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Riding the Bomb

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Gimzod: Payload deployed, boss!
Uzgob: What about Killboy?
Gimzod: Oh yeah, he's been deployed too.

At the end of Stanley Kubrick's Cold War dark comedy Dr. Strangelove, B-52 pilot Maj. "King" Kong — a straight-shootin' Texan played by cowboy character actor Slim Pickens — goes to the bomb bay to manually release the stuck bay doors on his damaged aircraft, thus enabling him to complete his nuclear attack run on a Soviet target. He succeeds, but just as he celebrates his accomplishment with a bit of hootin' and hollerin', the bomb on which he was seated is dropped. He rides the device all the way in to the target, wildly whipping his Stetson hat around as he plummets to a thermonuclear death and a blaze of glory.

So naturally, it inspired quite a few to copy his act, riding a bomb as it plummets down upon a target, often to their own death. The image is much more famous than the film, at this point. It symbolically associates zealotry, jingoism, nuclear war, and cowboy diplomacy, not to mention the phallic imagery. Mostly, it just gets used whenever air-dropped weapons appear in comedy, which is surprisingly frequent. Especially common in Editorial Comics.

See Also: Action Bomb, Rocket Ride, Jettison Jetpack Attack.

As this is often a Death Trope (seeing as how No One Could Survive That!), unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: Kizaru rides one of the cannonballs that signals his arrival on Sabaody Archipelago.
  • Project A-Ko: Variant. A-Ko uses missiles as stepping stones to fight alien invaders.
  • Sonic X has this with Knuckles riding a missile in an episode and is shown in the title sequence as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Avengers: Ares: In the miniseries, Ares rides a missile into ground zero, for no other reason then Rule of Cool.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 Deff Skwadron comic Da Sekret Weapon, Killboy has to open the bomb bay manually:
    Smartboy Gimzod: Bommz away boss! Payload sukkesfully deployed!
    Kommanda Uzgob: An' Killboy?
    Smartboy Gimzod: Oh yeah, 'e's been deployed too!
    Killboy: Yeeehaaa!
  • G.I. Zombie: Jared manages to get up on a missile just as Duke launches it. He proceeds to damage the missile guidance system and shoot out one of the fins so it doesn't land in its intended target, Washington D.C.
  • Harley Quinn: A fantasy sequence in #0 with Harley riffing off the title of her other comic Suicide Squad, includes a panel of her riding a bomb. (Notably, this replaced an initially-scripted image of her naked in a bathtub and about to drop a huge number of radios into it, which when the script was publicly-released for an art competition was denounced as tasteless sexualisation of suicide.)
  • A variant cover for Uncanny X-Men #522 (the issue where Magneto rescued Kitty Pryde from the giant bullet she was stuck on at the end of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run) features Kitty riding a missile.
  • Superman: In The Death of Superman, Superman, Steel and Superboy find a massive missile preparing to launch at Metropolis. As it launches, Steel and the still-powerless Superman escape the exhaust by leaping into the nearest room, but Superboy leaps onto the rocket itself, riding it all the way to Metropolis while trying to disable it.

    Fan Works 
  • In Halkegenia Online, the Fae don't have devices or magic to guide their projectiles. So they drop them, steer left and right with their wings, and pull up at the last moment- after all they need to steer more bombs to rescue their allies.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: Matarael rides a meteorite to try to take the Evangelions out.
  • This piece of My Little Pony fanart. Well, danger is her life after all.
  • This one is a more straight rendition.
  • Then it got combined with an appropriate song.
  • And this.

    Film — Animated 
  • Mulan: Mushu, with a skyrocket. Due to his small size, the rocket is the same size as nuclear bomb would be to a human, and will have approximately the same effect if it detonates while he's on it.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie did this too with Sonic being onboard instead.
    "Not so fast, Metal Robotnik!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • At the end of The Amazing Bulk, the Bulk is seemingly killed by a nuclear bomb ridden by what appears to be a communist commissar. No, it doesn't make any more sense in context.
  • In the movie Armageddon (1998), when they're trying to lower the bomb into the core of the asteroid, Steve "Rockhound" Buscemi duplicates this scene, and everyone yells at him. Although he claims that he was actually getting the idea from The Lone Ranger.
  • One of the many tall tales about Baron von Münchausen claimed he once rode a cannonball. The Josef von Baky, Terry Gilliam and animated movies based on the Baron had him perform this feat as well.
  • Played literally when Captain America: The First Avenger. Johann Schmidt's ultimate HYDRA weapon, a massive Tesseract bomber known as "Valkyrie", contained various plane bombs that were presumably going to use to attack the targets specified on their hulls and are pilotable, making it the most literal use of the trope.Subverted comes in where Captain America manages to dispose a mook by opening up the cargo doors and releasing the latch before the HYDRA mook could get himself secured into the plane bomb.
  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966). In an obvious parody of Dr. Strangelove, the Idiot Heroes Franco and Ciccio successfully defuse the 'superbomb' the title villain intends to drop on the Soviet Union, but the bomb bay doors open accidentally and they're dropped onto Siberia, riding it like a horse. They survive.
  • Dr. Strangelove is the Trope Maker. In it, Major Kong (Slim Pickens) orders the bomb dropped, and then wonders why it didn't release. He goes down to the bomb bay and starts hotwiring the drop system to get the bomb to drop, while sitting on it. He then rides the bomb to a thermonuclear death.
    • Probably worth mentioning for those who have only seen the "falling" scene: Kong isn't intentionally riding the bomb. He climbs atop it in the plane to reach the jammed mechanism over it. It releases before he has time to get clear, and he apparently decides "I'm going to die anyway, might as well enjoy the ride while it lasts."
  • In the movie version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when the pixies are destroying the classroom, one of the pixies steals a wand and makes a huge dragon skeleton drop to the floor. A few pixies are then seen riding it to the ground like the bomb in Dr. Strangelove complete with cries of yee-hah.
  • In Machete Kills, Machete hitches a ride on Voz's missile as it launches, and disarms it while it is in the air.
  • A scene in The Mummy Returns has a log bridge being blown up to allow the heroes to escape from frenzied mummified pygmies at Am-Shere. The pygmies that were on the log at the time plummet to their eventual doom; one of the pygmies, seeing the utter futility of it all, rides a large piece of the broken log.
  • In Space Cowboys, the astronaut played by Tommy Lee Jones straps himself to the end of a satellite loaded with nuclear missiles and rides it to the Moon—a rare instance of this trope being combined with Heroic Sacrifice.
  • A The Three Stooges short, "Boobs In Arms", has the guys inducted in the army - at films' end, they've broken into enemy headquarters and are getting bombarded by their own side by their own cannons right after they had finished taking down the enemy troops in their own outpost.Moments before, their own laughing gas bomb puts them in laughing fits, leading them to being captured by the enemy troops. After a couple of smaller shells streak by, a large shell blows through, scooping them up. They ride it, loudly laughing away, into a gorgeous sunset.
    • It's just a typical day for them.
  • True Lies: The Big Bad is offed when his vest catches on an anti-air missile just before Ahnold's character fires it at a helicopter full of mooks.
    "You're fired".

  • Older Than Radio: The adventures of Baron Münchhausen (Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen, 1720-1797) describe him as riding a cannonball (and leaping onto another cannonball in mid-air to get back to his point of departure). This is often supposed to have happened when Münchhausen served as a Russian officer at the siege of the Turkish fortress of Ochakov in 1737, however the stay in Russia of the historical Münchhausen only began in December of that year.
  • This quote from Holden from The Catcher in the Rye:
    I'm sort of glad they got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to god I will.
  • The Isaac Asimov short story The Feeling of Power takes place in a society where computers can make more computers, and those computers can do all the calculations people need, so even basic mathematics has been lost. One fellow reinvents addition and subtraction, and discovers to his horror that this allows for the "manned missile," since people can now guide the missiles based on a coordinate system and a human life is much less valuable than a computer guidance system.
  • Used in The Lost Fleet in the Beyond the Frontier sequels by a race of homicidal herbivores who attack anything that isn't theirs. They launch a barrage of piloted rockets.
  • Played straight and horribly in Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines (where entire cities are put on giant tracks and try to eat each other - this is not played for comedy, by the way). The extremist Green Storm faction regularly use "Tumblers", a low-tech version of guided bombs. They're bombs with pilots on them that guide their fall and ensure they land on target.
  • Used for an escape from an airplane in The Survivor. Justified in that the bomb was rigged for an airburst, so it has a functional parachute.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: Honorable Mention to John Sheridan in "Z'Ha'Dum". (Purists might object that there was a White Star around the nukes. And that Sheridan technically jumped ahead of them; he didn't ride them himself.)
  • Doctor Who: Used with rather different symbolism, as Captain Jack teleports himself on top of a Nazi bomb he's immobilized with a tractor beam to shout a goodbye to the Doctor and Rose, in "The Doctor Dances". The Eagleland associations are relevant, though, since Jack is pretty much the series' token American.
  • Subverted by the Farscape mini-series. Over the course of the television series, the protagonist, Crichton, had an AI construct implanted in his mind. Causing a vivid hallucination, this "Harvey" finally dies off at the end as his purpose is fullfilled. Crichton has been dropping sci-fi and pop-culture references throughout the series, and Harvey with him. As such, he shows himself dying in lieu of the (rather obscure) ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but concedes he found Riding the Bomb an attractive way to go as well.
  • On Jack of All Trades, the legendary Pirate Blackbeard rides a missile down from a hot air balloon to destroy a submarine captained by the great-great-great-great-great grandson of Leonardo da Vinci before it can sink a ship carrying most of America's Founding Fathers on a "Founding Father-Son Cruise." It Makes Sense in Context... kinda.
  • The climax of the third season The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Super-Colossal Affair" found Illya Kuryakin riding and defusing a 10 ton stink bomb which was part of a crime syndicate plot to render Las Vegas uninhabitable.
  • Parodied in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Moon Zero Two. The bad guys have been left stranded on a meteor which is karmically racing towards the moon's surface. As they're about to hit, Joel and the bots start whooping it up cowboy-style like Slim Pickens.
    • Also used in MST3K: The Movie (spoofing This Island Earth) when Exeter's burning spaceship enters Earth's atmosphere at the ending.
  • A sketch on Saturday Night Live featured an interview with then-Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney, who was riding a missile at the time. And eating a Lunchables snack-pack.
  • Weird Science: In the ending shot of an episode involving some flying basketball shoes Lisa created and a close call with FBI agents "Scolder" and "Molly", the gang is almost shot down by an Air Force surface-to-air missile. In the closing shot, all are seen barebacking on the device, complete with cowboy hats.

  • Surfing on a Rocket music video by Air. Rocket riders include a microcephalic bodybuilder, a rich shark, a mad scientist, George Bush in a cowboy hat with a gasoline hose, a man with a tentacled TV for head, a Playboy Bunny in a US-flag swimsuit, a cannibal emperor and a man with a nuclear mushroom for head.
  • Devo: An image of an anthropomorphic bomb riding a bomb, taken from a catalog of Air Force Squadron logos, recurs in Devo's visuals, most notably in the music video for "Love Without Anger".
  • Gloryhammer: The music video for "Rise of the Chaos Wizards" off their second album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards ends with the asteroid on which the re-formed Heroes of Dundee are fighting the forces of Zargothrax crashing into Southeast Asia.
  • The Offspring have a song called Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell. About greed, stupidity, end of the world and gasoline.
    • The combined video for that song and "Dividing by Zero" plays it literally, with the protagonist, a fighter pilot, hanging on to a chain attached to a missile after his plane is downed, performing various death-defying feats and even attempting to take out the enemy leader's flying fortress.
  • At one point in the video for "A Complete History of the Soviet Union Through the Eyes of a Humble Worker," by Pig with the Face of a Boy, the singer rides a Tetris long-bar dropped by a bomber planenote .
  • Rush's video for "Distant Early Warning" features a kid riding a missile.
  • The video of "Boom" from System of a Down shows Bush, Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Tony Blair riding each one a bomb, dressed like the Riders of the Apocalypse.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One of the crocs in Pearls Before Swine is seen doing this. He survives, and even comes back with a second face growing out of his head.

  • In Australian Rules Football, the WEG poster for the Essendon Bombers' 1984 premiership depicts Bombers coach Kevin Sheedy doing this.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000 the orks have grot-guided bombs. A gretchin (small orkoid subspecie, similar to goblins in the fantasy setting) will steer to bomb to it's target, increasing it's accuracy. Of course the mekboys tend to forget to tell the pilot that it's a one-way flight (although anything more intelligent would work that out on their own). Plus their answer to other factions high mobility troops (such as those with jetpacks) are are called Storm Boyz. They're full-sized Orkz whose jump-packs are litterally just makeshift rockets strapped to their back. Calling them unsafe is an understatment, (whether the rocket explodes or just flys off in a random direction on a failure depends on the edition being played), but they do help the boyz get where they're going in a hurry.
    • Warhammer Fantasy has a similar concept, although in their case, the "catapult" (a giant slingshot) doesn't fire any actual amunition, the "bomb" is just a goblin in a wingsuit who (hopefully) guides themself into the target at high speed, killing both on impact. Not only that, but the goblins used this way volunteer, for the chance to briefly fly and possibly kill something, plus becoming Abnormal Ammo is probably a better death than whatever their own side would otherwise give them.

    Video Games 
  • Bayonetta: Bayonetta rides a missile, fights on it using hand-to-hand, and shoots other missiles and flying enemies.
  • Burrito Bison has rockets you can ride. The pilots you replace are wearing cowboy hats, that your player character holds in one hand while riding.
  • One lengthy stage of Clash Force have your character reaching the stage's end by hopping from one missile to another.
  • Contra games regularly involve heroes hanging from and steering missiles as a mode of transportation.
    • Contra 3's fourth stage ends with you hopping from missile to missile, trying to destroy the shields of an alien mothership.
    • In Contra: Shattered Soldier's second mission, you encounter mooks riding missiles.
    • Played completely straight in Contra 4, during the harbour stage you have to cling onto a warhead. While shooting missiles down, avoiding Weaponized Exhaust, and even fighting a Mini-Boss on it!
    • A similar sequence is also present in one of the endings to Contra: Hard Corps. The Alien Cell hijacked by the Big Bad, in this particular ending, ends up as a warhead for his doomsday missile. You have to chase said missile while jumping on smaller ones, climb up, and then destroy the cell which by now seems to have evolved into a full fledged final boss.
  • Dante surfs on a missile in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening.
  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness: For his most powerful special move, Laharl rides a meteor. Laughing maniacally the whole way.
  • In the first Gungrave game, one type of enemy during the train level is two guys with machine guns riding a missile.
  • In Halo 2, Master Chief Rides the Bomb. Somewhat unusually for this trope, it wasn't actually a UNSC bomb.
  • A mission in Jak 3 has Daxter ride a missile.
  • Not to be outdone by Dante, at the end of Just Cause 2, Rico Rodriguez surfs on FOUR NUCLEAR MISSILES, exchanging gunfire with the midget president of a corrupt nation and disarming said missiles as he goes, before eventually jamming said president into one of the missiles.
    • In the sequel Just Cause 3, Rico does this at the end of the first act by grappling to a bavarium missile that just launched. Since he can't defuse it and he's not gonna drop it into the ocean so Sheldon and the Agency can get their hands on it, he redirects the missile back to the base it came from to destroy it.
  • Jinx of League of Legends gets her Establishing Character Moment by riding on the lead of a rainstorm of missiles into Piltover in her introductory music video "Get Jinxed".
  • One half of a stage in Mega Man Zero 3 takes place inside the biggest missile ever as Zero tries to prevent it from reaching its target of a human residential area. He fails. Even better, the missile in question contained Omega, so the trope applies to Omega more since he outright survives the explosion and indeed was counted on doing so in order to retrieve the Dark Elf from the ruins of the area.
  • In Metal Slug, on Mission Six of Metal Slug X (a remake of 2), you can ride the missiles while crossing the bridge. Unfortunately, they're going the wrong way and when you go too close to the missiles' nose, you die.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption has a different take on this - after chasing the Space Pirates away from the Spire Pod and commencing the engines' shutdown sequence, Samus has five minutes to repair the Escape Pod and blast off in it before she literally rides the bomb into the Leviathan. If this happens, or the Space Pirates successfully shoot down the Spire Pod, you get a scene of the pod falling before Game Over-induced sudden blackout - if the fall and storms don't kill Samus, the bomb certainly will.
  • Mischief Makers has Marina riding missiles quite a few times. As well as riding on a cat that is itself riding on a missile.
  • Mission Ammunition have a level where you try to stop a missile while riding it. In your boxers.
  • An old computer game example appears in the intro scene to the computerized adaptation of Nuclear War.
  • Rayman 2: The Great Escape combines this with Action Bomb by having missiles with legs in some levels, which can be mounted once they've tuckered out and stopped chasing you. They're needed to traverse harmful terrain you normally wouldn't be able to cross, but doing so requires some precision, due to the obvious result of colliding with something.
  • Red Alert 3:
    • The Yari mini-sub (based on the real suicide subs of Imperial Japan) has "Final Voyage" as its ability, lunging the sub at a target to destroy itself and maybe the target.
    • The Honorable Discharge upgrade turns every Japanese vehicle into a bomb which explodes on death.
    • Subverted by Century planes, who are otherwise flying Major Kong shout-outs (Texan-accented bomber pilots). They can be heard shouting "Yaaaaaahoooooooo!" on being shot down, however.
  • The final scene of Resident Evil: Gun Survivor have Ark, Lily and Lott boarding a helicopter once Ark defeated the Hypnos T-Tyrant. However, the Tyrant reveals itself to still be alive by latching on a stray missile underneath the copter, so Ark fires the missile, carrying the monster into a distance where it explodes to bits.
  • In the first mission of Saints Row IV, the Boss rides a nuke to disable it before it hits Washington, D.C. He/she jumps off before it's too late, though... and crashes through the roof of the White House, landing comfortably in the President's chair in the Oval Office. He/she is immediately elected President after this display of badassery.
  • In Spore, in the civilization stage, a military nation gets access to their final super-power, the ICBM (although the naming is off). Upon launch, cheesy music plays and it is implied that some of the creatures are riding the missiles, due to all the yehawwing going on during the sequence. Of course, using this will indeed capture the cities quickly so you can advance to the space stage, but there's going to be piles of nuclear rubble you won't be able to build up on...
    • At least, that's the way it should be. In fact, the nukes just instantly capture the cities and no actual damage is done. Neutron Bomb, perhaps?
  • Tales from the Borderlands has Scooter getting his hand stuck in a faulty booster rocket that will explode and destroy the ship that the protagonists are on if he can't detach it. He knows that he can't get his hand out in time, so he decides to Face Death with Dignity and make a Heroic Sacrifice instead, detaching the damaged booster from the ship. His last moments with Fiona are a poignant, heartfelt exchange before he pushes himself and the booster away from the ship and rides it into Pandora's atmosphere before it explodes, bellowing his catchphrase all the while. He still thinks that it's an awesome way to go.
  • The custom Strangelove mutator for the Unreal Tournament series (which is obviously a giant Shout-Out to Dr. Strangelove as its name implies) is a superweapon similiar in functionality to the Redeemer (A nuclear warhead launcher) except for its secondary fire, which allows you to... take a wild guess.
  • There's a couple of quests in World of Warcraft where the player has to ride on a Goblin-made rocket. It's also possible to get a similar rocket as a mount via a code that can be gotten from a pack of Warcraft TCG cards.
    • A re-skin of said mount is available as a very rare drop on Valentine's Day. It's bright pink, sports zebra pimpmobile decorations and is naturally called "Big Love Rocket."
    • And now, a TWO-SEATER model is gifted to people who have subscribed a friend through a referral program. Lucky owners tend to get constantly poked by low level characters looking for a quick taxi.
    • Then there is also one which after you defeat the Vry'kul air raid and destroying some of their building using their own ballista, you return to your encampment by riding on one of the said flaming ballista bolt.


    Web Video 
  • In the final episode of Jreg's Centricide, Posadist rides a nuclear bomb into the Accelerationist, delivering the final blow, killing Radical Centrist and Jreg, and concluding the Centricide.

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars has Rattrap Riding the Bomb attached to former Decepticon Ravage's stealth ship after forcing it to crash. The twist: the bomb remained unexploded until after the crash, and Rattrap was blown clear into the arms of his comrades, nice and safe.
    • The Season 1 Finale for Beast Wars had Optimus Primal unwittingly riding the bomb into the Planet Buster, thanks to Megatron making additional modifications that essentially sealed Optimus inside.
  • A Sino-Clockpunk version in the Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness episode "Face Full Of Fear": Temutai is stealing all the gunpowder in the Valley to create his ultimate weapon, which turns out to be a really big firework rocket. Inevitably, Po ends up riding it. Although in this case, the bomb-rider is trying to stop the thing.
  • Daffy Duck pulls this in the Looney Tunes short Conrad The Sailor. Wile E. Coyote has done this at least once accidentally.
  • The episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Amending Fences" has Pinkie Pie riding backwards on Twilight Sparkle as they plummet towards the library tower, closely resembling the famous bomb-riding shot.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: In a scene of "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel" Skipper hallucinates riding the bomb, in a direct parody of the original.
  • Blossom does it in one episode of The Powerpuff Girls.
  • Sealab 2021: In "Red Dawn", when Quinn learns Debbie slept with the President, he bombs Washington, DC in a fit of jealousy, shouting "Nobody shucks my corn but meeeeeee!" as he rides the bomb.
  • The Simpsons: When Homer becomes leader of a group of vigilantes, he goes to the local army surplus store to stock up on implements of destruction. One of the things the proprietor shows him is a miniature nuke that was designed to be used against Beatniks in The '60s. Cut to an Imagine Spot of Homer, with cowboy hat, trying to drop the bomb, and ending up riding it down. (Inexplicably enough, however, the cityscape he's dropping onto is clearly San Diego, CA.) Cut back, he's straddling the device, and the shopkeeper points out a nearby sign reading "Do not ride the bomb". The imagery was also used as a Couch Gag in another episode.
  • In the SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron episode "The Wrath of Dark Kat", Razor rides a bomb while trying to disarm it, leading to a Wire Dilemma.

    Real Life 
  • During the closing stages of WWII, the Japanese developed the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka, essentially a 1200kg bomb with wings and a cockpit attached. The mothership would approach to within twenty nautical miles of the target and release the Ohka. The Okha would glide to the target, before firing three Type 4 rocket motors for the final approach. Despite having a production run of 838 bombs, thankfully most were sunk along with the Japanese carriers Shinano and Unryu; those that did see service accounted for only seven Allied ships, largely due to the excellent defensive tactics of the Allied navies. US sailors nicknamed them "baka bombs", after the Japanese word for "idiot".
  • Maritime equivalents to the Ohka were also developed; the Kaiten and Kairyu. The Kaiten was a Type-93 torpedo with a crude cockpit into which one very brave individual would be locked, then fired at an enemy vessel, which was an excellent way to turn an effective weapon into a machine for killing pilots. The Kaitens, rather predictably, killed more of their own (either directly or through the launching submarines being lost) than they did Americans. One is on display on the shore side of Hawaii's USS Arizona Memorial Museum. The Kairyu was more elaborate; it was a midget submarine that carried two torpedoes and a single 600kg warhead, which was to be used for a ramming attack after the torpedoes were fired. They were stationed in Tokyo Bay, intended to be the first line of defence against an anticipated Allied invasion fleet. Due to the atomic bombs, none ever saw action.
  • The US tried to build one that was designed to be flown by a trained pigeon; the idea was that the pigeon would be trained to peck at the image of potential targets, and then the target would be projected onto a lens in front of the pigeon; the pigeon would peck it, and thus through a system of electronic controls attached to the unfortunate bird, the missile would self-correct. Despite some actual successes, the US military never picked it up because electronic guidance was coming in anyway, training the pigeons to recognize enough enemy targets took too much time, and they considered the whole thing absurd. The project did lead to the development of touch-screen technology, however.
  • The Germans, towards the end of the war, developed the Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg, which was a V-1 flying bomb with a small cockpit mounted just before the pulsejet. It was to be flown by the 5th Staffel of Kampfsgeschwader 200, the so-called "Leonidas Squadron". Technically speaking, it was not a suicide weapon; the pilot was supposed to aim the craft at the target, pop the canopy, and bail out. However, the chances of the pilot surviving the exit (which would, after all, take place directly in front of the pulsejet's intake) were estimated at less than one in twenty. Pilots were required to sign waivers before joining the Leonidas Squadron accepting that its operations would result in certain deathnote . Test pilots actually managed to pull this off, and the Reichenberg, although it crashed very often, rarely killed its test pilots (Hanna Reitsch survived several crashes unscathed); though test versions, of course, were not fitted with the giant bomb the operation version would carry. Minister of Armaments Albert Speer and the commander of KG 200, Geschwaderkommodore Werner Baumbach, eventually convinced Hitler than suicide attacks were "not in the German warrior tradition" and it was cancelled. However, during the early stages of the Battle for Berlin, the concept was revived, and Leonidas Squadron pilots flying modified Fw-190s attacked Soviet bridgeheads at Kuestrin, destroying a railway bridge, which was a waste of good men and good platforms.
  • The Bat Bomb, essentially a bomber would drop a large canister during a dawn raid over a Japanese city. The canister was loaded with hundreds of bats, each with a little napalm bomb strapped to their chests, at night they would go off to hunt and roost all over the city. A timer set all the bombs off in the middle of the day after the bats went to sleep, since most Japanese architecture was wood at the time this would have been very effective. The only reason it wasn't used was that the atomic bomb was finished first.
  • Suicide bombers, especially those who drive automobiles laden with explosives.
  • A subversion during the Battle of Midway, the Japanese carrier Kaga was in the process of being abandoned by her crew due to severe damage and fires caused by the American dive bomber attack from the Enterprise. An American submarine saw the opportunity to launch a Coup de GrÔce on the vulnerable ship (in case the Japanese may have managed to save her). American torpedos of the time being what they were, the torpedo struck dead on, then promptly didn't explode. The warhead snapped off and sank, leaving the body of the torpedo bobbing in the water, whereupon the Japanese sailors swimming in the water clambered on to it as a life raft, cursing and pounding on the torpedo. For their trouble, the submarine crew spent the rest of the day being chased by Japanese destroyers and being pummeled by depth charge near-misses before they escaped to fight another day.
  • The US Army's Green Berets conducted High Altitude Low Opening freefall jump tests as part of training the "Green Light Teams" a sabotage group which would parachute behind enemy lines carrying mini nukes. The nuclear payloads were carried between the paratrooper's legs during the freefall phase, true to the trope.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Strangelove

[Trope Maker] Maj. Kong manages to unjam the bay doors to allow the atomic bomb to be dropped onto a Soviet target. Unfortunately, the bomb was immediately dropped with him still seated on it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / RidingTheBomb

Media sources: