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"In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance."

You and your mates face your foes. They may be equally matched or they outnumber you. However your leader decides that if a fight is to break out, everyone's to stand their ground and not run away. There's a choice of running away, but defeat in any form or fashion means humiliation and dishonor. Or in other cases, you simply just die a dog's death. The only honor is in victory.

Frequently combines with In Its Hour of Need -- if the person giving the order has any honor.

Stand Your Ground is a cousin to the Last Stand. Related to Hold the Line. Contrast Run or Die, where running like hell is okay.

Examples of Stand Your Ground include:


  • Green Street Hooligans is a movie about Elijah Wood's character learning what it means to stand his ground with a bunch of hooligans his sister's fiance used to run- during the events of the movie, the fiance's younger brother runs the firm. The trope name is in fact one of the tag lines for the movie (probable trope namer?)


Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons 3.X edition has the Dwarven Defender Prestige Class. Its signature ability, "Defensive Stance" bestows sizable defensive buffs but limits movement to 5 foot steps.

Video Game

  • In Persona 4, you're given the choice whether or not to tell the men to stand their ground against the girls during the hot springs trip.
  • The Dwarfs in Warhammer have a special ability which essentially forces them to stand their ground. They sacrifice their movement for combat bonuses.
  • In the Total War series, archery units have their default tactics set to "Skirmish", which has them automatically withdraw if an enemy unit gets too close to them. You can disable these orders, ordering them to "stand and fight;" this is usually most effective in urban environments where the archers would get close enough to trigger the "retreat" condition without actually getting into melee with enemy units, or if the archer units are equipped with good melee weapons and you need them to bust heads.


  • In 666, the priest and his soldiers are tasked with defending a science facility while the scientists are being extracted. It turns out to be a trap and they have to hold against a demon legion or two.

Real Life

  • Real Life example in Josef Stalin's WWII Order #227: "Not one step back!" Stalin ordered than a unit would stay at the rear of a battalion to shoot anyone not advancing, and any deserters would be rounded up and used to check for mines. This produced mixed results; on the one hand, desertions and retreats without order dropped very sharply, very quickly; on the other, Stalin was so insistent on taking no step back, he often ensured that his generals would not give out the order to retreat even when it was the sensible thing to do, losing a lot of men and material in situations that would otherwise be at least partially salvageable.
  • Another Real Life example, which predates Stalin by quite some time (1848): in Mexico, the French Foreign Legion, numbering 65 (including officers), held 2,000 soldiers from the Mexican army at bay for days at Camaron. After they ran out of ammo, they ended it with a bayonet charge. Keep in mind that currently, each and every member of the Foreign Legion considers that battle an ideal to aspire to. Don't Cross Them.
  • Often more inefficient then romantic. The best way to deal with a force that is standing it's ground is to march around them, cut of their supplies, and let them starve.
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