Melee Weapon

The term melee weapon is a neologism, usually absent from scientific and historical scholarship, and apparently deriving from the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. It serves the need to represent weapons for use in hand-to-hand combat (such as a sword or club), in contrast to projectile weapons (such as arrows).

The term derives from the French term mêlée, meaning “mixed”, and referring to groups of warriors interlocked in close combat, when devolving into a chaotic scenario without military formation. The term can refer to a free-for-all competition in knightly combat sports.

As such melee weapons do not include statically emplaced weapons, like a boobytrap or burning devices, but are carried. A melee weapon is a type of "cold weapon".

There are two basic divisions — edged weapons, of which examples include swords, spears, axes and knives and blunt weapons, such as clubs and maces.

The basic principle of edged weapons is to increase the user's pressure by concentrating force applied onto a smaller surface area, such as an edge or point, thus more easily penetrating the opponent's body to cause wounds. Because most of the effectiveness of edged weapons depends upon breaking the skin of an opponent, they lose much of their usefulness when pitted against armour.

Blunt weapons on the other hand rely mostly on mass and raw impact energy to disable opponents through broken bones, internal trauma or concussions. Generally they are used in some sort of swinging motion to charge kinetic energy into the weapon's mass.

Historically, maces and flails were developed and used to combat armoured infantry, such as knights, because of their ability to cause injuries even "through" plate armour, and were also very effective against flexible armour, such as mail. However, blunt weapons are usually heavier than edged weapons, as the extra weight is needed to cause greater damage, especially through armour. This often makes blunt weapons both strenuous to wield and difficult to maneuver.

Most melee weapons live within the spectrum from very lightweight blades or spikes to extremely heavy, blunt poles. Heavy cavalry swords are perhaps about midway along the range in both kinetic energy and concentration of pressure, and showcase how any point in the spectrum can sometimes yield an effective weapon.

Read more about Melee WeaponHistory, Forging and Technology

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