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Basic Trope: A military offensive which is given an optimistic timetable ends up taking longer than expected.

  • Straight: The Troperian Empire expects that their new offensive against The Federation will only last three weeks. It ends up lasting three months.
  • Exaggerated:
    • The Troperian Empire expects that the Federation will fall within 12 hours, and ends up holding out for a year.
    • The Troperian Empire expects that the Federation will surrender within an hour or so. The conflict turns into Forever War.
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  • Downplayed: The Troperian Empire expects the war to be over in a year. The war ends in a year and a half.
  • Justified: The Troperian military intelligence deeply underestimated the Federation's capacity to fight.
  • Inverted: The Troperian military expects a long, gruelling campaign. Instead, they end up fighting a light and breezy one due to disagreements in enemy ranks and their own side being run by a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Subverted: The Troperian Empire expects their campaign to last three weeks, but the Federation forces collapse within hours of battle.
  • Double Subverted: Except it's actually a feint trap, luring in the Empire's forces for a devastating air strike.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig-Zagged: The battle is over within twelve hours ... but with massive casualties on the Troperian side. The Pyrrhic Victory disheartens people almost as much as an actual drawn-out war and is at least as expensive.
  • Averted: Battle predictions are generally accurate.
  • Enforced: "War Is Hell, and we need to Break the Cutie. How about we promise him the war will end sooner than it really does?"
  • Lampshaded:
    • "High Command is saying we'll end the fighting by the Emperor's birthday. I'm sure it'll be over by then."
    • "See you all in Capital City in twenty days for cakes and sausage!"
    • Years after the war's beginning, one weary soldier snarks, "Go fight the Federation, they said! It'll be over by my birthday, he said! Yeah, let's hope his birthdays last four years."
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  • Invoked: The Mole mentions the trope to make his "allies" more likely to make mistakes and be demoralized.
  • Exploited: Lying recruiters take full advantage of "the war will be over in three weeks!" rhetoric to lure more troops into the military.
  • Defied: The Military High Command and the Military Intellegence Office make a realistic projection of the campaign and personally bring it to the Emperor, as not to be held responsible for overpromising when things inevitably go south.
  • Discussed: "Whenever the general makes a prediction on how long an offensive is going to last, mentally add five months."
  • Conversed: "Hey, a promise the war will be over by Christmas! I hear those are always accurate!"
  • Implied: A sign labeled "Victory in Seven Days!" hangs over a formation of defeated soldiers marching back.
  • Deconstructed: The campaign that was expected to last three weeks lasts three years. Millions of men die, millions more are left crippled, and the war eventually ends in a miserable defeat. Disillusioned veterans come back home, and decide to make the Troperian government pay for making false promises. And as in the real world, things continue going From Bad to Worse.
  • Played for Laughs: The Troperian Empire expects their new offensive to last for three weeks. It ends up lasting three months because all the Troperian soldiers and officers are military-grade idiots.
  • Played for Drama: Colonel Williams is given the Empire's optimistic timetable about the new offensive. He knows it won't work, and expects most of his troops to die pointlessly.
  • Played for Horror: The war takes a toll on soldiers' mental health and we get to see the first-rate Nightmare Fuel that's visited upon them.

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