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So currently in my fantasy universe 2 races are at war, the Anglar and the Darus.

Info:

Anglar: winged humans (basically Angels without holy powers).

Darus: lizard people, they used to have wings but a strange ailment caused most of them to lose their wings.

Terrain: flying islands in the sky. think avatar's flying mountains (the blue people avatar), below is a mist covered chasm that falls for many fathoms. we're unable to know if it has a bottom. the Darus use mages to build bridges across to each island to get across (but this takes time), the Anglar just fly across.

Some quickly built forts for the Darus, and several starter colonies for the Anglar.

Background: the Darus were in a mass migration due to the loss of their wings and an earthquake destroying their home. They found the flying islands but also found the Anglar who are a extremely prideful race and find any other creature who can fly their lesser. The Anglar began an extermination campaign on the Darus due to similarities to dragons, which the Anglar exterminated. With nowhere else to go the Darus launched total war on the Anglar colonies.

My question is what sort of melee weapons would flying humans use against those on the ground? I was thinking a type of scythe.

Here's a situation it would be used in:

The Darus constructed a bridge connecting two islands, and their foot soldiers cross over. The Anglar strafe across the bridge, swing their scythes and cut many down, and for some unfortunate souls, drag them off the bridge.

Edit: I know they can use ranged weapons or magic but I'm looking for what they can use in air to ground close proximity combat. I'm looking for a specific melee strafe weapon. I don't want them to rely on only ranged weapons.

Edit two: if it helps yes there is magic in the world. And enchanted weapons.

marked as duplicate by Mołot, RonJohn, Ryan_L, Trish, John Nov 10 at 4:47

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  • If you can fly and hit your enemy from above, why would you get close to their weapons? – L.Dutch Nov 9 at 13:03
  • More effective due to no fear of running out of ammo. Also they would get tired flying all the time, as swinging a weapon while simultaneously flying would be a much greater physical strain. – Spark warrior777 Nov 9 at 13:32
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    Spears might be great. Spears are very effective (and lethal). The only way to counter is shooting a projectile, using a spear too, or closing up the gap. due to a flap with the wings anglars can hold the gap pretty good. This might help too. Also spears are better throwable than swords – Jannis Nov 9 at 13:55
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    if "below is a mist covered cassm that falls for many fathoms.unable to know if it has a bottom", how can "an earthquake (destroy) there[sic] home"? – RonJohn Nov 9 at 13:55
  • They lived some where else the earthquake destroyed that home, they migrated and found the flying islands – Spark warrior777 Nov 9 at 14:36

Spear

bottom line is the critical weakness of an avian being is their wings. Their critical strength is also their mobility from their wings. Therefore they would prefer high reach melee weapons that take advantage of their speed whilst reducing their chance for injury.

Under these conditions that would be the spear. The lance could be a runner up but its weight would reduce mobility and dexterity.

Weapons that demand two hands like scythes, reduce dexterity and agility which detract from their greatest strength. In other words maximize your strengths. This is why cavalry units were never equipped with polearms, scythes, or other two handed weapons.

A Naginata

It's a Japanese weapon akin to the spear with other Asian and western variations. This would also be great choice because it maintains the spears beneficial qualities of length and maneuverability (can be used single handedly). Its length is some what reduced from the fact that the body must support a heavier tip.

It's added advantage over the spear is that by having a narrow curved blade it more easily supports slashing instead of piercing enemies. This is handy because by piercing an enemy the weapon can become lodged. This can reduce target reacquisition time and or at high speeds result in the loss of the weapon.

Why this does not necessarily beat the spear is because the spear can also be used as a ranged weapon and quickly be reacquired for close combat. Since ranged weapons result in the least risk to the wings they are the more preferable.


Enhancement per OP's proding

are swords completely out of the question? I mean what if their fighting in a tunnel or clos quarters?

If they are fighting in such conditions then they are idiots for putting themselves in greater risk, like knowingly walking into an ambush. It isn't normal (in classical tactics) to bring weapons for fighting in such inopportune settings.

That being said, they may carry throwing knives as additional ranged weapons and improved utility (a knife is generally handy). Do bare in mind that an aerial warrior needs to be particularly wary of weight for tons of reasons which ultimately tie into why focusing on speed and mobility is their best tactical advantage.

However if the must carry a sword it would probably be a rapier. They are long, light, and speed oriented weapons. If that is understandably too modern then perhaps a spit-balled off the top of my head guess may be the katana. The Katana supported speed oriented styles. Heavy swords are truly counter-productive for them as they simply have more to lose in close quarters than a normal human.

  • What about using sythe's to drag people off sky bridges? – Spark warrior777 Nov 9 at 14:40
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    A scythe is not a real war weapon. There is the war scythe but it looks nothing like the kind of scythe you are thinking off. If you really want to push someone off a bridge I am sure bolas or nets would make more sense. – Tyler S. Loeper Nov 9 at 14:47

Here I present you the ultimate weapon you need as winged human:

A Pan
pan

why would you use a pan some of you might ask
You have a solid shield against incoming projectiles in the air, you can hide behind the pan until your enemys die, but thats not the only thing the pan can do. The pan can also block swings with swords and everything else the enemy has. It will even block rams. And that is just one way to use the pan, the pan can do even more, it can attack. Reliable sources, like 'tangled' and 'PUBG' tell us everyday the pan is a very effective attack weapon, which has the power of Thors hammer combined with the precision of a sniper. You can try out, just grab a person, and you knock that person into aether so easy. And then you'll thank my company for selling that great piece of art to you.
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Flail.

Spears and lances and such are nice, but there may exist the small problem that after you perform your flyby stabbing that your target is now firmly impaled by your weapon.

That might not be a problem, but I'm not sure "fly in, stab, fly away, re-arm" really fits the mold of "air to ground close proximity combat" (although, to be sure, it's probably a pretty sensible way to prosecute the enemy.)

By 'flail' I mean a mass weapon with a handle and a flexible bit in the middle. Flails, nunchuku, a bowling ball on the end of a rope -- that sort of thing. The hope would be that the mass would smash into and damage the target but also then bounce off it, so the wielder could keep flying and come around for another pass.

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    Cavalry using flails would have to spin them to prevent the ball swinging on its own and knocking them on the back of the head. Now imagine a winged human doing that in mid air – nzaman Nov 9 at 15:03
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    @nzaman I'm just imagining a game background voice saying: "anglar warrior has a 100 person Killstreak with a bowling ball. That's a strike" :D – Jannis Nov 9 at 15:12

How about spiked shoes? They have to come in range to use them, but a 1-2ft blade would let them stay far enough away that they can escape quickly using their wings. Having the blades on their shoes helps because they only risk their legs - not their wings or torsos. Other than that, I don't really see why they would use melee weapons against gravity-bound opponents anyway. They could literally just napalm everyone from a comfortable altitude

A war scythe is a good idea, because it gives a lot of cutting power.

enter image description here

But it has a problem, the edge is in the concave part, inside. If your winged humans make a passing attack (and they will unless they fly too slowly or they are capable of staying stationary in mid air), they will get "stuck". If they don't release the weapon, they can even bounce on their target.

So let's look at the same weapon with the edge on the convex part, a fauchard.

enter image description here

Or bill, guisarme or any other names these kind of polearms had. Aside of D&D, nobody cares and in the Middle Ages even less.

Not only you have a point for stabbing (with a lunge), you can cut with a passing flight.

  • What if I made it with a magical metal that would allow it to slice through with out catching? Like it can shrewd through armor and flesh? – Spark warrior777 Nov 9 at 17:05
  • @Sparkwarrior777 Then it depends if you need the added speed of the leverage the scythe. However, arms and armor have been in a race during all history: if you have a metal so good, people will make armors of it to block the weapons. And if they can't, they won't use armors and they will kill the enemy with those "light sabers" from a longer distance (for example, with slings/arrows/javelins), negating the advantage. – Alberto Yagos Nov 9 at 17:19
  • That seems rather perilous to the wielder. – Harper Nov 10 at 0:29

A scythe is not completely out of the question for this scenario.

While it is by no means a popular weapon historically, there are Renaissance-era manuals on how to fight with scythes.

scythe manual

As you pointed out, this would be a good weapon for hooking the enemy so you can drag them off of a bridge.

But as other answers have pointed out, there are many types of polearms that are also good at hooking. For instance, the Dane axe was a two handed axe, believed to have been used to cut down cavalry (or cleave their horses' heads clean off). Also, perhaps surprisingly, Dane axes are light, only around 2kg.

Dane axe

The same idea was used later with halberds, only now they could also have a spear-point and a spike.

Halberds

Something worth mentioning, though, is that all of these options are also good options for the ground forces. Both sides want a long weapon to keep their opponents as far away as possible, and both sides can benefit from hooking an enemy and dragging them around. For this reason, it's likely that a flying strafing run would result in massive casualties for both sides, with the ground forces at a slight advantage since they get to stand still and thus aim easier.

For this reason, I think the best option your flyers will have is to use mobility to their advantage. Much like pike and shotte tactics of the 17th century, cavalry (your flying troops) should never advance directly into a line of pikemen (your ground troops), but instead circle around them and strike into any openings that they can find. To that end, your options for weapons open up a little more, since you don't have to directly oppose any other weapon. You mentioned the plausibility of swords, and I think this is a good reason why they might use cavalry sabers: they transfer the wielder's speed directly into cutting power for quick hit-and-run strikes on unsuspecting foes, but they're not overly large or heavy so they don't get in the way (which is especially useful considering the space wings take up).

saber

With such questions would be great to provide more info on setup and species. Physical stats, relative size, quantity, levels of technology and available materials. In general, you would want to consider two different weapons: one for something for dive strikes and second for combat where air is not an option. For first one cavalry weapons, long weapons or wepons that are good at using extra fall bonus are good so: spears, lances, longswords, cavalry sabers, blunt weapons. Second pick for situations where flight is impossible, like in caves, buildings or when enemy renders it too dangerous: shield + one-handed weapon. May consider chain weapons or hooks to feed the chasm if enemy is not to heavy to lift them.

Spear-like weapons are just about the only weapons available. The wings when flapping will be in the way of any swinging weapon while a spear can use the momentum of flight work in its favor without being (as much) in the way as swinging weapons.

A ground team could use the carrying capacity of their wings to carry strong shields and perhaps a Razor edge on the wings to beat someone who gets too close with, while the spear is used to keep them at bay. In a pinch the angelics could glide away and shed enough armor during the glide to start flying again. Although ofcourse they dont need that much armor on the wings.

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