Sticky Bomb

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"You take a standard G.I. sock, cram it with as much Comp B as it can hold, rig up a simple fuse, then coat the whole thing with axle grease. Now when you throw it, it should stick. It's a bomb that sticks, a 'sticky bomb.'"
Capt. Miller, Saving Private Ryan.

If there's a live bomb thrown nearby you, you have a chance to grab it and throw it away. However, if a sticky one is involved, you better run away really fast. And if it's stuck on you ...

Usually adhesive is involved in making the bomb sticky, though things like nails can be used too. Expect there to be problems when a someone tries to throw such a bomb but gets it stuck on his/her person.

A Sub-Trope of Trick Bomb. Compare with Insert Grenade Here. See also Sticky Situation. Frequently used in a game of Grenade Tag.

Examples of Sticky Bomb include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Saving Private Ryan has improvised sticky bombs made of plastic explosive stuffed into socks and covered in axle grease used against German tanks.
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965): Infantrymen slap plastic explosive sticky bombs onto attacking German tanks.
  • Hudson Hawk: short range launcher shoots rockets with time-delay fuses that stick to their targets.
  • In The Dark Knight, Batman uses a sticky-bomb launcher to blast his way into Lau's Hong Kong office, and later to stop the Gotham City SWAT team from killing the Joker's hostages.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • An episode of Dads Army had the Home Guard training with sticky grenades. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the first episode of Power Rangers RPM, Dillon fashions a makeshift sticky bomb by sticking a grenade to a wet lollipop. Unrealistic? Yeah. Awesome? Hell Yeah!
  • In the season 1 finale of Burn Notice, Michael and Fiona build one by plastering tile adhesive over a mop wrapped around a C4-containing piece of Tupperware.

Music[edit | hide]

  • In the video for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock", Neidermayer the teacher tries to throw a grenade at the rock band, but instead ends up throwing the pin and winds up with the grenade stuck to his hand. He dives into the high school's swimming pool to try defusing it, but it explodes and Neidermayer bangs his head against the diving board.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Limpet Mines from GURPS: Ultra-Tech work this way. They even came up with good reasons to stick them to yourself.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has Krak Grenades, Meltabombs, EMP Grenades and various similar weapons to give ordinary infantry a chance against tanks.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Halo: plasma grenades and spike grenades, the former thanks to a coating of searing hot plasma, the latter thanks to... well, the spikes.
    • Another Day At The Beach, a short film that came with the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack depicts an ODST trooper getting a plasma grenade stuck to his helmet. He quickly yanks the helmet off and flings it away before it explodes.
    • The two types of grenades actually work differently in how they bounce, too. Plasma grenades stick only to living things and vehicles; they'll bounce right off walls and floors. Spike grenades stick to anything they touch.
  • Not explained very well, but Star Wars Battlefront's thermal detonators, in contrast to the rather un-sticky one shown in Episode 6, can stick to enemy soldiers if thrown properly.
    • Battlefront also has concussion grenades that are meant for taking on vehicles: they deal less damage to infantry than thermal detonators but stick to vehicles. Battlefront II removed them entirely and just made thermal detonators stick to vehicles.
  • Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty Black Ops have Semtex grenades. However, by charging the enemy in your last few seconds of life, you can often take the guy who threw the bomb with you, or at least ensure said guy doesn't get more than one kill.
    • Call of Duty 2 has the same improvised sticky bombs as Saving Private Ryan above in the Russian campaign for anti-tank work.
    • Modern Warfare and Black Ops also have blocks of C4, which can be stuck on walls and ceilings to ambush enemies.
  • Mass Effect 3 features the Scorpion heavy pistol which launches Sticky Bomb grenades.
  • Red Faction: for massive schadenfreude, toss a slap-charge onto an enemy's back and watch him run around screaming until you set it off.
  • Perfect Dark: all mines (timed, remote and proximity) can stick on anything except shield. Having one on you make a Dead Man Walking, because there is no way to survive the explosion.
  • In Famous: Cole has the ability to throw balls of lightning that can stick and explode like Halo's Plasma Grenades. There's even a trophy for sticking enough grenades to Mooks, called "Oh, I See You've Done This Before".
  • Team Fortress 2: the Demoman has a Sticky Bomb Launcher. His secondary fire detonates the stickies on command, so they can be used to lay traps. Notably, stickies only attach to static objects, not to enemies, probably to avoid griefing.
  • Enemies in Saints Row 2 behave similarly when the player uses demolition charges.
  • Company of Heroes lets you buy an upgrade for Riflemen that allows them to throw sticky bombs. They are only to be used against vehicles, though.
  • Time Splitters has also had plasma grenades as an underslung launcher on the plasma rifle in 2 and as a seperate weapon in Future Perfect. All three games have also had an array of "mines" with various trigger mechanisms (timed mines, remote mines, proximity mines) which can be thrown onto enemies.
  • Resident Evil 4 has the mine thrower, which basically shoots exploding darts that stick to the target.
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony: Luis Lopez can use sticky bombs to kill foes and set surprise traps.
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl has sticky bombs, which you can stick to someone else by running into them before it explodes.
  • Spelunky: As an upgrade gained from a shop or by killing a Giant Spider. They will stick to anything except the Spelunker's hands.
  • The Time Bomb Mod in Ratchet: Deadlocked does this to all explosive weapons.
  • Borderlands has various sticky bomb mods that can be attached to your Protean Grenades, with the expected result.
  • Shadow Warrior has these as a weapon. They look like small, metallic spheres with spikes. Can be stuck to the walls or to enemies, and explode if someone is in vicinity for a while.

"Look, you have a new friend!" (after sticking a bomb to someone)

  • Lost Planet 2 has the Disc Grenade and the aptly named Gum Grenade.
  • Call of Duty World At War has the aforementioned No. 74 sticky bomb.
  • Metro 2033 has pipe bombs covered in nails as its version of this trope. The nails will stick to surfaces or enemies, which can lead to some considerable Video Game Cruelty Potential.
  • Bombs in Terraria can be combined with slime goo to make sticky bombs, which stop as soon as they hit the ground/wall/ceiling. Tossing them may be difficult.
  • Worms 3D had a 'sticky bomb' - a Cartoon Bomb coated with little suction cups all over. Worked similar to a grenade, minus the bouncing.
    • A possible setting made the ground of the map sticky, making all kinda of thrown weapons not roll away unlike usual. That didn't make then stick to worms, though, while the actual sticky bomb could do so.
  • Gears of War features four kinds of grenades that can attached to walls with a melee attack to act as proximity mines, or can be attached to ENEMIES to invoke this trope.
  • A species of goo in World of Goo.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In Red vs. Blue, Donut gets one of Halo's Plasma Grenades stuck onto his head. However, as a member of the local Redshirt Army, his teammates don't do anything but stand there trying to figure out what it is until it explodes.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • On more than one occasion, Wile E. Coyote has had to deal with a lit stick of dynamite accidentally glued to his hand.
  • Kim Possible had the nano-tick bomb. It eventually gets stuck on Kim, with classmates mistaking it for a zit.
  • In ThunderCats (2011), the Lizard army had magnetic bombs that stuck to walls and blew them up.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • During World War Two, the British developed an anti-tank grenade that was little more than a bottle of nitroglycerine coated with glue. The user was expected to run up to an enemy tank, smack the grenade onto the armour, and hope to make it to a safe distance before it went off. Although the whole idea was clearly insane, the "sticky bomb" was nevertheless cheap and quick to manufacture - important advantages given that the British were expecting an imminent Nazi invasion and had been forced to abandon most of their anti-tank guns during the Dunkirk evacuation. The main drawback was that it was terrifyingly easy for the user to get an armed grenade stuck to themselves. In the words of one Home Guard volunteer:

"It was while practicing that a [Home Guard] bomber got his stick bomb stuck to his trouser leg and couldn’t shift it. A quick thinking mate whipped the trousers off and got rid of them and the bomb. After the following explosion the trousers were in a bit of a mess though I think they were a bit of a mess prior to the explosion."

    • Not surprisingly, the Sticky Bombs were quickly replaced with more reliable Anti-Tank weapons, like the Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) Spigot Mortar. And given the major shortcomings of the PIAT (cocking the weapon required considerable strength, especially if done while prone to avoid detection; the projectile would fall out of the tube if it was aimed downwards!), that should tell you how bad the sticky bomb was.
  • The origin of the nailed bomb version would probably be the petard, a siege weapon consisting of a large explosive nailed to a castle door. William Shakespeare references just how easy it was to blow yourself up with it, hence naming the trope.
  • The very controversial "Operation Tailwind" story that got a bunch of people fired from CNN in the 1990s claimed the existence of a type of anti-personnel mine called "Pot Pie" that was supposed to be deployed using a styrofoam cooler. When it warmed up, it was supposed to extend tendrils that would wrap around whatever was nearby and hold it in place until detonation. Whether this actually existed is unclear; after the producers were fired for alleged shoddy journalism, they sued CNN for millions and got fat settlements, while the executives who fired them were fired as well, leaving the veracity of the entire story more or less permanently unresolvable. Thus are the perils of reporting on The Vietnam War.