Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

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Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:18 pm

My choices for melee weapons in order of preference, 1 being most preferred to least preferred and the reason why.

1)Battleaxe: one side is a blade with plenty of natural momentum behind it, designed to cleave through flesh and bone and easily caving in the skull and decapitating. The other side is a hardened pick, able to easily punch through most any possible head armor the zombie was wearing prior to changing and the skull all at once. It can be used for mid-ranged melee or brought in for close quarters defense. This was the AK of the medieval era, it can be effectively wielded with little training and can best any melee weapon with enough training, and it's combat versatility can't be matched. Smaller versions, though requiring more force, can be used with a shield.
2)Battle-hammer: you've got a massive amount of momentum to your advantage with no sharp edges (you're not going to decapitate a companion who get's in the kill zone), and still have the pick at the other end you can put even more force behind. For ease of learning, it doesn't get much easier than this, if you can put the sledge end on a slow moving targets head, your almost guaranteed a kill from shear blunt force trauma. For group tactics close proximity to each other, this is the safer weapon to use. Smaller versions, though requiring more force, can be used with a shield.
3)Battle-pick: two pick ends with decent amount of weight behind it, takes more effort to wield effectively in both proficiency and exertion, but almost the perfect weapon for mid-size enemy numbers and not as... messy.
4)Sledge hammer: Though cumbersome, this would be a personal weapon of emergency situations because I use them frequently during my smithing, so I can wield it for longer and more effectively than the average Joe picking it up. Where one would get a few swings in before succumbing to muscle cramps and exhaustion, I can get several in with minimal repercussions and require only brief breaks.
5)Halberd: Though my proficiency with the weapon is lacking, this weapon has all the force of a battleaxe and far more range to it and it can be used as a spear. The extended shaft, though, is more prone to breaking and due to it's range it's versatility is limited. This weapon requires significant training to wield effectively so that knocks it down a few pegs.
6)Spear: This weapon takes a lot of agility and precision to use when it comes to a zombie because all your attacks have to land in relatively small area's on the head, but it can be used to very effectively keep opponents out of arms reach. Smaller versions, though requiring more force, can be used with a shield.

These would be my preferred weapons because unlike quite a few of the next weapons, the most basic skills to be employed are fairly easy to obtain for zombie eradication. The problem is that the zombie eradication skills don't translate in the less preferred weapons because of the narrow training window you have. 5&6 are relatively quick to learn and master for the sole purpose of zombie eradication, but it takes a very long time to branch out to their full combat potential. The following are not as ideally suited for zombie combat, and included will be reasons why.

7)Hand-and-a-half double edged sword: It can be useful with a buckler, but the problem with any sword the ability to incapacitate a zombie. You have to realize that the point any sword is to either slash, stab, or something between through soft tissue. The Hollywood sword cleaving through bone in one blow is crap, to be able to takes a great deal of force and a very thick blade, even then you may not sever all the way through the bone. To decapitate, it could take several blows, especially against a moving target and having to go through so much tissue (assuming a neck blow) to get to the spine. There is a very good reason the axe, then later the guillotine, replaced the sword for decapitation, and they were cutting at the back of the neck which is the ideal place for decapitation. You're most likely not going to get this chance against the undead. However, with an inherently larger cross-section and broader tip (generally), you have the ideal proportions for cleaving through bone. Sharper angles, like those commonly seen in the tips of single edged blades, are prone to absorbing harmonic vibrations. Harmonic vibrations are present when impacting hard objects, and these can cause stress fractures that can lead to causing the blade to fail. The most common area's for this are at the tip and the tang/ricasso area. Tip damage, depending on the fracture, can render the entire end of the blade useless and can ruin the integrity of the entire blade. The tang area is the real danger zone, because if it's not properly heat treated and/or has too sharp a recess into the hilt, it will shear off across the tang. Even proper heat treatment and proper design this is still a danger. Furthermore, the sword requires more effort to get the same results, a killing blow to a zombie.
8)Folded steel single edged H&1/2 sword (katana style): I had a real hard time deciding whether this would go in 7th or 8th. It's 8th because although it's a folded steel(damascus) blade which greatly increases it's durability, you only have one edge. This really increases the skill required to maneuver the blade for consistency, years of practice is required to reach the precision and endurance needed to wield the blade, and to cleave through bone requires two hands due to its weight.
9)Single alloy, single edged H&1/2 sword: All the drawbacks of 8 without the durability.
10)Scimitar style(large curve) blades: These are designed to give you the greatest slicing ability, eviscerating and deep painful cuts followed by elaborate killing blows. Virtually useless for zombie attack other than for defensive purposes.

To build on the reasoning in 7, with any one handed or hand and a half blade, the ability to cleave/decapitate is going to require two hands and a lot of exertion and precision because the weight distribution in the sword doesn't allow for a great deal of momentum. The lighter the weapon, the more exertion you have to put into a blow to achieve a killing blow. Remember zombies do not feel pain so blows designed to inflict incapacitating effects are useless, so your blows have to be kill based or carry enough force to literally push your opponent away to get a killing blow in. You notice I've left out many blade styles and weapons aforementioned that you might consider, but remember that the larger the blade, the larger area you have to be in to use the blade, and you're a greater danger to anyone around you without extensive training. The Claymore, or properly the clamour (great outcry) as it's properly said because of the fear it induced on the battlefield, requires the wielder to wade into battle basically by himself, and armor is limited because of just how heavy the weapon is and the agility you need to cover yourself on all sides. Against an enemy that has no fear, you'd basically have to spin around over and over again to defend yourself properly, hoping your getting killing blows. I like the clamour, but it's a weapon of fear and has no place in a zombie fight. The next weapons require the zombies to get really close and personal, so skill and agility are going to be paramount to your survival with these weapons.

11)Cross-peen or blacksmith's hammer/double sledge one handed hammer: This would be preferred because I use it for hours in the shop, and it is possible to get consistent killing blows in one to maybe two hits.
12)Clawed hammer: Less momentum than 11, but it has a clawed edge that can penetrate the skull so you don't have to have quite as much force, but it's more likely to get stuck as well.
13)Combat spade: A spade designed to be used as a chopping weapon and a thrown weapon. It takes a lot of skill to throw it and get a killing blow, and takes a hefty amount of force to get a killing blow, but it's kinda like the light weight version of an ax, so it ranks higher due to it's utility.
14)Trench spike: Hard to come by, low momentum, the only things this has for it is that the spike is hardened and is designed to punch through helmets and the skull plates, so you only have to supply the appropriate force. The knuckle duster also is a plus since it can be used to force your opponents back without having to touch them, reducing contamination risk, and if you have boxing experience, these can be far more beneficial to you than the aforementioned very close quarters weapons.
15)Crowbar/pry-bar: Aside from popular support, the crowbar is a utility piece that can be used in the zombie emergency because of it's sharpened end(s). What it then amounts to is basically a heavy version of a billy-club or an extremely short spear. It's utility is useful, but it's combat effectiveness is very slim against the undead.
16)Combat knife: These are designed for utility as well as combat, so it makes the list but at the very end. This is because you are going to have to literally ram the knife through the skull, relying almost solely with the force you exert and you have to be extremely close to your opponent and have little guard against contamination other than the protection you are wearing. It is very durable however, and can be used for far more than just combat.

This is my list. Remember this is for killing a zombie, and the only effective way to remove a zombie threat is to destroy the brain and/or sever the brain from the rest of the body. Anything that is designated "utility" or kitchen cutlery or what have you is NOT designed for consistent use severing bone and/or punching through the skull without extreme maintenance procedures, and even at that they will still have a very limited useful life.

Feel free to critique and list your own!
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by foxx » Sat Feb 04, 2012 1:45 pm

Sure Hollywood is full of crap, but plenty of swords will cut through bone, ie. the spine. The Samurai sword, when properly made, can indeed cut a man in half. There's always a debate about this, but it's in the technique of the user and the blade geometry. There is a whole practice with those wet rice mats, with proper technique a guy can cut through them in one slice, over and over again. Those mats are very close to the resistance of the human neck, according to Samurai history and experience.
Lots of two handed swords can also decapitate a Zombie, but again it's in the technique and blade geometry. Swords, like other tools, have lots of different designs and uses, some are made to fight armor, others to be used from horseback. You just have to find the best design for your fighting needs. If Zombies are wearing armor and riding horses, they we'll need a rethink.
IMO, any heavy melee weapons, battle axe, are too slow. And a miss will throw you off balance, if not just require more energy to stop the swing. They arent fast enough to take on multiple attacker or Zombies. And you'll be in last place when running away from the hordes.
Those type of heavy melee weapons were made for a different time and place, and armor. In the PAW, I want to be able to run fast. A sword takes lots of training, years really. It's not a baseball bat, and to use the correct technique when really fighting would be the callenge.

My melee weapons will be tomahawks, a short heavy machete, maybe a short shafted spear, but moslty my feet, if they are shamblers.

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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:50 pm

Yes, a true samurai sword can feasibly cut a man in half. Disregard it takes years of practice, a massive amount of effort, and precision gained only through that practice or shear dumb luck. A samurai sword is several different types of metal forge welded together, folded, welded again, rinse and repeat. Who do you expect out of the general population to have an actual samurai sword at hand, much less the years worth of training. I also never said anything about swords not being able to cut through bone, but it takes much more effort, and most the time multiple attempts, to do so and again with most swords you're going to ruin the blade quickly doing so. With any ax you have a lot more metal behind the cutting edge, dramatically reducing the damage to the blade. Swords are, mostly, weapons of finesse, used to inflict killing blows that do not include decapitation, save certain types. You can just as easily be thrown off balance by missing a blow with a sword as with a ax, you're level of training dictates how effectively you can adjust for this (depending on your skill it may not throw you off balance at all). This is my personal list mind you, but my explanations are rooted in both my bladesmithing background and my training with the weapons, thanks to my local SCA group which is actually a very entertaining and useful tool.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:06 pm

One issue with what you've posted, you said that folded steel is Damascus and this is wrong.
Damascus is a form of welding metal, even though that is a pretty poor explanation, the folded and forged Japanese swords are not Damascus by any proper definition. The thing that makes a real Katana so good is the baneite spine for strength which is realy just realy good differential heat treatment before we westerners thought we created it.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by foxx » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:21 am

I can only imagine the scenarios and to what weapons would be best during the PAW. To do so, I look to what modern warriors use. They don't carry battleaxes, spears, etc. Of course were talking about "other weapons", so the whole category of melee weapons comes up. But, I don't plan on taking up arms against the hordes, I'm going to be shooting them en mass.
The other times, when it's inside buildings, dark alley ways, and trying to be quiet, I'll have something much smaller, lighter, faster, than ancient weapons of war. Hammers, machetes, short swords, tomahawks, the kind of stuff you can run with.
This is just my opinion of course.

I just disagree with your assesments of the use of swords. One doesn't have to swing like it's a baseball bat. I've practiced enough with my bokken to learn not to throw myself off balance. I'm a complete novice, but it doesn't take a genius to learn a few bits of technique. I've watched enough videos of those that train with swords to see they aren't throwing themselves off balance, hit or miss. Plus, Zombies won't dodge your swings, or swing a sword back. I have knives that can cut throuh bone, with no chips or dings, or rolls on the edges. I think a properly heat treated sword would take little damage from cutting down Zombies.

Plus, I just don't think that you'll have to decapitate every Zombie either. If I have to fight a Zombie, I'll take out a leg, then spike them in the head with a tomahawk or just run.

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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:26 am

Gentlemen, unless you have one of those weapons, and have trained with it (Terry Gecko, this is your fight) do what I do.

Step 1: look around the room/area.
Step 2: select a large, durable, swingable object
Step 3: smack 'em with it until it breaks or they do.
Step 4: Rinse. Repeat.

See that? No blue-wire wrapped katanas, no lugging a chunk of metal with a single use, and I still got the job done. Best of all, if I need to train, I just head to the local Seedy Saloon on Friday night!
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by mantis » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:19 am

My melee weapon? more ammo. swords, axes, etc are toys that will simpky get you killed when you come up against someone appropriately armed with MODERN weaponry.
Doc Torr wrote:"Those who live by the sword get shot by those who see them coming a hundred yards away."
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:32 pm

Guy's, I can agree with bit's and pieces of your arguments.
1: Yes, I was wrong about the damascus, and for that I apologize.
2: I agree that swords have their place on the defense, but again it's not a place for offensive action, save some rare to come across exceptions.
3: This is a PAW filled with zombie's, you may very well not have a renewable supply of ammunition unless you a) have all the equipment and materials to properly pack you ammunition, and b) can replace the materials as you use them; you're not going to have a company producing all the bullets you want, much less the gunpowder/casings/primers for bullets, so you are going to have to either learn how to make bow's/arrows, crossbow's/bolts, etc. if you want to have a renewable ranged weapon supply. The only alternative is melee weapons.
4: I titled this melee weapons for a reason, not utility weapons; my list would indeed be very different if I were going to include utility.
5: Knives use a different type of alloy and heat treating process all together, if you used a knife treatment on a sword (making it harder than a true combat temper), the sword would break quickly due to the damage and it's own weight. Knives use, typically, harder alloy's and a stiffer heat treatment because actual combat/utility knives are designed around the idea of using them for things other than combat, like prying open a door or chopping down a small sapling(with multiple strikes mind you), whittling, etc. Swords have a more flexible alloy and accompanying temper because they are designed to absorb metal on metal impact repeatedly without having to remove a lot of metal to resharpen the blade. Knives are designed under, basically, a different use concept, being far smaller, stalkier, and far more stiff than their distant brethren.
6: What if there aren't any large, durable, swingable objects in the vicinity, or enough of them to defend yourself till you can get away.
7: A zombie is the key foxx, I don't mean to step on toes but what if it's 5 zombies, 10 or more? Can your bokken withstand the constant impact of battle? Can you muster the strength to do the same? To keep from having to constantly having to keep track of your footing so you don't get into the grasp of a zombie you just cut the tendons out of the leg and now it's crawling around, your either going to have to decapitate it immediately or take the time to follow up with a killing blow, occupying your attention away from the other x zombies between yourself and your escape, all reaching out for a nibble.
8: You need to train a little with anything you are going to say you will rely on during any crisis.
9: You assume that heavy weapons, like a sledge hammer or battleaxe, are inherently harder to control. With a little actual training, you can be just as fluid. Also remember when you see PROFESSIONAL swordsmen using katana's or any other blade, they have trained for years to be able to perform the actions you see, no matter how simple they may look. What seem's like second nature to them is a monumental task for the novice, if they can do it at all. Swords rely on the strength and endurance to force the blade through flesh and bone, they have very little momentum to them. You can't expect to pick a sword up randomly and be able to decapitate or sever and arm/leg/etc. or actually sever the tendons and such to cripple an opponent that feels no pain.

Remember these are zombie's, again unless it's literally a crippling blow or killing blow, they will continue to follow through with any action no matter how damaged they are till they get a hold of you. Most sword styles rely on inflicting crippling pain then following through to a killing blow, don't expect to be Blade or a professional samurai because you have a sword you bought on-line. Most swords you buy are NOT designed for combat. Unless it explicitly say's re-enactment grade or similar, it's not designed to consistently be used for hard-target impacts. Even at that, it's probably not designed for much more than staged combat. Your best bet for actual combat ready swords is to go to a renaissance fair, ask the combatants who provides them with their weapons (usually their vendor is present at the fair), and buy them. Be sure, also, you buy "packed" blades, preferably hand forged (you'll probably have to ask the vendor, they don't usually provide this unless asked) sword because in stock removal processes, you literally are just taking a grinding material and cutting the weapon out of it like you would a sculpture. Packed edges means that enough material was left for the blade to be forged into it's final shape, save the polish and minor profiling, and the metal was hammered and compacted into the edges, making a much more durable blade. Hand forged is the next best step, the entire blade is compacted metal, not just the edges.

Remember, this is the zombie combat tactics forum, not regular combat tactics.

*edited for read-ability
Last edited by Malleolus on Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:30 pm

Holy shit...........wall of text man!
I honestly tryed to read the entire thing and I don't realy disagree with you as I've always been a strong proponent of a good melee weapon as a back up to a good ranged weapon.
However the one I'ld probably be the best with is a good old fashioned felling axe or a hatchet/tomahawk as I've been using them since I was a child and still am very comfortable with them and have several different ones to choose from.
Swords are cool and neat but although I have usable swords I've actualy not ever used them for anything but decoration.
My machetes are a newer addition and I doubt they'll ever replace the axe/hatchet/tomahawk in my heart.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:39 pm

Turtlewolf wrote:Holy shit...........wall of text man!
I honestly tryed to read the entire thing and I don't realy disagree with you as I've always been a strong proponent of a good melee weapon as a back up to a good ranged weapon.
However the one I'ld probably be the best with is a good old fashioned felling axe or a hatchet/tomahawk as I've been using them since I was a child and still am very comfortable with them and have several different ones to choose from.
Swords are cool and neat but although I have usable swords I've actualy not ever used them for anything but decoration.
My machetes are a newer addition and I doubt they'll ever replace the axe/hatchet/tomahawk in my heart.
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Edited, sorry :s
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:41 pm

Thanks man!
That is a much easier read.
I also forgot to add that many of my SHTF firearms are old school Russian military with wood designed to smash skulls for a reason. My favorite is my Izzy SKS in laminated wood that I yoinked for about $150 Canadian.
Crazy reliable and tough like a battle axe.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:46 pm

Turtlewolf wrote:Thanks man!
That is a much easier read.
I also forgot to add that many of my SHTF firearms are old school Russian military with wood designed to smash skulls for a reason. My favorite is my Izzy SKS in laminated wood that I yoinked for about $150 Canadian.
Crazy reliable and tough like a battle axe.
cheers
You got lucky picking that one.
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and come prepackaged with ketchup.

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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:06 pm

Malleolus wrote:
Turtlewolf wrote:Thanks man!
That is a much easier read.
I also forgot to add that many of my SHTF firearms are old school Russian military with wood designed to smash skulls for a reason. My favorite is my Izzy SKS in laminated wood that I yoinked for about $150 Canadian.
Crazy reliable and tough like a battle axe.
cheers
You got lucky picking that one.
I know!
Even up here laminated Izzy's are about $250-300.
Not bad for a rifle only made 2 years.
cheers
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by AUA » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:55 pm

I'd have thought that the melee weapon of choice would be something that applies the most amount of force for the least amount of effort. Remember, like ammo, your energy is limited; even if you do manage to take on and kill small groups of zombies by penetrating the skull, you're still dumping relatively large amounts of energy into making sure that there's enough energy behind your weapon to punch through the skull, in addition to retrieving it after it does its thing.

IMO, the melee weapons of choice in a zombie apocalypse would be some sort of durable yet lightweight staff-type item (baseball bat, hockey stick, and the like).

My reasoning behind this is because in practical terms, zombies will always (ALWAYS) outnumber survivors, and killing should only be done if necessary. The idea behind the staff-type weapon is that it increases your available options when it comes to taking down (not killing) zombies; instead of investing energy into killing zombies, you use the weapon strictly defensively.

For example, if you're faced with a grab, you can leverage the weapon horizontally (breaking the hold), shove the length of the shaft into their face (so as to prevent a bite), and use your center of gravity to toss them to the side.

It'd also give you the option of smacking arms away from you or knocking them down with a solid strike to the knee, among other things.

You might be inclined to note that these blunt weapons would be the most difficult to kill a zombie with, and you'd be right. However, the way I see it, cracking a zombie's skull open in close-quarters with a melee weapon is the exact opposite of what should be done in a zombie apocalypse, both for the energy consumption and because of the likelihood of becoming infected via atomized brain matter. Even if one is immune (which would be near-impossible to determine under ZPAW conditions), getting blood all over one's person probably wouldn't be the best idea (in addition to drawing zombies, you might end up attracting other predators).

Unless circumstances require me to use a melee weapon, my plan would be to use a sidearm/long-arm for any situations requiring lethal force, and to use a blunt weapon to minimize both contact with and energy spent dealing with zombies. A long-arm like a shotgun or traditional, non-pistol grip rifle would naturally lend itself to being used defensively to break holds (if not striking), which would further expand my options.

Even in close quarters, such as indoors, I would not plan on using 'skull-cracking capable' weapons, because those, like long-arms, may be unwieldy in corridors or other areas without sufficient space. When faced with multiple zombies (either indoors or out), this issue is compounded; you can only engage one zombie at a time (because you must follow through with enough force to break through the skull), but the others are closing distance and potentially surrounding you. Two or more zombies in close proximity (i.e if moving down a corridor, or approaching from a sidewalk area to a road) would also be problematic.

A blunt weapon, on the other hand, relies more on where the force is applied, rather than the amount of force. If neural/muscular connections are still applicable, you might be able to 'dead-leg' zombies, allowing you to take on a relatively large number with a minimal amount of effort; if a zombie is moving forward, exploiting their changes in center of gravity (i.e striking the lower leg just as they begin to put weight on it while shambling toward you) could allow you to unbalance them enough to knock them down with a simple shove. Striking the neck could easily cause spinal cord injury (putting that zombie out of commission, or at least making it easier to cause an internal decapitation), and so on.

If the zombies are fast, this only further makes the case for a blunt weapon. You wouldn't have the time or energy to crack every skull that's craving your flesh, and unless you're specially trained to do so, you would be unable to deftly strike all of them down with your bladed/penetrating blunt weapon; a blunt weapon would handle faster, weigh less (helpful for the running you'd need to do), and require less time to reach its target. IMO, a sidearm would be better suited for runners, but if you can't carry enough ammo (because of all the running), a blunt weapon would be the next best thing (in my opinion).

Now, if you're trained to do so and are fit enough to use a sword (preferably hand-and-a-half), that would probably be the best possible option; you could hit them with the broad side in a similar capacity as a staff weapon, and if needed, finish them off by redirecting the forward momentum of the previous strike into a killing blow (either to the skull proper or to the neck). The blade itself would also allow you to cut limbs, for a similar effort to a 'dead leg' or knockdown strike to the leg, and allow you to use an upward thrust to quickly end a grappling situation (sending the sword upward into the brain through the decidedly less dense palate bones).

At least, that's my take on it.

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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:59 pm

Eh... it depends on the zombie type mostly. I'm going under a virus zombie, kind of a human rabies if you will. I believe zombies will be somewhere between shamblers and rage. The only ones moving with any speed are going to be the ones who, in life, were either avid runners (ran several miles a day for fitness), marathon runners, or professional runners. They would be the only ones with the muscle memory for, on very level and clear terrain, accelerated speeds. Coordination is shot for anything other than muscle memory coordination basically.

My problem with bo staves, or any of what I call shaft effector weapons (The shaft delivers the blow), is that for the most part they rely on delivering killing blow's to pressure points. Even if you can literally crack the skull via striking the temples (silambam is one of several possible combat arts with these weapons, aforementioned my preferred), it's not a killing blow to a zombie because you literally have to halt the flow of commands travelling down the brain stem. To be able to strike a blow in the only area to do this (base of the skull) takes a level of precision and finesse that requires years of practice. It's also not like you can pick up any stick and expect to be able to use it, certain types of wood are required with certain treatments applied to them, and if you break your staff during a conflict, you could be left weaponless.

Your argument about atomizing brain matter is dependent upon two things, the first being that you breach the skull with a blunt weapon and it sprays the matter out. This wouldn't happen because of a few factors. 1st is that you only breach the skull (outside of hollywood) tissue upon second impact. This happens because your first impact causes blood to rush to the area of impact, the second causes this mass of blood to rupture through the skin. With a true blue combat oriented blunt weapon, they are designed to cause the most bludgeoning trauma to the brain itself (basically scrambling the matter inside and dislodging the brain from the brainstem) in one blow. Even if you shatter the skull in this one blow, it would rarely pierce the skull tissue, even then it would have to ooze around the fragments.

The second is that with a battleaxe, or again a bladed weapon that is designed to cause the most damage possible with one blow and designed around the idea of cutting through bone with the fewest blow's possible (most of the time one blow), and has a great deal of momentum behind it, you do not have to go for a second strike. Your first strike delivers the killing blow, then blood rushes to the area naturally to try to seal the wound. Your first blow has some blood on it, but you don't have a lot of cast off(if any), this comes when it takes several blows to get a kill.

Finally, depending on how you use the weapon, it can take a fair amount of force to get a heavy ended weapon like a sledge/battle hammer or axe, but you have very little exertion going into delivering the blow to your target; the weapon at this point should (with proper use) be carrying itself under it's own momentum with little exertion needed more on the wielders part. With a sword, your exertion not only has to continue through the blow, but it increases the further the penetration and depending on the material being penetrated. But remember that you can actually, with enough training, learn how to get a heavy ended weapon moving with plenty of force with minimal exertion because knights and such used these weapons consistently through very extended conflicts (they used them daily for hours at a time for battles that could last weeks). You're most likely not going to be hampered with 40+ pounds of combat plate mail or 80+ pounds of jousting gear, so it'll be that much easier.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Jeriah » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:52 pm

There is absolutely no circumstance I can imagine under which one's choice of melee weapon is even 1/100th as important as one's proficiency with it. I've smashed my share of coconuts in the backyard, and while yes, some things do a better job of it than others, ultimately it's going to be a matter of how good you are at putting the sweet spot where it needs to go. I like a good 4D or 6D Maglite, used single-handed, held right by the head over my shoulder so it doubles as a light until I swing it. But in an open area in broad daylight, my pick handle used 2-handed might do a bit more. In close quarters a cold steel spear point machete or Museum Replicas/Atlanta Cutlery Qama can both cut and thrust. But really...it's the fighter not the weapon.

Which really, really makes me wish I had time to get back into SCA fighting. Good times in college, haven't had the time since.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by foxx » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:56 am

Uhmm, I never said I would take a bokken to battle, they are for practice.

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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:44 pm

Ah! Fellow SCA member! Yay! Anyway, my point with the bokken was that until you've practiced with a real blade, it's kinda hard to tell how exactly it'll affect you to use real metal blades. Bokken are for form training, and are fun for sparring and plenty strong to rap someone over the head or neck, but there's some significant differences between a wooden blade and metal blade, primarily the weight and how it's proportioned. I kinda ran several thoughts together in that particular segment of the post, so it might have gotten muttered, so sorry for that.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by squinty » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:10 pm

For Zombies - for your Romero standard shuffling, need to destroy the head zombies - I'd swing a nice heavy roofing or framing hammer. 22 - 28 ounces. Good tempered steel, swings naturally, one side smashes one side removes big divots of zedhead, and when you're finished fighting them off you can use it to board up your apartment before some more show up. Use a lanyard.

For IRL? The crusades are over. Non-firearm "melee" weapons aren't my thing. If I'm doing something that requires a particular tool, I'll use the tool at hand if I need to. I carry a strictly utility knife and a small flashlight. Neither are intended as weapons, either could be pressed into service in a dire emergency but I'm not expert at using them in a martial capacity.

The only dedicated "weapon" I keep on hand that doesn't go bang is OC spray.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by KentsOkay » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:48 pm

Short sword and a hatchet. I have practiced what I consider to be extensively with short swords and a bit with the hatchet, I need a proper training version so I don kill someone while trying to parry...

Of course these are secondary to a proper long gun. Sadly, I have the short sword and hatchet but not the long arm :I
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:35 pm

KentsOkay wrote:Short sword and a hatchet. I have practiced what I consider to be extensively with short swords and a bit with the hatchet, I need a proper training version so I don kill someone while trying to parry...

Of course these are secondary to a proper long gun. Sadly, I have the short sword and hatchet but not the long arm :I
Melee weapons but no long arm?
You live in Texas with no firearm?
I think my igloo just started melting.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by KentsOkay » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:36 am

Turtlewolf wrote:
KentsOkay wrote:Short sword and a hatchet. I have practiced what I consider to be extensively with short swords and a bit with the hatchet, I need a proper training version so I don kill someone while trying to parry...

Of course these are secondary to a proper long gun. Sadly, I have the short sword and hatchet but not the long arm :I
Melee weapons but no long arm?
You live in Texas with no firearm?
I think my igloo just started melting.
cheers
Proper longarm = Ar15

I do own a remington 700 in 308 two shotguns, and a shitty ass 22. Other then the 700, I dont really count any of the others as guns I would rely on in any situation.
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Turtlewolf » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:09 am

KentsOkay wrote:
Turtlewolf wrote:
KentsOkay wrote:Short sword and a hatchet. I have practiced what I consider to be extensively with short swords and a bit with the hatchet, I need a proper training version so I don kill someone while trying to parry...

Of course these are secondary to a proper long gun. Sadly, I have the short sword and hatchet but not the long arm :I
Melee weapons but no long arm?
You live in Texas with no firearm?
I think my igloo just started melting.
cheers
Proper longarm = Ar15

I do own a remington 700 in 308 two shotguns, and a shitty ass 22. Other then the 700, I dont really count any of the others as guns I would rely on in any situation.
Oh okay, just an oppinion difference then.
I wouldn't own an AR15 if it was given to me (well maybe I would then :twisted:) but I consider it a poor also ran design that is poorly suited for the real world use that I expect my firearms to be reliable and usefull in.
Still an interesting and accurate design.
cheers
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Re: Combat tactics 101: Melee weapon choice

Post by Malleolus » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:12 am

squinty wrote:For Zombies - for your Romero standard shuffling, need to destroy the head zombies - I'd swing a nice heavy roofing or framing hammer. 22 - 28 ounces. Good tempered steel, swings naturally, one side smashes one side removes big divots of zedhead, and when you're finished fighting them off you can use it to board up your apartment before some more show up. Use a lanyard.

For IRL? The crusades are over. Non-firearm "melee" weapons aren't my thing. If I'm doing something that requires a particular tool, I'll use the tool at hand if I need to. I carry a strictly utility knife and a small flashlight. Neither are intended as weapons, either could be pressed into service in a dire emergency but I'm not expert at using them in a martial capacity.

The only dedicated "weapon" I keep on hand that doesn't go bang is OC spray.
This is a zpaw discussion my friend. You no longer have companies putting out the materials needed to assemble ammunition nor do you have companies producing routine maintenance and/or replacement parts for your firearms. You've got to ration your ammo as much as possible. Roll with it :)
Dare you not mettle
in the affairs of dragons...
for you are crunchy and taste like chicken...
and come prepackaged with ketchup.

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