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This is the fantasy or historical equivalent to the Space Battle and in a similiar vein to the Final Battle, although this takes place before The End but is no less important, it marks the point in a conflict in where one side turns the tide of war in their favour, this means it is no less epic or reduced in scale to the battle which might mark the end of the war. it can even lead directly into the final conflict or even set up the story as it is.

The main difference is that these are set on the ground, at sea or in the air rather than in a vacuum, although space battles can fall into this depending on the point it is shown. These scenes also use many of the same methods used to create space battles such use of a lot of CGI and miniatures for distant shots with close ups of the main actors, extras and stuntmen doing all the physical work. So this usually takes up a lot of the budget as the producers try to provide a thrilling and awesome setting for the audience to enjoy and tense up about. Historical battles are the exception as they required no special effects to work; unless being recreated for film or TV. As they are drawn from Real Life they certainly can qualify to be epic depending on the battle and circumstances.

The same clichés are also present as in the Space Battle as well, not all of them need to be used:

  • The enemy will have a secret weapon which they plan to unleash to destroy all the heroes or to turn the tide of the battle
  • It will be a pivotal point in the war and change the fortunes of one side and the fate of the world.
  • The good guys will usually be vastly outnumbered, under equipped or at a disadvantage, however both sides can be equal as well.
  • The battles make use of thousands of soldiers or vehicles taking part to show the scale of it (in most productions made after the late 1990s they will all be computer generated).
  • Several or all of the main characters will be involved as well as several minor characters and background characters at once to show how everything is united in a common goal.
  • The enemy will either be overconfident to the point they see no need in a backup plan or to send everything at the good guys, or they will charge everything in knowing they will win.
  • When it looks like the enemy have all but won the battle, reinforcements show up save the day and win the conflict.
  • The heroes will have a time limit in which they have to win, they will always achieve this with only a few seconds left.
  • Someone will make a Heroic Sacrifice or perform a Heel Face Turn or Face Heel Turn.

These battles can overlap with the Final Battle trope and the Space Battle trope. Although this depends on when they turn up in proceedings and what the genre is.

Examples of Decisive Battle include:
  • Two are featured in Lord of the Rings. The first is only alluded too in the books but shown in the films, that being the seige of Mordor where the Last Alliance of Elves and Men were able to defeat Sauron. However Isildur's refusal to destroy the ring ultimately led to the War of the Ring at the end of the third age.
    • The other battle was the Seige of Minas Tirith in which Sauron attempted to topple Gondor and ensure is domain over Middle-earth, however reinforcements from Rohan and then from Aragorn with several Dunedian and soldiers from south Gondor ensured that Mordor's army was routed, the king had returned, and what led to the Final Battle outside the Black Gates which allowed Frodo to destroy the ring.
  • In World War Two there are several examples of battles which helped turn the tide in favour of the allies. The battle of Stalingrad was one, partly due to a German force ill-equipped for the winter and Stalin's insistance of defending his namesake to the man. it marked the point where the ceaseless Axis advance was finally stopped dead.
    • El-Alamein was the turning point for the British, putting the Germans on the defensive for virtually the rest of the war.
    • The battle of Midway was the turning point for proceedings in the Pacific, where the American Navy was able to inflict a large enough blow on the Japanese that they were never able to recover for the rest of the way. It is widely considered the most important naval conflict in history.
    • D-Day is perhaps the final and most iconic for the allies, 175,000 soldiers were able to establish a beachhead in Normandy and essentially destroy any remaining hope for an Axis victory.
    • Most notably, the strategy adopted by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II turned around a Decisive Battle where their fleet would crush the US one in a single, climactic battle. This strategy was epitomized on the massive Yamato-class battleships.
  • Several in Command and Conquer series.
    • In Red Alert, turning point of war comes when player manages to destroy Iron Curtain. This leads to Allies turning from defensive war to counter-offensive.
    • In Red Alert 2, Tanya destroying Soviet nuclear weapons in Europe, allowing European nations freely provide support to US without fear of nuclear armageddon.
    • Tiberian Sun has two: Unifying of Nod, which leads to Nod laucnhing major offensive and later destruction of Nod missile and Banshee facilities, leading to GDI offensive that wins the war.
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