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"Last war with melee weapons?" Topic

17 Posts

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927 hits since 12 Oct 2017
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Timbo W12 Oct 2017 1:39 p.m. PST

Which was the last war where one side predominantly used melee weapons in battle? I'm thinking Zulu War, anything later than that?

Carlo Fantom12 Oct 2017 1:59 p.m. PST

Boxer Rebellion and the War in the Sudan both come after the Zulu Wars. Depends if you consider them as true wars however. There are probably conflicts later still that I cant think of yet.

There's probably some incredibly obscure 'war' that none of us have ever heard of, like the 1950's Paraguayan government fighting a hyper-low intensity guerilla war with a bunch of infuriated machete wielding farmers, that sort of thing. Just make it up!

Timbo W12 Oct 2017 2:12 p.m. PST

Good point, the Boxer Rebellion finished in 1901, can anyone add a later war?

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 2:14 p.m. PST

Not wars per se, but what aboutthe rebellions in Africa in the 1940s and 50s. The Simba and Mau Mau used machetes along with modenr weapons.

Carlo Fantom12 Oct 2017 2:17 p.m. PST

I was thinking about the Mau Mau but didn't feel I knew enough to guess at the level of firearms they possessed.

RudyNelson12 Oct 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

The Moro Rebellion in the Philippines in the early part of the 1900s had insurgents armed mainly with swords.

I would suspect that the insurgents in Haiti were also armed mainly with swords against the American Marines.

Other examples of insurgents in the WW1 era would use a lot of swords with some firearms mixed in. I am thinking about the fights against the Ottomans by the Arabs, Armenians and Kurds.

Carlo Fantom12 Oct 2017 3:27 p.m. PST

I also thought about the Moro, but weren't they mainly bow and arrow users? If that's allowed then melee predominant fighting is going on right now between the last few tribes in the Amazon.

Nick Bowler12 Oct 2017 3:42 p.m. PST

While not a war, the Rwanda genocide was largely carried out by Machete and other hand weapons

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2017 3:54 p.m. PST

Lots of insurgents used melee weapons but I would agree that the last big conflict would be the Boxer Rebellion

Personal logo herkybird Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 1:18 a.m. PST

In an odd way, you could add WW1 ! – When attacking trenches as the war went on, people tended not to use rifles, preferring sharpened spades, home made clubs and maces – and grenades, of course!

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2017 2:44 a.m. PST

During the Mau Mau I was certainly attacked by a machete wielder but I don't think he was actually part of the rebels. The contact we had with actual rebels they had fire arms some improvised home made.


Timbo W13 Oct 2017 4:04 p.m. PST

Glad to hear you got out of that one in one piece x42!!!

So approx 1900 for the big divide of warfare between shoulder to shoulder and skirmish line. I guess it's determined by the point at which a skirmish line with rifles and or machine guns can reliably defeat a formed body of troops.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Oct 2017 10:05 p.m. PST

I read about armed mobs in the terrible clashes during the India-Pakistan split in 1947-48 attacking each other with spears and axes and swords, but this probably doesn't constitute a wholesale "war."

Other than that -- Chicago, Democratic Convention, 1968??

RudyNelson16 Oct 2017 7:27 a.m. PST

Carlo, the Moro were very effective with their mass blade charges. The US Army developed the .45 caliber pistol to use to stop the chargers since the .38 caliber service pistol was not stopping the charge.

Royal Marine Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2017 1:58 p.m. PST

There are always melee weapons, sometimes you run out of ammo. The last war to use them was …"the last war"!!

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

I think the OP means one side that predominantly used melee weapons. I would think it would one of the British or French colonial wars of the late 19th Cent. I would say the ZULU war. It seems other native peoples converted to firearms rather quickly.

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member17 Oct 2017 2:53 p.m. PST

Slightly OT, I think the last big battle in which BOTH sides were mostly melee fighters was Gallabat/Metemma,1889,between Madhists and Abyssinians:


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