Tweet of the Day: Writing Kick@$$ Action Scenes
“Don’t you worry boys, the enemy are a bunch of chumps, we shall give them a good thrashing and be Home by Christmas!”
Unless you don’t. And when you don’t because the enemy got into their heads to fight back, or the weather turns bad, or your commanders failed basic competence tests, this trope comes into full effect. It is an understandable sentiment. After all war is hell and spending time with your family around the a table full of food and drink is far better than being knee deep in mud while getting shot at.
Don’t the enemy know that is dangerous to shoot at people? Somebody is liable to get hurt, or worse, killed! But alas, they do know, because you are doing the same thing to them and they are also hoping to get home by Xmas, or simply be done with the whole horrid affair and the path to home goes over our lines so….
This trope kicks in whenever overconfidence hits one or both sides of a conflict. This is also a modern (at least industrial age or later with some significant exceptions) trope. In European theaters (or similar regions in northern or southern latitudes) the campaign season lasted from late Spring to Early Fall, in part because most soldiers were also farmers which were needed to harvest the fields as well as winter snows made military campaigns impossible. Modern warfare allows soldiers to fight around the clock in all kinds of weather.
Subversions are few, but possible, such as the troops really going for Christmas only to return to the same battlefield in the Spring or worse, they win the battle abroad only to have the war follow them at home, either through their inability to cope with the aftermath or violence flaring up in the home front.