Attack! Attack! Attack!

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

My rule is: If you meet the weakest vessel, attack; if it is a vessel equal to yours, attack; and if it is stronger than yours, also attack...
Admiral Stepan O. Makarov (1849-1904)

Whether the characters are fighting men or monsters, they will often attack long after any sensible foe would have attempted surrender, or retreat, or even running away. They may suffer from crippling injuries, or even injuries that will be fatal without treatment.

May be justified (among humans) by having their pride hurt or honor involved, having lost so much that only victory can redeem them, having nowhere to run to, or having an absolutely crucial need for victory, so that flight would just be prolonging their pain, or (among monsters) by having them maddened in some way, but often enough it's just shown.

Harder to justify, but popular, is that they fight until they drop dead. No one is crippled or disabled by wounds—and not because they took Bottled Heroic Resolve. This can overlap with Critical Existence Failure, especially in videogames.

The Determinator is prone to it, although depending on what he is determined on, he may not engage in it.

Common among Mooks, though not the most common form of Mook Chivalry. One sign of The Berserker, who will often continue to attack after all his foes are down, not being able to distinguish between Friend or Foe. Lawful Stupid characters may also engage in it. A We Have Reserves general usually demands it.

Compare Last Stand, where retreating from some fights would be carried out whenever practical, and Unconscious Objector, where they keep attacking even after they're too beaten up to realize they're doing it.

Inversion is Screw This, I'm Outta Here. See also Leeroy Jenkins. Contrast Super-Persistent Predator. Possible duplication with I Will Fight Some More Forever. Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat! is a comedy version when this trope is juxtaposed with Oh Crap and becomes Screw This, I'm Outta Here.

Not to be confused with Tora! Tora! Tora!.

The "AI in Video Games" equivalent is Suicidal Overconfidence.

Examples of Attack! Attack! Attack! include:

Anime and Manga

  • Let's just say it's a common, fighting shounen manga trope. In ye ol' Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball, Yu Yu Hakusho, and others, the heroes will just keep attacking an overpowered villain despite them shrugging off their attacks, walking all over them, explaining how pointless it is, and more. They just don't stop. And most of the time, they succeed.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has Sanosuke, a Zanbato-wielder-turned-fistfighter who has consciously chosen to build a fighting style based on nothing but attacking. After being beaten a few times by a 'rival,' said rival criticizes Sanosuke for having no defensive moves; he just keeps attacking until he wins or is too badly injured to continue. Sanosuke's response is to learn how to attack HARDER. Then there's Enishi; even before he fights Kenshin, he's already decided that he will kill Kenshin or die trying, because in the past Kenshin had killed his sister Tomoe - the only person he ever cared about - and he feels he has nothing left but vengeance.
  • Gurren Lagann:

Adiane: If you shoot me at this range, your shells will collide. Are you humans really that stupid?
Yoko: Unfortunately, we are that stupid.
Attenborough: WHO CARES! FIRE! *KABOOM*

    • In the third Story Arc, the moon threatens to fall and crush the planet. Simon's response? Attack the moon. It works, too.
    • Again near the end, while in the Chouginga Gurren-Lagann. Attenborough shows just how much he loves his job... by shooting every point in space and time at the same time. Don't worry. It doesn't make much sense, even in context. The line "Near Past -8, Near Future +10" doesn't mean much either, as there's no indication whether it's minutes, days, years or even millenia they're talking about. It worked, however.
  • Aura Battler Dunbine. It's even in the theme song. Aura Battler, Dunbine. Aura Shoota', Dunbine. Attack, attack, attack! I'm a warrior. (Actually cooler than it sounds, in a cheesy 80s mecha theme sort of way)
  • Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist. She continues to fight even after coughing up blood from her missing organs. She always kicks their asses, too.
    • We can't forget Colonel Roy Mustang, who mercilessly killed Lust and nearly Envy out of revenge. He keeps fighting Lust even after she brutally injured him.
      • King Bradley, aka Wrath starts adopting this strategy by the end. His opponents have a tank? Keep fighting. Vastly outnumbered? Keep fighting. Lose an arm? Keep fighting. Lose an eye? Keep fighting. Lose both arms? Hold that sword in your teeth and keep fighting.
  • Kazuma in S-Cry-ed will never give up. Take a look at his badly damaged body at the end of the show, or really after any fight.
  • Probably the only way you can get Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth to give up is to beat her into unconsciousness. Its rather shocking the staggering number of injuries - and subsequent blood loss - she got from just one or two battles in the anime (that will power is really something...).
  • This is the default strategy of almost everyone in Bleach, especially when a character is about to suffer from The Worf Effect
  • The Iron Hammer Knight, Vita. There's nothing she can't destroy. And of course, Nanoha herself, who solves all her problems by blowing the crap out of them.
  • Hiruma's philosophy toward football... and pretty much everything else in Eyeshield 21. Some of it is justified because of the make-up of his team, but it's mostly just because he likes it that way.
    • Also the Seibu Wild Gunmen, who have incredibly strong offense. They could play defensively and stop their opponents from scoring a bit more, but they prefer playing aggressively for turnovers to get more points.
    • And inverted by the Ojou White Knights, which rely on extremely talented defenses.
    • The Hakushuu Dinosaurs are another offensive oriented team, relying on the power of their centre, Gaou, to force their way down the field, and breaking other teams' quarterbacks instead of playing fairly. Oddly enough, two of their best players are their safety (who doubles as the quarterback) and their cornerback. Marco may believe in the offense, but he makes sure he's got all his bases covered.
  • Occurs several times in Hajime no Ippo when a fighter—most notably Ippo and Sendo—will continue to box through muscle memory even after he's been knocked unconscious.
    • Ippo however, actually has a phenomenal defense. This is contrasted by Sendo, who has almost no defense and doesn't mind taking hits if he can dish out something in turn. Hell, he loves boxing precisely because he likes "hitting and getting hit". He has the advantage that you can't make him retreat or step back.
    • In the first movie Ippo even proclaimed he will lose to his opponent, Kazuki Sanada, if he even stops assaulting him for a second as it would break his rythm and leave him open. Hitting like a freighter train onto the defending Kazuki he thinks only about "Attack, Attack and Attack even more!"
  • The exorcists of D.Gray-man don't know the meaning of the word "retreat". All of them will fight until they can no longer move, and even that won't be enough to stop some of them. As his teammates point out, Allen fights twice as many Akuma as everyone else, and will continue to attack head-on no matter how much shit is getting beat out of him (usually a lot). The fact that his Empathic Weapon is specially tailored to allow him to fight long after he should be physically capable isn't doing him many favors.
  • Mari Illustrious from Rebuild of Evangelion has this as her default strategy, with the effect that she completely demolishes her EVA every time she fights. She wouldn't even retreat when her EVA had an arm cut off, its skull cracked open and a large gaping hole in its side. (Keep in mind that she feels all the injuries and partially suffers them on her actual body.) Granted, if she gave up, Zeruel would've reached Terminal Dogma... and that wouldn't end well.
    • She also has the authority to remove the limiters that keep an Evangelion from going berserk, and this causes her feelings of aggression to go into overdrive too.
    • This is the modus operandi of berserker Evangelions.
    • The entire strategy of the U.N. armed forces appears to be "If we keep throwing more tanks, missiles, battleships and stuff at the angels, we can slow them down at least". Whether they are fulfilling their task as a "buffer" is debatable.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Fate's minions suffer from a rather nasty case of this; it works against Negi's partners, most of whom have no idea how to fight, but when faced with people with actual combat experience, they get their butts kicked.
    • Jack Rakan also acts like this, but he gets away with it because he's so powerful that there are only half a dozen people in existence who can actually hurt him.
  • In the "El Baile de la Muerte" arc of Black Lagoon, a bunch of mooks are hired by a hitman hired by Roberta to flush out a Special Forces outfit. They are totally outclassed and outgunned, but their leader tells them to keep fighting, because they've lost too many people for this to be pointless. He repeats it until it practically becomes a Madness Mantra.
  • Rock Lee from Naruto. To the point where he was knocked unconscious from the pain from a shattered leg and arm, and broken spine, and had trained himself to the point where he could still fight unconscious. While he isn't averse of actual strategy or defense, his major attack tactic really is direct damage.
  • A favorite tactic of Black Star in Soul Eater. He takes it up another notch with 'Speed Star' mode, and another 5 notches in 'Fey Blade' mode.
  • This is the philosophy that defines Guts' life in Berserk.
  • The trademark stratergy of the eponymous Yaiba. Of course, if this doesn't work he's more than capable of finding out a solution against his foes.
  • Luffy from One Piece plays this straight or averts it depending on the situation. His main strategy is to hit the other guy as much as he can and as fast as he can, and if it's a fight he feels he has to win, he does just that. That said, he's not at all opposed to running away from a pointless or unwinnable fight (and does so pretty often) so long as it doesn't mean abandoning any of his friends.
    • Also Ace (and mentioned his father as well), had a "never run from a fight" attitude. However it was because of this Ace died at the hands of Akuinu.
  • The usual modus operandi of Admiral Fritz Josef Bittenfeld in Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
  • In Girls und Panzer, this is the usual - and, to begin with, only - tactic practised by the Chi-Ha-Tan sensha-do team; the only order their commander ever gives is "Charge!" It isn't until the movies that the team's only tactically-competent girl gets them to even consider "charge in place" (hold position) or "charge in another direction" (retreat).

Comic Books

Pyre: Y'know, I remember watching the old Superman TV series with George Reeves, and the bad guys would always shoot at Superman, when he showed up. I used to ask myself, why? They know it's not going to hurt him, at most, it'll piss him off, so why shoot at him? You know what it comes down to? The bad guys are always stupid. Dirt-stick-stone stupid.

  • Preacher (Comic Book): When the Saint of Killers is going on a rampage in Masada, the Allfather's instructions to his men is to "Rush him. Swamp his guns with your bodies". Given that the Saint is utterly unkillable and that the bullets from his guns will never inflict a wound that is less than fatal, this can only end one way.
  • The 2000 AD story Flesh: The Legend of Shamana plays with this.

Shamana and the dinosaurs had worked out a cunning and intricate plan to destroy the flesh factory. The frist wave would go straight in for the kill. Whereas the second wave would employ the classic tactic of going straight in for the kill. Meanwhile, the third wave would employ the saurian strategy of going straight in for the kill. Setting things up nicely for the fourth wave, who would go for the final objective -- straight in for the kill.


  • Hamburger Hill: The repeated attempts to take the epynomous hill that isnt even strategically important is used to portray the War Is Hell theme.
  • In Seven Samurai, the bandits fight to the last man without ever considering that there might be easier places to rob. The final bandit, hiding with the women, still sees fit to shoot at the samurai and betray his position rather than simply flee. This is partially explained by the bandit leader executing a couple of men who try to flee. We never learn why the bandit leader is so gung-ho, though.
  • In The Magnificent Seven, The Seven wonder why the bandits keep attacking them instead of going off to find easier pickings. They learn that the bandits haven't eaten in days and if they don't get the village's food they will starve.
  • Godzilla: Surely, the JSDF in the films have exhausted all their soldiers and weaponry in the films from trying to defeat Godzilla after all these years.
  • Patton:

Patton: Now there's another thing I want you to remember. I don't want to get any messages saying that "we are holding our position." We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We're going to hold onto him by the nose and we're going to kick him in the ass. We're going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we're going to go through him like crap through a goose!

  • Watchmen: That guy in the prison hallway fight scene, who makes a 'You want some of this?' gesture after Nite Owl shuts down six of his friends, while he's shutting them down like they aren't even there? What did he really think was going happen next?
  • War of the Worlds In the 2005 Spielberg version, an army captain in the battle scene actually says "Attack, Attack, Attack!" ordering the tanks and humvees to advance on the approaching tripods. A few seconds later they are all wiped out, but at least they bought the civilians they were covering precious time.
  • The Thin Red Line: LTC Tall's repeated orders to attack the ridgeline. Somewhat subverted when Cpt Staros, refuses his orders. This is further reinforced after the battle when he literally tells a group of his men, that they ARE his sons.
  • In Antz, Z mentions this when he's talking to the Queen and Bala after the termite battle.

"You don't think, you just react, you have to attack! Attack! ATTACK!"

"Its just a flesh wound."

  • In Airplane!, there's a scene where Rex Kramer is entering the airport on his way to help land a stricken airliner and is accosted by donation-seekers. He begins beating them up in increasingly brutal ways, which only seems to attract them to him like flies. They don't stop until they're all lying on the floor, moaning in pain.
  • In one of the scenes deleted from the theatrical release of Aliens, the marines make good use of four drone turrets salvaged from the wreckage of the dropship and APC. They set up the machine guns along the hallway leading up to the control room and before long, the bugs are pouring into the killing field. In a tense moment, three of the guns run dry on ammo as the xenomorphs unflinchingly throw themselves into the bullets, and by the time the aliens decide to find another route into the control room, the last gun only has four rounds left.
  • In Van Helsing, Anna has this problem. Mere seconds after escaping Dracula's mind control, and confronted with a charging army of vampires, her idea of a sensible solution is to grab a mace mounted on the wall, and start jumping into the horde. Fortunately, the title character is there to drag her out of harm's way.
  • For a group of mercenaries, the MNU special forces in District 9 are extremely well motivated, given that they keep attacking, literally to the last man, despite their colleagues being turned into Ludicrous Gibs left and right.
  • The would-be home invaders in Straw Dogs, as well those in the Home Alone movies that Straw Dogs inspired, persist beyond all reason. Though to be fair, in the first Home Alone movie the burglars do succeed after numerous injuries only to have Kevin's neighbor stop them at the last minute.
  • The Lord of the Rings films featured an amusing subversion during development. In the finished product this trope is in full swing, but the AI simulation they used to generate the aerial shots actually outsmarted the filmmakers at one point. The good guys determined that one battle[1] was hopeless and ran for the hills en masse.


  • In Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn novel Xenos, when they are thrown into Gladiator Games, the monster that kills one of them doesn't stop to eat the corpse but jumps onto the next victim.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain[2] novel Duty Calls, Battle Sisters are plunging into battle without thought for their own lives, or what their deaths (or simply their reckless advance) will do to the line, until Cain sharply reminds them that if they die and let the tyranids through, the tyranids will descend on the temple and slaughter the civilians there. They back off, and later admit that their zeal had led them astray.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunter, facing an ice fiend pack, Ragnar knows they will fight until their prey are dead, or they are.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, Iskavan is furious, even after victory, because they had retreated at one point during the battle. When the tide turns, and he is ordered to withdraw, he is enraged.
  • The D'regs of the Discworld novel Jingo are known for this, regarding a leader as merely someone to shout "Charge!". That Carrot convinces them not to on one occasion is seen as proof of his unnatural Krisma[sic]. When the enemy general finds out he had done this and he had a commander, he surrenders instantly.
  • Whenever many of the villains in Stationery Voyagers are obligated to do anything other than this trope, they swear revenge as they retreat. The Crooked Rainbow has even gone so far as to pose a deliberate threat against a being they knew to be an angel capable of roasting them alive. Astrabolo is also a fan of neverending attacks. Even Melchar begins to resort to this after his initial Batman Gambit works all-too-well.
  • Carnival of Deepgate Codex.
  • The Sauron Super Soldiers of the CoDominium universe are trained to attack at all costs; the result is that they attack until they have nothing left, and the Galactic Empire waltzes in and sterilizes their planet; the only Sauron ship to flee and survive is disregarded as impossible, since Saurons never run. But the Empire also commits the same basic mistake, attacking the Saurons with increasing fanaticism until their own forces are all but gone; only their greater numbers allow a few Imperial worlds to barely survive knocked back to barbarism.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 alternate history series, General Custer is a very poor general who suffers from severe Peter Principle issues - he used to be an awesome soldier, but he's been promoted into a position he's really not suited for. As a general, all he ever does is make direct assaults on the enemy. Being that he's in charge of an important front during World War I, he gets an awful lot of people killed. (Which is pretty much what happened in Real Life - lots of people died on both sides, and neither side gained any ground.) In spite of being essentially an idiot, he's also the only one who figures out the best way to use these new armored vehicles called "barrels", and he's both stubborn and reckless enough to defy instructions from Headquarters and put them all in one place for a single massive frontal assault on the enemy lines. This works, proving that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Aiel warrior society known as the Stone Dogs do not retreat. Ever. Aiel rarely have reason to retreat anyway, so it all works out.
    • There's also a Tairen High Lord called Weiramon, a Lord Error-Prone who figures a good cavalry charge is the best answer to all life's problems, and who routinely throws away thousands of lives at a time leading suicidal charges at unwinnable objectives.
    • Justified in Rand's climactic swordfight with the blademaster Turak in "The Great Hunt;" he sees that he can't win using "proper" swordfighting techniques, so instead he just throws himself at Turak with a sloppy but relentless assault that the man is completely unprepared for, and is killed by.
  • Conan the Barbarian

He was no defensive fighter; even in the teeth of overwhelming odds he always carried the war to the enemy.

  • In Malevil, despite council to do otherwise, Vilmain decides that Malevil will be razed immediately to avenge the death of his Dragon Bèbelle. While his pride can be counted on an ill-planned attack, Malevil's defenders recognize that his training will prevent it from being a suicidal one if he's losing.

Live-Action TV

  • Called specifically, though too old to be an Invocation in the Doctor Who serial "The Armageddon Factor".

"Base to fleet, commence attack. Attack, attack, attack."

--"He's shooting at scraps of metal."

  • In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a group of Jem'Hadar were ordered to attack the main characters by their Vorta commander before their Ketracel White supply runs out (and they go crazy and kill everyone). They were to attack across an open field against heavy cover. Even Sisko tells them they're charging into a trap. The Jem'hadar commander tells them they know, but they're doing it anyways (because their control drug is going to run out and because their ingrained loyalty requires them to obey, no matter how suicidal). Jem'Hadar in general do this, since they're genetically engineered warriors.
  • Momotaros/Sword Form from Kamen Rider Den-O almost literally has "Attack! Attack! Attack!" as his Catch Phrase.
  • The final episode of the first season of Tour of Duty had the platoon assaulting a useless hill.
  • Richie tries this method during a game of chess, much to Eddie's amusement.
  • In the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, Rick and the other sheriffs force a car with armed bank robbers off the road. As the half-dozen sheriffs are all in view, with weapons raised, and aimed at said car, two of the robbers come out and start firing, and are gunned down in seconds. A third robber, who was on the other side of the car and thus out of sight of the sheriffs, then comes out of the car. He is entirely unnoticed and could have easily gotten a headstart in getting away...but instead decides to open fire himself, succeeding only in wounding Rick before he's killed.

Tabletop Games

Griznak didn't mind the death. He was an Ork. The senseless waste of life didn't appall him. He applauded it. He lived to fight. Fighting was what life was all about. Death was part of fighting, everybody knew that, from the youngest Wildboy to the oldest Nob. Every Ork accepted death the way he accepted the possibility of a buggy accident. It was what happened to someone else. And if it did happen to you, so what? Your soul went back to Gork and Mork to be belched into another body so you could fight again. (Codex: Imperialis)

      • The background material explains that Orks actually grow from spores released by decaying Ork corpses. In other words, getting killed is essential to their reproduction.
      • Or, from Deff Skwadron:

"The best means of defense is attack, an' the best form of attack is a really big one, right, with lots of boys and dead big shooty things an' what have ya."
--Legendary Ork smartboy, Drek Zog

    • Khorne Berserkers (especially the entire World Eaters Legion) and the Blood Angels Death Company... ah, well, the names of those should give a hint as to why they're examples of this trope.
    • Black Templars Space Marines. Most armies would run away when taking casualties...Black Templars move towards the enemy when they lose men.
  • GURPS has the disadvantage "On The Edge" which causes this to an almost comical degree. The example given involves using a toothbrush to fight people with guns.
    • Well... that's more about roleplaying a character with clinical depression that manifests in not caring whether he lives or dies. "On the Edge" means that the character does things that may appear to be courageous, to people who do not understand what's happening, but when the character stares down a street gang armed only with a toothbrush, he's actually trying to die. "On the Edge" is more a Death Seeker kind of thing, though it's certainly possible in GURPS to be both "On the Edge" and a berserker.
  • Background information on demons from Dungeons & Dragons usually depicts them as this. Based on their stats, they're far from stupid, but they enjoy hurting other things so much that they'll often continue fighting a losing battle just to hit you a few more times. And, to be fair, it bears mentioning that dieing on the material plane is mostly a mild inconvenience for Outsiders
  • Inn the GURPS Martial Arts, it specifically advises against the GM doing this, citing that it wouldn't fun or realistic to do things like that. Thus, enemies who have taken a major wound to run away or surrender.
  • Often in RPGs the Game Master will have NPC enemies be unrealistically aggressive and unwilling to flee or surrender. Depending on your opinion and circumstances, this can be a mistake or an Acceptable Break From Reality.
  • The Impetuosity rule in Wargames Research Group DBM and DBMM games. Certain troop types are prone to Impetuosity, which means attacking the nearest enemy at sight without further orders. And without caring if they'd get their butts whipped or not. All Warbands and Irregular Knights are prone to this behaviour by default, and certain other types as well. All troops become Impetuous if a broken enemy is at 400 paces or closer. The player must allocate resource points to prevent his troops breaking the formation and attacking the enemy.
  • In Paranoia, the doberbot's primary combat tactic is "attack someone until they die, attack someone else until they die, attack someone else until they die..."

Video Games

  • Olaf utters this exact phrase in Advance Wars on "Max Strikes."
  • Lampshaded somewhat in In Famous 2. Towards the end of the game, the redneck militia will keep fighting Cole, but they'll beg him not to hurt them while they do it. Turns out, the Big Bad is a Bad Boss. Turns out, Cole is either a Jerkass or a walking exmaple of Good Is Not Nice. Tough break.
  • Often combined with Critical Existence Failure: What else should you do with 1 HP left?
  • Brutal Legend: "Everything in that general direction must DIE!"
  • According to conventional wisdom, this is the best way to play the Blaster and Scrapper archetypes in City of Heroes
  • Oswald from Odin Sphere, who packs a dangerously exhausting Super Mode instead of a blocking option, and whose high movement and attack speed lends itself naturally to this sort of playstyle. Generally, Oswald is played by ramming into an enemy at high speed, chaining attacks against it, and hoping it runs out of HP before you do. He also acts like this in-story, having next to no sense of self or sense of self-preservation. He can and will pick a fight with anything without any apparent care for his own survival.
  • In World in Conflict, the final mission has the exhausted and heavily outnumbered Americans attacking the Soviet-held Seattle head on. This is mostly because they cannot afford to have the Soviets use the city as a beachhead for Chinese reinforcements, but partly because their commanding officer, Colonel Sawyer, feels it is necessary to redeem his failure in a previous mission. The fact that the city would be nuked by the US if Sawyer failed probably acted as a motivator too. And if the nuke hits the city, the afternotes tell that it led to an all-out nuclear war. Pretty good reasons to throw everything you got.
  • An effective strategy when attackers have made some progress in Team Fortress 2 is for one player on a team (often a Scout) to throw himself on the objective and die, over and over again. As long as someone keeps tapping the cart or picking up the briefcase, the attackers won't lose their progress. He's probably not doing much fighting, even, electing to go around or just run by enemies rather than risk being too late to the objective.
  • Given the sheer amount of wreckage, the Alliance forces at the Battle of the Citadel at the end of Mass Effect qualify. Then again, if they had retreated, Sovereign would have succeeded in bringing in a massive fleet of Reapers, so they kind of had good reason.
    • As it turns out, the Alliance only lost eight cruisers out of a fleet of approximately 200. Commander Shepard remembers the names of every one, much to the chagrin of Khalisa al-Jilani. So, enacting this trope worked out pretty well for them.
      • There were only 15 cruisers in the battle itself, though.
    • The Turian armed forces approach almost every military conflict like this to beat their opponent into submission. Unfortunately, their much more subtle Salarian allies did not consider this when they created a super-weapon against the Krogans that was so horrifying that just the threat of it would force them to surrender. The Turians did not get the idea why anyone would build a weapon and not use it.
    • Admiral Gerrel has this propensity in Mass Effect 3 when fighting over the Quarian homeworld against the Geth. He does so against a disabled Geth dreadnought. While you're still aboard it. You can express your displeasure with his deed by gut-punching him. You also need to do a lot of work beforehand in ME2 and in ME3 to talk him out of doing it again at the end of the Quarian/Geth arc.
  • Averted in Batman: Arkham City. Occasionally, when Batman drops in on a group of Mooks, a few will run away. Also, during the first mission of the game, Batman drops into a room with fifty of Two-Face's men, and all but a few flee in terror.
  • World of Warcraft's orcs fall into this a lot. Dying on the battlefield is a great honor, running away is cowardly. If they do retreat, it will usually only be to regroup and attack more effectively later - if the battle is unwinnable either way, they're staying until they die.
  • Commando and Ravager paradigm roles in Final Fantasy XIII will keep attacking and casting offensive magic even if there's someone in a blink of being knocked out. The only way to fix the problem is to manually shift the character's role to Medic or use a potion.
  • In Rune Factory series. Rune point goes down when you do any action. Charging into enemies non-stop without recovering your RP will grant you a quick defeat as attacking starts consuming a huge amount of HP instead.
  • Gears of War. Queen Myrrah paints the Locust's fighting philosophy quite well in the epilogue of the first game.
      • Queen Myrrah: "They do not understand. They do not know why we wage this war. Why we cannot stop. Will not stop. Why we will fight and fight and fight. Until we win... Or we die. And we are not dead yet."
  • Xenon and Kha'ak ships in the X-Universe games will never, ever retreat. They'll blithely throw tiny scout ships to try and kill your 4 kilometer long destroyers. Pirate and Commonwealth ships are like this 99% of the time, though they will occasionally try to retreat, but by that point, there is usually only one scout ship left.
  • Despite the rapidly declining reinforcement count, this is usually the most effective tactic in Videog Game/Battlefield's Rush mode. Though heavy casualties are inevitable, it only takes a few stragglers to get through and act as a spawn point closer to the objective - indeed, the teams that lose are usually the ones that don't Attack! Attack! Attack! enough.

Visual Novels

  • In Fate/stay night, Shirou exhibits this trope in a number of fights.
    • Most notably in the "Unlimited Blade Works" route where it is extremely effective against Gilgamesh. Since both are owners of virtually unlimited weapons but neither are masters of any of those weapons, it becomes battle of Attack! Attack! Attack!. Even though Gil's weapons are slightly stronger than Shirou's, within the boundaries of "Unlimited Blade Works" Shirou can pull out weapons faster than Gil, allowing him the decisive blow when a frustrated Gil decides to take the extra time to try to pull out Ea.
  • Dwarf Fortress, from 0.42.05 release notes:

Zombies no longer dodge, parry, block, wrestle or run, and they do charging attacks whenever possible
Zombies don't get defense adjustments for body part type and they don't find or stop combat opportunities

Web Comics

  • Order of the Stick has this for a fair number of characters here, but as Haley correctly thought, not forever. When one thief finally realizes it is certain death and runs away, it astounds her ex-boss, who invokes this trope.

Where are you going? Come back here and die for my fleeting tactical advantage!!!

  • In Goblins, Goblinslayer does this even after almost burned to death and lost his weapon.
  • This happens to Big and his army of floating monkeys in the sprite comic Tip Of The Iceberg, and can be summed up with this quote:

Big: He Told Us to bring it! Run!

Web Original

  • Tasakeru: This is Zero's usual tactic. It's when he enters his Tranquil Fury state that he's truly dangerous, though.
  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue possesses this quality, a sharp contrast to his lazy and cautious subordinates. His only goal at any given time is to find a new way to destroy the Blue Army. This is hampered by the antics of his troops and the general lazy and cautious attitude of the Blues.
    • Correction: His only goal at any given time is to find a way to incorporate killing Grif into the situation at hand (one of his battle plans involved Grif charging directly at the Blues in such a way that, when he was inevitably shot, his Ludicrous Gibs would clog up their weapons, leaving them vulnerable to attack by the rest of the Reds; all of their emergency response plans start with clobbering Grif, except for the one that starts with shooting him instead).
  • This seems to be the philosophy of Leeroy.

Western Animation

  • The French crocodiles' chief mode of assault on The Drinky Crow Show. These exact words are even shouted during their boarding!
  • Although he tries to seem sophisticated about it, Firelord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender seems to rely on this, or twist his advisers' suggestions into this.
    • This seems to be the main strategy behind firebending in general, being fueled by anger and having few (if any) defensive techniques.
      • Earthbending similarly requires a head-on, no-hesitation strategy. While the inherent properties of earth make it quite practical for defense as well as attack, those same properties make it pretty obstinate to deal with, so a bender who isn't prepared to grab it by the metaphorical balls and make it his bitch isn't going to get very far, no matter what he plans to actually do with it.
  • In the episode of The Boondocks entitled "Shinin'," Riley gets his chain stolen by the neighborhood bully Butch Magnus Milosevic, who is at least a foot taller and appears to be 150 pounds (or more) heavier than Riley. Despite this, Riley confronts Butch alone, mostly out of pride. His punches have no effect on Butch, and Riley continues to get up after being knocked down, bloodied and even at one point shaking on the ground because of the pain he's in.
    • This seems to be a personality quirk of Riley's, because he adapts the same attitude when fighting Huey in the episode "Let's Nab Oprah." Despite Huey being bigger, smarter, and well versed in multiple forms of martial arts, he keeps attacking despite his every effort resulting in him getting soundly beaten until the fight is broken up by someone else.
  • As far as Futurama's Zapp Brannigan]is concerned, there's no problem that can't be solved by sending wave after wave of men at it.

Zapp: [Addressing the troops] As you know, the key to any victory is the element of surprise... SURPRISE! [Pulls lever, airdropping troops onto battlefield]
Zapp: [Explaining how he defeated the Killbots] You see, Killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I sent wave after wave of my own men at them, until they reached their limit and shutdown.

*When facing down a giant hydra*
Twilight: Oh, what would a brave pony like Rainbow Dash do?
Twilight: CHARGE!!!

Real Life

  • Although others had taken advantage of it before, Napoleon Bonaparte popularized the "cult of the offensive", that emphasized fast, all-in attacks at the enemy's weak-point. The basic logic of this is that the attacker has a significant inherent advantage over the defender, as the attacker dictates where the fighting will take place while the defender has to react to it; and furthermore, while the defender has to spread his forces everywhere necessary to Hold the Line, the attacker can concentrate everything on where he intends to break through. The greatest use of this was at the Ulm Campaign of 1805, where the French army under Napoleon departed from France in September and marched so blisteringly fast that in only 16 days, the French arrived at the rear of the Austrian army in Württemberg before the Austrians were ready to fight. The French captured 60,000 soldiers without a major confrontation. Although sometimes it fails spectacularly, in many cases a bold assault (even when out-numbered or out-gunned) can take the enemy by surprise and shatter their morale, which was a tactic used very successfully by Heinz Guderian and Erwin Rommel during the Battle of France (1940). Rommel's 7th Panzer Division moved several miles ahead of the German Army, leaving its flanks very vulnerable to counter-attack; but the Allies were in such a disorganized state that Rommel was able to rout any counter-attacks just by doing a massive frontal assault with his tanks.
    • A careful, or even completely superficial, reading of history will reveal, however, that Napoleon, Guderian, and Rommel ended up on the losing side.
      • In Rommel's case thanks to Executive Meddling and in the other cases… well, attacking Russia in the winter is just a bad idea, no matter what strategy or tactics you use.
      • Of the three only Guderian, who was sacked twice during the war, could really claim Executive Meddling. Rommel's failures were largely of his own creation and largely from attacking blindly, overextending his supply lines and ignoring orders from above.
      • Except that Rommel knew his best hope was to attack, and not Allow Allies' material superiority to come into play.
  • Scientology's stance on handling their detractors is (literally) "always attack, never defend". If you are perfect, world-changing alien divine beings any criticisms are clearly reflections of the critics' own flaws (hence "What are your crimes? What are your crimes?!" ad nauseam). This plan hasn't been working out too well for them lately, though, now that their enemy is Anonymous.
    • It's never worked well for them (and has gotten worse with the Internet and the Streisand Effect). "Always attack, never defend" has resulted in them shooting themselves in the foot so often that their detractors have coined the term "footbullet".
  • "Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations" has long been a favorite tactic of politicians of every stripe.
  • When asked to contribute to Sweden's entrance into the 30-Years War, the Estates of Yeomen famously declared that "Better to stable our horses at the house of our enemies than his in ours." IE: If you have to fight a war, might as well do it far away from home.
    • The Swedish army in the late 17th / early 18th century relied on offensive action and lined up a series of great victories. In 1709 the army of Tsar Peter arrived near the small town of Poltava which the Swedes were besieging. The Swedes decided to Attack, but to properly engage they needed to sneak past some redoubts in the Russians' extended defense line. The Swedish army didn't know how to sneak, however, and instead Attacked the redoubts. When the commanders finally managed to get (most of) the surviving troops to disengage and line up on the intended battlefield, the odds were very long: 4000 infantry[3] faced 20000 Russians. What to do? Attack! The Swedish army knocked itself out against the Russian line, disintegrated, and was annihilated.
    • It worked well in 1700 at Narva. The Swedes attacked in dense snowstorm with 4000 men against tenfold numbers of Russians in fortified positions - and won the day. Mainly because the Russians simply didn't believe anyone would be insane enough to attack in that weather.
    • Likewise, the Swedish fleet was all the time on offensive in the War of Gustavus III 1788-1790. They managed to achieve several Pyrrhic victories and catastrophic losses, but they won decisively 1790 in the battle of Rochensalm when they were on defensive.
    • The Swedish tactics were known as gå-på - literally "go on".
  • There's a saying in kendo: "bogyo no tame no bogyo nashi" ("there's no such thing as defense for defense's sake"). Kendo practitioners are trained to respond to attacks by themselves attacking and trying to get there first, rather than focusing on defense.
    • The emphasis on attack is nowhere more evident than in Jigen-ryu Kenjutsu, a school of swordsmanship addopted my the Satsuma Clan and used with crushing effectiveness until swords were outlawed in Japan. Practitioners would attack by unleashing a flurry of diagonal blows alternating between left and right. Training (which continues in Kyushu even today) consists of striking a hardwood pole repeatedly with a wooden sword until, over time, it is reduced to an hourglass shape.
    • This is in contrast to conventional Western fencing, where the first principle is "don't get hit." If you manage to stab your opponent but get stabbed at the same time, you've still lost, making the Parry-Riposte a standard tactic. This is based on the idea that if a sword is already heading at you at high speed, it's not going to stop dead just because you stick the guy holding it.
      • Stop-hits are much more used in epee fencing. This is because epee is based on duels to First Blood and the weapons used were much less likely to be fatal if you got stabbed.
    • Arguably this translates equally well into real-life application, as some martial arts systems (kali or Wing Chun comes to mind) advocate 'attacking the weapon' as a defensive strategy..
    • Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do combat philosophy (by definition not a distinct style) gets it's name from the idea that every move has the potential to end the fight, so a block is a re-purposed attack, and parries are matched with a simultaneous counterattack.
  • The last order of battle of admiral Horatio Nelson was Engage the enemy more closely. Royal Navy has always been known of extremely aggressive tactics and doctrines.
    • The loss of three battlecruisers in the battle of Jutland 1916 was an example of this. The safety of handling the powder cartouches was sacrificed in order to maximize the firing speed, and the flashproof doors were kept open to enable quick delivery of the powder. It is said if the Germans had had similar doctrine that day, they would have lost eight or nine battlecruisers.
    • Had the Germans lost eight or nine battlecruisers at Jutland it would have certainly spelt the end for Admiral Hipper, who would have been forced to explain where he suddenly gained three or four extra ships from...
    • The very concept of Royal Navy battlecruiser. Regular battleships were designed to strike a rough balance between speed, armour and firepower; battlecruisers were equally massive but had reduced armour thickness in exchange for slightly more speed and even bigger guns. Distinguishing battleships from battlecruisers can be tricky as there was no formal definition of a battlecruiser and battleship/battlecruiser naval guns steadily increased in size during the interwar period (so a battleship could use larger guns than an older battlecruiser). However the relevance of the trope is demonstrated by the fact that the thickest sections of a battleships armour (which protected the most vital areas) were designed to, on paper at least, withstand a hit from the vessel's own main battery. Battlecruiser armour was not.
  • In the Vietnam War, the American millitary's only actual plan was to carpetbomb EVERYTHING. This actually caused many more South Vietnamese (their allies) to join the communist forces as the Viet Cong as their homes and relatives were killed in carpet bombings and biological warfare. The USA thought that killing as many communists as possible would win the war but instead the communists would recover quickly. The ATTACK strategy did nothing more but prolonging the war.
  • During World War II, Japanese officers were taught to try and find a chance for an attack even when being attacked, with the spirit of the offensive carefully cultivated among Japanese soldiers. Whatever advantages this had in China, where their opponents weren't as well equipped or trained, in the Pacific this eventually ended up as the 'Banzai charge' and usually went very badly facing Allied troops, especially American ones who had mucho firepower with submachine guns and semi-automatic rifles for personal weapons (To say nothing of squad weapons like heavy machine guns) that could stop such a charge in its tracks.
  • Let us not forget the bold effort put forth by the men of Taffy 3 during "The Battle off Samar" during World War II. By responding so aggressively to an obviously superior force, a small force of destroyers and aircraft held off the largest battleship ever constructed along with its battle group. Battle off Samar
    • The main reasons this resulted in victory as opposed to a "taking as many of you with me as possible" are A) Good tactics, maneuvering, and gunnery by the light destroyers and destroyer escorts (known as "tin cans" due to their lack of armor) as they charged straight into the formationless Japanese battle group, sinking a few heavy cruisers with close range torpedo runs and wrecking the (essentially unarmored) upper works of heavier ships, moving as quickly and erratically as possible to stay alive, B) the hundreds of aircraft (which were completely unequipped to be taking on any kind of ships, and thus instead flew right at/around the Japanese ships, strafing their decks with machine guns...or in some cases, with nothing at all), combined with the several light destroyers and destroyer escorts rushing a massive battlegroup and winning and an inaccurate intelligence report that a full American carrier battle group was in the area, led the Japanese officers to believe that they were facing a much larger and more powerful force than they actually were. With the tiny American ships doing massively disproportional damage and charging what should have been suicidal odds without hesitation, hundreds of aircraft attacking from everywhere, strafing their decks and dropping what seemed to be bombs and torpedoes (but were actually depth charges or fuel tanks...), causing the entire battlegroup—already disorganized by the "general attack" order given at the start of the battle by the Japanese commander—to be thrown into complete chaos, maneuvering like crazy all over the place, it very much seemed like they like were facing one. To make matters worse, smoke-screens deliberately created by the destroyers/destroyer escorts helped to conceal the fact that there were only four small escort carriers, instead of potentially several fleet carriers. The end result was that the massive, extremely powerful Center Force retreated right as it was on the verge of total victory, with most of the already-few-in-number light destroyers and destroyer escorts sinking or sunk, and no way to resupply and/or re-equip their planes until it was far too late.
    • The Principle of the Offensive is one of the Nine Principles of War, and every military in the world teaches it to officer candidates. Only by going on the offensive is it possible to seize the initiative. The Japanese didn't have the industrial base or the resources to support large-scale mechanized warfare, and the massive banzai charges occasionally worked well in China and Burma, even against some Western troops. When they dug in and attempted World War I style static defensive tactics it only resulted in large-scale Last Stand type battles in places like Okinawa and Iwo Jima, because they surrendered the initiative to the Americans, who were then able to act at a time and place of their own choosing. The resulting battles were always very bloody for both sides but the final outcome was never in the slightest doubt: lose the initiative, lose the fight. And the Japanese, strategically speaking, lost the initiative when they failed to hold Guadalcanal, not even one year after Pearl Harbor.
    • Actually, it was their losses at Midway which effectively sealed their, fate, with those four Carriers gone, they lost a lot of their ability to take war to the Americans. They also failed to use their submarines effectively.
  • Legendary Marine commander Chesty Puller never retreated, he merely advanced in a different direction.

"They're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!"

  • Field Marshall Erwin Rommel was famous (to his officers, notorious) about taking the offensive early and often, usually at risk to flanking counter attacks, and to the detriment of his supply chain.

"In the absence of any orders, go find something and kill it."

  • George S. Patton. The guy was famous for maxims like "Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more." He famously treated large scale advances into Italy and Germany as races against other Allied officers to get there first!

"Some goddamn fool once said that flanks have got to be secure. Since then sonofabitches all over the globe have been guarding their flanks. I don't agree with that. My flanks are something for the enemy to worry about, not me. Before he finds out.

  • The standing orders of outdated British fighter squadrons reputedly became this during World War I. It didn't work.
  • This is why the assassination of SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich succeeded. On May 27, 1942, Heydrich was being driven on the Dresden-Prague road when a gunman ambushed him as the car slowed on a hairpin turn. The assassin's sub-machine gun jammed. Instead of having his driver, you know, drive, Heydrich ordered a complete stop so he could jump out and attack his attackers. The assassins took the opportunity to toss a bomb at the car. The resulting explosion wounded Heydrich. Instead of falling back through the smoke, Heydrich decided it would be totally awesome if he continued his charge, chasing his bicycle-mounted assassins on foot until he passed out from the shock. He slipped into a coma and died days later.
    • To say nothing of the dark comedy which attended the pursuit of the Heydrich assassins after the attack. Having cornered them in the cellar of a church, the SS decided they would take the partisans alive, sending a succession of soldiers through the very narrow passage which granted access to the refuge. A good many SS men were Sten-gunned to death in the killzone before the partisans were finally apprehended.
  1. Was it the one outside the Black Gate in Return of the King? I forget.
  3. There was cavalry as well, but they were still trying to reform.