Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / We Have Reserves

Go To

Basic Trope: A character doesn't care if their underlings die, since they can easily replace them.

  • Straight:
    • General Bob orders his soldiers to charge a heavily fortified location, knowing that they will certainly all die.
    • General Bob asks for an artillery strike that will hit both the enemy and his own troops.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed:
    • General Bob accepts some casualties, understanding that it's unavoidable.
    • The soldiers in question are clones, robots, zombies, or other creatures that aren't really alive or sentient in the correct sense of the term (MAYBE except for clones, depending on the setting) and can be easily mass-produced, which means that even if Bob sacrifices 50% of his entire army, he could easily replace them in no time.
  • Justified:
    • It's either this or the End of Everything.
    • General Bob is uncaring about the deaths of his men because he is The Sociopath.
    • General Bob's obvious attack is a diversion to others can sneak around for a rear attack, but the troops he sent aren't there yet, and behind enemy lines, so he has to send more soldiers to the diversion attack to keep the enemy occupied.
    • General Bob's soldiers are Mecha-Mooks that can be replaced quickly and cheaply.
    • Advertisement:
    • General Bob is a Necromancer, and since he can resurrect his troops as many time as he want, he stops caring about their wellbeing.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: ...but then it turns he was just pretending to mourn them so people would stop criticizing him for being too callous.
  • Parodied: General Bob sacrifices a million soldiers just to get himself a cup of coffee, and then sends a million more out because he doesn't have any cream for his coffee.
  • Advertisement:
  • Zig Zagged: Bob doesn't particularly care about the lives of his men, but he's also a skilled enough commander that he can make it through battles without taking heavy casualties anyway.
  • Averted: General Bob does not treat his men as completely expendable. This may or may not necessarily entail being A Father to His Men.
  • Enforced: The author wants to show that War Is Hell.
  • Lampshaded: "I don't care if my soldiers die; that's their job."
  • Invoked:
    • An Evil Chancellor deliberately places General Bob in command of the army to kill off the soldiers loyal to the King.
    • The Empire teaches its officers to see their soldiers as expendable.
  • Exploited: Bob's enemies continually encourage his men to desert, and they're only too willing to accept the offer; after all, it's not like they could be treated any worse as POWs than they are as soldiers.
  • Defied: The Federation teaches its officers to value the lives of their troops, and to try to win with as few casualties as possible.
  • Discussed: "The General really doesn't care how many of his own soldiers die as long he gets to proclaim victory at the end of the battle."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: In the background in a few scenes, you can see computer screens displaying the army's total strength, which is plummeting rapidly.
  • Deconstructed:
    • General Bob's willingness to let his army take massive casualties results in his nation running out of fighting men and costing them the war.
    • General Bob's callousness results in morale plummeting to rock bottom, and most of his soldiers desert or defect. This eventually results in either General Bob being court-martialed or one of his former troops killing him for such cruelty.
  • Reconstructed: General Bob's tactics, costly though they are, are demoralizing enough to the enemy that they sue for peace, preventing the war from dragging on and killing more people on both sides.
    • Bob's warriors are robots, or undead, or some other manner of unfeeling, mass-produced killing machine. They simply march toward the enemy in unending, unerring lines, stepping over the bodies of their fellows as each one that falls is replaced by ten more. The sense of hopelessness this engenders in their opposition is overwhelming.

Back to We Have Reserves, men, and I don't care how many of you die to get us there!

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: