Saturday, April 25, 2009

Deadliest Warrior on Spike

Samurai vs. Viking...Apache vs. Gladiator...Ninja vs. Spartan...Pirate vs. Knight...who hasn't fantasized about the greatest warriors in history going toe to toe in battle? Well, Spike TV has the show that answers these vital questions and I can't get enough of it. True, the comparisons are often ridiculous. After all, why would a stealthy assassin like the ninja ever face off in battle against a Spartan? It would make much more sense to strike the Spartan in his sleep. Still, the show is a treasure trove of information on weapons and fighting styles throughout history and some of the information is surprising. For example, in the Ninja vs. Spartan battle, I assumed the steel weapons of the Ninja would penetrate the bronze armour of the Spartan fairly easily. It was not the case, however. The blade of the kusarigama barely dented the bronze breastplate. As a DM, this is good information to know.

The show is a bit tongue-in-cheek, with combat experts specializing in each type of warrior culture talking smack at each other like it was sort of sporting event. It will be interesting to see how they handle some of the later episodes which deal with modern day combatants. Episode 9 is going to be IRA vs. Taliban. Considering the current conflict in Afghanistan, this one seems particularly touchy. Given that both groups tend to use bombs and attack civilians, I'm not sure that either group belongs among the ranks of history's deadliest warriors.



Obiri said...

I'm going to have to say steppe archer. Think Mongol or Hun. Until the 15th century, hordes of nomadic horse archers were near unstoppable. The Huns would finish off the Romans, and the Mongols and their descendents beat everybody except the Mamluks (who are pretty bad ass on their own) and a typhoon.

Rognar said...

I'd have to disagree. If we are talking about pre-gunpowder, it would have to be the medieval knight. I have seen several demonstrations on various shows and there simply was no bow or crossbow that could consistently penetrate plate armour. Even the great success of the English at Agincourt is believed to be the result of French knights drowning in the muddy ground after being weighed down by their armour and other knights.

Obiri said...

yes but you are forgetting mobility. The nights charged and the Mongols fall back until the knights and their mounts are tired, the mongols then encircle and its all over. The mongols bested the Poles, Austrians and various knightly orders like the Teutonic and won almost every battle. The only example that I found where they lost was against a vastly numerically superior European force in terrain that was very ill suited for cavalry.

Rognar said...

I agree with you, but the concept of the show is mano-a-mano. Large-scale tactics don't really come into play. I'm not even sure what a single Mongol warrior would do to an armoured knight. They were typically armed with composite bows and swords. You really need heavy bludgeoning weapons to have any effect.