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Uriah Gambit

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"In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, which he sent with Uriah. He wrote in the letter as follows: 'Place Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest; then fall back so that he may be killed.'"

What to do when you've made an enemy of one of your underlings? Hey, you're the boss. All you've got to do is send him out on a mission that's sure to get him killed. He'll die in action, and you'll have Plausible Deniability.


In some cases, this can be as subtle as giving the underling in question dangerous tasks that need to be done anyway, resulting in a win-win scheme—they'll probably die, which is great, but if they're successful, that's fine too. Other times, the task might be a blatant setup solely for the purpose of killing them off, often going as far as Unfriendly Fire, deliberately backstabbing or sabotaging them at a key moment (or even simply leaving them in the lurch) to ensure their death. Either way, it's this trope and very much murder as far as guilt is concerned.

If it's the hero who does this, which will make their role as hero very questionable, they're setting themselves up (as in the Trope Namer) for a What the Hell, Hero? and My God, What Have I Done?. If it's done to the hero, Heaven help you if they should somehow not only survive but thrive on your Impossible Tasks. In those cases, you may have a Reassignment Backfire on your hands.


A subtrope of Shoot the Dangerous Minion and Make It Look Like an Accident. See also Unfriendly Fire for a more hands-on approach that can work in both directions. When you send someone out with an item that attracts danger, that's the Trouble Magnet Gambit. When that someone actually pulls it off, repeatedly, it's Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder. When you do this to yourself, it's Suicide by Cop. For extra irony (as in the Trope Namer), can be combined with Please Shoot the Messenger, where the Uriah has to deliver the instructions that will get them killed. May overlap with Reassigned to Antarctica if the mission is to guard or otherwise stay posted in an extremely dangerous area. Related to Tricked to Death, depending on the nature of the assignment.


As this is an Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The plot of Area 88 starts with Kanzaki tricking Shin into enlisting in the Aslan Foreign Legion in the middle of a civil war, in order to have a shot at Shin's girlfriend, Ryoko.
  • Aruosumente: When threatened by an approaching enemy army, Oracle Kian decided to send out Dante — who he had decided was uncontrollable — to face the army alone, putting Dante's non-combatant brother in front of the gates as well for added motivation. It backfired badly, with Dante not only surviving but killing 300 enemy soldiers, Rucetta's second-in-command getting killed because she tried to save the children, and possibly resulting in Kian's own death down the line.
  • Happens more than once in Case Closed, with the most spectacular case being the Diplomat Murder Case. The villain, Isao, fancied a lady named Kimie, who was Happily Married to Isao's rival Yamashiro. So Isao used Yamashiro as a scapegoat in a fraud (with help of his father Toshimitsu), waited until poor Yamashiro died in prison, and then went Comforting the Widow on Kimie. This backfired years later, when... Isao's son started dating Yamashiro and Kimie's long-lost daughter without knowing it, Isao had a Freak Out at that, and Kimie put two and two together....
  • In Claymore, the Organization reserves its most dangerous missions for its most troublesome members.
  • In Code Geass R2, Lelouch tries to get Rolo killed several times as punishment for replacing Nunnally (it's unknown if he starts to reconsider due to Rolo's competence as a Black Ops agent, but then Rolo just had to murder his near-girlfriend Shirley out of both envy and wrongly-placed knowledge), but the little guy's a survivor. For further irony, when Rolo did die, it was through a Heroic Sacrifice to save Lelouch's life after Lelouch admitted he had been trying to kill Rolo and that he'd never be Lelouch's real brother... and Lelouch ended up genuinely forgiving him.
  • The Familiar of Zero: King Joseph of Gallia repeatedly sent his niece Tabitha on dangerous missions meant to kill her. This was partially out of sadism, partially because Tabitha is a threat to his rule because she is next in line to the throne. Tabitha always survived and succeeded.
  • In the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, after Lior's Destruction by Scar's Philosopher's Stone Array and Alphonse telling to Roy that Fuhrer King Bradley is a Homunculus, the main villain has Pride send Roy, his squad and Armstrong to another war, so one of the homunculi can shoot them during the battle and blame it on their enemies.
  • Gate:
    • The corrupt Emperor Molto Sol Augustus sends an army drafted from his allied nations to attack the JSDF, but doesn't send any reinforcements like he said he would. As expected, they are all killed, and he remarks that now his so called allies lack the military strength to threaten him.
    • Princess Piña attempts to do this with Third Recon Team by stationing them alone on the south gate of Italica to take the brunt of the bandit's attacks. It doesn't work since they attack the east gate. Itami, for his part, believes this is due to a lack of options on Piña's part as opposed to actual malice.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya — what do you do when your Data Interface gains emotions, but you can't kill her off lest the protective Badass Normal called Kyon convinces Haruhi to recreate the world and wipe you out? You invoke the Uriah Gambit, sending the Interface to meet up with the Sky Canopy Dominion and hope she will Go Mad from the Revelation. (We don't have the perspective to know how valid the argument - that the changes in the Interface were exactly what gave her some chance of survival and success in communicating with an alien and potentially deadly threat - was, or how valid Kyon's tendency to take the events personally is. Or even whether the Data Overmind had any interest in killing off its Interface, but it is one hypothesis from the limited observable evidence.)
  • Heavy Object:
    • Flide arranged for Qwenthur and Havia to be assigned to increasingly dangerous details in hopes of killing them to preserve the reputation of Objects as the only source of military power.
    • The 37th gets a special Christmas-themed mission to save some sick children stranded at the North Pole. To do so, they have to fight their way through multiple ice-locked but still active enemy warships on foot across the white ice cap while wearing "festive" bright red uniforms. The other "friendly" forces in the area are under orders to make sure the 37th continues with their mission by killing any who turn back. The higher ups really didn't like them bungling a global PR stunt.
  • In Irresponsible Captain Tylor, the Syokaze is sent to the front several times in an attempt to kill Captain Tylor. It doesn't work.
  • Tsutomu Nihei's Knights of Sidonia revolves around one long Uriah Gambit against the protagonist Tanikaze. The ship's Omniscient Council of Vagueness doesn't like that he's naturally immortal and wants to get rid of him, so they send him out on every mission that comes up hoping he'll get killed. Of course, this swiftly leads to Tanikaze becoming one of the most skilled and experienced soldiers on the ship, far too valuable to conveniently dispose of. Eventually he's being sent on dangerous missions not as an attempt to get him killed, but because he's the only one skilled enough to possibly succeed.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes. It Happens to Reinhard twice, courtesy of fleet admiral Gregor von Mückenberger and his belief that Reinhard got his rank only because his sister was the Emperor's favorite concubine:
    • During the Fourth Battle of Tiamat in the first movie Mückenberger sent his fleet out to the front of the battle unsupported, then gave the rest of his force orders to not worry about hitting friendlies when the shooting started. Just to make this clear, he was willing to kill over a thousand of his own ships and their crews just to see Reinhard dead. Just like Yang, Reinhard not only survives but turns it around on him and becomes crucial to the Imperial victory.
    • The first battle of the series, the Battle of Astarte, had Mückenberger deprive him of most of his talented sub-commanders, and then send him into battle and arrange for the enemy to find out he's coming so they'll send a much larger fleet to stop him. After Reinhard not only wins but inflicts the Alliance ten times the casualties he suffered and comes very close to annihilate the enemy forces, Mückenberger realizes what kind of genius he's dealing with and makes sure to not be in the way when Reinhard starts his political ascension, insuring his own survival when Reinhard takes over the Empire and other High Nobles try and fail to stop him.
    • Reinhard's rival and counterpart, Yang Wen-Li of the Free Planets Alliance also suffers this early on. After turning the Battle of Astarte from a rout into an orderly defeat, Yang draws the ire of the politician Job Trunicht. Almost immediately after escaping an attempted lynching by the "Patriotic Knights Corps" — Trunicht's deniable thugs — he's told to take command of a half-sized fleet in order to attack the Imperial fortress Iserlohn. Iserlohn had defeated six full-fledged attacks in the past, so Trunicht's faction was clearly hoping to either have Yang die in the attempt, or be forced to resign in disgrace. Instead, thanks to a Trojan Horse gambit, "Yang the Magician" and his team capture the fortress with virtually no losses.
  • The original Mobile Suit Gundam actually displays a rare example of this being from the heroes side. The Federation refuses to send more soldiers to aid the White Base, the ship the protagonists reside on and composed primarily of rookie soldiers and civilians, because of the ships' growing reputation during the War. They find that the White Base is the perfect decoy to distract Zeon from what the rest of Federation is up to.
  • Happens several times in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the most notable being Zeheart refusing to send reinforcements to Decil, leaving him fight the Gundam on his own. This is a rare instance when the David seems justified, however, as the Uriah had repeatedly demonstrated self-centered insubordination, which had directly lead to the death of several squadmates, so Zeheart can plausibly claim I Did What I Had to Do to his subordinates.
  • A large-scale version of this happens in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED at the Battle of JOSH-A, halfway through the series. While the top brass of the Earth Alliance come from the Atlantic Federation, the military as a whole is pretty evenly split between them and the Eurasian Federation. At JOSH-A, the Atlantic Federation sets up a highly effective trap, sacrificing their main headquarters by self-destructing it on top of a massive ZAFT invasion force. While leaving a large force of mostly Eurasian Federation soldiers in the base as unsuspecting bait. This is also roughly the point where SEED ceases to be modern take on the original Mobile Suit Gundam (where both sides are morally questionable but one side is clearly better than the other) and into a flat-out Evil Versus Evil scenario where there is no lesser evil. This eventually prompts the real protagonists to create a third side in the conflict to offset them both.
  • McGillis does this to Carta Issue in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans to get her out of the line of succession for Gjallarhorn's top leadership spots. He sends her to "restore her honor" in a final bid to stop Tekkadan from bringing Kudelia and a former Prime Minister to participate in elections, since he knows that Tekkadan are Combat Pragmatists who don't think Talking Is a Free Action, and Carta is obsessed with personal honor and antiquated formations (hence her first two defeats). She attempts to challenge Tekkadan to a duel of honor. They would have ignored her speech anyway, but now that she's killed The Heart of the group, Mika immediately enters a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when she and her men turn up. While Gaelio figures out what's going on and tries to save her, the best he can do is get her mobile suit out of battle while she succumbs to her wounds.
  • The trope is given an unusual twist in Overlord (2012), where Princess Renner knowingly sends her bodyguard Climb into situations that could easily get him killed... because if he does die, she can have him resurrected, giving the Yandere princess the perfect excuse to keep her "cute puppy" at her side for the months of his recovery.
  • Implied in Pokémon of all things when Giovanni tries to get rid of James and Jessie by assigning them to a really dangerous airplane flight.
    • It actually happens at the start of almost every saga: In AG he lets them start a Team Rocket branch in Hoenn, and in Battle Frontier they were literally Reassigned to Antarctica. It wasn't until the end of DP that Giovanni started treating the trio as actual Rocket agents again.
  • In Promare the secret Big Bad arranges for one the main character to become a firefighter in a world plagued by fire-spewing mutants and he even gets him rewarded with a medal and the status of civic hero. Of course, he's more than willing to spell it out his plan to the hero when he decides he can't wait for the Uriah Plot to kick in: he merely hoped to get him so addicted to braving danger and heroism to make him a favour and die.
  • Sword Princess Altina has several examples. The most notable are in the very first two volumes. Volume 1 has the 14-year-old title character sent to the front lines with the warring nation of Germain to subdue a "barbarian" tribe. After she succeeds in that, she is given orders to capture an officially "impregnable" enemy fortress with a force that's one tenth of what was used in the last attempt, and that attempt was a miserable failure. To the shock of everyone, including her father, the Emperor, she succeeds without a single on-screen fatality. All thanks to the hard work of her brilliant, yet humble strategist, Regis.
  • Askeladd from Vinland Saga uses this gambit to facilitate his Evil Plan to remove a rival from the game.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • In a rare case of a hero doing this on a regular basis, in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Judai uses the strategy described below using his non-Fusion Elemental Heroes (who tend to have low Attack Scores) and the Trap Card "Mirror Gate".
    • Yusei did something similar in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's at least once with his Junk Synchron during his Riding Duel with Mukuro Enjo. By using the Trap Card "Give and Take", he was able to summon Junk Synchron from his Graveyard under Enjo's control, and in return, add its level to that of his Quillbolt Hedgehog, enabling him to Synchro Summon the powerful Nitro Warrior and attack the physically weak Junk Synchron.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering you can force this with cards like Wanderlust, which does one damage to enchanted creature's controller per turn. Since this usually puts you on a clock (meaning you've got a constant source of damage or one at an opponent's whim, and no way to deal with it), it's common to send a Wanderlusted creature to a "chump block" if you can't form a block that will survive or defeat the enemy. And then there's Donate. And of course Swords to Plowshares lets you exile not only your opponent's creatures, but your own. Magic loves the whole Gambit Index.
    • Tuktuk the Explorer is designed to be a target of this. He's a typically weak 1/1 goblin who is reborn as a mighty 5/5 golem upon death. In context, Tuktuk's death spawns a being capable of bringing down most dragons.
  • A common way of pulling this off in Yu-Gi-Oh! is by taking a weak monster like Treeborn Frog, turning it up into Attack Position, and using Creature Swap to exchange it for one of your opponent's monsters. Not only do you gain a more powerful monster on your side, but you also have the perfect target to cause a lot of damage to your opponent's Life Points. Quite literally an example of making an enemy of one of your underlings and sending them to their death. There are certain cards that are made for this, such as the 6 Attribute Summoner monsters, which summon monsters of their attributes. Or Witch of the Black Forest and Sagan which can be used to obtain the Exodia cards into the players hand. Ameba takes this Up to Eleven as it inflicts a whopping 2000 damage when control shifts to the opponent, and can then be obliterated for even more damage.

    Comic Books 
  • In the leadup to Blackest Night, one of the first things Scar does is send Green Lanterns Ash and Saarek on a suicide mission, as the pair are a Vampire Hunter and a Necromancer respectively and thus the Lanterns' most experienced in dealing with the undead, which could spell trouble for Scar's grand design.
  • In Blood and Thunder, Warboss Gorgutz sends Skyva on a suicide mission to get his gargant back from a rebellious nob in hopes of killing him. When that fails, he gives Skyva command of the gargant and sends it to the front lines. This still fails, as when Castillan blows up the gargant, the head flies up and lands on the warboss, promoting Skyva to the position.
  • Those who encounter Groo the Wanderer keep sending the titular character against impossible odds with little support both to get rid of Groo and sometimes serve as a distraction (This includes his family and "friends"). But since he's a One-Man Army and has the element of surprise (since no one would be stupid enough to attack, except Groo) he succeeds with the unintended consequences on those who sent him.
  • In the prologue chapter of Necrophim, Lucifer sends Uriel to kill the king of the frost giants in order that he will die in the attempt.
  • The Warlord: While serving as mercenaries, Chakal sends Morgan and what remains of the squad ahead to take on a Frost Giant, hoping the giant would kill them and he can claim the bounty for himself. Needless to say, he has seriously underestimated Morgan

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Schmat-Razum, the hero is sent off by the Tsar to make him leave his wife vulnerable.
    Go ye back therefore to the Tsar and bid him command the archer to journey across three times nine lands to the little forest monster Muzhichek, who is as high as the knee, with mustaches seven versts long, and to bring hither his invisible servant, Schmat-Razum, who lives in his master's pocket and doth all that he orders him. Bid the Tsar demand this of the archer, and he shall have his will. For while Muzhichek indeed exists, no man can find his dwelling nor perceive his invisible servant, and Taraban will wander all his life long, though he live forever, without accomplishing the task, and the Tsar may have his beautiful wife.
    • Another variant of this is "Go To I Know Not Where, Bring Back I Know Not What."
  • In a Georgian Frog Princess tale, burning the frog skin reveals the bride's beauty, and inspires the lord to set her husband Impossible Tasks to try to take her away.
  • In "Story of the King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate," the title monarch orders Nur Mahomed to join the army and then has him repeatedly sent on dangerous missions in the hope that he'll be killed instead of fulfilling his destiny to marry the king's daughter.
  • In "The Plaisham," a middle-aged woman tries to get rid of her husband by convincing a local lord to order him to accomplish Impossible Tasks or be executed.

  • In the Naruto fanfic Change Fills our Time Kakashi makes an enemy of Danzou, who responds by sending his old ANBU team on a suicide mission. So Kakashi pulls himself out of retirement and goes with them.
  • In the Code Geass fanfic Rise of a New Moon, the Purist Faction becomes a liability to Area 11 after Luna suborns Clovis to make her sweeping policy changes and enact her bloodless takeover of the country. So Luna decides to have them deployed at the front of the Britannian military's engagements with the Blood of the Samurai, leaving them at a disadvantage for the JLF troops deployed to wipe them both out.
  • In Sotto Voce: It's mentioned that usually only volunteers ask to go to the front line. If you get sent there by the king, then you did something wrong. Impa gets sent to the front lines by King Daphnes because he doesn't like her closeness to his daughter Zelda. Another minor character was also sent to the front lines because he disagreed with the king. Fortunately, Impa, being The Ace that she is, survives her battle. It turns out the king was possessed by a poe, explaining his behavior.
  • The Night Unfurls: Chapter 5 of the remastered version has a subtle one that Vault has in mind when he asked Kyril to press on and fight Olga Discordia alone, while he and the Black Dogs fend off the other enemies. On one hand, Vault plans for Kyril to weaken Olga to the point where she can be easily captured, thus securing victory. On the other hand, because Olga is a skilled Lady of Black Magic, Vault doubts the Hunter would come out unscathed. Knowing the time to "deal with" the Hunter is approaching fast, he is certainly banking on the outcome where Kyril will "take the hits". Of course, it would be even better should the Hunter be successful. The actual resultnote  is the latter outcome. A surprise to Vault, hardly surprising to the readers.
  • In the first installment of the Tales of the Undiscovered Swords, this is what happens to the titular tachi, Himetsuru Ichimonji, when the rest of the Citadel has had enough of him. Note that this is suggested by Azuki in order to let him at least die honorably; he is originally going to be melted. Subverted, Himetsuru becomes an One-Man Army and singlehandedly kicks the entire enemy faction's ass.
  • Averted in A Brighter Dark. While the original had Garon's plan for Corrin as this, here his sole focus was on assassinating Mikoto. While he considered the outcome worth Corrin's life, he is genuinely pleased by her survival and reaffirmed loyalty to Nohr.
  • Happens in The Horsewomen Of Las Vegas, where Becky Lynch is sent by crime boss Charlotte Flair to kill all the members of the Murder, Inc. organization, the Bullet Club. Charlotte expected her to either get killed or at least be humbled by the experience. Not only did Becky succeed, but she did so with astonishing ease.
  • In Atonement, Clepsydra gives Francis Krouse the mission to 'capture a Pandora clone', expecting Pandora to eat him.
  • In Ward story Warp, Victoria Dallon is convinced that her adoptive sister Amy (who is creepily obsessed with Victoria) let Victoria's boyfriend Dean die in battle in order to have Victoria for herself alone.
    She let you die, I thought. There was time. She could have saved you.
  • Implied in the penultimate chapter to have been the true cause of Karl and Quackity's deaths in the Dream SMP AU fic Passerine: a paragraph in Dream/the Green' God's Motive Rant heavily indicates that he used his Reality Warping abilities to manipulate them into the forefront of a battle where he knew Technoblade (who he has also been using his powers to manipulate) would be leading the opposing forces, and against whom they didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell. The motivation for orchestrating the murders is implied to have been jealousy and fear of losing his friend Sapnap/The War God, who was in love with them.
  • The Victors Project: Blight Got Volunteered for the 52nd Hunger Games by his family and Eamon because they want him to die in the arena due to homophobia, a misplaced grudge against Blight's mother, and a confident desire that with them sabotaging him, they can ensure he'll lose and they can make money gambling on that. Mack is quick to point out the insanity of the Uriah gambit, as Snow would burn District 7 to the ground rather than let a handful of its citizens profit off the games meant to punish them. This becomes moot when Blight wins.
  • Pegasus Device, which serves as the sequel to Rainbow Factory shows that this was Dr. Atmosphere's plan all along in order to get rid of Rainbow Dash as the Upper Weather Factory's Chief Director in order to put an end to constantly wasting resources on constantly killing Foals that failed their flight tests to make Rainbows from to instead starting up a fellow researchers' efforts into making Rainbows via a blood donation drive. Atmosphere intentionally sabotaged the ventilation system within the Main Theater so if any ponies had a chance to escape; Rainbow would dedicate a number of resources into trying to recapture them. If the foals managed to cause enough mayhem to the Factory, Dr. Atmosphere would then be able to approach the authorities outside to confess what was happening while Rainbow Dash and everypony else in the factory was distracted. All the more sweeter it was should the foals manage to cause enough destruction to the facility that several members of staff wound up injured or dying under orders by Rainbow that it could be used to remove not only her but a number of her sycophants as well once the proper authorities started their investigation.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Antz, the evil general Mandible sends the part of the ant colony army loyal to the queen to be slaughtered in a war against the termites that he secretly orchestrated in the first place, to make sure that he'll have only loyal followers in his plot to seize power. Both sides are completely destroyed, and only Z (who's not even a soldier, just a worker impersonating one, and he got dragged into the war) survives through sheer luck.
  • In Shrek, Shrek goes to demand his swamp back from Lord Farquaad. Lord Farquaad agrees to return the swamp if Shrek will go and rescue Princess Fiona, who's guarded by a dragon. If Shrek succeeds, Farquaad gets the princess without risking his own life; if Shrek fails, then Farquaad gets rid of a trouble-making fairytale creature. Of course, it doesn't quite work out like that.
  • In Tarzan, the protagonist boards a ship (which would allegedly take him and the crew back to England) to find Jane, her father and the rest being taken hostages by the ship's henchmen, leading to an intense escape sequence that ends with Tarzan getting captured as well. The reason for such a sudden attack? Why, it was set up by none other than Clayton! He knew Tarzan wouldn't quite like it when he found out they were going to capture his gorilla family, so he got the henchmen to jump on him ALL at once to try and successfully overwhelm him!
    • Coupled with Betrayal by Inaction, considering Clayton reacts exactly like you would expect when Tarzan asks him for help (and maybe even worse).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Anderson Tapes, the mob's price for its help is that Duke take Socks along on the job...and make sure he doesn't survive it.
  • In the 1989 Batman, when mob boss Carl Grissom discovers that his mistress has been sleeping with his right-hand man Jack Napier, he sends Jack to go steal the books from a mob front under investigation by the authorities, then tips off the Dirty Cop on his payroll, Lieutenant Eckhardt and orders him to kill Jack, making him a more direct perpetrator than most examples of this trope. This backfires magnificently when Eckhardt is killed by Jack, and Jack is dunked in chemicals following a battle with Batman and becomes the Joker.
  • Good Guys Wear Black (1978) opens with John T. Booker leading a CIA commando unit to rescue prisoners of war, only to find the camp full of Vietcong instead. They manage to blast their way out only to find their pickup helicopters aren't at the rendezvous either. Only five of them make it back to their own lines. Booker knows they've been set up, but figures there's nothing he can do about it. Turns out the people who wanted him dead aren't happy that he survived, which is what drives the rest of the movie.
  • Good Morning, Vietnam: "I recommend we issue a 24-hour pass..." To get Cronauer out of the way, he was assigned to interview soldiers in the field, but the only way to get to the location was a road known to be hostile due to 36 hours of Viet Cong control.
  • In Iron Man, Obadiah Stane arranges to have Tony Stark killed by terrorists in Afghanistan while he is presenting a new missile system to the American troops stationed there. A more direct example since he sent them to use and then kill him. It doesn't quite work out as planned.
  • John Wick: John's backstory involves being given an impossible task to retire his career as a hitman. Viggo was surprised (albeit grateful) when he pulled it off.
  • In the film version of The Man in the Iron Mask, King Louis XIV, upon finding out that one of the women he desires is already engaged to a soldier, sends him to the front lines to die in battle. The Spanner in the Works is that the man in question is the son of Athos, the super-serious member of the legendary Three Musketeers.
  • Kangaroo Jack: Charlies and Louis are sent to Australia to deliver money to a hitman named Smith on behalf of Charlie's mob boss stepfather. It turns out that the money Smith's payment for killing Charlie and Louis. Lampshased by Frankie who states that they were to be the bagmen for their own hit.
  • Magnum Force. Dirty Harry suspects that the mob killer disguised as a policeman are actual policemen carrying out Vigilante Executions. Da Chief refuses to believe him and orders a wave of arrests. Harry is sent to arrest a prime suspect, Professional Killer Frank Palancio. Palancio however receives an anonymous tip-off that he's about to be hit by men disguised as police. After what's been happening Palancio is not inclined to take chances and opens fire when the police knock on the door to serve their warrent.
  • In The Mechanic, the mob gets angry at Mr. Bishop for taking on an apprentice without their permission. So they give him a job in Italy to "cowboy" the next hit, where he's bound to be killed.
  • Louis' assistant Rick in Nightcrawler gets too demanding in terms of salary, so Louis sets him up to become Cannon Fodder for a wanted killer they are chasing.
  • In Road to Perdition, Connor Rooney first tries to kill Michael Sullivan Sr. by sending him out on a debt collection run to a speakeasy, with a letter for the guy there who owes some money. When Michael is in the back office, the guy opens the letter and reads it, then breaks out in a cold sweat. This tips Michael off that something is wrong; he sees that the guy has a revolver on his desk poorly hidden beneath a magazine and realises that the guy is going to shoot him. He manages to get the drop on the debtor and fatally shoots him and the bouncer, then grabs the letter Connor gave him: "Kill Sullivan, and all debts are paid." He then instinctively realizes it's a distraction to keep him occupied while Connor goes to Sullivan's house to kill Sullivan's son Michael Jr. for witnessing Connor's murder of Finn McGovern the day before.note 
  • RoboCop (1987) features a case where the two people involved didn't even know each other in person, let alone have a disagreement, as Bob Morton wanted a skilled, experienced police officer to use for his RoboCop project and for said officer to be dead so he could exploit legal loopholes regarding the use of the officer's body, and thus arranged several officers to be sent to the dangerous Metro West section of Detroit. Alex Murphy just has the crappy luck of being killed and selected by Morton.
  • Serpico. Frank Serpico's colleagues are implied to have set him up to get shot in the face. One of Serpico's clean colleagues even warns him of the danger he's facing confronting the NYPD corruption:
    "They don't even have to shoot you. They just have to not be there when you need them."
  • In Seven Ways from Sundown, Lt. Herley sends out Sgt. Henessey and New Meat Seven Jones on their own to bring in Joe Flood, the most dangerous outlaw in the territory. Herley does this because he hopes Flood will kill the pair of them, thus allowing Herley to keep secret the fact that it was his cowardice which led to the death of Seven's brother at Flood's hands.
  • The Shadow: Shiwan Khan invokes this to prove that Lamont Cranston is still Ying Ko, the Butcher of Lhasa, at heart.
    Lamont: By the way, you sent Margo Lane to kill me.
  • Silver River: Mike has been alerted to the presence of Shoshone Indians in the Black Rock Range, murdering white prospectors who enter the area. He sends Stanley there anyway, because he wants Stanley's wife Georgia. A horrified Plato tells the story of the Trope Namer when confronting Mike about this. Mike has an attack of conscience and tries to stop Stanley, but it's too late and Stanley is killed.
  • Star Wars
    • Palpatine does this to Dooku and Grievous. Grievous is especially masterful as it works both ways — the ideal Jedi Trap, as either Obi-Wan or Grievous would die. Especially since getting Obi-Wan out of the way temporarily was the main objective.
    • One of the major reasons Palpatine orchestrated the Clone Wars, and manipulated it to continue for as long as it did, was to reduce the Jedi's numbers and set them up for elimination.
  • The Suicide Squad: After watching Team A be massacred to act as a distraction for Team B, it's heavily implied that Waller intended everyone on Team A to die in the firefight on the beach, and the team is therefore filled with people she either considers completely useless to her or actively wants dead. It's likely that Harley and Boomering in particular are in the latter category, considering how much of a pain in her ass they were in the first movie. What's especially notable, however, is that she puts Rick Flagg on the team she intends to die, and when he survives partially by being rescued by freedom fighters she then orders Bloodsport's squad to attack their camp in a "rescue" mission, quite possibly in the hope of getting Flagg killed in the crossfire. We find out at least part of why she wanted Flagg dead much later - the true purpose of the mission is to cover up decades of human experimentation by the US Government, and Flagg is principled enough to start making plans to reveal it to the press the moment he finds out, making him a major threat to Waller's plans.
  • One of The Three Stooges shorts has the trio work as photographers. When they botch another job, their boss decides to send them on assignment in a country where taking pictures is punishable by death.
  • Where Eagles Dare plays with this — Colonel Turner sends his goons along with the rescue party to ensure Major Smith is killed or captured with no loose ends; the film then subverts the trope by revealing both Smith and Admiral Rolland knew Turner, et al. were German spies, but had to set up the mission to collect evidence.
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the eponymous wizard sends Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West. When she triumphantly returns, we discover that the Wizard didn't expect them to ever come back. (In the book version, it was assumed this was the case too; however, sequels prove he had multiple reasons to want the Witch dead without anyone knowing he was behind it.)

  • Alexis Carew: Mutineer: The brutal and horribly sexist Captain Neals puts Alexis in command of one of HMS Hermione's "boats" (a non-FTL-capable shuttle) while investigating a system where they've been told there are Hanoverese merchantmen to raid. There's no merchantmen, but there is a Hanoverese revenue cutter which is no match for Hermione but more than a match for Alexis' boat. Neals deliberately leaves Alexis behind, clearly intending that she be killed or captured. Alexis instead pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on the cutter, captures it, and flies it home, and the Prize Court gives her full credit for the capture due to Neals' absence.
  • In Scorpia Rising, the ninth book of the Alex Rider series, Zeljan Kurst uses this as part of a larger Xanatos Gambit. He knows in advance that Levi Kroll will attempt to attack him after repeatedly being passed over for leadership positions, so he has him assassinated and plants false evidence on his body in order to force MI6's hand.
  • The short story All's Fair in Love and War by Jeffrey Archer has a twist. Dirty Coward Ralph Dudley Dawson recommends his wife's lover Jamie Corrigan for a dangerous mission rather than sending him himself. Corrigan, on his return, dives into a trench, escapes the enemy fire and gets a Military Medal for his trouble, while Dawson gets a bullet in his forehead as he looks out to see where Corrigan is. Bonus point: since Dawson dies intestate, his wife inherits all his fortune and is free to marry Corrigan.
  • In Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, General John MacArthur had used a similar method to dispose of his wife Leslie's lover Arthur Richmond (who also was his Number Two) during World War I. Afterward, he avoided attending church whenever the David and Bathsheba story was scheduled to be read, and Leslie later succumbed to Death by Despair. Otherwise, it went so well that even Scotland Yard detectives, told afterwards that murder is involved, cannot be sure that it really is. Too bad a certain Hanging Judge and Magnificent Bastard got notice of it and decided to murder him, alongside other Karma Houdinis.
  • In Avalon High, Will's father pulls this off on one of his underlings because he is in love with his wife and wishes to begin Comforting the Widow. It works so perfectly that people suspect as much and it is an open secret in the town. It is also part of the motivation of the book's antagonist, Marco, since it was his father who died.
  • The Belgariad has a rare heroic version: the Bear-Cult is xenophobic, reactionary, and outright seditious, but Queen Islena can't imprison its leader Grodeg because he's also the High Priest of their god. Instead, she calls the bluff on the Cult's militaristic posturing and sends all its leadership to lead the defense against an invading army, which decimates their numbers and results in Grodeg's death.
  • Toward the end of the Belisarius Series, when the good guys have the Malwa on the ropes and are beating them back, the Persian emperor is quite happy to have his most conservative nobles, the ones most opposed to the changes that are happening and the ones most likely to lead a coup against him, lead the charge into battle even though their method of warfare is now obsolete. As he openly gloats, if they win, his own reputation as the leader of a victorious army gets enhanced while they will no doubt suffer many casualties. If they lose, a whole bunch of potential problems have just eliminated themselves in something that won't really affect the larger war.
    • In the later bits of the series, the Persian emperor cheerfully allows troublesome and arrogant members of the Persian nobility to partake in cavalry charges against dug-in enemy troops armed with rifles.
  • In The Bone Doll's Twin, the king sends Lord Rhius on suicidally dangerous missions, to dispense with his influence over his son, second in line for the throne.
  • The Boy on the Bridge features a delayed example. Initially, Brigadier Fry sending Colonel Carlisle (a Commander Contrarian to her General Ripper strategies) out to escort the mission to study zombies in the field was more of Carlisle being Reassigned to Antarctica (although she wouldn't have been that upset if he died). But when Fry start a mini-civil war at the Citadel City while trying to increase her power, she becomes paranoid about Carlisle being able to turn the balance against her if he comes back alive and starts giving orders meant to ensure that he won't.
  • The Childe Cycle novella "Brothers" recounts an incident in which a commandant sent an entire contingent of Dorsai (Badass Army mercenaries) into a certain-death situation, hoping to damage the enemy and avoid having to pay the Dorsai afterward. "One-fourth of Rochmont's fighting strength — one battalion of Dorsai — were sent by Rochmont forth alone, to bleed Helmuth, and die." It didn't turn out well for Helmuth, and even less so for Rochmont. "No more is there a Rochmont town, no more are Rochmont's men. But stands a Dorsai monument to Colonel Jacques Chrétien."
  • Felix Cortez plans to do this in Clear and Present Danger, sending Cartel fighters against the American soldiers while building his own loyal group of fighters to take over the Cartel. The plan get interrupted in the story by other events.
  • In the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher done a couple times.
    • First by Lord Aquitaine with the Crown-loyal soldiers by having his forces either move too early or too late and his temporary ally's men suffer the worst for it.
    • Then Gaius Sextus does this to Lord Rhodes, in revenge for his part in murdering Septimus, Gaius' son.
  • In Curse of the Wolfgirl The Avenaris Guild of Werewolf hunters have an accountant who just cost them their cushy expenses account. Said accountant is transferred to frontline werewolf hunting activity forthwith. Subverted as it turns out this was the accountant's plan all along as part of his Batman Gambit.
  • A Desolation Called Peace: When Nine Hibiscus is promoted to yaotlek (roughly a fleet admiral) to lead a new war, some Ministry staff believe that she's being sent off to die gloriously because the new Emperor sees her outstanding military record as a threat. Subverted when the Emperor admits that she hopes Nine Hibiscus is dangerous enough to survive the appointment.
  • Mentioned by name in the Dr. Thorndyke story The Shadow of the Wolf, in which Thorndyke at one point theorises it was the motivation for a murder. In fact (as the reader already knows) it was not the primary motivation, just an added bonus from the point of view of the murderer who happened to desire his victim's (unhappy) wife.
  • Egil's Saga: For two years in succession, the tax-collectors of King Hakon have been ambushed and killed on the forest-road returning from the outlying province of Varmland. The third year, Hakon forces Egil's friend Thorstein to choose between collecting the taxes from Varmland or being outlawed. Egil offers to go in Thorstein's place, and since the king's messengers know Hakon is ill-disposed towards Egil too, they accept, calculating that any possible outcome will please Hakon. The journey is undertaken in winter, the king's men desert Egil and his companions, and the Varmlanders ambush them with superior numbers twice; yet Egil succeeds in the mission.
  • In Ender's Game, Rose De Nose, the commander of Rat Army, tells his new recruit Ender that he can't use his holodesk until he freezes two soldiers in the same battle. Ender ignores him and uses it anyway, so Rose tries to humiliate him in battle by ordering him to be the first to enter the Battle Room, meaning he'll be completely alone against the enemy army. However, Ender turns it into a feat of glory by attacking Centipede Army while they're still entering the Battle Room, causing him to rack up an incredible kill count in a matter of seconds before he's frozen. After that, Rose leaves him alone.
  • The Father Brown mystery "The Sign of the Broken Sword" by G. K. Chesterton. An interesting twist on both tropes: The murderer, General St. Claire, killed his victim first, and then planned otherwise pointless assault so that it would happen at exactly the same spot, thus hiding his victim among other casualties.
  • In the novel Fatherland the Gestapo chief Globus sends the cadet Jost to the Eastern front, after Jost witnessed Globus dumping the corpse of a former high-ranking Nazi official into a lake.
  • In Flashman and the Mountain of Light, the Sikh ruling class deliberately starts a war with the British empire so that their unruly and regicidal army will be slaughtered.
    • Flashman himself does this in Flashman and the Dragon to a subordinate who knows too much, although indirectly by tricking him into volunteering.
  • Fridthjof's Saga: Because Fridthjof has refused to join the royal levy and visited princess Ingibjorg against the prohibition of her brothers, the kings Helgi and Halfdan, the kings demand that Fridthjof makes amends for his offences by sailing to Orkney to collect the kings' tribute. Fridthjof accepts the condition, but as soon as he has departed, the kings hire two witches to summon a sea storm with the intent to drown Fridthjof, and which Fridthjof survives only narrowly.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, this often happens to the entire regiment, usually when someone wants to get rid of "Gaunt and his damn Ghosts". (In the worst cases, they resort to Unfriendly Fire.)
  • The whole plot of Going Postal. Moist von Lipwig, who was sentenced to death for fraud, is instead tasked with reviving the Post Office. The last four Postmasters have all died on the job. If he succeeds, great! If he dies too, well, that's just his sentence being carried out. (Granted, Vetinari would prefer if Moist survived, and might be amenable to reasonable requests for assistance toward this, but he has so little information on how and why Postmasters have been dying he has no better strategy available.)
  • Harry Potter:
    • Late in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while the teachers who are their respective Heads of Houses gather inside the staff room to decide on the best course of action after the "Slythrin's monster" had just taken Ginny into the Chamber of Secrets and a message made with blood was left behind in its wake, Gilderoy Lockhart barges in. Snape promptly suggests for Lockhart, who has spent many an hour propping himself up to the student body at every opportunity through the whole year, to personally tackle the monster himself, garnering support from the other Heads of Houses and causing Lockhart to make up a feeble lie before leaving.note 
      McGonagall: That's gotten him out from under our feet.
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco Malfoy is assigned the Impossible Task of killing Dumbledore, with the clear understanding that he will be killed if he fails. Narcissa Malfoy and Dumbledore (correctly) deduce that this mission is just a way for Voldemort to punish Draco's father, Lucius, for his slew of recent mistakes. Averted when Snape performs the deed instead; the reasons behind it are left for the final book.
  • Downplayed in Honor Harrington: Honor Among Enemies. Several of Honor's political enemies, including Klaus Hauptmann, arrange for her to be given command of a flotilla of Q-ships to hunt pirates in the Silesian Confederacy. They reason that either she succeeds and improves their bottom line, or the pirates kill her. Either way, they win.
  • In Catching Fire, book two of The Hunger Games, President Snow has a problem; many districts are beginning to rebel, using Katniss as their inspiration. An obvious death would just incite them further. What can he do? Just coincidentally discover that the Quarter Quell makes her fight in The Games again.
    • The president Coin tries this on Katniss in Mockingjay by sending her into battle with someone brainwashed by the Capitol to want to kill her, hoping that she will die and become a martyr for the rebel cause, as opposed to a possible rival.
  • In The Initiate Brother, Emperor Akantsu deems Lord Shonto a threat to his throne, and assigns him to a border province while secretly encouraging barbarians to invade it. The hope is that even if Shonto survives, his inevitable defeat will permanently discredit him. The Emperor later throws his treacherous ex-lieutenant and his "useless" son into the same trap, just for good measure. The problem is, the barbarians arrive in much greater force than the Emperor expects (perhaps having noted well that the empire is not too big on the whole "unity" concept). They nearly conquer the empire.
  • In Island in the Sea of Time, Walker encourages the moronic Pamela Lisketter and her followers in their supremely idiotic plan to steal a ship and travel to Mexico to educate the pre-Columbian civilizations, and even suggests that they kidnap Martha Cofflin and keep her as a hostage, because he knows that they'll all probably get killed and their ill-conceived venture will serve as a distraction to keep Marian Alston and the rest of the Coast Guard off of his ass while he sets up shop across the Atlantic.
  • The Lee Goldberg novel King City has the borderline corrupt police chief send Sergeant Wade, who embarrassed him by helping with a Federal investigation, to reopen a precinct in the city's worst neighborhood, Darwin Gardens. For context, Darwin Gardens is so overrun with gangs that it's been erased from the city maps, the last police officers who actually ventured inside (by accident while chasing a car thief) were immediately gunned down, and the Chief only gives Wade two rookies to help with the precinct and forbids sending him any backup, even to investigate murders. Wade spends the novel working hard to try and turn this into a Reassignment Backfire.
  • At the end of the first book of The Lightbringer Series, the Color Prince successfully pulls one of these on his alleged master, King Garadul. The Color Prince convinces Garadul (already hot-headed and erratic) to fight on the front lines, allegedly to inspire their soldiers but in fully knowledge that there are numerous combatants on the other side capable of killing Garadul and willing to go out of their way to do it. Sure enough, Garadul dies, the Color Prince gets to promote himself from Dragon-in-Chief to full Big Bad, and he gets to cement his followers loyalty by using Garadul as a martyr.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, the Kel Command agrees to send Jedao to recapture the Fortress of Scattered Needles partly in hopes that he'd either get killed off for good or give them a reason to disregard Can't Kill You, Still Need You.
  • In The Man with the Golden Gun, this is actually why Bond is sent against "Pistols" Scaramanga in the first place. After being brainwashed by the Soviets and nearly killing M, the head of MI6 decides to send him against the world's most dangerous gunslinger alone. Either he succeeds, or he dies and suffers a just punishment for treason.
  • Zack, the Anti-Hero of The Mental State, does this to the rapists living in the same prison as him. He recruits them to tunnel under a metal fence connecting the men's prison to the women's prison, claiming that he wants to let them have their way with the female inmates. This turns out to be a ruse and he really wanted to create a means whereby the two genders could interact more freely and even share some alone time together. He tipped off the women in advance, who were lying in wait for the rapists when they pulled themselves out of the hole on the other side, leaving them exhausted, trapped and completely at the mercy of some very angry female offenders.
  • Discussed in Paladin of Shadows: Unto the Breach, between Mike and Anastasia, in regards to Kiril, fiance of Gretchen, but ultimately rejected as a solution to both Mike and Kiril being madly in love with Gretchen, the latter of which was formally arranged to marry her by Keldara custom.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: Daughter of the Empire opens with Mara of the Acoma learning that the Lord of the Minwanabi had successfully executed one that resulted in the death of her father, her brother, and most of her family's troops, leaving her as Ruling Lady of her now critically weakened house. She spends the next two books rebuilding her house from the losses suffered from the gambit and getting revenge.
  • The Robotech novelization says that War Correspondent Sue Graham was attached to the Jupiter Fleet trying to free the Earth from the Invid by Lisa Hayes-Hunter because she was trying to get too friendly with Rick. Lisa wasn't specifically trying to get Sue killed (though she did that on her own), she just wanted her several thousand light-years away from her husband.
    • Ironically, this happened to the Hunters themselves in The Sentinels, when T.R. Edwards managed to get them both (and their supporters like Max and Miyria) sent off with the Sentinels.
  • In the Shadowrun novel Lone Wolf, the undercover cop protagonist mouths off to the war chief of the street gang he's infiltrated, and nearly falls prey to this trope the next time he's sent on an errand for the gang. He lampshades the analogy between his predicament and Uriah's.
  • In The Shahnameh, Gushtasp, trying to renege on his promise to hand the throne over to his son Esfandiyār, sends him to bring Rostam to the Shah in chains. Luckily though, the curse that will torment the killer of Esfandiyār can see through this.
  • Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold:
    • The (failed) invasion of Escobar is a massive Uriah Gambit on the part of Emperor Ezar to dispose of his Sketchy Successor Crown Prince Serg and Serg's worst enablers, and weaken the faction supporting him. Cordelia, putting the pieces of the plan together, describes it as "put all the bad eggs in one basket... and then drop the basket."
    • Earlier in the book, somebody else tried to kill Aral Vorkosigan this way, twice. It didn't work, mostly thanks to Aral's genius for ending up in a Reassignment Backfire.
  • In The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Crooked Man", the victim (named James) was overheard arguing with his wife, and she was heard to say the name David. It turned out that she was alluding to the Trope Namer. The eponymous Crooked Man (named Henry) was the victim of her husband's Uriah Gambit some thirty years earlier, and she had found him in the homeless shelter where she volunteered.
  • In "The Tale of Beren and Luthien" from The Silmarillion, Thingol orders Beren to bring him one of the Silmarils, enchanted jewels currently residing in the Big Bad's crown. Ostensibly this is as a bride-price to allow Beren to marry Thingol's daughter Luthien, but in reality it's a method of executing Beren without technically breaking his promise to Luthien that if she revealed the name of her lover, Thingol wouldn't kill or imprison him.
  • Since kinslaying is a huge taboo in A Song of Ice and Fire, people occasionally have to get creative when it comes to getting rid of unwanted family members. In one battle, Tywin Lannister sends his son Tyrion to lead the least experienced part of his forces that he wants the enemy to overwhelm to lure them into a trap. Without informing Tyrion of the plan. It turns out the enemy doesn't fall for the trap, and the Mountain Clansmen Tyrion is leading into battle are so badass they throw back their attackers instead of breaking themselves. It would probably have worked anyway, but the army they're facing turns out be a diversionary force much smaller than what they expected to meet.
    • Cersei deals with her political rivals the Tyrells by sending them to besiege Dragonstone, knowing full well that Loras Tyrell will rashly lead a full-scale attack, making this is a simultaneous Batman, Uriah and Xanatos Gambit. It doesn't quite work, Loras successfully takes the castle and is (supposedly) badly injured in the attack. While that pleases Cersei, since Loras was the leader it's treated as a Tyrell victory, making them more powerful.
    • At the end of the third book, Janos Slynt sends Jon Snow out to treat with Mance among the wildlings, with the secret mission to assassinate him. If he does this, the wildlings would immediately slaughter him. And as Jon's recent Fake Defector gambit had already put his loyalty into question, Janos could have him executed for being a traitor if he returned without slaying Mance. In a rare instance of a Deus ex Machina being used in the series, Stannis's army arrives at the last possible moment and deals with the wildling threat instead.
    • One of Slynt's cronies, Ser Allister Thorne accuse Jon, after the latter is named Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, of pulling one of these when Jon orders him to lead a ranging beyond the Wall, given that territory is now overrun by wildlings, undead and worse. Thorne grudgingly takes the mission as he knows Jon would like nothing more than an excuse to execute Thorne for insubordination, the same way he did to Slynt.
    • Roose Bolton does this with a skill verging on Magnificent Bastard status. From the moment he realises that Robb Stark can't win the war, Roose starts whittling down the forces under his command by placing them in situations where they'll be cut off and destroyed by Lannister forces. By the time of the Red Wedding, only his own men and the Karstarks (who have their own grudge against Robb) are left. In ADWD, faced with the Freys and Manderlys at each other's throats and potentially plotting treason, he sends then out into the snow to fight the forces of King Stannis, while keeping his own men safe in Winterfell. This one could backfire though, as it puts them in prime position to betray him and ally with his enemies. Particularly the Manderlys, who are planning to do so anyway.
    • In a rare 'good guy' example, Daenerys Targaryen sends Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy on a Suicide Mission as a punishment for their betrayals/lies; but when they survive, she accepts that the gods have a different fate in mind for them.
    • In The Sworn Sword, Lady Rohanne Webber has Ser Duncan fight the Longinch in a Combat by Champion. The Longinch is an unwelcome suitor who is scaring off anyone else who shows an interest in her. Ser Duncan is proving stubborn by refusing to stand aside and let her invade Ser Eustace Osgrey's lands. She gets them to fight each other, then marries Ser Eustace, getting his lands anyway. Having taken a shine to Rohanne himself, Ser Duncan is rather miffed.
  • Duke Roger tries this on Prince Jon in Song of the Lioness, as Jon's birth inconveniently took away Roger's place in the line of succession. After a plague and goading him into exploring the Black City failed, Roger got himself a generalship in the Tusaine War and ordered Jon into an extremely exposed position. (This also failed.)
  • The Trope Namer is referenced in the Starbuck novel "Battle Flag" by Bernard Cornwell, as Colonel Swynyard is ordered to send Starbuck and his company out as skirmishers close to enemy troops, expecting the rest of the battalion to follow them. They never do, leaving them on their own and facing overwhelming opposition. Starbuck survives and Swynyard is perhaps fortunate that he has a Faith–Heel Turn in the meantime and apologises to him. The general that gave Swynyard his orders isn't so easily forgiven.
  • Done in the Mirror Universe novel Star Trek Novel Verse: Dark Mirror to Jack Crusher's mirror counterpart by Picard's to take possession of Beverly. The main universe's Picard is horrified to learn this.
    • Also popped up in Q-Squared, where Trelane convinced an alternate version of Jack Crusher who didn't die that in every other universe Jean-Luc and Beverly ended up together at some point after his death. This universe spared Jack Crusher at the cost of his son Wesley, which drove Beverly away and eventually into the arms of Picard, who was Crusher's first officer after being broken in rank. Trelane even mentions Uriah and David, which pushes Crusher over edge into murderous jealousy.
  • The Way of Kings (first book of The Stormlight Archive): A massive one forms the climax, where Sadeas arranges a joint operation with Dalinar using his own bridges to cross the chasms, and then retreats and leaves Dalinar's army to die. Fortunately Bridge Four is on hand with a secret weapon, and the gambit backfires.
  • As the title may hint, the poem "The Story of Uriah," by Rudyard Kipling, is a story about this trick being pulled on someone in colonial India.
  • There's a somewhat bizarre example in Super Minion. The test subject's core includes restrictions that ban the subject from damaging the core. When it escapes its holding cell and provokes a superpowered tiger to attack and destroy a decoy, it also moves the segments of the core which contain the safety code, along with the code to force it to obey commands, into the decoy to be destroyed.
  • The very plot of Tale of Fedot the Strelets, a poem by Russian writer Leonid Filatov (basically a retelling of the Fairy Tale example above). When Fedot, a strelets, married a beautiful fairy Marusya, his Tsar wanted the girl for himself. He started giving Fedot impossible tasks so that he could execute him for incompetence. Two of them Marusya managed to accomplish with her magic, but the third one was, literally, "Bring me the-thing-that-cannot-be". Fedot gets away by setting off on a journey, finding the "impossible" AND raising a revolution against Tsar.
  • In Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, it was revealed that Greedo was set up to face Han Solo alone because Goa knew he [Greedo] wasn't up to it, and had been hired to get rid of Greedo by a tyrant who had condemned Greedo's entire clan to extermination. (Goa didn't have the heart to pull the trigger himself.)
  • In the J.A. Johnstone western Texas Gundown, Corrupt Corporate Executive Cornelius Standish sends his nephew Seymour (who has a share of the family businesses that he would inherit and whose incompetence is costing him money) to set up a "branch office" for their dried goods business in the wild west. The location of said branch office is a a hotbed of robbery and murder which eats anyone who shows a sign of weakness alive. This turns into a Reassignment Backfire though, first when Seymour gets a ''somewhat'' exaggerated reputation as being such a "lily-livered" coward that none of the self-respecting outlaws of the town will demean themselves by fighting him, and then when the young salesman Took a Level in Badass and becomes the town hero.
  • Dark Force Rising, the middle book of The Thrawn Trilogy, had an interesting variation: Borsk Fey'lya, going out to the site of the Katana Fleet in a ship crewed solely by his most ardent supporters, following right after some political adversaries, ended up ambushed by a superior Imperial force. He got the ship and its escort to turn around and start to flee, leaving Luke, Han, and Rogue Squadron high and dry. However, he got tricked into an Engineered Public Confession in which he stated his belief that those who weren't with him were his enemies, no one cared if their enemies died, and he wouldn't lose his allies, who were of purely political significance, to anything as outmoded as loyalty. His ship and its escort promptly turned back for a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • This was also the reason that Palpatine supported the Outbound Flight project. Eighteen Jedi, six of them Masters, heading off on a dangerous mission into the Unknown Regions... why, anything could happen out there. The fifty thousand civilians with them? Too bad. (And most of those civilians were exactly the kind of people who'd chafe under the Empire anyway; once found again, many still respect Palpatine for his avowed commitment to preserving the independence of the Old Republic's member worlds.)
  • In Strength and Honor, book four of the Tour of the Merrimack series by R. M. Meluch, the emperor of Rome packs his space fleet (yes, you read that right) with political enemies. If they win, good. If they lose, good.
  • The War Against the Chtorr.
    • In the first novel, the Uncle Ira group give McCarthy (who's been stirring up trouble thus drawing attention to their top secret organisation) a routine assignment to guard a Chtorran worm being displayed for a conference. Unknown to him, the case holding the worm has been deliberately weakened. Unknown to the Uncle Ira group, McCarthy has gone out to the firing range and trained himself to use the flechette rifle he's been issued with. McCarthy stops the worm's rampage becoming a hero in the process, so Uncle Ira decides to make the best of a bad situation and let him join for real.
    • After humiliating an annoying but politically-connected officer assigned to him, Captain McCarthy goes on a mission to investigate some Man Eating Plants, only to find he's being denied technical support, his security team has been ordered to withdraw without telling him, and there's a massive duststorm coming up that no-one's warned them about. He's finally extracted by a mysterious benefactor, but loses several members of his team in the process.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, when Vespanian complains to Fulgrim that the captains who should have been supporting Captain Demeter didn't, and if it weren't for the intervention of other men, the captain and his men would have died, he realizes that this was exactly Fulgrim's intent. Then Fulgrim kills Vespanian.
  • In addition to Unfriendly Fire, this is one of Tigerclaw's tactics in Warrior Cats when he's still a Villain with Good Publicity before his exile:
    • Tigerclaw sets his apprentice Ravenpaw (who had witnessed him killing the Clan deputy) dangerous hunting tasks: first at Snakerocks (normally avoided by the cats in summer due to poisonous adders — but Ravenpaw actually killed an adder!), and then in ShadowClan territory.
    • He later suspects that Ravenpaw told Fireheart what he had seen. During battle, when Fireheart is fighting for his life and calling for help, Tigerclaw just sits there and watches; fortunately Fireheart manages to fight his way out.
    • For another attempt at Fireheart's life, Tigerclaw orders him to try and cross a flooded stream using a spindly branch caught in the water. When Fireheart's right in the middle and Longtail isn't watching, he tries to Make It Look Like an Accident by knocking the branch loose from the rock it's caught on. Longtail saves Fireheart from drowning.
  • Unintentionally in David Drake's The Way to Glory. Daniel Leary is asked by his father Corder Leary to kill his CO, Commander Slidell, whom Corder believes just got acquitted of murdering Corder's secret love-child.note  Daniel has no intention of doing this, but much later, Daniel hatches a plan for a Suicide Mission, intending to command it himself for tactical reasons. However, the paranoid Slidell thinks he's just being a Glory Hound, takes the mission over, and doesn't come back. Daniel still beats himself up over it and later uses his connections to expedite Slidell's share of the subsequent prize payouts to his heirs.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand al'Thor only brings his enemies on a campaign to fight the Seanchan. Why waste good men?
  • Wulfrik: Several happen over the course of the book:
    • King Viglundr of the Sarls charges Wulfrik with killing King Torgald of the Aeslings in battle, agreeing to give him his daughter Hjordis in exchange. Wulfrik succeeds, but at the victory feast his drunken boasting causes the Chaos gods to curse him with an immortality spent proving his boasts true, meaning he can't settle down, marry Hjordis and become kingof the Sarls as he wants. This suits Viglundr perfectly: he never intended to marry Hjordis to Wulfrik but to Torgald's son Sveinbjorn (who became king of the Aeslings with Torgald's death). Unfortunately, Wulfrik keeps surviving the horrible monsters and champions the gods send him to kill, meaning his fame and glory grows every time he returns to the Sarls, and Viglundr can't openly send him to die.
    • A Kurgan shaman reveals he can lift Wulfrik's curse in exchange for a magical artifact. This turns out to be a ploy on his part to get Wulfrik killed, having prophecied that Wulfrik would be his doom. When even sending Wulfrik to Ulthuan with no way back fails to kill him, the shaman actually an Imperial wizard flees to Wisborg, only for Wulfrik to show up with a Norscan army.
    • This was also a Uriah Gambit on Sveinbjorn's part, which Wulfrik quickly turns to his own advantage: Sveinbjorn intended to cut the longships belonging to non-followers adrift on the return trip through the Warp. Wulfrik instead strands them miles deep in Imperial territory (and displays Sveinbjorn's banner as he does it, ensuring any survivors will think it was Sveinbjorn's plan from the start). Then Wulfrik (having murdered Sveinbjorn) gleefully explains to Viglundr that the tribes of the abandoned warriors will demand compensation, the Aeslings will blame Vinglundr for the death of Sveinbjorn, and Viglundr's allies will abandon him on seeing how many people are besieging him, ensuring the complete destruction of everything Viglundr holds dear. Including, unfortunately, Hjordis, which Wulfrik had to sacrifice to Chaos.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100 opens with one hundred juvenile delinquents being sent on a mission to the Earth's surface, to see if the radiation from the nuclear war has subsided enough to make the planet livable. According to everyone's calculations, Earth shouldn't be livable again for another hundred years, and all of the kids they sent down are expected to die. That's fine as far as the Council's concerned, since their real goal is to conserve their limited oxygen supply by reducing the population; the only reason the kids were given their "mission" instead of just being slaughtered is that, legally, the Council's not allowed to execute children.
  • Angel: Angel has one in the final episodes by sending Lindsey to kill one of the leaders of the Black Thorn; in case he survived, Angel sent Lorne to finish him off.
  • In the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Corporal Punishment", when Edmund is court-martialed, and Baldrick and George fail to do anything to save him, he volunteers them to a mission named "Operation Certain Death" (though they apparently manage to survive). However, since we only hear Capt. Blackadder's side of a telephone conversation in which the operation is mentioned, it's possible that he was just making it up, knowing the two dimwits would fall for it.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: An ally who thinks Buffy is getting a little too inquisitive sends her out to investigate what's presented as a possible low-level threat (maybe just a raccoon triggering their sensors):
    Buffy: (speaking through a monitor) Professor Walsh. That simple little recon you sent me on? Wasn't a raccoon. Turns out it was me trapped in the sewers with a faulty weapon and two of your pet demons. If you think that's enough to kill me, you really don't know what a Slayer is. Trust me when I say you're gonna find out.
  • This is one of the main strategies of Michael in Burn Notice. He very rarely lethally shoots someone, but far more often gains their trust and sets them up on a course where they will be killed by their accomplices.
  • In Community episode Modern Warfare Jeff discovers the position of the Glee Club by telling Pierce ''not'' to come over to him.
    • In the Western-motif second season paintball episode, Pierce returns the favor (having become something of a villain within the group), sending Jeff out with blanks instead of real ammo in the hope that he would get "killed" on their mission to find the stash of last year's equipment.
  • In the Dollhouse episode "True Believer," Boyd attempts to get Echo pulled off of the job she's on because it's become too dangerous. However, Dominic (who believes Echo is becoming a liability to the Dollhouse) refuses to allow Boyd to extract Echo. When it seems that Echo is going to manage to scrape out of her situation after all, Dominic goes above and beyond this trope: he takes a private jet to the scene and slugs Echo in the face while she's in a burning building, and then flees with the hope that Echo will remain unconscious and burn to death. It doesn't work.
    • After a handler is caught raping the Active in his care, Adelle offers him another chance to prove himself by killing Ballard's girlfriend, Mellie. Too bad for him the target was a sleeper active...
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Near the end of Season 1, Tyrion suspects (with good reason) that his father Tywin is pulling this on him by making him lead the inexperienced Mountain Clans in battle. He calls him out on it too, saying that there have to be less costly means of getting him killed.
    • In Season 4, Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt attempt this against Jon Snow by allowing him to lead a dangerous mission against a group of mutineers from the Night's Watch, hoping that he'll die in the attempt, since they know that he's quite popular within the Watch and might actually have a chance of becoming the next Lord Commander if they don't take steps to ensure otherwise. Ultimately, they fail (as Jon succeeds in his mission, arguably boosting his popularity even more), and in the next season, Jon does become the new Lord Commander.
    • Cersei takes Ros hostage to ensure Tyrion doesn't intend to do this to Joffrey at the Battle of Blackwater.
  • In the second series of Horatio Hornblower, Buckland orders Horatio to blow up the Spanish fort on his own and several characters accuse him of envying Horatio's natural leadership and youth. Including Captain Pellew, on the board of a court-martial. Since Horatio is at the court-martial too we know it didn't work, mainly because Kennedy and Bush quietly stayed behind to help him.
  • Happens a couple of times in La Femme Nikita (the TV series).
  • Revealed to be the situation in the Law & Order episode "Legacy." A woman unsuccessfully tries to have her daughter-in-law's second husband murdered, and she tells the police that she'll admit to everything if they take another look at her son Rick's suspicious death. It turns out that Rick and the second husband, Jim, had been best friends; Jim had been Comforting the Widow after Rick died. Of course, Jim had been the reason Rick had died, because of his obsession with Rick's wife Robin, and what had finally pushed Rick's mother over the edge was Jim's intention to legally adopt her granddaughter. Robin is innocent, having had no idea that Jim had arranged Rick's death until the police proved it; the episode ends with a mention of her serving Jim with divorce papers. As the DA puts it, "Gotta be tough finding out you married your stalker."
  • The Lost episode "The Other Woman" strongly implies that Ben sent Goodwin on a risky mission to infiltrate the tail section survivors because he knew Goodwin was having an affair with Juliet and if Goodwin died then he could have Juliet for himself.
    • And again in "Sundown" where Dogen sends Sayid out to kill Esau/NotLocke/Jacob's Enemy with a knife. Sayid, being the survivalist badass that he is, knows it's a Uriah Gambit but goes anyway. He lives. Dogen doesn't.
      • He might not have done this actually. He told Sayid to not let "Locke" speak a word, but Sayid didn't stab him until after he'd said "Hello, Sayid". If he had followed Dogen's instructions, perhaps it would have worked.
  • Dyson's flashbacks in the Lost Girl episode "Brother Fae of the Wolves" ultimately lead to this trope being played out by his King. Not on him, but on his best friend. As in the case of The Bible, it was so the King could get the guy's wife. Dyson was so disgusted that he quit his "pack", which is a very rare thing for wolf shifters.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode, "The Tooth Shall Set You Free," the doctors discover that a racist commander has a particularly slimy way of dealing with the African-American soldiers he was assigned with. Namely, he always orders them into dangerous duty instead of white soldiers in hopes of them earning points to be transferred out faster — if they aren't killed in action, of course. The medical staff arrange a sting to force him to resign his commission.
    • Threatened in the episode "For The Good Of The Outfit". A South Korean village gets leveled by Friendly Fire from the US Army. Hawkeye and Trapper prepare a report on the incident, which is then conveniently lost in bureaucracy and the guy to whom they gave it is reassigned. When they keep pressing the issue of getting the Army to take responsibility for what happened, a general comes to speak to them and subtly hints that they will be reassigned to a battalion aid station (where fighting is heaviest and they'll probably be killed in action) if they don't drop the case. Averted when Margaret and Frank prepare their own report on the incident.
  • Referenced in Merlin (2008). Morgana claims that Uther sent Gorlois into battle and withheld backup, which resulted in Gorlois' death. It's never confirmed that Gorlois' death was intentional; but since Uther had an affair with the wife of Gorlois and fathered Morgana, it's certainly possible.
  • It turned out that future NCIS director Leon Vance was first recruited specifically because he was a loner with no one who will miss him. The original idea was to send him on a suicide mission in Europe and use his death to justify an increase in funding to NIS's European branch. Needless to say, Vance turned out to be a better agent than expected and actually managed to accomplish the mission with help from Badass Israeli Mossad agent Eli David.
  • This is tried on T-Bag in Prison Break, multiple times. But he always comes back.
  • Private Schulz: After being caught with his hand in the till, Schulz is sent on a Suicide Mission to England from which he barely escapes (as the entire German spy network is in British hands). At the beginning of the next episode, Major Neuheim is toasting those unsung heroes who parachuted behind enemy lines and never returned, when a Smug Snake Gestapo agent brings in Schulz.
  • In the "His Last Vow" episode of Sherlock, Holmes has, in order to save Watson from a possible treason charge, killed Big Bad Charles Magnussen in cold blood. The government bigwigs quickly realize that, given Holmes saved the entire country from Moriarty last series and is the most popular man in Britain, imprisoning him for this crime would be political suicide for everyone involved. Instead they decide to send him on an extremely difficult mission for MI6 in the Middle East, presumably hoping he'd die "heroically" and thus keep the public happy. But before his plane even leaves the ground, Moriarty turns out to be not nearly as dead as he seemed.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The head of the Lucian Alliance, trying to knock off a popular underling, sends him on a suicide mission to capture the Odyssey. Problem is, the guy is clever enough to pull it off and is well aware that he wasn't supposed to succeed.
    • In the Season 5 episode "The Warrior", K'tano (ostensibly the leader of an army of rebel Jaffa, formerly the first prime of the minor Goa'uld Imhotep who he killed), sends Teal'c on a suicide mission against the System Lord Yu. Yu captures Teal'c and spares him, allowing him to return to the rebel army and inform them that "K'tano" is not a Jaffa at all, but is in fact Imhotep himself, trying to build himself a power base with the free Jaffa. He was hoping Teal'c would get himself killed to prevent his eventual exposure as Imhotep.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Court Martial", Kirk is accused of having done this to Finney who turns out to have faked his own death in order to frame Kirk.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, during the Dominion War, Klingon Chancellor Gowron felt threatened by General Martok's increasing popularity, so he repeatedly sent Martok on near-suicidal missions (instead of using him where he'd be most effective). It didn't work; Worf killed Gowron in a duel over this and gave Martok the chancellorship.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In the Mirror Universe, Archer mutinies against Captain Forrest when he refuses to go on a risky mission into Tholian territory to steal an advanced Starfleet vessel from the 'normal' universe. Forrest retakes the ship with the help of T'Pol, but is forced to release Archer on orders from Starfleet, who want him to go ahead with the mission. Forrest sends Archer on the Boarding Party and orders T'Pol to go with him, making it clear Archer isn't to come back alive. When Enterprise is destroyed a short time, later Archer becomes captain by default, so T'Pol never carries out these orders.
  • In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Forever Ambergris", a jealous war photographer sends his young protege to take photos in a village that had been ravaged by germ warfare, knowing that the younger man would catch the same disease that killed the villagers and die, leaving his girlfriend free for the older man's taking. Unfortunately for him, the younger guy's girl gets suspicious and deliberately exposes both of them to the same disease in revenge.
  • In the final episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Oswald Danes is the guy that ends up acting as a suicide bomber when the team needs one.
  • The usual practice in The Unit for officers who are discovered to be sleeping with a shooter's wife is for the shooters to put the officer on trial and then execute him to prevent this sort of thing. When Mac finds out that Tiffy and Colonel Ryan have been sleeping with each other in the season three premiere, Jonas stops Mac from killing Ryan there and then, and states a trial can wait until they've dealt with the more pressing problem of the terrorists who are targeting them.
  • Vera: The Victim of the Week in "Sundancers" is revealed to have pulled this in Afghanistan. Learning one of his subordinates was having an affair with his wife, he sent the soldier into a supposedly cleared building to pronounce the all-clear, knowing that there was still an IED inside. The bomb went off, killing the soldier.
  • Survivors: This series is often about political conflicts, in one case resolving in a Uriah Gambit. In the two-part episode "Lights of London", a post-pandemic London of under 500 residents is mostly concerned with surviving rat attacks, mourning the vast majority of people, and trying not to think about the very real possibility of human civilization collapsing within weeks... which is technically suppressed information, but easy enough for any resident to figure out and thus suppressed mostly by denial. Two of the biggest exceptions, the fascist Mayor of London and his last remaining anarchist critic, find out that London is indeed the last surviving population center, a situation where a principled revolutionary can be forced into a suicide mission due to surviving Londoners' high tolerance to the virus. The Mayor predictably attempts this out of any well-meaning sycophants' view, but then uses a battle plan against the protagonist that is so openly insane, his ditzy right-hand man finally wakes up to reality and abandons him to a well-deserved death.

  • This starts becoming standard operating procedure for Sarge in Red vs. Blue. Especially when Grif is the one involved, but not always limited to him. One sequence involves storming the enemy base in a single-file line, with Sarge at the back to 'evaluate' how well it goes. Grif is surprised he isn't on the list ... until he's told his corpse is to be used to jam a deathtrap at the gates. The "deathtrap" moves at about five miles per hour, is easily avoidable, and the cut to what it would look like shows Grif's corpse having absolutely no effect on its movement.

  • Attempted by both boss and minion on each other in Ravages of Time: Southeastern warlord Sun Ce with the "win-win" part in trying to bleed the Taiping sect's devotees by using them as canon fodder during his siege of a fortress in Liu Biao's territory, while said Taiping sect plans to leave him "high and dry" during it. Unfortunately for Taiping, Sun Ce is hardy enough to survive until for the Sun navy arrives to reinforce him, complete with their commander declaring that the Taiping sect's abandoning of Sun Ce gives the Suns an excuse to purge the Taiping...

  • Elvis Costello has said that his song "Oliver's Army" was based on the premise that 'they always get a working class boy to do the killing'.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible: Used twice in the Books of Samuel:
    • This is named for an incident where, desiring Uriah's gorgeous wife Bathsheba, King David had him sent into battle as arrow fodder. David had first slept with Bathsheba while her husband was off on the front lines. Then, when David found out he'd gotten Bathsheba pregnant, he tried to cover it up. The first coverup attempt ("Hey, Uriah! Buddy! Doin' a great job as an officer, my man! As a reward, I'm gonna give you a little vacation. Here, have a drink... or two or three... now go home, relax, enjoy an evening with your wife. You've earned it!") failed because Uriah refused to accept privileges that his men weren't being allowed (even after David got him drunk). Being unable to explain away Bathsheba's pregnancy the normal way, David pulled the Uriah Gambit as a probably spur-of-the-moment backup plan. Joab, the general David gave the order to (who also knew what David had done), was forced to put all of his troops within arrow range, then pull all of them but Uriah back, to make sure Uriah was killed. In a passive aggressive What the Hell, Hero?, Joab returned to Jerusalem to say something along the lines of: "The deed is done. Oh, and by the way, here are the names of all of the other guys who had to die by your strategy for no reason." David still married Bathsheba. As punishment, God cursed David's house with war and public shame, and his child from adultery was struck with a terrible illness, dying shortly after birth. (They later had another son, Solomon.) Said war and shame also resulted in the death of two of David's sons (they were both monsters, but David was still very torn up about it).
      • In Judaism, in the Tanakh this also happens and is considered what ultimately dooms the Davidic line at the cosmological level, thus dooming Jewish sovereignty and independence altogether.
    • Earlier in 1 Samuel, David was on the receiving end of this, when seeking the hand of King Saul's daughter Michal in marriage. Saul, who didn't like David and saw him as a threat to his authority (especially after that whole Goliath thing), but couldn't kill or banish David because he was charismatic and popular (especially after that whole Goliath thing), sent David on a number of impossible missions from which Saul did not expect David to return. Inevitably, David survived, often doing more than Saul requested (for instance, in the famous quest to take 100 foreskins of the Philistines—which meant "fight 100 Philistines, kill them, and disfigure their corpses", not exactly an easy task—David took 200), much to Saul's chagrin. Eventually, Saul just gave up and let David marry Michal.
  • Classical Mythology has many examples of this.
    • The myth of Perseus killing Medusa happened because the King of Serifos, Polydectes, ordered him to do it so he could marry Perseus' mother Danae while he was away. Polydectes believed slaying Medusa was impossible, so he thought Perseus would either die trying or exile himself in shame. Backfires massively when Perseus, after killing Medusa and rescuing the princess Andromeda, learns that Polydectes has snagged Danae, thus he rushes back home to save his mom and turns Polydectes and his court to stone by way of Medusa's head as punishment.
    • Bellerophon refuses the advances of the queen of Tiryns, who then tricks her husband Proetus into believing that Bellerophon has tried to rape her. Bound by Sacred Hospitality not to kill his guest, Proetus sends Bellerophon to his father-in-law Iobates, King of Lycia, bearing a missive asking Iobates to kill its bearer. However, Iobates feasts with Bellerophon before reading the missive, and after he finally reads the letter fears that simply killing Bellerophon might bring divine wrath upon the kingdom. Instead, Iobates repeatedly sends Bellerophon on suicidal missions, like slaying the Chimera, where he continuously succeeds.
    • Most of Hercules' Labors were attempts to get him killed. They failed since Hercules was the World's Strongest Man and at times a clever one too. The labor of cleaning the Augean Stables (which had never been cleaned since ever) was unique in that it was meant to humiliate Hercules instead of kill him. Backfired when Hercules diverted a river into the Stables. This then backfired on Hercules, although writers don't seem to agree on whether it was because the river was considered to be the one to complete the labor, or because Hercules was going to get payment from it, which made it not an actual labor.
    • Jason's Evil Uncle Pelias agreed to give Jason the throne if he set sail to bring back the Golden Fleece. The Fleece rests in Colchis (modern day Georgia) with plenty of life-threatening obstacles in the way. Ironically it works but in a different way - when Jason succeeds, Pelias tries to refuse the throne and Jason's wife Medea gets him butchered by his own daughters,note  at which point Jason renounces the throne and leaves for exile with his wife.
    • With the existing sources from The Trojan Cycle, The Iliad and The Odyssey, we're presented with a story of how mortal desires can destroy nations when, in order to solve the problem of a golden apple inscribed with "For the fairest," the mortal Trojan prince Paris is asked to decide who of the three candidates—Aphrodite, Athena, or Hera—deserved it and they each incentivized themselves with different rewards if he chose them. In the end, Paris chooses Aphrodite when she offers him the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Who happens to already be married to Menelaus, King of Sparta, and this results in the ten-year Trojan War, the deaths of tons of people, and the total destruction of the city of Troy. Among those dead are many, many demigod children of various Olympians. This all just sounds like a big tragedy until you learn about some of the lost epics which are also part of the Trojan Cycle: in truth, the entire conflict was orchestrated by Zeus in an effort to cull part of humanity as a whole and the demigods in particular for fear that they would rise up and overthrow him. It worked.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The board game version of Crusader Kings makes it easy to get rid of unwanted male children (or son-in-laws), by simply sending them off to the Crusades. If they succeed, you get a neat bonus and progress towards victory — if they fail, well, you have one less useless heir to worry about.
  • The Death Seekers in Legend of the Five Rings are a unit of Lion samurai who set up Uriah Gambits for themselves. If you fail the Lion Clan spectacularly enough that your death is required, but not so monstrously that immediate seppuku is the only way you'll exonerate your kin from being shadowed by your shame, you can join this unit. They intentionally rush the best of the Lion's enemies at the beginning of battle. Almost certain to kill them (and if it doesn't kill a particular Death Seeker, he/she will just prepare a new Uriah Gambit for theirself after the battle), but also certain to take a sizable chunk out of said best of the enemies.
  • Paranoia encourages PCs to throw their underlings under the bus this way, while pretending that you're doing them a favor ("Suck-R, go disarm that berserk scrubot, you'll probably get a commendation for it"). If the underling seems devious enough to actually pull it off, then you may need to pile on some complications ("oh, but leave your toolkit here, we wouldn't want it to get damaged").
  • One personality outlined in the Planescape splat book Uncaged, Faces of Sigil is "Sly" Nye, a Xaositect who for some reason, works as a defense attorney. While Nye has never lost a case, he tends to drive the Guvners at the Courthouse up the wall, and they often assign him to defend criminals sent to the Dustmen's Court of Woe, hoping he won't come back. (The Court of Woe is a "service" rendered to the Guvners where petty criminals are sometimes sentenced to help deal with the backlog, and it is a hellish place overseen by the demonic Judge Gabberslug. While Gabberslug technically isn't allowed to sentence defendants to death, that occasionally happens to folks in the court, defendant or otherwise, that annoy him.) Unfortunately, it never works the way the Guvners intend. Gabberslug, being from the Abyss, appreciates Nye's grasp on Chaos, and is usually pleased when he shows up.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • A less subtle variation combined with Cavalry Betrayal in the backtory, when Horus put the loyalist elements of four of the Legions that supported his rebellion on the front lines of the assault on Istvaan III and then bombed the planet from orbit.
    • In the game itself, the Space Wolves have a unit called the "Lone Wolf", a cheap but powerful character who will give the opponent a victory point if he survives the battle. As a result, the basic strategy for Lone Wolves is to deliberately throw them at the enemy in the hopes that they die taking down as many enemies as possible, or at the very least drawing their fire.
    • Also from the Space Wolves, whose melee/fast assault troops (Bloodclaws, Skyclaw jetpack and Swiftclaw bikers) are the youngest warriors, still full of enthusiasm and recklessness which causes them to clash with higher-ups. Thus they end up in death-or-glory missions where many die... to mutual satifaction.
  • An unusual variant was put into play by Ulric Kerensky during the Refusal War in BattleTech. The Jade Falcons, leader of their rival political faction, the Crusaders, were attempting to repudiate the 15 year truce of Tukkayid, while Ulric’s Wolves, while primarily Wardens, had a strong Crusader contingent as well. To help purge the Crusaders, as well as blunt the Falcons’ attempt to break the truce, he led the Crusaders on a massive Trial of Refusal, while, in actuality, being a decoy for the Wardens to evacuate to the Inner Sphere. Unlike most examples, Ulric stayed with the Crusaders to trick both Crusader Wolves and Jade Falcons into not looking for their Warden refugees.

  • There's an interesting version in Cyrano de Bergerac. At the beginning of the play, the Comte de Guiche is a lecherous evil aristocrat who wants to make Roxane his mistress and is the enemy of Cyrano and his cadets. During a battle with Spain, he sends a spy to tell the Spanish how to attack the Cadets so they will be massacred. What makes this interesting, is that although this scheme results in the death of Roxane's husband, Christian (which is typical of a Uriah Gambit), this wasn't the intent and seems to have prompted de Guiche's Heel Realization, as post-time skip, he admires Cyrano's virtue and is just a close friend to Roxane, who is now a nun.

    Video Games 
  • The 444th "Spare" Squadron in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is a penal unit made up of Osean convicts, namely disgraced military personnel, political dissidents, and other inconvenient prisoners who fall on the wrong side of Osean military law. Their role pretty much boils down to an institutionalized version of this, where they are considered completely expendable and only the bare minimum amount of effort is done to keep them in any sort of military fighting shape, since their main purpose is simply to be fodder to distract the enemy. And if they die in combat, well that's all the better since its one less politically inconvenient person for Osea to worry about.
    • The 444th's AWACS "Bandog" invokes this on one mission: There's a certain pilot who's gotten his hands on some secure Osean intel, the kind that gets entire squadrons executed for viewing without authorization. This would be all well and good if he could just keep a low profile about it, but then he goes and implicates his entire fucking squadron by openly bragging about it over the radio, even after Bandog warns him numerous times that he's treading a very thin and dangerous line. So to save his own ass and the asses of the rest of Spare, Bandog tags the loudmouth pilot as an enemy during a lapse in reliable IFF, and gets him killed in the crossfire.
  • In a cutscene of El Cid Campaign in Age of Empires II, King Alfonso tries this multiple times to get El Cid killed out of his jealousy of the latter's popularity. However, El Cid proves to be too skillful to satisfy King's wish. Eventually, he managed to send El Cid to exile with an excuse, and it does not go as well as he expected.
  • One of these gambits triggers the whole plot of Akatsuki Blitzkampf. Murakumo sent Akatsuki to the Arctic Pole so he'd handle the Blitz Engines knowing that his and his crew's mission would fail and they'd be sunk to the depths of the icy Arctic Ocean, which was all included in his plan to monopolize the Engines themselves. Fifty years later, when Akatsuki's Human Popsicle days finish and he returns, he tries to continue with his mission; if/when he faces Murakumo, now the Big Bad, he will NOT be happy to find out that he was thrown under the ice, uh, bus...
  • The entire reason Derpl Zork is fighting alongside the Awesomenauts is this. His uncle, Blabl, would rather Derpl didn't inherit the business he founded and turned into an interstellar corporate empire, so guess who's field-testing an experimental walking office desk mech with a secretary AI? Derpl isn't aware of the gambit, but then again, he's so stupid he's probably not even aware a battle's going on to begin with.
  • In the first game of the Baldur's Gate series, certain NPCs come in pairs and will leave the party together, as the one kicked out will initiate dialogue and take the other one with them. Dead, booted-out NPCs, however, cannot initiate such dialogue and frees up a slot while leaving their partner in the party. Jaheira used to have a nasty tendency of charging headfirst into marauding hobgoblin bands without armour and weapons on once Yeslick became available... As did Dynaheir right off the bat if the PC was a mage.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company:
    • The game centers around B Company, an army company seemingly created for this very purpose and to which the most troublesome members of the Army are sent in the hopes that they get killed in their assigned suicide missions. At the time the game is set, the company consists of The Everyman PC, who took a helicopter for a joyride and crashed it on a general's limo; a cowardly nerd who infected a secure military network with a nasty computer virus after using it to look up porn; an explosion-obsessed redneck who blew up the largest ammo dump east of Paris; and the Only Sane Man sergeant who volunteered for the position in the hopes that it will help him retire faster (service in B Company counts towards discharge faster, so even if they somehow survive their suicide missions the Army will be rid of them soon enough).
    • Another one of these forms the main plot basis of the sequel. The opening level, the World War II-set "Operation Aurora", is discovered — by a descendant of one of the men from the mission, no less — to have been an intentionally-planned suicide mission solely so that America could get some idea of what a new superweapon Japan was creating was capable of.
  • The Slight Hope story from BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND is one of these Hazama tries to subject Makoto to. The job involves investigating an energy source within the Ibukido ruins where Noel was "born", with obfuscating patches of debris to prevent investigation, seithr thick enough to choke a man to death, and a faulty cauldron with a direct link to the Boundary as the occupational hazards - failing to complete the job would result in career suicide, while the rest are more direct, meaning that this job was meant to kill the intrepid spy one way or another. In the true ending, this trope winds up subverted as, much to Hazama's dismay, not only did none of these hazards do Makoto in, but her little jaunt through the Boundary gave her knowledge that is toxic to his plans at large, with full intent on using it to fix her friends up and, by extension, ruin aforementioned plans completely, forcing him to take matters into his own hands. That she actually ruined his plans in the world she fell into during aforementioned jaunt is merely icing on the cake. Refreshingly, Makoto's quite aware this isn't standard protocol, but is willing to take it on to bring her family back into black. Hazama loses all around this time, which is a stark contrast from how he gets away with something in every other story.
    "Ugh... I know for a fact the NOL's got outposts around here. Why not have a scout check it out? Meh... I should quit bitching. A job's a job. Can't help out the family just sitting on my tail."
  • Over the early part of the original Command & Conquer's Brotherhood of Nod campaign, your Mission Control, Seth, becomes more and more jealous of your success. After a few missions of supplying blatantly incorrect intelligence, he unconvincingly congratulates you on your latest victory, then announces that he has a new, secret mission for you, one that not even Kane is aware of:
    Seth: You see, power shifts quickly in the Brotherhood. Kane has been loath to attack America, but I think now is the time, and you are the one to do it. This is the Pentagon. A full-scale attack with your strongest forces should render the military control center ino
  • Do you have a useless male heir in Crusader Kings II and happen to have laws that make it difficult to pick someone else? And you don't want the penalty of everyone hating you for it murdering your relatives? Fret not, just put them in charge of a hopelessly understrength military unit and allow them to charge gloriously into the fray! Not as easy with female heirs though, unless your culture specifically allows female commanders.
  • Pontiff Sulyvahn of Dark Souls III created his Outrider Knights for the purpose of getting rid of people who are a threat to his political power and people he just doesn't like. He forcibly conscripts them into the Knights, gives them his Pontiff's Left Eye and Right Eye rings, and sends them off on missions in faraway lands. If they aren't killed during the mission, the rings are designed to slowly induce insanity in the wearer and cause their mind to devolve into that of a feral beast, so they won't be able to find their way back. And even if they manage to do that, it seems that given enough time, the rings will cause the wearer to turn into a literal feral beast, since the player obtains the Right Eye not from any of the Outrider Knights encountered during the game, but from killing a large monstrous creature just outside of the city Sulyvahn rules over.
  • The demon lord Belial makes use of this trope in Diablo III, using his influence over the government of Caldeum to arrange pointless and dangerous missions in the desert for the Iron Wolves, the Emperor's Praetorian Guard, then replaces those who do not return with his own serpent demon agents. He also baits a trap for the heroes with Maghda, one of his own minions, who feels Undying Loyalty to him but frustrates him with constant failures, apparently not caring whether or not she survives.
  • In the The Brigmore Witches expansion of Dishonored, Daud can overhear some of the witches hypothesizing that, in advance of a ritual she is due to perform, the antagonist Delilah has been deliberately sending the strongest and most capable of her witches out to be picked off so that only the weaker members of her coven will remain once the ritual is complete. Given that this ritual will result in her taking over the body of the rightful Empress of Dunwall — currently just a 10-year-old girl — this strategy is arguably quite sound.
  • Dominions has no way to disband a unit, and your units cost you full upkeep even when injury or disease renders them useless. Players will often send the expensive, feeble-minded old wizard on a suicide charge into the nearest enemy territory to get them out of the roster. Just send the player you're "attacking" a note; they'll understand.
  • Dragon Age: Origins
    • In the lead up to the Battle of Ostagar, Loghain first tries to get King Cailan to wait for reinforcements than engage the darkspawn with what they have, then tries to keep him from being on the front lines. When both attempts fail and the signal fire is late, Loghain simply retreats with his forces rather than charging in as they had planned. There is much argument among both fans and various characters as to whether he was intending for Cailan to die or simply trying to save as much of the army as he could thanks to the beacon fire being late. Either way, he isn't too broken up about it and refuses to admit his own role. Even if you recruit him, he maintains that he was not trying to get Cailan killed but simply could not save him from his own foolishness. But then again, other actions immediately before the battle hint that he was plotting something anyway, since Cailan was about to divorce his Hot Consort Anora... aka Loghain's beloved daughter.
    • One of the stories Leliana tells the Warden is "Alindra and Her Soldier," which tells the tale of two Star-Crossed Lovers. Alindra's singing captured the heart of a young soldier, but her father, being a nobleman, disapproved of the match, as the soldier was a commoner. He had Alindra imprisoned in his castle, and sent her soldier to war; the soldier fell in battle, and Alindra committed suicide in grief. The gods were moved by their love, and raised them into the heavens as constellations.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Video Game version of Temple of Elemental Evil, a temporary party member named Prince Thrommel has a Cool Sword called Fragarach. He will only release the sword if you pry it from his cold dead hands. Evil players can just kill him (and it's required for a quest in the Lawful Evil path). Good characters who want the sword "accidentally" let him die. (You can resurrect him later, he doesn't ask what happened to his sword, oddly and will still give you its counterpart.) You can also marry a (rather annoying) NPC (with subpar stats) for a gift and throw her into the middle of combat naked, her father doesn't care.
    • In Pool of Radiance, the first of the Gold Box games, you could hire NPCs to go with you. Hire until you get two guys in plate armor, then 'accidentally' cast a sleep spell too close to them, which makes them die immediately when hit by the enemy. They have magic plate armor and swords. "Oops, I'm too low level to resurrect you, but I can use animate dead", and get two free fairly powerful zombies you don't have to pay, and once they finally get hacked to pieces, some nice armor and swords...
  • In Duel Savior Destiny, Taiga is sent to destroy the Messiah Armor. While it really is an artifact of doom Muriel gave everyone petrification potions and said they were wards against the undead. She was trying to get him killed by having him have to face the armor by himself since she recognizes that he's close to being the Messiah and the Messiah will destroy and recreate the universe if it is ever realized.
  • This is a frequently suggested solution for unwanted immigrants in Dwarf Fortress. Put 'em in a combat unit, send them out to meet raiding parties or down into infested caverns.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In Morrowind's Tribunal expansion, Tribunal deity Almalexia is, due to her madness over the loss of her godhood, attempting to establish a monotheistic state where only she is worshiped and only she is the savior of the people. This means that the other two members of the Tribunal must die, along with the Nerevarine. After killing Sotha Sil herself, she sends the Nerevarine on a series of increasingly deadly and insane missions hoping that he/she too will die, becoming a martyr to her cause. When these missions fail, she decides to finish the Nerevarine off personally...
    • In Oblivion, one of the Mage's Guild leaders has you go pull a ring out of the bottom of a well. A ring that happens to weigh as much as a full suit of armor. One of your predecessors is floating around in said well when you dive in. Guess which Mage's Guild leader turns out to be working with the Necromancers?
    • In the Dark Brotherhood questline of Skyrim, Astrid sends the player to poison the Emperor. After the deed is done however, Commander Maro, leader of the Penitus Oculatus states that the man you killed was a decoy and Astrid sent the player up in exchange for the Penitus Oculatus leaving the Brotherhood alone. Unfortunately for her, Maro had no intention of keeping his end of the deal, as the Brotherhood (i.e. you in a previous mission) killed his son and framed him for treason. After dealing with you, Maro leads a detachment of soldiers to the Brotherhood's Sanctuary and torches it, killing (almost) everyone inside.
  • The Fallout series:
    • In Fallout, the player character must succeed at one such mission before being initiated in the Brotherhood of Steel, which involves retrieving a pre-war data disc from a heavily radiated military base. Of course, the character doesn't learn it is an Uriah Gambit until after s/he succeeds.
    • The Pariah Dog in Fallout 2 comes with the Jinxed perk, causing everyone in combat to fail spectacularly. (If you've ever played a Jinxed character, you'll be familiar with the lost ammo, destroyed own weapon, critically missed and crippled own arm shtick.) It doesn't aid in combat or even absorb blows for you, uses up a follower slot, and your Luck drops to 1. It doesn't help that doom doggy has 750hp, runs when you attack it but comes back once you stop, and you're missing half the time (and losing all your ammo). Suggestions for how to off it get pretty interesting... But heaven help you if you critical kill it with a zero damage attack, as its negative effects will never leave even though it's dead!
    • Lampshaded in the Fallout: New Vegas quest "Ant Misbehavin'", when you must gain the trust of the xenophobic Boomers tribe by exterminating some giant ants that have infested one of their buildings and explode when killed with most weapons.
      Courier: I'll do it, even though you're just trying to get me killed.
      Raquel: Don't get my hopes up.
    • In Fallout Shelter, Whenever you receive a rare dweller and yet you reached the 200 Dweller cap, up until the December patch, the only way to add them into the vault was to send unwanted dwellers to the wasteland and let them die. Now, you can just kick them out instead.
  • Operation Mi'ihen in Final Fantasy X turns out to be one of these. Yevon let the Al Bhed and Crusaders participate in a full-scale operation to try to take down Sin with Machina in spite of their rather oppressive ban on technology. To almost nobody's surprise, things go bell-ends up, and eventually Sin wipes out nearly all life on the beach with a single Wave-Motion Gun. The result of this? Many Al Bhed and less conservative Crusaders have died, Machina the Al Bhed could have used to overthrow Yevon has been destroyed, and the very public failure of the operation means that it's reconfirmed Yevonism and Summoner pilgrimages are the only way to destroy Sin. Auron, who knew exactly what the Maesters who allowed this operation to happen were thinking, is absolutely and thoroughly disgusted by the whole ordeal.
  • Happens more than once in the Fire Emblem franchise, where several Bad Bosses send out their Anti-Villain warriors into very dangerous missions to get them killed.
    • The most blatant example is The Blazing Blade: Evil Matriarch Sonia sends her much-hated Dark Magical Girl daughter Nino to kill Prince Zephiel by promising her to give her the maternal love she craves for when she returns... and then secretly tells Jaffar, her partner in said mission, to kill Nino and use her as a scapegoat. Too bad Jaffar was starting to fall for Nino, so he decides to pull a Last Stand for her instead.
    • Used in Genealogy of the Holy War too, when King Chagall sends out his knight Eldigan against his childhood friend Sigurd. Only a very risky (and player optional) Go Through Me from Eldigan's sister Lachesis stops them from fighting to death.
      • And in the Oosawa manga, Eldigan's wife is derailed into a Clingy Jealous Girl who gives Lachesis permission to join Sigurd's crew in open hopes to get her killed in battle so she'll be forever away from the older brother she has Brother–Sister Incest vibes with. Lachesis immediately notices and is saddened, but she decides to keep fighting anyway.
        Sigurd: Telling your husband's little sister to go off to war... What is Mistress Iria thinking?!
    • Never mind that the player can do this to characters they don't like. Hell, in Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem Awakening, thanks to the Relationship Values, it's a viable tactic to use this to deal with unwanted pairings, therefore applying literal Die for Our Ship. And in Shadow Dragon, it's outright necessary to access the gaiden chapters.
    • On the Conquest path of Fire Emblem Fates Garon sends the Avatar on a mission to wipe out the Ice Tribe to either get them killed or broken, since realizing that the Avatar now knows their true origins and that Garon had kidnapped them; this fails since Xander overhears him and sends out Elise and her retainers to help. He's often instigated and aided by Iago, who wants the Avatar dead just because he doesn't like them. The Avatar also strongly suspects that Garon giving them Ganglari was also one of these, due to the sword exploding, which would have killed them had their birth mother Mikoto not taken the hit and die as a result; if the player chooses the Birhtright path, they can have the Avatar ask Garon's eldest son Xander about it to remark how they don't want to return.
    • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Lukas is openly aware and even commends his older half brother for doing this, as if Lukas dies he no longer has to worry about the idea that Lukas could be declared the inheritor of the house (despite not having any true legibility), and if he succeeds in liberating the continent he can take all the credit for sending lukas out to save the world, and gain considerable social standing for supporting the Deliverance. Ironically Lukas unintentionally plays this on his brother as a result because Lukas wanted to help any way so it wasn't like he was forced into the cause, meaning if he dies then he fought for what he thought was right but if he succeeds he doesn't have to deal with his brother being a D-bag to him constantly as he'd be trying to use Lukas as a trophy brother.
  • In Ghost of Tsushima, this is an interpretation of why the Shogun orders Shimura to kill Jin. It can be overheard from gossiping samurai that Shimura is in bad standing with the Shogun after losing control of his nephew and losing face (losing his castle in the first place and failing to capture the Khan). This order can be viewed just as much of a punishment for Shimura since he would be forced to kill Jin whom he viewed as his own son or he would presumably be killed by Jin if he fails.
  • In God of War III, Hephaestus learns that Kratos intends to open Pandora's Box, which will require Pandora, who Hephaestus regards as his daughter, to be sacrificed. So he sends Kratos to retrieve an Omphalos Stone, on a promise that he will use it to create a new weapon for Kratos, not mentioning that the stone is inside the guts of the Titan Cronos. It doesn't work.
  • An attempt at one of these forms part of the backstory for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The exact details aren't given, but the general gist is that Tommy Vercetti was sent by Sonny Forelli to kill one man in Harwood, and that one man turned out to be eleven men. While Tommy survived and killed them all, this still worked out for Sonny, as Tommy was jailed for fifteen years over the incident, and his infamy as the "Harwood Butcher" means that once he's released, they have to send him down to Vice City to establish a presence for the Forelli family because he's far too hot to be doing any work in Liberty City.
  • The position of the Arbiter is used as such by the Prophets when a particular Elite gains too much prestige or political power, or alternatively commits a heinous offense while remaining too useful to simply execute. The position is itself a sort of White Elephant; the role of Arbiter is the right hand of the Covenant religion as a whole, wielding enormous power during times of great strife, and can restore the honor of an otherwise disgraced Elite — but the events that they are called into service for are so great that they WILL inevitably kill the Arbiter in question. As the Prophet of Truth states, they are "created and consumed in times of extraordinary crisis".
    • In a bit of a twist, the fact that the position of Arbiter is an Uriah Gambit isn't hidden from the one chosen during Halo 2's events at all. It's bluntly stated to his face that he is expected to take the mantle and die as an alternative form of execution for his failure in letting Halo be destroyed. In a further twist, not only is he the only one to NOT die during his time as the Arbiter, but he in fact outlives the entire Covenant religion, as well as the Prophets who called for his execution in the first place.
  • Alkin in Heroes of Might and Magic III was given a post in Tatalia's military by King Trallosk, who openly dislikes Alkin and privately hoped he would get himself killed on the battlefield. Much to the king's displeasure, Alkin has enjoyed a long and glorious military career.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, you find out that the Battle of Malachor V was like this too, at least according to HK-47. Revan stacked the fleet with Jedi and soldiers who might oppose their upcoming rise to power. The Exile was the only Jedi who came out of the battle alive and returned to the Jedi Order to face trial. A minor variant here was that Revan didn't necessarily want to kill the Jedi they stacked the Malachor fleet with — the battle was so horrible that it would drive any Jedi there towards the Dark Side, which as far as Revan was concerned was even better than killing them (Revan had a thing for turning enemies into allies).
  • In Liberal Crime Squad, Conservative enlightened too late are tagged "wanted for rehabilitation", and if they are arrested, they will spill the bean on their recruiters. So there are 2 ways to deal with them: Send them to a minor and crime free safehouse to do some tame stuff (like legal fundraising), or send them to their death (like ordering them to sell brownies until they run into the Police Gang Units, or better, the Death Squads, and make them fight to the death, or just showing up at a Conservative place naked and armed with molotovs.)
  • Metal Gear Peace Walker goes into backstory on the CIA's many Uriah gambits against Big Boss' predecessor, The Boss. From being sent to murder a prominent scientist (and actually an innocent man) to destroy her reputation (which technically worked, since the operation twisted her mentality), to being given an operation that was co-masterminded with the Soviets so she'd be doomed to fail and forced to kill her lover, to becoming the first woman in space in a deathtrap of a shuttle that was given ridiculous constraints when they could have won the space race otherwise. The events of Snake Eater are revealed to be the gambit that succeeded; they intentionally influenced an Ax-Crazy tinpot tyrant to use the nuclear weapon she gave them to convince them of her defection, so that she'd become a pariah who would commit suicide by Snake. All of this was because the Pentagon realized The Boss was building up an international network of power to build a peaceful new world order, and would have stopped the Cold War by purging the corruption from both sides; the CIA nearly destroyed the world just to kill The Boss and maintain their grip on the West.
  • In Modern Warfare 2, this is combined with Unwitting Pawn with fatal results for PFC Allen. Shepherd sends him to infiltrate Makarov's inner circle counting on Makarov seeing through him and using him as a scapegoat to kickstart a war between America and Russia. It's even hinted later that Shepherd ensured Allen would be discovered by leaking his identity to Makarov.
  • Osmund Saddler pulls one on The Dragon, Jack Krauser, in Resident Evil 4; after beginning to suspect Krauser is The Mole (he's right), Saddler sends him to fight Leon, knowing that either way, a thorn in his side will be removed. Krauser ends up taking the L.
  • This is part of the Ronin story arc in Saints Row 2. Shogo, the head of the gang's American operations, is desperate to prove himself to his father, Kazuo. However, Jyunichi, the gang's muscle, is playing the middleman and Kazuo refuses to speak to his son. So, in a bid to get his father to give him validation, he leaks Jyunichi's location to the Saints to get him killed and to allow him to speak directly to Kazuo. He pulls it off, sure, but it blows up in his face spectacularly.
  • Heavily implied in the case of Jake Hama of The Secret World. Prior to the Tokyo Disaster, Jake had photographed high-ranking government official Masao Tanaka at a Love Hotel and attempted to blackmail him to keep the footage away from his wife; eventually, the two came to an agreement in which Tanaka offered the detective regular work in exchange for the photographs remaining hidden. Following the Tokyo Incident, this arrangement was extended to hiring Jake to find Tanaka's missing daughter, Naonomi; unfortunately, this required Jake to enter a monster-infested exclusion zone with no means of defending himself, escaping, or even calling for helps. Plus, the relationship between Tanaka and his daughter is revealed to be extremely problematic — in that Naonomi joined a cult out of hatred for him and went on to mastermind the Tokyo bombing — so chances are that Tanaka was only using her disappearance as a pretext for getting rid of the blackmailer. Jake, being Jake, still hasn't noticed anything untoward.
  • In the Soulcalibur III side mode "Chronicles of the Sword," Emperor Strife is jealous of The Cadet and their popularity. So what does he do? Sends him on the most suicidal missions with just his tiny standing forces, offers no backup, and pretty much tells him to hold the line regardless of casualties inflicted on his forces. However, you still get to kill him in the end.
  • In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, the two rival superhero franchises in the town both plan a raid the police station on the same night. Cartman suggests leaving the Freedom Pals to search the lower floors while the members of his franchise, Coon and Friends, carry out their business on the upper floors. When Kyle points out that his plan will probably result in the Freedom Pals getting shot by the police, Cartman responds without hesitating "And then who would the greatest superhero franchise in town be?"
  • In StarCraft, Mengsk sends Kerrigan to hold off the Protoss during a Zerg invasion, and when the Zerg begin to overwhelm the Terrans and Protoss alike he abandons her. It's implied the reason he did this was because she and Raynor were beginning to get a bit too defiant to his increasingly extreme methods. Works outside the game reveal that another reason was that she was one of the Ghosts that murdered his family. Kerrigan in particular was the one who beheaded his father Angus Mengsk.
    • Oh no, the Zerg just put a parasite on one of my easy-to-replace marines! That means they'll be able to spy on me and track my army's movements as long as he's alive! On a related note, we need someone to head into the enemy base so we can scout their troop composition. Any volunteers?
    • Also happens in Starcraft II multiplayer games. If you get to extreme late game you might end up with more workers than you really want to have and you want that population cap freed up for more combat units. So from starting off as a valuable part of your forces they become a nuisance. Solution? Charge unwanted workers at the enemy ahead of your main army. That way it ensures they die to free up your population whilst simultaneously soaking up some of the enemy fire which would otherwise be targetted at your army. Even more viable with Zerg given how fast their tech switches can happen. It's not uncommon for a Zerg player to simply attack-move suicide "useless" units or even his entire army into an opponent with the aim of deliberately getting them all killed whilst doing as much damage as possible in order to be able to completely rebuild an army from scratch to take advantage of weaknesses in the opponent's composition.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Sith Inquisitor story starts with Harkun sending you on missions around Korriban, explicitly saying he expects you to fail. The third time around, you start to catch on.
    "Yes, I get it already. You send me into a tomb to do the impossible, hoping I die, and I come back and prove you wrong."
    • In the Sith Warrior storyline, after completing Plan Zero and eliminating several key Republic leaders, Darth Baras sends you to Quesh, ostensibly to complete another mission, only to have another of his agents attempt to dispatch you, since you have now become powerful enough to threaten him.
  • In TIE Fighter, one mission requires you to clear a minefield with an unshielded craft, for no good reason. The mission is actually a trap orchestrated by a defecting Imperial officer.
  • If the Total War title you're playing doesn't allow you to change your faction heir, this is almost guaranteed to come up at least once a campaign. Disloyal generals can be bribed with wives and titles, but your unruly sons can't, and trying to have them assassinated may be too risky. Or maybe medieval inbreeding has left a character with a host of negative traits that you don't want contaminating your family line. In any case, these unwanted characters and their bodyguards function best as disposable heavy cavalry — either they'll die a "glorious" death on the battlefield, or somehow survive and pick up traits to make them even better disposable heavy cavalry. If you're Catholic, you can even use them to show the Pope how dedicated you are to his latest stupid crusade by martyring your "beloved" son to the cause.
  • In Ultima V, one can get a spy to join the party; his name is Saduj. If you enter any combat with him in it, he will immediately become an enemy, but until then gameplay-wise is a member of the party. If you avoid combat and are captured by the usurper Blackthorne, Blackthorne always picks the second member of your party, and kills him off permanently. That person's ashes are then shown at the Codex, the shrine of all that is Virtue, as someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice for Good. We'll remember ye, Saduj. Do this before getting the Sandlewood Box.
  • The first mission given to you by Prince LaCroix in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is a variation of this trope; once he realizes killing you in public would become a PR nightmare, he gives you a mission that would simply get rid of you... And if you by some incredible good stroke of fortune happen to succeed, well, that suits his purposes just as well. In fact, all of LaCroix's missions are an example of this. Or did you think that being sent all by yourself against increasingly suicidal odds was just a gaming convention? It helps that he can Dominate you into compliance if you refuse to obey him. The last mission he gives you, which consists of making you find Nines and then setting fire to the forest next to your meeting place so the werewolves'll get you both, is the point when he's decided that he can't risk you surviving any further.
  • In Vay, Sadoul told the Emperor a potential location for one of the MacGuffins they had been seeking. The MacGuffin was never there; Sadoul needed to find a way to get Emperor Jeal away from the Danek Empire's borders in order to kill him in secret so that he could carry on his own plan to steal the Vay armor uninterrupted.
  • Blizzard seems to like this trope. In the Warcraft III expansion The Frozen Throne, the blood elves fall under the command of a racist human general named Garithos, who abhorred any non-human race but had a special place in his heart for the elves due to believing them to be responsible for failing to protect his family's lands during the Second War. As such, when Kael came under his command, Garithos went out of his way to give Kael the most menial, humiliating tasks he could. When Kael asked for weightier tasks, Garithos gave one to him... in the form of a suicide mission where the blood elves were meant to be nothing but cannon fodder while all Garithos' other forces aided him at the front line. Despite this, Kael and the elves survive, but Garithos sentences them to death anyway for consorting with the naga, despite the fact they would have died if they didn't. At that point, Garithos admits he never trusted the elves and believed they should have never been accepted into the Alliance, essentially revealing his treatment of them comes from the chip on his shoulder.
  • Prince Thrakhath in the Wing Commander franchise keeps his position of power despite being a General Failure by identifying those amongst his subordinates who are most likely to assassinate him and assigning them highly dangerous positions.
  • Any soldier that you take a dislike to in XCOM will most likely end up being the first one through the doors of a UFO.

  • In this Awkward Zombie comic, Shepard instantly and repeatedly pressed the button to send Miranda on a mission when she heard it was a suicide mission. When Miranda points out she's not even qualified to do the mission Shepard just presses it harder while glaring at Miranda. Katie notes in her notes that the ending of the first game conditioned her to expect someone to die in the second one, and she made every effort to make sure it was her least favorite character, Miranda, that died.
  • It's speculated that Zala'ess pulled this on her daughter Vy'chriel in Drowtales, considering that Vy'chriel's was sent into the middle of an enemy fortress with no visible backup against someone several times her age, resulting in a Curb-Stomp Battle that left her dead. There's also the fact that she's not the original daughter, she was the daughter's protector and killed her, only to take her place, and Zala'ess would have killed her herself if her older sister hadn't interfered.
  • El Goonish Shive: This is how Magus justifies sending aberration mercenaries to attack Moperville as a distraction. The aberrations would exist and kill regardless of what Magus did, and Moperville is chock-full of powerful mages, superheroes, and other people capable of killing them.
  • Freefall: The colonists of the planet Jean gave bothersome rogue Sam Starfall a damaged starship, the Savage Chicken, in the hopes his clumsy antics would kill him one way or the other as he tried to make it spaceworthy again. Even the starship's computer expected him to get killed some way as he repaired it. To everyone's intense annoyance, he successfully acquires a first-rate engineer and crew, successfully repairing the ship and inducing the AI-equivalent of a Head Desk on the computer by framing his antics as the best things that have ever happened to it, and it's unable to disagree. Even better when you remember Sam is a Starfish Alien from another planet whose culture revolves around things such as stealing, deception, and general skulduggery being traits of virtue, meaning that even if he is aware of what they were trying to pull, he sees absolutely nothing wrong with it.
  • Latchkey Kingdom: It's implied in the "History of Hilla" pages that the late Queen Josephine (mother of current King Jeffrey) disposed of her warmongering firstborn by hiring a mercenary army to lead him into hostile territory "to prove himself as a commander" and abandon him there, to make sure his thirst for military glory wouldn't get anyone else killed.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy's first adventuring party kept sending Durkon on suicidal missions, but Durkon kept surviving. Durkon was actually aware they were trying to get rid of him, but he was resigned to it until Roy stood up for him, at which point the two left to form their own group.
    • Miko Miyazaki overlaps this trope and Snipe Hunt. She's so unbearable to be around that she's repeatedly sent on missions away from Azure City, usually for months at a time; she's so bad that they actually consider it worth the bad publicity of having her representing the city if it means getting her out of their hair. No one ever explicitly says they're trying to kill her, but the other paladins sort of give the idea that no one would be particularly sad if she did die, either.
      • Unfortunately, being on adventures so often and surviving means she's the most powerful paladin in her order. She almost kills Hinjo in combat, after being stripped of her Paladin abilities.
    • Inverted by Tarquin, who decides he wants to marry a woman from the Free City of Doom who is already married to a Pikeman on the city's south wall. When his soldiers invade, they take special care of her husband. Which he then told her about.
  • In this Schlock Mercenary strip, part of the book "The Blackness Between", Tagon and Jeeves discuss how to handle a frigate controlled by Admiral Breya Andreyasn's husband, as part of the Tough's assignment to capture Breya, by sending him and his ship off to attack a hostile force that the Toughs have no intention of engaging beyond a feint, leaving the frigate to be overwhelmed and destroyed or at least in no position to interfere with their mission.
  • The entire test in the Flower of Zigena arc from Tower of God is designed around the idea that public enemy Viole and his allies should meet Urek Mazino and just fucking die already.
  • Unsounded: Will's father sent him to serve as a drummer boy in a violent war, intending that Will die there, to punish Will's mother for her infidelity. The soldiers in the regiment the young boy is sent to find his father pretty abhorrent for it.
  • Vexxarr:

    Web Original 
  • In Let's Play -- GTA V -- Michael's Heist, it turns out that Michael plotted one of these, intending on getting Ryan, Ray, Geoff and Kerry killed while he, Gavin and a hidden away Lindsay got the money. The plan had Ryan and Ray being killed by a car bomb while Geoff and Kerry would die by a boat bomb. They died, but not the way Michael wanted — Ryan had figured out Michael's plan early on and had plotted to go against him, but the police killed him and Ray anyway and Kerry and Geoff went onto Michael and Gavin's boat, forcing Michael to gun them both down.
  • Heavily implied to be the case in Farce of the Three Kingdoms when Zhuge Liang orders Wei Yan to lead Sima Yi into a minefield (without informing Wei Yan that it's a minefield). Both survive due to a freak rainstorm, and Wei Yan is not amused.
  • Fen Quest: Bolk suspects this when Fen is sent on a mission with absolute-bottom-of-the-barrel soldiers, immediately asking Fen if he's angered the acting commander. The matter is never brought up again, so it's possible she simply only trusted him with ultra-expendable troops at the time.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, one of the first things the Emperor does when he's able to communicate for the first time in millennia is order the Ultramarines - who he hates due to a mixture of their bland traits and the fact that he's been listening to their chanting for ten thousand years — to go right into the Eye of Terror to capture a Daemon Primarch with their ships' Geller Fields disabled so they have no defense against the daemonic hordes. Several episodes later he's astonished when the Ultramarines actually accomplish this suicide mission, and the Emperor has a change of heart, reasoning that a chapter of invincible heroes may be annoying, but they can at least get stuff done, so he sends them on a seemingly impossible but non-suicidal mission.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In one episode an Earth Kingdom soldier mentions that one way the Fire Nation deals with war prisoners is dressing them up in military uniforms and sending them to the front lines without weapons.
    • There's a good chance Ozai sent Zuko away on a Snipe Hunt hoping that he would get killed sooner rather than later, so that Ozai could have him out of his hair permanently without getting his hands dirty. Well, dirtier.
  • Invader Zim:
    • The Tallest, the leaders of the Irkens, send Zim to "invade" an uncharted area they assume has no planets in it, inhabited or otherwise, because they don't want him screwing up any invasions. It turns out to be Earth.
    • And in a later episode, they send him to a harsh alien boot camp in the hope that he'll be killed, while at the same time holding a betting pool on how long Zim will last. Not only is Zim the only member of his training unit to survive, but the Tallest end up losing an extremely large amount of money to the one guy they forced to bet more money than he'd ever see in his life on Zim surviving — since they'd lose money if no-one bet for him.
    • In the hour-long special Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus the Tallest decide that they'd rather blow up the Earth when Zim teleports it into their flight path and finally be rid of him rather than accepting the gift he handed to them on a silver platter.
    • On a similar note, they try doing the same thing to Invader Skoodge, sending him to Blorch, home of the slaughtering rat-people, because he's too short. Against all odds, he's the first invader to succeed his mission, so he's "rewarded" by being launched out of a cannon into the planet that he just conquered.
  • ReBoot has Megabyte do this to his own henchmen Hack & Slash because he's sick of their incompetence.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Hordak plans to execute Catra, but Entrapta persuades him to spare Catra. Instead, Hordak sends Catra to retrieve First Ones technology in the Crimson Waste and admits to Entrapta that it's a suicide mission.
    • Hordak himself was unsuccessfully subjected to this by Horde Prime. In a flashback, Horde Prime sent Hordak to the front lines of battle after Hordak exhibited signs of illness, because Horde Prime despised any flaws in his clones. Hordak was supposed to die in battle, but instead was drawn through a portal and trapped on Etheria.
  • One episode of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, "The Crooked Man", is based on the above mentioned literary example. In this case, the gambit involved the man convincing his co-worker to undergo an experimental genetic process they were working on, then sabotaging it, all so he could marry the co-workers fiance. Whether or not he'd hoped it'd kill the co-worker is uncertain, but it did leave the poor guy as a lion/human hybrid who had to hide from society at large.
  • Homer does this unintentionally to Barney in The Simpsons episode "Mr. Plow", tricking him into thinking there's a customer on Widow’s Peak, a large treacherous mountain outside of town, so Barney's out of the way and Homer can plow driveways again. (As underhanded as this was, Barney was being sort of a Jerkass in this episode by defaming and slandering Homer in his commercials.) When it does seem like it's about to turn into a real Uriah Gambit (Barney's truck ends up trapped under an avalanche) Homer has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and drives to the mountain to rescue him.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), during a flashback, Grune thinks that King Claudus sent him on a Snipe Hunt for the Book of Omens because he feared his ambition. Which, in hindsight, wouldn't have been unreasonable since Grune really did try to become king and eventually betrayed the Cats.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Starscream does this to two different 'cons. First was Predaking, whom the Decepticons felt was potentially becoming too powerful, especially with the new Predcons coming online. So they opted to get the Autobots to destroy the research facility, and hopefully when Predaking wants revenge, either scraps the Autobots or gets scrapped by the Autobots. This plan has Megatron's full support. However, the second involved him trying to off Shockwave, who, although was his equal in rank, was running the risk of supplanting him, so he sprang the plan without warning Shockwave in the hopes he'd get scrapped (Starscream handwaves this by explaining that he wanted Shockwave's reaction to be genuine). Shockwave didn't die, but he was unable to save a lot of data, which could potentially affect his standing with Megatron. The next episode reveals that Shockwave caught on to Starscream's little scheme and he wasn't too happy about it, though he accept's Starscream's Enforced Method Acting logic.
  • The VeggieTales adaptation of the original Biblical story named King George and the Ducky (needing to be family-friendly) had the gambit carried out because King George wanted Thomas' rubber ducky. Instead of lust over a woman he sees bathing, it's greed over a kid's bath toy.note  Thomas holds his ground and wins the day single-handedly—but suffers from some long-term severe post-traumatic stress. Granted, he was unlikely to be killed by pies in the first place...

Alternative Title(s): The Uriah Gambit