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In the world of mecha/dogfight fiction, one thing noticeable about the mechs is this: No Ejection Seat is built into the mech or fighter and every battle you fight in must be seen through to the end. If you fail or get captured, see to it you do not leave behind any trace of your existence.

The Armored Coffin speaks of mechs or jet fighters or any type of war machine that forbids mid-battle retreat.

See No Body Left Behind for when the thing takes itself out enough so its tech cannot be discovered by the enemy.

Examples of Armored Coffins include:

Anime & Manga

  • Older Gundam series have this, without any real way of escaping from an exploding mobile suit.
    • Averted in the original Gundam with the Core Fighter system, which was designed primarily as a method for preserving valuable combat data should any of the Project V mobile suits be put out of commission.
  • Averted in Patlabor, where, being in a Real Robot setting, people build in ejection seats. In the second movie, however, one of them jams in a warzone, leaving the pilot to die.

Video Games

  • In Armored Core, adding to the Spartan Way training given to Ravens/LYNX, all ACs/NEXT's do not have any sort of ejection pods. In Armored Core 5 this is averted since you bail out if you mech goes out of commission.(in multilayer anyway)
  • In Front Mission, the Vampires -- a Black Ops branch of Sakata Industries -- have their Wanzers set up to completely vaporize them to cover any trace of their relations to their employer.
  • Star Wars' TIE Fighters lack ejection seats (along with shields), as yet another indicator of The Empire's military doctrine: "disposable attack vehicles for disposable pilots." This proved staggeringly ineffective against the more capable, shielded Rebel craft, so later versions like the TIE Advanced and TIE Defender were equipped with shields.
  • All the planes in Ace Combat 3 are piloted via a so-called COFFIN system, which is a kind of neural interface that allows you to steer them with your brain but has no ejection seats whatsoever.
  • In Metroid, Space Pirate boarding pods are referred to as "Space Coffins"; they only let you out if successful.
  • The assault pods from Quake II. How they are used? Take a few hundred of them, put a marine in each, seal the can, and let them swarm the enemy's base or planet, hoping that at least a few will survive the anti-aircraft fire. The whole thing is aptly named "Operation Overlord" at the end of the Strogg War.
  • Averted in Steel Battalion, where you can manually eject (via a specific button). If you don't, then you technically "died", eliminating any and all progress you made prior to the point of your destruction.
  • Free Space has never hinted at the existence of ejection systems on its fighters, and tactical retreats are rare in the game. For most ships and fighters, once committed to the field it is do or die.

Tabletop Games

  • BattleTech is a notable aversion, as most pilots will survive the destruction of their 'Mech even if they have to ride it down when it goes over, and all 'Mechs are equipped with sophisticated automatic ejection systems in the event of ammunition explosion or reactor containment loss. Similarly, since their armor is ablative, most suits of power armor can be reduced to failing wrecks that daylight can be seen through, but you still have to take one more shot to kill the person wearing it.
    • ProtoMechs, much as everyone would like to forget them, are highly Armored Coffins. They are often too slow to retreat even if they wished to, and destruction of the machine is destruction of the pilot.
  • Rifts does the exact opposite when it comes to Powered Armor: any weapon powerful enough to penetrate it is more than powerful enough to reduce the wearer to pinkish mist after doing so.

Real Life

  • During World War I plane crews did not have parachutes. Some officers considered that the crew should not be allowed to leave the plane, as that would be cowardice. It was thought at the time that if a pilot had a parachute, he would jump from the plane when hit rather than trying to save the aircraft.
    • Japanese pilots in World War 2 were not issued parachutes as standard. Though they were available to anyone who asked, other nations made them a requirement.
  • A number of World War 2 vehicles acquired this reputation:
    • Italian tanks were literally referred to by their crews as "self-propelled coffins" due to their poor armor and poor hatch placement; they were easily knocked out and difficult to bail out of.
    • Shermans earned a number of derogatory nicknames for their propensity to catch fire, leaving the crew with only seconds to get out of the tank after a penetrating hit.
    • Some early versions of both German and Russian tanks did not have a hatch for the radioman, forcing him to try and escape via the driver's hatch. If the tank caught fire, this usually resulted in the radioman's death.
  • The Killdozer was used in a destructive rampage when a zoning dispute boiled over. After entering, the operator of the homebrew armored bulldozer was effectively sealed inside.
  • The Handley Page Victor strategic bomber had the crew hatch immediately ahead of the jet turbine. Attempting to bail out would result in crew salsa.
  • While the Lockheed Starfighter had an ejection seat, the ejection seats were often too weak to lift the pilot clear of the gigantic tail fin. Early versions of the plane had an ejection seat that ejected downwards, but that would create obvious problems when landing
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