marines to deal with Fulgrim.

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero: Batman and Robin do this with Batwing to save Barbara Gordon.
  • Towards the end of Despicable Me 2, Gru and two minions are rescued from a bunch of evil minions from a rooftop by a VTOL plane. Visually the scene is held close to the well known examples of this trope, but instead of lasers or machine guns the plane uses jelly-miniguns to distribute a cure.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has this for the climatic scene where Stoik and his forces are fighting a hopeless battle against the Red Death Dragon, and suddenly Hiccup and Toothless swoop in and give the Vikings one thing they never had before in battle, air support.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 9th Company depicts a last stand by a company on a hilltop in Afghan mountains. Just when the very last of the defenders are cut down by Mujahedeen, Mi-24 Hind gunships show up and annihilate the enemies with 30mm cannon, leaving the last survivor to contemplate his sacrifice (note that in the real defense of Hill 3234, most of 9th Company survived and was successfully relieved, after getting regular fire support throughout the fight).
  • Act of Valor has the SEAL team heavily outnumbered and outgunned, hotly pursued by militia forces, and then just as the militia catches up to them, a pair of SWCC boats show up and deliver a literal wall of fire, doing their best to achieve enough dakka in almost two minutes of near-sustained fire.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron has one near the climax when Nick Fury shows up with Helicarrier 64 from The Avengers (2012) in order to help evacuate the city that Ultron had just ripped out of the ground. Played with, as the Avengers, or at least Iron Man and War Machine, end up defending it by shooting down Ultron's drones as they attempt to attack the Helicarrier and its rescue ships.
  • Battleground (1949): With Nazi forces closing in and all hope lost, Sgt. Kinnie suddenly notices that the trees around his soldiers' foxholes are casting shadows. It takes several seconds for his exhausted brain to work out what that means: If the trees have shadows, then the sun is shining. If the sun is shining, the clouds have broken. And if the clouds have broken, Allied aircraft can get off the ground! Cue the thunder of engines overhead, as Allied fighter-bombers rip the Nazi attackers to shreds while American transport aircraft practically bury the besieged GIs in crates full of fresh food, fuel, medicines, and ammunition.
  • In Behind Enemy Lines, Burnett is cornered by pretty much the entire Serbian Army, but is rescued when a fleet of American helicopters loaded with weapons and angry Marines arrive and completely wreck the Serbians.
  • Black Hawk Down is a bit of a subversion of the trope: the eponymous Black Hawks were good for gunship purposes due to their miniguns, but proved too vulnerable to RPG fire. On the other hand, the much smaller Little Birds fulfilled this purpose admirably — they packed more firepower in their rockets and were much more difficult to hit.
  • In Blue Thunder, the titular Black Helicopter pulls one of these off when hero Frank Murphy's girlfriend is about to be arrested by the police after being pulled over on a bridge while carrying the Plot Coupon. Cue dramatic engine roar and the sight of Blue Thunder rising up from beneath the bridge, BFG aimed right at the cops. A hilarious Double Subversion follows, as while the Oh, Crap! moment gives Murphy's girlfriend a chance to drive off, the cops recover in time to pursue her... until Murphy blows their car in half.
  • In Border (1997), based on the events of the Battle of Longewalla, the squadron of Indian Air Force Hawker Hunters shows up at daybreak to pull this off for Major Chandipur's embattled weapons company.
  • The Bat serves this purpose in the climax of The Dark Knight Rises.
  • Escape Plan: During the final escape, the allies of Breslin and Rottmayer send a armed helicopter to pick them up. The heavy machine guns provide useful suppressing fire that forces the guards to keep their heads down (and kills several of them).
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): A Monarch military jet squadron pull off such a rescue quite early in the movie, during Ghidorah's first scene after awakening. The main human heroes are trapped on the ground in the middle of Antarctica with no working vehicles, and Ghidorah is directly terrorizing them (having already killed most of their mooks and Dr. Graham) while Godzilla is momentarily knocked down. A barrage of airborne missiles impacting Ghidorah's faces before he can attack anyone else is the very first sign the cavalry has arrived. And the aerial attack on one side of Ghidorah combined with Godzilla getting back up on Ghidorah's other side is apparently enough to drive Ghidorah to retreat and rebuild his strength.
  • Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. And even firing at the building.
  • James Bond:
    • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond and his ally (and soon-to-be father-in-law) Marc-Ange Draco attack Ernst Stavro Blofeld's mountain hideout of Piz Gloria with helicopters full of Red Shirts that are equipped with submachine guns and a flamethrower in order to rescue Marc-Ange's daughter Tracy and ruin Blofeld's Evil Plan.
    • In Diamonds Are Forever, a helicopter attack is launched on Blofeld's oil rig by Leiter and the CIA. Said helicopters are armed with rocket launchers.
    • In Octopussy, the old Q, of all people, saves some of Octopussy's Amazon Brigade by landing on some of Kamal Khan's mooks with his hot air balloon.
    • Inverted in Skyfall. This time, the Big Bad has a gunship, and tries to kill Bond with it.
  • Man of Steel: Surprisingly, this is achieved more often by the villains than the heroes, as a couple of Kryptonian fighters are part of their limited arsenal, and it outclasses anything humans have. The military does help a little with their A-10 Warthogs being able to at least distract and/or disorient their targets, but can't deal any real damage. In addition, earlier in the movie, one of Zod's gunships is about to blast Kal-El's capsule out of the sky when it is blown to smithereens by a Kryptonian Council loyalists-aligned gunship. Cue many more gunships surrounding Zod's position and forcing him to surrender.
  • The Matrix: The last third of the movie has Neo and Trinity pilot a helicopter armed with a mini-gun that even the near unstoppable Agents can't dodge.
  • In Off Limits two American military policemen are surrounded by corrupt South Vietnamese police. The chief policeman tells the Americans, "I am afraid you are outgunned today." As a helicopter BDG appears from behind the buildings, the lead MP replies, "You still don't get it, do you? We [Americans] are never outgunned!
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, after Will Turner stabs Davy Jones' heart and the Dutchman sinks, the EITC armada is about to wipe out the pirate armada... and then the Dutchman explodes from the water, with Will at the helm.
  • Red Dawn (1984):
    • In the beginning, the heroes realize that their escape to the mountains is about to be prematurely cut off by a Soviet roadblock. Just then an Army Huey helicopter turns up and blows the roadblock to pieces, clearing the way for them. (Another chopper, or possibly the same one, shows up later on harassing the Soviets as they secure the town)
    • Inverted towards the end, when the Dirty Commies finally catch La Résistance out in the open, and the Wolverines find out that Mi-24 Hinds are out of their league.
  • Averted in Rogue (2020). The mercenaries are expecting to be extracted by helicopter gunship after they rescue the governor's daughter. The helicopter arrives but Zalaam shoots it down, forcing Sam and her men to keep running and attempt to improvise a new extraction route.
  • The ending of Saving Private Ryan features the US Army Air Forces saving the day, specifically the P-51 Mustang "Tank Busters."
  • An entire fleet of Royal Navy Airborne Aircraft Carriers turns up to rescue the protagonists at the end of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), though they really don't need saving by that stage.
  • Star Trek
    • The climax of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home plays with this, partly for comedy. A whaling vessel is chasing the two humpback whales Kirk and crew need to bring back to the 23rd century to save Earth from a destructive probe. The vessel sights the whales, fires a harpoon — which suddenly bounces off nothing with a metallic clang. Cue the heroes' stolen Bird of Prey decloaking above the water... and the whaling ship urgently attempting to turn around and run away.
    • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has Spock as gunner on a Klingon Bird-Of-Prey blowing up a wanna-be God with a timely arrival.
    • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Captain Sulu and the Excelsior show up to help the Enterprise fight a cloaked Bird-of-Prey. In this case it wasn't necessarily for the firepower but in Sulu's own words "Give them something else to shoot at" and take pressure off the beleaugred Enterprise while the technicians figured a way around the cloak. But once the modified seeker torpedo finds its mark, Sulu and the Excelsior are quick to exploit the opening.
      Sulu: Target that explosion and fire!
    • Star Trek: First Contact: "Sir, there's another ship coming in. ...It's the Enterprise!" Cue the shiny new Enterprise-E swooping in like an avenging angel to save the mangled Defiant (commanded by Worf at the time) from the Borg cube.
    • Two Romulan Warbirds under Commander Donatra try to do this for Enterprise in Star Trek: Nemesis, but are quickly disabled.
    • Star Trek (2009): Alternate Spock is headed into a massive missile barrage in Spock Prime's little ship, with the computer warning him that the black-hole-creating-stuff in the back will ignite if they're hit. Cue the "Jump-out-of-warp" noise, and the Enterprise blasts into the scene with all guns blazing furiously, picking off every missile. Oh, and they beam Spock out of the little ship and Kirk and Pike off of the bigger one about to be rammed. Big Damn Heroes and Gunship Rescue moment for the Enterprise and her crew, set to an epic, epic soundtrack.
    • Star Trek Beyond: When Kirk is about to be sucked into space after ejecting Krall and the weapon from Yorktown, Bones arrives in a stolen swarm ship and Spock comes out and saves Kirk.
      Kirk: What would I do without you, Spock?
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope: Han Solo saves Luke, who is being targeted while piloting straight to the tunnel leading to the core of the Death Star.
      Han Solo: You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!
    • Return of the Jedi:
      • Just after hijacking it an AT-ST Scout Walker, Chewie starts blowing away other Scout Walkers that have been chewing up the Ewoks pretty badly.
      • When Han and Leia manage to take care of a couple of storm troopers giving them trouble, only for a AT-ST Scout Walker to approach them. They give the Oh, Crap! look, only to find out it was the one Chewbacca and the Ewoks hijacked earlier. And in the end they used the communications link in the walker to draw the base guards out rather than just blast open the doors.
    • Attack of the Clones features a gunship rescue moment from Yoda and the clone troopers, and a Big Damn Heroes moment from Yoda confronting Count Dooku. The event is even called "Gunship Rescue" on the DVD.
    • The Force Awakens has an X-Wing squadron tearing through First Order forces like paper during the battle over Maz Kanata's base, clearing the way to extract most of the focal characters.
    • In Rogue One, X-Wings and U-Wings of Blue Squadron obliterate the entire force of AT-ACTs that had the ground team dead to right in a single pass, after the sprint through the Scarif shield gate that claimed multiple ships. The U-wings also drop a few squads of reinforcements. Blue Squadron are wiped out with the rest of Rogue One in the end but without their intervention the raid would have failed, and the Rebels would never have been able to destroy the first Death Star.
    • The Last Jedi has Rey and Chewbacca arriving on Crait in the Falcon during the Resistance's Darkest Hour on Crait. Their Dynamic Entry consists of taking out three TIE fighters with one shot.
  • The climactic battle in Swiss Family Robinson is won when Roberta's grandfather returns in the nick of time with a warship and blasts the pirates to smithereens.
  • Tears of the Sun ends when Bruce Willis' team of Navy SEAL badasses, having just barely survived a battle with a pursuing enemy army, end up chased into a grassy field. Just when all hope seems lost for them and the refugees they have been escorting, a flight of F/A-18 Hornets comes screaming in and liberally applies napalm amongst the enemy ranks. The timing of it also deserves special mention, the SEALs call in air support almost as soon as the battle starts, and the jets still only arrive a the last second.
  • Used severral times in the Transformers Film Series.
    • In Transformers (2007), the Decepticon Scorponok had several soldiers pinned down and facing imminent death, when they call in two A-10 Warthogs and an AC-130 Spectre. Later in the movie, Megatron is beating the crap out of Optimus, when a bunch of F-22 Raptors swoop in and shoot Megs and Blackout.
    • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen features an air strike to help the ground troops trying to hold their position that was represented on-screen with a Guinness Record for the largest explosion Hollywood has ever done. Say what you will about Michael Bay as a director, he knows how to blow shit up.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has a subversion, as they already know that none of their aircraft could match the Cybertronian aerial fighters (a F-22 Raptor was shot down with little trouble) and thus they staged a wingsuit entry into the city, in this case the "air" support was actual people. But it was played straight somewhat during the climax, not from physical aircraft but from a series of Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a nearby base thinning out the Decepticon ranks.
  • True Lies has Harry approaching the terrorists holding out in an office building and proceeds to rip apart the entire floor with an anti-tank weapon on the Harrier-II he was flying.
  • We Were Soldiers:
    • In the final battle scene of the movie as the U.S. soldiers crest the hill they are staring down the barrels of the enemy weapons who are about to shoot them. Just as it looks like they are about to get shot to pieces, you see the enemy getting splattered by rockets and minigun fire from Huey Gunships allowing the Americans to finish storming the enemy positions.
    • Earlier in the film, the Americans are on the verge of being overrun by the NVA. In a desperation move, they call in a "Broken Arrow", which calls in all available air assets to assist. The NVA get curbstomped, at least for the moment.

  • In 1634: The Baltic War, one of the USE's "timberclad" warships steams to the rescue of the folks escaping from imprisonment in the Tower of London.
  • The Alchemist by Ken Goddard. When the undercover narcs are pulling the drug deal at the end of the novel, an attempted rip-off is stymied by their pilot turning up in an AH-64 Apache he borrowed from a nearby military base.
  • In a two-for-one hybrid of Gunship Rescue with the Biggest Damn Hero ever, Angel City is saved by the timely appearance of the Garuda bird in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump. It qualifies as a ship as well as a hero, because in this Magitek setting, the mighty Garuda is being outfitted for space travel by the setting's analog of N.A.S.A.
  • Another Tom Clancy one in Clear and Present Danger, this time from the perspective of the gunship. A twenty-one-ton Pave Low might make for awesome firepower, but it's not a dedicated gunship, as the crew are keenly aware.
    PJ: What's the opposition like?
    Clark: Lots of people with AKs. Ought to sound familiar.
    PJ: It does. I got three minis. Without any air support...
    Clark: You guessed right. You are the air support. I'd hold on to the miniguns.
  • In the Dirk Pitt Adventures book Atlantis Found, Dirk Pitt and the unarmed icebreaker he came in on are getting pummeled by a U-boat's machine guns and deck gun in Antarctica. They look well and truly screwed until his boss Sandecker pulls some strings and gets the U.S Navy to send the U-boat to the bottom with a destroyer-launched Tomahawk cruise missile.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Small Favor Harry Dresden is saved by Badass mercenary Ms. Gard, who proceeds to gun down demons using a minigun on an illegal Huey. While playing "Ride of the Valkyries" on speakers mounted on the chopper. Even Marcone was very impressed. The best part? It is piloted by an actual Valkyrie.
    • There's also Dresden himself, in Dead Beat, Harry charges into a zombie horde on top of a reanimated T. rex and rescues the Wardens who are losing miserably.
  • Eisenhorn has a guncutter that turns up at least once per novel. In Xenos when the titular inquisitor is cornered by Glaw, Midas Betancore brings the cutter down and helps Eisenhorn escape with an artefact. In Malleus his daughter Medea saves Eisenhorn from witch-finder Tantalid — "Never argue with a guncutter, asshole". Subverted in Hereticus where Medea flies in to try and save Eisenhorn and company from a Chaos titan, despite Eisenhorn's orders to stay put, and gets shot out of the sky.
  • Also by John Ringo, in Hell's Faire, the fourth and final book of the Posleen War series, just as all hope looks lost for the ACS the entire Space Navy shows up in orbit (against orders) and begins Orbital Bombardment of the Posleen positions.
  • The Heroes of Olympus series:
    • Subverted. The Argo II doesn't get to Camp Jupiter until the day after the invasion.
    • It does, however, pull off a lot of rescues in The Mark of Athena.
  • It happens several times in Honor Harrington, which both played this straight and subverted it, depending on the book in question.
  • Though they are intelligent animals and characters in their own right, this is the narrative role of the Eagles in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. Almost every time they show up it's to bail out the heroes from a hopeless battle, rescue anyone who needs rescuing, and turn the tide. Complete with enough power to wound a god in the case of Thorondor.
    • Lúthien and Huan showing up at Tol-in-Gaurhoth and kicking Sauron's butt. This happens just as Beren is left alone and helpless by the death of Finrod Felagund. It's this, not Deus ex Machina, because the implication is that Finrod knew they were coming.
    • The Númenoreans pull a literal one on Gilgalad and Elrond during the War of the Elves and Sauron: sailing up the Anduin and relieving the Siege of Imladris. While the elves had asked for help from Númenor, Queen Telperien dithered about whether to help for so long that the situation had gotten quite desperate for the elves before the fleet showed up.
  • Subverted in the Mass Effect prequel novel. A gunship arrives with lasers blazing to save the outnumbered-and-pinned-down soldiers from mercenaries, only to be shot down by the The Dragon bounty-hunter who not only predicted the gunship, but prepped massive anti-aircraft weaponry beforehand.
  • In the Clive Cussler novel The Mayan Secrets, at the very end, the townsfolk are ready to be on the receiving end of a major curb-stomp when two attack helicopters arrive, seemingly out of nowhere. Apparently Sam Fargo, one of the main characters, has some secrets in his background.
  • Is used to good effect in the Mutineer's Moon and Excalibur Alternative universes. "Break off and leave them to us!"
  • In Orphanage by Robert Buettner, Metzeger combines this with a heroic sacrifice, crashing a gunship into the alien hive to save his friend and his pregnant wife from being killed in a hopeless siege.
  • John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series features in its later volumes two gorgeous helicopter pilots call-signs "Valkyrie" and "Dragon." Dragon flies a Czech version of a Hind attack helicopter with so much weaponry on it that when she unloads on the bad guys it looks like the helicopter has blown up.
  • Happens a few times in Parellity, once by Mobius, and once by the CORE.
  • Ralph Peters's Red Army. Soviet close air support with fuel-air bombs destroy the remaining Dutch tanks about to overrun Kryshinin's forward security element.
  • Red Storm Rising: Edwards and his men have been discovered, are pinned down and getting torn apart by a Russian squad. Friendly A-7s manage to kill the Russian mortar teams, but are unable to safely hit the assault troops because of their proximity to the Americans. Then Edwards is hit, hears rotor blades and figures it's the Russian Hind from Keflavik... it's not.
  • In The Salvation War, during the battle at Hit between the U.S. Army and the invading demon army, the infantry are heavily pressed by the baldricks because their rifles don't do enough damage to drop the invaders, and they have no air support because of the harpy presence....until the harpies have been culled from the skies by massed anti-air fire. Cue the Apaches.
  • In Harry Harrison's alternate history novel Stars and Stripes Forever, Washington D.C. is being invaded until the ironclad Avenger arrives to save the day.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Shatterpoint played with this trope intensely. Throughout the novel, gunships both repeatedly assault the main characters at the worst possible moments, and rescue a whole bunch of civilians in the nick of time. The climactic sequence involves the rescue cruiser being ambushed, the crippled gunships being saved by Mace Windu commandeering ENEMY gunships, using these in a Trojan horse assault, being Gunship Rescued right back by the enemy air fleet, using one of the gunships stolen earlier as a tank to try to pull off the daring assault, having it destroyed, and having a different set of enemies use another set of aircraft to lure the first enemies into a brutal massacre of civilians. Peace only reigns when everyone sends the damn things home.
    • Another particularly noticeable example in Legends comes at the end of Choices of One. The local Imperial Fleet (including Pellaeon and Thrawn), which Han, Wedge and Leia have been covertly helping are surrounded and badly outgunned by the true Big Bad of this novel. Cue Lord Darth Vader's personal squadron.. You know, the one from Empire Strikes Back.
  • Happens in the climax of Jenő Rejtő's novel The Vanished Cruiser with the titular cruiser, unexpectedly emerging on the nearby river and not only dishing out so much needed artillery fire, but also dispatching some troops with machine guns.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's The Vor Game, the heroes are hopelessly outnumbered when the commander says, "Whatinhell's that? It's too big to be that fast. It's too fast to be that big." It's the gunship rescue, is what it is, spearheaded by the Barrayaran Empire's newest, biggest, shiniest battleship, still on it's shakedown cruise, and at forefront of a rapidly-formed and extremely motivated alliance of neighboring Navies. Jointly commanded by the Empire's most famous military tactician (and former Imperial Regent) and the Emperor himself. Once they arrive, and demonstrate that their weapons have three times the effective range of anything else in flight, it's essentially all over bar the mopping up.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. After losing his surrogate children the protagonist decides to drive into an alien-infested zone until something eats him, only to have his Colonel Badass girlfriend turn up in a massively-armed jetcopter gunship and blow up the road in front of his vehicle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Airwolf used this all the time, being that the title craft was a gunship.
  • Plenty of cases in Babylon 5. A memorable example in "Walkabout", where Sheridan takes the White Star to face off several Shadow vessels. He wants to use Lyta Alexander's Psychic Powers to immobilize the Shadows in order to destroy them. Lyta manages to hold one Shadow ship, while three telepaths on the accompanying Minbari cruiser restrain all but one. Just as it seems the remaining Shadow vessel will blast both the White Star and the Minbari cruiser, a jump point opens, and the Narn cruiser G'Tok appears, blasting its Slow Lasers at the unsuspecting enemy. This outmatches the Shadows to the point of forcing them into retreat, for the first time since the Shadow War opened. Then G'Kar orders the other ships he brought with him into action...
    • During the battle for Babylon 5's independence, Babylon 5 and two destroyers manage to hold back an EarthForce fleet loyal to the President (losing one of their destroyers in the process). Cue jumpgate opening and a large EarthForce fleet arriving, larger than the one they just barely repelled. Then cue more jump points, with three Minbari Sharlin-class warcruisers, a White Star, and a very unhappy Delenn.
      Delenn: Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed.
      Capt. Drake: Negative, we have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
      Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.
      [the fleet proceeds to turn tail and get the hell out of there]
    • During the battle for Earth at the end of Season 4, the deranged President Clark turns the Earth Defence Grid against the planet itself. The Agamemnon, captained by Sheridan, is out of ammo and the only ship close enough to destroy the last remaining weapons system. Sheridan orders ramming speed — at which point the Apollo, in a magnificent Heel–Face Turn, comes blazing out of a jump point with all guns firing, saving the hides of both the Agamemnon and Earth itself. Let's not forget that the Apollo had put a cap on this battle, which began with the cinematic beauty in the combined fighting might of Minbari, alien and Earthforce ships and fighters working in destroying the defense grid with astounding might and power in a way never seen before.
  • Battlestar Galactica has just such a moment in the evacuation of New Caprica. The Galactica is going down, it's being pummeled by basestars, it's lost maneuvering thrusters and FTL. Adama has told his crew It Has Been an Honor. Cut back... the Battlestar Pegasus swoops in and destroys one basestar in the first few seconds of firing. The Pegasus then has to take the brunt of the battle and is itself heavily damaged, leading to Lee to conclude Ramming Always Works. It does, killing TWO other basestars.
    • In the same episode, when the Resistance forces were pinned down by Cylon fire, Galactica comes to the rescue by jumping into the planet's atmosphere, launching its Viper wing, and jumping out again in time to avoid going splatnote .
      Hotdog: Well, this oughta be different.
    • Lee did it first when he rescued Tyrol, Cally, and Baltar from Centurions on Kobol in the Season 2.
  • In the final episode of Cowboy Bebop (2021), Spike is Forced to Watch Vicious and his men execute Jet and his daughter Kimmie, when suddenly Faye Valentine opens up from outside the building with the guns on her Red Tail, using an infrared imager to target the goons inside without hitting their prisoners.
  • Doctor Who:
  • The Expanse: The Rocinante naturally serves this role often, having been designed as an MCRN fast-attack gunship. Prime examples include in "The Monster and the Rocket" when the Roci shoots down a missile launched at a refugee ship before threatening the UNN and MCRN fleets with mutual assured destruction in order to get the civilians out of the combat zone. Later in "IFF" the Roci rescues the Razorback by again taking out pursuing torpedoes, then using a nuclear blast to blind the much larger UNN warship hunting them long enough to cripple it.
  • Parodied in the Farscape episode "Scratch 'n Sniff" when damsel-in-distress Raxil discovers our heroes preparing to assault the Big Bad's fortress with a couple of pulse pistols.
    "Two guns? I mean, I thought you were the great Crichton and D'Argo! I mean, you blew up a Shadow Depository. I mean, I thought you'd bring pelshfer charges...and a plasma bomb...and a really big gunship...but no! You bring nothing! You bring two little weapons that wouldn't kill a negnik!"
    • Talyn often played this role in other episodes, such as "Thanks for Sharing" and the "Liars, Guns and Money" Trilogy.
  • Firefly subverts this trope repeatedly.
    • Set up and inverted in the original pilot, when During the War, Mal's little group of Independents hang on against impossible odds. You get your moment of Gunship Rescue as the roar of an arriving fleet of aircraft sounds... only to find out that the gunships belong to the other side and they're about to be on the receiving end of all that firepower. Cue the look on Mal's face.
    • There's a bluffed rescue in the episode "The Train Job", when Wash shows up in Serenity to save the crew from a fight, threatening to "blow another crater in this little moon". Serenity's sudden appearance is apparently so intimidating that the locals back off without stopping to think that, as a transport ship, she doesn't actually have any guns. Jayne laughs at the locals for falling for it.
    • Played straight in "Safe", before River can be burnt at the stake. Serenity may not be armed, but Jayne is. Heavily.
      Preacher: This is a holy cleansing. You cannot think to thwart God's will.
      Mal: Y'all see the man hanging out of the spaceship with the really big gun? I'm not saying you weren't easy to find... but it was kinda out of our way, and he didn't want to come in the first place. Man's lookin' to kill some folk. So really it's HIS will y'all should worry about thwarting!
    • Subverted yet again in "Heart of Gold" when Mal's plan for Serenity to provide support in a firefight with Weaponized Exhaust is screwed up by the bad guys ambushing Wash and Kaylee in the cargo bay.
  • Game of Thrones: Drogon and the other dragons are the closest equivalent Game of Thrones has to this trope. The first one happens in the pits of Meereen where Drogon spontaneously saves Daenerys from the Sons of the Harpy in Season 5. In the penultimate episode of Season 7, Daenerys rescues the Wight-hunting party from the Night King's army of wights by roasting veritable scores of the undead with her dragons. Viserion doesn't survive said rescue raid, however.
    • House of the Dragon: Subverted with the Velaryon soldier who's crucified by the Crabfeeder. He's overjoyed when Daemon Targaryen enters the scene on the back of his dragon Caraxes and expects to be saved and for them to annihilate the Crabfeeder's forces... only for him to end up crushed under the claws of Caraxes.
  • A rather archaic appearance of the trope happens in the Horatio Hornblower TV series episode "The Frogs and the Lobsters" when the main characters and a platoon of marines are trapped on a beach and about to be killed by the French, at least, until the HMS Indefatigable opens up. Ocean vessel variant of the trope.
  • JAG:
    • At the final climax in the first season episode "Scimitar", Harm and Meg while driving a limousine are chased by Iraqis in a Soviet made Hind. But at the Kuwait border a U.S. Army Apache saves the day.
    • Also in the fifth season episode "The Bridge at Kang So Ri", two U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagles out powers two North Korean Migs.
  • An episode of NCIS: Los Angeles has Kensi and Deeks pinned down by mercenaries near the Mexican border with a pair of kidnapped Marines. Cue Sam and Callen coming over the horizon in a helicopter with Sam sitting in the open door with his M4.
  • Power Rangers RPM: Gem and Gemma's or (Hiroto and Miu) debut as involves two gunships that look like a giant chicken and a tiger.
  • The Marines rescue the titular team in SEAL Team with three gunships. As the SEALs are pinned down, a Huey fires its door mounted machine gun, suppressing the enemy horde. A Cobra gunship then blows them up with its nose cannon and rockets, after which an Osprey lands and deploys an extraction team that provide covering fire while the SEALs run to the tilt rotor and board it.
  • Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. In fact, the Daedalus-class' service record is about 50% Gunship Rescue moments.
    • Hell, Atlantis itself has a moment of this during the series finale.
    • Also happens with the Beliskner in the episode "Thor's Chariot", where Thor's flagship comes down from the clouds and beams away all enemy Jaffa and destroys every Ha'tak piece-by-piece.
    • "Into the Fire" has the survivors of SG-1, -3, -5, -6, and -11 held prisoner by Jaffa. Then the gate opens and Teal'c and General Hammond fly through in a modified death glider that blasts apart the turrets guarding them while a squad of rebel Jaffa led by Bra'tac comes through the gate.
    • Another episode involves the heroes trying to get the Asgard of a parallel reality to pull a Gunship Rescue to save that reality's Earth. Viewers are treated to same shot as in "Thor's Chariot", except that Beliskner is hovering over the SGC.
    • In "Avenger 2.0" Jack and Teal'c get tired of waiting for the gate network to be fixed and hijack an Al'kesh just in time to save Carter and Dr. Felger from an army of Jaffa.
    • Lost City, Part 2, the Season 7 finale has SG-1 in a small, unprotected Tel'tak using a modified ring transporter to drill through a mile of ice in Antarctica and Anubis's fleet rapidly approaching their position. The Prometheus, with General Hammond as commander, and a squadron of F-302's show up and the Prometheus parks above the Tel'tak to defend their position.
      • The Prometheus herself gets rescued by a Big Damn Gunstation once O'Neill launches a giant swarm of glowing squid missiles that completely destroy the attacking Goa'uld fleet, including Anubis's giant ship.
    • Defied in "Camelot." The Ori motherships have come through the Supergate and are curb-stomping the combined forces of several Ha'tak vessels, Asgard ships, and Earth ships. Teal'c comes in raining fire on the Ori with three ships of his own… which proceed to get curb stomped just as easily.
    • At the end of the first Atlantis episode with the Genii they attempt to double-cross the Atlantis team and steal their Puddle-Jumper, which Major Sheppard had earlier told them was the only one the Expedition had...
      Sheppard: Puddle-Jumpers 2 and 3, execute.
    • Averted and then played straight in an early episode of Atlantis: When Sheppard engages in a 12 hour game of cat and mouse with a particularly powerful Wraith, and it's not going at all well, he's relieved to hear Lt. Ford call him on the radio to say that Ford's coming with reinforcements and heavier weapons, and Sheppard compliments Ford on the "nice timing" of the rescue. Ford radios back that he and the reinforcements are still twenty minutes away, to which Sheppard replies "In that case, your timing stinks Lieutenant. Get here when you can." But the big guns still turn the tide in killing off the Wraith.
    • Played straight with the arrival of the Daedalus itself in the first season finale.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation's Grand Finale had Riker flying in the new-and-improved Enterprise-D which is capable of ignoring the Klingon shields and blasting several holes in their ships with the huge super-phaser.
      • Riker would do this again about the Zheng We in the Season 1 finale of Star Trek Picard, jumping in with a fleet of Federation ships to see of the Romulans
      • And a third time in the Season 1 finale of Lower Decks, aboard the Titan this time, jumping in to rescue the Cerritos from the Packleds. Riker makes a habit of this.
    • Shran's ship performs this role in the Season 3 finale of Star Trek: Enterprise.
    • The Defiant does this twice in the Mirror Universe two-parter in Enterprise's fourth season.
    • An entire fleet of Klingon ships did this at the episode "Sacrifice of Angels".
    • To quote General Martok in Call to Arms, "Continue your work, Commander, I will handle the Jem'Hadar."
      • Who says there's never a Klingon around when you need one?
    • The Klingons get to do it again in the TNG episode The Defector. The Enterprise, alone in the Romulan Neutral Zone, is surrounded by two huge Romulan warbirds (each of which alone would nearly be a match for the Enterprise). Picard gives a Rousing Speech and three Klingon Birds-of-Prey decloak to reveal that it was actually the Romulans who are surrounded and outgunned.
      Commander Tomalak: You will still not survive our assault.
      Picard: And you will not survive ours. Shall we die together?
    • In the Discovery episode "The Butcher's Knife Cares not for the Lamb's Cry", the USS Discovery uses the experimental spore drive to appear right above the mining colony, as the Klingon birds-of-prey are preparing to finish it off, and blasting several ships before they figure out what's going on. Rather than fight them conventionally, Captain Lorca decides to teach the Klingons a lesson, while showing off his new toy. He lets the Klingons get very close, while strafing the hull of the Discovery, then has the ship "spore" out, leaving behind a cluster of primed photon torpedoes that obliterate the rest of the Klingon force. All this takes a few seconds. By the time the colonists look up to see what happened, the Discovery is gone, and they're left wondering who saved them.
      • This, unfortunately, fails in "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", where the Discovery comes to the aid of the USS Gagarin, which is being pounded by Klingon ships that have been equipped with cloaking devices. A Klingon ship launches two torpedoes at the crippled Gagarin. Lorca orders the Discovery placed between the Gagarin and the torpedoes, but they manage to intercept only one. The other one obliterates the Gagarin. This is when Starfleet decides that something needs to be done to counter the cloaking device.

  • At the ending of "Cows With Guns", the eponymous cows are rescued from "ten thousand coppers" by "chickens in choppers".
  • In "Dawson's Christian" by Leslie Fish, the titular spaceship comes to the rescue when Hera's Dream, an unarmed freighter, is attacked by pirates.
  • "Hell Patrol" by Judas Priest, a tribute to the US Air Force during The Gulf War.

  • In Chapter 36 of We're Alive, The Colony looks to be on the brink of collapse under the assault of the "Little Ones" when Michael and crew arrive in the Pelican an proceed to mow down zombies with an M134.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rocket Age during the Trail of the Scorpion, the heroes can be rescued from a hostile Martian city-state by a mixed force of British, US and Europan space ships.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has several.
    • In the fiction, during the siege of Terra, primarch Rogal Dorn seemingly deserted his post, only to return in the nick of time aboard a city-sized floating superweapon.
    • Apocalypse games using flyers can throw this out a lot, especially now that it is (slightly) more affordable to have an entire Elysian army mounted in Valkyries. One can imagine the variety of scenarios that could be put together; a small Imperial Guard garrison set to hold a fortress against an overwhelming tide of Tyranids until a Space Marine company with a Thunderhawk swoops in to the rescue...Or a band of Eldar Guardians holding the line until half a dozen Aspect Warrior-laden Vampires drop out of the sky and start opening Webway portals all over the battlefield...

    Video Games 
  • You are the Gunship Rescue several times throughout the Ace Combat series. The fourth installment's Operation Bunker Shot plays this twice in the same mission. The first is you doing this for the amphibious assault forces; the second was the Eruseans attempting this at the end of the mission with their flight of A-10s showing up.
    • The most triumphant example is in Mission 12 of Ace Combat 6, where you're heavily outnumbered and surrounded on all sides — and then every single allied squadron you've helped shows up to return the favor.
  • In Apache Air Assault, you ARE the Gunship Rescue most of the time.
  • In Battlefield: Bad Company 2 the main characters are about to be executed by an improvised firing squad in a cutscene, and just as the command to fire is about to be given Flynn the pacifist pilot flies over the cliff edge in an armed Blackhawk and unleashes hell on the bad guys. Accompanied by a few appropriate words, of course. Also happens in one of the multiplayer trailers, where american soldiers are pursued by russians in a hectic vehicle chase, they run into a cliff and are seemingly cut off from escape until a Blackhawk comes from below, turning to face its mounted minigun towards the pursuers. Braaammm!
  • Somewhat subverted in Battlefield 3 expansion Armored Kill : There are Gunships, they can rain down instant death, but the fact that it's slow moving, hard to spot the people down on the ground, and require trajectory calculation just make the Gunship a huge target.
  • Bloody Wolf finishes the game with your current commando escaping enemy territory after killing the General, only to be cornered by mooks, with a helicopter bearing down upon him. But it turns out that helicopter was commandeered by the other commando, who then mows down all surrounding mooks before picking up the player character. Cue ending credits.
  • The final stage of Caliber .50, where you infiltrate the enemy airbase, and radio for help. In the stage's last area, a US Army chopper will arrive and provide cover fire as you try forcing your way past enemies, but you'll need to kill enough mooks to allow the chopper to safely land. The game ends once you got onboard.
  • Call of Duty 4 featured at least three Gunship Rescue scenes: one is in the USMC mission "The Bog", featuring two Super Cobras coming to The Squad's rescue when it's overwhelmed by enemies; the second features a Lockheed AC-130 gunship appearing just before the team faces a enemy armored platoon (it then also covers their subsequent escape); and the third one is in the very end, when a Havoc arrives to rescue Soap in the last damn moment. There's also a mission where you can call in a Mi-28 at will, so whether it invokes a Big Damn Heroes moment depends entirely on you.
    • A very similar scene to the ending of COD4 appears in Modern Warfare 2, when Roach and Ghost escape from Markarov's Dacha, chased by dozens of Russian Mooks. 30 meters from the extraction point, you get knocked out by a grenade right next to you, only to awaken while being dragged away by the collar by Ghost. As you try to take some more enemies down through your blurry gaze, the ringing in the ears turns into the unmistakeably sound of miniguns warming up and a chopper flies over your head, completely shredding the pursuing soldiers to pieces. But once you're up on your feet and handed the retrieved data to General Shepherd, he shoots Roach and Ghost and burns their bodies in a ditch.
    • In MW3 The Lockheed AC-130 from the first game returns, in which you have to blast free a path out of Paris for the soldiers who captured Volk. Earlier in the level you can throw purple smoke grenades to call an airstrike, so again whether it invokes a Big Damn Heroes moment depends entirely on you. At the end of the level, the Delta Force soldiers are making a stand on the Pont d'Iéna against vastly superior Russian forces with heavy tank backup. Just as you start to run out of ammo and the tanks close in, American bombers come in and obliterate the Russian forces. Unfortunately this causes the Eiffel Tower to collapse. In Sierra Leone you can take remote control of the gun on Nikolais gunship, and in Berlin you are given a target designator for an A-10, "the tanks natural enemy".
    • Black Ops has two in the mission "The Defector", one by a gatling-armed Huey chopper that clears the path for your squad and the other by a flight of F4 Phantoms covering your escape.
    • There is also a Gunship Rescue in Call of Duty 2. Dog Company has to hold Hill 400 against an overwhelming amount of German infantry, supported by tanks and half-tracks. After doing this for several minutes, a flight of P-51 Mustangs will finally come to the Rangers' rescue, forcing the German troops to break off their attack.
    • Also used in Call of Duty: World at War in the mission "Black Cats". The titular "Black Cat" is a PBY Catalina flying boat that's landed on the water to pick up survivors of a sunken destroyer. Your character is trying to keep attacking Zeroes off the plane while it tries to get airborne, but the gun turrets are scripted to run out of ammunition as one final wave of enemy planes is inbound. At the last possible second, a squadron of Navy Corsairs show up and clear a path for your escape.
      • An example of a Gunship Rescue for the Gunship Rescue. You had just arrived on the scene as the fleet was being attacked by the Japanese, doing your best to fend off the Zeroes and the Japanese torpedo boats while you did your rescue work.
  • Cold Winter have this happening in the final cutscene. You sabotaged Project Cold Winter, saved the world, and makes an escape as terrorists chases after you. When you reach a balcony with no escape, suddenly you're rescued by a military chopper who uses it's turrets to wipe out your pursuers.
  • COD 2 Spanish Civil War Mod: In one mission, your armoured car gets ambushed and destroyed by a Republican tank. Then you crawl out of the wreckage and find yourself in an open area with no cover, the tank aiming at you and left without any means to damage it.... but the enemy vehicle is suddenly destroyed by one of your dive bombers.
  • Arguably, any RTS where you can call in an air attack to bail out your ground forces can count. Company of Heroes's Strafing Runs from Airborne Company P-47s have been known to turn the tide of many a game. In the expansion pack, the Panzer Elite can request Henschel close air support aircraft for a similar purpose. The Soviets in the Eastern Front fan-made expansion take it up a notch in typical Russian style by calling in an entire squadron of Il-2 Sturmoviks. Nothing says "Gunship Rescue" like watching Panther and Tiger tanks disintegrate under a storm of aerial rockets.
  • Mission 3 from Dawn of War: Winter Assault. Your Imperial Guard force is holding the line against the biggest Ork WAAAGH! you've probably ever seen for 10 minutes. As the timer counts down, a Squiggoth charges your lines and proceeds to dominate your pitiful force. Countdown ends: cue Baneblade tank, a rolling engine of destruction that saves your ass and easily devastates the Squiggoth and remaining Orks single handedly.
  • In the arcade game Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, the heroes defeat the final boss, only for it to start getting back up for a final attack. But, before it can, an entire fleet of Elvish airships shows up and bombs it into the ground for good.
  • There is a battle in EarthBound Beginnings where your party is saved by the giant tank that rolls up and kills the enemy.
  • Fallout 3, in the DLC Broken Steel: After you set the Enclave mobile base to self-destruct, your guys show up in a captured Enclave VTOL.
    • Enclave Vertibirds in general employ the villainous version of this trope, coming out of nowhere and laying down all sorts of suppression fire on everything in sight. Amplified by the fact that, for the most part, nobody but the Enclave has functional cars let alone military gunships.
  • This can happen in the final battle of Fallout: New Vegas twice. If you help the Boomers get their B-29 bomber, they'll use it against whatever faction you're fighting. If you manage to get the help of the Enclave Remnants, they'll show up via a Vertibird.
  • Fallout 4:
    • Once you join up with the Brotherhood of Steel, you can summon a Vertibird gunship with the Signal Grenades. Also, completely siding with either the Railroad or the Minutemen and completing their main quests in the right manner will have them provide you with Signal Grenades to summon a captured Brotherhood Vertibird.
    • The Brotherhood do this regularly with their Vertibirds appearing in random locations in the Commonwealth Wasteland, providing either fire support and/or dropping off their troopers, similar to the Enclave in 3. This only happens after killing Conrad Kellogg in the main quest.
    • The Gunners happen to possess at least one Vertibird in their arsenal (presumably stolen or salvaged from an undisclosed wreck somewhere) and will appear if you decide to travel to the South Boston area and have hostile relations with them.
  • Some Final Fantasy games (e.g. 3/6 and 7) give the airship owner a special attack in the form of a bombing run by the party's airship.
    • Also is in Final Fantasy IX The main character's airship is facing down a large flight of silver dragons when Lindblum's Aerial Fleet Arrives and takes them on to open the way for the heroes.
    • Another example, from Final Fantasy X: right before Yuna is about to be forced to marry Seymour, her guardians arrive, at high speed, in the ridiculously cool airship which is on fire from the previous bossfight, and then slide down the airship's grappling lines to the rescue, under heavy fire.
  • Cirisis Core: Final Fantasy VII has the Air Strike Limit Break invoked by lining up Tseng's image in the DMW slots. He flies in on a helicopter, shoots up your enemies, then launches some rockets/missiles. Unfortunately, it doesn't ignore enemy Vitality.
  • Freelancer has many of these. In one instance you and Juni are cornered by half the Liberty Navy as wanted criminals, and you're outgunned so badly it's not even funny. Just when things are at their bleakest, Captain Marcus Walker charges to the rescue in his cruiser, blowing away a battleship with its Wave-Motion Gun, buying you and Juni precious time to escape.
  • Happens some in FreeSpace. One mission has an enemy ship about to open fire on a station you are protecting (an enemy ship too powerful for your fighters to handle), when all of a sudden, the very-aptly-named Colossus warps in and blasts the crap out of it.
  • In Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Captain Mitchell (the player) is given the chance to direct gunships at armored targets at various point in the game. However, there is a deliberate invocation of the trope in the infamous Plaza del Angel mission: after the US Embassy has been blown up by insurgents, the Ghost squad must protect the dignitaries — and the "football" — from a sheer onslaught of enemy forces. These start as endless on-foot infantry... then a couple of jeeps... then an APV... Then you see a tank just a few blocks away, and all of a sudden the ruins of the embassy are demolished by cannon fire... Then you hear the roar of helicopter blades and the tank disintegrates as a US gunship descends from freaking nowhere, giving Mitchell and his squad the chance to evacuate on a Blackhawk, providing a glorious finish to the most intense firefight in the entire game.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • Whether you choose the "Deal" or "Revenge" path in Grand Theft Auto IV, the final battle leads to a pretty much unwinnable chase — Niko is either going after a helicopter while in a boat or a boat while on a motorbike. Until Little Jacob swoops down in an aptly-named Annihilator helicopter to give him a lift and provide supporting fire.
    • Happens in Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony during the final mission. Luis is on a motorcycle being chased by assassins when Yusuf shows up in a gold plated helicopter and blows up the assassins' vehicles.
  • Halo:
    • Halo 3 had a Pelican come in to take out Covenant ships that are giving you trouble. Subverted later; when thousands of Sentinel drones are rising in the air and Sergeant Johnson is preparing to engage them with the turret on the Pelican, Guilty Spark alerts the good guys that the Sentinels are on their side, and are ready to help them against Covenant forces.
      • A cavalry version happens earlier when the Shadow of Intent arrives and Elites start dropping into to help you against the Flood, showing that they have switched sides.
      • The scene where Miranda Keyes goes to rescue Johnson by piloting a Pelican through a giant tower's window. However, it ends up being subverted when Miranda is killed by Truth.
    • A variant of it happens in Halo 2. The Master Chief rides a bomb into a Covenant Assault Carrier, destroying it. Unfortunately, he is now plummeting to Earth. Fortunately, Miranda Keyes maneuvers her frigate to "catch" him.
      Johnson: For a brick, he flew pretty good.
    • In the Halo Wars 2 beta, Captain Cutter could call in a squadron of 4 Pelican gunships that circle an area, obliterating all enemies with volley after volley of guided missiles, paired with withering rakes of fire from 8 gatling guns.
  • In the Henry Stickmin Series, some of the options involve asking helicopter pilot Charles for help with mixed results. These range from having him use some sort of weapon to him deciding to crash his chopper into you.
  • Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II: At the end of Level 1, Kyle has shot off 8t88's arm, but the droid has escaped in an Imperial shuttle... and then a TIE Bomber appears and shoots at Kyle. Fortunately, Jan Ors shows up in the Moldy Crow to destroy it and save Kyle's life.
  • Jets'n'Guns does this once with the USS Impotence: Just as the player ship is about to be overwhelmed by enemy forces, it arrives and detonates five ion torpedoes that completely clear the entire screen of everything (save the player). Even the music changes to reflect this.
  • You can subvert this in Just Cause 2. If you case enough chaos (read: blow up a military base single-handedly) the enemy will send in helicopters as their Gunship Rescue. This would work really well, since they are armed with minguns and occasionally rocket launchers, if only you didn't have your grappling hook, as this allows you to hijack the helicopeter and wreak even more destruction (read: blow up two more bases, then jump out and jack another helicopter on the way down).
  • A common sight in the Mass Effect series:
    • Near the end of Mass Effect, Shepard can order the Fifth Fleet to rescue the Council aboard the Destiny Ascension. Its a Gunship Rescue for the Citadel regardless, but the Destiny Ascension is only saved if you feel like it.
    • In Mass Effect 2:
      • Archangel's recruitment mission has this, too, on the bad guys' side. Depending on the choices you made earlier, it may or may not be completely repaired. Samara's recruitment mission and Kasumi's loyalty mission have the same thing for the bad guys.
      • During the ending cutscene, after killing the Human-Reaper, Shepard and his/her squad are on the run from the overwhelming horde of Collectors. Just as you reach a dead-end leading into space, the Normandy swoops in from above and you make an epic low-gravity leap to safety (or not). Not an entirely classic example, since Normandy actually doesn't have any weapons she can safely deploy at that moment, but unless you fared really badly up to that point, she is still carrying the ten toughest badasses in the galaxy ready to cover you.
    • And in Mass Effect 3:
      • The Normandy pulls this off again during the Action Prologue, where they obliterate the Cannibals about to over-run Shepard and Anderson's position.
      • On Tuchunka, you are prevented from taking any side routes, and are forced to charge straight at a Reaper. The Reaper charges its weapon (fully capable of incinerating) you...and then the Turian fighter squadron (which most players probably forgot about) flies in and starts shooting it. They are far too weak to destroy it, but they do distract it and save you.
      • Shepard flies in on a shuttle and uses a mounted gun to save Admiral Koris.
      • A villainous example is found with Kai Leng, who during your first boss battle with him will call up a gunship to provide cover fire while he recharges his shields.
      • At the end of the game, the entire allied fleet arriving to retake Earth, consisting of every single faction Shepard has gathered in the game. It's even better if the Destiny Ascension arrives to return the favor for saving her in part one: while she is not shown doing anything awesome, she nonetheless makes up for it by being an awe-inspiring sight completely dwarfing every other vessel of the fleet.
  • MechCommander: the final Cut Scene of the first game involves a Drop Ship Rescue: on the verge of victory, the protagonists' command lance are suddenly ambushed by a desperate and overwhelming Clan Smoke Jaguar counterattack, which is just as suddenly interrupted by several Draconis Combine dropships firing naval cannons into the attackers and then disgorging a vast army of Humongous Mecha onto the field. The stunned protagonists are informed that this was the last remnant of the Jaguars on Port Arthur, and that the planet was secured. [1]
  • The Medal of Honor 2010 reboot has one in the form of 2 Apache helicopters coming to the rescue of Army Rangers who have been ambushed at the foot of a mountain. Particularly poignant as the four Army Rangers (well, three Rangers and one Air Support Tech) had already spent minutes and most of their ammo waiting for reinforcement, only to call off their own troops, as their support would only arrive in time to walk into another ambush after the squad was killed. The four resign themselves to their fate as their ammo quite literally runs out and their cover is completely blown away… and then the gunships show up.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake ends with such a rescue, as Snake and Holly escape from Zanzibarland.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has quite a few, a notable one being near the end, where the Navy shows up with a formerly mothballed battleship to save Snake from the super-submarine Outer Haven.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes features this as a gameplay mechanic with Morpho the support helicopter, which can be called in for an emergency extraction if neccessary. Subverted in that calling it into a high-danger zone runs the risk of it being shot out of the sky. One Mission even revolves around it, having Snake provide air support from the chopper while an Intel Operative modeled after and voiced by Hideo Kojima himself makes his way to the landing zone.
    • The support helicopter returns in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, now code-named Pequod. Unlike Morpho, Pequod can also be used to provide fire support as well as extraction, and can be upgraded with more resilient armor to prevent it from being shot down so easily.
  • Averted throughout the Metal Slug series, where the gunship belongs to General Morden.
  • Ninja Gaiden II had this occur in an arena battle almost exactly like Star Wars.
  • Happens a lot in Operation Flashpoint and ARMA missions, due to the inherent power of helicopter gunships against tanks and infantry. In a rare example of this being used against the good guys, the climax of one mission in the Resistance expansion has your guerrilla group abandon the armored vehicles you captured in the previous mission and flee into the woods when you come under attack by Soviet Mi-24 attack helicopters.
  • The climax of Pilotwings sees you flying a gunship to rescue your instructors and a political prisoner. It's also an Unexpected Gameplay Change, since they're the only missions you fly the gunship in.
  • This happens all the time in Planetside — often, as one faction is about to lose a base, a large tank column or group of Liberators and Galaxies will reinforce the base, saving it from being captured.
  • Inverted at the end of Ranbow Six: Vegas 2. The player, Bishop, orders his team to stand down while he goes to face off against the Big Bad. He's in a white shirt carrying a handgun, and you're fully armed and armored... this'll be an opportunity to Pay Evil unto Evil. And then his own Gunship Rescue shows up, and you have to distract it for a while until your allies can shoot it down.
  • Subverted in Red Alert 3: Paradox: it's stated that the Harbinger gunship was sent to attack a prison camp holding a high-value prisoner. The gunship did indeed singlehandedly destroy the defenses, the ground forces, the camp... unfortunately, it also destroyed the prisoner as well. The scandal was such that the Harbinger project was shelved indefinitely (to explain why the Harbinger, like all Uprising units, are absent from Paradox).
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil 4 has a gunship come and help the player deal with a lot of zombified enemies. Which is then promptly subverted when it gets hit by a well-aimed RPG and is destroyed.
    • Happens again in Resident Evil 5, only this time with flying Plagas instead of a missile.
    • Inverted in the opening of Resident Evil 6 where Leon and Helena are fired upon by a helicopter right after they barely survived an explosion. Played straight when later it is revealed said helicopter was actually piloted by Ada and was helping them by shooting at the zombies around them.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours has some missions where the enemy calls in a chopper to take Tony down.
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, in the Michigan reservoir level, on your way to tag the second generator for the EMP an enemy helicopter shows up to give Sam trouble. Fortunately, Vic's chopper shows up after you tag the second generator and blows the enemy heli away.
  • StarCraft:
    • Subverted in the opening cinematic to Starcraft: Brood War, wherein the Gunship Rescue is seen hovering overhead... and then leaves without firing a shot, abandoning the marines below to the fury of the Zerg Swarm.
    • In StarCraft II, the Hyperion's first appearance takes the Brood War example and does it right. By the time it arrives your base is being completely overrun by Zerg, with Creep Tumors falling from the sky and Nydus Worms erupting right inside your base... Then the Hyperion drops in like a meteor and rains hell down on them. They do it again in a cinematic near the end of the campaign, although in this case it's a squadron of Banshee gunships instead of a capital ship.
  • Star Fox: Assault has an Enemy Mine variant of this. During the Corneria mission, Fox is ambushed on a rooftop by the Aparoids. Suddenly, Wolf appears piloting his Wolfen and makes short work of the bugs, while also flying underneath to catch Fox when he's forced to jump off the building. When Fox questions him about this, Wolf replies "If anyone's gonna tan your hide, it's gonna be me."
  • At one point in Star Wars: Republic Commando the squad prepares to make their Last Stand and to Take Them With Us. And then the Acclamator assault ship Arrestor drops from Hyperspace to save the day. It's a Subverted Trope, however; the Arrestor is out-gunned by the Trade Federation battleship and you need to get the Prosecutor's weapons back online to support it or else it will be destroyed.
    • This seems to happen at least once per campaign. On Geonosis, a gunship blasts a hole in the side of a ship that's about to self destruct, allowing the player and his squad to escape. Later on Kashyyyk, a gunship shows up just after numerous Mook Makers are dropped virtually on top of the squad.
  • A Super Robot Wars staple, with the catch that the "guns" are also your party. You're given a small group of units and told to take out around ten enemies. Once those are out, a horde appears, possibly with a boss... at which point your ship also appears and you get to deploy the forces you've already collected.
  • Happens in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain after holding the line at Taherir Palace. In this case, you have to physically jump to the helicopter, if you miss, you fall to your death and fail the mission.
  • The TCS Mount St Helens, in Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, steps up to bat for this trope, jumping in from Sol System with Captain Eisen in command, to engage its sister ship, the Vesuvius, just as the Vesuvius was about to blow the player's carrier to dustbunnies. However, as the Mount St Helens wasn't completed before Eisen hijacked it, things didn't go quite as well as hoped, though they did still delay the Vesuvius long enough for Blair to slip in ahead of Admiral Tolwyn, for the final showdown.
  • In World in Conflict, the heavy attack helicopters. Their only purpose in the game is dishing out Death from Above to everything that moves and has wrong colors on it, meaning that in any given multiplayer match, the Heavy Air players will end up pulling off Gunship Rescues repeatedly. Is it any surprise that the Separate, but Identical heavy chopper models of the Soviets and the U.S. are Mi-24 Hind and AH-64 Apache? The Tactical Aids can be this, if applied correctly, particularly the Heavy Air Support.
    • In the singleplayer campaign, when your battalion is heavily outnumbered during the Battle of Pine Valley, critically-low on ammunition and with Colonel Sawyer ordering a retreat to the beach, the USS Missouri arrives and rains death on the Soviets.
  • World of Warcraft's:
    • The Halls Of Reflection instance ends with one. After fleeing from the Lich King, the players and Jaina Proudmoore (Sylvanas for Horde) find themselves at a dead end. Just as he prepares to kill you and your leader, your faction's gunship shows up and buries him in a pile of rubble.
    • The Alliance's attempt to invoke this trope accidentally results in the awakening of the Sha, and kicks off the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Mostly because Garrosh Hellscream can't resist following them and attacking them: even though the ship in question is a lightly armed ship crewed mostly by Theramore marines who are neutral. To top it all off: it turns out that the person they were trying to rescue, Prince Anduin Wrynn, doesn't really need it.
    • Sylvanas and Varian attempt a literal one of these at the Broken Shore in the lead up the Legion expansion. Alliance forces led by Tyrande Whisperwind, and Horde forces led by Warchief Vol'jin, were facing certain defeat after the shattering death of Tirion Fordring. Suddenly, Alliance and Horde gunships appear in the sky. However: Vol'jin is mortally wounded, forcing Sylvanas to retreat, which in turn forces Varian to sacrifice himself so that the Alliance can leave.
      • Later in the same expansion: Lothraxxion and the paladin player pull one of these on the priest player, during the Order Hall campaigns. The priests are about to be overwhelmed by Legion attackers who have found their hidden base. Then suddenly the paladins show up out of the blue, having been warned by X'era of the attack.
      • In a horrifying subversion, the green dragon Ysera's attempt to pull one of these on Malfurion Stormrage ends with her forced Face–Heel Turn instead.
    • During the Battle for Lordaeron the Alliance is on the verge of routing after Sylvanas unleashed the Blight. At the last moment Jaina Proudmoore flies in on her enchanted galleon, cleanses the blight with a single spell, and blasts a hole in the keep's walls with her cannons. Seeing this, the Alliance rallies and pushes into the city.
  • A couple of wacky examples occur in the Battle for Azeroth expansion to Worldof Warcraft.
    • When the Horde troop ship carrying Princess Talanji comes near the island of Kul Tiras, the Alliance navy also happens to be in the area. A chase ensues, and the Alliance are about to surround the Horde ship. However, Talanji calls on her loa (patron spirit) Rezan and a spectral dinosaur attacks the Alliance fleet covering the Horde entrance into Zandalar, Talanji's home.
    • Lady Ashvane betrays the Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras and attacks the harbor with a pirate fleet. The Kul Tiran navy is forced to fight inside their harbor, and the walls of the city are under attack as well, and she has summoned some nasties as well. New Lord Admiral Jaina Proudmoore has to take matters into her own hands, summoning back her brother who has been lost in a mystical fog for twenty years. He comes in behind the pirates and pretty handily turns the tables on Lady Ashvane and her cronies.
  • In the Worms turn based attack games one of the attacks you can choose is calling in a bomb drop.
  • Zombie Gunship has your AC-130 protecting your away team from hordes of zombies as they scavenge for useable scrap in a Zombie Apocalypse. Your gunship also has to save your base occasionally from overwhelming tides of undead trying to overrun it.

    Web Animation 
  • Hilariously played with in Red vs. Blue:
    "I would say that was the cavalry, but I've never seen a line of horses crash into the battlefield from outer space before."

  • Early on in Dubious Company, Walter steers his heavily armed airship around in an attempt to do this for Sal. Unfortunately, his airship is wooden and Izor has a squad of mages with him, forcing Walter to retreat and think of a better plan.
  • The climax of A Miracle of Science, though it was fairly obviously coming. In a bit of a twist, however, the gunship fleet only guarantees everyone's physical safety, and the main character still risks his life to Save the Villain (or rather, the villain's sanity).
  • Schlock Mercenary, troops from the company on the ground have on occasion been rescued by close air support provided by their home ship, as shown here and here, for two examples.
    Maxim #4: Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins.
Followed immediately by,
  • In the "Dead Dogs" arc of Skin Horse, the team and Sweetheart's pack are facing off against a horde of werewolves. Sweetheart is in the middle of her Rousing Speech when Nick, who'd been left behind at the pack's base, shows up with massive reinforcements.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in Season 8 of Acquisitions Incorporated: With the party trapped inside Dragonspear Castle by two large green dragons, The Intern Viari brings back help in form of the Acquisitions Inc. Battle Balloon, equipped with all kinds of dragon-killing weaponry and crewed by six gnome automatons. However, Viari decides to dramatically leap off onto one of the dragons' back, while the gnomes prove too dumb to operate said weaponry, so the Balloon just floats idly above the castle, while the party somehow manages to slay the dragons and their cohorts on their own. The airship's weaponry comes in helluva handy a bit later, though, when the party accidentally flies into a massive aerial battle between two dragon factions.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had a dramatic reversal with the airships the Fire Nation had built, premiering in the pivotal "Day Of Black Sun."
    • Also a more traditional one with the use of a War Balloons in the episode "The Northern Air Temple" to protect those living at the Temple. Especially when the Fire Nation thinks they're the ones being reinforced, thanks to the insignia on the balloon. They aren't.
  • A handful of times in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. "New Frontier" where Kidd's ship swoops in and takes out some of the Crown fighters (granted, it was just to get their captain back from the Rangers' custody). In "Renegade Rangers" the Laredo shows up to blast at the battle cruiser the Rogues Gallery stole. Subverted in "Changeling" where the Rangers have to convince the gunship not to open fire on a penal colony asteroid, and inverted in "Armada" where Shane and Niko fly in with a tiny interceptor and broadcast to the gunships how to destroy the Crown Armada.
  • Villainous example in Exo Squad, when gigantic dreadnought, Olympus Mons II, arrives to the besieged Venus, temporarily changing the tide of battle in favor of Neosapiens.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks:
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: Clone Wars: "Chapter 21", the Season 3 opener, has a custom-painted gunship save some Jedi from General Grievous just in the nick of time, in a move almost as cool as Grievous hunting them down in the first place.
    • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
      • "Landing at Point Rain": The clone troopers under Obi-Wan Kenobi are falling back and an injured Obi-Wan lights his saber for their Last Stand... and a squadron of Y-Wings arrive to take out the incoming droids and bugs.
      • "The General": During the clones' assault on the Umbaran positions, Fives and Hardcase sneak into an enemy air base and commandeer two of their fighters to take down the Umbaran juggernauts, which none of the clones' weaponry can harm.
  • Transformers: Animated:
    • Played straight in the first season, when Lugnut and Blitzwing were trying to reach the Ark. Ratchet had reactivated the war ship weapons system and the two Decepticons found themselves facing one hell of a Wave-Motion Gun in the face. In the end of Season 2, Sari and Ratchet go to get reinforcements... which consists of reactivating the ship they came to Earth on and turning it into Omega Supreme. Also a plain old Big Damn Heroes since, hey, he's both a Humongous Mecha and a battleship.
    • Ultra Magnus rescues Bulkhead, Wheeljack, and Miko from Predaking with his space cruiser during the third season of Transformers: Prime.

    Real Life 
  • During the American Civil War, at the Battle of Hampton, ironclad warships were relatively new. On the first day of the Battle of Hampton Roads, the Confederacy revealed their shiny new metal behemoth, the CSS Virginia (a rebuilt captured steam frigate, the former USS Merrimack), which almost single handedly mopped the floor with two of the wooden ships that the Union Navy was using. On the second day of the battle, the Virginia came back to the fight to finish off the third Union ship, the USS Minnesota. However, the Union had brought in their own ironclad, the USS Monitor, into a defensive position in front of the Minnesota. Thus began the very first battle between metal warships... Which resulted in a stalemate as both ships were armed with weapons that couldn't penetrate the hull of their opponent.
  • Also during the American Civil War, at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, the final Confederate assault on Union lines was repulsed with the help of naval artillery fire from the wooden gunboats Lexington and Tyler, steaming on the nearby Tennessee River. Small, shallow draft gunboats were used throughout the war, especially during the Mississippi River campaign, so this trope is bound to crop up quite a few times.
    • One major advantage that the river gunboats had was that they could easily transport guns that were significantly heavier and more powerful than land-based units could, which meant that the gunboats were often able to engage enemy artillery positions from a safe distance. Later in the war, ironclad gunboats became more and more common, meaning they could safely engage land-based units even if they weren't outside the enemy guns' range.
  • Used multiple times in the Battle of Jutland with cases of "All According to Plan". First, the German battlecruisers, outnumbered by 6 British battlecruisers and 4 fast battleships to 5 battlecruisers, succeeded in luring them into the teeth of the main German fleet, which was their plan all along, to lure parts of the larger Royal Navy to be destroyed piecemeal by the German fleet. The British ships fled north, luring the German fleet into the teeth of the even larger British fleet, which was their plan all along, to lure the German fleet into a Decisive Battle. The British fleet didn't get the battle they wanted, when the Germans successfully fled back into port, but never really left port afterwards.
  • At the Battle of Normandy, American troops who were pinned down at Omaha Beach received some respite in the form of American and Royal Navy destroyers, sailing dangerously close to the beach (several times nearly running aground in the shallows) to engage the shore defenses directly with their 5 inch gun batteries. By the end of the battle, the Navy had lost three Destroyers, a Destroyer Escort, and a troop ship to the enemy defenses in order to help the Army get ashore and inland.
  • Reports are that the Libyan rebels in the 2011 civil war, being forced to retreat under fire from government forces, regarded the sudden arrival of French air support as this. To make it even more dramatic, one commander even said that he had thought that the UN resolution authorizing force had been forgotten and that they really had been abandoned.
  • Close air support duty tends to lead to this, and it's what most modern aircraft designated as "gunships" are designed for.
  • The USAF AC-130 gunship is a converted transport plane equipped with an artillery gun, autocannon, and two vulcan cannons.
  • Among the A-10 Thunderbolt II's jobs is to provide this for downed pilots and the helicopters sent to pick them up.
  • As mentioned in Act of Valor, the whole point of SWCC boats is to be this when the SEALs need hot extraction, bristling with guns on every corner.
  • One real incident was during the 1983 US invasion of Grenada when a unit of SEALs tried to extract the US ambassador from the US embassy, but found themselves surrounded by enemy troops. Cut off from their support, and their own communications equipment out, the US troops desperately make a civilian phone call to their base in North Carolina. Once the callers were confirmed as US troops in peril, the base connected them to the theatre operations-headquarters and the commanders diverted an AC-130 gunship to provide air support for the unit.
  • In the World War II Battle of Bulge, things were looking bleak for the Allied troops trying to hold off Nazi Germany's counterattack until the weather cleared midway into the battle and the Allied air forces could start striking back from the air.
  • Something similar happened earlier that year at the Battle of Arracourt. The Germans attacked during bad weather, but in at least one instance, the very moment the storm clouds parted, Allied attack aircraft swooped down and attacked the Germans.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Big Damn Gunship


The fight at the dam

The heroes are out of ammo and are about to be overrun by the Taliban, when a AC-130 Gunship arrives at the last moment and mow down the enemies.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / GunshipRescue

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