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Discussing: combat/fighting (not weapons) question

combat/fighting (not weapons) question

I have a story where there is a battle on board a ship, between pirates and the ship's defenders.  The story has been written and is posted elsewhere; and I'm mostly  happy with it, and hope I've done alright with the battle, but one bit sticks in my head as needing investigation. 

Can a strong and tall man, with archer's training and past battle experience and frequent practice with his bow, kill another (smaller man) by pulling him up from the deck (with both hands) by the neck and then breaking the neck?  The tall man has the advantage of surprise, he's snuck up behind the smaller pirate (who was busy trying to kill my narrator).  I just need to know if it's in the realm of possibility.  No, the tall man is not Aragorn (and we all know that Aragorn is ten-foot-tall and can do practically anything), but does have Numenorean blood, which I think does confer a bit more strength and speed and stamina.   I had the fellow kill this way because I wanted to show, not just tell, that he has strong hands. 

Opinions?  Advice?   Pitying laughter?




Re: combat/fighting (not weapons) question

Opinions?  Advice?   Pitying laughter?

Would warm wishes but otherwise complete cluelessness help?

Seriously, I believe that someone with specialized training in guerrilla tactics (like the modern-day US Army Rangers, for example), or someone who is very strong in the arms (like an archer) and fast and quiet,  can sneak up behind someone who is otherwise distracted and snap that person's neck. I don't know about the physics of lifting them first, but I think there is a specific hold around the shoulders or neck with one hand, and a quick jerk/twist of the neck in the opposite direction with the other hand, that is fatal.

Maybe the archer could have had some experience with wringing the necks of chickens in his early days on a farm?

Of course, anyone who actually has real-like knowledge of either guerrilla tactics or slaughtering chickens is probably snickering mightily at my naïveté....

- Barbara, who empathizes because of having finished a major battle chapter recently... unfortunately it doesn't apply to your scenario, since it deals with cavalrymen and warg-riders and infantrymen and guardsmen and swordsmen and spearmen and bowmen and axemen and orcs and easterlings and gondorians and twin peredhil and carrion fowl and high-flying aquiline witnesses but nary a single guerrilla fighter.... sorry!

P.S. But if your archer ever needs to know where to aim his arrow to kill a warg, er, boar, then I do have real-world research to help with that.....



Re: combat/fighting (not weapons) question

It's hard to break someone's neck without a weapon unless they are either MUCH smaller than you, or stunned (not merely "caught by surprise").  Otherwise, the simplest way to do it is to get them in a headlock (secure their head in the crook of your arm) and twist the neck.  That is why such headlocks are illegal in wrestling (the real sport, not the fake stuff).  However, the other person has to be pinned in some way (e. g. against the ground), otherwise their body will just follow the neck around.   The storybook way of grabbing someones head and twisting would not work for combatants of anywhere-near-equal size and strength.  (For example, a Man could do this to a Hobbit or a petite woman, but not to another Man, unless he knocked him out or pinned him first).  There are also supposed to be certain martial arts "throws" that break necks but I assume that's not what you're looking for.

So, what you propose does not sound realistic to me.  You mentioned the archery - is that just to emphasize he has strong hands/arms?  Anyway, if I were in that situation (without a weapon) and got behind my opponent, I would hit him in the back of the head, at the base of the skull.  This knocks people out and can even kill them (which is why it's illegal in boxing).  If it didn't kill him (or to make sure he was dead), I would THEN snap his neck.  And frankly, a much better way to do that in the middle of a close-quarters battle would be to just stomp on his neck.  Not elegant, but effective, and a Ranger wouldn't hesitate to do it.



Re: combat/fighting (not weapons) question

Otherwise, the simplest way to do it is to get them in a headlock (secure their head in the crook of your arm) and twist the neck.

Headlock! Yes, that's what I was trying to remember. Thank you, Maeglin, I didn't have the knowledge or vocabulary to be so specific.

- Barbara



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