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TV Tropes Monday: Operation “Blank”


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This is something of a world building trope, in as much as it lends color to a setting. Most military actions carry a name of sorts hence the Operation Blank, where in depending on the setting the blank can be filled with:

  • An emotive/significant name designed to pump morale and look good on the history books.
  • A nondescript name, designed to hide the nature of the operation
  • A silly or unfortunate name picked at random or by someone with a sense of humor (good or bad)

Names like Overlord (the D-Day landings in Normandy), Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom fit well in the first category. These are evocative names with clear political overtones. Something like Operation Granby, the British name for their participation during the First Gulf War, seems like it was pulled out of a list or generated by computer.

Of course a writer can chose to mock military self-importance by naming their ops something like Knicker Weasels or Trouser Snake. Mind you, real life militarizes avoid names like that, even if randomly generated by a computer, so as not to inform the next of kin that their son or daughter died bravely for their country during Operation Brown Pants.

Whatever naming convention you follow it will go a long way to set the tone of your work.

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2 comments on “TV Tropes Monday: Operation “Blank”

  1. I shouldn’t have laughed at Operation Brown Pants, but I did. I’m sure some actual servicemen must have jokingly referred to their operation in similar terms at least once.

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