141
$\begingroup$

Mechs are really just giant usually bipedal walking tin cans with their human pilot inside. I mean, shoot the legs and they can't move much anymore. Not really realistic.

Regardless, in a futuristic world where for some reason mechs are the main fighting forces supported by infantry and air forces, why would the mechs ever use melee weapons to fight other mechs? I have seen and read a few novels and games where they have mechs where a melee weapon[chainsaw, giant sword, lightsabers etc etc etc] was prominently used instead of a ranged weapon.

Like the reason to have mechs would be to act as giant walking artillery units right? They need to be big to carry their equally big weapons to shoot far and destroy their enemies and even if the distance minimized, I'm sure charging at a giant mech which has two miniguns, a plasma cannon, lasers and enough rockets to raze an island with a melee weapon is a really bad idea.

To summarize, what kinda reason or situation would mechs have to use a melee weapon to engage another mech?

They kinda look like this, hopefully with arms if they are using melee weapons. Mech

$\endgroup$
20
  • 70
    $\begingroup$ Walking mechs are perhaps the most impractical weapons platform of anything having equal prominence in fiction. They are useful only when the terrain is too rough for tanks, enemy air control is too effective for friendly air ops, and the environment is lethal to unprotected infantry. Otherwise you are better off using tanks, helicopters, or infantry (the latter possibly in powered assault armor). $\endgroup$
    – EvilSnack
    Aug 21, 2016 at 17:15
  • 30
    $\begingroup$ Why are people down-voting this? Sky does acknowledge how silly mechs are, and the fact that they are silly to use in this manner is immaterial to the actual question, which is reasonable. $\endgroup$
    – Marky
    Aug 21, 2016 at 17:23
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ @Marky Assuming it is silly to use big robots, describe why it is not silly to have big robots knife fights in a gun battle. Sounds like a silly question in a silly world and another "justify the rule of cool" question. $\endgroup$
    – Aron
    Aug 22, 2016 at 2:56
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ @Aron are "justify the rule of cool" questions not allowed on worldbuilding then? $\endgroup$
    – Marky
    Aug 22, 2016 at 3:18
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @Marky By the very definition of "Rule of Cool" it is not justifiable. If it was justifiable then it wouldn't be "Rule of Cool"; it would be a really cool thing that happened to be a thing, like Ninjas. $\endgroup$
    – Aron
    Aug 22, 2016 at 3:25

35 Answers 35

1
2
1
$\begingroup$

Consider the Tau from Warhammer40K, mech using ranged specialists that come off second best to almost every other faction in melee, so of course everyone uses fast attack and deep strike melee units against them.

Maybe mechs can be dropped on top of enemy positions (Titanfall), maybe you can bury mechs in territory you know the enemy will capture, maybe mechs can be disguised as innocuous machinery (Transformers), maybe your mechs have optical camouflage (Ghost in the Shell), maybe they're just so fast or well armoured (or ranged weapons so uncommon or ineffective) that combat inevitably becomes a melee.

Maybe you're not even really trying, the versatility of a humanoid mech would be useful for peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief missions, it also sends the message that you're affluent enough to go with something cool/intimidating over something more practical like a tank.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ About versatility: in the comic "Dynamo Joe", the mecha's weapons were hand-held, not attached. This let them switch from one to another as the situation called for it. $\endgroup$ Apr 12, 2018 at 18:21
1
$\begingroup$

You forget about the most basic reason of all:

Licensing deals.

Why would any child want to play with the latest greatest tank of the day when they can sport about with a fully licensed version of SuperMecha Mark IV? There is a gigantic market of monetary gain to be had from having the coolest "real" toy around.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ This feels like pokemon where 10 year old kids wield creatures who wield enough power to make mini mushroom clouds just with their attacks clashing but instead they have giant robots smashing about in a battlefield far far away in real life. $\endgroup$
    – Skye
    Aug 25, 2016 at 13:56
1
$\begingroup$

The only weapon that can pierce mech armor is a drill that has to be held on the mech for some time while it drills.

Take your newly discovered super-alloy and plate your mechs with it. The only way through the alloy armor is with a specialized plasma drill. Even the most advanced drill takes about 10 minutes to get through the armor. That's a limitation of the tech. Drilling any faster causes the drill to overheat and melt itself, or draws more power than a portable power source can provide.

This means mechs must be disarmed and grappled into submission for drilling.

So you're a mech that is surrounded, in a blasted-apart base filled with smoke. The enemy is hitting you with conventional weapons to knock you about and disorient you. You try to raise your gun but any time you aim at a target, another shell hits you and knocks you around. After awhile of this, your gun either jams from the constant shaking, or runs out of ammo/charge. Enemy mechs approach you through the smoke. There's five of them, and two are carrying a portable drill, another is pulling the battery cart. You see the drill's hooked claws that will grab onto your mech, and it's glowing maw that will chew into your suit and melt you inside. At all costs you can't let that thing get attached to you.

The need to grapple and subdue leads to melee weapons.

The other two mechs advancing on you through the smoke are here to grab you, shove you to the ground, and hold you still while they attach the drill and let it do its work. If they just threw the drill on you, you could rip its power cables, or smash its drill head. Not everything can be made of super-alloy. So the grapplers have come prepared with weapons similar to police batons that they can use to lock your limbs in a hold. You aren't going down easy. The longer you fight the more time they waste on you. Maybe more of your friends will get away, or maybe reinforcements will arrive and rescue you. You draw your super-alloy sword. It may seem silly, but it's better than resisting bare-handed. They swing at you and you swing back. Now mechs are fighting with melee weapons.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

Adding more to the idea of Shield Technology. New type of metal that could only be destroy with a consumable jet of flame formed an illustration of a blade.

The popularize of projectile interception technology for example Phalanx gun for shooting down missile.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

APOCALYPTIC WORLD

Following requistes should exist:

  • major industrials and cities destroyed (no ammo / combustible supply)
  • major roads and airfields destroyed (no easy to travel)
  • toxic/dangerous/freezed atmosphere (no easy to go outside without a protective environment)
  • mech have autonomous energy supply (nuclear reactor / solar power cells...)
  • all standard mech weapons relay on ammo (and none is left, very difficult to replicate)

  • still military activity (enemies to fight)

In this scenario, a mech can protect the pilot from the environment, be perhaps the only available method to travel (lots of ruins, lots of snow), and close to close combat the best offense/defense available due to lack of ammunition.

$\endgroup$
1
2

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .