Interservice Rivalry

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"The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy."

Curtis LeMay, General, US Air Force

In a perfect world, the various branches of a government (local, regional or central) should be able to cooperate and pull their resources together for the greater good.

The world is not perfect. So this usually does not happen.

When it doesn't, one of the reasons usually is Interservice Rivalry, where at least two branches of the government don't work well together, sometimes openly opposing and working against each other. Usually if the leaders of said branches know each other, they can't let go of their past feelings and it intensifies the rivalry. Often in military fiction (and in real life as well), some amount of Interservice Rivalry will be encouraged by the higher-ups, to promote a competitive spirit but sometimes it can get out of hand. While they may mock and butt heads with their rival constantly it's common for one to show no mercy if the other is attacked.

Sometimes it is used by a dark Chessmaster leader to maintain control. That way if the army ever rebels against him, he can always call in the navy to fight for him.

Cases of Interservice Rivalry can cause Jurisdiction Friction and Divided We Fall. Compare Right Hand Versus Left Hand. There is also Truth in Television to this.

Examples of Interservice Rivalry include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Gunslinger Girl, the members of Sections 1 & 2 have one of these. For some reason Section 1 finds the concept of cyborg little girls used as a death squad somehow weird.
    • Because Section 1 consists of adult male human operatives, who are not happy about being upstaged by half-mechanical little girls.
  • Various divisions of the TSAB in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. In particular, Ground Forces' commander hates Riot Force 6 (which is a cross-service special forces battalion assigned to a paramilitary Lost Technology control division).
  • Divisions of Mithril in Full Metal Panic!. Intelligence and operatives in particular. That was probably the main reason why Sousuke was reluctant to leave Kaname protected by Wraith (who was from Intelligence).
    • In "The Second Raid" Melissa Mao tells the story of how she escaped from an Arranged Marriage by joining the U.S. Marine Corps, marching into the recruitment office still wearing her wedding dress. The recruiters were reluctant to sign her up until Mao revealed that her father was in the Air Force, at which point they welcomed her into the Corps purely to annoy him.
  • The Public Security Division and the Kerberos Unit in Jin-Roh.
  • The various geographical units of the Amestris military in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga evidence this. Soldiers from the Northern (Briggs), Central, and East forces (the ones shown so far) never lack for snide things to say about every unit aside from theirs.
    • In the first anime, Ishbal flashbacks show some animosity towards the State Alchemists when they arrived, as some among the regular soldiers felt they'd been sent to die for nothing when the Fuhrer could have just called in these guys from the beginning and ended the campaign seven years sooner.
  • Ghost in the Shell, especially in Stand Alone Complex. Their own government and other branches of service are a far greater threat to Section 9 than any external enemy could ever hope to be.
  • All over the place in Mao-chan, where the heads of the three branches of the defense force are all old friends...who were constantly competing, often viciously.
  • In Hellsing, most other branches of law enforcement seem to dislike the Hellsing Organization. At one point the SAS clash with Hellsing over jurisdiction over a case involving Incognito, resulting in an entire SAS squadron being captured by the Big Bad.
  • Rampant in Ga-Rei and its Prequel Ga-Rei Zero. In the anime, it's between the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Environment. The Defense Ministry fields normal soldiers equipped with special technology to fight supernaturals, while the Environment Ministry fields operatives recruited from ancient exorcist families. The real main characters are the Environment guys.
  • In Strike Witches, the more normal sort of militaries don't like the eponymous girls (probably something to do with them being underaged aces who fly without their pants on). There is even a conspiracy within the military to disband the 501st.
  • Witch Hunter Robin is in a branch of an organization designed to capture Witches, using magic-resistant tranq guns. Another branch of the same organization breaks in and steals the gun tech. Meanwhile, a third brach is trying to keep the second brach under control, while trying to assassinate the members of the first branch. This is not helped by the fact that all of the branches use the same helmets and equipment.
  • Some divisions of the Gotei 13 in Bleach have this, especially the 4th and 11th divisions; the former views the latter as a gang of violent thugs and the latter views the former as weak and useless in battle. When Ichigo and Ganju take Hanataro of the 4th Division hostage, the 11th Division Mooks pursuing them laugh it off.

Comic Books

  • In the recent Green Lantern storyline, Secret Origin, it is revealed that Hal Jordan and John Stewart first met on opposite sides of a bar fight - when Jordan was in the Air Force and Stewart was a Marine.
  • The Green Lantern Corps in general has had a number of inter-service rivalries, notably with rival interstellar police agencies the L.E.G.I.O.N. and the Darkstars, and more recently (and to varying degrees) with the various other Lantern Corps.
  • During a ferocious firefight between the Punisher (a former Marine Force Recon officer) and Barracuda (who is ex-Army special forces) who had abducted Castle's infant daughter, Castle curses 'Cuda out calling him an "Army puke".
  • Nick Fury (a former Army Ranger) is known to make comments pertaining to "Deck monkeys" and "Candy-ass marines".
  • During Gung-Ho first appearance in the G.I. Joe comic, Rock'N'Roll was notoriously pissed to have a marine in the team.
  • The Shield (an Army Super Soldier) had a series of issues where he teamed up with Magog (a Marine given powers by the predecessors to the New Gods). They spent as much time sniping at each other as punching out the bad guys.


  • In Avatar, there is a slight Interservice Rivalry within the RDA post at Pandora. The scientists of the Avatar Program wish to have a peaceful negotiation with the Omaticaya, but the security force, led by Quaritch, wants to use lethal force against them.
  • The original The Absent-Minded Professor. The Army and Air Force generals squabble with the Navy admiral over who should get the rights to Flubber.
  • The city police vs. highway patrol in Super Troopers.
  • The CIA vs. The FBI in Being There argue over Chance the gardener's true identity thus enhancing his mystique.
  • Crimson Tide. "I expect and demand your very best. Anything less?you should have joined the Air Force!" Said by The Captain in a Rousing Speech before boarding the boat.
  • Played for laughs in 1941 with a truly epic all-services fight at the USO ("Ladies and gentlemen, every where I look... soldiers are fighting sailors, sailors are fighting Marines! Directly in front of me, I see... a flying blond floozy! Everywhere I look... everywhere, pure pandemonium... pandemonium!")
  • In This Is The Army one of the WWI Army vets is upset that his son volunteered for the Navy. When they went to see the "This Is the Army" Show Within a Show and a bunch of Navy guys showed up the son said, "Now you're gonna see something!" The old man responded: "Who do you think are playing the Navy guys?"
  • In Die Hard, the FBI vs local police.
  • Averted in Transformers, where a special forces team is made up of members from several branches of the military (Lennox is an Army Ranger, Epps is an Air Force Combat Controller, and several of the men under their command are Marines) with nary a word of disparagement between branch members.
  • Done very subtly in Sherlock Holmes; Dr. Watson and Captain Tanner, the operator of the trawler Holmes uses to navigate the Thames, are constantly bickering in the scenes they appear in together. Dr. Watson is, of course, an old army doctor, and it's revealed that Tanner is a retired navy man...
  • In Traitor, a high ranking CIA agent is chastised for the practice of "hoarding information" on potential terror threats from the FBI.
  • Present in the Get Smart film, where all other agencies ridicule CONTROL, as they believe the organization should be shut down since KAOS was disbanded. They also have paintball tournaments.
  • In A Few Good Men the various Marines, but especially Col. Jessup and Lt. Kendrick show fairly brazen disdain for the Navy, with the former going so far as to describe the Navy dress whites as indicative of homosexuality.
  • In full display during the astronaut tryouts in The Right Stuff, with Air Force pilots (Grissom, Cooper, Slayton) completing against Navy pilots (Shepard) competing against Marine pilots (Glenn) for spots in the Mercury Seven. Humorously shown during a scene where Glenn and Cooper must produce sperm samples, and each hums their respective service's anthem for, uh, inspiration, trying to drown each other out.
  • Gangs of New York: The Municipal Police vs. the Metropolitan Police. (Also true of Real Life, apparently.)
  • Apocalypse Now has a few examples, from the Chief's (Navy) dislike for the Army, to Kilgore's (Air-Cav) utter contempt for the Airborne Rangers. It's implied but never stated that this is one of the causes of the clusterfuck that is America's conduct of the Vietnam War.


  • In Dale Brown's books, rivalry between the services of the military is just part of the trouble the protagonists get from supposedly-friendly forces. In Executive Intent this occurs between the GRU and the conventional Russian military, to their detriment.
    • In 'Hammerheads' all of the anti-drug agencies, along with several others, are merged into the Department of Border Security after the drug lords prove that they can engage and destroy the current American police opposition.
  • Elizabeth Moon: In the Familias Regnant book "Once a Hero" the story takes place on a mobile shipyard where the chain of command is not enforced. The captain who is supposed to be the commanding officer must deal with constant demands and shouting matches from the admirals who lead the individual departments. The heroine comments on this terrible arrangement, later it becomes a problem when pirates attempt to capture the ship.
  • In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, more politicized police sometimes show up to suppress the truth about a terrorist attack (e.g. the message left at the scene of an assassination by the rebels, or the fact that a massacre of higher-ups took place at a depraved orgy establishment), causing no small bitterness among the more honest police.
  • In the Temeraire series, the Aerial Corps (made up of Dragon Riders) is looked down on by the other branches of the armed forces. Conversely, Laurence initially faces a lot of hostility in the Aerial Corps because he started out in the Navy.
  • In The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold, one villain talks about how he regrets the lack of interservice rivalry in the military he's serving in—he feels it gave the top brass more leverage when dealing with mutineers.

Metzov: In the event of a mutiny, you could always persuade the Army to shoot the Navy, or vice versa, when they could no longer discipline themselves. A hidden disadvantage to a combined service like ours... It's now a matter of principle.
Miles: Principle, Sir? What Principle! It's waste disposal!

  • The Cardinal's men vs. the Musketeers in The Three Musketeers.
  • Steven Brust's The Phoenix Guards has rival groups of imperial guards as part of its pastiche of The Three Musketeers.
  • Temple by Matthew Reilly takes this to its extreme, with the US Army, Navy and Air Force fighting over a superweapon capable of causing The End of the World as We Know It.
    • To be precise, the airforce are yet to get to the site of the superweapon's powersource, the Army have fooled the protagonist into thinking that they're the good guys, and they execute the Navy unit as soon as it arrives. Of course, it should also be mentioned that since this is a Matthew Reilly novel, other factions include neo nazis (who want to hold the world for ransom), the German BKA (who want to stop the neo nazis), and an omnicidal terror cell/cult that's bent on using the weapon to end the world for the heck of it.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, some friendly raillery occurred between some Ghosts and a Naval officer about what is the proper way to fight. The Ghosts had the Navy bombard a position too Chaos-tainted for the Ghosts to take on foot. Much more serious inter-regimental rivalries occured in First & Only (where a raid by the Jantine Patricians on the Ghosts killed three men, and later the full regiment takes on the Ghost's rear guard, exterminating the 50 men and losing three hundred of their own) and Ghostmaker (where a general bombarded a position knowing the Ghosts were there).
    • In Blood Pact, Inquisition vs. Comissariat. Or so it appears.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, the Wolf Lord Berek arrived to back up his subordinate in a conflict between the Space Wolves and the Inquisition explicitly because the Space Wolves do not give up what they have won—even prisoners.
  • The bad feeling between spacemen and the Special Order Squadrons in Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet by Blake Savage (pseudonym of Harold Goodwin).
  • Army/Royal Navy rivalry shows up in one of the Sharpe novels, with command friction between Sharpe and a naval officer who only outranks him when onboard ship.
  • Hinted at between various branches of the New Republic military in one book of the X Wing Series. There's also a fair amount of jockeying between X-Wing pilots and A-wing pilots. A-wings are very pleased with the speed of their crafts, and bring it up every chance they get. The accepted response is to ask "What killed the Death Stars, again?" The rivalry between a by-the-book bomber wing and the Mildly Military bunch of piloting savants that is Rogue Squadron is a secondary plot thread in the first book.
    • Also, between X-Wing pilots and Y-wing ones. Y-wings were by then outdated and rough edged, and the pilots less elitely trained, but made up a good portion of the Republic fighter force. Probably didn't help that Horton Salm the local Y-Wing commander was a strict, mostly by-the-book officer, as compared to Wedge Antilles who took a more laid-back approach to leadership.
    • In Allegiance, Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand - sort of an all-purpose agent - expresses her distaste for the Imperial Security Bureau, usually called the ISB. The ISB was tasked with maintaining "morale and loyalty" among the Imperial Military, and they had a nasty reputation. Mara belives that the ISB is a necessary evil, but she also thinks that there's just too much evil and not enough necessary, and indeed, later in the book two ISB stormtroopers betray her. The regular stormtrooper corps don't like them either.
  • Gone into at some length in various Tom Clancy works, in regards to the Soviet Union's various political forces, as discussed below in the Real Life section.
    • Although also averted in many of the same works, with the various branches and departments of the US armed forces and intelligence community getting along better than they do in real life.
  • Tom Clancy
    • The Hunt for Red October: the KGB chairman uses the defection of the Red October to undermine the Soviet navy’s power. The American characters state that even if the defection is discovered, there will be chaos in the Soviet Politburo as the factions blame each other.
    • The Cardinal Of The Kremlin: Ryan uses the Red October defection to force the KGB chairman to defect. If he does not then the defection will be made public, along with the arrest of one of his best agents, and the fact that he gave the Soviet Politburo false information that resulted in the American diplomats gaining an advantage in the arms control talks. The chairman knows that if he does not defect then his enemies in the navy and GRU will use the information to destroy his career and humiliate him. [1]
  • Touched upon briefly in Starship Troopers. Johnny points out that the Navy think of the Mobile Infantry as obsolete, that he feels the same way about them... and admits they're both wrong. Interestingly, the C-in-C, given the rank of "Sky Marshal," is always someone who has ascended to high rank (while starting, in each case, from the very bottom) in both Navy and MI.
  • Much of the plot of Annals of the Black Company is driven by this.
  • Defied by Jack Crawford in Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. Serial killers are his territory, but he's more than happy to cooperate with local police (even pointing out in the former that he could care less if Dolarhyde gets hit by a truck, as long as it gets him off the streets).
  • The reason why Petty Officer Harkness from the Honor Harrington novels has been passed over for Chief Petty Officer TWENTY times. While he is one of the RMN's best missile techs, he feels bound to point out how wrong it is to join the Marines to any Marine he meets when on liberty. With his fists. After he marries Sergeant Major Iris Babcock, RMMC, He gets better, if for no other reason than that she kicks his ass when he tries.
    • Amusingly enough it's revealed in a later book that the majority of the marines regarded the fact that Harkness choose to fight them as a compliment.
    • From the same series, the People's Republic Navy of Haven and State Sec. Early on, State Sec watchdogs would be assigned to PRN ships to keep them in line. later, they were given their own fleet of warships and ground forces. The PRN won the interservice rivalry."Oops."
    • The chairman of the secret police planned to merge the entire Havenite military into a single organization to enforce his control.
    • The Solarian League Navy's Frontier Fleet and Battle Fleet cannot get along either.
    • On Basilisk Station: Johan Coglin says that the failure of Operation Odysseus will result in the Havenite espionage agencies blaming each other for the disaster. [2] [dead link]
    • This is later referenced in "The Short Victorious War", the cabinet secretaries clash over how to solve financial crisis. [3] [dead link]
  • In the French novel series Langelot, there's a rivalry between the two French counterespionage agencies depicted : the fictional secretive shadow agency S.N.I.F (where the titular main protagonist is an agent of) and the Real Life D.S.T. The D.S.T. resents the S.N.I.F.'s secretive nature and wish they would be put in the same front and light as them, while the S.N.I.F. basically considers the D.S.T. as a bunch of pompous and dull idiots.
  • In the Aiel War in the backstory of the Wheel of Time series, this is one of the many reasons the "Grand Alliance" has trouble standing up to the Aiel invasion, though eventually they pull things together and arrange a rotation of generals. Well, what do you expect when the Aes Sedai and the Children of the Light are fighting on the same side?
  • Common in the Star Trek Novel Verse. In the Klingon Empire, the Klingon Defense Force and Imperial Intelligence hold each other in considerable distaste. In particular, there's a subplot in Star Trek: Klingon Empire involving I.I's displeasure with Captain Klag, and his Honor Before Reason tactics. Also, in the Star Trek: The Lost Era novel The Art of the Impossible, Captain Qaolin of the Defence Force and his Imperial Intelligence liasion really don't like each other - again, because the berserker battle-hungry tendencies of the warriors clash with I.I's "dishonourable" sneakiness and caution. The Klingons aren't the only ones; the Romulan military takes its codes of honour, and the passionate brotherhood between warriors, very seriously. The cool, passionless underhanded tactics of the Tal Shiar intelligence agency therefore offend them, as does their tendency to question a warrior's loyalty. The Tal Shiar, for their part, view the military leadership as inbred, unimaginative fools. Then there's Cardassia, where Interservice Rivalry is endemic, particularly between the Central Command and the Obsidian Order. In the first Terok Nor novel, Skrain Dukat sums up Central Command's angle on the Order:

The Obsidian Order represented everything that was cancerous about Cardassia; they were an institutionalized form of decay that preyed on the military and the people even as they pretended to serve the same ends as Central Command.

  • Endemic in The Laundry Series by Charles Stross. Many members of an above-top-secret agency that combats EldritchAbominations consider its archenemy to be ... Human Resources. Political maneuvering among various managers—and the protagonist always has two—feeds the conflict as much or more than brain-eating horrors from other universes.
  • A factor in 19 by Roger Hall: the title organization has infiltrated most if not all U.S. intelligence services, doing a better job of counterespionage than the official agencies can, and therefore they want to find it and shut it down, even though they realize it's on their side -- if it exists at all, which they're not 100% sure of (it does). Played with in that 19 is not its own agency but more a benevolent conspiracy/old boy's network composed of members who hold middle-management positions in several of the various official agencies, and that exists for the purpose of bypassing inter-service rivalry even if that means secretly going behind the backs of their own chains of command. (Although they do maintain their own support team of retired agents who are hands-on for the rare unofficial operations when official ones won't suffice, and also maintain a private archive and analysis section.)
    • At one point someone facetiously suggests that 19 is made up of super-intelligent extraterrestrials, and a CIA type comments that would be a good thing: "even the FBI could catch them if they glowed in the dark."
    • In fact, there are no enemy agents in the plot - the primary antagonist is a CIA assistant director who is obsessed with finding and proving that 19 actually exists, because it would be enough of a coup to earn him a promotion. He's the bad guy because of the illegal (even for the CIA) and brutal (again, even by CIA standards) methods he's willing to stoop to.
  • In the Codex Alera, the castes of the Canim do not play well with each other, with especially their warrior and priestly castes being at each others' throats. In the third book this becomes a major plot point, as a canim coalition army of several castes fails to take a strategically important bridge because the priest leading the army refuses to let the warriors take a major part of it. The warrior caste leader 'helps' the priest to a glorious death in battle with the Alarans and withdraws with minimal casualties to his own caste.
  • This shows up a in Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series. The Intriguers involves an actual shooting war between two different agencies. There is also rivalry between Helm's fictional unnamed agency and the CIA.
    • The former is less interservice rivalry on the part of said rival agency and more an outright attempt to illegally take over the US government from within. The latter is a classic example of the trope.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series. Usually between the Marines and the Navy, but in Invincible, a naval officer speaks with pride of the Marines to a ground forces general.
    • In a prequel to The Lost Fleet, a Marine advised that playing on rivalry between engineers and theory-oriented scientists can get the engineers to put their hearts into cooperating with you. Tell them a scientist already told you the equipment can't do X, and they'll try their hardest to prove that wrong, "because there's nothing an engineer loves more than doing something that a scientist says can't be done." Warning: depending on how competitive they feel, the engineers' solution "might not meet everyday rules for safety and common sense."

Live-Action TV

  • Santa Barbara Police Department vs. Coast Guard in Psych. Chief Vick's sister was the leader of the Coast Guard.
  • Constantly averted in The Wire. The broke and understaffed Baltimore City police would love nothing more than the FBI taking over a case or two. Unfortunately, the FBI's superiors are only concerned with terrorism investigations, rather than the drugs and crimes that plague Baltimore - although a certain degree of under the table assistance is rendered by sympathetic FBI agents.
  • In Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Air Force characters have made several references to an ongoing rivalry with their Marine coworkers (and, less frequently, their scientist coworkers).
    • There's also a constant rivalry with the N.I.D about who gets what piece of alien technology.
    • For the most part, though, interservice rivalry is implausibly averted. The USAF's technical expertise seems only exceeded by its success in defending its budget. Even though each service would have compelling arguments for an equal or superior share of a joint command, the Army (U.S. Army Special Forces, most missions call for infantry more than anything) and Navy (expertise running large vessels called "ships," the USMC, Navy SEALs) departments evidently are happy to let the Air Force run the show. The fact that the SGC is still not a joint command after 10+ years is one of the greatest triumphs in the history of Pentagon politics.
    • In another implausible aversion, the Air Force operates a Space Navy, for the most part using typical Space Navy terminology. Arguably, the Real Life Air Force would more likely classify "starships" as aircraft which just happen to be very, very large. Use of Navy terminology simply begs the unwanted question of why the Navy isn't more heavily involved.
      • Because the Air Force originally had control of all spaceflight operations before the founding of NASA, and since NASA's charter is only for peaceful applications of space they would still have authority over military space warfare applications. In real life, the Air Force still has most of the anti-satellite warfare programs and research.
    • In Stargate: Continuum, Carter and Mitchell both make faces when Landry implies that if their universe gets a Stargate program, it will be run by the Navy.
  • Just about any Police Procedural featuring repeated visits from Internal Affairs. These include, but are not limited to the various CSI shows, the various Law and Order shows and Monk.
  • Show with two rivaling Internal Affairs groups include JAG, NCIS and Seven Days.
  • Sometimes MI 5 vs. MI 6 in Spooks, sometimes it's Jurisdiction Friction.
  • This flares up from time to time between the various branches of the government's federal agencies in 24.
  • Played for laughs between the Home Guard and the ARP Wardens in Dads Army.
  • The White Collar team once got interrupted by the local police. Meanwhile they themselves ended up getting in the way of Interpol.
  • Yes Minister revolved around conflict between elected governments and the permanent civil service. In one episode, Minister of Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker goes to his predecessor in the other party for advice on how to deal with Sir Humphrey:
    • -> Annie Hacker: But he's the opposition!
    • -> Jim Hacker: He's the opposition in exile. Sir Humphrey is the opposition in residence.
  • "I'm so sick of Congress right now that I could vomit." (a recurrent feeling for the characters from The West Wing)
    • From Leo : "A first time Congressman was excited for his first vote, saying 'Where are the Republicans? I want to meet the enemy'. An older, more experienced Representative replies 'No no no, the Republicans are the opposition. The Senate's the enemy"
  • In the Home Improvement episode "Ploys for Tots", Tim tries to get his father-in-law, who happens to be an army vet, to help him put up his Christmas display to beat his long-time rival, an eighty-something retired proctologist. He doesn't want to get involved in their rivalry until Tim mentions that the man was in the navy. Then he's only too eager to beat "that navy butt doctor."
  • A hilarious episode of M*A*S*H had the doctors endure an unexploded artillery shell fired from their own side in the middle of the camp, and to defuse it they have to find out which branch of the military uses that shell. It doesn't help that this is all taking place during the Army vs. Navy football game that everyone's following. The shell actually belongs to the CIA...
  • The rivalry between two of the branches of the High Guard in Andromeda is a textbook example. The Argosy (fleet officers) dislike the Lancer Corps (ground troops), calling them "rock hoppers". The Lancers reciprocate with "Aggros" for fleet officers. Even the AIs partifipate in the rival, when Rommie insults a Lancer troop transport.
  • Most of the times the FBI is involved an episode of Law and Order, it's in a "them vs. us" role, though on occasion, they work together. On the law side, the ADA find its federal equivalent more often working against him/her than with her/him.

Tabletop Games

  • Paranoia has its 8 service groups: Armed Forces, Central Processing Unit (the bureaucracy), HPD&MC (housing and "mind control" - propaganda), Internal Security (who does policing work too), Production, Logistics and Commissary (food vats, outfitting), Power Services (Power is power!), R&D (Research and Development) and Technical Services. They all work for the smooth running of Alpha Complex. They compete. And in the new version Friend Computer introduced capitalism and outsourcing to service firms, making the competition officially sanctioned! Isn't that wonderful?
    • What's with those Pot Holes? Are you implying that Friend Computer is not perfect? You Commie mutant traitor!
    • Speaking of Commies, the Commie-run Alpha State has 8 similar groups, all of which have their own official espionage arms attached (parodying the Real Life situation in the USSR, see that section).
  • Warhammer 40,000: The various chapters of Space Marines occasionally develop rivalries, most notably an ancestral grudge between the Space Wolves and Dark Angels (this goes back to their respective Primarchs, who did come to blows at least once). The latest Codex also mentions one between the Raven Guard and White Scars that was patched up (somewhat) after members of two chapters found themselves going after the same bad guy.
    • The Space Wolves in particular have a major grudge against the Administratum due to the policy of the Administratum to replace the entire of Armaggeddon's workforce to weed out any Chaotic corruption after the First War of Armaggeddon against Angron's World Eaters and associated daemonic hordes. They did this by forcing the entire planet's population into concentration camps to be sterilised and then worked to death via slave labour. Logan Grimnar, leader of the Space Wolves, did not like that. He could get away with his outspokenness because the Adeptus Astartes do not fall under any kind of Imperial jurisdiction. This leads to about as much friction with the Inquisition as you'd expect.
    • The Imperial Guard and the Imperial Navy have the typical army/navy rivalry. This one is actually deliberate: After the Horus Heresy, the Imperial Army - as it was known at the time - was split into the Guard and the Navy in order to insure that no man commanded both armies and fleets to move them.
    • It's not limited to the Imperials, either. The Word Bearers and Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marines are on less than speaking terms. Exchanging bolter fire is more likely. The Legions devoted to each Chaos god also have appropriate rivalries with those who serve the god who their god particularly hates. For example, Khornate World Eaters and Slaaneshi Emperor's Children do not like each other very much. Same goes for Tzeentch's Thousand Sons and Nurgle's Death Guard. Only rarely will they co-operate in any capacity, and will fall back on killing each other once their alliance falls apart. Only Failbaddon Abaddon the Despoiler has much success with that.
  • In Exalted This is outright stated to be one of the Scarlet Empress's rules of government: divide and rule. The Realm has three different types of Secret Police and eleven families of heirs.
    • Taken Up to Eleven by the Celestial Bureaucracy. The Bureau of Heaven wants everybody answerable to them and keeps poaching promising gods or important purviews, the Bureau of Humanity catches flak for the general heavenly contempt for mankind and is the most heavily reassigned (the boundary between a human and universal abstract is considered flexible), the Bureau of Seasons hates the interference of the others who distrust it for its importance and its military power (which it is openly willing to use to force contentious matters of policy) and looks down on it being largely staffed by Elementals, the Bureau of Nature has the largest number of gods who need new assignments (since large sections of Creation and its lifeforms were recently destroyed) and is openly contemptious of Yu-Shan's corruption (with them in turn sneering at its naivete and inefficiency), and everybody distrusts the Bureau of Destiny (being, as it is, responsible for developing the course of the future, having a lot of sensitive information, and including Exalted in its staff) while being forced to acknowledge how necessary its proper functions are for their continued survival.
  • In GURPS Reign of Steel, the WASP agency and FBI of the Washington Protectorate have this trope going on. In the Machine Zones, some of the human resistance groups have been divided by internal rivalries, as well.
  • Among the many company divisions of SLA Industries, this trope is almost standard operating procedure.

Video Games

  • In Valkyria Chronicles, the Army sees the Militia as a bunch of untrained field hands suitable only as cannon fodder, and the Militia sees the Army as a bunch of incompetent aristocrats whose social status is the result of overt nepotism.
  • For Final Fantasy VII, while it seemed as if the divisions were pretty spiffy with each other in the original game, Crisis Core showed that Shinra corps seemed to be in a constant state of war. The mook Midgar security soldiers didn’t like the more attention hogging SOLDIERs, the mooks ignore Turk instructions in lieu of getting more rewards for themselves, the SOLDIERs treating the smaller foot soldiers as nothing better than Cannon Fodder … the dynamics of which contributed highly to Zack’s death in the end, as the soldiers rushed forth to execute Zack before the Turks arrived at the scene.
  • The SPARTANS-II and the ODST in Halo. Before the Spartans came into the picture, the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were the elites of the United Nations Space Command Defence Forces, so when the Spartans took over as the elite, the ODST weren't happy about it. What was more insulting to them was that, when John-117 killed two ODST troopers in a gym in his earlier ages, he wasn't punished for it. Ever since then, the ODST havn't seen the Spartans as anything more than "freaks", "cyborgs" and as "non-humans", due to the Spartans' special powers and superiority over the "normal" human beings. It ain't getting better considering the Spartans seems to have more respect from the other marines than them, even if the Spartans are actually a part of the navy.
    • The Covenant's forces had an rivalry between the Sangheili, or the Elites, and the Jiralhanae, or the Brutes. The Elites had been the dominant species of the Covenant's military since it was created. The Brutes had only been in the Covenant for some decades, but had already proved themselves as the most loyal followers of the Prophets, and so believed that they would be better bodyguards and military leaders for the Prophets than the Elites. The Elites see the Brutes as nothing more then uncivilized, megalomaniacal savages, which insults them greatly. The Prophet of Truth, the leader of the Covenant, was aware of this rivalry and so used it to spark a civil war between them, with hopes that the Brutes would replace the Elites as the leading faction of the Covenant. The reason he did it would be simply that he had secretly hated the Elites, since they and the Prophets were in a bloody war before the Covenant's creation, and he believed that the Brutes were more loyal and faithful to him. The other species' loyalty was splintered: the Yanme'e, or the Drones, and the Kig-yar, or the Jackals, were completely loyal to the Brutes and the Prophets, while the Mgalekgolo, or the Hunters, and the Unggoy, or the Grunts, were both loyal to the Elites and the Brutes This manipulation caused the Elites to ally themselves with the Humans, and with their help, killed Truth and finished the Covenant off as a superpower.
  • In RuneScape, the Imperial Guard view the Knights of Falador as a rival military force in the Kingdom of Asgarnia.

Web Comics

  • In Sluggy Freelance the FBI started its paranormal investigation project because they were jealous of the CIA hogging all the alien investigation stuff.
  • Terminal Lance features a mild version within the Marine Corps, between front-line troops and POGs (Persons Other-than Grunt).
  • In Girl Genius overall pride is combined with cultural reasons for not seeing eye to eye, since Klaus "adopted" creations of many Mad Scientists from different (and presumably often mutually hostile, though at least Jägers don't mind) places. The end result is that when Jägers and Lackya meet, it goes like this. Of course, Jägers are old and professional, so they know that "dere iz a time to twit nancy-boy feetsmen und a time to crush bogs".
    • A major mitigating factor here is that while Jägers consider themselves elite, they also are used to have unaugmented humans (more aggressive among their countrymen) volunteer to "ride with the Jägers", and when someone dies fighting alongside them for the House of Heterodyne, "dot make him as goot as vun of us". Fighting for the ally of their lost masters whom they had to join because there's no other place for them is not quite the same, but the principle still holds.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • The London Metropolitan police and City of London police in the Jack the Ripper case. Rather than share information, each faction tried to obstruct the other—this is sometimes argued to have been a major reason why the killer was never caught.
  • Was taken to lethal levels on the Soviet side in the Cold War, with the KGB (nominally civilian intelligence) and GRU (military intelligence) opposing each other.
    • The whole Soviet system: the Communist Party, the KGB, and the military (including the GRU) were all at odds with each other: the military had the guns, the KGB knew where all the bodies were buried (often literally), and the Party determined ideological purity in the military and KGB and thus could institute a purge if either got too uppity. If any one of the three seemed to gain too much of an upper hand, the other two could, and did, cooperate to cut it down.
      • Sort of an Evil Twin to the US's system of checks and balances.
  • Was used and is used in class conflict. By turning the liberals, trade unions, old school, and conservatives against each other; the government can maintain power.
    • This is used by big business to undermine labor unions. They blame overseas corporations for wage cuts and then demand the union allowing the firing of a specific group (new workers, old workers, lowest paid, highest paid) or the factory will be closed for budget reasons.
    • Caution should be used when it comes to conspiracy theories. While some are true, many are spread to discredit the opposition factions.
  • Consider the terrorist and revolutionary groups that break apart and often attack each other rather than the original enemy. The IRA is an excellent example.
  • The Royal Air Force took control of British naval aircraft after WWI, and the Fleet Air Arm did not return to the Navy until the mid-1930s. This is frequently cited as a reason why the Fleet Air Arm's WW 2 homegrown aircraft were mostly junk.
  • The FBI and the CIA.
    • Before that, the FBI vs. the OSS and their MI 6 allies.
    • The FBI and any State, County, or City police force. Street cops generally don't have a very good opinion of the FBI. This is largely due to the traditional role of the FBI as investigators of police corruption.
  • Considering the multiple law enforcement agencies and the occasional shift of control (control of the drug unit is shifted from department X to department Y), this is certainly a reality in the United States. [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11]
  • Deliberately invoked by Hitler, who kept the military, SS, and Gestapo at each others' throats so none of them would be in a strong enough position to overthrow him and seize control of Germany.
    • He also believed in a Social Darwinism approach to bureaucracy, figuring the rivalry would encourage better results. All it did was lead to inefficiency.
    • In the early days of Nazi Germany, there existed a rivalry between the SS and the SA. The SA had been very active previously, serving as the Nazi Party's paramilitary wing/street thugs, while the SS started out as Hitler's elite personal bodyguard unit. Both groups were vying for power and influence, as well as Hitler's favor, in the newly formed Third Reich. Hitler was actually somewhat afraid of the SA due to the organization's number and strength, and it certainly did not help when the SA leadership demanded for the SA to replace the regular army. This conflict came to a bloody end on June 30, 1934, when the SS falsely accused the SA of plotting to overthrow Hitler and proceeded to eliminate the SA leadership (and other potentially problematic persons for the Nazi regime) in the Night of Long Knives. The SA became pretty much powerless and irrelevant after that while the SS increased in prominence and authority.
  • An international version: The US military and UK military in WWII. Sometimes it was lighthearted ("You Yanks are overpaid, oversexed and over here." "Yeah, well you Limeys are underpaid, undersexed... and under Eisenhower!"), sometimes it was more disruptive (for example, the near-endless arguments of who should be in overall command: Ike or Monty).
    • The argument was over who would command the ground forces, since considering the US provided most of the troops and equipment there was never any doubt Eisenhower would have supreme command. The argument was also not strictly across national lines: Eisenhower's British deputy Air Chief Marshal Tedder strongly urged firing Monty more than once.
      • Individual personalities also strongly colored this decision: Patton would grudglingly work for Eisenhower, Monty would likewise grumble and take orders from Eisenhower, but under no remote stretch of the imagination would either of those two ever remotely subordinate themselves to each other. Since the US Army wouldn't remotely give up Patton as a combat commander and ditto the British army and Montgomery, that strongly influenced the decision. Indeed, military historians note that Eisenhower's greatest talent as a commander was not his strategic ability -- which was still exceptional -- but instead his ability to herd cats and somehow get multiple highly different, antagonistic, strong-willed personalities to actually cooperate with each other, which is the talent most needed above all when selecting a supreme commander for a multi-national military force.
    • The U.S. introduced the five-star rank because of this (a U.S. four-star general would be outranked by a British Field Marshal.)
    • This lead to an additional rank being created for George Washington, because no one can outrank him. Ever. (No, really, it's the law.)
    • In World War 2 each military occupational specialty often sounded like a Conspiracy Theorist claiming that it alone knew how to win and everyone else in the service was plotting against it.
      • This long haunted Admiral Raymond A. Spruance who was a black shoe (surface man) that won his most famous victories commanding brownshoes (aviators). He was criticized for being to unaggressive in pursuit (in both Midway and the Phillipine Sea he cut it off early for reasons to complicated to go into here; lets say he felt it was to risky), and it was said he "did not understand carriers."
  • More WW 2: RAF Bomber Command vs, at various points, Fighter Command, Coastal Command, and the US 8th Air Force. The rivalry with Coastal Command has frequently been judged as having seriously set back the war effort by starving Coastal of aircraft.
    • One of the problems being that Fighter Command got all the glory in 1940 at the expense of the other services to glamourize "The Few" (during the Battle of Britain, Bomber Command actually incurred heavier losses than Fighter Command).
  • While some of these rivalries appear pigheaded the one between SOE and the rest of Britain's clandestine service in World War II was understandable. The job of SOE was basically to make a mess. Which was all very well except whenever they did a lot of cops would come round and the guys from other agencies would have to stop all their work and lie low. This Troper wonders if lemonade could have been made out of lemons by having the SOE blow up something somewhere where a friendly agent was not and get the cops to move somewhere else. But Her Majesty's Government never saw fit to tell this troper if that ever happened. In any event there is no longer an official SOE, possibly because maintaining a group whose explicit purpose is destruction, subversion, sabotage, assassination and vandalism in peacetime is kind of impolite.
  • Done deliberately by Stalin to two of his generals during the push on Berlin. He deliberately redrew the sections of influence so that Berlin lay in the jurisdiction of both of them, and then let them compete to get there first.
    • The rivalry was so ferocious that units from the two armies fired on each other!
  • Historical examples of American interbranch rivarly are numerous:
    • "The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy," said by Curtis LeMay, General in the United States Air Force during the Cold War.
    • The newly formed USAF made an effort shortly after WW 2 to take control of Navy aircraft, but failed. The Navy has neither forgotten nor forgiven. The Army has yet to forgive the Air Force for becoming autonomous in 1947 either.
      • The Marine Corps jealously holds on to its air wings for the same reason, having never forgotten their Navy air cover abandoning them during the initial landings on Guadalcanal.
    • Roosevelt had the Army and Navy playing against each other in the Pacific theater of World War 2
    • The Iranian Hostage Crisis. The Army, Navy, and Air Force each wanted to take the lead on getting the hostages out of Iran, so that none of them could hog all the glory. So they came up with a compromise plan. The result? Catastrophic failure. Afterward, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was created out of the special operations branches of all three services. The Marine Corps followed suit... eventually.
      • Congress actually passed a law, the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, that among other things removed the individual service chiefs from the chain of command and made them solely an advisory body to the President (the Joint Chiefs of Staff), and reorganized the military's entire chain of command through joint Unified Combatant Commands without regards to branches of service. This was in response to cock-ups like the hostage rescue mission and other service rivalry problems in Vietnam. As a result, while interservice rivalry is still a big thing in the US military (see below), it rarely interferes in the actual business of defending US interests.
  • Interbranch rivalry is deeply ingrained in the culture of the United States military:
    • Various branches of the military love to look down their noses at each other, and will frequently brawl should multiple branches arrive at the same bar. The Army and Marine Corps see Air Force personnel as lazy and incompetent. Air Force personnel see the Army as disposable cannon fodder and the Marine Corps as meat-headed thugs. The Marine Corps, Army and Air Force will almost always make gay sailor jokes whenever the Navy is brought up. The Navy for its part thinks they do all the real work.
    • Military personnel love to make mocking nicknames and acronyms for the various branches.
      • My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment, Sir.
      • My Ass Really Is Navy Equipment for a more vitriolic version.
      • Muscles Are Required, Intelligence Not Essential.
      • Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, though this one has been proudly adopted by Marines themselves.
      • U Suckers Miss Christmas.
      • Ain't Ready for Marines Yet.
      • Never Again Volunteer Yourself, though sailors made this one up about themselves.
      • The Air Force is often called the Chair Force, since any fighting you do while sitting down apparently doesn't count (unless you're in a tank or other land vehicle, apparently). It's also teased that the Air Force is for wussies as they have less strict fitness requirements and a perception that Air Force bases are more luxurious than their Army counterparts, many USAF Personnel point out that while this may sometimes be true it just means that Air Force enlistees are simply smarter for choosing this route anyway.
    • The grudges are taught young, as evidenced by the rivalry between military-oriented youth programs. If a Navy Sea Cadet runs into a Civil Air Patrol cadet, the excrement will hit the fan. Slightly less vitriolic is the relationship between the Army Cadet Corps and the Civil Air Patrol, the fights of which seems to take the form of the Army Cadets saying "ha ha, we get to use guns," and the CAP cadets saying "ha ha, we get to fly airplanes." As for the Young Marines, they are roundly laughed at for wearing orange nametapes and ribbons on battledress.
    • Within the Navy, the different branches have various low opinions of the others:
      • Submariners are called Bubbleheads and have the reputation of being extremely nerdy, since the majority of them are trained in nuclear power. The thought of over a hundred men trapped in a steel tube underwater also takes the gay sailor jokes Up to Eleven.
      • Surface sailors in general do not have any specific negative association, but Surface Warfare Officers in particular are often viewed as overbearing Jerkasses with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Surface ships are often referred to by submariners simply as "targets" (the unspoken implication being that the sailors of those ships are mostly good for Cannon Fodder). "Brown-Shoes" (Navy aviators and their support staff) do, however, refer to surface officers and crew as being in the "transport" or "cargo" business, seeing their only role as getting the all-important planes where they're going.
      • The other branches think Aviators are all obsessed with Top Gun and have extremely high opinions of themselves, and are lazy (being the only branch with mandatory 8 hours of rest per day, while on flight duty). Of course they would say that everyone else is just jealous.
    • Don't forget the rivalry between the Squids (Navy) and Puddle Pirates (Coast Guard) The Navy loves to put down the Coast Guard, calling them them things like "toy Navy" or "shallow Navy" to which any Coastie worth his salt will respond with a joke along the lines of, "Why do Navy kids look so good? They have Coastie dads" implying that Coasties tend to sleep with Navy wives while their husbands are out to sea.
      • Oddly enough, the Marines and Coast Guard tend to get along reasonably well, in large part due to a mutual dislike of the Navy.
      • Strangely enough, the Navy SeaBees have a little-known rivalry with the Marines dating back to World War II. When the SeaBees were founded, they were mostly drawn from civilians with prior experience in construction, which skewed their ranks to a much higher average age than other draftees, to say nothing of the fact that, as older men with vital skills, the initial SeaBees were mostly volunteers as they'd have been far back in the drafting order. When they first conducted operations with the Marines, the Marines told them that they'd take care of them, to which the SeaBees replied no, they would take care of them. The humor in the idea of a group of sailors being Papa Wolves to the USMC should be obvious.
        • It's a friendlier rivalry than most of the rest here, however. Like the US Navy corpsmen who accompany the Marines on combat operations, the SeaBees are viewed by Marines as not being like the rest of those sailors but instead actually working for a living.
    • From the Marines' Hymn:

If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded by
The United States Marines.

  • US military rivalry also extends to fighting over equipment and budgets like it was politics. During the cold war, new air fighters were needed by both the air force and the navy. The F-16 and F-18 were both front runners, and the F-16 was expected to win. But once the air force selected the superior F-16s, the navy took the good-but-could-be-better F-18s out of spite. Navy topguns still fly F-16s.
  • In Britain there are Youth Groups linked to the military. There's the Air Cadets, Army Cadets and Sea Cadets. The Air Cadets and the Army Cadets hate each other, but they seem to forget about this hatred when confronted with the Sea Cadets, who they join together to hate.
    • Same thing also happens in the Canadian cadet organizations.
    • Don't even think about what happens when any of them encounter the Police Cadets or the Boys Brigade.
  • The Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment are more like Vitriolic Best Buds, at least since the Falklands War. Everybody still makes fun of the RAF, though the Army Air Corps is very popular since they got Apaches, and the Navy looks down its collective nose at the lot of them.
  • And of course, the Scots military units hate the English military units, and they both hate the Welsh ones. But if there's Americans nearby, all bets are off as everyone teams up to beat up the Yanks. And the Scots Guards hate the regular Scots units too, for being too wimpy.
    • And of course any Highland regiment hates (in order from least to most) any OTHER Highland regiment, any Lowland regiment, any Irish regiment, any Welsh Regiment and EVERY American unit. Of course, they will team up with less objectionable enemies to beat more hated ones.
    • Despite their long and proud history of this sort of thing, the British Army ended up being the Only Sane Organisation in the middle of one of these during The Troubles. MI 5, MI 6, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and Special Branch spent so much time bickering over who was responsible for what (bit of an Enforced Trope, because domestic counter-insurgency operations were uncharted waters back then) and trying to show one another up that the quality of their work was rather lacking. Eventually the Army resorted to forming a new company within the Intelligence Corps to run surveillance operations in-house.
  • In war games, Canada and the US.
  • Particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, the British Army vs the Royal Navy. The Navy was the more glamorous and respectable service, while the Army was the one actually fighting Napoleon in Europe but often considered a poor second by high society. This is referenced in fiction set in this time period such as Sharpe, Master and Commander and so on.
    • It has to be remembered here that the Royal Navy basically swept their enemies (French, Dutch, Spanish, Danes) off the sea at a time when the Army generally suffered ignominious defeats on the European continent, i. e. before the Peninsular War, while Army successes elsewehre in that era were depended on the Navy. And the British army simply was too small on its own, even during the Peninsular campaign it was very much dependent on the manpower provided by their Spanish and Portuguese allies as well as the King's German Legion.
    • "The British Army should be a projectile to be fired by the British Navy." -Lord Grey, British Prime Minister.
      • Technically that was kind of what it was. In many ways the British army had the role of the US Marines (handling coastal operations and counterinsurgency) rather then that of Continental armies which were their countries main defense. Of course in India matters were different, but the conquest of India was mainly done by the East India Company army, which by the way was another rivalry between the company and the crown army.
  • Historically, members of the French army's 11th Parachute Brigade and the French Foreign Legion did not get along. Those stereotypical interservice bar brawls were a very common occurrence back when they trained near each other and took weekend leave in the same town. The Legion's elite parachute regiment is technically part of the 11th Paras. One wonders if this makes the rivalry more or less intense for them.
  • Happened during the rescue of the Burnham couple from the Abu Sayyaf. Philippine Marine Intelligence had been tracking the group for a while after gaining an informant which Abu Sabaya, the group's leader, trusted. Later, their already considerable intelligence effort was boosted by American assistance. However, the Marines were never given the chance to use any of this hard won intelligence. The Philippine Army always insisted on taking over every effort to actually go in and face the Abu Sayyaf because they wanted the credit for the rescue. This eventually resulted in a clusterfuck which resulted in hostage death. Philippine Marine Intelligence is still bitter about it all.
  • Sometimes also happens between factions of a political party.
    • One joke has a newly-elected politician taking his seat in parliament for the first time, looking across at the other party. "There they are," he says to his older colleague, "The enemy." His older colleague replies, "No, that's the opposition. The enemy are seated all around you."
      • This is related to the joke about politicians and bureaucrats popularized by Yes Minister:

The Opposition is really the opposition in exile. The Civil Service is the opposition in residence.

  • In pre-revolutionary Iran, as usual, the Imperial Army, Navy, and Air Force had rivalries with each other. All didn't like the SAVAK.
    • After the Revolution, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps showed up. The regular military has somewhat put aside its differences to hate on the IRGC, as although it started as a revolutionary militia, it now has its own land, naval, and air forces, as well as complete control of the Iranian long-range missile force (and thus Iran's nuclear weapons if/when it gets them), and commands the Basij—the regime's morality and political police force—as well .
  • In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, after his rise to power, had the typical triangular operation - the military, the Baath Party, and the people. If one branch got too uppity, he would instigate the other two against the one.
  • In the People's Republic of China, there is much resentment between the main army, and the navy and air force, the latter two technically under the army. Also, the missile and artillery forces are somewhat independent. Also, each army by military district can have intense problems with each other. So much so, the government brought in units from the countryside during the Tienanmen Square massacre, as those in the Beijing military district were considered too untrustworthy, and might turn the conflict into a full blown civil war.
  • The concept of "separation of powers" within a government is intended to foster this, so that no one branch of government can become totally autonomous. In the United States, this is called "checks and balances," and is deliberately created so that the three branches will struggle against each other for power and hopefully create a stasis.
  • During World War Two the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy had an intense, bitter rivalry. It got to the point where both the Army and the Navy had specialized amphibious warfare services, and the Army maintained its own fleet of light carriers to support Army aircraft. Both services lied in battle reports to save face once Japan starting being pushed back in the Pacific.
  • With regards to the Australian Defence forces, one (army) recruiter once joked that "The Army sleeps under the stars, the Navy navigate by the stars and the Air Force choose their hotels by the stars." This was met by silence as 90% of the audience was looking to join the Air Force.
  • Italian Regia Marina (the Navy) versus Regia Aeronautica (the Air Force) during World War II: the Navy complained that the Air Force was the reason they had no carriers, that they were never on the battlefield in time and that they weren't very good at recognizing the British ships but not of their inability at sinking battleships, while the Air Force complained that the Navy hoarded all the funds and technically-capable recruits but couldn't defeat the Royal Navy. In a magnificent example of Fascist but Inefficient, they were both right due the inefficiency of the Fascist governement.
    • Perhaps they should both blame the collective Italian military establishment for saying, essentially: "This radar fad? It'll never catch on." Cue instances of Italian cruisers being jumped by British battleships.
  • In the Italian army there is a long standing rivalry between the Bersaglieri and the Alpini, as the latters replaced the formers as mountain troops.
    • The Carabinieri (military police and gendarmerie) are despised by the rest of the armed forces, with a contempt second only to the one reserved for the military cooks (Cordon Bleugh Chefs by Italian standards).
  • In the Anglo Dutch Wars one subversion was that generals went out to sea as admirals and got on fine without seeming to miss a beat. Possibly because they were willing to take advice from sailors. And possibly because while they did not understand ships they understood cannon.
    • A straighter example was farther down where former Roundheads and former Royalists found themselves serving as fellow officers on the same ship.


  • Army vs. Navy in NCAA college football - or anything else:
    • The US Navy's official song "Anchors Aweigh" is about the Navy beating the army in the Army vs Navy football game.
    • And with perhaps slightly less intensity whenever Army or Navy plays Air Force; the Air Force simply hasn't been around as long, so the rivalry hasn't truly had a chance to really fester, you know? Even though the Air Force Academy has won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy more often than either of its opponents, The Army-Navy Game is still the one taken the most seriously. So seriously, in fact, that despite the fact that neither Army nor Navy have been truly relevant to the college football championship scene in years, their game is still considered one of the premier rivalry games in the nation.
  • Lower on the rungs of College Sports in Division III, the United States Coast Guard Academy faces the Merchant Marine Academy every year for the Secretaries Cup.
  • Across the pond, teams from the British Army and Royal Navy play a rugby match against each other every year. There are also interservice sports events in other sports as well, such as cricket and association football.
  • It happens between countries too (having sports teams face off is so much easier than war!), as America's West Point and Canada's Royal Military College have hockey games when their regular season schedules allow them to.