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Meet the (Green Shirt!) Trope Namers.note 

This is the competent converse of the Red Shirt Army.

They are not the protagonists, but just their support (or cavalry). We probably won't get to know many of them well, though those we do meet we'll probably know better than a Mauve Shirt. As far as Character Focus goes, they could be Cannon Fodder...

...but they are not. Most of them still have no names given and will dress alike, but whereas the Red Shirt Army is not guaranteed to, these guys will live. Furthermore, they are competent at fighting their enemies, especially those who can kill just by one looking at them funny; they are truly helpful in a tactical situation (or "hot zone"). Whether this help is acknowledged depends on the writer.

They can hit their opponent most of the time, unlike their opponents who graduated at the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Regardless of how many hits they take, they can go head-to-head with the enemy without being wiped out in seconds, and often without losing any men at all.


The key difference between these guys and a Badass Army is that they are not technically an army. Usually they'll be a relatively small and elite fighting force, and they're more likely to answer to a single individual or be devoted to a specific cause. Contrast with Badass Crew, which will also encompass a small team, but is made up of distinct characters and more likely to be the focus of any given story.

Named for Robin Hood's army of outlaws in the classic film The Adventures of Robin Hood (known as the "Merry Men" in folklore). Not to be confused with Brad Sherwood.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The GM in Mobile Suit Gundam is the mass-produced version of the Gundam. They're completely expendable, but they hand out as much punishment as they take. While the central protagonists are equipped with the Super Prototype, it's the GMs in the background who won the war. Such as the Londo Bell, an army of aces.
    • Continuing the tradition are their Expy Strike Daggers from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, mopping the floor with enemy forces while being introduced as cheap incomplete knockoffs. Until they get Gungnir dropped on them, that is.
    • There is another memorable instance in Gundam Seed: in the final episode, Athrun and Cagalli are fighting their way through Jachin Due to try to get to Athrun's Archnemesis Dad Patrick. They are accompanied by a third mobile suit pilot who is fighting just as hard as they are with a submachinegun in one hand and throwing grenades with the other. This fellow does not have any dialogue and wears a polarized helmet so we don't even see his face, but what's notable is that he survives the entire assault (in this series, that's really saying something)! While Patrick dies in his son's arms, this nameless soldier stoically stands next to him watching the whole thing unfold, and he is also seen evacuating with Athrun and Cagalli when the fortress begins to self-destruct.
  • Anonymous Bureau Mages in Lyrical Nanoha series, they are good at doing their job as inter-dimensional magic police, and could hold of against hordes of enemy Mooks thrown at them, just not good enough to face the main villains that even the Protagonists find hard to handle with.
  • In Guilty Crown, the United Nations task force sent to stop the GHQ in the final two episodes. At first they seem like a Redshirt Army when a powerful Void Genome destroys almost 90% of their fleet. But then the fleet's commander orders the remnants of his men to keep pushing forward, and they do, meaning they end up attacking the enemy base at the same time Funeral Parlor's offensive is occurring. The UN forces face off against Arisa, one of the GHQ's Void users who has a nigh-invulnerable shield, and severely injure her when Shu purges the Apocalypse Virus from the world. They also kill Rowan, though that was more a Kick the Dog moment.
  • The Osaka based forces in Kill la Kill. When Honnouji Academy launches their three pronged attack on the various schools, they easily cut through most of the resistance, until they get to Osaka and tangle with Takarada, a man who can channel Success Through Insanity to rival the main characters. From the school students firing guns that shoot money, to Takarada himself paying the various merchants to bust out machine guns and rocket launchers, Sanageyama soon finds his forces on the retreat, and even his Elite Mooks are beaten back. Eventually Satsuki herself has to enter the battlefield to get them all to back down.
  • The army in the Raijuta arc of Rurouni Kenshin. When the government hears of Raijuta's amassed forces, they send the military to quell the rebellion. At first they seem like a Red Shirt Army as their initial attack is repelled and they sustain heavy losses, but when the next episode premiers their counter attack is very successful and it's clear the army's heavy reliance on western guns puts them at an advantage over the samurai. They even manage to kill one of Raijuta's lieutenants, Sutapzaimo, before Kenshin steps in to stop the fighting.
  • In Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online, the 4 contracted mercenaries from Pitohui & M's squad in the second Squad Jam tournament prove to be very competent and skilled players in their own right. Despite all of them wearing generic camouflage, thick ballistic helmets with polarized visors, and no namesnote , all of them end up proving their worth in SJ2, with even three of them making a Heroic Sacrifice for Pito & M near the end.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • The lionesses of Pride Rock in The Lion King who fight the hyenas while Simba is fighting Scar.
  • Curiously, at the beginning of the Disney retelling, the soldiers of the Sheriff of Nottingham prove to be an evil example. One of them even manages to get an arrow through ol' Rob's hat ("they're getting better, you know")!

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Given that they were only a three-man team, Able Team would often hook up with local tribal militia or guerilla units (as long as they weren't Dirty Communists) whenever a Storming the Castle scene was required.
  • The City Watch in Discworld. They're no match for a proper army, as we see in Jingo, but they're extremely capable at dealing with ordinary criminals and lackeys when the heroes don't have the time.
  • Dune: The Fremen. Even though Paul Muad'ib Atreides is a fierce fighter in his own right, he doesn't win the throne through a series of duels. He wins it by having a huge army of highly-skilled, fanatical, and utterly faceless troops. Who won against another huge army of highly-skilled, fanatical and utterly faceless troops that were until then feared by everyone in the whole galaxy. Granted, the Sardaukar by the time of the first Dune book were arguably at their weakest due to Shaddam IV's rule and general arrogance/decadence, though they were still formidable. They're far more competent in the prequel books and Farad'n's Sardaukar in the sequels are as well (though we never really see them in action). Interestingly, the Dune Encyclopedia provides background material that states Fremen who traveled off-world were stricken by disease and failed to adapt to humid environments.
  • The Grey Company in The Lord of the Rings is just about twenty Dunedain (plus two elves who wanted to kick some Orc ass). And kick ass they do.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • The half-blood army of campers that Percy raises in the books, who successfully hold the island of Manhattan against a legion of monsters.
    • And the Twelfth Legion of New Rome in the sequel series.
  • The Rangers of Ranger's Apprentice are this. Very few of them get killed in battle (that we see or hear of, anyway), and most of them are the Hero of Another Story. When they work together, such as in The Battle of Hackham Heath, they are truly formidable.
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth: the very first page of the story reveals that U.S. government raided the town of Innsmouth, arrested most of the citizens, shot any armed cult members who resisted, dismantled the cult ruling the town, seized or dynamited several of their buildings, and bombarded the Deep Ones' undersea city with torpedoes to drive them off.
  • The Greencloaks of the Spirit Animals series.
  • A group of stranded Riflemen from the 95th Rifles and the South Essex Regiment they're attached to in Sharpe, which the protagonist Sharpe leads. The Sharpe TV series based on the books reduced the few dozens of Riflemen to a few characters comprising a Badass Crew and omitted the South Essex for budget reasons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • UNIT in the new series. (Not so much in the old.)
    • There's also Red Wings and Torchwood. Usually competent and able to make pretty good attempts at protecting Earth.
  • The Stargate-verse has the SGC teams, the Atlantis Expedition, and crew of the Destiny.
  • The Rangers in Babylon 5. At various times in the series, various other forces fill this role as well, ranging from B5's security troops and Starfury squadrons, to individual starships such as the Hyperion and Agamemmnon, to the combined forces of the Army of Light.
  • A non-heroic example: the Others in Lost. The protagonists almost always come out worse off, and whenever they score a victory it's usually because they have the element of surprise, or some other clear advantage.
  • In 24, the CTU response teams have only two settings: they either prove ineffective at containing the bad guys, letting them escape, or they trap the bad guys, at which point the villains get their faces wrecked.
  • The Knights of Camelot in Merlin fluctuate between this and a Red Shirt Army depending on the battle.
  • As the name of the trope suggests, any team of outlaws in any retelling of Robin Hood, including Robin of Sherwood, Robin Hood and The New Adventures of Robin Hood — though these groups do tend to involve at least one Load.
  • The BBC's latest take on The Musketeers. Though most of the focus remains on the Badass Crew of Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'artagnan, the rest of the Musketeers garrison is just as competent in their training and missions.

    Video Games 
  • The Co-Commander in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 handles things quite handily in the medium difficulty and usually is evenly matched with the AI forces sent against him/her. In easy, they'll slowly win without your help at all. on hard however......
  • Sometimes, NPC allied forces in a Turn-Based Strategy game can be this. But most of the time, they're not.
  • The former Tekken Force members led by Lars Alexandersson in Tekken 6. Bonus points for Lars's second-in-command being a Mauve Shirt.
  • The Blood Raven and Ultramarine Tactical Squads on the bridge nearing the final level in Warhammer 40000 Spacemarine. They can actually clear up the bridge of Chaos Marines and Bloodletters without you really having to do anything and can go that far without casualties.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the "N7 Special Ops" from the multiplayer, an unofficial coalition of individuals from across the Galaxy who've banded together to fight in warzones and aim to halt the advance of Cerberus and Reaper forces.
    • In the singleplayer campaign, we see examples from most of the races, fighting to defend their homeworlds, or lending support to help the others (Turian fighters providing air support for the Krogans on Tuchanka, for example).
  • Conquests of the Longbow has two parts in the game where you have to decide on a strategy to rescue Marian, and rob a wagon. Depending on what you pick determines both the success of that situation, AND The casualties the outlaws take on. There is one choice in each situation where the outlaws suffer no casualties, and no way of knowing which it is.
  • In the Warlords of Draenor expansion of World of Warcraft, after a player avatar becomes the commander of a garrison, they can summon a small number of garrison soldiers to fight in Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge. The soldiers are valuable in soloing quest enemies that normally would take three players to kill.
  • The Marines in Parasite Eve 2 easily take out a platoon of cyborg super-soldiers that the player character, Aya, has to struggle to get through, then proceed to clear out a monster and cyborg-infested underground base, with very few if any casualties. This is very much a change from the first game in the series, where the military was very much a Red Shirt Army.
  • The Inquisition soldiers and scouts are this in Dragon Age: Inquisition. They're very good at what they do, and thoroughly committed to the cause.
  • The Stonehelm Guards in Dark Messiah prove their competence in the very first setpiece. One of them gets jumped by an Elite Mook in what seems to be a designated Red Shirt scene to encourage you to keep running, only to impale said mook and stagger off. A nameless guard even finishes off the Cyclops attacking the city (after you weaken it, of course). Throughout the rest of the game, the guards prove about superior to enemy mooks in combat, and unexpectedly competent during gameplay. Quite often the player will finish a difficult combat that he only survived by the skin of his teeth only to discover his nameless guard ally has survived handily as well and is now wondering whether one can die of boredom.
  • XCOM 2: War of the Chosen shows that the resistance fighters are surprisingly competent. When they appear in the Haven Assault variant of Retaliation missions, they can do a lot of damage to the attacking ADVENT forces; their assault rifles don't deal exceptional damage (although it scales with the player's own firepower), but their Aim is on par with an XCOM lieutenant, and they often score crits by flanking the aliens.
  • The RWS Staff in Postal 2 are possibly the best allies one could have in a open-sandbox game. They wield M16s and have the highest hitpoints out of all non-boss npcs making them very useful allies in firefights which become more and more frequent as more hate groups become hostile. They are also the only group (aside from the Police and National Guard) that don't turn hostile to you during the Apocalypse.

    Web Comics 
  • The Azure City soldiers in The Order of the Stick tend to die a lot, but they are also more than capable of killing large numbers of goblins. In fact, if Redcloak had not used the titanium elementals to breach the wall, and created Xykon doubles beforehand, the city might not have fallen.

    Web Original 
  • The unnamed students of Cobra Kai (and Miyagi-do, as of the second season) got their moment to shine in "No Mercy." During the school-wide brawl, they were all shown to be adept fighters, with none of them going down in a Curb-Stomp Battle or One-Hit KO. While they generally lose to higher-level opponents, even an unnamed mook or Red Shirt can put up a solid one-on-one battle against a named secondary character.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The men of the Southern Water Tribe left to fight the Fire Nation before the story starts. The heroes fight alongside them in several battles.
    • The Kyoshi Warriors are a team of all-women fighters fashioned after Avatar Kyoshi. They protect their home town from marauders. Despite only being teenagers they're a match for Fire Nation troops.
    • The White Lotus society are a organisation of old masters who form connections and friendships across nation boundaries. In the finale they prove themselves a formidable fighting force, and win a major victory against the Fire Nation while the latter is taken off guard.
    • The Yu Yan Archers from "The Blue Spirit" are an antagonistic example.
  • Generator Rex: The Providence agents all show degrees of competence, like defending the great wall and mowing down thousands of insects, a battle which they win when Holiday gives them pheromones for the bugs. When Van Kleiss attacks Providence, he beats his way through them, but by the end of the episode, they fight off all his EVO mooks. When Black Knight takes charge, they lead an Assault on Abyss, and defeat the Pack, sans Van Kleiss. Other days, they're cannon fodder, to die, or to hold off the monster until Rex can cure it.
  • The clones in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as showcased in clone-centric story arcs like the Umbara Arc.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command had the rest of the Space Rangers, who in all their appearances came across as a well-trained army of competent law-enforcers.


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