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Roaring Rampage Of Revenge / Real Life

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Do not count days. Do not count miles. Count only the number of Germans you have killed. Kill the German - this is your mother's prayer. Kill the German - this is your child's plea. Kill the German - this is the cry of your Russian earth. Do not miss. Do not let up. Kill.
Ilya Ehrenburg, Pravda, 1942

  • During the Union's campaign in the South in the twilight of the American Civil War, this was very much the feeling, especially towards the "snake-pit of secession", South Carolina. Columbia was burnt to the ground, and Atlanta and Charleston suffered extensive damage. One Southern diarist recounted: "[The Northern soldiers] say they are sorry for the women and children, but South Carolina must be destroyed". William T. Sherman's "March to the Sea", an extended scorched-earth campaign designed to decisively destroy the Confederacy's ability to wage war, was another example:
    So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
    Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main.
    Treason fled before us for resistance was in vain,
    While we were marching through Georgia.
    • On the other side, there was Jack Hinson. Though he was initially neutral at the outbreak of the war, Hinson joined the Confederate war effort after Federal troops cut off his sons' heads and stuck them on his gate posts. Hinson killed as many as 100 Union soldiers with his 50-caliber Kentucky Long Rifle. He was never apprehended despite the commitment of four Union regiments to pursuing him. Of course, recent historical research into this story has shown that most of the legend of Hinson is nothing more than revisionist anti-Union hogwash. Hinson's sons were not killed, and he was always a violent pro-confederate man.
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  • When 14th-century French noblewoman Jeanne de Clisson's husband was betrayed by his best friend and executed for treason, she sold all the Clisson lands to buy a fleet of warships, painted them black and dyed the sails red, and made herself a pirate admiral who only attacked French ships. If she found any noblemen aboard, she would execute them by beheading, the same fate that ended her husband's life. But she would always leave at least one sailor alive, so she could send him off with a message — "Tell the king of France that the Lioness of Brittany is coming for him." (She never did get to kill the king, but the aid she provided to the English side likely played a significant role in the English victory at Crecy, one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years' War.)
  • The Fall of Saigon could be viewed as this from the North Vietnamese perspective.
  • Octavian Caesar and Marc Antony ruthlessly hunting down the Tyrannicides of Julius Caesar, making this Older Than Feudalism.
    • As well as the failed revenge campaign of Pompey the Great's son, Sextus, against the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus.
    • Antony was not as vengeful as you might think. While it's true that Antony and Caesar were close friends for much of their lives as well as cousins they were not on particularly good terms when Caesar was assassinated. To compound matters everyone (including Antony) expected him to be Caesar's primary heir, but when the will was read Antony's name was not even mentioned. Plutarch went as far as to suggest that Antony knew about the plot and allowed it to happen, and for his part, Antony actually pardoned the assassins at first. Though he famously denounced them as murderers during his eulogy of Caesar. (Octavian on the other hand epitomized this trope, going as far as to recruit an army and march on Rome while he was nineteen.)
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  • The Battle of Lechfeld is a medieval example. Pagan Hungarian Nomads had taken advantage of a rebellion in East Francia to Rape, Pillage, and Burn their way across the kingdom. Deciding enough was enough, King Otto I called 8,000 heavily armored knights and infantrymen together at Lechfeld to do battle with the invaders. Despite being outnumbered two to one by deadly horse archers, the German knights pinned them down and slaughtered the Hungarians to a man. One thousand were killed in battle, 1,500 were killed by local farmers defending their lands, and 2,000 more were chased down and slain while attempting to flee. All in all, this put an end to Hungarian incursions into Western Europe.
  • As referred to in a film about the life of Wyatt Earp, after the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", Earp hunted down and killed most of the Clanton gang. Not because of the shootout; because three weeks later, Ike's boys shot and killed Wyatt's brother Morgan, while he was playing billiards. And did it from behind, to boot. The famed gunfight was just business for Wyatt, due to his being town marshal and the Clantons refusing to abide by the local "no guns inside the deadline" ordinance. Shooting his brother In the Back made it personal.
  • Following the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Israel's Mossad launched several operations to kill as many Palestinian operatives as they could find information on who may or may not have been associated with the attack. Israel still denies the operations took place (as they were extremely illegal in international law).
  • There was also Operation Nemesis (named after the Greek Goddess of divine retribution) carried out by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, which was payback for the Armenian Genocide. For more information, look here.
  • When Steve Irwin died, some Australians did not take his death well and condemned the stingrays, the creature that killed him (in self-defence). Thus, shortly after, the mutilated remains of several stingrays were found on Australian beaches: dragged ashore with their tails symbolically hacked off, before being violently tortured to death. Irwin's friends took notice and condemned the mutilators, because Irwin wouldn't have wanted retribution on those who caused his death. In other words, the same animals that Steve Irwin dedicated his life to preserving.
  • The utter carnage wreaked by the Red Army when it entered Germany during World War II was seen by the Soviets as justified vengeance for the 25+ million dead (the vast majority civilians) that the Soviet Union had suffered. To use the word "hatred" to describe Soviet feelings about the Germans is to reveal the limitations of the English language in describing emotion: practically every single Soviet soldier at this point in the war had a personal, murderous vendetta against Germany that was finally being given vent.
    • And the burning fire of Soviet vengeance only got hotter when the Red Army discovered the real reason why the Nazis wanted Russia and the fate that awaited every Slav had the Nazis actually won. With the deaths by starvation of a majority of Soviet POWs (along with millions of Soviet civilians) under the Nazi Hunger Plan, the Generalplan Ost scheme to replace the Slavic population with German colonists, and the discovery of the mass graves at Kerch and Babi Yar and the death camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz, the Great Patriotic War became more about the Slavic peoples' fighting for the right to exist.
    • Mariya Oktyabrskaya may be one of the Red Army's shining examples of this trope, when her husband was killed in action near Kiev in 1941 she enlisted and sold all her possessions to raise the 50,000 roubles needed to donate a tank to the army on one condition, they let her drive, the State Defence Committee agreed thinking it'd be good publicity. When she arrived at the battle of Smolensk in 1943 the other soldiers considered her a publicity stunt... until she started fighting, maneuvering her T-34, emblazoned with the words "Fighting Girlfriend", like a veteran. She destroyed many German machine gun and artillery positions and was the first of her brigade to breach the enemy positions. And that was only the beginning of her two-year campaign against the Nazis, which would ultimately gain her the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest award for military bravery offered by the USSR.
  • The Western Allies had several World War II examples of their own:
    • The United States following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was intended as a decisive attack that would cripple the Americans' ability to enforce various embargoes and scare them off from a war, but due to a terrible miscalculation of national character instead pissed off the "nation of shopkeepers", such that they were drowning the Japanese in men, ships, and planes even by 1943 (the war ended in 1945), burned pretty much every major city on the islands to the ground and blew two more clean off the map with experimental weapons before they were finished.
    • In March of 1944, Chindit George Cairns was involved in attack on a Japanese-held hill. When a Japanese officer hacked off his arm with a katana, he went berserk, killed him, grabbed the katana in his remaining arm, and sprinted up the hill, cutting down any Japanese soldier that was anywhere near him. He left a trail of blood and dead and wounded Japanese in his wake until he fell over dead from blood loss, or because his blood-rage became so potent that it literally overloaded his mortal body and caused his spirit to transcend into the personification of war. You decide.
    • "The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind" - Air Chief Marshall "Bomber" Harris, Royal Air Force. The British were so pissed off at German bombing of their country that they focused on attacking at night to demoralize the population rather than follow the USAF's doctrine of using them as precision strikes against enemy factories and such.
    • On a recon mission in WWII, Leo Major's best friend Willy was killed by Nazis. Leo responded by strapping three machine guns to his back, grabbing a sack of grenades, and went on the warpath, leaving a trail of destruction so great the Nazis were convinced they were fighting an entire attack force. He proceeded to bust down a door and kill four Nazi high commanders before burning down the Gestapo headquarters nearby. He proved to be such an unstoppable killing machine, the entire Nazi garrison retreated.
    • When the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in 1945, American soldiers were appalled at what they saw. So appalled that they rounded up a number of guards and executed them through machine-gun fire. Liberated Jewish inmates also got in on the action and took much more brutal revenge on the guards, beating and stomping them to death. They also killed Kapos and informers.
  • After being gang-raped by villagers incited by the upper-caste man who killed her lover, the Thakur Sri Ram, Phoolan Devi put together her own gang of bandits and avenged reports of rape and abuse through castration and dismemberment of the perpetrators. Based on reports that Sri Ram could be found in one of those villages, she returned with her gang and, in frustration at not being able to find him, executed 22 Thakur men, turning her into India's most wanted but also a folk hero eventually elected to Parliament. Fictionalized as the film Bandit Queen.
  • When Queen Boudica's husband died, the Roman moneylender Seneca called in a debt of 40,000,000 sesterces (a debt the Iceni neither agreed to nor wanted). The men sent in to collect this debt also had Boudica flogged and raped her two daughters in front of her. In response, Boudica rallied a massive army of rebel Celts and led a bloody crusade against the Romans occupying Britain. Before she was stopped, she massacred three of Britain's largest Roman cities, slaughtering at least 70,000 civilians in the process. It required three entire Roman legions to finally bring her down.
    • That is, the first legion that tried it found itself outnumbered fifty to one at least, so no surprise at the result there (all the infantry were wiped out, some of the cavalry and the senior officers escaped). Boudica's last battle, the Battle of Watling Street, saw her faced by two legions, mustering about 5% of her own numbers. It was a complete Curb-Stomp Battle, but not the way Boudica was hoping. Afterwards The Roman Legions - many of whom doubtlessly lost someone in Boudica's sackings and were pissed - took their own revenge. They completely cut her men to pieces, chased down those who tried to flee, and after the fight, some of the Roman soldiers butchered the families of the rebels (they were brought out to watch the expected victory from a safe distance). After Boudica was Driven to Suicide by her defeat, the Romans forcibly relocated the remaining Iceni to a Romanized town and launched retaliatory attacks against the other tribes for good measure. Apparently, the reprisal attacks by the Romans were so savage Britain's governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was recalled to Rome for fear his brutality would trigger another uprising.
      Boudicca may have died as a result of her own wrath, but her legend among the Britons—and the world—most certainly did not. Not only has her story established an epic poem of rebellion, it also radically altered the course of Roman behavior over the next four centuries. Her confederacy of barbarian “savages” had taken the placid Roman usurpers completely by surprise, which led to the creation of certain reforms after her death. The Romans lightened up on their demands of the Britons and even instituted a fairer system of taxation to pacify them. And in the 5th century CE, the Roman Empire fell into disintegration and England was released from their dominion. And for many hundreds of years later—until 1360 CE—no one even knew about Boudicca’s life until Tacitus’s manuscript on the events were uncovered by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio in a little-known monastery.
    • This also happened after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, which saw three Roman legions massacred to the last due to the treachery of their Germanic guide Arminius. After all was said and done, the Romans waited a few years, then sent the army into Germania, wrecking shop, reclaiming the standards of the first three legions, and Arminius was eventually killed (though by rival German chieftains, rather than the Romans.) From then on the Romans were content to let their eastern border sit on the banks of the Rhine, but it's yet another example of why you didn't piss off Rome if you valued your freedom.
      • This was also the reason for Arminius's betrayal. As a son of a Germanic chieftain he had been sent to Rome as a hostage and had been educated there, even reaching the rank of equites. But that did not change the fact that the Romans had taken him away from his family and stolen his life. Three Legions worth of Romans rather regretted that.
  • Do you remember the Khwarezmian Empire? No? That's the point--there's a good reason for that. Mainly because Genghis Khan literally wiped the entire civilization out of existence. The reason? Because one of the local governors harassed and even killed some of Genghis Khan's emissaries. When he was captured, that particular governor allegedly had molten silver poured into his eyes and mouth.
    • This is one reason why you shouldn't shoot the messenger. Especially Genghis Khan's messenger. It should be mentioned that it was a messenger of peace and that Genghis Khan sent them messengers twice, basically giving them a second chance after killing his first messengers. After the second time, well, he destroyed them all.
    • Though to be fair, kingdoms that did surrender to him usually had to endure a period of Rape, Pillage, and Burn before the Mongol Hordes moved on, so it's somewhat understandable that his emissaries weren't exactly popular.
      • He only did that to those who fought back. Those who surrendered instantly were treated well and allowed to retain their culture. Ghenghis Khan was actually surprisingly "Progressive" for the time (provided he was allowed to rule).
  • In first century Vietnam lived two sisters named Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. When Trac's husband stood up against the ruling Chinese, he was killed. But what the Chinese didn't know was that the Trung sisters had been trained from childhood in the art of warfare and martial arts. The sisters raised an army of 80,000, mostly women, and took back as many as 65 citadels before the Chinese managed to defeat them. Rather than die at the hands of the Chinese, the two sisters drowned themselves.note 
  • John "Liver-Eating" Johnson. Mountain man in the American west, Crow Indians killed his pregnant wife. He proceeded to spend the next twenty-five years hunting down the Crow, killing them, taking a bite out of their livers and spitting it out, declaring it unfit to eat as an insult. After amassing a body count of roughly forty, the Crows finally decided to make peace with him, inviting him into the tribe and making him an honorary chieftain.
  • Outlaw Couple Bonnie & Clyde's primary motivation for their crimes was Clyde's desire for revenge against the Texas prison system for the mistreatment he suffered during his last stint in prison. He had attempted to go straight before, but being harassed by law enforcement on a regular basis for his past behavior made it impossible for him to hold down a job, forcing him to return to a life of crime. Over the course of their crime spree they murdered nine police officers and four civilians, with Clyde's plan being to return to the prison, massacre the guards, and free all the inmates.
  • Prior to becoming one of the victims in the Wonderland Murders, Ron Launius was a mercenary and a drug dealer who was a suspect in over two dozen murder cases but could never be convicted because of the sudden deaths of so many of the witnesses. He once made a trip to Mexico to buy from members of a drug cartel, but they instead robbed him and held his wife for ransom. Launius robbed two banks to pay his wife's ransom, then killed the kidnappers anyway. He also killed the men who had set up the deal.
    • The murders themselves were likely an example of this trope. After the Wonderland Gang robbed gangster Eddie Nash of $1.2 million and shot his bodyguard Gregory Diles, Nash and Diles kidnapped John Holmes, a porn star who had helped stake out the robbery, and beat the truth out of him. Two days later, Diles and several of his men allegedly went round to the gang's hideout, forced Holmes to let them in and killed everyone inside.
  • After the Rodney King beating and the subsequent trial and acquittal of those involved, a lot of people took to the streets and began damaging everything in sight in what would become known as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
  • Buford Pusser was a sheriff in Tennessee who was riding with his wife to a call when a car pulled up and fired on them, killing her and critically wounding him. He single-handedly killed every man and then went on to wage a war on moonshining, illegal gambling, and several other criminal activities in his county before dying in a car accident. This man was so awesome that not one, but two movies were made based on his story, the second of which starred Dwayne Johnson.
  • When seventeen-year-old Herschel Grynzpan learned that his family had been deported from Germany by the Nazis along with many others, he responded by gunning down Ernst vom Rath, a German official who he had been seeing, as a form of protest against what the Nazis were doing. Unfortunately for Grynzpan, and for a great many Jews still living in Germany, this was just the excuse the Nazis were looking for to launch the infamous pogrom known as ''Kristallnacht'', the Night of Broken Glass, in which the SA, the Hitler Youth, and various German citizens smashed the windows of Jewish businesses, ransacked Jewish homes, burned down synagogues, and arrested no fewer than 30,000 Jews all throughout Germany in what would prove to be the beginning of one of the worst genocides of human history.
  • The Barbary Pirates demanded tribute from a certain obscure new nation on the grounds that Nobody Ever Complained Before. The result was that the US Navy came after them and spent several years beating on them. During the War of 1812 the Barbary Pirates went back to their old tricks and afterwards, the US Navy returned and gave them another whaling.note  At this the British decided that the colonials had a pretty good idea going, peace having broken out in Europe. So they sent the Royal Navy after them. Having their own beef with them and seeing the pirates finally weak, the Kingdom of Sardinia attacked them too. Finally after all that was done, the French simply landed and conquered the whole area.
  • When Bashkirian Airways Tupolev 154 and DHL cargo Boeing 757 collided over Überlingen, southern Germany in 2002, 74 people were killed. Among those were the wife and two children of Ossetian architect Vitaly Kaloyev. The accident was caused in part by air traffic control error; the flaw that caused the accident was a systemic issue more than a problem with any one man,note  but Kaloyev blamed the controller who had been on duty and hired a private investigator to find out who it was. It turned out to be a Danish man named Peter Nielsen. So Kaloyev tracked him down at his Zürich home on 24 February 2004 and stabbed him to death with a knife in front of Nielsen's wife and three children. The Swiss police arrested him and he was tried and convicted for murder. He was released from prison on basis of insanity in November 2007 and banished from Switzerland. He received a hero's welcome home in Russia, and he was nominated as the Minister of Public Constructions in Ossetia.
  • The 1527 Sack of Rome, from the perspective of the invaders.
  • Quite infamously the United States during the Spanish-American War. While there is scant evidence that the explosion that sank the battleship Maine was deliberate, America was itching for a chance to go to war and took that as the best excuse. The following Curb-Stomp Battle saw Spain lose the last of its colonial possessions to the United States, and other European Powers finally started taking the Americans seriously on the international stage.
  • After Prince Igor of Kiev was killed by the tribe of Drevlians, they sent 20 ambassadors to his widow, Princess Olga, to convince her to marry their Prince Mal. She buried them alive. After that, she asked Mal to send his best men to help her on her journey to him. She invited them to the bathhouse, locked them up, and set the building on fire. Then she invited some more Drevlians to her husband's funeral, and, after they were drunken, killed about 5,000 of them. And then Olga went to war against them, and defeated them, and burned down their capital Iskorosten.
    • Supposedly, the reason the Drevlians killed Igor is because, after coming with a large force to take the yearly tribute, he got greedy and came back with a token force to take even more. Seeing their chance, the Drevlians easily overcame his bodyguards, tied him to two bent tree trunks, and let go. They, obviously, didn't think about the consequences.
  • Some scholars believe the Viking Age was kickstarted as revenge for Charlemagne's wars against the Saxons.
  • In 2004, Marvin John Heemeyer (October 28, 1951 – June 4, 2004), an American welder and an automobile muffler repair shop owner, armored a bulldozer, mounted guns, monitors, and cameras into the metalwork, and used it to destroy 13 buildings in Granby, Colorado, all of which were owned by people he had some kind of dispute with, including the town hall. He also installed loudhailers that broadcasted his intentions for razing the community. The bulldozer rampage finally stopped because Heemeyer's insane modifications had stressed the mechanics of the bulldozer beyond anything they were meant to endure, and the beast died in a heap of smoke. Heemeyer pulled the trigger on himself, leaving the authorities to find the scene of his suicide after carving open the bulldozer's armor. Also a Taking You with Me, because the bulldozer's armored cocoon had no way for him to escape once it was lowered over him.
    "Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things."
  • A farmer in Vermont flattened several police cars because he was angry about being charged with marijuana possession.
  • Another man drove right through City Hall in Wichita, soon after being cited for having loud music in his car, he got 10 years for the rampage.
  • Christopher Dorner, after having been dismissed from the LAPD, went on one, posting a long, rambling manifesto, in which he named specific officers he wanted to kill, killed the daughter of the attorney who represented him at the hearing where he was dismissed, as well as her fiancé, before killing a police officer and running up to Big Bear mountain range, where he killed another officer and holed himself up in a cabin. Then the police themselves got in on the act, deciding the Klingons were wrong and revenge is a dish best served piping hot, they set the cabin on fire with the intention of watching him burn alive (the Sheriff officially denied this, of course, but few believe it), though in the end, he shot himself to deny them the satisfaction.
  • The entire Lusitanian War was a big rampage of revenge against the increasingly expansionist Roman Republic. When Rome pretended to make peace with the tired Lusitanians over war and land, only to slaughter 10,000 men, women, and children, huge numbers of them spent the next 3 years randomly attacking Roman territories and allies but slowly failing. Just as it looked like Rome would wipe out the last resisting warriors, a survivor named Viriathus of that same earlier massacre reminded them of why they had been fighting. Knowing how Romans fought, he managed to save the several thousand cornered warriors without a loss, leading to a renewed 8-year leadership of revenge against Rome. His leadership caused so much distress in Rome that other tribes rebelled, and the recruitment rate in Rome dropped, especially after three legions were lost in the war against the Lusitanians alone. However, the trope is somewhat subverted in that eventually he later spared an army of Romans for peace, knowing that over time, the war would simply drain his peoples' numbers, only for the peace treaty to be reneged and himself assassinated. Ironically enough his death triggered another brief rampage or revenge, but without his leadership, it failed. Adding to the confusion, the Romans ended up making peace later by giving this tribe exactly what they asked for before this entire mess began: fertile land.
  • Adolf Hitler considered World War 2 as revenge against Europe for the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Pancho Villa himself went on this trope after his war effort against a corrupt Mexican government was virtually starved by a US presidential ban of aid to his forces. He found himself so embittered that he raided a train and had its 18 US occupants stripped naked and executed. Villa later also lead 500 men to raid Columbus, New Mexico for supplies and not only attempted to look but willingly attacked anyone on site with his men, setting homes on fire. Unfortunately for his men, they were beaten back with high losses. The US President and his people were not pleased and sent a 4,800 man strong army to hunt him down. Though they never succeeded in catching Villa himself, they did manage almost entirely dismantle his revolution.
  • After King Aelle had the Viking warrior Ragnar Lothbrok dropped into a pit of snakes, Ragnar's sons came after him, and killed whatever stood between them and vengeance.
  • In 1998, Mari Carmen Garcia's 13-year-old daughter was raped. In 2005, the rapist was paroled, and upon returning to their hometown of Benjuzar, Spain, encountered Mari Carmen in the street and taunted her about her daughter. Mari Carmen Garcia then followed the rapist to a bar, walked up behind him, doused him in gasoline, lit a match and burnt him to death. She served one year in prison before being paroled due to special circumstances (namely that almost no one could blame her for sending her daughter's rapist straight to hell in a blaze of white-hot revenge).
  • In 1509 the Portuguese had pretty much managed to take over the Indian spice trade from the Venetians and the nations who profited from the old route. In reply, they banded together and financed the Mamluks to attack the Portuguese in the Indian ocean. They surprised an 8-ships strong Portuguese squadron (who fought back for 3 days against 50+ Mamluk vessels) - killing the son of the Portuguese Viceroy before limping to Diu.
    The Viceroy threw his recently arrived replacement in jail, scrapped together 18 ships for a punitive expedition, and sailed off for some bloody revenge. The Gujarat governor of Diu sent him a messenger, to whom he basically replied that he was going to Diu to kick the ass of the guys who killed his son and of those who helped them and that if the Mamluks were gone by the time he arrived, then all his fury would fall on the city alone...
    Cue the equivalent of an invasion by eldritch abominations in which the Portuguese easily reduced the port fortifications, made short work of the 100-strong fleet anchored within and crushed the city defenders with arquebuses and hand grenades.
    The city was garrisoned and forced to pay a hefty indemnification, but the Mamluk prisoners were hanged, burned alive, or tied to the mouths of the cannons and blown to pieces.
  • Akku Yadav was a criminal who had been committing rape and murder in the Indian city of Chennai for over a decade, and getting away with it due to police corruption. When he was brought into court, he spotted a woman in the crowd he had raped and called her a whore. This prompted an angry mob of over 200 women to lynch him on the spot, with one of his victims reportedly hacking off his penis.
  • In the 1970s, the guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) kidnapped prominent landowner Jesús Castaño and demanded a ransom. When the proper amount wasn't paid, the group killed Jesús and left his body in the jungle. The man's sons, Carlos and Fidel, immediately swore revenge and formed the ACCU. They then went about slaughtering just about every single member of FARC they could find, burning entire villages that were living near Communist strongholds and putting to death anyone who had a remote connection to the group.
  • The Romans were infamous for what they did to allies that betrayed them or subjects that rebelled and did not surrender in time when the Romans came for them. Here's the two most infamous occasions:
  • The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and just like their colleagues in the west, you provoked them at your own peril. Best shown by what happened in the last Roman-Persian War: thanks to the Byzantine being weakened by infighting, attacks from Bulgars and Avars, and starting the war under Phocas, the worst of the Byzantine emperors, the Persians of the Sassanid dynasty were overrunning the Byzantine empire, the situation being so bad that Heraclius, who had become emperor after personally killing Phocas, was considering moving the capital to Carthage to rule on the oversea territories only when Persian emperor Khosrau II sent him a most offensive letternote , at which point the entire population of the Byzantine Empire became willing to all sacrifices to make the Persians pay, and they did: when the Persians surrendered, the frontier was back where it was at the start of the war, the Persian military was barely holding on, a Byzantine army led personally by Heraclius had stopped short of the Persian capital, Khosrau had been assassinated and replaced by one of his least favourite sons, and the death of the latter plunged the Persian Empire into civil war.
    • The Byzantines were also on the receiving end of this when they tried to pull a fast one on the Grand Catalan Company and its capable, lawless, and beloved commander Roger de Flor. They hired the company to fight the Turks. The Catalans did a good job of it, at the same time plundering Byzantine territory and subjects. The Byzantines decided to rid themselves of these "Western Barbarians" by setting another group of mercenaries on them, the Alans. The Alans killed Roger de Flor but left most of the Grand Company in one piece. Bad move. The enraged Catalans conquered Thessaly and Greece and ruled their own kingdom until 1390.
  • While this is a common premise in films, in real life this is less of a good idea than in films if a close one gets raped/murdered/otherwise harmed. There are two reasons for this; first being the many obvious legal troubles involved, and the second being that, if the victim and/or their close ones'' witness bloodthirsty rage from previously nonthreatening loved one(s), it will only freak them out even more.
  • After the Doolittle Raid during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the first US bombing attack on Japan itself, the Japanese government was so furious that they launched an offensive and massacred thousands of Chinese suspected of helping the Americans. Aside from conventional weapons, the army deployed bioweapons, only to infect their own soldiers and kill several thousand with smallpox and anthrax.
  • After Kampfgruppe Joachim Peiper murdered a number of civilians and American prisoners of war (the "Malmedy Massacre") during the Battle of the Bulge, the U.S. Army made it part of their battle plan to destroy Joachim Peiper and his unit (a battlegroup of the 1st SS Panzer Division). Peiper ended up walking back in deep snow to the main German lines with no tanks and about 770 men remaining. But that was only the beginning. He and a number of his men were then tried after the war for the murders, convicted, and sentenced to death. The sentences were commuted, and Peiper was released from prison at the end of 1956. He moved to France in 1972, but when his identity was revealed in a local newspaper in 1976, his house was burned down with him in it. The case remains open to this day, as even the nationality of his killers (who called themselves "The Avengers") was unknown; Peiper had been accused of similar deeds in both Italy and Russia, generally involving burning down villages.
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan, also a career military officer, definitely qualifies. Near the end of 2016, ISIS captured a Jordanian pilot who was shot down during airstrikes against the group's capital in Syria, wanting to trade him for a woman imprisoned in the country for helping plan a suicide bombing in which 60 people died. After Jordan turned ISIS down, they burned the pilot alive and posted the video online. Abdullah was in Washington attending a meeting with a US Marine when he found out what ISIS had done. According to the Marine, the King immediately launched into Clint Eastwood's revenge speech from Unforgiven, and that his only concern was that he wouldn't have enough fuel and munitions to take out ISIS. When he returned to Jordan, he had the female prisoner ISIS wanted to exchange publicly hanged. That was followed by the execution of a man arrested for plotting to bring ISIS to the country. The King then went to the family of the murdered pilot to personally express condolences and promise revenge. Then came the first of a series of airstrikes against ISIS leadership. Reports out of Jordan indicated that the King himself flew the lead aircraft, though the government officially denied it.
  • In the Second World War, after the Battle of the Denmark Strait, in which the German battleship Bismarck sank the HMS Hood with a single salvo, Winston Churchill gave a single order: sink the Bismarck. The entire Royal Navy took the Hood's sinking personally and so every RN ship in the Atlantic and some from the Mediterranean were directed to find and sink the Bismarck at any cost. They proceeded to chase her down and disable her rudder, then her bridge and fire control, leaving her a wreck that was scuttled by her own crew. Afterward, the professionalism of the RN took over again and Admiral John Tovey, commander of the British Home Fleet and the guy in charge of the search for the Bismarck, remarked "The Bismarck had put up a most gallant fight against impossible odds worthy of the old days of the Imperial German Navy, and she went down with her colours flying".
  • Poet Maya Angelou was raped at the age of nine by her mother's boyfriend, who was convicted of the assault but received only a paltry sentence. Four days after his release, her rapist was found murdered; no official charges were ever laid, but it's generally believed that her uncles killed him in retaliation for the rape. Unfortunately, this action only traumatized Angelou further; feeling that her words (in identifying him as her rapist) had led to his death, she became mute and remained so for nearly five years.
  • The Lincoln County War in the Wild West, the conflict in which Billy the Kid made his name as a gunslinger. After rancher John Tunstall was murdered by three members of a posse lead by Sheriff William J. Brady, several of his associates, including Billy the Kid, formed the Lincoln County Regulators to avenge Tunstall's murder. What followed was a five-month war between the Regulators, the Sheriff's Department and several other gangs brought in to help Sheriff Brady suppress the Regulators. First the Regulators apprehended three members of the posse, including one of the men who shot Tunstall, and executed them alongside one of their own who tried to stop them. Then they ambushed and gunned down Sheriff Brady, followed by another member of the posse. Then they cornered yet another member of the posse and killed him after a lengthy gunfight, although not before he wounded four of them and killed one. Another posse was set up and killed their leader, Frank McNab, after which the Regulators retaliated by killing five members of the posse, including the man who shot McNab. This culminated in the five-day Battle of Lincoln, which ended with the surviving members of the rival faction going on a roaring rampage of their own, burning down the home of one of the Regulators leaders, killing several dozen Regulators and sending the rest running for their lives.
  • The British Empire was known for its brutal retribution to those that screwed them over.
    • The Indian Mutiny of 1857 is an infamous example. After the Indian Sepoys rebelled, the British public were outraged by reports of massacres at Delhi, Jhansi, Cawnpore and various other places during which men, women and children were savagely murdered. When the tide began to turn against the Sepoys, it was time for revenge. Indians suspected of participating in or supporting the mutiny were slain by the British forces, with many being hanged or blown from cannons. Some were also sown into cow and pig skins before they died to mock their religious prohibitions on killing the animals, which was the cause of the mutiny. At Cawnpore, where the most notorious massacre had taken place, captured rebels were forced to lick up the blood of their fellow mutineers before being killed themselves. Others were punished by being burned with hot irons or waterboarded in wells.
    • Less well known but equally fitting of the trope is the 1897 Benin expedition. After an expedition under General James Phillips ignored his warnings to turn back the Oba of Benin ordered them ambushed and killed. Only two Britons survived the so-called "Benin Massacre", and upon hearing their reports the British press were baying for the Oba's blood. A punitive expedition was ordered and easily defeated every Benin army they came across with their superior weaponry, Raping, Pillaging and Burning their way through Benin before sacking Benin City, in the process coming across the atrocities the Oba had been trying to conceal. Once the city had been burned, the Oba gave himself up and the British were surprisingly merciful in that he was only banished from Benin for the rest of his life while other chiefs were hanged in what remained of Benin City.