Follow TV Tropes


Ramming Always Works

Go To
Worf: Report!
Bridge Officer: Main power's offline, we've lost our shields, and our weapons are gone.
Worf: (angrily pounds his console) Then perhaps today is a good day to die! PREPARE FOR RAMMING SPEED!

In science fiction, even if a ship has shields that can shrug off atomic weapons, ramming it with another ship always manages to take it down.

This is, in fact, pretty credible. The impact of a heavy freight train going 60 mph is equal to that of 1 to 2 tons of TNT — it's just over a much smaller area, and going in one direction. Most spaceships are far heavier, and can go far faster. An object traveling at 3 km/sec does damage equal to its own weight in TNTnote ; a spaceship traveling at 94% of the speed of light does damage equal to its own weight in antimatter. And that's not even taking into account the ramming ship detonating its reactors and munitions when it hits.

In fact, the usual mistake is not to make ramming work too well but to make it work not well enough. Survivors are not unknown, and the effect is usually depicted as "Ship A crashes into ship B and ship B crumples and breaks apart in slow motion," where it should look like, and is only rarely is portrayed as, "Ship A crashes into ship B and both ships are vaporized in a titanic fireball". Likewise, small fighter craft often smash into bigger ships with no visible effect, when they ought to be wreaking massive devastation.

And then there's the momentum, even ramming at a few tens of meters per second could create enough force for the people inside to slam into the walls at dangerous if not lethal speed. Though interestingly when one of the ships weighs a lot more than the other the people in the bigger ship might only be knocked off their feet, so for a bigger ship ramming into a much smaller one at 10-30 m/s could be a great tactic for taking out enemy crews while leaving both ships intact...

That said, there is one challenge for a ramming ship, which is reaching the target in the first place. At realistic space combat distances (hundreds if not thousands of kilometers), the target should have plenty of time to see the attempt coming and either blow up the ramming ship or dodge out of its way. This ought to lead to a tense cat-and-mouse game as the rammer tries to close the distance and compensate for the target's evasive maneuvers, and the target tries to stay clear long enough to score a killing hit — the ramming ship is essentially a large missile, and the target would be performing a High-Speed Missile Dodge. Sadly, things are never portrayed like this.

The reason for this, of course, is that space ramming depictions are probably based on the Space Is an Ocean mindset, and the cultural memory of Real Life naval tactics of the ancient world. Before the advent of cannons, ramming the other ships was the main method for taking them out (other than burning or boarding). Note that this is where the term "ramming speed" comes from — the horator would begin beating the drums faster so the rovers at the oars of the galleys rowed faster in order to drive the ram deep into the side of the enemy ship. Ramming tactics made a brief comeback in the latter half of the nineteenth century, with steamships, when they started making ships out of metal instead of wood which made older cannons obsolete. The first generations of big-gunned battleships, HMS Dreadnought and her successors, were still being built with bows designed for ramming for many years after the tactic ceased to be relevant. In fact, in the early years of ironclad battleships, their armor was so effective against the relatively primitive guns of the era that ramming was seen as the only viable tactic against an ironclad. Better guns and the development of self-propelled torpedoes meant ramming was obsolete against surface ships by the First World War, but it remained the standard method of attacking a surfaced submarine, since gunfire was not very effective against such a low-lying target.

Compare Colony Drop, which, depending on what you're dropping, takes this trope to its logical extreme. When combined with the Drop Pod you get the Boarding Pod, which rams a target not to destroy it but to inject heavily-armed troops into it. Although ramming is not unknown in combat between large, heavy, main battle tanks, for land vehicles, see Car Fu or Forklift Fu. In sci-fi terms, a Sister Trope to Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better. Needless to say this trope is more effective with a Battering Ram.


    open/close all folders 

Flying (Planes & Spaceships)

    Anime & Manga 
  • During the final battle the Outlaw Star rams the Big Bad twice, the second time killing him for good. Of course this is somewhat justified by the Outlaw Star being powered by the Galactic Leyline. Or course, the Big Bad was powered by it too, but he's evil, so it's OK. Also justified by the fact that the ships are designed for close combat in general. They have arms and fight with giant knives on occasion.
  • Vincent Alzey of Last Exile seemed to prefer this maneuver in his battle against the Silvana. However, the captain of the Silvana, Alex Rowe, expected such a tactic. It helps that the Urbanus-class ships are equipped with a gigantic, reinforced spike on their bows, and extend wing-like chainsaws from the sides. The ships are made explicitly for ramming, which is what Alex was counting on.
  • Vincent uses a similar trick in the sequel series Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing as well.
  • Mazinger Z: A tactic Kouji favors when he is battling a flying fortress is ramming through it, destroying and blowing up so much as he is able before using one of Mazinger's stronger attacks to blast the airship off the sky.
  • That tactic was also used sometimes by Tetsuya Tsurugi from Great Mazinger and Duke Fleed from UFO Robo Grendizer (in fact, one of the CMOA of UFO Robo Grendizer happened one of the times Duke used that stratagem). Flying Robeasts in those series often attempting to ram the enemy, too.
  • Daimos: Ramming its fist — or itself — through the enemy is one of the actual attacks from Daimos, and often Kazuya uses it like a Finishing Move.
  • In Combattler V, the Choudenji Spin — ramming through the enemy — is often used like a Finishing Move. Combattler uses the Choudenji Tatsumaki — paralyzing the enemy by blasting it with a stream of electricity — and then rams through its adversary as spinning endlessly. That movement tends to leave a nice gaping hole in the Monster of the Week.
    • Its second finishing move the GranDasher also involves ramming, this time having the eponymous mecha fire a hard-light road, transform into a vehicle, and run along that road into the hapless opponent.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • The team's flying battleship with legs rams into one of the four generals' personal Gunmen, as well as their capital ship; the former is successful due to the sheer difference in size, while the other works because of the Rule of Cool. The battleship's main body is essentially a giant blade.
    • Giga Drill Breaker and all variations thereof are basically just one mecha ramming the other enemy with a Big Fucking Drill.
    • Lagann-hen takes it to the logical extreme. In the series, the Moon tried to crash into Earth but didn't really do anything else. In the movie, the Moon transforms into the Cathedral Lazengann as soon as its defenders are gone then tries to punch the Earth in a unique take on Colony Drop.
  • Macross and Robotech:
    • The original "Daedalus Attack" ("Daedalus Maneuvre" in Robotech) from Super Dimension Fortress Macross consists of focusing the ship's Deflector Shields onto the bolted-on Landing ship Daedalus, quite literally punching its bow into an enemy ship, and opening the forward hatch to allow the mecha inside to launch a Macross Missile Massacre (with a little Beam Spam, for good measure). The maneuver falls out of use when the enemy provokes it in order to launch a boarding operation (and a little friendly fire incident). But still, not bad for something thought up in the middle of the battle it's first used in...
      • Its use in "Love Drifts Away"/"Force of Arms" takes it one step further. After completing the Maneuver above with it's whole body, the SDF-1 then activates its full Beehive Barrier shield. This is the same malfunctioning shield that took out all of Toronto... and they've activated it right next to the core of Boddole Zer/Dolza's flagship. The SDF-1 is crippled afterwards.
      • It makes a comeback in the Grand Finale of Macross Frontier, to spectacular effect. It's called "Macross Attack" here, though.
    • Not to be outdone, Robotech has some spectacular ramming actions in its second part, "The Masters" (aka Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross). The first time is when a crippled REF ship rams one of the Masters' seemingly invincible mothership and explodes, destroying both, but the most spectacular is when general Emerson, seeing that the troops trying to board the Masters'/Zor's flagship through a hull breach have encountered excessive resistance, rams the enemy with his own flagship Tristar in such a way it only grazes the hull, enlarging the breach and running over the enemy bioroids opposing the boarding. Later, the final battle against the Masters/Zor features Earth ships ramming the enemy motherships and self-destructing. The Tristar is the first to do it.
    • In Robotech's "The New Generation" (aka Genesis Climber MOSPEADA), the Invid (Inbit) in space combat tend to send ludicrous amounts of flying mechas to ram the enemy warships. It's frightengly effective, as they are just that numerous.
      • Then brought full circle when a Garfish-class light cruiser, the Invid's usual victim, pops out of nowhere and rams one of their communication towers before self-destructing.
  • In Biomega, when his Ninja Butterfly informs him that his fighter jet is out of missiles and advises him to retreat, Zoichi responds with: "I still have one projectile left."
  • Raideen: "God Bird, Change! Chojun Set!" Subverted in that we aren't told whether the attack was actually successful. However, it's an actual attack in Super Robot Wars.
  • Captain Harlock: Harlock likes to ram his ship, the Arcadia, into things so much that the ship has a retractable, Bowie knife-shaped ram hidden in the prow. Note that the Arcadia always seems to survive such ramming unscathed, even against much bigger ships. To be fair, the Mazone ships seem to be made of tissue paper by comparison to the Arcadia — possibly due to being crewed by a race of plant-life that burns like paper as it dies... although a more Freudian explanation could be at work...! And in Endless Odyssey, at least the Arcadia fires off several shots from the entire forward facing cannon batteries before whipping out the bowie knife and ramming the eldritch abomination in question....
  • Mobile Suit Gundam:
    • Garma Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam tries to invoke ("I am a man of the Zabi Family! I will not die in vain!") this trope after his ship is critically damaged. However Bright Noa sees him coming and manages to avoid the blow - the following explosion confirming it would have been fatal.
    • Ryu Jose heroically pulls this off, ramming a Core Fighter into Crowley Hamon's Magella Top Fighter before it could shoot down the Gundam. His death ends up rattling the crew of the White Base.
    • Amuro Ray does this to a Titan mobile suit in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. It is justified, because he was piloting a transportation plane, not a combat one. And he escaped with a parachute.
      • Haman does this using the asteroid Axis towards the Gate of Zedan (the former A Baoa Qu). Axis is barely damaged, the Gate of Zedan is destroyed along with a lot of the Titans' forces.
      • Kamille does this in the finale, he crashes Zeta's Waverider in to The O's pilot block, impaling Scirocco. Subverted slightly, because Scirocco Mind Rapes him into a state of retardation before he dies, which probably could have been avoided had Kamille shot him at long range.
    • In the finale of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Amuro has been divested of all his weapons and ammo, is far from backup, and is faced with the task of removing a falling asteroid from orbit before it collides with the Earth... naturally, ramming is the only solution. Amazingly, this plan actually works, due to Char and Amuro's resonating psycoframes. Unfortunately, the trope is played somewhat straight, since both pilots are killed in the process.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the titular Gundam, the AGE-1, shows just how effective ramming can be, by performing a Zaku-style shoulder bash against a UE... With 4 Beam Sabers protruding from the shoulder. Another of the AGE-1 Titus' attacks is basically a Lariat with a beam-ring just below the wrist.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has the Peacemillion ramming into Libra's main cannon to disable it. Everyone is evacuated beforehand except for three pilots, who survive presumably because Peacemillion's bridge is on its underside, rather like the gondola of a blimp.
    • Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam:
      • A particularly bizarre example in the Pez Batara, a mecha specifically designed to ram. It mounts a giant beam axe blade down its middle and attacks enemy ships by charging at them. However, the official profile notes that it has a low survival rate and pilots aren't expected to come back.
      • During the invasion of Io, the protagonists' Cool Ship the Mother Vanguard gets to the Jovians' main base by ramming through an enemy battleship, using its beam shield to protect it from most of the damage, then firing its port and starboard beam cannon batteries to scythe through the rest of the line of defense. Of course, the Vanguard doesn't get away unscathed; its mast gets badly damaged, which means they can't use their "Wings of Light" propulsion system until it's fixed.
      • In the Steel Seven sequel, Giri rams the Jovian Colony Laser at the last second before it fires, in desperation. The Jovians initially write this off as a Senseless Sacrifice: a single Mobile Suit impact (even with the aid of the tactical nuclear warhead he was carrying) isn't nearly enough to do any real damage to a Colony Laser. However, what the ramming does do is throw the Laser's aim off by a fraction of a degree... and the Laser was targetting Earth, over 600 million miles away. It therefore misses spectacularly, and it will take hours to correct the Laser's aim for another attempt.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray: Ace pilot Edward Harrelson came to be known as Ed the Ripper after using his jet fighter's wings to slice an enemy mobile suit in half.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, the DOM Troopers have the "Screaming Nimbus", a Mirage Colloid projector that not only deflects weapon fire, but also pulverizes anything in the DOM Trooper's path while they're moving.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has this happen twice, with varying results...
      • After his GN-X is heavily damaged by Lockon Stratos and his Dynames, Daryl Dodge flies in a suicidal charge towards said Gundam Meister and slams into him. While the Dynames is still intact and Daryl is killed in his GN-X's explosion, it leaves Lockon open to his current opponent, Ali Al-Saachez, who has been analyzing his opponent and realized that he can't see on one side (due to his eye being damaged in a previous episode).
      • Allelujah (or rather, Allelujah with his Hallelujah personality) also does this with his Arios to end his Curb-Stomp Battle against Hiling Care and her Garazzo, running his Gundam in its fighter mode into the Garazzo's midriff and using its Beam Shields to tear it in half, resulting in Hiling's death.
  • In Planetes the Space Defense Front commandeers a satellite remotely and intends to crash it into the space station ISVP 7 so that the resulting debris cloud would effectively cut off Earth from space (a scenario known in Real Life as "Kessler Syndrome"). Pilot Fee Carmichael objects to this, not because of any world-saving impetus or anything, but because the SDF blowing up Smoking Rooms in every other station has kept her from having a nice, peaceful smoke, and the target station hosts the last available Smoking Room in orbit. To the stupefaction of her crew, she goes alone and takes her own ship and rams the satellite just before impact. Both the satellite and her ship the Toybox I are crippled and fall into the atmosphere, but she ejects in a rescue pod and splash down in the ocean (and gets chewed out by her crew on the sheer improbability of her survival.) She's hailed as a space-saving hero, gets paid vacation time, gets a brand new ship... and gets her long overdue smoke.
  • GaoGaiGar:
    • The "Hell and Heaven" move consists in GaoGaiGar ramming its fists against the enemy.
    • The J-Phoenix, where J and Renais set the J-Ark on fire and ram it against the enemy.
  • Space Battleship Yamato:
    • In the second movie, the Yamato skips past Desler's Wave-Motion Gun by space warping, only to warp right next to Desler's ship, ramming it. This works well enough to punch a hole in it, but there's little lasting damage to either ship.
    • And in Space Battleship Yamato 2199, episode 23 has a part where a Gamilas cruiser is on the receiving end of the Yamato's bow after it uses its Wave Motion Shield as a battering ram.
  • Double-Subverted in Legend of the Galactic Heroes: At the end of the battle between Iserlorn and Geiersburg Fortresses, the Imperial commander decides to simply ram Geiersburg into Iserlorn, but the Alliance fleet blasts the fortress off course and destroy it. After getting word of the defeat, Rienhard says the Admiral should've rammed Iserlorn in the first place, rather than the Wave-Motion Gun duel he started with.
  • This is the primary purpose of Raising Heart's A.C.S. (Accelerate Charge System) mode in Lyrical Nanoha
    • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: Nanoha flies at Reinforce full speed to build up enough momentum to pierce her barrier, then fires a Wave-Motion Gun directly at her face (or in the case of the movie, slam her through several massive stone pillars then blast her in the face). It fails to so much as ruffle Reinforce's hair.
    • Nanoha provides a more traditional example in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS during the raid on the Saint's Cradle. Not wanting to stop and fight every single Gadget Drone she comes across, she opts to simply fly straight through them, leaving a heap of scrap metal in her wake.
    • In a reverse of her fight with Reinforce, her battle with Stern in Reflection has the two of them get into a Beam-O-War, and Nanoha proceeds to fly straight through the resulting explosion to build up momentum.
  • Getter Robo:
  • Rebuild of Evangelion:
    • Subverted: in the climax of 3.0., the Wunder rams into Eva-13 in its new godly form, which, while still causing damage, isn't enough to stop it.
    • In 3.0+1.0, Misato sacrifices herself by ramming the Wunder into the Imaginary Lilith, delivering the Spear of Gaius to Shinji.

    Comic Books 
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In X-Wing Rogue Squadron, a sort of repeat of what happened below to the Executor occurs, with an A-Wing ramming into an unshielded bridge and blowing it out. Thing is, this is a New Republic ship, and it survives.
    • Another Star Wars comic had a collision involving three Star Destroyers that dropped out of hyperspace too late and accidentally crashed into the Executor. In this case the trope was painfully subverted: the Executor's Deflector Shields were up and the Star Destroyers simply exploded, causing no damage to the flagship whatsoever.
    • In the Tales of the Jedi comics the Sith cultist rulers of the Empress Teta System attack a Republic battle group with a Zerg Rush of cheap fighters that simply ram them.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • During the crossover event Vader Down, Vader ends his duel with the cyborg Commander Karbin by having his ally Doctor Aphra ram her ship into the natural stone bridge that Karbin's standing on, collapsing it. This traps Karbin in the rubble, and gives Vader the chance to finish him off.
    • Star Wars (Marvel 2015): During the Last Flight of the Harbinger arc, the Rebellion hijack the titular Star Destroyer and use it to run an Imperial blockade of an allied planet so they can drop supplies. They do this by flying right into the other Star Destroyers, knocking them aside and getting them close enough to the planet to complete the mission.
  • The entire basis of Killboy's flying style in Warhammer 40,000's Deff Skwadron. As a result, he's more machine than Ork and has been rendered damn near invulnerable.
    Gimzod: Killboy. 35 missions flown, 35 replacement fighta-bommerz an' 35 major bionik surgery procedures. 67 konfirmed kills, includin' 43 actually belongin' to the enemy...
  • The Authority: The Authority is unable to penetrate their opponent's force field to attack his island. That is, until Midnighter flies a 50-km long starship into the island and obliterates the enemy lair.
  • Superman:
    • During her final battle against the Diasporans in Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl did this with her own body, taking advantage of her Kryptonian invulnerability to ram through their mothership and destroy it.
    • In War World, Kara hurls herself at the eponymous massive weapon satellite at incalculable speed and collides with it, breaking it down.
      Then, at a speed that defies the imagination, the Girl of Steel strikes the gargantuan satellite — punches through it like a bullet through a snowball — and her velocity undiminished, hurtles onward, to be swiftly swallowed once more by the void!
    • The Supergirl from Krypton (2004): Superman begins the final battle by hurling himself at Darkseid.
    • Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade starts out when Kara's rocket arrives in Metropolis and accidentally smashes itself through Lex Luthor's giant robot.
    • Several Flying Brick characters use this tactic in Krypton No More:
      • One-time villain Protector charges at Superman to knock him down from the sky when they first meet.
      • Superman also charges headfirst against the J'ai warships in order to blow them up.
      • And then a J'ai warrior charges against him, slamming both of them into a warship to take Superman down.
    • Subverted in A Mind-Switch in Time. As travelling from different points in the timeline, Superman and Superboy run into a disturbance stretching across the timestream. Both Clarks decide to brute forcing their way through it, and indeed they manage to ram through it, but they collide with each other.
    • In the beginning of Superman vs. Shazam!, Superman disables a flying saucer vehicle by ramming through it.
    • In Way of the World, Supergirl's punches damage Dolok but they don't seem to be strong enough to knock him out. It is only when Kara rams herself into him, hitting him with both fists simultaneously, that she is able to finish him off.
    • In The Phantom Zone, Supergirl neutralizes three nuclear warheads by crashing through them.
      But even as Superman's heart sinks in despair... the Girl of Steel swoops from the clouds towards the roaring ICBM's...! Like a human missile, her body lances through the bombs' steel casing, exploding their liquid oxygen fuel...and short-circuiting the arming-mechanisms— rendering the deadly warheads useless!
    • "Those Emerald Eyes Are Shining": Supergirl stops Weber's World from colliding with United Planets' main fleet base by ramming herself against it at enormous speed, knocking the artificial planetoid right off its collision course.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): In Issue #9, Tails decides to kick off the Resistance's assault on the Egg Fleet-occupied Angel Island by causing their ship to crash into an Eggman base on the island. In Issue #10, he follows up on this by hijacking an Egg Fleet ship and using it to ram through several others, and in Issue #11 tops himself by then ramming that ship right into Metal Sonic's Master Overlord form.
  • Subverted in The Transformers: Unicron; after Carcer gets shot to hell by Unicron's defense system, the ship's surviving crew try to take Unicron with them by FTL-jumping into straight into his face... and promptly get bisected by an eye beam before they can even fire up their quantum engine. The captain manages to ram what little remains of the ship into Unicron's head as she dies, but it does absolutely nothing except make him flinch.
  • In Combat Kelly and his Deadly Dozen #6, 'Mad Dog' Martin breaches the walls of an impenetrable German fortress by crashing his damaged bomber into them: creating a hole that allows the rest of the team to storm in.

    Comic Strips 
  • In the Garth Ennis revival of Dan Dare, this seems to be a standard tactic as the Royal Navy capital ships have extendible bow rams and Dare uses these to board the Mekon's flagship.

    Fan Works 
  • Conquest, a popular Star Wars/Star Trek fanfic, is notable for having the Rebels ram a damaged corvette into a destroyer at many thousands of times the speed of light, The other ship survives, but there is enough havoc for the rest of the Rebels to get through.
  • In The Miracle at Palaven, a crippled 3,700 kiloton starship falling towards the planet is sent on a collision course with a crippled Reaper capital ship at eleven hundred kilometers per hour.
  • Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning:
    • In this Star Trek fan parody, Emperor Pirk rams his nearly destroyed ship on the enemy flagship, producing the most impressive CG destruction sequence ever seen outside multimillion dollar Hollywood productions, and indeed looking better than most Star Trek fight sequences ever filmed. This is even more impressive when you realise that that Pirk's flagship is the Enterprise-E and the enemy flagship is the Excalibur from the B5 spin-off series Crusade. And they created the whole thing on home PCs.
    • Ramming is also a Space Battle gameplay element in the Star Wreck Role-Playing Game, though captains who make a habit out of it won't win any popularity contests.
    • It's also notable that the Excavator survived the ramming with a few scratches, while the Potkustart was obliterated. Of course, it was just a diversion for the much more inferior Kalinka to unleash a full spread of "light balls" into the Excavator's bridge. It also would've spectacularly failed, as Festerbester saw the Potkustart coming and was about to blow it to smithereens... only for the weapons to be clogged by the Potkustart firing a full spread of... light beer (It Makes Sense in Context) earlier.
  • Enemy of My Enemy: "Hah! The Sangheili ship isn't even trying to run anymore!... Wait... what are they... raise the forward shie—" crunch. Also, Zuka taking out a hostile Scarab by ramming his nearly-destroyed Banshee into its exposed core.
  • In An Entry with a Bang!!, a B-1B Lancer crew, faced with being unable to pull off their bombing run and being shot down if they break off, ram their bird into the Dropship of the pirates attacking Chicago and succeed in taking it out.
  • Fan-made stories for FreeSpace enjoy this trope:
    • One mission in the "Just Another Day" parody series of missions had fun with this. A corvette "blockades" a jump node by sitting right next to it so incoming ships will ram it and blow themselves up before they can steer away from it. After one hilarious example, another ship jumps out in a different vector, avoiding the corvette completely, leading its commander to ask, "Can they do that?"
    • To add to this, the second mission of JAD Episode 1 sends the Colossus Reborn to attack a Sathanas that jumps in near the end of the mission. When the Colossus Reborn arrives, its subspace vortex is just in front of the Sathanas. Guess what happens to both ships?
    • The campaign Ridiculous also shares a mission featuring ships (A Colossus that you win through a lottery) jumping into another ship. As before, neither survive.
    • In the Derelict campaign, this is how the GTVA takes down the SD Nyarlathotep, using a corvette rigged with as many high-yield Meson bombs as could be jammed into the hull. This conveniently bypasses the target's superior firepower and durability, which the Alliance has thus far been unable to overcome in a straight fight.
    • Silent Threat: Reborn, a fan remake of the (generally considered below the standards of the other games) official expansion Silent Threat, zig-zags it. At one point, the heavily damaged ship PVD Hope rams the rogue warship GTD Hades, which destroys the ramming ship, does next to no hull damage but knocks out the rammed ship's engines. Then the engines come back online, letting the Hades jump to another system... where it is subsequently revealed that despite that the ramming actually did do catastrophic damage to the engines, allowing GTA forces to catch up and engage the ship.
  • In The Last Spartan, while driving the Mako across Therum, the Master Chief follows an old rule in vehicle combat from the previous games: "Don't brake for nobody."
  • In the Firefly fic Forward, Serenity doesn't have any weapons, so Wash has to make do, often using the ship's exhaust or throwing things out the cargo hold. In a pinch, and when dealing with ships neither as durable or as large as the freighter, ramming becomes an option too.
  • Bait and Switch:
    • The prequel From Bajor to the Black features a variant. Eleya tunes her shields' waveform to be 180 degrees out of phase with those of a Borg probe so a close pass ramming shield into shield eliminates both. She then beams a photon torpedo onto the unshielded probe, destroying it.
    • Defied in chapter five of the original fic. Referencing the destruction of the USS Odyssey by a Jem'Hadar ramming attack in DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", a Jem attack ship attempts to ram the USS Bajor. Difference is, Captain Kanril cuts power to the engines and aft deflector and diverts the power to the navigational shield, which is built to repel kinetic impacts. The Jems only end up crippling their own ship and a phaser hit to the forward torpedo magazine finishes them off.
    • Played straight in The Wrong Reflection. A Terran Empire Defiant-class ship tries to ram the Bajor from the side after a torpedo attack by another Terran ship knocks out one of the phasers and nearly brings the shields down. Since the Bajor is fighting as part of a fleet this shouldn't have been a problem: the ships assigned as escorts should've been able to deal with the Terran Defiant themselves. Unfortunately three of the four remaining ships in the formation were caught out of position. T'Var ends up using her damaged USS Olokun to shield her former captain's ship, taking the ramming attack herself and dying. The same battle narrative also features a mention of a Gorn Tuatara-class cruiser T-boning a Terran Typhoon-class battleship, with the Terran ship breaking in half.
    • Peace Forged in Fire has a bit during the Big Badass Battle Sequence where Velal's flagship ch'R Eyhon Ehludet'eri, a Scimitar-class warbird, casually runs over a much smaller T'varo-class warbird that simply explodes on contact with the Eyhon's navigational shields. It's a bit like hitting a bass boat with an aircraft carrier. ROADKILL!
  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream (Killbles) chapter 7, Spitfire crashes her zeppelin into Rasputin, finally fatally wounding it.
  • In No Gods, Only Guns, the Torgue-Urdnot Mega-Corp has a warship known as the FISTING BOOMING SHITPUNCHER (literally named in all-caps) whose primary battle strategy is to ram enemy ships with a giant, fist-shaped ramming prow. Even better, said ramming prow can digistruct explosive panels onto its front so it can punch, ram, and blow up the enemy at the same time.
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • During the Battle of Thessia in the Mekon War, the crippled Asari dreadnaught Siege Perilous rams a Romulan warbird, the resulting explosion wiping out several other nearby Romulan ships.
    • This becomes a regretfully standard maneuver during the Reaper War, with ships too crippled to otherwise fight or flee instead slamming themselves into Reapers to destroy them. Later, as the tide starts to turn against them, the Reapers start doing this against their enemies out of desperation.
  • Zigzagged in A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic Let the Galaxy Burn:
    • During the Greyjoy Rebellion, a badly damaged Reach spaceship tries to ram Rodrik Greyjoy's ship, only for the latter to destroy the former before it gets close enough. Rodrik Greyjoy lampshades it as stupid, because ramming is an absurdly difficult maneuver to carry out even if the ship is brand new and it will destroy both the ramming and the rammed ship - and ships aren't cheap.
    • Played straight twice:
      • Operation Midnight, Dorne's surprise attack against Aegon's supporters, is mostly about having old merchant ships manned by old men or people who have nothing to live for, deliberately ramming naval shipyards. This works because the people there never thought someone would be so suicidal so as to do this.
      • When Richard Lonmouth realizes that (a) he isn't getting alive out of Stannis Baratheon's trap and (b) Fawnton is being overrun by demons summoned by the R'hollorites, he decides the best choice is to ram the planet at half the speed of light so as to deny the demons a foothold and giving any human survivor in the planet what amounts to be a Mercy Kill.
  • In Avengers: Infinite Wars, during the battle to re-take Ryloth, James Rhodes/War Machine inflicts damage on a Separatist ship by leaving explosives in the seat of his fighter and programming it to collide with the ship while he dons his armor and flies alongside it.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl rams into a moon in order to push it out of orbit. Being all but a Physical God, the deed is easy for her.
    She pushed herself off of nothingness, and speeded towards one of those moons, quickly passing light velocity several times over. Satan Girl kept picking up speed, her arms crossed before her face. The white, crater-pocked surface loomed before her, filling her range of vision.
    She hit it.
    There would have been a tremendous boom, if the moon had had an atmosphere. But it did not, and there was only silence and an awesome impact of body with lunar matter.
    Satan Girl had struck the moon at an angle to spin it free of its orbit. She ricocheted away from it, unharmed.
  • For the Glory of Irk: In Chapter 63, the Final Battle is kicked off when Zim aims Vero's ship at the Massive and flies into it at hyperspeed in order to breach through its armor and get to IX's secure chamber.
  • Star Wars vs. Warhammer 40K: Ramming is incredibly effective against Republic ships. As the author states, Star Wars ships are extremely fragile in comparison to Imperial warships and are not designed with ramming in mind. In addition, even the smaller Imperial ships are twice the size of almost all Star Wars warships. As such Imperial ships are able to cleave right through Venators and other Republic/Separatist ships without suffering any damage. It's made worse since Star Wars ships need to get up close for their weapons to have any impact on Imperial warships. This tactic is used against them by Grievous, however, via packing his ships with explosives so that when they are rammed they can inflict major damage.

    Films — Animation 
  • Harlock: Space Pirate:
    • Since the Arcadia is almost a Ghost Spaceship and virtually indestructible, the crew sometimes finds that the best way past an enemy ship is to simply plow right into them.
    • Reversed at the end, when Ezra commands his personal flagship to ram the Arcadia and push it so the Earth's not in the line of fire of the Coalition's Wave-Motion Gun.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. While Buckaroo and John Parker are hovering in the Red Lectroid thermal pod, Lord Whorfin tries to ram them with his troopship. John Parker gets them out of the way just in time, but if Whorfin had succeeded they would have been splatters on his windshield.
  • Alien: In Prometheus, the titular ship is rammed into the Engineer's craft. Although no physical damage is inflicted (even with the ship blowing up), the impact is enough to knock the Engineer's craft out of the sky. Clearly the captain didn't think to use his tiltable interplanetary/VTOL engines as plasma cannons instead.
  • Neither a plane, a starship, nor a boat, but as it is flying... In Back to the Future Part II, Marty suggests to Doc that they land on Biff's car and cripple it. Doc points out this is not a good idea:
    Doc: Marty, he's in a '46 Ford. We're in a DeLorean. He would rip through us like we were tinfoil.
  • In the HBO film By Dawn's Early Light, the pilots of Air Force One turn the plane so that Looking Glass can ram it, averting the catastrophic escalation of a nuclear war already in progress by stopping transmission of orders by a more aggressive Unexpected Successor President.
  • DC Extended Universe: In Man of Steel, after Faora attacks the plane carrying Superman's pod, Colonel Hardy rams it into Zod's ship. Played with in that it's not the ramming that does the job, but Superman's ship detonating; the collision course was the only option Hardy had left to deliver the payload. More specifically, it's the Applied Phlebotinum in Superman's ship interacting with the Applied Phlebotinum in Zod's ship to create an Unrealistic Black Hole.
  • Subverted, like everything else, in Galaxy Quest. Taggart has the ship launch itself at full speed toward the enemy ship and the enemy notes that with the difference in armor, it would be the ship that's being rammed that would survive, not the ship doing the ramming. However, at the last moment they dodge and allow the mine field they were dragging to take out the enemy ship instead.
    Sarris: You fool. You fail to realize that with your armor gone, my ship will tear through yours like tissue paper!
    Jason Nesmith: And what you fail to realize, is that my ship is dragging mines!
  • The Great Waldo Pepper: At the end, Waldo and the German ace Kessler decide to have it out. Since neither of them has usable weapons, they decide to use the planes themselves for the most part.
  • An F-18 ramming into the primary weapon of the alien ship just as it's about to fire happens to be precisely what's needed to destroy it in Independence Day. It sort of makes sense, as the alien laser, instead of hitting the people on the ground, explodes right next to the ship. Also it probably detonated the armed missile still attached to the plane (thanks to a malfunction).
  • In Invention for Destruction, Count Artigas' Submarine Pirates uses the stolen submarine to sink merchantmen by ramming them below the waterline so they sink, then sending out divers to kill the survivors and loot the ship.
  • The Last Starfighter:
    • The Kodan Armada's main ship attempts to ram the Gunship during the final battle. This actually makes sense, as all of its weapons and targeting systems had been disabled and the Gunship was floating dead in space without the power to get out of the way. And if Grig hadn't managed to restore the Gunstar's power at the last moment, the effect of that command ship hitting them would've been like an SUV running over a soda can. CRUNCH!!!
    • And in a more down-to-Earth example, Alex's Beta Unit, who's back on Earth decoying for him, sacrifices himself to defeat an alien bounty hunter before it can transmit a message warning the Armada that the real Alex is back in the fight by ramming the alien's spaceship with a pickup truck. The novelization explicitly states that the truck exploding does absolutely nothing to the advanced materials of the small interstellar ship. The very small bomb the beta unit placed on the dashboard just beforehand, however...
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Thor: The Dark World, the Dark Elves' craft don't seem to have any weapons at all. They simply slam into buildings (or Asgardian fighters) to destroy them; the only thing that isn't damaged by it is the shield around the Asgardian palace. The Dark Elves' craft remain undamaged doing this, except for the one that hits the aforementioned shield and is destroyed.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy:
      • Quill points out to Rocket that while the maintenance pods they're in don't have weapons, they're designed to be unbelievably tough. Cue Rocket smashing half a dozen Necrofighters to pieces by ramming them thanks to the fight happening in the constraining inner space of Knowhere.
      • When the Necrocrafts are unable to get past the Ravagers and Nova Corps in a dogfight, they instead just start dive-bombing Xandar.
      • In the climax, Rocket Raccoon flies his ship straight into the Dark Aster, knocking out Ronan for a while and causing his ship to crash.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Taking a page from Rocket's book in the first movie, Yondu lands his ship right on top of Ego's human body just as the latter is starting "the Expansion" and using Quill as a battery, interrupting the process.
      Yondu: Hey, there, jackass!
    • Black Panther: To take out the last of the transport he's chasing, Everett Ross simply rams it with the Royal Talon Flyer, destroying both. It's the best option here since he doesn't need the flyer any more, and is at no personal risk because he's piloting remotely. More importantly, he's in a hurry because another fighter jet is about to destroy the laboratory he's in with its pulse weapons and he has no time left.
  • An unexpected example occurs in Memphis Belle when a gunner shoots down an enemy plane. He is ecstatic until he sees the damaged fighter collide with another B-17, and the crew screams over the radio as they plunge to their deaths. Although not an intentional ram, it still fits the trope in that the fighter cuts cleanly through the bomber without being destroyed by the collision.
  • In the climatic scene of Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Ethan Hunt has stolen a helicopter and is using it to chase another helicopter carrying the Big Bad who has the detonator for two nuclear bombs and is armed with a squad automatic weapon. As Ethan has no weapons at all, he does this as the only option left to him.
  • During the Space Battle in Serenity, the Operative's frigate breaks in half after a Reaver ship T-bones it.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes: When the Big Bad goes to destroy Watson for stopping his Action Bomb before it could reach Buckingham Palace, Holmes stops him by slamming his light one-man airship into the Big Bad's much larger, armoured mechanical dragon: smashing both flying machines to pieces.
  • Sky Bandits: During the final aerial battle against the German airship, Major Bannock crashes his Fritz 'special' into one side of the airship and out the other.
  • Star Trek:
    • Narrowly averted in Star Trek: First Contact by Worf, commanding the USS Defiant while fighting the Borg. Averted only because the Enterprise comes in the nick of time and helps the fleet to destroy the Borg ship without the Defiant ramming into it.
      Worf: Perhaps today is a good day to die... PREPARE FOR RAMMING SPEED!
    • A particularly detailed and impressive example occurs in Star Trek: Nemesis, where Picard, having used up all the Enterprise's weapons, finally makes good on Worf's prior threat to ram an adversary. Ramming the Enterprise directly into the Reman Warbird Scimitar is made more impressive by the fact that a previous torpedo attack had breached the armor over the bridge shell, exposing the interior of the Enterprise bridge to open space (leading to a Red Shirt moment). Fairly "realistic" given that both ships are completely fucked by the impact. To take it to another extreme, the Scimitar then fired reverse thrusters and backed out of the wreckage and was still able to attack! Both ships were essentially unable to move or fire (other than the Scimitar's Wave-Motion Gun). The real culprit here is Shinzon himself holding the Idiot Ball. After blowing out the bridge's front panel, he brought his ship into a place where it could be rammed, and then froze up when Picard began to accelerate towards him.
    • Star Trek:
      • In the JJ Abrams movie, this happens not once but twice, with the Kelvin and then the Jellyfish ramming the Narada. It being Star Trek, the shields do nothing and the ramming attempts are successful, though both attempts fail to destroy the ship directly. It's rather big, after all. The novelization of the film reveals that George Kirk activated the warp drive just prior to impact, causing even more damage and disrupting plenty of systems of the Narada. This is why the Klingons were able to get the drop on them shortly after. But that just raises the question of why the Kelvin didn't just try to warp out of there.
      • In a similar instance, the saucer section of a destroyed Federation ship clips the nacelle of the Enterprise, scraping off some plating as though the shields aren't even there. Think about it, energy shields might be able to stop small energy fire and torpedo fires, but it won't do squat against giant spaceships with huge momentum behind them.
    • In Star Trek Beyond, Krall's drone swarm attacks exclusively by ramming, and have the ability to bypass shields. Because Federation ships have no armor to speak of, the Enterprise is quickly savaged by the swarm.
  • Star Wars:
    • During the climax of Return of the Jedi, a lone A-Wing manages to slip through the Super Star Destroyer Executor's defensive fire and smash into its momentarily unshielded bridge, causing it to lose thruster power after the engineering control was lost and crash into the Death Star before anybody on board could react. The pilot, Arvel Crynyd, had been hit seconds before by defensive fire and had a critically damaged fighter. He thus decided to take as much down with him as he could, which ended up being quite a lot.
      Bridge officer: Sir, we've lost our bridge deflector shield.
      Admiral Piett: Intensify the forward batteries. I don't want anything to get through...
      [sees an out of control fighter coming right at them]
      Admiral Piett: Intensify forward firepower!!
      Crynyd: RHAAAAAAAAA!!!!
      XO: Too late!!
    This example subverts the usual flaws with the trope, as this single fighter ship's impact causes catastrophic and immediate damage to the much larger ship beyond simply killing the people on the bridge. The Executor, meanwhile, isn't shown to do any damage to the Death Star... but then, huge though a Super Star Destroyer is, the Death Star utterly dwarfs them.
    • The script and novelization refer to ships ramming Star Destroyers, either having been loaded with explosives beforehand, or because they were dying already and aimed to eliminate an enemy Star Destroyer by either ramming them or exploding next to them.
    • The novelization of The Empire Strikes Back has Hobbie Klivian disable General Veers' AT-AT by crashing his snowspeeder into its cockpit. Hobbie survived more or less intact by ejecting right before, but Veers lost his legs. This was also supposed to happen in the film, but the footage was cut.
    • Subverted first in A New Hope, though. Wedge's rescue of Luke involved lunging straight at the enemy TIE Fighter with guns blazing. The theatrically-released remastered movie shows Wedge shooting through the collapsing enemy ship. Note that in the book, that was Biggs, not Wedge. It's not the only film/book discrepancy; the novelization was finished well before the film was. Also (justifiably) averted, when several fighters are shown to crash into the Death Star without destroying it; their relative sizes make this completely understandable.
    • Used in Rogue One during the climactic space battle above Scarif, when a Hammerhead corvette rams a disabled Star Destroyer. Interestingly, the Hammerhead isn't destroyed in the process; it instead rams at a low enough speed that it functions more like a tugboat with a large tanker ship, using the thrust of its own engines to shove the disabled ship in a specific direction — in this case, right into another, non-disabled Star Destroyer. Both wrecks are then shoved into the planetary shield their weapons couldn't penetrate. Later, Darth Vader's flagship Devastator comes out of hyperspace right in the path of the Rebel Fleet and simply runs over an unfortunate Gallofree Yards transport.
    • The Last Jedi:
      • Admiral Holdo of the Resistance puts all the above examples to shame by aiming the evacuated Resistance cruiser Raddusnote  at the First Order's flagship and jumping to hyperspace. The impact bisects the sixty-kilometer-wide Supremacy, and the FTL debris shreds several nearby destroyers. A character in the sequel brings up "The Holdo Maneuver" as a strategy, but it's shot down as a costly, high-risk, and unreliable move, despite its destructive potential; indeed, it's implied that the only reason it worked is because General Hux misread Holdo's intentions until it was too late.
      • The film also points out when ramming doesn't work: when Finn tries to do a similar Heroic Sacrifice against a "battering ram" cannon, we see that his old, rickety air skimmer is falling apart all around him simply for entering the cannon's initial "energy buildup" beam, and would have just smashed harmlessly against the cannon if Rose hadn't rammed her ship into his to divert him at the last second.
  • In United 93, this is discussed as one of the options by military officers after learning that the only fighter jets near a hijacked airliner were sent up without ordnance. They even state that having casualties from the planes are unavoidable and necessary at this point. See Real Life below.

  • In the Alex Benedict novel Polaris, the villain resorts to ramming the heroes with her spaceship after they disable her weapons system. This ends poorly for her, as the heroes trick her into flying full speed into a lander packed full of rocks.
  • All Hands! has the Starcougar ramming a pirate ship. It's almost a subversion, however, as it specifically states that ramming was a ridiculous idea. But when the pirates lost their engines...
  • In Animorphs's most iconic instance, the final line in the series is Jake giving the order to ram an enemy ship, which could kill four of the Animorphs. Since it's a Bolivian Army Ending, we don't know whether it works or not. Also, Elfangor wins a battle by using this same desperate tactic in The Andalite Chronicles.
  • Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark: In Fighters of Danwait, the protagonist is the captain of a small three-man patrol craft called the Lancelot with a semi-sentient on-board computer. When a Haptor warship shows up demanding they hand over their Lo'ona Aeo VIP, the protagonist realizes the Lancelot is no match for an annihilator-armed ship. He orders the AI to eject the self-contained pods of the two gunners and then plots a course straight at the enemy. This is different from the typical use of this trope in that the protagonist doesn't expect to survive or destroy the enemy. The goal is to buy time for his crew and the VIP to escape. The Lancelot has other ideas, though, and ejects the captain's pod as well seconds before the impact. It also alters its course slightly and hits the Haptor ship near its Antimatter pod, after disabling the enemy shields with a well-placed shield-piercing shot. The pod loses containment, and both ships are consumed by a matter/antimatter explosion. The protagonist barely survives the explosion.
  • In Isaac Asimov's novella Black Friar of the Flame, the humans win the decisive battle against the aliens by ramming. Possibly justified in that the human spaceships had been specifically designed to do this.
  • Narrowly averted in Robots and Empire between a settler DG Baley's merchant ship and an Auroran warship. Not because he was out of weapons, but because it was forbidden to open fire inside Earth's Solar System
  • In the Berserker series of science fiction short stories by Fred Saberhagen, special space ships are designed to ram the huge (as in the size of Manhattan Island) Berserkers. These ships have a nuclear weapon on the end of a very long prow which strikes the hull of the Berserker, creating a hole that the rest of the ship drives into. Once inside the Berserker, human troops deploy inside and seek out vulnerable places and rescue POWs held there.
  • Attempted twice in the Ciaphas Cain novels. In Traitor's Gambit, xeno sympathizers try to murder Lord General Zyvan by ramming the ship he's on with a stolen yacht, and fail because Cain warns him in time, at which point the Navy blows the yacht to smithereens long before it can hit. In Cain's Last Stand an attempt is made to destroy the flagship of the Chaos fleet via a ramming attack, which fails because one of the flagship's screening ships takes the hit for the flagship and is destroyed instead.
  • In Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga, a colossal invasion by an alien fleet that outnumbers the human fleet tens of thousands of times over is thwarted when one human ship hijacks an alien wormhole to their staging post and rams it. At twenty percent of the speed of light. Hilarity ensues. This leads to the development of small smart missiles with a wormhole generator installed in order to weaponize this. Relativistic missiles that switch off their wormhole at extremely high speeds and get turned into energy... lots of energy.
  • The Dark Forest: Earth's entire fleet is wiped out by a "droplet," a two-meter long Trisolaran probe. Simply enough, they figured out they'd figured out how to use the strong atomic force to make their technology indestructable and made the droplets essentially a reusable spear which destroys each ship in the fleet by ramming right through them one at a time.
  • In Factory of the Gods, this is accomplished with a rare example using a train to kill a god.
  • Elizabeth Moon's Familias Regnant: Trope averted — and how! — in Winning Colors. In the climactic battle, a small patrol ship is out of ammo, needs to recharge energy weapons, and is stuck engaging a heavy cruiser. The (very inexperienced) commander sees two options: die anyhow, or ram. He chooses to ram. He gets blown out of space WELL short of his goal. Obviously he missed the third option: get the hell away and wait for his weapons to rearm. His commander (the series' hero, naturally) is confounded by this.
  • In Footfall, during the final attack on the alien mothership the space shuttle Atlantis rams it, damaging the alien's main drive, allowing Michael to catch them.
  • In Joe Haldemann's The Forever War, the final space battle is turned by the humans using their drones to ram the remaining Tauran space ship.
  • Halo:
    • In Halo: The Fall of Reach, then-Commander Jacob Keyes does this to a Covenant Stealth Corvette he happens to spot. It's not given how small the corvette was, but the people on the bridge of the 485-meter UNSC Destroyer Iroquois "barely felt the bump", while the corvette was fatally damaged. In an earlier battle above the same planet, Keyes does a variant of this move. He doesn't as much as ram an enemy destroyer as much as he did scrape it, but it was enough for him to fire the Archer missiles on the Iroquois to seriously damage the destroyer at nearly point-blank as Keyes led a homing plasma shot that had been track the Iroquois back at the destroyer. Results were lethal and the maneuver was named the "Keyes Loop". While his ram of the opposing destroyer was enough to let him beat it, once he got back to spacedock and took a look at the ship he realized that "A few more degrees of tilt down and he would have sheared his own craft in two." As is, the Iroquois was heavily damaged by this.
    • In Halo: First Strike, this is both played straight and subverted. In a zone of slipspace where all weapons fired would veer off in random directions, Admiral Whitcomb took out one enemy ship not by firing his weapons, but instead by locating the wreck of an enemy ship, and pushing it at max speed towards a Covenant ship, while reversing as soon as the mass had enough velocity. Destruction ensued. Subverted near the ending, where Whitcomb's ship is used to ram into an enemy base several hundred times bigger than the ship itself, but causing little serious damage. However, the true goal was to lure all Covenant ships near that base into close proximity... as the base's fusion systems had been sabotaged minutes before by a team of Spartans, resulting in a nuclear blast that wiped out all 500 enemy ships, as well as, sadly, Whitcomb's ship.
    • In Halo: Silentium, this was how Offensive Bias and his inferior forces defeated Mendicant Bias and his Flood-infested ships. After the Halo Array fired and killed off the living crews of both their ships, Offensive accelerated his ships at such speeds that the g-forces would have liquified any organic being inside and used them as physical weapons. The result was millions of Flood-controlled ships destroyed in under sixty seconds.
  • The Honorverse has never portrayed ramming as a credible offensive tactic in space combat since the series' Minovsky Physics make it entirely impractical for several reasons. First, ships cannot project Deflector Shields perpendicular to their axis of acceleration, making any ship on a collision course an easy target for return fire; second, ships can change acceleration far more easily than they can change course, giving a strong advantage to the evading ship even if it is larger and slower; and third, even if these problems could be solved, the evading ship could simply pitch its impenetrable gravity bands towards the approaching ship, destroying it like an egg hitting a brick wall. However, there is one downplayed example in the first novel where Harrington deliberately clips the impeller wedge of a Havenite courier boar with her own ship's. In that case, it was done with the element of surprise to overload and disable the boat's drive; if Harrington had wanted it destroyed, a single shot from a laser mount would have been far simpler.
  • Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan: Debt of Honor predates the 9/11 attacks by seven years and features a 747 being plane-fu'ed into the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress, with the President, Cabinet, and Supreme Court in attendance.
  • In The Last Angel, Nemesis is known to ram battleships and small space stations. It gives her great satisfaction to "feel" enemy ships break apart on her hull.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series ramming happens, but always by accident. The result is always catastrophic for both ships. In one case both ships get compressed into a "gigantic ball of metal".
  • Nameless War:
    • During the battle of Alpha Centauri a badly damaged human starship rams a Nameless ship. This sequence is unusual in that the human ship is approaching from behind with a low overtake speed. The alien attempts to avoid impact means the contact is more of a graze than a direct hit, but is still crippling for both vessels.
    • A more classical ramming example is when the cruiser Mississippi rams the space gate that gives the Nameless access into this arm of the galaxy.
  • John Barnes' Patton's Spaceship has John Glenn be the first American to orbit the Earth in an Alternate Universe as well. Unfortunately, he doesn't come back, as the Nazis have their own space program, and sent one of their rockets after him. The last message from Major Glenn includes the words "every fighter pilot knows there's one way to be sure you don't miss." The Nazi capsule doesn't come back either.
  • Ramming is the only tactic that comes close to working against the Hydrogues in The Saga of Seven Suns, at least in the early books. And it only works because you ram them at the same time as overloading your engines. Later on, ships were designed specifically for this purpose — essentially giant lumps of ablative armour, with huge engines for their weight, crewed by robots.
  • In the Spiral Arm series, when Fir Li defeats the Molnar's fleet of Space Pirates, the Molnar's last act is to attempt to ram Fir Li's ship Hot Gates. In this case, however, it doesn't work: Fir Li had been expecting the tactic and prepared for it beforehand, allowing him to successfully evade.
  • In David Weber and Steve White's Starfire Universe series of sci-fi novels, both the Thebans and the Arachnids used ramming. The Theban fanatics used their "Ramming Fleet" of specialized suicide cruisers solely as a last-ditch option against superior technology and numbers. The Arachnids, a remorseless hive species with no concern for individual unit survival whatsoever, used suicide-piloted fighters, shuttles, and gunboats (all loaded to the brim with antimatter!) as routine ordnance. In Insurrection, A badly damaged super-dreadnought deliberately rams a super-monitor in the final battle. The resultant explosion is so dramatic both sides of the battle call an immediate ceasefire that ultimately ends the war.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe and Novelverse:
    • In Star Trek: Federation the Enterprise-D rams a Romulan Warbird under rather difficult-to-duplicate conditions. Picard even phrases the order as "Ramming speed!" and tilts Enterprise relative to the Romulan ship so the saucer hull acts like an axe blade to cut the Warbird's "head" off. The Enterprise, due to having all power routed to the structural integrity field, thus giving the hull a strength rivalling Neutronium, is mostly undamaged. The Warbird, which has just been hit by an enormous object traveling at a large fraction of C, is reduced to bits no larger than a computer chip. Worf is so admiring that he loses his English for a few seconds.

      There were several reasons this shouldn't have worked. If the warp core hadn't been forced into an emergency shutdown, if all available power hadn't been diverted into the SIF, if they weren't covered by a boundary-layer cloaking effect from yet another Warbird, if everybody hadn't been at relative rest, if the target Warbird hadn't had their shields set for combat conditions rather than simple navigation (which would have at least diverted an Enterprise-D-size rock)... you get the idea. It was a one-in-a-BIG-NUMBER occurrence — which is lampshaded as "not being in the manual". Commander Riker jokes that he isn't sure whether Starfleet will commend or court-martial Picard for it, while Picard says he'll settle for a re-fit. The narrator soon remarks that it would be easier to list the parts of the Enterprise that weren't damaged by the maneuver.
    • The novel The Return ups the ante a bit, with a Defiant-class ship executing a tricky maneuver that leaves it between a D'deridex-class Warbird's twin hulls. Simply turning the heavily-armored ship around in a circle splits the Warbird like an English muffin.
    • The USS Ranger does this in the Star Trek: Destiny series to stop a Borg Cube from destroying the Klingon settlement on Khitomer. It only works because the ship had been modified to be out-of-phase with (and thus pass through) the Cube's shields. The Ranger's sacrifice is used by Chancellor Martok to convince the Klingon High Council that they must fight alongside the Federation against the Borg.
    • Subverted in Dreadnought!. The book's villain, seeing that his forces are depleted and that Enterprise and Star Empire have essentially won the fight, tries to take out Star Empire by having his destroyer ram it. However, Enterprise destroys it before it can do the deed.
    • Subverted in the Invasion! series. Voyager simulates every possible variation of ramming a shuttle into the Furies' gigantic wormhole device, but every simulation ends in failure. Even ramming Voyager into the device at warp speed fails—most of the energy dissipates into subspace. The crew has to try something else.
  • Frequently in Star Wars Legends:
    • In The Thrawn Trilogy novel Dark Force Rising, Mara Jade's ship is disabled and she aims it at part of an Imperial Star Destroyer before ejecting, figuring that even if it doesn't do much, she might as well do what she can. A few pages later, one of the old Katana Fleet dreadnaughts (roughly 1/4 the size of the Star Destroyer, and thousands of times larger than Mara's fighter) is propelled via remote control into a second Star Destroyer, and this works quite well.
    • Garm Bel Iblis plans to do this during the Darkest Hour of Vision of the Future, but fortunately Supreme Commander Pellaeon has a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • In the fight against the Yuuzhan Vong, the Super Star Destroyer Lusankya is heavily damaged due to attrition. The New Republic has most of its interior stripped, a few of its lasers kept and manned with droids, and a single reinforced spine is added. The ship is then sent on a kamikaze mission dubbed "Operation Emperor's Spear" and smashes into a Vong worldship, completely destroying both vessels.
      • Subverted in Force Heretic III in the same series. The villains try to ram the hero's flagship, only to be vaporized before they can make contact (probably a first for the Star Wars Universe).
    • In the Dark Empire series, the reborn Emperor Palpatine has a new superweapon: the Eclipse, a new class of Super Star Destroyer modeled after sea-faring warships of eras long past. The front of the ship is extra-reinforced and the shields are boosted, allowing the titanic battleship to ram into and through other ships without hesitation or damage. The New Republic takes advantage of this in order to eliminate the Empire's other, even deadlier superweapon, the Galaxy Gun. Since a direct attack against the heavily-guarded Galaxy Gun would be doomed, instead they kill two birds with one stone by hacking the Eclipse nav computer and programming it to ram the Galaxy Gun. It turns out to be four birds with one stone, since a Galaxy Gun projectile misfires and hits the current Imperial capital world destroying it and the massive fleet guarding it.
    • In Showdown At Centerpoint, three Bakuran ships are fighting a mass of smaller enemy craft. Admiral Ossilege notices too late that some of the frigates have windows just painted on: they turn out to be 'robot ramships', simple chunks of solid metal in the shape of ships, disguised so that they can get close to a ship before ramming it.
    • Though not seen in the movie, the novelization of Return of the Jedi refers to Rebels loading transports with explosives and crashing them into the Star Destroyers (which explains why they bothered bringing the unarmed Gallofree transports with their fleet), and a dying Rebel Cruiser limps into contact with another Star Destroyer before exploding and taking out the Imperial ship. The Saga Edition of Starships of the Galaxy refers to a Corellian Corvette doing this, but the Rebels weren't lacking for suicidal actions that day.
    • In the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Ackbar takes over remote control of a partially-completed MC90 Star Cruiser and rams it into an Imperial Star Destroyer attacking the shipyards. Both ships are obliterated.
      • Also done in the previous book. Han, Chewie, and Kyp Durron have stolen the Sun Crusher from the Maw Installation and a star destroyer moves to block their path out of the black hole cluster. Kyp's response is to fly the Sun Crusher—which happens to be Made of Diamond due to quantum technobabble—through the star destroyer. The cruiser is mortally wounded and falls into one of the black holes, while the Sun Crusher basically just has its guns ripped off.
    • In a simulation at the start of Rogue Squadron, Corran rams an opposing TIE Bomber with his X-Wing. If they had hit head-on, the Bomber's mass advantage would have been enough to overcome the X-Wing's shields, destroying both ships. Instead they hit at a glancing angle, Corran's shields were reduced to a third, and the Bomber got all bent out of shape and went out of control, careening out of the fight.
  • Troy Rising:
    • Ramming doesn't work when you're smashing a couple million tons of spacecraft against several trillion tons of asteroid, as the Rangora found out to their chagrin, in Citadel, when they accidentally crashed against Troy. The damage was patched over before the next book.
    • In The Hot Gate, however, several partially completed cruisers are hastily converted to overglorified battering rams, which are used along with a whole mess of missiles for both taking shots intended for the rammers and to batter down Rangoran defenses in preparation for ramming Assault Vectors.
  • David Brin's Uplift: In Startide Rising, a human spaceship is being chased by an alien ship built with vastly superior technology, and the humans are hopelessly outmatched. As the alien ship madly accelerates to overtake the fleeing human ship, the humans release several tons of seawater (on board for the benefit of the dolphin crewmates). The speeding alien ship slams into the expanding cloud of water and is crushed due to the huge velocity differential.
    • But not before the alien captain has time to realize what's happened and (very briefly...) rant about the dirty trick the Earth ship has pulled by coming up with an improvised battle tactic instead of using one of the approved ones.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga:
    • In The Warrior's Apprentice, Miles Vorkosigan's jump pilot Arde Mayhew wins a battle by ramming his ship into another one. The rammed ship is captured, repaired, and seen back in service in later books. Mayhew's ship isn't so lucky — it's damaged beyond repair and will never take a wormhole jump again. This means Mayhew's jumping career is over, since his neural implant is incompatible with any other ship. But the most important consequence is that Miles and his people are stuck in the system until they can find another ship and pilot to take them elsewhere — forcing them to sign up for the rest of the story.
    • In The Vor Game, Miles muses that with the ongoing R&D war between offensive and defensive weaponry causing the effective range of ship to ship weapons to be getting shorter and shorter, some military strategists are beginning to think that ramming might actually be becoming an effective tactic.
  • Richard Lupoff's "With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama" has starships that are long, hard, and designed for thrusting vigorously into other ships. And they somehow manage to be slightly less overtly Freudian than the ship the protagonists are in.
  • An accidental example in one of the Star Carrier books, where a Russian ship ends up slamming at a North American one, when the joint fleet comes out of metaspace. Normally, the AIs of ships coordinate their arrival to prevent such accidents, but the AIs of different nations haven't had much chance to work together yet, and their protocols ended up not meshing well. The resulting explosion vaporized both ships and produces a multi-megaton explosion. At those speeds, it doesn't matter that one ship was much smaller than the other.
  • Used in the Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear as a prelude to the Word Bearers' invasion of Calth. They corrupt and take over a cargo ship, then ram it into the planet's orbital facilities at a decent fraction of lightspeed. The ensuing catastrophe breaks the back of the planet's infrastructure in seconds.
  • In Marko Kloos' Frontlines series, the enemy seed ships are impervious to weapons (even nuclear), and even ramming doesn't work. That is, until the ram a speedship with a fully loaded freighter traveling 1/10th the speed of light. The person whose idea it is claims that they aren't talking about mere gigatons. They want to create an astronomical event that will be seen from Earth.
  • In Persepolis Rising, many Earth-Mars Coalition captains decide to ram their ships into the Laconian battleship once it becomes apparent all of their firepower combined can barely make a dent in it. Not even that can stop the Laconian forces.
  • Ramming is extremely destructive in Aeon 14, especially when one ship has stasis shields.
    • In the Battle of Five Fleets in Destiny Lost, the Mark fleet forms their individual gravity shields into one big bubble, planning to envelop and board the ISS Intrepid. Sera puts the entirety of her courier ship Sabrina in stasis and rams the bubble, and the shock completely obliterates the Mark fleet.
    • The World at the Edge of Space has an exaggerated version verging on a Colony Drop: Jessica crashes the stasis-shielded Sabrina into a planet that's been turned into a gigantic bioweapons laboratory, ramming it all the way through the planet and out the other side, cracking the crust to the point where magma resurfaces the entire planet in short order. And they live to tell about it!
    • At the Battle of Carthage in Orion Rising, Cary and Saanvi Richards are leading a group of remote-piloted ships in an attack on a group of Trisilieds Alliance troop carriers. They resort to using their own vessels in kamikazes, finally ramming the last one with their own ship—much to their parents' horror, as they weren't even supposed to be anywhere near the fighting in the first place. (Both girls survive.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • It was common for EarthForce captains to try to ram Minbari ships during the Earth-Minbari War due to the fact that, thanks to the Minbari stealth systems, all human weapons had to be aimed visually. This worked several times with both ships being destroyed. The first time this happened was during the Curb-Stomp Battle that was the Battle of Vega, where a Minbari fleet utterly obliterated the EarthForce fleet defending the colony in under 12 seconds. And that was after letting the human ships fire first (well inside the Minbari's own weapons range). This ended up costing them, as one of the new Nova-X prototypes (the future Omega class) managed to get close enough to ram a Sharlin-class war cruiser.
    • Sinclair at the Battle of the Line. It works, but not in the way he expected.
    • Captain Anderson takes out the Shadow Planet Killer around Earth with this tactic.
    • Also seen in "Severed Dreams" when a friendly Earthforce destroyer, damaged beyond repair, T-bones one of Clark's, destroying both vessels.
    • And, of course, in "Z'Ha'Dum", when Sheridan answers the Shadows' offer by ramming their homeworld with the original Whitestar, demolishing their capital city. Though most of the damage was done by the two 500-megaton nukes on board.
    • In "Endgame", the forces opposing President Clarke's putsch were forced to ram a satellite before it wasted the Eastern Seaboard, after Clarke set the kill sats around Earth to destroy it out of spite after it was clear that he was going to lose. Fortunately, it wasn't necessary since backup arrived in time. Still, the explosion was more dramatic than necessary. There aren't any shields in Babylon 5, mind you.
    • The Expanded Universe gives us the Orieni and their hunter-killers, starfighter drones specifically designed for this. While devastating, it's also logistically intensive and their opponents in the Great War, the Centauri, had a larger industrial base.
    • JMS actually got into a debate on this issue, seen here and here.
    • Subverted in the pilot episode of Crusade; a Drakh cruiser attempts to ram the Excalibur, but Gideon simply blows it out of the sky with their Wave-Motion Gun.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica (1978) episode "Fire in Space", Cylon fighters attempt a kamikaze attack on the Galactica, one crashing inside the launch bay and setting it on fire.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • The Pegasus does this, with rather impressive results: not only does the Pegasus utterly annihilate the targeted baseship but when the Pegasus blows apart from the impact, one of its hangar pods hits a second baseship and destroys that one too The hangar pod also crashed into several Cylon fighters along the way, destroying each of them. All told, counting the first base star that she sucker punched with her forward batteries, the last fight of the Battlestar Pegasus felled three base stars.
    • Also, a Cylon boarding ship unintentionally crashed into the Galactica itself in the Season 2 premiere, although it was okay as it achieved the same results.
    • Used again in an odd way in the series finale. Galactica rams the Cylon Colony, at low speed and after only a very brief run-up, in order to allow boarding teams to directly disembark from Galactica into the Cylon Colony.
      • The good guys' ship ramming the bad guys' to wreak havoc from within sounds suspiciously like a homage to Macross.
  • Blake's 7: In "Duel", the Liberator is being fired on by three Federation cruisers. Rather than wait till they've worn down their forcewall, Blake decides to go Straight for the Commander and ram Travis' ship. Instead of taking evasive action Travis decides to fire everything he has at point-blank range. Sufficiently Advanced Aliens intervene before we find out what would have happened next.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Last of the Time Lords", "Time Crash" and "Voyage of the Damned" (all of them repeat this scene): The hull of the starship Titanic is one of the few things to ever physically break through the wall of the TARDIS, the strength and safety of which is a major plot point as even powerful enemies are often kept at bay when the protagonists make it inside the TARDIS. This is because the Doctor forgot to turn the shields on; as soon as he does, the Titanic is forced back out and the wall repairs itself.
    • A variation occurs in "The Doctor's Wife". The TARDIS is stolen by an entity called House which possesses its matrix, and the Doctor chases it with a makeshift TARDIS, then successfully gets on board by smashing the makeshift one into his own TARDIS. It doesn't destroy the TARDIS, although an Ood does get vaporized in the process.
  • Almost happens in Earth: Final Conflict, when Ma'el's ship is discovered and reactivated. The protagonists discover a living human (and a Roman to boot) aboard in a stasus pod. The Roman ends up speaking flawless English, as he's been leapfrogging through history in order to see if the Taelons have arrived yet (the task Ma'el assigned him) and managed to learn the language during the last several awakenings. After questioning Liam and Renee about the Taelons, he determines that Ma'el's worst predictions have come true and engages the ship's final protocol, programmed by Ma'el. The ship lifts off and accelerates on a collision course with the Taelon mothership. With only minutes left, the mothership is too large to be moved out of the way so quickly. The collision would've destroyed both ships, but Liam manages to engage the ship's self-destruct, before getting into the stasis pod with Renee, correctly assuming that Ma'el would've programmed it to eject if the ship was threatened. The Roman is killed in the explosion, and the mothership is saved.
  • In The Expanse, the crew of the Rocinante and the leader of Tycho Station hijacked the Nauvoo, humanity's first Generation Ship, to ram into Eros, an asteroid station infected by an extra-solar lifeform, and send it careening into the sun. It doesn't work — the lifeform moved Eros out of the way just before impact, breaking several laws of physics in doing so.
  • Farscape:
    • While it's not shown, Rigel recounts the tale of how his people used massed kamikaze attacks to drive off a race of invaders who'd killed a billion of their fellows and were eating their young.
    • An unusual version: a Leviathan ship destroys a far larger Peacekeeper Command Carrier by going into starburst while docked inside it — essentially ramming it from the inside.
  • In the first episode of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, the GokaiGalleon rams through a battleship. Justified as the bow of the Galleon is made of the swords it wields in its Humongous Mecha configuration Gokaioh.
    • In the final episode, Captain Marvelous and Gai ram the Zangyack flagship Gigant Horse with the Free Joker, the personal ship of deceased Rival Basco ta Jolokia. Another justified case, since the Free Joker is shown to have an incredibly powerful Beehive Barrier that keeps it from getting shot out of the sky by the Zangyack fleet.
  • Averted in an episode of Space: Above and Beyond, when a pilot attempts to take out Chiggy von Richthofen (the Red Baron) by ramming his customized fighter with his Hammerhead. All it does is get the pilot killed and slow down The Ace somewhat. It is established earlier that Chiggy's fighter has stronger-than-normal armor.
    • It may be stronger, but Chiggy still goes down from one missile, when the human's own ace goes after it (alone) in an ordinary Hammerhead. It helps that the human ace is not entirely human (a genetically-engineered worker/soldier).
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • Attempted by Hammond and the Prometheus in the season 7 finale with the expectation of a Heroic Sacrifice (the shields of the Prometheus are down, and if it's possible to survive a collision in orbit in the Stargate-verse at all, Earth's technology isn't that far along at this point), but the enemy ship is destroyed before the Prometheus can hit it.
      • Subverted in the season 10 opener. Bra'tac attempts to destroy an Ori mothership by ramming it with a Goa'uld mothership. The Ori ship is bigger and has much more powerful shields, so the Goa'uld ship crashes rather pathetically on the shield, causing no damage whatsoever.
      • And then of course there's the Ancients. After much testing, they decided the best ship-to-ship weapons they could build were swarms of shield-piercing attack drones that fought by smashing into things at high speed.
    • Using ships to ram structures on the ground is pretty popular in Stargate Atlantis:
      • When the Wraith's first attack on Atlantis begins to sour, the cruisers jump into hyperspace to call reinforcements while the Darts (fighters) make a kamikaze run for the city, hoping to destroy it kinetically. Fortunately, Atlantis's team manages to raise the city's shield in time.
      • The team has a Wraith Hive ship with damaged weapons and needs to disable a Wraith cloning facility on the planet below. Originally, their plan is to either steal or overload the ZPMs powering the facility, but an attacking Hive ship encourages them to use their captured Hive ship to disable the facility a little more... thoroughly.
      • Todd steals the Daedalus to destroy a machine that turns Wraith ships entering hyperspace into mincemeat (the Attero Device). When Ronon realizes Wraith have captured the ship, he starts blasting the control crystals of various systems, including weapons. Guess how Todd decides to destroy the facility when they arrive... He is thankfully thwarted, but by all indications it would have worked.
      • A rare ship-to-ship example: in "The Last Man", an alternate reality Carter rams a Wraith Hiveship with the Phoenix, a much smaller 304 Battlecruiser. The Phoenix not only destroys the Hiveship, but two more are destroyed when they get caught in the blast of the first. Of course, the Phoenix is about to explode at the time.
      • This is the standard operating procedure for drone attacks. The Ancients' bread and butter weapon is the Attack Drone, a strangely squid-shaped missile that glows bright yellow when armed, and will fly through a target several times, boring neatly carved bore-holes through it before it eventually runs out of energy or the target is destroyed and the drone recovered for re-use. Capital-grade drone systems combine this with Macross Missile Massacre for dazzling effect.
      • Final example in the last episode of the series: during the Wraith attack of Earth, a pair of Darts escapes the F-302 squadron and crash into the main Area 51 complex, destroying the Ancient control chair brought back from Antarctica, depriving the planet of its last line of defense.
    • In Stargate Universe, the remote-controlled drone fighters, upon learning that Destiny has adapted to their weapons, turn to this trope as an alternative. Thankfully for Destiny, it is really big, the drones are very small, and their shields hold up long enough to destroy the Control Ship. Later they remote-pilot a shuttle into a Control Ship whilst simultaneously detonating its reactors, destroying both ships.
  • Happens so much in Star Trek it's probably required reading at the Academy. No matter the situation, ramming is almost always more effective than weapons at causing damage.
    • The Enterprise's second encounter with the Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Best of Both Worlds": In the absence of any other way of stopping the Borg from assimilating Earth, Riker orders Wesley to aim the ship at the Borg cube, and go to maximum warp. (It's unclear exactly what happens when a ship in warp hits a solid object, but at a minimum, a forced collapse of the warp field would be chaotic.) Fortunately, this proves unnecessary.
    • The Borg themselves seem to be a fan of this. During the brief scenes of the Battle of Wolf 359, the invading Borg Cube encounters a fleet of Starfleet ships and doesn't even bother to slow down. Literally. Their beam weapon destroys the saucer section of the USS Melbourne and then the Cube simply rams the wreck instead of moving around it.
    • The Dominion of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine employ suicide ramming tactics to destroy Federation ships; specifically, the destruction of the USS Odyssey. They also take down multiple Klingon ships using this tactic during the Dominion War. In Odyssey's case, the ship was already withdrawing, but the Jem'Hadar rammed it anyway, just to show how serious they were.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Year of Hell", Janeway destroys Annorax's temporal incursion ship (a starship built around a weapon that literally erases things from time) by crashing the crippled Voyager into it. Which would have ended the series, except that, by ramming the ship, the catastrophic damage Janeway inflicted caused it to erase itself from existence, pressing the Reset Button on the entire year and for everything Annorax erased with it before.
    • Even the Borg resort to this once in the Voyager episode "Scorpion". To save Voyager (actually the modified nanoprobes on Voyager), a Borg cube slams itself into a comparatively tiny Species 8472 bioship, destroying both ships.
    • In Star Trek: Discovery, T'Kuvma's people build a "cleave ship", a giant vessel with a massive sharp prow. The ship is cloaked for much of the Battle of the Binary Stars, then rams into the USS Europa, starting to cut the ship in two. The crew self-destructs the Europa, taking the cleave ship with them. Another one appears during the final battle of season 2, cleaving through several Section 31 ships before decloaking and engaging them with conventional weapons. It also serves as Chancellor L'Rell's flagship for this battle, with the D7s arriving less than a minute later to engage the enemy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Battlefleet Gothic (and 40k universe in general) simply could not pass by this topic.
    • Imperial Navy often are built with prows designed for ramming. Considering that their entire culture is built around fanatical belief and willness to sacrifice yourself for the Imperium and the Emperor and the bulk of their military strategy boils down to sheer numbers, Imperial engineers build their ships around the frontal assault, which may result in ramming the enemy. Honestly all considered, as long as you don't mind losing some ships, ramming with their (often far larger) ships is actually a surprisingly effective way of battling more advanced alien ships.
    • Should be noted that this is 40k we are talking about. A ship detonating its reactor (running on Warp itself, or plasma, or whatever else) near the enemy can cause more damage than even ramming at relativistic speeds. During the Tyranid wars, a not-so-uncommon tactic of taking out the gargantuan bioships was to ram into them and activate the Warp engines, basically sucking the enemy ship into Hell.
    • All Ork vessels have armoured prows, spikes and so on for ramming, with one type of ship, named the "Brute" ram ship by the Imperial Navy, designed specifically for ramming. Consisting of a gigantic armoured prow, a powerful engine and minimal weaponry, they are one of the least subtle devices in the entire 40k universe, which is a truly, truly impressive feat.
    • Boarding torpedoes are basically this taken to it's logical conclusion. Guided torpedoes with soldiers inside is considerd such an obvious solution that they are standard armaments for multiple different races. At worst, it will be a blast of unexploding, but heavy and potentially devastating kinetic missiles; at best, it will also deliver armed troops inside the enemy hull. After all, there are only a handful of races in the Warhammer universe that actually have to worry about wasting manpower.
    • The Cestus Assault Ram, as its name implies, is designed primarily to ram into enemy ships or fortresses and discharge its cargo of Space Marines inside. The ship is designed around a huge magna-melta that fires just before impact to soften up the surface, while the ceramite prow is more than able to survive immersion in molten metal/concrete.
    • The Heroic Sacrifice of the Astral Knights chapter involved ramming their Tempestus Battlebarge (a kilometre-long battleship) through the void shields of a Necron World Engine (imagine a Death Star possessed by an Eldritch Abomination and crewed by ancient skeletal death robots). After punching through its void shields, hundreds of Astral Knights spent hours battling across the surface of the World Engine, destroying everything that looked remotely important while beset on all sides by thousands of Necrons. Nearly wiped out to a man, the Chapter Master himself led a handful of survivors down into the bowels of the Engine and destroyed the main shield generators with melta-bombs, allowing the Imperial Navy to finish it off. And so the Astral Knights vanished into legend.
  • The Battletech setting, both the tabletop games and the Mechwarrior video game franchise, allows you to attempt "death from above" — that is, using jump jets to lift yourself into the air and then land on your opponent, Mario-style. It's very difficult to aim, but when it hits, it results on 70 odd tons of giant war robot landing on the enemy machine — usually, right on the cockpit. Squish.
    • The major reason for this is because the head is a 1 in 36 shot on the regular hit table (You need 12 on 2d6) however, the punch hit location table (Which is used for punches and DFA attacks) it's 1 in 6. Even if you miss the head, most of the vital components of a Battle Mech are in the torsos and arms. Taking out your opponent's weapons while knocking them on their ass is a very useful way to strike when you can survive it.
    • In fact, one mech called the Highlander is specialized for this; the tactic is known as "Highlander Burial" when done by this mech.
    • The boardgame also has charging rules for both 'Mechs and vehicles, allowing them to crash into each other at high speed under the right circumstances. The way the rules are set up, this usually tends to do rather more damage to the target than the attacker if done right. (This is deliberately unrealistic to make using this maneuver from time to time actually worthwhile.)
      • Incidentally, since 'Mechs are significantly taller than regular ground vehicles, the latter can charge the former (hitting the legs unless the target just happens to be prone) but not vice verse. A BattleMech can kick a vehicle or make a death-from-above attack against it...but not charge at it outright.
    • Two Inner Sphere 'mechs, the appropriately named Charger and the heavier Banshee, are designed for charge attacks. Both are big, heavy and have overgunned engines that give them an impressive ground speed, which combined means a full-speed charge attack will hurt a lot, though they are also rather useless outside of charging. Later timepoints would add the Berserker and Neanderthal, both also close-combat 'mechs designed for ramming and melee attacks.
    • Also, in the background universe, there's the famous incident where Tyra Miraborg rams her near-wrecked fighter into the enemy flagship and thereby brings the entire Clan invasion to a halt for a year. Possibly in something of an aversion, the ship survives the attack reasonably well, though with damage to the bridge — what stops the Clans is the death of their war-leader and the need to convene on their distant common homeworld to elect another.
    • Late in the fiction line, this tactic became fairly common in warship combat, being featured in numerous novels.
      • Interestingly, the game rules themselves go out of their way to prevent this particular scenario from being commonplace. Among other factors, an aerospace unit trying to make a ramming attempt needs to roll dice to determine whether its pilot or crew is actually crazy enough to go through with it — on anything but an 11 or 12 on 2d6 (which is to say, in eleven cases out of twelve assuming fair dice), the attempt stops right there.
  • In hard sci-fi board game Attack Vector Tactical, ramming an enemy ship (if you hit) destroys it and your own ship. However, to be able to do this your crew has to be convinced to do it by the player making a speech the other players vote as suitably moving. And if you manage to move another player to tears, it upgrades the level of one of your other ship's crew.
  • In GURPS: Space, ramming the enemy is the most powerful attack you have. It doesn't always work but the amount of damage is tremendous.
  • An article in Dragon described a Traveller player, only identified as "Bob", who "obviously assumed that starships and ancient galleys were built alike." His attempted ram ("I've got the bigger ship!") turned both ships into clouds of debris, much to his confusion.
  • Star Realms has the Blob Ram, which from the name and card art appears to employ the trope. Seems to be a prestigious position too, as Ram Pilots are one of the Blob Hero cards in the Crisis expansion.
  • In Strike Legion, not only is ramming a very powerful weapon in its own right, but ramming is outright recommended to deal with one species' ships that have Mighty Glacier shielding and armor. Keep in mind, this is a setting where the average military warship can ram a planet and win.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones a spaceship that rams another spaceship both deals and sustains damage equal to the number of hexes it traversed when the command was issued, and if the defending ship has a flak barrier its rating is dealt to the attacker as well. But ships can be equipped with "close-combat weapons" such as vent re-directions that can only be used after ramming.

    Video Games 
  • A valid tactic in Independence War. There's a specific set of shields, called Aggressor Shields, created precisely to be activated at the moment of ramming to reduce damage on your own craft.
  • The Durandal rams a U-Tic battleship in a hilariously phallic manner in Xenosaga.
    • In their predecessor, Xenogears, the Yggdrasil accelerates so fast that it starts hydroplaning off sand, all in an attempt to crash the ship on top of Id Welltall, to keep him from destroying Brigandier and Bart. Subverted in that the tactic doesn't work. Id just picks the ship up and drops it on top of Bart instead. "Dropping a battleship on me is cheating... take it back!"
      • Also, in "Episode IV" of the story (Lacan and Sophia's period, immediately prior to Fei and Elly's "Episode V,") Sophia commandeers the Excalibur I and rams it into Deus' throne, the Merkava. (Although the latter is rebuilt for Deus' ascension, this time it's shot down by the Excalibur II instead.)
  • Averted in the space combat game FreeSpace 2. The capital ships in this game have armor tough enough that the weapon of choice for destroying them is carpet-bombing with antimatter bombs, or enormous beam cannons that vaporize fighters from a glancing blow; they are in general not harmed by collisions with other ships:
    • One mission ends when a destroyer of the rebellious Neo-Terran Front desperately attempts to ram the Alliance's new Colossus juggernaut. You have to try to disable or destroy it before it can impact. If you don't... well, it basically just goes splat against the aptly-named Colossus anyway, so it's no big deal.
    • It is played straight in the game's predecessor, where the Hammer of Light cruiser Mauler attempts to ram the Terran flagship Galatea. Though it is possible to have defended the Galatea well enough to have it survive the impact, the Mauler still does ridiculously huge amounts of damage. Possibly justified, though, as the game mentions the kamikaze fighters in that mission (and presumably the Mauler), are loaded with powerful explosives.
    • In the first mission of the campaign, the NTF Belisarius, severely damaged and outgunned, attempts to ram the GVD Psamtik... and is torn to shreds by the Psamtik's main guns before they get anywhere near.
  • Used, and subverted while using it in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation. The Rhinoceros-class Land Battleships used by the Divine Crusaders all have great big blades mounted on their bows for ramming attacks. However, late in the second game, when The Neidermeyer's ship is badly damaged, he tries to ram the Kurogane, the ship being captained by his rival. Unfortunately, he forgot that the Kurogane just happens to have a big-ass drill mounted on the front...oops.
    • Various Lion-types (such as the Guarlion, Calion, Astelion, Alterion, and Vegalion) are able to ram their enemies using the Sonic Breaker/RaMV weapon systems.
    • A particularly devastating example of this trope in action is the Elemental Lord of the Wind, Cybuster, and its "Akashic Buster" attack. Often used in the various anime adaptations against an opponent trying to invoke this trope...suffice to say, the Cybuster's ramming is superior every time.
  • In Chrono Trigger, you can skip the first part of the Lavos fight by crashing the time machine on him (destroying the vehicle in the process). This also triggers the "more serious" variation of the normal ending. In this ending, your friends are gone for good. In the other ending, your mom falls in a time-gate!
  • Subverted by Wing Commander III's Bad Ending. Although the Victory takes out the Kilrathi dreadnought by ramming into it, it's still not enough to stop the bad guys from winning.
    • See also the novel End Run, where a Kilrathi fighter rams the bridge of the TCS Tarawa, killing Commodore O'Brien, and putting Jason "Bear" Bondarevski in command. The Tarawa wasn't destroyed by it, but given the make-shift nature of escort carriers, the destruction of the bridge did put a serious cramp in operations, in that unlike a purpose-built warship, the CVEs didn't have a Combat Information Center deep inside the ship where it would be safe from most damage that didn't outright kill the ship.
    • Colonel Badass Mariko "Sprit" Tanaka is an honor crazy National Stereotype 26th century samurai already called out for her Japanese sense of self-sacrifice. She learns that her fiancé, believed dead for ten years, is being held hostage on a space station, the very space station she is ordered to destroy and the traitor threatens her fiancé's life over. Three guesses what her solution is, and the first two don't count.
    • Ramming enemy fighters is sometimes suggested by other players as one method to kill them fast enough to beat Kurasawa 2, in the original Wing Commander.
    • In Wing Commander: Privateer, the Orion, a heavy merchant/mercenary gunboat, can successfully ram as an offensive tactic because it has heavily beefed up armor on the front quadrant to enable such assaults.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, every major ship to ship battle will exhibit dazzling special moves from the player and opponent. The Valuan Admiral Gregorio's ship, Auriga, will ram the player's as his special. The Auriga comes complete with extra armor plating and spikes to get the job done.
    • This can be used to his disadvantage. Using Quika to speed the Delphina's engines the turn just before he rams the ship will cause him to not only miss, but also expose the backside of his ship where the bridge and engines are to a counterattack.
  • Star Control II's Androsynth had the "Guardian" ship, which featured Ramming Speed (aka "Blazer form") as its most effective weapon. Moving faster than any other ship in the game and becoming Nigh-Invulnerable will do that for you...
  • EVE Online:
    • The buildup for the expansion "Empyrean Age" features tensions between the Gallente Federation and Caldari State reaching a boiling point after a Gallente Admiral rams his Mothership into a highly populated space station during an economic summit between the two empires. He succeeds despite the massive armada present having 4 minutes to shoot him down.
      • To be fair, most of that "armada" was fleeing civilian ships, and the video of the incident ran 22 seconds. A sizable chunk of the non-civilian chips were the Gallente escort, in discord as they realize what their own ship is doing, and the Caldari guards presumably don't have the backup or enough time to take down a mothership, the second-largest ship class in the universe. The novelization adds that the shield generators that could have saved the station were sabotaged.
    • Downplayed in actual gameplay. Ships colliding with each other do not inflict damage, and rebound off of each other like rubber balls. However, that bounce can still be used offensively: in order for a ship to use its Warp Drive to leave combat, it must be flying directly towards its destination at a decent speed. Bumping a ship throws off its heading, thus delaying its alignment and warp. In past years, bumping could be sustained indefinitely against larger ships, however in recent years it was changed so that a ship which got stuck trying to warp for several minutes could skip the alignment and warp anyway. Even so, bumping is still a critical piece of strategy for buying time when trying to kill larger ships, and the phrase "Don't bump the *** Titan" is a running joke and a reminder to newer pilots of what not to do to their allies in capital ships.
      • Bumping can also be used as a Foe-Tossing Charge, either to push ships away from stargates or wormholes and prevent them from jumping out to safety, to push Sieged capital ships away from each other so they cannot support each other, or in areas where PVP is "illegal" to shove mining ships away from their asteroids. Some pilots have created ship designs, fitted with oversized engines, to maximize the Foe-Tossing Charge potential and send their bumped targets tens or even hundreds of kilometers away from their starting positions.
  • Weird (and old) PC game Stratosphere: Conquest of the Skies has flying fortresses — essentially huge floating rocks with thrusters on top of which fixed units are built. Various and nasty are the instruments of death meant to make enemy fortresses lose their main sustainment building and plummet to the ground, but when weapons fail — and it does happen, since your enemies do not particularly like the idea of being swatted out of the air and react accordingly - it's often possible to just floor it and pray your fortress' ramming spikes are stronger than the other's walls. This causes inordinate amount of damage even when successful, but the fact that fortresses self-rebuild and repair given enough resources and time makes it a viable tactic.
  • In Darkstar One, ramming is a valid tactic if you have plasma shield. If not, don't. You'll get hurt.
  • Ramming is extremely destructive in the X Universe. It frequently happens by accident, but a player in a fast capital ship or heavy transport can annihilate other capital ships or whole squadrons of fighters.
    • In X-Tension, enemy ships were known for their sudden turns. It's unclear whether the AI was actively trying to ram you or just doing evasive maneuvers that just happened to cross your path, but the result was almost always a kaboom — whether yours or theirs depended entirely on how much shielding the ships carried. The novelization of X: Beyond the Frontier, to which X-T is an Expansion Pack, pokes fun at this:
      Yayandas: We are about to calibrate the newly installed, super-responsive inertial damper. You will never again feel the slightest shake, and never once be torn from your sleep, even if you are rammed head-on by a Xenon.
      Nopileos: Rrrr... do they do that?
      Yayandas: So one hears...
    • Accidental ramming is, fortunately, reduced in subsequent games of the X series; however, since the player can pilot many more capital ships (ranging from small frigates to huge battlecruisers), intentional ramming takes a whole new meaning. The big thing in X3 is to ensure that when you hit the target, you've got more shields than they do. Thus, ramming is the fastest way to clear fighter swarms if you're in a capital ship (just swing the nose around like a fly-swatter), and it's the fastest way to commit suicide if you're flying a scoutship.
    • By using the tractor beam (which first appeared in X3: Reunion), the player can grapple/tow capital ships or entire stations behind them, and can sling them around to bash things, though very awkwardly. A script allows the player to grapple anything - including enemies - and makes the tractor beam very predictable, allowing you to swing around ore mines or battleships like a hammer.
  • Possible on Freelancer:
    • You can destroy at least one enemy ship with it; it does a fair chunk of hull damage, so if you have the enemy shields down and yours are up, it's quite useful. If your shields are down, it's a bit more risky — it damages your ship too, that being one of the few bits of physics they got right.
    • Played straight towards the end, with Marcus Walker arming the mines on his cruiser and ramming two Liberty battleships.
  • Made into a key gameplay mechanic in the Touhou-esque bullet hell shooter Hitogata Happa. Staying alive long enough with a single doll allows you to ram into an enemy creating a devastating explosion. Some bosses are impossible to defeat without sacrificing dolls like this.
  • Kirby:
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy X, Cid's first plan for any situation seems to be "Crash the Airship Into It". He's universally shot down as there's always a less... suicidal plan that can be used.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, as the Sky Fortress falls upon Rabanastre and threatens to break through its Paling, Judge Zargabaath commands his flagship, Alexander, to ram her and hopefully knock it away from the city. He forbids the assembled fleets from interfering and, knowing what the maneuver would entail, orders them to destroy the Alexander's remains before they fall on the city. He is interrupted by a third party taking control of Bahamut and steering it away, but the thought was there.
  • Multiple subversions are in the Star Trek turn-based strategy game Birth of the Federation. In the game's simulated ship-to-ship combat, you can order your ships to ram an enemy vessel, thereby bypassing the shields and attacking the hull directly. As your orders play out, your ships will open fire with everything they have, trying (and sometimes managing) to destroy their target before they ram into it. The ram order, however, leaves your ships unable to avoid enemy fire, potentially allowing them to be destroyed before they can even get close. Finally, when a weaker ship successfully rams a more powerful (re: has more hit points) ship, they only do about as much damage as they have hull strength — ramming a 1000-hp battleship with a 20-hp scout just won't cut it.
    • This is however an excellent way to deal with The Borg. They have incredible shields but weak hull. Ramming ignores shields. You'll still lose a LOT of ships doing it, but not as many as fighting it. One of the few games where a Borg cube appearing is a Oh, Crap! moment.
      • Also a worthwhile strategy for the Ferengi, who can afford thicker hulls.
  • The bigger ships in Star Trek: Starfleet Academy could be used effectively this way. It'd usually still hurt but could finish off or cripple a smaller ship. Combined with cloaking devices on some ships, you could pull off a completely stealth ramming with some luck.
    • If you weren't careful though, even if your ship survived you might end up losing a warp nacelle or two. In the storyline mode this was an automatic failure, as finishing the mission required returning to the starbase, which required warp drive.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront and its sequel, ramming enemy vehicles with yours causes no damage. At least not until you fix a mine or two on the front. Kaboom, yo!
    • However, in the first game ramming enemy infantry in a speeder bike kills the enemy while doing no damage to the biker, but ramming anything else in the bike kills the biker. Interestingly enough, ramming a shielded destroyer droid with a speeder bike kills both the droid and the biker.
      • Playing this trope even more straight, ramming a Hero in the first game (where they were unplayable but had unlimited health) with a Speeder Bike is one of the only ways to successfully deal with them.
    • In the space maps in the sequel ramming does do damage and can actually be used effectively by players. Parked starfighters take more damage than flying ones for some reason, meaning that players can still do damage in enemy hangars. Ramming a bomber into a landing ship in your own hangar can also destroy it much faster than shoulder-launched rockets. Fighters can also collide in space, though it'd be difficult to pull this off in a way that doesn't get you both killed.
    • This was changed in the sequel, Battlefront II, where smashing your ship against the side of an Imperial Star Destroyer on Mon Calamari cruiser does absolutely nothing.
    • One of the Rebel Assault games has a mission that requires the player to protect a kamikaze cargo ship until it can hit a shield generator.
    • This is in fact the canon ending to that mission. Wedge Antilles just ejected before he crashed, which explains why he started the next mission in a different ship.
  • In X-Wing, the trope can be played hilariously straight. Rebel ships have shields. TIE fighters, interceptors, and bombers do not. Do the math.
    • The situation is, of course, inverted in the sequel TIE Fighter. Veteran players soon learned to hate the A-wing fighter, not for its speed but for its unerring ability to hurl its cockpit directly through their windscreen upon being destroyed. In the instance where capital ships perform ramming (e.g. Battle 12 Mission 1), the result is a mutual kill but is downplayed due to the ramming ship containing explosives.
    • The X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter expansion pack Balance of Power uses this heavily in the final Rebel mission. After the player does sufficient damage to the Executor-class Super Star Destroyer Vengeance, a trio of Dreadnought cruisers drop out of hyperspace to ram it from behind, battering down whatever shields it has left. Then a Corellian Corvette rams its bridge tower to finish it off. All four ramming ships are unmanned and packed full of heavy explosives, which is appropriate given the sheer size of the Super Star Destroyer (and the fact that there's no Death Star handy for it to collide with after the bridge is destroyed). Any pilot worth his salt will however lower enemy shields instantly by attacking the shield generators. Just like in the movie...
  • Plot point in Jedi Starfighter. In mission 7, "Hammer and Anvil", the last action that Captain Orsai takes with his doomed cruiser Kethor is to ram into one of the shield generator platforms and expose Nod Kartha to attack. Because the Kethor's already so badly damaged, Orsai has to pilot it into the generator manually after his crew bail in the Escape Pods.
  • In Rogue Squadron and Shadows of the Empire ramming your ship into things will hurt them. In the first level of Shadows you can spend lives to quickly wreck a couple of the AT-ATs to speed things along, though this will mean missing the Challenge Points you get for tripping them. This tactic sadly doesn't work on them in Rogue Squadron but it does wreck most other targets.
    • In the "Razor Rendezvous" mission of Rogue Squadron II, you can suicide-ram the Star Destroyer's bridge after taking down its shields and still complete the mission without penalty, even if it was your last life (as the life count decrement happens at respawn). During the Battle of Endor, you can also ram the bridges of two star destroyers bearing down on Home One, but you'll lose lives and also possibly scrub any challenge medal runs for that mission.
    • In Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, part of one mission involves escorting an unmanned Gallofree Yards transport as it rams the control center of a shipyard.
  • In the Battlefield games, numerous servers have a house rule that ramming enemy vehicles results in the rammer being kicked from the server. You would expect that smacking a plane into a plane would destroy them both, and it usually does, much to the chagrin of the flyboys. Ground vehicles ram each other with about as much effect as you would expect, depending on what rams into what. In BF2142, the infantry can ram vehicles using Drop Pods (think Starship Troopers). Initially, it was powerful, if hard to aim. However, post-patches, this ability was seriously nerfed, in part to prevent physics exploitation.
    • A tactic that players developed in Battlefield: Bad Company, which has survived as far as Battlefield 4, is to set C4 on a light, fast vehicle like an ATV or Jeep, and drive at a heavy vehicle like a tank. Two packs of C4 will take out a tank, and as long as you bail out properly, the vehicle's momentum will carry it into the tank, and you can blow it up at your leisure. More inventive players have put C4 on unlikely vehicles, like helicopters, jet planes, and UAVs.
  • Mass Effect: During the final attack on the Citadel, the Reaper, Sovereign, is so massive, durable, and well-shielded that he doesn't even bother to avoid ships in his path; he just speeds ahead, ramming clean through several turian cruisers that are unlucky enough to be in his path in order to reach the Tower before the Citadel arms close.
    • During Emily Wong's livetweeting the Reaper invasion just prior to the release of Mass Effect 3, Dying Moment of Awesome she rams her skyvan into a Reaper. However, given that these things can shrug off impacts that can be measured in percentages of the speed of light, her shuttle probably didn't do much.
    • Lt. Vega saves the day in the Mars mission, intercepting an escaping Cerberus shuttle containing vital intel... by broadsiding it with his own shuttle. His own shuttle is at least flyable after the collision, unlike the other shuttle. Vega catches some heckling over this maneuver from trained pilots Joker and Lt. Cortez, not least because the shuttle he was flying was armed.
    • According to the codex, some military strategists consider ramming things at superluminal speed. The Mass Effect cores have hardwired safety systems to prevent this that no one has been able to remove. They theorize that the Reapers put this in their technology specifically to avert this trope.
  • In Homeworld you can send a right click command KAMIKAZE! to turn your ship (regardless of size) into flying torpedo. In skillful hands, even the humble unarmed harvester can rack up quite a kill score. A ship simply trying to move through the space occupied by another can lead to spectacular results as well, though both ships will take damage; courtesy of some oddities in the engine and AI, the weird needle-shaped super-carriers in the nebula missions seem to score most of their kills when they sideswipe your ships whilst trying to aim their forward guns. Then there's that one level when the enemy strap a thruster-pack on a planetoid and use it as a really big missile...
    • Sometimes small enemy ships will scatter once the main force has been destroyed then one by one return and attempt to ram your mothership.
    • In the sequel Homeworld: Cataclysm one of the ships is the Minion-class Ramming Frigate, a converted asteroid tug equipped with a short-range fusion torch. If the enemy ship survives the initial hit it will be pushed out of the battle by the Ramming Frigate and left some distance away. A few of these can be used to Divide and Conquer. Ironically, Cataclysm actually nerfed the ramming mechanic by making collisions non-fatal unless the 'kamikaze' order is given. Too bad it's not that useful in the campaign where physical contact with a Beast ship will instantly infect the frigate as well.
      Minion pilot: Sorry, I chipped your hull paint!
      • The game backstory provides an interesting justification to the frigate's existence: Somtaaw non-combatants are usually ordered to flee at the first sight of trouble. However, on one occasion the Kuun-Lan was attacked by Turanic raiders while mining a valuable radioactive asteroid field. Seeing that the Acolytes are being overwhelmed, two Minions working nearby defied retreat orders and instead, the crews clocked the engines to maximum and tossed the attacking carrier into a turbulent asteroid field where it was destroyed by repeated impacts.
      • In the same game, Mimics can disguise themselves as asteroids or even enemy ships. Though they made effective scouts, it was quickly discovered that these ships made very effective kamikaze attacks, since they could disguise themselves to get close enough to an enemy ship without raising suspicion. Especially since Mimics were usually crewed by those who have lost their entire family in the Kharakian Genocide and thus had nothing to lose. Cue the Quantum Explosives research option whose description states that while building a dedicated kamikaze ship is a regrettable thing, the command staff finds peace in the thought that their brothers and sisters took the maximum amount of enemies with them.
    • The second-to-last mission of Homeworld 2 has the enemy command carrier pull this as a last-ditch attack. If you've killed all its forces and have it cornered, it'll launch a wave of fighters to kamikaze the closest thing they can find. It's more for spite than anything, as your attacking force will only be mildly inconvenienced by the loss of the few ships destroyed.
  • Touhou Project has "Blazing Star", the Last Word Spell Card of Marisa. When massive laser beams aren't powerful enough, she just applies more firepower, and uses it as a Rocket Jump to attack by ramming.
  • Used successfully by the Flynn Brigade in Tales of Vesperia to divert a laser blast aimed at a city.
  • Wild ARMs 4 has Arnaud using Plane Fu to kill one of the Brionac Lieutenants, crashing an entire squadron of fighter jets right on top of him to make him really dead.
  • Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed can throw a Star Destroyer out of orbit into people.
    • Force Unleashed II arguably trumps it when Starkiller's clone (maybe) flies an evacuated Rebel cruiser down to Kamino and bails out at the last minute, resulting in a gigantic ship smashing into the main Imperial cloning facility. Also, judging by the flash, the ship's reactors went up on impact.
      • The ship was already heavily damaged by the battle and the droids. The only was to take Kamino was to destroy its shield generator. Hence the crash.
  • Pick a 2D scrolling shooter. Any 2D scrolling shooter. A good chunk of the enemies will attempt to ram your ship/plane along with shooting at it, both being equally deadly in games with One-Hit-Point Wonder vehicles. One of the best examples is the 194X series.
    • For that matter, almost any arcade or arcade-ish game will have many if not the majority of your enemies seek only to smash into you to cause damage, often without any weapons except ramming.
  • Ramming is viable in Space Empires as a last-resort tactic. If your ship is going to get blown up no matter what, then you might as well go down in a blaze of glory, and have a shot at killing them, right?
  • Played straight in a Starlancer cutscene, where your captain makes a Heroic Sacrifice, by ramming his damaged ship (a.k.a. your mothership) into an enemy battleship. At least he waited until everyone else had evacuated. Klaus Steiner pulls the same trick in the last mission. Occasionally worked in-game if you were in better shape than whatever you collided with, though an unfortunate bug in the way kills were counted meant that accidentally ram-destroying a friendly ship was treated as you going rogue...
  • Star Trek Online: Player characters eventually get a skill called "Ramming Speed", which can only be used if the ship is below 50% HP. There are no ship collisions unless this command is used (In-universe (but not in-game) fluff suggests that the navigational deflectors prevent this). If the command is given, the ships hit each other. If shields happen to be down on one ship on the facing side, hurting happens. Not recommended unless you have your own shields up and strong.
  • In Infinite Space, when faced with the destruction of a third of his homeland's fleet by an invading vanguard fielding more ships than exist in his homeland's galaxy in a matter of minutes, Captain Novikov suddenly grows a backbone and, rather than retreat, decides to ram the exposed enemy flagship in a desperate attempt to stop them. He gets through, but the impact proves... singularly ineffective.
    Eremon: Did you feel a thump?
    • Later in Act 2, this is subverted again when Eremon desperately tried to ram Yuri's ship after Yuri defeated him in a fleet engagement. Eremon managed to make contact just as his ship was destroyed, but it's only a glancing blow that barely scratches the paintjob.
  • In Tachyon: The Fringe, Due to the AI's tendency to go into head-to-head duels with the player, this happens irritatingly often. Of course, when you still have shields and your opponent doesn't, especially when he's flying one of the notoriously weak-hulled GalSpan ships and you're flying a Bora fighter, the results can be hilarious. But all too often, because of the ridiculously short ranges that happen in dogfighting, this happens when your shields are already drained...
    • The Bora have an additional advantage for close combat with the Corona Device. When fired, it creates a Sphere of Destruction around your ship that does serious damage to anything in range. This range is pretty small (relatively), and your own shields are drained by this.
  • Averted in Sword of the Stars as an intentional tactic. The developers have expressed a dislike for kamikaze ships and have therefore left them out. There is a variant here, though: ships can smash into planets, destroying the ship and damaging the planet (but adding to its resources). Sparky can also ram ships and destroy them, but it is unknown whether the Locust fleetworld takes any damage from this.
    • Two other variants to this rule exists: Firstly, the Kinetic Kill missile is a high-level kinetic weapon that's effectively a guided warhead without a payload. The results of hitting an enemy ship with it are... Noticeable. Secondly, try putting a tractor beam on a defensive satellite. Since the satellite rotates, the ship it ensnares will rotate with it due to the beam... And usually ram right into the planet the satellite defends, insta-killing the poor ship. That's right: You can intentionally make a weapon that makes the enemy do kamikaze rammings of your own planets.
      • This may still be preferable to letting the ship live, as most ships usually have better weapons than defense satellites and will rain even more destruction on the planet than the ramming will cause.
  • While not exactly a ship, in Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent manages to destroy Omega Weapon hopped up on ALL of the Lifestream by dive-bombing it. The result destroys both of them & seems to have turned Omega's remains into a new moon. Vincent gets better, though.
  • Halo:
    • Like her father mentioned in the "Literature" section, Miranda Keyes can pull off some pretty ballsy ramming maneuvers too; back when she was a lieutenant in charge of the unarmed science vessel Hilbert, she found three allied corvettes being attacked by a Covenant destroyer. Keyes responded by having the Hilbert overload its engines and ram into the destroyer, destroying the latter's shields and nudging it towards a nearby planet's gravity well, with the two ships then falling together through the atmosphere at terminal velocity before crashing onto the surface. And then the Hibert's fusion core detonated, obliterating both ships. The corvettes were saved, but Miranda was one of only two members of the crew to make it to the escape pods.
    • In the last mission of Halo: Reach, Carter, fatally injured and piloting an equally fatally-damaged Pelican, rams the craft into a Scarab to clear a path for Emile and Noble Six.
      Carter: (radio) Noble, you've got a... situation.
      Emile: Motherf... we can get past it, sir!
      Carter: No, you can't. Not without help.
      Emile: Commander, you don't have the firepower.
      Carter: I've got the mass.
      Emile: ... Solid copy. Hit 'em hard, boss.
      Carter: You're on your own, Noble. Carter out. (*WHAM*)
    • Earlier, in Reach's "Tip of the Spear", the player's Falcon is forced to ram through the Spire's Deflector Shields, which causes the chopper to crash and kills all of the non-Spartan crew.
    • In Episode One of Halo 4's Spartan Ops campaign, the UNSC Infinity returns to Requiem six months after the single-player campaign to clear out the rest of the Covenant remnant forces there, starting by popping out of slipspace and plowing straight through a Covenant armored cruiser, ripping the alien ship in half without suffering any damage from the impact.
    • In Halo Wars 2, the Ark sends a swarm of sentinels to destroy the Banished carrier Enduring Conviction after the UNSC logistics AI Isabel takes control of the carrier and fires on the Banished settlement below, penetrating the surface of the Ark in the process. This was done by ramming thousands of sentinels in a line across a structural weak point on the carrier, severing its prow.
  • In Siter Skain's RefleX, Raiwat Virgo tries this against the player's ship, the Phoneix, as a Desperation Attack. It does have the good sense to put up its giant energy shield first. The player has an even more powerful energy shield, so activating it prevents any damage from taking place.
  • In Galaxy Angel Sherry attempts to ram the Elsior with the last bit of strength her ship can muster. Subverted however because just before her ship impacts the Elsior it explodes doing no harm.
    • In the sequel trilogy, Galaxy Angel II, the Holy Blood's Limit Break, Photon Diver, is basically this, as it tucks out its outer wings and pierces through the enemy targed at high speed. It's a guaranteed One-Hit Kill to any non-boss vessel.
  • In F/A-18 Hornet, you can destroy many targets, including a dam, by crashing into them; just make sure to eject beforehand. Even so, you may get captured by the enemy.
  • Subversion in Kid Icarus: Uprising: during one helluva Enemy Mine situation, Pit and Palutena are looking for a way into the base for the 'freaky alien' Aurum. However, the only access is protected by an energy barrier that only the ships can pass through. Hades then proceeds to 'make freaky alien lemonade' by ramming one of the battleships into it, providing a safe (albeit 'hot hot hot hot HOT!') way in.
  • Star Fox: Assault: In the attack on the Apparoid homeworld, just when the final shield-generating enemies blocking access to the Apparoid Queen have been destroyed, more activate deep within the planet, where none of the Star Fox team can reach them. Peppy deals with that by crashing the already-doomed Great Fox into the shield to blow it open. Fortunately, the bridge ejected, Peppy and ROB are okay.
  • Tassadar does this to the Overmind in StarCraft with his carrier flagship Gantrithor, channeling the energies of the Khala and Void togther through the hull to ensure he kills it.
  • Ramming in FTL: Faster Than Light is generally not an option, as none of the ships, even the AI drones, are crazy enough to risk themselves by slamming into an opponent... but there are exceptions.
    • The Rockmen build extremely sturdy ships, and are almost constantly at war with the vicious Mantis and their hunting parties, who have a tendency to decorate their ships with the viscera and parts of their kills. A player-controlled Rock cruiser that encounters a Mantis ship with such trophies can ram them to completely disable the enemy's engines, with your vessel completely unharmed.
    • There is one blue text option where you use a drone to repair a disabled Rock ship's engines while two Mantis ships fight over their prize. Rather than taking the opportunity to jump away and perhaps manage to repair their ship they elect to instead ram one of the Mantis vessels, destroying themselves, the vessel they hit and the other with the debris, leaving you with a very large amount of scrap for the taking.
  • Ramming in Space Engineers is extremely potent, to the point where many players place reinforced ramming prows on their ships or just straight up build enormous sword spaceships. On the other hand, ramming in third-dimensional space is no easy task, especially if your target is actively maneuvering, and there's the issue of actually repairing your ship after spearing it through the enemy. The Attract Mode main menu background and the original trailer show gratuitous ship ramming, including one ship snapping in half by a larger one plowing through its central spine.
  • Ramming is annoyingly easy in World of Warplanes, and usually mutually destructive.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the Space Plane Aerospace Fighters are for the most part, pretty durable against return fire save Anti-Air weapons like the LB-X class shotguns. However, two fighters ramming each other will almost always result in mutual destruction. A Good Bad Bug with the otherwise jokeish Sparrowhawk scout plane allows it to usually survive ramming aircraft, or at least leave the pilot alive so he can bail; the usage of cheap, disposable Sparrowhawks as one-way Anti-Air missiles against expensive Shiva heavy fighter/bombers led to many jokes, including a video where a developer replaced the Arrow IV cruise missile model with a Sparrowhawk.
  • Deconstructed during an early skirmish in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: a SATO captain orders his crew to slam their own ship into an enemy vessel in order to force a retreat. It works but a lot of friendlies die in aftermath including the captain who ordered the maneuver, forcing a Field Promotion for the Player Character.
  • Sunrider Liberation Day: With the Sunrider having just taken a crippling hit that knocked out all its weapons and the Alliance flagship Machiavelli Actual poised to obliterate his home planet Cera with a weapon of mass destruction, Kayto Shields gives his crew the order to abandon ship and rams the Sunrider into the Machiavelli. He lives, but both ships are destroyed.
  • Basic Probe combat between your AI's probes and Drifter probes in Universal Paperclips amounts to them flying into each other at high speeds. Whichever probe destroys the other depends on how high your probes' Combat stat is (and once you research "The OODA Loop", their Speed stat as well).
  • Terra Invicta: Ordering a ship to ram an enemy one will inflict spectacular damage. Even a Hydra mothership can be brought down by a crappy tin-can missile ship smashing into it at full speed. However ordering any ship to do this costs you Influence, because it's a Heroic Sacrifice and requires intense loyalty from the crew to perform the maneuver.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon:
    • Ramming can be a useful tactic depending on what ship is being used, with heavier ships being better at ramming than lighter ones, with the best ship at ramming being the Dreadnought. Ramming is also useful as a last-ditch attack if all weapons are destroyed, and is the best tactic for dealing with submerged Submersibles.
    • At the end of the game, Admiral Evar tries to ram Jim Hawkins' Ship of the Line, RLS Victory with his Dreadnought, Wailing Wind, as a last-ditch attack when he realises that he has lost the battle at Parliament. However before the Wailing Wind can ram the RLS Victory, Silver's ship, Argentum, rams into the Wailing Wind, causing it to explode (presumably, Argentum hit Wailing Wind's fuel tank or ammunition reserve), destroying both ships in the process.
  • Overload has a smash attack that can be used to ram enemies to deal damage to them. While it isn't the wisest option against enemies equipped with circular saw blades, it can still be helpful to speed up clearing large numbers of enemies and as an alternative when no other weapon is available.
  • Bulletstorm's opening segment has Grayson Hunt drunkenly ram his ship into General Sarrano's much larger battle cruiser. It only works because he smashed it directly through the command center.
  • In Sierra Ops Episode I: Collapsing Daybreak, a Martian frigate will overload its reactors and attempt to ram the UTV flagship Beerkelium during the Rhines ending. The attempt fails when Junius Fahrenheit overcharges his Exoframe’s Deflector Shields and intercepts the frigate, physically stopping it in its tracks before it can reach the flagship.
  • In the Henry Stickmin Series, there's Charles. Poor guy means well, but him trying to help Henry by ramming his helicopter into things just doesn't work. Except for one option in Completing the Mission. In one route of Completing the Mission, it's Henry who rams the helicopter he hijacked into a control tower, prompting the fail screen to ask if he thinks himself to be Charles.
  • Mega Man X5: There are two plans to stop the Eurasia space colony from smashing into Earth and possibly causing a mass extinction event. The first involves using the Engima Cannon to blast it to pieces, but it's very old and needs patching up. The second and far more risky plan is to prep an old space shuttle and fly it right into the colony to destroy it (and because the autopilot is busted with no way to fix in time, someone's gotta fly it manually up there). Zero volunteers for that second plan. If you chalk it up to numbers, the cannon has a one-in-ten chance of succeeding (and if failing, only pushing the colony back a bit and giving them an hour or two more), and the shuttle seven-out-of-ten. Even in the best-case scenario with the shuttle (which Zero will in fact survive), Eurasia's wreckage will still impact Earth to cause horrific damage. In the worst-case scenario, not only does the shuttle fail to destroy Eurasia and the colony crashes with devastating results, Zero being at ground-zero of the destruction will survive and absorb the virus on said colony to awaken his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • In various Super Robot Wars entries, the attack "Shin Shine Spark" used by Shin Getter Robo and its counterpart Shin Dragon are portrayed like this. They'll gather Getter Energy into them, then fly into their opponents to obliterate them.
  • La Pucelle: In order to board the Angel Gate, Prier seizes control of Homard's Airship and prepares to make a crash landing into the gate; the cutscene shows she fires the ship's main cannon to blow open a passage and make ramming easier. That said, Homard does read her the riot act for doing so. In the PSP's Updated Re-release, the "Overlord Priere" story has the titular Overlord use herself to ram into the Angel Gate.
  • In Starsector it's a viable tactic, although if the enemy ship explodes it'll strip your ship's armour and a good chunk, if not all, of your hull. Any ship with a speed-increasing system is more effective at it, with the Luddic Path's Prometheus MKIIs being especially fond. The one that really takes the cake is the Odyssey though. It's a capital ship which gives it lots of mass and the plasma burn it has over sextuples its already respectable speed for a brief moment. If you activate the shields at the right time, the combined repulsion from the shields and the momentum from the plasma burn can launch ships across the map if it doesn't destroy them outright.
  • The finale of the Allied and Epsilon Campaigns in Mental Omega sees the Allied Commander ram the crippled Paradox Engine into the Epsilon Army's Mental Omega Tower in a Heroic Sacrifice to take it out before it mind controls the whole planet. It doesn't destroy it, but does damage it enough to delay the activation and slow its projection rate, allowing surviving friendlies the time to Chronoshift the remains of the attack force and Paradox Engine away to later protect themselves before the Mental Omega's mind control wave engulfs the planet.

  • In the Darths & Droids strip here, which follows Pete missing everything in the entire battle. He gives the required line "Ramming Speed."
  • In Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth, Flintlocke's party crash their captured blimp in the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind in an attempt to stop the Horde raid.
    Flintlocke: RAMMING SPEED!
    Bloodrose: What are we ramming?
    Flintlocke: EV'RYTHING!!
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Justified: the ship doing the ramming is an ore freighter, with no weapons to speak of. Except, of course, for ramming. It uses the ore it's carrying as chaff to protect it as it closes in on the opponent, and it turns out the "battle" was a test. The narrator also has fun lampshading the obligatory "Ramming Speed" command:
      Narrator: This is silly because technically you can ram at any speed. It would make more sense to announce an actual speed, using units of measure, appropriate to the amount of damage you wish to inflict. Shouting "Ramming Speed" only serves to alert everyone on deck to the impending event, allowing them to assume crash positions, or otherwise brace for impact. This of course renders the next mandatory shouted command redundant at best.
      Captain: Brace for impact!
    • Also Petey takes this in an interesting direction in his strategy for fighting big ships — his larger ships basically use his smaller ships as precision projectile weapons flung at close enough to the speed of light to punch all the way through an enemy ship and out the other side, taking out their power generators on the way. It's extremely effective offensively, but not all of the ramming ships make it back. He does have the advantage of being the boss of what's essentially a Cloud-based AI Hive Mind, so it's hard to call it a kamikaze strike. The second use for the ships, one humorously named Predictably Damaged following the scheme of using the initials P.D., is to insert a living clone of Petey to suborn targets, given that the ships targeted had A.I.s that were programmed to respond to their creators.
    • Also subverted when Breya's embassy ship rammed the Touch-and-Go. TAG was being torn apart (and held in place) by gravity weapons, and the ramming saved the second ship (mainly because they could combine their shields, and Breya still had all her fuel).
    • Tagii attempts the same trick as Petey when faced with the battleplate Morokweng. Subverted in that this only worked because the Morokweng was on reserve power to hide from an Eldritch Abomination, and therefore had no shields or gravity weapons. Further subverted in that the actual ramming was a minor inconvenience to the city-sized warship designed to tank asteroid impacts; emptying the ordnance bays on the way out, however... Not to mention that said Eldritch Abomination could see them, and followed them through...
      Tagii: But dearest, I never intended to lead the Pa'anuri away from you. Give us a kiss with those point defenses. Let's see how they do against a crazy, jilted, angry, witch warship whose SHIELDS ARE STILL UP, LOVE.
    • In Delegates and Delegations, Admiral Chu ponders ramming a battleplate through a city's shields to save that city from an enemy attack, an act that would kill the battleplate (complement: somewhat above 30,000) and cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the city, but still save most of the city's 4 billion sophonts aaand kill trillions in the ensuing civil war because it would have looked like Earth's military attacked its capitol in a situation that was already volatile. Good thing they found a better plan.
    • Also discussed and defied by Iafa and Elf. Somewhat funny when you consider how often ramming has already been used in the comic.
      Elf: Okay, I'll bite. When do you want to ram things with your boats?
      Iafa: As a feint, when I wish to appear both desperate and stupid. It's a great way to convince enemies that I lack the ability to ram them with little things like missiles, and high-energy protons.
  • In Terinu, the pirate Mavra Chan's flagship the Celestial Marauder is specifically designed for ramming attacks, with a heavily reinforced prow and emergency safety harnesses for the crew. Of course her primary targets are lightly armed civilian freighters. Still, the comic's fans don't call her "Psycho Pirate Bitch" for nothing.

    Web Original 
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: Mr. Welch is prohibited from doing this with a probe droid at light speed. Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when The Last Jedi does essentially that, and you can check out the film folder to see how well it worked.
  • The Jenkinsverse: Justified by aliens being, by human standards, rather terrible at warfare. Several humans have programmed autopilots on shuttles or dropships to turn them into very large guided missiles. Since aliens don't have any actual missiles at first, this is their only option, and it works because the aliens are completely unprepared for it. Adrian Saunders is particularly fond of letting his ship get boarded, killing all the boarders, and then sending the boarding pod back at the enemy as a kinetic projectile. It takes a minute for anyone to realize what's happening, and by then it's too late. Eventually actual missiles and missile counter measures are introduced, causing a sharp drop in instances of this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the Grand Finale, Sokka and Toph hijack one of the Fire Nation airships, and uses it to take out several others by maneuvering so one of the airship's sharp edges slices through the gasbags of the targeted airships. While it does work, the ramming airship eventually loses integrity and fell apart, failing to destroy three of the airships they were trying to bring down. Hilariously, they just repeat the tactic with the remaining airships.
  • Max rams Vilgax's Ship in the Ben 10 season 1 finale.
  • In the '80s cartoon Defenders of the Earth, Flash Gordon's personal fighter was fitted with a ramming unit on the nose. This arrowhead-shaped device would glow bright red when active, at which point Flash would just start flying into anything and everything in sight.
  • In Exo Squad, Captain Marcus suicidally rams the otherwise-crippled carrier Resolute into the Neosapien fleet.
  • Averted in Futurama when Leela inexplicably attempts to use the Planet Express ship to ram a war mammoth. The mammoth is somehow able to gore the massive spaceship and wrench it out of the sky.
  • In a flashback in Justice League Unlimited, it turns out the last remaining Thanagarian ship rammed into a capital ship of an enemy fleet, causing a massive explosion that took out the rest of the fleet with it. This actually is possibly the most realistic outcome with starships of that size ramming into each other on this page.
  • In Shadow Raiders, when the Beast finally catches up to Planet Fire, the latter is evacuated save for the Vizier, who chooses to stay behind and use the World Engines to ram the entire planet into the enemy. It doesn't work, and the Beast isn't even scratched.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Storm over Ryloth", Anakin and R2-D2 ram a damaged Jedi Cruiser into a Separatist Lucrehulk-class cruiser (the doughnut-shaped ships) to destroy it, leaving in an escape pod shortly before impact.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "Zero Hour", Commander Sato and two of his bridge crew ram their carrier into Admiral Konstantine's Interdictor cruiser so Ezra can get away and find help.
  • At the climax of the pilot movie of TaleSpin, the Air Pirates have mounted a very destructive Lightning Gun on the "beak" of their Airborne Aircraft Carrier, the Iron Vulture. All attempts to counterattack are fried or disintegrated by this weapon. That is, until Baloo covers the fuselage of the Sea Duck in rubber and crashes his beloved plane against the weapon.
  • Transformers:
    • Ramjet, from various continuities, is often said to enjoy this tactic. While he's specially reinforced for such attacks (and no-one expects a jet fighter to ram into them), the impacts still take a toll on his internal mechanisms. It only works on other aircraft; on one notable occasion he tried and failed to take out Warpath.
    • The Nemesis from Transformers: Beast Wars, after taking an Energon blast to the face while underwater, is taken out by Rhinox smashing a shuttle into its front window. It's clear that not all of the Nemesis's systems are online, as Megatron was determined to destroy the Ark at any cost. The crash also only damaged the flight controls, causing the Nemesis to crash back into the ocean, where it would be re-discovered by the Decepticons millions of years later.
    • In Transformers: Cybertron, Optimus Prime uses this on Thundercracker. It's actually both this trope and Car Fu, because Optimus is a flying fire truck.
  • In the first season finale of X-Men: The Animated Series, Professor Xavier — having apparently foreseen the gigantic Master Mold's Not Quite Dead moment — finally solves the problem by crashing the Blackbird into it, with a more-than-healthy dosage of TNT inside.

    Real Life 
  • The Kamikaze attacks by the Japanese during World War II. While far from 100% effective (it's surprisingly hard to crash into a ship that's maneuvering radically and shooting at you), it was easier than attempting to aim a bomb or torpedo in that the weapon could be guided right up to the point of impact. The logic was unfortunately sound, and it got the Japanese more use out of their large groups of poorly trained pilots than conventional methods of attack. A similar but less successful experiment was made with Kaiten, a torpedo with a human to guide it. Whereas counting kamikazes sent out vs. those which hit a target gives it a better figure than regular aircraft, counting Kaiten launches vs. hits suggests they performed considerably worse than regular torpedoes. However, Kamikaze pilots were greatly reduced in effectiveness because of their generally inadequate training. This made them easy to shoot down for both US pilots and antiaircraft gunners, since they didn't know how to maneuver or angle their runs to evade the worst defense fire. They also often didn't understand the relative importance of different classes of ships or where to hit different types of ships for maximum effect. They often simply tried to dive straight into the first ship they saw, and quite often were shot down or exploded in flight. Note that kamikaze was Japanese Navy term, while the Japanese Army Air Force used the name taiatari (a Kendo term for combatants colliding into each other). Both were collectively called Tokkōtai (特攻隊, Special Attack Squadron).
    • The Japanese also designed a special kamikaze aircraft, the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka (Ōka translitterated in Hebon-shiki). Essentially a 1200kg bomb with wings, a cockpit, and three rocket motors bolted on, it was to be carried to within 20 nautical miles of the target by a bomber, then released. Seven Allied ships were sunk by them, including destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele, though for a variety of reasons (Japan's impending defeat and the fact that the ships delivering the first production run were sunk) they saw limited action. American sailors nicknamed them "baka bombs", after the Japanese word for "idiot".
      • The Ohka also provided a demonstration of why carrying a suicide explosive plane on board carriers can have catastrophic consequences when the titular lead ship of the Unryu-class aircraft carriers was hit by two torpedoes from US submarine Redfish and detonated after the Ohka's being transported near the aviation fuel stores exploded and essentially blew off the ships bow, causing 1238 deaths and leaving only 145 survivors.
    • The Taiatari tactics were practised also in the air - some commanders saw ramming as the most effective way to down the B-29 Superfortress. Sturdily-built Army fighters such as Ki-44 Shoki and Ki-61 Hien were considered especially suitable for that as they could both deal damage and provide the pilot a chance to jump with parachute. The 244 Sentai (fighter wing) assigned to defend Tokyo, had three ordinary Chutai (fighter squadrons) and a taiatari flight, Hagakure-shotai. One pilot is known to have successfully downed three B-29 Superfortresses by ramming attacks.
    • Of course, it also depends on the meaning you put into the word "works". By using this tactic, Japan was destroying three things it was vitally short on: fighter aircraft, fuel, and trained pilots.
  • The Germans considered this as well, on several occasions, generally towards the end of the war when they were getting really desperate:
    • Similar to the aforementioned Ohka was the Fi 103R — a V-1 with a cockpit shoved in front of the pulsejet. However, while a unit (the so-called "Leonidas Squadron", officially V Staffel of KG 200) was trained to fly these (and theoretically bail out before impact, despite the engine intake being literally right behind and above the cockpit and the lack of ejector seats), they were never used in battle, largely because the commander of KG 200, Geschwaderkommodore Werner Baumbach, thought they were a wasteful and stupid idea, and managed to convince Hitler that suicide sorties were "not in the German warrior tradition". However, in the early stages of the Battle of Berlin, and over Baumbach's objections, Leonidas Squadron carried out "total operations" against the Soviet-held Oder bridges using modified Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, knocking out one of nine targeted: a truly shocking waste of good planes and better men.
    • In 1945, the Luftwaffe set up Sonderkommando ELBE ("Special Commando ELBE"), a special unit of pilots who, using specially-modified Messerschmitt Bf-109Gs, were to destroy Allied bombers by ramming. Only employed in one mission on April 7th 1945, they destroyed 23 US bombers. Only four pilots survived, the rest were either killed on impact, couldn't bail out in time or, in one instance, shot by a US fighter as they descended on parachute (banned by Eisenhower's order and considered very bad form then, and an actual war crime now). The attempt was not repeated. However, one ELBE-man, Unteroffizier Heinrich Rosner, managed to ram the lead bomber, a B-24 Liberator called Palace of Dallas out of the sky, before his wrecked fighter careened into the deputy-lead bomber, destroying that too. Rosner, showing the kind of luck the devil can only dream of, bailed out safely.
      • One of the problems the Luftwaffe discovered with the ramming program, though, was the fact that some US aircraft would survive being rammed. There are recorded instances of US heavy bombers taking ramming attacks to the fuselage, and in the B-17's case the tailplane, and successfully returning to base.
    • The German "Emergency Fighter Program", set up with the aim of producing aicraft that could be produced cheaply, easily, and in vast numbers to slow down the vast Anglo-American bomber fleets that were crippling German industrial productionnote  included several designs based on ramming:
      • The Zeppelin Rammjäger ("Ram fighter") was a parasite fighter with a specially-reinforced nose and wing structure, using steel tubing. It was to make two passes at enemy bomber formations: on the first, it would fire a payload of rockets; on the second, it would ram the nearest enemy aircraft and then glide to safety. At least, that was the theory. In practice, it was likely to have been a very high-risk operation for the pilot. No prototypes flew before the war's end.
      • The combined rocket/ramjet Stockel Rammschußjäger ("Ram-Shot Fighter") was, in effect, a manned bullet surrounded by engines: carried to the combat box by a mothership and equipped with a steel reinforced nose it would fly towards the enemy bombers and, at the last second, the pilot would pull a release tab, which would fire the steel nose at the target whilst simultaneously ejecting him downwards to "safety". The Rammschußjäger's original name was Totrammjäger ("Suicide Ram Fighter"), which should tell you all you need to know about how likely the pilot was to survive this process. No prototypes flew before the war's end (presumably to the delight of everyone ever).
      • The Sombold S344 Schußjäger ("Shot Fighter") was related to Stockel's insane creation: the craft had an explosive nosecone which the pilot was supposed to fire into the nearest bomber formation, before it would explode, leaving the aircraft to crash and the pilot to bail out. Again, "safely". No prototypes flew before the war's end.
      • The Gotha Rammjäger was another ramming aircraft along the lines of the Zeppelin version described above, unlike the Zeppelin, however, the pilot was to be ejected after impact: the cockpit was to be an armored cone which would bore through the enemy bomber. The pilot looked over this cone in flight; when he was in his terminal approach, he would press a button, the seat would automatically recline him behind the cone, the aircraft would ram the enemy, and cone-cockpit and pilot would be ejected from the fuselage with an explosive charge. An explosive charge was also at the front of the cockpit in order to blast a hole through the enemy aircraft at the same time. During free-fall, the pilot would be launched from the cockpit with a spring and parachute. To "safety". Even the Nazis thought this was batshit insane and most likely didn't respond to the proposal. Presumably nobody wanted to tell the pilots their new job was to lie down between two sets of explosives and fly a plane full of volatile rocket fuel into the enemy. No prototypes flew before the war's end. Obviously.
    • The Luftwaffe found themselves on the receiving end when it came to the V-1 flying bomb: the Doodlebug was a difficult thing for pilots to deal with, since shooting it usually made it explode into a deadly cloud of shrapnel, a bad idea when using Fixed Forward Facing Weapons (and only the Mosquito and Meteor were fast enough to catch it anyway). One solution found was to very carefully put the tip of your wing under the tip of the V-1's wing, then roll away. This would flip it over, causing the primitive gyroscope that kept it flying to stop working, and it would rapidly crash.
    • Bulgarian pilot Dimitar Spisarevski crashed his Messerschmitt into a B-24 Liberator bomber near the capital of Sofia as a last-ditch effort to protect the city after depleting his ammo. It was in vain, as the remaining 35 planes were wiped out by the 200 American aircraft and the raid was one of the most destructive ones to take place over the city.
  • The Northrop XP-79 "Flying Ram" was a prototype World War II interceptor airplane designed to take out enemy bombers by colliding with them at high speed. Amazingly, this was no kamikaze; the plane was actually expected to survive the collision. Stability problems leading to the death of the first test pilot kept it from entering production, however.
  • The Soviet Air Force was encouraged to use ramming tactics, with some planes given reinforced wings. In some cases this was a result of trying to find some way for an inferior fighter to do damage to the enemy. In other cases, some of the Soviet fighters were so rugged that they stood an excellent chance of surviving after ramming an enemy plane.
    • Also Russia had something of a tradition of the aerial ramming, dating back to World War I. Moreover - at least theoretically - the Soviet Air Force recommended techniquenote  of a taran was to attack vulnerable part of the enemy aircraft (i.e. its tail or other control surfaces) using the less vulnerable part of the own aircraft - such as the propeller or the wing leading edge, not a direct ramming using the whole aircraft in a full head-on crash.note  Unless something went horribly right - which was often the case.
    • Considering the desperate measures they faced, losing a damaged plane and wounded pilot was seen as a victory if the Soviet pilot destroyed a non-damaged Luftwaffe plane.
  • Even the Americans got in on the action with their Anvil and Aphrodite operations. The goal of the operations was pretty much to take surplus B-17 and B-24 bombers, load them up with as much explosives as they could scrounge up, fly them to the target (usually something hardened like a U-boat pen or V-Weapon site), have the pilot bail and then guide the plane into the target like a giant bomb. It was mostly unsuccessful, being plagued with issues such as the heavy, lumbering bombers being shot down in the final dive, the remote control systems being inadequate to control the overloaded planes, and the planes themselves sometimes just out-right exploding in midair with no provocation. All in all, the operation was more costly to the Allies than it was for the Germans, with several pilots (Including a member of the Kennedy Family) being killed in accidents and malfunctions, and only victory being the destruction of a German supply depot.
  • During the Battle of Guadalcanal in WWII, one pilot of a Grumman F4F Wildcat was helping to attack a force of Japanese bombers. He lined up on a G4M "Betty" bomber, but found that he'd already expended all his ammunition. Instead, he manually lowered the landing gear and repeatedly dropped down on the bomber, bashing the wing with his wheels until it crashed.
  • In the highly publicized U-2 Incident, Soviet Air Force General Yevgeniy Savitskiy ordered the air-unit commanders "to attack the violator by all alert flights located in the area of foreign plane's course, and to ram if necessary" to try to bring down Frances Gary Powers's U-2 spy plane. In the end it was brought down by SAMs, though.
    • The thing was, at that time (namely late-Fifties) The Soviet Air Force lacked both the planes and missiles that were able to reach the altitude the American spy-planes were routinely operating at. Building speed in a level flight and then trying to hit them (either with guns/missiles, though the earlier Soviet AAMs weren't very good too, or simply ramming) with a climbing attack was an only realistic way to bring them down. The matter was made moot in 1960 when the first Soviet high-altitude SAM, S-75 "Dvina" came online and brought down Gary Powers' U-2 in the incident mentioned above.
  • At a high enough speed, the kinetic energy of a missile will actually exceed the energy output of its warhead, even a nuclear one. Such kinetic kill weapons are therefore simply designed without warheads and effectively live up to this trope. Real-life examples include nearly every form of current or planned anti-ballistic missile defense, and anything designed to shoot down satellites in real life without resorting to lasers will most likely conform to this trope. Provided the relative velocities are high enough, many experts believe a real-life space battle will be conducted by spaceships launching smaller, pilotless kamikaze ships at each other. These same experts also warn that if a fast enough ship attempting to land on a planet were to lose control, it risks doing anything from making a really big crater to turning the whole planet into a rapidly expanding asteroid field Death Star-style. As it turns out, Sir Isaac Newton really is the deadliest son of a bitch in space.
  • An asteroid capable of causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom is approaching? Save the nukes for later — just strap rockets into a lump of metal the size of a Jeep, and ram it against the asteroid!
  • Another example would be the APFSDSnote  rounds used by the M1A1 Abrams and most contemporary tanks. To visualize one, picture a Lawn Dart made of tungsten and depleted uranium, fired out of the main gun of a tank. The hell of it is that the glorified Lawn Dart is better at anti-armor work than HEAT rounds.
    • For the record, at 3 kps a kinetic kill weapon carries the energy of the same mass of TNT and it only goes up from there. At really extreme speeds (90% of light speed) the kinetic kill energy can exceed the energy output of an antimatter warhead (sort of), however at this point the weapon is horrendously inefficient because you have to expend many many times the missiles mass to get it to that speed.
  • The September 11 aircraft attacks left many people stunned, because not many people even thought that the aircraft themselves would be the weapons for the attack, instead of carrying terrorists and their bombs to the target, or blowing up the plane and its passengers, as it was normally done. It left a lingering fear that the Air Force may be forced to shoot down other hijacked civilian airliners.
    • Tragically, this is a real-world example that worked better than expected. Osama didn't think the whole towers would actually come down like that.
    • Even more tragically, later examinations showed a strong possibility that the towers should have stayed standing. The only reasons they came down was that the anti-fire foam surrounding the central cores was blasted off by the impact. If they had stayed on, it is possible the towers could have been salvaged, or at least survived long enough to put out the fire and rescue the people still stranded above the impact zones. Also, the towers were specially designed to withstand airplane impacts, but it was assumed such collisions would be accidental involving aircraft approaching New York's airports and thus low on fuel.
      • This had actually happened previously — the Empire State Building was accidentally hit by a B-25 in 1945 and survived essentially unscathed, although 14 people died. The Empire State Building is, however, significantly more durable than the WTC was. It would actually stand a decent chance of surviving if a 767 rammed it.
      • The other point to consider is that the WTC was built to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707, the most common airliner at the time. Max TOW 122,000lbs — while the 767-200ER that struck them weighed over three times that, a max weight of 395,000lbs with a cruising speed of 500 MPH. Conversely, the B-25 Mitchell weighs in at a relatively mere 42,000lbs and tops out at 275 MPH: the 767 carries more mass in fuel alone than the entire mass of a Mitchell, at nearly twice the speed.
      • Also, that theoretical Boeing 707 impact was designed for on the assumption of a plane low on fuel and lost in fog, trying to find its airport and effectively blundering into the tower, similar to the B-25 incident. In other words a low speed impact with relatively little secondary fire, as opposed to a high-speed deliberate strike by a fully fueled aircraft.
      • In a tragic case of fighting fire with fire, some of the first fighters that the Air Force managed to scramble that day were completely unarmed, and the pilots knew they'd have to use this trope to stop any other airliners. Thankfully, they didn't have to.
  • The F4U Corsair fighter plane of WWII had an enormous, four-bladed propeller, to absorb the monstrous torque from its engine. On one occasion, a pilot, out of ammo, flew immediately behind a Japanese bomber and chewed its tail off with his prop. The Corsair landed safely. Other sources state that the guns had jammed due to the lubricant freezing up. Either way, it's a true story, and the Corsair landed with five inches missing from the end of each propeller blade, which could've been enough to make flying a lot harder. The pilot in question is one Marine Lieutenant R. R. Klingman of the VMF-312 Checkerboards, and the Japanese plane was a Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu, which is actually a fighter. Take a look at some photos of the F4U and you'll quickly realise just how uncompromised this plane was: it was designed to have immense engine power both to better take off from aircraft carriers' short runways and also because air combat had become "dive and zoom" rather than dogfighting. This meant a hugely powerful engine and as mentioned above, a massive propeller. That propeller needed a large radius, but for carrier operations with rather rough landings you want very short landing gear struts because this is tougher. Therefore, the designers put a kink in the wings to get the best of both.
  • Similarly, during the Israeli War of Independence, an Israeli pilot literally cut the communication lines between the Egyptian Army and their command staff in Suez, by flying his P-51 Mustang through the telephone wires and catching them with his propeller.
  • Using low-flying airplanes to cut telephone or telegraph wires was fairly common during World War II. Several countries developed various special equipment to facilitate this.
  • Ray Holmes, a Hurricane pilot who made a head-on attack on a Dornier 17 over central London during the Battle of Britain. His guns failed, so he rammed the enemy bomber, slicing its tail off with his wing. The bomber was destroyed, although Holmes' aircraft was so severely damaged that he was forced to bail out.
  • Greek air force pilot Marinos Mitralexis successfully rammed an Italian tri-motor bomber during World War II, with a propeller - and then landed and proceeded to capture the crew.
  • It's worth a picky point that "ramming speed" essentially means "to speed up so we can do as much damage as possible". Technically any speed is "ramming speed".
    • "Ramming Speed" is a reference to ancient naval combat, where ramming was a particularly useful battle tactic. Most ancient ships during battle were propelled by rowers, and ramming speed basically meant "row as fast as you can". And, ancient ships being very Fragile Speedsters, the highest speed possible was essential for imparting enough kinetic energy on the impact so as to pierce or shatter hull of the target ship - if the speed was not high enough, it was possible the attacking ship could have been the more damaged by the ramming. The reason it wasn't used all the time was that human muscles and stamina couldn't sustain ramming speed for very long.
    • It's also distinct in that ramming speed is essentially pushing the speed to the literal maximum possible without destroying the ramming craft before it can hit its target. Explosive Overclocking, essentially, with the emphasis on not exploding before ramming the target. For naval ships, for instance, this means pushing your ship to speeds that will probably wreck your own ship in short order, but since you're about to wreck it anyway...
  • Apollo 14 used a ram maneuver when docking with the lunar module en route to the moon. The first couple of times, the probe on the front of the command module didn't properly engage during initial contact, and it was feared an abort might be necessary. A last-ditch method of coming in hard and faster than usual was tried, however, and that gave the crew time to engage the latches and manage "hard dock", the final connection of the two spacecraft, without having to worry about the usual softer initial dock at all.
  • Subverted by the most heavily armed variant of Focke-Wulf 190A-8, which carried the name Sturmbock ("battering ram"). While it exactly wasn't intended to literally ram the Allied bombers, the name implied German Humour on implementation for conquering a Flying Fortress...
  • We sadly got to see what this would look like in HD from multiple angles on November 12, 2022, when two WWII era planes collided at an airshow, a P-63F Kingcobra and a B-17G Flying Fortress. The P-63 accidentally rammed the B-17 and cut it in half while also being severely damaged and both planes crashing. The 6 pilots and crew of the two aircraft were all killed.
  • Space example: the impactor, used by the Deep Impact spacecraft against the comet Tempel 1, that created a visible crater on it.

Marine (Ships & Submarines)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon: In one of the early episodes, Rock uses a derelict ship to ramp the title boat, then fire a torpedo directly into an attack helicopter — and flips them the bird in the process, establishing that Rock's got a bit of attitude behind him after all (as he's normally a somewhat milquetoast accountant and negotiator that plays a rather Chick-ish role in the show where violence is concerned).
  • Happens, with its potential ineffectiveness lampshaded, in Full Metal Panic! Sigma, when Captain Testarossa needs to get the Tuatha De Danaan out of a dock blocked by a Behemoth-class Humongous Mecha.
  • Kill la Kill: In "Imitation Gold", The Naked Sun turns into the Great Naked Blade, but gets heavily damaged by the Primordial Life Fiber's missiles. Mako with her 2-Star Goku Uniform on decides to start the turbines (which are literally treadmills) and power up the Great Naked Blade, allowing it to destroy the core with Ryuko's help.
  • Subverted in episode 15 of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. After the Nautilus is crippled by depth charges and narrowly missed by torpedoes, the enemy submarine attempts to ram it. However, the Nautilus proves much more resistant than the Neo-Atlantean sub, who totally crushes its prowl in the process before exploding (although it leaves a mark).
  • In Submarine 707 R, the titular submarine does this to the U-X at the end of their battle, having run out of torpedoes.
  • Super Atragon: The climax of the opening battle and the final battle: the Ra and Liberty turn to ram each other, after the Liberty's drill-missiles are foiled by the Ra 's rocket-anchors, the Ra plows through the Liberty's bow, destroying her and killing Avatar.

    Comic Books 
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Nemo's vessel has rather more sensible armaments than the literary version, like big honking artillery pieces. And mechanical tentacles. Which lead, FWIW, to the awesome moment when we combine this with the previous trope. And Nemo blasts the jelly out of a couple of tripods.

    Fan Works 
  • In Neon Exodus Evangelion, NERV is fleeing its base in Worcester-3 aboard the RMS Queen Mary while being pursued by the US armed forces. A destroyer places itself in their way, its captain thinking they would turn aside and lose speed. Captain Barraclough instead rams into it at full speed, cutting it in two. This was based on (and the captain makes a reference to) the HMS Curacoa, which was sunk this way in World War II.note 
  • In the climax of Halloween Unspectacular 5: The Final Push, Cochrane's plan to take down an enemy fleet involves packing a boat with gunpowder and ramming it into said enemy fleet. Athena, upon learning this, drains a glass of wine.
  • Queen of All Oni plays with this during one of the scenes in Jade's Mental World. Hero (the Aspect representing Jade's heroic nature) and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits launch an attack to retake control of the Jade (the ship representing Jade's conscious mind) from the Queen (Jade's Superpowered Evil Side), kickstarted by ramming their ship into it. Since their ship is smaller and patched together piecemeal from what scraps Hero could gather, it does no damage to the Jade and breaks apart on impact. However, it succeeds in scattering Hero's crew onto the Jade, and since all Hero wanted was to make an awesome entrance, it can be called a successful maneuver.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300: Rise of an Empire has Athenian ships made this way to ram unto the Persian ships to destroy them quickly. To quote "Themistocles: The Persian ships are strong at the front, but they are weak in the middle", thus those numerically superior Persian fleet must retreat or they'll be reduced a lot.
  • In The Abyss, the Ax-Crazy is trying to kill the male main character by pretty much running him over with a minisub (said character being in a diving suit, with nothing to hide behind). Cue the main female character ramming the Ax-Crazy head-on in her own minisub. She cripples his engine and winds up knocking him over the edge of the Cayman Trench, where the mounting pressure makes his sub implode. An awesome use of Ominous Crack.
  • At the end of Assault on a Queen, the sub surfaces too close to the Coast Guard cutter for them to use their main guns. Instead, the captain orders the cutter to ram the sub.
  • Possibly the Ur-example of this trope is the galley fight sequence of the film Ben-Hur. At the very least it's probably the Trope Maker for yelling "Ramming speed!" In this case it's an order to the galley slaves to row very fast for a short burst.
  • In the climax of The Enemy Below, Captain Murrell (Robert Mitchum) rams his critically damaged destroyer into Von Stolberg (Curt Jürgens)'s submarine.
  • Played at its most blatant in Jaws: The Revenge. Apparently ramming a sailboat into a roaring shark will cause it to explode. Great stuff, guys. To be fair, that was the studio-ordered second ending of the movie. The original ending had the shark bellowing away as the prow of the boat skewers it like a cocktail weenie, the shark's weight tearing the boat in half as both sink into the water.
  • In Pirates Of The Prairie the mutinous crew find themselves transported to the title prairie, and the house their ex-captain (and a horde of silver) is hiding. The now-Captain declares "ramming speed!" With which the crew complies. When the ship rams the house, the now-captain admonishes the crew.
    "What did you do that for?"
    "You said 'ramming speed'..."
    "It's a unit of measurement, not an order!"
  • In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Frankie Cook rams one of Totenkopf's underwater machines with her amphibious fighter/sub to allow Sky Captain to make his way to Totenkopf's lab, but ejects just in time.
  • Under Ten Flags. A British merchant ship gets surprised by a disguised German raider, but The Captain decides to ram it rather than surrender, despite his officers warning him they'll be blown out of the water. However the African crewmen in the engine room (clearly lacking the pluck of our British heroes!) panic and Abandon Ship, forcing the captain to order his officers to abandon ship as well when he realizes the situation is hopeless.

  • Lone Wolf: In Fire on the Water, the flagship of the death-hulks fleet (sunken ships manned by The Undead) has a huge ram on its prow. At the beginning of the naval battle, it rams the Durenor, the admiral ship of the Durenese fleet, which quickly sinks, forcing Lone Wolf overboard.

  • The second book in the 1632 series, (1633) has no less than three examples. a 20th-century motorboat at top speed could probably do significant damage to a 17th-century warship, and that's without even counting the jury-rigged munitions mounted on the motorboat. Same for a plane.
  • In H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu, Cthulhu is ripped apart by ramming it with a steamboat. While the person driving the boat does go insane, and Cthulhu just starts to recombine pretty much straight away, the time delay is still useful.
  • In The War of the Worlds, the British torpedo ram Thunder Child... well... rams and destroys a Martian tripod which has waded out into the Thames Estuary. A second tripod blasts the ship with its heat ray and promptly gets rammed with/blown up by the ship's flaming remains.note 
  • In Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this is the primary attack the Nautilus uses against surface ships, to the point where the ship is initially believed to be a freakish giant narwhal. This remains true in the Disney film adaptation.
  • This trope is probably responsible for the creation of Swordfish from A Song of Ice and Fire, a warship with a giant iron ram on the end that makes it slow and unwieldy. It eventually manages to ram one unmanned ship, which turns out to be full of wildfire, setting it and everything else on fire. Effective design.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Although it's completely unintentional since the person manning the helm is shot, a tugboat manages to sink a German U-Boat by ramming straight into it.
  • One of the Schizo Tech vessels built by the Nantucketers in the Island in the Sea of Time trilogy by S. M. Stirling is a steam ram, which is used to great effect against primitive wooden warships such as triremes.
  • Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October, features the title submarine (an upgraded version of the Soviet Typhoon ballistic missile submarine!) ramming the Alfa-class attack submarine, trying to sink it. While badly damaged, the Red October managed to remain afloat. The Konovalov, the attack sub, wasn't quite as lucky. Since they didn't have any torpedo men, and had only a skeleton crew it was pretty much the only option. This is quite reasonable given that Typhoon class submarines are vastly larger than Afla-class subs (with the Red October being further enlarged from the basic design), and they also have a double hull.
  • Carnifex: Islamic terrorists attempt to ram the Legion carrier Dos Lindas, but instead get intercepted by the Heroic Sacrifice of one of the gunboats escorting it, that rammed the kamikaze cargo freighter before it could deliver its explosive cargo.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Cold Days Thomas rams his boat into one of the barges the Outsiders were using to attack Demonreach. Justified in that he wasn't trying to sink the other vessel, only push it off course.
  • Surprisingly averted in Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series, considering the entire series is devoted to naval action using a wide variety of ships. Somehow, none of those involve ram-capable ships. Even the Grik whose main tactic is Attack! Attack! Attack! are never observed trying to ram enemy ships. Instead, they will standard grapple-and-board tactics. The only time a ship is used to ram another, a World War I-era American destroyer, whose one remaining weapon has been expended, rams a Japanese World War II-era battlecruiser. However, the collision doesn't do much damage to the big ship, not until one of the destroyer's crewmembers sets off the depth charges on board. Even that is not enough to sink the battlecruiser. It does, however, work for a Japanese plane that rams an American one in a last-ditch effort to destroy it (the Japanese crew was specifically ordered to use this method as a last resort and to not bother coming back to report failure).
  • In Axis of Time, a radical Islamic group takes control of an Indonesian corvette and approaches the "uptimer" fleet. When they're close enough, they suddenly speed up and prepare to ram the USS Hillary Clinton, as the corvette is loaded with explosives. The reaction of the "uptimers" indicates that this sort of tactic is common among Islamic radicals in the 21st century. Luckily, they manage to blow up the corvette before it gets close enough.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Last Ship: During the Grand Finale, the Nathan James is critically crippled by the Colombians' battleship and starts to sink. Determined to make it a Mutual Kill, after the rest of the crew abandons ship, Admiral Chandler arms every remaining missile onboard the James and then sends it careening on a collision course for the battleship. Both ships are then destroyed in the subsequent explosion.
  • The Boys. In "Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men", The Deep uses his powers to send sharks ramming into their motor yacht, forcing the Boys to Abandon Ship in a speedboat. Then Deep appears riding the back of a sperm whale which he uses to cut off their escape route. Crazy b***d that he is, Billy Butcher just keeps accelerating, ramming straight into the whale, totaling the speedboat and covering them all in whale guts.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS, being a generic system, addresses issues of ramming in its vehicle rules; how well it works depends on the vehicles involved and their other combat options. Some are fitted with rams that make them a bit more effective for the purpose.
    • GURPS Vehicles: Steampunk Conveyances has details for a "torpedo ram", an historical design which, despite its heroic appearance in The War of the Worlds (see above), didn’t turn out to be that great an idea. A brief scenario suggestion in the book does actually find a situation in which torpedo rams could be useful.
    • GURPS Vehicles: Transports of Fantasy has some tweaks to the vehicle damage rules to ensure that ramming combat is a viable option between classical Greek-style warships but less useful for Renaissance-style galleys. (Basically, being holed below the waterline becomes a lot less devastating for a more technologically advanced ship.)
  • In Rocket Age the Silt Sea pirates of Mars use raiding ships built out of the bones of silt dragons. The prow, made from the skull, is used as a ram and does a devastating amount of damage.

  • Beast Wars: Uprising: In the finale, the Builder ship Tidal Wave (formerly the Decepticon Tidal Wave) is ordered by its captain, Banzai-tron, to ram the Resistance ship Broadside in a final act of suicidal spite, since Banzai-tron refuses to surrender or flee. The result is a massive explosion which takes out both ships.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the Empire's Shogun Battleship can deploy an energy shield in the front of the hull. The ship can then ram and kill another ship. This is used to counteract the minimum range of the battleship's guns. The manual states that, during the initial attack of the Empire on the Soviet Pacific Fleet, several Soviet ships managed to make it inside the battleship's range and confidently start to fire at them. Cue the battleships accelerating and ramming them.
    • The Empire also has the Yari mini-sub, a small attack submarine that normally fires mini-torpedoes. In a pinch, however, the Yari can activate its "Last Voyage" protocols and accelerate towards an enemy. The end result is inherently fatal to the Yari but also usually equally detrimental to the target. No points for guessing that these were based on the historical Japanese Kaiten submarine.
  • In Suikoden V, the primary method of sinking the enemies archery ships are to attack them with ramming ships.
  • Silent Hunter III - In a Good Bad Bugs example, early unpatched Versions actually made it possible to sink quite a few ships, including destroyers, by using your U-Boat's tower to ram its hull underwater. It would make tower and periscope inoperable, but hey, you could sink a ship without having to use one of your precious few and slow-loading torpedoes. And you could use it multiple times without bad effects when done precisely, so you could ram an entire convoy to death with your humble submarine if you were lucky and skilled enough. Later fixed in patches that made the effect more realistic — your puny sub is wrecked and sinks.
  • Mentioned (and averted) in Battalion Wars II; The Xylvanian Kraken-class Dreadnought sports incredible size and a pointed, titanium-tipped prow, but is noted to be "relatively ineffective when used to ram other naval units."
  • Total War:
    • The "Fall of the Samurai" Expansion Pack to Total War: Shogun 2 has several ram-capable ships, including two ironclads with rams: the French L'Océan and Japan's own Kōtetsu (also historically built by the French). While they're not particularly powerful in terms of firepower, ramming another ironclad amidship, such as the American Roanoke or the British Warrior can be a One-Hit Kill. However, it can be difficult when the enemy is firing AP shells at you.
    • In Total War: Rome II, most ships are capable of ramming, and do massive damage to the recipient while leaving the rammer mostly intact. Common courtesy in multiplayer is to forbid ramming, as it is effective to the point of being unfair, and takes little skill.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Ships can ram each other either accidentally or intentionally in Assassin's Creed III. One of the naval missions, in particular, has an optional objective where you have to destroy three enemy ships by ramming them (they're much smaller than your Aquila). One of the upgrades available for the ship is a ram, which can gut even enemy frigates, especially if your own hull is reinforced and you do it at full sail with the wind.
    • In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, your ship automatically comes with a ramming prow, and plowing into enemy ships is highly encouraged as a combat tactic. If you fully upgrade to the highest quality ram, you can punch through and destroy even the dreaded Man-O-Wars in just a few passes.
    • Similarly to Black Flag, Assassin's Creed Rogue also gives you a ramming prow and the option of charging is available from the very beginning. It's existence is also a bit more justified because it can be used as an icebreaker in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.
    • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey continues the tradition (and is accurate to the era, as seen down in Real Life). At sufficiently high ramming speed, the Adrestia can smash ships in half, especially if the enemy ship is damaged enough.
  • The police tactics in the first two Driver parts are limited to this. In the first part in particular, they would plow head-on into you at speeds that would reduce the Real Life counterparts of the in-game cars to a quarter of their original lengths. The damage isn't as high in the game, but ramming is still justified because it's the only way the police can attack you.
  • Pharaoh: Warships have Arrows on Fire or ramming as attacks. While they will use ramming against other ships, they can't keep it up for long, as the crew quickly becomes exhausted, leaving the ship stranded. It's also less than realistic: Ship-toship combat is represented by the ships gliding over the same square of water, with a few sound effects thrown in.
  • World of Warships has ramming as a very effective weapon for larger ships against smaller ones.
    • As long as the relative speed between ships are at least 10 knots, ships do base damage equal to their undamaged hitpoint total to each other, though this can be modified by signal flags.
    • However, if the relative speed between target is less than 10 knots when contact happens, each ship will start having their health chipped away until either they break contact or one ship is sunk. This can allow DD to ram-sink a sufficiently damaged BB and survive.
    • Ramming also has a high chance of causing flooding on both ships involved, assuming they survive the initial impact.
    • Also, as an Anti-Frustration Feature, this only applies to enemy ships - allied ships, even if they ram head on into each other at full speed, only do Scratch Damage to each other as accidental collisions between allied ships are surprisingly common.
  • In From the Depths ramming can be augmented with the Ram part, which deals damage proportional the ship's velocity and mass. White Flayer ships in particular are all built for ramming and are usually covered in rams on every surface; they aren't particularly effective at ramming equally sized vehicles as it usually results in them getting stuck, but they will utterly annihilate anything smaller. In the first White Flayer instant action mission, the player is given a high-end ramming boat, the Flayed Soul, and is sicced on a bunch of poorly armed Deepwater Guard fishing boats that will get crushed and minced by the grinders on the ramming ship.
  • Crusader Kings II has an event chain wherein you can acquire the Necronomicon, summon Cthulhu, immediately regret your decision, ram him with your ship, and kill the Great Old One. No one survives as a witness to this act, but your character gains a modifier called "Godslayer" which comes with some cool benefits.

    Web Original 
  • Skipjack has the titular submarine ram a pirate submarine on the oceans of Mars in chapter 8.


    Web Videos 
  • World War II: Episode 33 - "The Invasion of Norway and Denmark" tells the story of HMS Glowworm which rammed the German Admiral Hipper. The Glowworm failed to destroy Hipper, and sank while on fire shortly after.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In "The Avatar Returns", Prince Zuko has his ship ram a Water Tribe village in his search for the Avatar. His (relatively small) ship blows through at least fifty feet of glacial ice to have the front open right in front of the village. (Which isn't too extraordinary, since this is the primary purpose of icebreakers.)
  • In Cat City, Grabowski sunk the cat pirates' submarine by ramming it with the ship they thought to have captured, and had in a tow.
  • In ReBoot, the attack on the Megabyte-controlled Mainframe Principal Office is initiated by a kamikaze charge by the pirate ship Saucy Mare. It gets shot down right before reaching its target... but was loaded with enough explosives that this turned out to merely spread the damage around and wipe out even more of Megabyte's outer defenses.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Sea Hawk's preferred method of attack involves lighting his ships on fire and ramming them into the enemy. It works because he has no other weapons, and because Glimmer can teleport them off the ship at the last second.
  • Total Drama: The Final Three make their way from Tijuana Beach to Hawaii by speedboat in "Planes, Trains, and Hot Air Mobiles". For the early part of the race, Heather and Alejandro try to intimidate and sabotage their way to victory by ramming the competition aside.

    Real Life 
  • During both the First and Second World Wars ramming was a fairly regularly used tactic against enemy submarines, the Titanic's sister ship RMS Olympic and the battleship HMS Dreadnought both sank German U-Boats with ramming attacks. Ramming attacks were also carried out by smaller vessels like destroyers and escorts; however the damage (and occasional loss) of a rammer resulted in the practice being officially discouraged.
  • The Japanese "suicide boats" (tiny speedboats loaded with explosives at the prow) and Kaiten manned torpedoes were used towards the end of WWII to little effect. Kaiten actually predated the better-known aerial Kamikazes. They were basically a Long Lance torpedo with a cockpit. The problem was that underwater visibility was practically nil; only three Kaiten out of hundreds launched ever hit their targets. They also had to be carried to Allied anchorages by full-fledged submarines, and since carrying four or six Kaiten on deck really wrecked the sub's handling and made it more visible at low depth, many were sunk with their crews.
  • Well before the Japanese even thought of their suicide boats, Italy had devised the "barchino esplosivo" (translated means "little explosive boat"), fielding them against the Royal Navy and actually obtaining better results in spite of increased British surveillance caused by the existance of these boats and other means to attack unwary ships in harbor (the last Allied victim of a barchino, the French destroyer Trombe, was hit on April 16 1945) — enough that Israel used them in the Israeli War of Independence, scoring two ships with the use of three boats. Differently from the Japanese version, the pilot was expected to jump after putting his boat on collision course, even having an ejector seat for the job.
  • Truth in Television in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome: the main naval tactics were to ram the opponents' ships and then use boarders to take it over if it didn't sink. The only other possible tactics at the time were either to board the enemy vessel (which happened just as often, if not more so, and frequently concurrently) or launch flaming arrows (or Greek Fire) at them once they figured out how to properly set arrows on fire (with limited success). Note that more often than not, the idea was to shear an enemy vessel's oars off rather than punch a hole in their side, in order to disable the vessel and board it.
    • Ramming-to-cripple lost favor to ramming-to-board tactics among the Romans, as it required far more skill from the rammer's crew, whereas boarding merely required that the ships crunch together so the marines could jump across. Other naval powers like Rhodes and Pergamon continued to ram with great skill, often racking up more ship kills/captures through ramming than their Roman allies during combined actions.
    • The corvus was developed to offset the Roman weakness in naval warfare. By turning a naval battle into an infantry attack the Roman legions could overwhelm the superior Carthaginian navy. However, it's speculated that the change in balance caused by the Corvus led to the Romans losing multiple fleets to storms, before returning to simpler and lighter grappling hooks for their boarding needs.
  • Actually, after centuries of absence, ramming tactics were considered a feasible option after the Battle of Lissa in 1866, where ramming manoeuvres brought the then-existing Austrian Navy a decisive victory over an Italian Fleet. Afterwards, battleship constructions tended to include ram bows. Unfortunately this led to the next generation of battleships causing increased damage in accidental collisions rather than being effective in battle.
    • In the early days of ironclad warships, most existing guns were not effective enough to serious enough damage through armor plates, leaving ramming the only practical means of sinking such ships with relative ease. However, gun technology improved quickly enough, though.
  • Subverted in the case of pre-dreadnought battleships. Because it was thought that they would engage at only 1 mile, or 3 miles at most, a typical pre-dread was armed as many as three gun calibres, plus torpedoes and rams. However, throughout the 1890s there were few engagements between them. The only major wars involving pre-dreadnoughts as the capital ships of the navy were the First Sino-Japanese War, the Spanish-American War, and the Russo-Japanese War. Of these, the first two were between small navies with very limited use on one side only of battleships; the Russo-Japanese War, however, involved two major naval powers, with two major battles in the Yellow Sea and off Tsushima. The former, while a tactical stalemate, was the first engagement between steel battleships, and was in fact first engaged at the unanticipated range of nearly 8 miles, and fought mostly at a 3-mile range. The Battle of Tsushima was fought at around 6 miles, using mostly the large-calibre 12in guns. In both cases, small guns, torpedoes and rams were useless due to distance, and this was reflected in later battleships such as HMS Dreadnought, which was not equipped with a ram.
  • This tactic was seriously considered by the Royal Navy during World War I, because they were desperately short on ways to attack submarines and the depth charge hadn't been invented yet. Submarines on the surface or at periscope depth could be rammed. HMS Dreadnought, the first modern battleship, actually pulled this off — indeed, it was the only time Dreadnought ever managed to sink an enemy ship, and the only time a battleship has ever sunk a submarine, by any method.note 
    • The tactic was used (or attempted) against U-boats fairly regularly in World War II when they were forced to the surface. Some escort vessels didn't carry guns powerful enough to penetrate a submarine pressure hull. Others had larger guns that couldn't angle downward enough to hit a low-lying target nearby. When the United States transferred a large number of obsolete WWI destroyers, which were rather lightly armed, to Britain under the Lend-Lease program, they had their bows reinforced by filling the forwardmost chambers with concrete to improve their ramming capability.
      • The submarine USS Growler (SS-215) was operating on the surface when it collided with a Japanese patrol boat. The Captain was badly injured and could not return below deck in time. He ordered his XO to "Take 'er down!" knowing that he would be locked outside when the ship submerged. His actions saved the submarine and won him a posthumous Medal of Honor.
      • Ramming wasn't entirely successful when the British submarine HMS Clyde engaged three German U-boats in Tarafal Bay (in the Cape Verde Islands) in September 1941. In a confused encounter, most of which occurred at ranges too close to launch torpedoes, Clyde almost rammed U-111 (passing inches over the crash-diving U-boat) before colliding with U-67. Both submarines survived, although the 1100 ton type IXC U-boat came off rather worse than the 2200 ton River-class boat.
      • On 17 March 1941 U-100 was forced to the surface by depth charges. HMS Vanoc was only 1000 yards away and equipped with radar, so instantly spotted the sub during the night battle. As they were already headed in that direction at a pretty good speed, the Vanoc's captain ordered a collision course and sank the sub.
      • Also there was the time when an Italian destroyer attempted to ram the submarine HMS Proteus (N29) only to have the sub's hydroplane rip such a big gash in the destroyer's hull that it has to be towed back to port for repairs. The submariners commemorated this incident by sewing a can-opener into their ship's flag.
      • On 29 January 1943, two minesweepers of the New Zealand navy rammed and beached the Japanese submarine I-1. The US Navy would capture 200,000 pages of intelligence from the submarine.
      • Fun fact: modern small warships (frigates, for example) can't ram modern submarines in the same way: subs are very tough to withstand high pressures, and small warships are built light as a means of defense against antiship missiles. They'd get pretty badly torn up in a collision with a periscope. Sort of — a periscope or other mast would be completely written off, but the fin (sail if you're American) of a modern SSN is strengthened to break through the icecap in polar ops, and any collision with it would rip a large hole in the warship. Still wouldn't want to be the first man back up into the fin when it surfaces again though, it wouldn't exactly come off well itself, and a collision with the pressure hull itself should obviously be avoided if at all possible, as even if the Submarine comes off looking prettier on the surface, even relatively minor damage would degrade it's ability to submerge, while a seemingly more mangled surface warship could stagger back to port with partial flooding relatively unhindered.
    • And surface ramming didn't entirely disappear. Look up HMS Glowworm and its attack on the Admiral Hipper in 1940. Ironically, Admiral Hipper accidentally rammed Glowworm shortly after the deliberate ramming attempt was aborted because Hipper's captain mistakenly believed Glowworm might be a minelayer and thus might rather catastrophically explode upon being rammed.
    • PT-109, commanded by JFK, was cut in two by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, pretty much by accident.
    • Special mention must surely go to HMS Fairy, an 1897 Gipsy class destroyer, which on 31 May 1918, rammed and sank a rather larger and more modern (albeit slightly damaged) U-boat (there's debate over the actual designation, some claim it's UC-75, others UC-51). The ship was lost as well, but it was probably one of the few modern instances where the rammer inflicted more financial damage on the enemy than on itself.
  • The troop transport HMT Olympic, sister ship to the Titanic, rammed and sank the U-103, the only recorded instance of a merchant vessel sinking a warship in WWI. The U-103 was not the only vessel to be on the receiving end of the bow of the Olympic either — she almost capsized the HMS Hawke by turning in front of her, despite the warship being designed for ramming. She also damaged the liner Fort St. George and sank the lightship LV-117. (There's a good reason people thought Titanic was an unsinkable ship—Olympic practically made a career out of smashing whatever was in her path.)
  • In November, 1943, destroyer USS Borie rammed U-boat U-405 before engaging in a running battle that was so close her main guns couldn't depress enough to shoot at the U-405. Borie and U-405 were so damaged by the engagement that both ended up sinking.
  • Merchant ship captains were encouraged by the Royal Navy brass to attempt ramming German submarines during World War I, contrary to the laws of war. While most attempts were unsuccessful, at least one British captain who attempted ramming a U-boat was tried and executed by Germans as a "maritime guerrilla."
  • Conventional naval wisdom from the launch of the first ironclad in 1859 until the advent of the self-propelled torpedo and advances in shipboard gun manufacture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries held that major naval battles would consist of warships attempting to ram one another, since the crude cannons of the mid-19th century had proven to be no match for an ironclad's armor. Since this was the period when Britania really did rule the waves, there were few major naval engagements to prove otherwise. The theory led to many ships being equipped with ram bows, which, while quite pretty and sleek, mostly ended up accidentally sinking friendly vessels. The most famous incident, the sinking of HMS Victoria, gave us the memorable scene in Kind Hearts and Coronets where the admiral played by Alec Guiness goes down with his ship.
    • That said, there were battles that seemed to suggest the superiority of ramming over cannon fire at the time. These included the Battle of Lissa between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Battle of Hampton Roads between the Union and Confederacy, which respectively demonstrated the usefulness of ramming and the ineffectiveness of cannons against ironclads.
    • Ramming was also a common tactic during the American Civil War. Many ironclads, including CSS Virginia (the former USS Merrimack, rebuilt and renamed) were expected to ram ships as their primary means of attack, and even a few ironclads were completely unarmed, making this their only possible offensive tactic.
      • In the case of CSS Virginia, its poor maneuverability thwarted its attempts to ram USS Monitor at Hampton Roads.
      • By that point, the Virginia had already lost its ram after sinking a Union ship. Actually, had the ram not broken off, the Virginia would have followed the Union ship to the bottom.
      • Ironically, the Battle of Hampton Roads could have proven exactly the opposite, that cannon could be an effective weapon against ironclads (as they eventually became). Both ships had weapon specs that might have allowed them to penetrate the other's armor, but for the circumstances of the battle: the Virginia had been issued with armor-piercing shells in addition to regular shot, but had left them in dock, not expecting to fight another ironclad; whereas the Monitor was using only 15 pounds of gunpowder in each shot instead of the 30 pounds it was rated for, under the mistaken impression that the full load would put the ship in danger. Had the two ships been able to bring their full loadouts to bear, the battle could easily have become much shorter and more vicious.
    • In fact, a whole ship class was created to ram through harbor defenses and deploy torpedoes against ships docked there, called the Torpedo Ram. The class never really took off, although it did "produce" one great fictional vessel: the heroic HMS Thunder Child.
      • The torpedo ram (with a "spar torpedo") was a common tactic during the American Civil War — The CSS Hunley sank the USS Housatonic with one. And Lt. Alonzo Cushing of the US Navy sank the CSS Albemarle with one; in addition to the submarine Hunley (the first such vessel ever to sink an enemy), both sides employed non-submersible torpedo boats. This tactic was even more dangerous than it sounds — the contact exploder did not yet exist, and spar torpedoes had to be set off post-ram with an attached lanyard, exposing the person who pulled it (and in the case of the Hunley, having to leave the hatches open for seawater to get in, one of several suggested possibilities for the sub's sinking soon after).
  • During WWII, the ocean liner Queen Mary was converted for use as a troop transport, sailing solo across the Atlantic and picking up a Naval escort only when she came within bomber range of occupied Europe. Off the coast of Ireland on October 2, 1942, the Queen Mary accidentally rammed one of the escort vessels, the cruiser HMS Curacoa, amidships. The Curacoa was literally cut in half and rapidly sank, killing 338 men from a crew of 439. The Queen Mary suffered no casualties and damage minor enough she was able to continue safely to her destination, drop off her load of Allied soldiers, and return to America for repairs.
  • Entirely accidental, unlike many of the above examples, but the the battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) collided with the destroyer escort USS Eaton (DD-510) due to negligence on the part of the captain of the Eaton, both ships suffering severe damage. The damaged bow of the Wisconsin was replaced with the bow from the unfinished USS Kentucky (BB-66). The Eaton was also involved in several other accidental collisions, though only the one with the Wisconsin resulted in the captain being court martialed.
  • Another accident involves the collision between SS Imo with the fully loaded munition ship SS Mont-Blanc in Halifax Harbour (1917). The resulting explosion created a tsunami and obliterated everything for a 2 km radius (i.e. most of downtown Halifax), killing 2,000 people. It was the largest man-made non-nuclear explosion ever.
  • During age of wooden ships, where fire was often the greatest threat to any ship, many navies employed the use of fire ships. These were essentially abandoned ships that were deliberately set on fire and sent into the enemy fleet. If they didn't destroy the fleet, it would definitely scare the shit out of it. This was one of the tactics that helped the English defeat the mighty Spanish Armada.
    • Actually the ramming wasn't really the point, as a ship with no steering is pretty easy to evade. The purpose of fireships was to break up the enemy's formation (which was an absolute necessity given the English warships were smaller and fewer). In the case of the Spanish Armada, they were surprised at anchor and had to cut their lines to get away, leaving their anchors behind. As a result, they were unable to ride out the storm that did them in later.
  • Relatively recent example: in 1988, Soviet frigate Bezzavetniy rammed USS Yorktown (approximately three times heavier ship) to push it out of Soviet territorial waters. Neither ship was seriously damaged.
  • The collision between the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria and the MS Stockholm on July 25, 1956. The Stockholm struck the Andrea Doria amidships with her bow and had a chunk of it completely sheared off, but was otherwise undamaged and made it back to port (and is still an active cruise ship by the way). The Andrea Doria capsized and sank. A significant factor was that Stockholm had an ice breaking bow, which turned out to be pretty good at steel breaking.
  • In the mission that finally eliminated Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Sabaya, the Philippine Navy gunboat — which was quieter and faster than the speedboat the Abu Sayyaf were using — snuck in under cover of night and, with the direction of American night vision technology, aimed their vessel right at the terrorist boat. The speedboat was cut in half by the impact, and the terrorists thrown off the vessel where the Philippine Navy SWAG's (Special Warfare Action Group, the Philippine version of Navy SEALs) More Dakka made short work of them.
  • The aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne sank two destroyers by ramming them. Unfortunately, they were both friendly destroyers — HMAS Voyager and USS Frank E Evans — in two separate accidental collisions. The US Navy after the latter incident nicknamed her "HMAS Can Opener".
  • There was an ancient civilization who's entire naval tactics consisted of:
    • 1. Have one ship
    • 2. Ram an enemy ship
    • 3. Board rammed enemy ship, take control. Previous ship sinks.
    • 4. You have a new ship. Repeat steps 1-4.
    • Probably the Greeks at the Battle of Artemisium versus the numerically superior Persian navy. They actually managed to capture a good number of the Persian triremes, but the rest of the battle went in the Persian favor.
  • During the First World War the toll amongst Britain's K-class submarines was high, with 3 lost and 4 seriously damaged:
    • K1 collided with K4 off Denmark 18 Nov. 1917 and had to be scuttled.
    • The 'Battle' of May Island claimed a further 2 submarines sunk and 3 more and a cruiser damaged. HMS Fearless collided with K17, sinking it, and damaging itself. K14 and K22 collided, though both survived. K6, in an attempt to avoid a collision with K12 after some miscommunication, ran into K4 seriously damaging it, and itself. K4 later sank with all hands after a collision with K7, which also damaged the latter. Altogether 270 men were killed.
  • Two sailboat crews were attacked by Ruthless Modern Pirates in the Gulf of Aden. They deterred one pirate vessel with shotgun fire. When the other came around, the captain of one yacht chose to "ram the bastards," much to the pirates' surprise.
  • One of the major reasons that the main determiner of ships right of way is tonnage is because the bigger ships won't be able to stop as fast, and won't be able to stop until after they sliced any smaller ships that get in their way.
  • Defied by First Officer Murdoch, who elected to try to avoid the iceberg. Then again, considering that we're talking about a 52,000+ ton ship travelling at almost 35 miles per hour hitting a mountain of what geologists consider a sedimentary rock (resulting in the glancing blow alone generating the force equal to 37 contemporary express trains), the ship was held together with rivets and steel plates rather than welded together like modern ships, and the business end housed hundreds of sleeping passengers and crew... Ramming might not have been exactly wise. Not to mention that the first instinct of any competent sailor is not to ram their ship into an obstacle.
  • Subverted by the HMS Campbeltown during the St. Nazaire Raid. Ramming the Normandie drydock was not enough to put it out of commission - but the several tons of explosives concealed in the the Campbeltown's bow was. It worked wonderfully, disabling the only drydock (outside of Germany) that could be used to repair Germany's largest warships.
  • During the "Cod Wars" over north Atlantic fisheries between Iceland and UK, ramming was often the most serious option available to either side as actual shooting was not a possibility.
  • In another accidental case, USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) collided with one of her escorts, USS Belknap (CG-26) in 1975. While not a direct hit (neither ship's hull came into contact with the other), being an aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy has a massive overhanging flight deck. Which pretty much ripped off Belknap' entire superstructure. Since Belknap had until just a few months earlier been rated as a destroyer (a "tin can"), John F. Kennedy became known in the US Navy as the "Can Opener".
  • On 5 November 1942 during World War II, Finnish submarine Vetehinen rammed the Soviet submarine Shch-305 in the Sea of Åland and sank her. According to Vetehinen crew members, she was on a night patrol searching for Soviet submarines, which stayed underwater during daytime but usually came up during the night to recharge their batteries. A contact was found, and after confirmation of an enemy contact Vetehinen launched a torpedo, which missed probably due to being fired at too short distance. Vetehinen then opened fire with her deck guns. A second torpedo also missed, but the deck guns managed to damage the Soviet submarine which by then had started an emergency dive. The Captain of Vetehinen, determined not to let the submarine escape, ordered his submarine to ram the other vessel which at last was a success – the icebreaker "teeth" on the bow of the ship ripped open the Soviet submarine's pressure hull and caused her to sink. Vetehinen suffered a minor leak from the impact but managed to return to her home port.
  • On March 30 2020 Venezuelan coastal patrol vessel Naiguatá rammed Portuguese cruise liner RCGS Resolute in international waters off the Venezuelan northern coast and subsequently sank itself. Not entirely surprising because the Resolute was built for cruises to Arctic waters and her hull was ice-strengthened. (Venezuelan authorities claim that it was the other way around, that the Resolute was involved in deploying mercenaries to Venezuela and she rammed Naiguatá - "in an act of imperialistic aggression and piracy" - which would play this trope straight, but it would probably require an uncannily swift and manoeuverable cruise liner to pull this off.)


Video Example(s):


"Time's up."

"Year of Hell, Part II". With USS Voyager nearly blasted to wreckage by the Krenim timeship, Captain Janeway sets the ship on a collision course and rams the larger vessel amidships. This causes a chain reaction that ends with the temporal weapon misfiring and erasing the ship itself from history.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / RammingAlwaysWorks

Media sources: