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Yes, that is a mark for a kill of a U.S. plane by a U.S. plane.
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This trope is common in media where there is someone who feels the need to keep track of multiple kills and show their teammates/the world how skilled they are.

Pilots in war films usually slap a custom decal on the nose of their plane to denote how many enemies they've taken down. It's not just a boost to the pilot's ego, but a morale boost to the entire squad and a demoralizer to the enemies.

Serial killers also keep a kill tally as a Creepy Souvenir. Some even do the tally on their own bodies making themselves a Human Notepad.

In Lighter and Softer works, the tally may mark down victories at a sport or challenge. They will also use paint, stencils, markers, or rubber stamps to mark their tally rather than something visceral.

If you have two or more people doing this to compete at who's the best at taking down enemies, that's Body-Count Competition, which may or may not come with a physical kill tally. If the medium itself is keeping track of dead bodies rather than the characters themselves, that's separate from this trope.

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This trope occurs commonly in many World War II movies, since the practice was common for the actual soldiers in battle.

Compare Enemies List and Gotta Kill Em All. Also compare Tally Marks on the Prison Wall, for a non-lethal tally count.

Super Trope to Kill Streak.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Ace Pilot Kojiro Sasaki of Irresponsible Captain Tylor keeps one on his space fighter. Later on, after warming up to Emi and Yumi and becoming their mentor, he reminds them to keep a track of their kill count so they can update theirs accurately.

     Comic Books 
  • Batman serial-killer villain Victor Zsasz cuts a tally mark into his skin for each person he's killed. His torso is near entirely covered with tally marks, although Depending on the Artist, he may also have them on other parts of his body too, like his head.
  • Similarly, Phoebe in Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse cuts a mark into her upper arms for each person/thing that she's killed, although she's more of a Sociopathic Hero.
  • In Asterix, Obelix often punches out Romans and collects their helmets, although he doesn't kill them, he just knocks them unconscious.
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     Film 
  • While treating gunslinger Quirt Evans for gunshot wounds at the start of Angel and the Badman, the doctor suggests looking at Quirt's gun to see how many notches are in the grip, i.e. how many men he's killed. (It's never said whether he actually has any such notches.)
  • Con Air: Serial rapist/murderer Johnny 23 had a tattoo added for every victim.
  • Pacific Rim: Jaeger pilots and base crew members proudly keep tallies of the kaiju they've fought and defeated. Some notable examples include:
    • The Jaeger "Striker Eureka" has little Kaiju stamps on its chassis to mark its kills, especially because it had the highest number of kills.
    • The pilots of Striker Eureka, Chuck and Hercules Hansen, have decals on their Drivesuits that match their tally marks on Striker Eureka.
    • Before their defeat in Alaska, pilots Raleigh and Yancy Becket had their Jaeger's name & kill tally stenciled on the wall of their shared quarters.
  • One of the Universal Soldier movies had a titular soldier who wore his kill tally as a gruesome keepsake: a necklace with the ears of his kills strung like beads.
  • Black Panther: Erik Killmonger used ritual scarification to mark every life he took. His chest, arms and back are covered in these scars taking him from serial killer to mass murderer.
  • The character Monk from the film Gangs of New York adds a notch to his shillelagh for every person he kills. The term ‘notch’ is even used as shorthand with him when discussing the people he will kill as part of the street wars. When he is killed by Bill Cutting, Bill adds ‘’him’’ as a notch and shows it to him before killing him with his own shillelagh.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux parodies this. With every rising kill, it compares it to films such as RoboCop and Total Recall, before labeling itself as the bloodiest movie ever.
  • The Blue Max has a chalkboard filled with the names of each pilot in the squadron along with an outline of each enemy plane they shot down next to their names; at one point, there's a lengthy montage cutting between Stachel's aerial combat victories and more chalk outlines being drawn on the board. Earlier in the film, when Fabian gets shot down, the base commander erases Fabian's name and kill tally.
  • Undercover cop Alan in Hard Boiled makes a paper crane after ever murder he commits, though this is more a case of somber remembrance than sadism. That said, his house boat is full of them. At the end of the movie, discharged and free to leave Hong Kong, he tosses them overboard in the wake of his boat, one by one, symbolically letting go of his guilt for the horrible things he's had to do undercover.
  • Lemonade Joe: Villain Hogo Fogo proudly claims he has 12 notches on the butt of his Derringer.

     Literature 
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The X-Wing Series references fighter pilots' practice of marking ship-to-ship kills many times. In Rogue Squadron, squadron leader Wedge Antilles has so many that the ground crew has taken to marking them in squadrons' worth, i.e. one mark for every twelve kills (plus two Death Stars).
    • In Vector Prime, Leia and Mara Jade Skywalker complain about Unwanted Assistance from a particularly egotistical Jedi. Leia complains about him intervening to get a couple more kill silhouettes on his X-Wing, when they were trying to out-fly and evade the ambush.
  • In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Seraphim are leading a genocidal war against the Chimaera. The Seraphim soldiers will cut a small notch on their hand after they've successfully killed a chimera in battle to record their victory. It's to the point that some seraphim have their entire hands covered with these notches as a sign of their success.
  • In the third Artemis Fowl novel, the Irish mobster Loafers gets a new symbolic tattoo every time he completes a hit. Most of his body is inked.
  • Partway through Team Yankee, the tankers of the eponymous team adopt the practice of painting a white ring around the barrel of their tanks' main guns for each enemy tank destroyed. They are inspired to do so by a German World War II veteran, who mentions the real life practice noted below.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Gimli and Legolas indulge in a friendly rivalry at the battle of Helm's Deep that obliges both to scrupulously tally their kills; Gimli wins by one dead Orc, forty-two to forty-one. Gimli's tally is so accurate he can even place a number on the one who left a nick in his axe's blade.
  • And in Robert Shea's novel set in medieval Japan, ShikÃ&A Elig;’©:Last of the Zinja, the titular warrior-monk tallies his count of vanquished samurai by taking their swords as trophies to display in the fighting monk's temple. He gets into the high nineties - ninety-two victories - before he meets a samurai he respects, and realises he doesn't need to fight a vendetta any more.

     Live Action Television 
  • In Arrow, Deadshot would tattoo the names of each of his victims onto himself upon completion of a job.
  • On Into the Badlands Clippers, soldiers sworn to one of the Barons, follow a tradition of tattooing their kill tally on their backs. Sunny has killed so many men that his entire back is covered in marks. Nathaniel stopped adding marks after 999 and is waiting for a Worthy Opponent who will either kill him or become the 1000th mark.
  • Dexter:
    • Dexter, a Serial-Killer Killer, collects blood slides. He starts cutting his victims' faces and dropping their blood on the slide as part of his ritual early in his "career". He's forced to dispose of his box several times, but he just starts over.
    • Little Chino, one of Dexter's victim, is a gang member who has little teardrops tattooed for every person he killed.
      Dexter: Some gangs earn teardrops in blood by killing. I understand we all need our keepsakes, one man's tattoos are another man's blood slides.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): While Commander Adama discourages his Viper pilots from tallying their Raider kills, the pilots from the Pegasus paint kill silhouettes on their Vipers. It's presented as an early hint that the Pegasus crew are more unhinged than Galactica's.

     Music 
  • The song "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" as sung by Pat Benatar contains the line "Before I put another notch in my lipstick case// You better make sure to put me in my place". The implication is that that the singer keeps a tally of their romantic conquests in the manner that a soldier keeps a tally of their kills, and is inviting the listener to prove that they are more than a notch.
  • In the first verse of "Sugar, We're Goin Down" by Fall Out Boy the singer sings "I'm just a notch in your bedpost but you're just a line in a song", lamenting that he means so little to his former partner as to be nothing more than a tally in a list of their numerous sexual partners.
  • In "Big Iron" by Marty Robbins, the villainous Texas Red has made a notch in his pistol for each kill he's made, which is up to twenty by the time of the song. He's planning on making the Texas Ranger pursuing him into number twenty-one.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • One Far Side strip shows a massive tanker ship with a crazed looking pilot and a tally of small sailboats on its side.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40K
    • Kharn the Betrayer, Blood Knight extraordinaire, has a kill-counter in his helmet's HUD that lets him see how well he's doing in battle.
    • Lucius the Eternal is a duelist who seeks out great champions in single combat, and scars himself for each one defeated. Given he's been at this ten thousand years and has a curse/boon where whoever kills him turns into him, he's pretty much a mass of crisscrossing scars by now.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: #617: The forehead is not an appropriate place for a killcount holo-tattoo.
  • In Red Markets members of the Black Math cult tattoo tally marks on themselves every time they kill a zombie. Their leaders have what's known as "the face full of fives".

     Toys and Games 
  • The G.I. Joe Conquest plane has several Cobra insignias at a side of the cockpit, representing how many Cobra fighters it has downed.

     Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, when examining your planes in the hangar, the total number of your kills with each one is displayed as a sequence of ticks under its name and stats. Justified in that the player character Cipher is a mercenary, so he naturally has to wear his cred on his sleeve like that.
  • Sabre Ace: Conflict Over Korea automatically marks air-to-air kills on the fuselage of your plane in the single-player campaigns.
  • In Strike Commander, your character would stick aircraft or tank shaped decals on the side of his plane for every air and ground kill he made. As over the course of a full playthrough you could shoot down and destroy over three figures of each, they would use "5" and "10" kill versions to keep the number of decals shown manageable.
  • Team Fortress 2 has purchasable "Strange" variants of its weapons that track the number of kills the player has made while using that weapon (as well as things like kills under certain circumstances or, in the case of non-damaging items, more relevant information such as the number of targets hit with the Sniper's Jarate, the number of Ubercharges deployed with the Medic's assortment of Mediguns, or the number of times the Heavy's assorted food items have been eaten), and can be seen by other players while "inspecting" a teammate's loadout or on the Deathcam if the owner has it equipped. A later patch added "Stat Clocks", which display the number of kills on the weapon itself, in a fashion similar to an odometer.
  • Counter-Strike Global Offensive has a similar feature with its "StatTrak" weapon variants, which track the number of kills with a digital display.
  • Discussed in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, Luke Skywalker muses that he's got a lot of tally marks to paint on his fighter after a successful raid on an Imperial weapons plant.
  • War Thunder allows players to apply decals to customize their vehicles, with many based on historical examples, including a very large selection of kill tallies. These are purely for show however, since a players actual kill tallies would very quickly cover their entire hull, though a detailed breakdown of any vehicles kill stats are logged for screenshots and showing off in their garage.
  • In Iji, Annihilators have a kill counter built into their helmets. At times, they've attacked their own forces to up their kill count. Of course, you never see that in-game because after Ciretako (the most famous Annihilator friendly fire incident) the kill counters were removed and the annihilators' stimulant cocktail was modified making less likely to attack their allies. They were removed, then put back when it was proved how much they improve combat performance. One log you can find has the Komato who wrote the kill count display shitting himself because the counter only has four characters and will eventually roll over from 9999 to 0, and he knows how that will end for him. Apparently Iosa the Invincible reported the bug once.

     Visual Novel 

     Western Animation 
  • In a Condorito short, a western gunslinger marks a tally on his gun to indicate how many rivals he has shot down. After getting a Gargle Blaster from bartender Condorito, the latter marks it on a blackboard of how many clients he has put down this way.
  • Maddie Fenton briefly does this in Danny Phantom with an ectoplasmic bazooka and lipstick. She puts down two marks after taking out a pair of Walker's goons... and then sets her sights on Danny himself.
  • Walt Disney: In the Goofy short Motor Mania, a reckless driver hits Goofy and stamps a marker to a tally on the side of his car. Later, a kid on a scooter knocks him over and adds a marker to his tally.
  • Looney Tunes
    • In "Scalp Trouble" (and its remake "Slightly Daffy"), a cavalry soldier shoots at Indians attacking the fort, marking his tally to the tune of "Ten Little Indians". The gag was repeated by Bugs Bunny in "Horse Hare", only he erases part of one tally because "that one was a half-breed".
    • In "I Taw a Putty Tat", Sylvester keeps a tally of all the canaries he's eaten with a bird-shaped stamp. After Tweety gets through with him, he adds a cat-shaped stamp mark to the tally.
    • At the end of "Birdy and the Beast", Tweety adds a tally after getting rid of his latest cat, the tallies going up to the very top of his tree.
  • T-Bone and Razor, the SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, have a stamp and ink pad for this purpose, and append their latest villain defeat, Morbulus, to a wall near the Turbokat's service bay. Morbulus appears to be their eighteenth downed adversary.
  • Tom and Jerry has a wartime short in which Jerry has cat head silhouettes with red slashes through them for every time he defeats Tom in battle.
  • Parodied in an episode of Peabody's Improbable History when Peabody and Sherman visit Wyatt Earp. Sheriff Earp had a habit of doing this every time he won a duel, but he won so many that the notches built up to such a point that the handles of his pistols broke off. Naturally, this happens right before he gets challenged to another duel.

     Real Life 
  • In medieval heraldry, the number of heads of enemies can sometimes signify this. A theoretical variation can be from Portugal's coat of arms where the five blue shields signify the five Moorish kings that were defeated by Alfoso I.
  • Real Life vehicle crew members ( i.e., fighter planes and tanks) and artillery gunners will often paint the national markings of the enemy they've destroyed onto their vehicle or howitzer.
  • In real life, kill tallies got quite elaborate for air and submarine crews in order to differentiate the types of kills they made. For aircraft, these included (but were not limited to):
    • Bomb silhouettes for successful bombing missions.
    • Locomotives, for those that had been strafed or destroyed.
    • Swastikas/Rising sun flags, for enemy aircraft shot down in air-to-air combat (planes destroyed on the ground were either not counted, or counted separately).
    • Brooms, symbolizing a "fighter sweep".
    • Top hats and canes, for successful escort missions.
    • British submarines included:
      • Bars, for ships torpedoed (with several variations, such as white for merchant ships and red for warships).
      • Liferings, for at-sea rescues.
      • Daggers, for cloak-and-dagger missions (usually dropping off and/or picking up commandos or spies).
      • Crossed cannons or stars, for ships sunk with the deck gun.
      • Submarines sometimes put their tallies on a Jolly Roger rather than (or in addition to?) painting them on the hull.
    • Other variants:
      • German tank, antitank, and antiaircraft crews would paint white "kill rings" around the barrel of their weapons.
      • A shared kill or damaged but not destroyed aircraft would be represented with half a symbol.
  • The page image is of Bad Angel, a P-51D Mustang piloted in World War II by Lt. Louis Curdes of the US Army Air Forces. After becoming an ace in the Italian campaign, he was transferred to the Pacific theatre, and managed to become one of only three pilots to be credited with kills from all three major Axis powers. During the Battle of Batan he noticed a US cargo plane attempting to land at an airfield still controlled by Japanese ground troops. The pilot didn't respond to Curdes' attempts to warn him off, so Curdes shot the plane's engines out and forced the pilot to ditch. He was credited with a kill of a US plane for this.
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