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In my world front line assaults are done with Mechanized Assault Vehicles, or MAVs. They are kind of like the vehicles in the Mecha universe, but more armor than weapon, more humanoid, than purpose built. Think Pacific Rim only on half the size and not requiring double piloted mind sync blah blah blah.

They have projectile and energy type ranged weapons, but these can be absorbed long enough for an opponent to get in close due to recharge and reload times. They can be devestating in the right hands. But there is a class of pilot preferring heavy armor and a melee type weapon to get in close and beat the opponent into submission.

I've read this post on the best melee weapon for a super strength wielder and this post regarding why a giant mech would wield one. My question is what type of melee weapon would work best against this type of vehicle, wielded by a similar vehicle? Something pointed, something blunt, both, neither, energy variant, rocket assisted, mechanized like a cutting wheel?

Assume the vehicles are agile enough to perform hand to hand combat and do not suffer the same way humans do from blunt force trauma. Assume, that a MAV specialized for melee combat could be heavier for stability or even have stabilizing enhancements "bolted on". Assume that weapons wielded by humans have little affect on a MAV.

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    $\begingroup$ a long stick with a plasma torch at the end, trusth the mecha, it can melt anything but even if it uses magic armors that deny physics then the plasma flame is enough to boil alive the pilot. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 25 '16 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ When armored knights were becoming increasingly popular on the battlefield, mace use grew to counter them; they don't take skill or finesse and they don't care if the enemy is armored as long as they can bash the gooey human inside. Mechs aren't suits of armor, but they still have gooey pilots inside that can be killed by the shock of a brute force impact. Might consider a mace or hammer. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Aug 25 '16 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ or a pneumatic auto-drill to shake the pilot inside... that would literally turn the pilot in a deformed mass of broken bones and blood. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 25 '16 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli Imagine a car impact. Two SUVs. They can crash at higher speeds and the vehicles can still drive around, but the drivers are killed by the impact. If you want to say this isn't the case with your mechs that's up to you, but I'd say that it's certainly an option on the table worth considering. $\endgroup$ – Nex Terren Aug 25 '16 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ @GustavoMP, the egg wouldn't break if it had a gel layer, or hydraulic/pneumatic shock abosorption. It wouldn't be impervious, but it wouldn't be as vulnerable to shock as an egg just sitting in a shell. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 19:37

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You can view this as a future-analog of knights wearing armor, and it that context it really depends on the circumstances of the fight, but traditionally the best melee weapons against hard-armor have been maces and mauls.

Blades are designed to cut flesh and other soft material, and do not preform well against hard armor. They will simply blunt or become 'caught' (bind) in the armor as the surface contact area grows with more penetration. At longer sword ranges its also not going to be the easiest to thrust into a weak point on an enemy with all the dodging and movement both parties are going to be preforming. Against a mired opponent where you have mobility, a blade/dagger in a chink of armor can be effective, but in a stand up fight, you generally are not going to be able to get that close to someone without them able to take a swing with their full sized weapon.

I don't know if most other melee weapons are applicable; it's hard to imagine a phalanx of mechs walking around with halberds. Guns and Cruise missiles take the place of arrows and siege weapons respectively.

A mace, maul, or other blunt weapon functions by damaging the armor itself, denting and deforming it. This is effective because one is destroying whats under the armor without having to pierce the armor. This is particularly bad because hard armors will STAY dented and deformed, regardless of the mushy bits inside them that get deformed. In humans this is flesh, in mechs this could be any number of things.

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    $\begingroup$ What is to be noted here: one of the most common weapon against heavy armour was the war hammer, which often had a spike. This spoke could then be used to pierce, deform and break the armour. While seldomly directly deadly, it could impair movement and seriously maim an opponent. Penetrating the strong armour was possible due to the additional mass and its momentum providing the tip enough pressure. $\endgroup$ – Doomed Mind Aug 25 '16 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ The only thing that comes up when I google search "mace vs maul" to learn the differences are Star Wars references of Mace Windu and Darth Maul :| $\endgroup$ – Zack Aug 25 '16 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @zack I got the mental image of the two held in the fists of giant mechs and being swung at one another. To my understanding a mace is typically going to be a single handed weapon, and generally terminates at in a ball. A maul (as I understand it) is closer to the traditional war-hammer, and likely two handed. $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 25 '16 at 20:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Zack, this image shows the comparison of the 2 weapons: orig10.deviantart.net/f36a/f/2014/179/5/e/… $\endgroup$ – Pysis Aug 26 '16 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli The spikes on these kind of weapons are less about piercing and penetration then grip. During the impact the spikes work to grab whatever surface is being struck so the blow doesn't glance or deflect off, transferring the maximum amount of (kinetic) energy into the target. If you want to increase the effective destructive potential it would probably be better to put a rock engine on the back side of the hammer to give it more force as you swing. A detachable explosive payload runs into the same problems carrying extra missiles does. $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 26 '16 at 18:31
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An Explosive Polearm

Historically, Polearms were a quick (and safe) method of killing armored opponents. You're given good range for a melee weapon, and the pointed spike at the end provides good armor penetration.

Problem is, unlike a human a mech won't bleed out just because you put a hole in it. You need to damage its internals. This is where the explosives come in - Just behind the tip install reloadable shaped charges, napalm jets, plasma torches, whatever you want. Once the head of the polearm has penetrated the armor, you trigger the payload sending shrapnel, fire, or metal-melting heat into the sensitive internals of a mech.

It's actually a good terror-weapon if you scale it down to human size. Imagine being stabbed in the gut with a thermite-loaded knife - belching thousand degree flames out of every orifice while being quickly pyrolized from the inside out sounds like a bad deal.

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    $\begingroup$ I like this! A pole loaded with rockets, like a mechanical pencil housing lead tips. Stab a joint or get close to a joint and push a button, launching a rocket. The rocket could be loaded up with napalm igniting the inside of the MAV. The other end could be a pick axe or a morning star. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 18:31
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    $\begingroup$ Great if you have to kill one guy. Sounds problematic when you need to kill two. $\endgroup$ – Erik Aug 26 '16 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @inappropriateCode I'm not so sure it's bound to be deadlier, but it's certainly an option. Depends on the design of the mech... Err, MAV. If you EMP a MAVs leg, you might just be EMPing its hydraulics - that's not going to do all that much. On the other hand, if all its internal space is filled with super-high-tech gear, then said EMP is going to be amazingly potent. $\endgroup$ – UIDAlexD Aug 26 '16 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Erik Hence the reloadable aspect of the shaped charge. The tip is designed to penetrate MAV armor, so I think it should handle some directional explosions aimed away from it. Once you yank the spear/pike/halberd out, some mechanism clanks in new charges and you're good to go... That is unless you're talking about taking on multiple opponents in close combat at the same time, in which case I agree a polearm is a bad idea. $\endgroup$ – UIDAlexD Aug 26 '16 at 12:33
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    $\begingroup$ That reminds me of mad max fury road, when they have these explosive lances. the only problem is that for them, it's one-use only. $\endgroup$ – Asoub Aug 26 '16 at 13:02
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My first thought is mace, however it doesn't sound like it'd be too effective...in knight terms, a mace breaks bones regardless of armour and or shield. But your question goes around this...so next best weapons vs armour.

Picks (think mining tool). To penetrate armour, you want to take the force of a blow and concentrate it on a single point that is as small as possible. To that extent, a well balance 'war pick' will put a small hole in the outside of the armour and driving the pick head into the more delicate internals of the MAV. A downside here is picks tend to get stuck in an opponent...though it's also an upside as you now have your opponent on a stick.

Axes also work to a similar extent (and it's always a great line to "tear your opponent a new axehole")...however this takes the force of the strike and balance it out over more of a line. The end result here is a much larger tear, however less likely to dive deep into internals like a pick.

Fortunately these two weapons combine...a pick on one side and an axe on the other.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like this idea too and it's been on top of the list as I wrote the question. The piercing effect of the pick could be devestating if you could get a clean shot at a weaker area. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli - weak or strong point on the armor, the pick should have the best chance of penetrating armour out of any other weapon. It's downside is a relatively small impact area means it has a lower chance of hitting a vital area, but when it does...wow. If you are a rollplayer, this is the basis of the *4 critical on a pick...a relatively tiny pierce, but if that pierce caught anything important the target is in trouble. I've been trying to remember this word while posting...Mattock. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattock $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Aug 25 '16 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ A pick would allow for some devastating effects - since this is larger than human scale, there should be room for a hollow tube down the length to somewhere near the point without significantly compromising the structural integrity of the weapon. While the pick itself might not hit something vital, bypassing the armor to inject something highly energetic into the cavity will render everything within that compartment into slag. $\endgroup$ – pluckedkiwi Aug 25 '16 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ Or for example a pick on one side, a axe on the other and a spear point on top, you have yourself a halberd. Halberds are some of the most versatile pole-arms. $\endgroup$ – Necessity Aug 25 '16 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ Allow me to build on that. If you had multiple picks, you don't have to waste time and effort on retrieving them. Make them explosive, or corrosive. $\endgroup$ – Jammin4CO Aug 26 '16 at 16:50
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When I was reading this question I thought of the AT-AT walkers from StarWars. They were huge, heavily armored, and for their size and purpose, lightly weaponized. With this in mind, I think the best way to handle something with heavy armor and light weaponry is to find a way to immobilize it.

For that reason, for the melee weapon, I'm picturing a giant magnetic flail that can detach and extrude multiple long chains with magnetic attachments. If you can get the MAV's legs tied/magnetized together, you have time to methodically attack it however you wish, while it can only rely on it's light weaponry to defend itself.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the idea of magnetics as a binding. Very interesting, especially if it could be powered by the MAV it was attached to. It wouldn't need a huge internal power source to power the mag if it was syphoning power from it's "victim". $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli Thanks. I would imagine this could lead to some pretty epic situations as a handful of sitting duck MAVs desperately try to defend themselves. $\endgroup$ – Rat In A Hat Aug 25 '16 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ I thought you were going to go with giant mecanized banana peels. $\endgroup$ – Asoub Aug 26 '16 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Asoub Haha, That is great. If OP is intending on making a cartoon, then I will switch my answer to bananas. $\endgroup$ – Rat In A Hat Aug 26 '16 at 13:45
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The best weapon is a technique.

Simply, anything that knocks them over, or impairs the legs. In the cases of humanoid forms, getting back upright from a prone position is a process that involves lots of difficult, precise, balanced movements, compounded exponentially by the weight of limbs and bodies. Especially if there is a lack of something to brace against.

Unless your tech base is insanely advanced, and powerful, you can forget using a kip-up.

Automated up-right protocols or mechanisms will cause a lag where the pilot is either not mobile, not able to shoot or attack, or both. Delay is deadly in combat.

In the case of quadruped mecha, you'll have to impair one or two legs to be effective, depending on power to weight ratios. Damaging the joints, or immobilizing them might be the most effective course.

Wheeled and tracked mecha are still vulnerable to the wheels and tracks.

In all cases watch out for ranged weaponry.

Once the mecha is down, almost any weapon would do, but for the record, simplicity is best. Wield in, or attach, a blade wedge to the striking limb of the attacking mecha, might take out the joint as part of the trip attempt.

A maul would always work quite handily as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is a very good point. The MAVs are way too heavy to kip-up. They'd have to sit up or roller over and use their arms and legs to get back upright. Once it is down, just about any weapon to a weak spot would do. However, this isn't a weapon in and of itself - more like a net used alongside a trident. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ Then I'd suggest a blade-wedge. Once they are down, drive the wedge into the joints. Tempering and strengthening something large enough to be suitable is tricky though. Perhaps a simply maul would work. Doubtful that the joints could take a hit from a solid mass. Would you like me to amend the answer? $\endgroup$ – nijineko Aug 25 '16 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ What about a maul with a mechanically expanded head? $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, maul is probably best. You could even attach an exploding flechette package to the striking head. The mass of the maul would barely be affected, but the joint won't ever be the same. Shaped plastic explosive plus high density shards or darts of metal would do the trick. $\endgroup$ – nijineko Aug 25 '16 at 16:51
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The best weapon against a heavily armored opponent of any size would be a weapon that is able to bypass that armor. Historically, that weapon has been a knife.

Knives aren't for stabbing through someone's armor, but rather for stabbing around it. Anything that moves is going to have some sort of weak spot, usually in the joints. A knife is small and quick enough to exploit these weak spots and deliver pain where it's least desired.

Now, as for how you're going to get in close without being killed by your opponent, that's a different matter. You'll probably need a 'primary' weapon for countering their weapon, but your main objective with this weapon will be to either disarm or incapacitate your enemy and give yourself enough time to stab them with the knife. What that means is that your primary weapon doesn't actually have to be all that dangerous; you can use something that is just as quick and maneuverable as your knife, rather than a massive, slow weapon that could pierce armor but might get you killed before you can strike with it.

So I propose two weapons; one for blocking and incapacitating, and one for precision strikes. Move fast, overwhelm the enemy, and strike where they're most vulnerable.

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    $\begingroup$ The only times I've heard of knives used in history was as a defense to parry hits when dual wielding while the sword was used to attack...plus ancient knights used to wear a secondary chain mail under the plate armor to make sure the joints weren't too exposed. $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 25 '16 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ These are armored vehicles and as such don't necessarily need a secondary weapon or shield device to parry against something like a knife. They aren't really worried about the paint, if you know what I mean. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ @渡し守シャロン I've often heard that one of the techniques for taking out armored knights was to knock them over and stab them in the eyes. There's also things like half-swording which turn your sword into a sort of dagger. $\endgroup$ – DaaaahWhoosh Aug 25 '16 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ It's hard to get a lot of force behind a knife though...not like a weapon that can be swung. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Aug 25 '16 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @渡し守シャロン Aside from poleaxes, daggers are the way to kill an opponent in a full plate harness. True, maille protects the sensitive spots from slashes, but is relatively weaker against thrusts (particularly if the wearer is immobilised), especially from purpose-designed slim and pointy daggers (you basically use a lot of leverage to pry the link open). Plus, lots of places just can't have maille (insides of elbows and knees, visor slots, etc.). $\endgroup$ – Mike L. Aug 25 '16 at 16:57
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Is a bucket full of napalm a melee weapon?

Don't attack the armored vehicle.
Attack its cooling system. That is usually any machine's weakest link.

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  • $\begingroup$ A bucket full, maybe not, but in similar fashion to a plasma torch it may work well - especially on the cooling system. That alone could casue a core breach in the reactor or at the least slow the weapons systems down, $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ battletech, much? $\endgroup$ – nijineko Aug 26 '16 at 20:30
  • $\begingroup$ @nijineko, absolutely right. I've never claimed that my ideas are original. I am an equal opportunity idea thief! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Aug 27 '16 at 4:28
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The Kasurigama

enter image description here

The Kasurigama was a ninja weaponn consisting of a kama (the Japanese equivalent of a sickle) on a kusari-fundo – a type of metal chain (kusari) with a heavy iron weight (fundo) at the end. The kusarigama is said to have developed during the Muromachi period.

Attacking with the weapon usually entailed swinging the weighted chain in a large circle over one's head, and then whipping it forward to entangle an opponent's spear, sword, or other weapon, or immobilizing his arms or legs. This allows the kusarigama user to easily rush forward and strike with the sickle

The last point is where it shines against all other weapons, if you wrap the chain around an enemies legs and pull, you will be able to easily kill any armored opponent, in fact this one of the ways ninjas killed samurai.

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    $\begingroup$ Wonderful idea and perfectly specialized...but this is an agility weapon attached to a big bulky chunk of armor MAV (could it even wield the chain right?). It also fits into the category of when a person becomes a trained martial arts master (10+ years of training), they can start training with this weapon...anyone else would hurt themselves long before hurting an enemy. (incidentally, greetings my fellow albertan) $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Aug 25 '16 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ This is an awesome weapon for a human, but it seems to me like it's downsides would be exaggerated for a mech user. A complex flexible weapon like the kusarigama or a kusarifundo is dificult to use without training as it requires flexibility and fast reaction speeds to be used well. These are two areas where bipedal mechs are very weak. They are not flexible, and cannot match the reaction speeds of an unarmored martial artist/ninja. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan Aug 25 '16 at 20:11
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It really depends on the situation. In urban or similar close-quarter fights, I'd recommend a warpick, similar to the one in the image below: the hammer end can be useful, as Marky said, to deform the plating; the main advantage of the weapon though, is its other end. With it your mech can target specific areas, like the pilot seat, or the engine, and penetrate with relative ease, since the area of impact is very small.a warpick

In more open scenarios I'd go for the polearm version, either a halberd (the blade could prove itself useful against less armored opponents, say, simple infantry) or a bec de corbin, which was designed specifically to deal with heavily armed opponents. The added advantage of these weapons is of course their range. The longer shaft also allows the wielder to deliver more powerful blows.

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Glue. There are experiments with subtlethal weapons that tried goo guns but found they were too lethal, posing a serious risk of suffocation. (Oh, and this.)

Use quick setting 2-part mix that includes a “blowing agent” so it turns into highly expanded foam, formulated to be very sticky and cure to a soft rubber.

expand

If the goo can work into the joints as it expands, so much the better! So have it cure faster where it is open air so it tries to expand inward.

goo

A round of expanding foam to the feet and lower legs will immobilize the armored opponent. Any attempt to free himself will just get his arms and armaments stuck together too.

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What you ask reminds me heavily of Pulse-sword from the Dune sequel universe, used by the Ginaz Swordmasters. These are energetic swords that disrupt electronic devices when they touch it. Humans use it to fight machines in close-combat. This would be obviously a good option, since the heavy armor you describe seems to be way too solid to be destroyed by brute force. The weapon itself is a sword with a scrambler on it, that delivers an impulse of energy when it hits something, disrupting all circuits in that zone.

I also think about the energetic gauntlet of the Warhammer 40K universe. The big mek could have one big gauntlet in one hand, and after grabbing his opponent, could release a tremendous wave of energy to literally burn the mek pilot inside his armor and disrupts all devices.

Anyway, I wouldn't use brute force to deal with these guys. I'd rather find a way to kill the pilot inside the mek without having to destroy the heavy armor. You could use "tesla-like" weapons to disable vitals system or electrocute the pilot, use a magnetic wave resonator to heat up the metal and burn the pilot inside, use short-range frontal EMP transmitter to confuse and/or disable the captors of the big mek...

Flamethrowers would be a good idea if they can heat up the mek quickly enough to neutralize the pilot before getting in contact.

The foam that was used in some riots that solidifies instantly could be pretty good too : you spray the big mek with that foam and it can't move anymore.

High energy weapon like super-concentrated laser or plasma gun would be good too, but I don't know the level of technology in your book. It could easily heat up the mek or even penetrate the armor.

To me the less epic thing but the most efficient/less expensive is the foam that solidifies : you spray it in the joints or on the head where all the captors are or on the pilot window if the mek is old school and it's over. If the pilot can't see/move, it's over for him. But I find the gauntlet/sword thing much more epic but less realistic. In conclusion, don't try to deal with the armor the brutal way. Try to incapacitate/immobilize the mek, or incapacitate/kill the pilot inside.

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Morning star, but not the ones that are described in the fantasy genre. Morning stars are huge spiked maces. The advantage is being heavy it can pack a punch but with that punch, instead of deforming, which can be countered by modern reactive armor, it has spikes that pierces and continues to the vital parts. For your case, the spikes should be long and the weapon should be quite heavy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Oooh...I like this idea, except on a large, retractable chain. The chain would increase the force it hits. For that matter the spikes could be retractable as well for storage. Interesting. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Chain helps but is a little problematic. You need to build up speed to utilize them. Whereas you can use simple morning star to push your opponent if you don't have time or space to speed it up. I guess a depleted uranium core for morning star would be heavy enough not to need extra punch. That said, a weapon on a chain looks cooler. $\endgroup$ – Cem Kalyoncu Aug 25 '16 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ Check out (youtube.com/watch?v=O-y6oirEsZA). He talks about some of the pros and cons of real morning stars. Control-ability is going to be a problem with these type weapons, and long chains are right out. $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 25 '16 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Marky I'll check out the vid later - hard to do at work. If the chain could be retracted and extended at will, I wonder if that changes things a bit. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveMangiameli I think if you could use it it like in either "mode", like a flair or as a mace as you desired for the situation it would for sure be more effective, but it feels a bit far fetched on the tech side, as well as the added complexity/moving parts to break. If its Gundam: "go for it", if its Battletech: "ehhhh..." $\endgroup$ – Marky Aug 25 '16 at 16:46
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Depends on the Armour. I'd actually go for entanglement over stabbing, slashing or stomping here. A immobile opponent is a vulnerable opponent. These would compliment not replace traditional weapons.

The first weapon that comes to mind is a bola. Launchable via a standard projectile or missile weapon launcher, the goal of such a weapon would be to bind limbs to the main body of the mecha or otherwise snarl up the workings. Rather than relying on pure mechanical wrapping, these might have some strong adhesive that sticks to armour, and many strong, thin lines for maximum chaos.

Likewise, a sticky net launcher might work.

While in the vein, a giant glue gun would be amusing a immobilized or otherwise impeded opponent would still be potentially combat effective. A conventional physical weapon relies on the momentum of the wielder to do damage so I wouldn't consider them to be useful.

enter link description here

A weaponised jackhammer on the other hand would be able to strike consistantly and with a good amount of force over a narrow, aimed area. With sufficent skill, you could use the hardened steel tip to crush or even dismantle parts of an enemy mech, arms, legs and so on.

Another weapon that wouldn't rely on the momentum of the carrier would be a bangalore mine, or in this case, a bangalore lance. Tip with a shaped charge (for piecing or cutting), thermal lance or even a dummy tip for setting off reactive armour.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah it would be even more effective if it could do many strikes per sec like a brake pad. $\endgroup$ – Efialtes Mar 5 '18 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ that's kind of the point of a jack hammer. ;p $\endgroup$ – Journeyman Geek Mar 5 '18 at 0:42
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Going with the napalm weapon idea, a molotov cocktail might work. Essentially a whiskey bottle with kerosene, oil, a rag and a stopper. The kerosene will burn quickly and light the oil. Once the oil starts burning water won't put it out. Hence, you would take out the cooling system. Just hit the vehicle where the cooling system is. It worked when Russia was invading Czechoslovakia.

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  • $\begingroup$ There is a similar answer below. Assuming the enemy MAV doesn't have anything to counter a cooling system attack, this could work. There are many foams that will put out a chemical fire. I don't know that I'd classify this as a melee weapon though. I like the idea though. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 18:18
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I think the best weapon may be the simplest, an array of long, thick, steel rods.

If you're charging, it can be couched like a lance and bring a large portion of the momentum of your mech to bear on a small point of your enemy's armour, this can deform the armour, pinching hydraulics, damaging cooling systems, mechanical encumbrance, maybe even causing electrical shorts.

In closer combat, one could be wielded defensively as a staff. The goal being to disengage until it can be used as a powerful thrusting weapon, or perhaps as an oversized club for lightly-armoured extremities.

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Mattock.

One side has a point like a pickaxe, but very heavy duty - good for jamming into a joint to immobilize it or a seam to pop it. Other side has a blade like a hoe, only sturdier. A seam, once popped with the pick, can be opened with this side and the protected contents destroyed.

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Don't go for mechanized ones. There is a reason you never see a chainsaw on battlefield. More than one. Easy to damage wielder, easy to break or jam. That's not what you're looking for.

Now there are two options.

  1. Pilot is protected with good shock absorbers. - if so, you will either use a sword and go for joints and places where armor plates connect, or for something long, strong and pointy, to have at least some chance to penetrate armor.

  2. No shock absorption or not good enough - go for blunt and heavy. Undamaged mech with unconscious or dead pilot is good prize. You can use it, salvage, whatever. Sure you don't need it destroyed, you only need it not fighting and removing pilot is probably enough.

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  • $\begingroup$ what if the armor is sportive, you know covered in thousands of smaller plates? $\endgroup$ – Charon Aug 25 '16 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ Then sword will push these small plates inside, damaging whatever is under them. That's why full plate suppressed chain and scale mail. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Aug 25 '16 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ A sword really? Against metal armor capable of absorbing projectile weapons? I wouldn't think a sword would be very effective. $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Steve chest plate can absorb anything... Won't help with joint cut, where there isn't any plate. It is that simple. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Aug 25 '16 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't thinking chainsaw, per se, but was thinking something like a diamond saw used for concrete and steel cutting. The only problem with something like this is the spin of the blade would make it very difficult to control $\endgroup$ – Steve Mangiameli Aug 25 '16 at 16:31
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A net. Shoot a net at them. Foul their arms and legs. They can't aim, they can't run. They fall over. Then, per another answer, plasma torch the pilot. After the battle, salvage the machine. It won't be damaged very much.

Damage tanks' tracks was a standard first step when infantry needed to destroy one.

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It's been mentioned in a few comments and briefly touched on in some of the other answers. Plasma. What came to mind for me when I read the question was a weaponised plasma torch of some kind. After examiining the other answers, I would think that an armored gauntlet with a number of plasma torches (similar to the kind used to cut and shape hard metals for manufacturing, incidentally.) could be a finisher weapon for close ranges. You could grip and pull at armor plating, maybe even completly dismember an enemy mech with the plasma effect added onto it.

My ideal melee build for this kind of mech would wield a plasma gauntlet in one hand, and a large basic mace or axe in the other hand. Close the distance with a sprint and stun or knock over the enemy mech with a strike from the axe or mace, then follow up by latching onto a critical area with the plasma claw, before ripping and rending their mech to pieces with bursts of cutting plasma from the gauntlet assisted by continued strikes from the offhand axe or mace.

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Perhaps something overlooked in this situation is making the most of the technology, which is why I propose:

The Chain Whip

The Chain Whip is the ideal weapon in terms of delivering an incredibly high amount of force in a small area. The stature and (more importantly) computer-targeting functionality of the Mechanized Assault Vehicle would be able to use this weapon very effectively.

The size of it's limbs could be leveraged to hurl the spike at an extreme velocity, and the target would be struck with pin-point accuracy directly in it's weak spot - whether that'd be it's CPU, fuel source, pilot seat, leg joints, weapon targeting system, etc.

And of course, the utility of a chain whip is something to marvel at as well; Tie a truck to the end? now you have a flail! Get it stuck in the enemy MAV? drag 'em around. Missile coming at ya? You know what to do.

And really, what's cooler? A pile of metal, or a stylish whip that breaks the sound barrier and rips apart your foes?

Chain Whip - it's beautiful

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I like all of these. Can we have it all? I am imagining a hammer type weapon with a face like one of these. The surface scanning tech would analyze what was about to be hit and optimize for damage. Spiked if flat, waffle headed if glancing, wedged if there is a chink. The operator need only swing it.

I also felt the need to expound on what @nijineko said. Your ranged weapons should not be offensive for this mech. They should be of a trapping or disabling nature. Chains, freezing, EMP, tesla, harpoon, bolo, sticky, etc. Then speed in for your melee kill.

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Most mechs have to constantly manage heat, especially with regard to using weapons. Use this to your advantage, install enough heat sinks around your pilot to keep him alive.

Have a forward facing heat exhaust that you can crank the output on, by overloading your reactor, for example:

Run up and jump on them, flip your reactor into overdrive and cook them alive while you're entangled... once they go limp (you've cooked the pilot), you've now got two mechs.

Mechanized thermal headcrabs.

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Similar to what Sconibulus said above, I would go with thick heavy rods.

One thing you can do with something heavy and pointed is penetrate armour. Penetrate it enough, and you 'pin' it to the ground. Without some kind of articulated arms, it's not going anywhere. Essentially mission-killed.

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This may not help overly much for MAV on MAV fights, but I've written scenes with highly mobile humans taking on much larger armoured vehicles (basically quadrupedal MAV's) by attaching a shaped charge to knee joints to immobilize them, then once the target is stuck in one place attaching a rocket propelled 'kill-drill' pointed at vitals. The drill is pushed inwards by the rocket, (also making a handy plasma torch to impair removal) while rotating drillheads grind it ever further inwards. You could adapt this to your own MAV's by having them slap the highly adhesive drill directly onto an enemy as it moves through a group, leaving chaos and dismay in its wake.

After it's thoroughly wounded its enemies it could wade back in with a warhammer to finish off immobile and damaged enemies. This would require a very fast moving melee mech however, which may not work with your in-universe limitations.

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modified electric eels that can craw into gaps in the armor seek out electronics and zap it. If it could lay eggs and grow inside so much the better. Which brings up the nanobots that eat and reproduce to then go to another and destroy it as well.

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