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Basic Trope: A high ranking officer commands a smaller unit than expected.

  • Straight: Colonel Smith commands a single platoon.
  • Exaggerated:
    • General Smith is in charge of two men.
    • Everyone in the unit is of a higher rank than expected.
  • Downplayed: The Captain takes personal command of a platoon, instead of the company he usually commands.
  • Justified:
    • Colonel Smith commands a single platoon, but it is all that remains of his battalion after a fierce battle.
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    • The operation involved requires such precision that Colonel Smith has to be in the front to ensure it goes as planned.
    • Morale is low amongst the troops, so Colonel Smith has to rally them to press on.
  • Inverted: A Sergeant is forced to take command of the unit, due to casualties among the officers. See You Are in Command Now.
  • Subverted: General Smith appears to command a single platoon, until the rest of his army shows up.
  • Double Subverted: ...and he ignores them completely, continuing to give orders only to the nearest platoon.
  • Parodied: General Smith commands a squad consisting of a Colonel, a Major, a Captain, a Lieutenant, a Sergeant, and a Private.
  • Zig Zagged: Colonel Smith commands a battalion, but will sometimes personally lead patrols of smaller units.
  • Averted: Everyone is the proper rank for the size of unit they command.
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  • Enforced: Characters are promoted because they are competent at their jobs, but continue to do the same job because the characters are expected to remain part of the action.
  • Lampshaded: "Never have so few been commanded by so many."
  • Invoked: After a number of his patrols are refused requests for artillery and air support, Colonel Badass decides to accompany them personally, knowing he can pull rank if such requests are denied again.
  • Exploited: Colonel Badass personally leads squad-sized patrols, but uses his rank while on patrol to demand support from other units.
  • Defied: The Captain repeatedly turns down promotions in order to remain in his current position.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: The Captain is promoted to Major at the end of the story, but no mention is made of a new assignment.
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  • Deconstructed: Colonel Smith spends much of his time as battalion commander personally leading patrols. The other units under his command suffer horrific casualties while he is off on patrol.
  • Reconstructed: Colonel Smith spends much of his time as battalion commander personally leading patrols. The other units under his command suffer horrific casualties while he is off on patrol, and he is demoted to Lieutenant as punishment... and is immediately assigned command of a platoon.
  • Played For Laughs: General Smith commands a unit with a number of high ranking officers, but only one private.
  • Played For Drama: General Smith is cut off from the rest of his command and must personally lead a platoon back to friendly lines.

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