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Assuming that I have nanobots to build them from the atomic level (and I don't want to implement them with any technology), what would the perfect versions of the:

  • Sword:
    • For thrusting (rapier)
    • For slashing (saber)
    • For hitting (greatsword)
  • Polearm:
    • For poking
    • For slashing (naginata)
    • For dismembering knights in shiny armor (halberd or pike)
  • Axe:
    • For hitting
    • For hitting (from a horse) (Shepherd's axe)
  • Mace and similar:
    • Mace
    • Hammer

... look like (design) and what materials should I use if I can combine them at the molecular level?

(The weapon names in the brackets are examples of what weapon-types I'm talking about.)

Each weapon should specialize (be perfect) in a certain style of combat and function (this means three different swords, one for cutting, another one for slashing, and one that is mediocre in those).

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closed as primarily opinion-based by L.Dutch, MichaelK, Azuaron, James, Frostfyre Mar 16 '17 at 13:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ "Perfect" sounds quite opinion-based. What is a perfect sword for you? Furthermore those are quite a lot of different weapons. It might be a good idea to split this post into multiple questions. This Meta discussion seems to be relevant. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Mar 16 '17 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus I've made the perfect objective by highlighting a method of attack that the weapon should be ideal for. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 16 '17 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ The short answer is "you can't", a perfect weapon is valid for a good 10mins before someone develops the perfect armour to counter it. Then you need a new perfect weapon. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Mar 16 '17 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix In a battle, making an armor that perfectly counters a single attack type, but might be mediocre against other types. Well done, son. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Mar 16 '17 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ no love for the single most common ancient military weapon, spears. $\endgroup$ – John Mar 16 '17 at 14:13
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To start, rapiers are terrible against armor. Rapiers, like stilletos and smallswords are for unarmored combat between civilians.

What's best completely depends on enemy armor, battlefield tactics and material accesss. Modern anti-stab vests are great against most blades weapons and much lighter. Pikes are great in formation but useless in a duel.

There some general rules but there is no perfect waepon as perfection doesn't exist in a vacuum. To defeat armor you either need to go through it, which requires a harder material then the armor. Or you circumvent it, e.g. use blunt weapons to go through the armor in a different way.

You didn't dismember heavily armored infantry. You either knocked them out with blunt trauma or you went between the armor with a spike. Anything else was futile.

There simply is no objective answer to this.

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  • $\begingroup$ Rapiers actually came into fashion and more importantly usefulness, after armor was rendered obsolete by firearms...not for civilians to shank each other. 3 musketeers anyone? $\endgroup$ – James Mar 16 '17 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ Rapier comes from the spanish Espada Ropera, a 'dress sword'. A non battlefield sword for civilian use. Sure it was later adapted into the military as armor fell out of favor but it started as a civilian weapon $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Mar 16 '17 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Well dang. Thank you. I learned something new today. $\endgroup$ – James Mar 16 '17 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Mormacil : not exactly. The rapier is not a light sword. It is just as heavy as a typical hand and a half sword. It sacrifices width to gain even more length, while retaining the same weight. It is a battlefield weapon by design, and is much longer than similar, but shorter and lighter swords carried by civilians. $\endgroup$ – vsz Jun 17 '18 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @vsz : I nowhere claim a rapier to be light. I say it's futile against armor, I say it lacks the hardness to penetrate plate and I say it's based on a dress sword for unarmored fighting. None of that indicates it's a light weapon. Rapiers aren't battlefield weapons. Some literature does mention 'war-rapiers' , specifically because rapiers are generally not weapons of war. Rapiers are an evolution of smallswords, starting with the Espada Ropera. $\endgroup$ – Mormacil Jun 20 '18 at 9:57
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So you want to build the perfect weapon, easy enough.

It isn't

As you've stated yourself on your question there are very different ideal designs for different purposes. A weapon that has to cut, thrust and hit, will be at best, mediocre in all three. Throughout history, weapons have evolved in very different designs exactly because they needed to excel in a fighting style rather than another.

A major thing you have to keep in mind when designing a weapon is what it has to counter and how it can be used in battle; let's take an exapmle from sci-fi that could fit your needs to some degrees: the lightsaber.

Now, with a lightsaber you can cut and thrust and to some degree ignore armor, but the fighting style used to wield it requires freedom of movement, and space, so your warriors would be lightly armoured and spread out in a battlefield, as wielding something that can cut through a human as if they were made of butter might result in friendlies getting injured or killed if used in a close rank formation.

Back to reality now with one of my favourite multi-tools of the renaissance: the swiss lucerne hammer. With that weapon you can strike with the hammer head, pierce with the spear end, and cut if it has a blade mounted opposite to the hammer head, otherwise you'd have a bill, useful for piercing armor and hooking the opponent. Such a weapon is to be used in a rank and file formation, and typically the wielder would wear heavy armour on the chest and head, but the rest of the body mostly unprotected.

The thing is that you shold design the perfect weapong against a type of enemy, considering their armour, their own weapons and the tactics used. If for example you're facing soldiers clad in heavy armour, a weapong that can cut really well would be quite pointless. A mace our a war pick would however work wonders.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thrusting with a lightsaber is low value, the heat makes in instantly cauterise so if you don't hit something critical it does very little. It's fundamentally a slashing weapon. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Mar 16 '17 at 13:56

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