Suicide mission
The term suicide mission commonly refers to a task which is so dangerous for the people involved that they are not expected to survive. The term is sometimes extended to, but is not limited to, suicide attack
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

s such as kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 and suicide bombings, where the people involved actively commit suicide during the execution. The risks involved with suicide missions are not always apparent to those participating in them or to those who plan them. However, for an action to be considered a suicide mission someone involved must be aware of the risks. A mission that goes horribly wrong is not a suicide mission. An individual or group taking part in a mission may perceive the risks involved to be far greater than what they believe to be acceptable, while those planning or commanding the mission may think otherwise. These situations can often lead to refusals to participate in missions on the basis that they are "suicide missions". Similarly, planners or commanders may be well aware of the risks involved with missions while those participating in them may not.

In a military context, soldiers can be ordered to perform very dangerous tasks or can undertake them on their own initiative. In October 2004, during the Iraq War, 17 soldiers in the US Army refused orders to drive unarmored fuel trucks near Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, calling the task a "suicide mission". Those soldiers faced investigations for breakdown of discipline. In the First World War, French soldiers mutinied
French Army Mutinies (1917)
The French Army Mutinies of 1917 took place amongst the French troops on the Western Front in Northern France. They started just after the conclusion of the disastrous Second Battle of the Aisne, the main action in the Nivelle Offensive, and involved, to various degrees, nearly half of the French...

 en masse in 1917 after appalling losses convinced them that their participation at the front would inevitably lead to their deaths. At the same time, many groups voluntarily undertake suicide missions in times of war. Both the Waffen SS and the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 were known for executing what could be labeled as suicide missions throughout the Second World War. Suicide missions can also be an act of desperation, such as a last stand. The latter end of the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 could be seen as a suicide mission from the German perspective, as they were ordered to fight to the death with no option of surrendering and no chance of escape.

Special Forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 units are often sent on missions that are exceedingly dangerous with the hope that their superior training and abilities will allow them to complete them successfully and survive. An example is the desperate attempt by two U.S. Delta Force
Delta Force
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

 snipers to protect a downed helicopter pilot
Michael Durant
Michael J. "Mike" Durant is an American pilot and author who was held prisoner for eleven days in 1993 after a raid in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was a member of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment as a Chief Warrant Officer 3...

 from being killed or captured by masses of Somali militia during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. While the sniper team held off overwhelming numbers of Somalis long enough for the pilot to survive, both were killed and the pilot was eventually captured but then later released. However, even special forces groups refuse to participate in some missions. During the 1982 Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, a plan for an SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 raid on Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego
Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego
-External links:* * * *...

 was ultimately not executed, due in part to significant hostility from members of the SAS who saw the mission as exceedingly risky.

Armed hostage takings
A hostage is a person or entity which is held by a captor. The original definition meant that this was handed over by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war...

, particularly those planned (e.g. by a terrorist group) for political purposes, could be considered suicide missions. As most governments have a policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists, such incidents usually end with a bloody confrontation between the hostage takers and an armed force (police, military etc.) attempting to free the hostages. In addition, such hostage takings often occur in a country foreign to those participating in it, making their chances of escape very limited. Notable examples include the 1972 Munich massacre
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

, the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege
Iranian Embassy Siege
The Iranian Embassy siege took place from 30 April to 5 May 1980, after a group of six armed men stormed the Iranian embassy in South Kensington, London. The gunmen took 26 people hostage—mostly embassy staff, but several visitors and a police officer, who had been guarding the embassy, were also...

 and the Beslan school hostage crisis
Beslan school hostage crisis
The Beslan school hostage crisis of early September 2004 was a three-day hostage-taking of over 1,100 people which ended in the deaths of over 380...

. All of these high profile hostage takings ended with the hostage takers being engaged by the military forces of the country in which the incident occurred, with the vast majority of the hostage takers being killed in the aftermath. The extent to which the hostage takers in each incident expected to survive or simply desired to capitalize on their publicity to send a message is a matter of speculation.
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