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Simply put, what I'm imagining would be something like a quarterstaff or bo staff, except with a rectangular flag attached at one end (it would take up half of the staff's length). These would be used in a similar way, however of course the user would need to hold the staff on one side, as opposed to straight in the middle. In addition, the flag side would be used in battle, both to hit people with, and as a distraction.

Is this at all possible? And if so, how could I incorporate it into a more modern culture/society (with a lot of futuristic aspects) that I'm creating? Thanks.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm reminded of that one episode of the Simpsons where someone used the American flag as a spear... $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Apr 3 '20 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ While it is not realistic, this happened in the movie of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Kristy Swanson wielding a flag against evil vampire Rutger Hauer in the final battle. $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '20 at 7:31
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget all the other things a flag does. They have been used historically and the barer would have been forced to weaponize them. The main use I see is to identify units in battles and I am sure that has been any can be crucial for maneuvers and tactics but flags also represent their unit or lord so you would not want blood or even mud to get on your proud flag. Make the flag occupy less of the total length and use the other side of the staff (that may have metal reinforcements or even be pointy). $\endgroup$
    – hajef
    Apr 3 '20 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ @nick012000 or you could look up photos from the early years of mandated school integration in Boston, MA. $\endgroup$ Apr 3 '20 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ @nick012000 This one? "All those in favour, say 'die'." $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 12 '20 at 18:46
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Yes. Flags can be used as weapons

A lot of things can be used as weapons - and useful weapons at that. The bare minimum for a weapon to be considered 'useful' is if it has an advantage compared to laying about with fists. The pole component of the flag is generally made from a hard wood, so they can do decent blunt trauma. They're also considerably longer than your arms, especially if you're holding one in your hand, so they have superior reach. They have have a downside, of course, and that's the flag component. Waving around cloth will obstruct your vision as well as your opponents, not to mention that if it gets caught on something, it's not going to end well. (Best case scenario is that the flag gets ripped clean off, and now you just have a flagpole that you can turn into a quarterstaff. However, for the reasons I just mentioned, flags are not better weapon than quarterstaffs.

Historically, flags have actually been used as great weapons. I'm not referring to the practice of placing banners on halberds - such small strips of colored cloth could hardly be hailed as full and flagrant flags, for shame! I'm referring to battle standard - in a medieval battlefield, it was hard to tell friend from foe and even friend from other friend, so units had a man with a flag whose job it was to hold the flag up and identify the company they were fighting with. These flags were very potent weapons indeed - battles are won and lost on information.

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    $\begingroup$ i think you mean flag pole there? regarding made of hardwood. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 3 '20 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ You don't need to wave cloth around - use flag side as a grip. $\endgroup$ Sep 13 '20 at 1:35
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everything can be weapon as long you have the imagination to apply it to become lethal (your safety not include).

to help you to apply it, for example theres a chinese spear using the hair tassel as distraction, to soaking blood to not make it slippery, and sometime to tangle.

from:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qiang_(spear) enter image description here

theres also some sword fighting using bundle of cloth including gladiator to tangle enemy weapon or the enemy themself or nullify enemy slashing effect basically improvise buckler and net.

here the image from:https://hroarr.com/article/exercises-for-the-cloak-and-rapier/

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

heck pretty sure i see that type of flag you describe was use as weapon in chinese movies with no spear tip either, i think its from one of jet li movie but the biggest bet probably from jacky chan movie (since he use everyday tools as weapon or self defense and this martial art did exist despite most people think, though i forgot the name), basically same principle like the sword and cloak technique or hair tassel,net, long chain flail,chain sickle,etc but using flag instead, so try copy that maybe.

here found the movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFPqJvOJrLQ just skip to the 0:28 (i cant do it for some reason... god, i hate my 3rd world country it lag so hard)

also found this video though seems more like its for parade than for real martial fight, but its a nice show to know the stance or application of it, as in the video show you may end up stepping on the flag if you dont do it properly, depend on your flag length since the video pretty much show the length of quarterstaff.

for historical or real theres many spear that incorporate into banner or flag, i dont remember is there one that use it as quarterstaff, as for indirect weapon as halftawed say you can use it to give information or commands to the troops, though judging from your question seems like this was not use as warfare weapon or warfare battle.

and here some of my favorite quote from jin yong novel, just because.

from:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugu_Qiubai

as Dugu Qiubai (one seek defeat) nickname sword devil say

"The "Sword Devil" Dugu Qiubai has become the invincible and unchallenged swordsman under Heaven, hence he buried his swords here. The heroes of the realm bow before me. Now, my Long Sword is of no use anymore. The agony!"3

The first sword (present)

"My first sword was so sharp, strong and fierce that none could withstand it. With it in hand, I strive for mastery by challenging all the heroes of the Northern Plains in my teenage years."4

The second sword (not present, represented by a wooden tablet)

"My second sword was violet in hue and flexible in motion. I used it in my 20s. With it, I have mistakenly wounded righteous men.

It turned out to be a weapon of doom that caused me to feel remorseful endlessly. I cast it into a deep canyon."5

The third sword (present)

"My third sword was heavy and blunt. The uttermost cunning is based on simplicity. With it, I roamed all lands under Heaven unopposed in my 30s."[6]

The fourth sword (represented by a wooden sword)

"After the age of 40, I was no longer hampered by any weapon. Grass, trees, bamboos and rocks can all be my swords. Since then, I have developed my skills further, such that gradually I can win battles without reaching for weapons."[7]

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As I remember medieval knights used lances as one of their main weapons. After heraldry became fashionable in the 12th century, more and more knights adopted coats of arms.

In medieval England, and maybe in other medieval countries, there developed two grades of knights. A knight bachelor was the lower grade of knight. A knight bachelor had a small flag called a pennon attached to his lance, which was triangular or fork-tailed/Swallow-tailed, and that flag had the knight's coat of arms on it. So every time that a knight bachelor tried to lance someone in battle, he would be trying to use his flagstaff, which was his lance, as a weapon.

A knight banneret had a tall rectangular or square banner with his coat of arms on a lance which was carried by someone else who accompanied the knight banneret, in addition to or instead of a pennon on the knight banneret's lance.

In post medieval times, armies had specialized cavalry units of lancers who used lances. And in many units every lance of every lancer had a small flag. So every time a lancer in those units lanced someone, he was using his lance both as a flag staff and as a weapon.

The mounted lancer experienced a renaissance in the 18th and especially in the 19th century. This followed on the demise of the pike and of body armor during the 17th century, with the reintroduction of lances coming from Poland and Hungary. In both countries formations of lance-armed cavalry had been retained when they disappeared elsewhere in Europe. Lancers became especially prevalent during and after the Napoleonic Wars: a period when almost all the major European powers reintroduced the lance into their respective cavalry arsenals. Formations of uhlans and later other types of cavalry used 2-3 m (6.5-10 ft) lances as their main weapons. The lance was usually employed in initial charges in close formation, with sabers being used in the melee that followed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance#18th_and_19th_century_revival[2]

In modern armies regiments and battalions had flags called colors and standards carried on poles with lance heads, and some companies have flags called guidons carried on poles with lance heads, and such flags were carried in battles until about 1900, give or take a few decades, in various armies.

As I remember, in one battle in the US Civil War, a Union cavalry Guidon bearer used the lance he was carrying his guidon on as a weapon against a rebel soldier.

In 1077 opponents of Henry IV, Emperor of the Romans, elected Rudolf of Rhinfelden, Duke of Swabia, as anti king of the Romans and future emperor. The rebels defeated the imperial forces at the Battle of the Elster on October 1080, but anti king Rudolf was mortally wounded.

Although a military defeat for Henry, Rudolf was fatally wounded, when one of Henry's knights cut off his right hand and stabbed his belly with his sword. Rudolf died of his wounds the next day and his body was laid out in Merseburg Cathedral, where the chopped-off hand is still kept. With Rudolf no longer a threat, the rebellion had lost its focus. Henry conquered and demolished the remaining fortresses of Rudolf's troops. He declared the loss of Rudolf's Schwurhand a judgement of God, further weakening the support of the prince's rebellion.

Godfrey of Bouillon (1060-1100) was Margrave of Antwerp from 1076 and Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1089-1086, and later led the First Crusade. William of Tyre's chronicle, written c. 1170-1184, says that Godfrey of Bouillon carried the Emperor's banner at the Battle of Elster and lanced Rudolf of Rhinfelden with it.

So it has been claimed that a very famous historical character used a flag to kill another famous person.

And I happen to have idea for a story in which someone is attacked in an office and grabs a flag and uses the staff like a quarterstaff to beat his attackers and drive them back. Then one of his drunken attackers climbs on a desk and jumps at him and he instinctively points the flag at the attacker who impales himself on the lance head of the flagstaff.

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Flags can be weapons of opportunity, of course.

A recurring means used by suicides to achieve their goal when circumstances offer no better tool is to use bed sheets as a mean to hang themselves.

And is a flag too different from a bed sheet? And what if it's not used by an aspiring suicide, but from an aspiring murderer?

A steel wire extracted from the wrist clock is surely cooler, but also a flag can be effective at permanently incapacitating your opponent.

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  • $\begingroup$ wow...... i dont expect this kind of answer from you.....are you ok? $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Apr 3 '20 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ @LiJun, alive and kicking $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 3 '20 at 9:33
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Yes.

flag as weapon

https://www.npr.org/2016/09/18/494442131/life-after-iconic-photo-todays-parallels-of-american-flags-role-in-racial-protes

We all know the photo: It captures the rage, division and the racial tension from 40 years ago that is still so present now in our country.

Titled "The Soiling of Old Glory," the photo won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. Stanley Forman took the picture on April 5, 1976, for what was then the Boston Herald American.

I think we don't all know the photo as the author presumed. This is what the Simpsons episode referenced. It is a weighty and meaningful thing, to use the symbol of your nation as a tool to hurt.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think what the author meant by "We all know the photo" is we should be able to recognize what it means or the historical ramifications of it, not necessarily the presumed identity of the photo itself. Beyond that, however, is mere speculation. $\endgroup$ Sep 18 '20 at 15:34
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At a basic level, a flag and its flagpole is a staff with a cloth bound to one end of it. The user will attack by bludgeoning the opponent with the pole or wave the flag in their face as a distraction for somebody else.

But if the plan is to use it as a weapon, we can do a lot better. For a start, we turn the flagpole into a spear. A spear already works by holding one end and thrusting so the the pointy end goes in the bad guy. Something that has not been stated as of now is that the flag itself can be wrapped around the pole when not being employed as a flag.

A lightweight but sturdy metal pole with a flag of hydrophobic fabric (for repelling blood), using modern technologies to make the whole ensemble more durable all around and more lethal in parts is certainly achievable. Possibly using modern or futuristic tech to enable quick actions with the flag itself without having to worry about a large amount of specialized training to use it as a weapon fully.

Raising the Flag

The first use is as a flag. As stated, it provides information as to who you are and represent. It is more to prevent friendly fire than to identify yourself to the enemy. Thus, its first use in combat is as a rallying point for your side ... and a target for the other side.

Second use is as a spear. With a spear tip attached to the pole end, it becomes a passable spear that can stab your enemies or clobber them with the pole itself if necessary. In this mode, the flag is either used as a flappy-flappy distraction for others, or wound around the pole so as to not be horribly distracting to yourself

Third is to ditch the flag itself and use it as a staff. Unless your flagpole has some manner of quick release mechanism for the flag itself, my thoughts would be that this is really only employable if the flag is rolled up, or more likely broken off the pole by an opponent. Be wary of the spear point that may still be on the pole though.

Depending on the futuristic parts of your tech, you could install a forcefield generator within the pole and have it makes a protective shield when planted in the ground and activated. Turn it into a rallying point for your troops when the giant lasers are fired, using the flag as a giant heat sink for the generator in the flagpole or something equally technobabble.

Alternatively in the Future Tech department, hiding any sort of weapon in the flagpole is an option so long as it is still usable. It might be slightly impractical, but it is something to consider.

Flags Incorporated

Incorporating it into your society is something to think about. If the position of Flagbearer is one of honour, then maybe they are a chosen troupe that are taught a martial art dedicated to using the flagpole as a weapon. Potentially they are an honour guard for important people, designed to be unobtrusive until it is time to act.

Perhaps you are a nation that likes their flags. If every house has one, then maybe learning how to use a spear/staff becomes the basis of the militia training when guns are no longer usable, either due to range, availability, or other factors. This would be in a similar way of peasants of old weaponizing anything when called to arms. In a modern sense, then answer is almost certainly more guns/blasters/lasers, but a flagpole is innocuous until used to clobber the enemy. Modern technology might incorporate quick-release mechanisms to planted flagpoles, allowing them to be pulled out swiftly to save time.

Reference Material

In Fate/Apocrypha, the Ruler class servant summoned to oversee the Grail War fights with a flagpole complete with flag for almost the entire time. When she uses it as a weapon, it is typically employed by rolling the banner up around the pole and bludgeoning things with it. While not everything might translate to a regular person's ability, it might form the start of something.

There is also the planting it to make a magical barrier against attacks Noble Phantasm, in which case the banner flies in the obviously dramatic magical winds.

Granted, she does not carry it around with her all the time, but it is treated as her primary weapon for the series.

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End of Logan's Run (1976) fight in courtroom. An improvised weapon; anything can be a weapon in a time of need.

In a future society, flag-duelling could be a ritual affair, possibly with big corporate sponsors (plenty of space for advertising on those flags).

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A flagpole is either

  1. an improvised weapon of last resort
  2. a ritual weapon, possibly because it limits damage

A flag by itself is a useful tool for blinding or distracting your opponent, or hiding what you are doing, or entangling your enemy's weapon. A flagpole is a staff of greater or lesser flimsiness. Combining them means that your blows are hindered by the weight of the flag and risk you losing control because your opponent seized the flag and doesn't let go, and your use of the flag is hindered by the need to move it whenever you want to actually hit.

Any character stuck using a flag as a weapon and not prevented from doing so by ritual rules or lack of time will tear the flag off as soon as possible and use them separately.

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