Deadliest Warrior: Pirate Vs. Knight (A Realistic Analyzation)

April 29, 2009

I'll open here with a small general rant, then I'll get on to what the calculated "kills" ought to have looked like, accompanied with an explanation. I invite comments of any sort, if you'd like to bring forth a new point, I would be more than happy to address it.

All of the pirates weapons, with the exception of the blunderbuss, are useless. The Grenado is not a duel appropriate weapon and it would be a hell of a feat to light, time your throw, and distance your unarmored body from the blast while the enemy is closing. Seeing as friction matches were not invented until the 1800's, the pirate would have to use a tender kit to ignite the fuse. I'm not seeing it. The saber is useless. The boarding axe is useless. The flintlock is useless. The blunderbuss is the pirate's only bet, and even it is not all that reliable...The tests also did not take into account the other layers of armor a knight wore, and they never tested distancing or how well the blunderbuss would preform after being carried in a ready to fire state. It's not possible to simply lug it around like a modern sawed off shot gun. It would need to be readied just before the fight, and kept in a primed up right position...something that is highly unlikely. All of the knights weapons resulted in an absolute death blow. The knight could take a blow and return a fatal one in kind with taking minimal damage. The "computer expert" was also horribly biased from the get go and awarded "the edge" to the pirate on numerous occasions just because he was impressed with the weapon, instead of analyzing its effectiveness against the knight. The pirate experts were also absolutely ignorant of the medieval era sword. It was not made for bludgeoning or bashing, it was a cutting weapon, as was proven with the pig test, and bludgeouning is a secondary purpose. I think the "experts" with the exception of the doctor, just had a hard on for big bangs and explosions...they really did not act or analyze professionally. We might as well have shown the weapons demos to a class of 4th graders. I really wish the Spartan expert was a regular on the show, as he really seemed to analyze fairly (despite being the Spartan advocate) and have a very good understanding of how combat plays out.

My overall point is, even if we're playing in the realm of the enigmatic all knowing "Computer Program", the pirate should not have been awarded any kills for anything but the blunderbuss. All of his other weapons were virtually useless, and somebody must have entered some false or incorrect data.

The way the end results ought to have looked were...(I'm going to take the Knight's horse out of the equation and pit the pirate against a knight on foot. The addition of the horse would make the battle in a slaughter, as anyone who knows of the superiority of a mounted man in early warfare can attest to.)



GRENADO: 0 (This is not an applicable weapon for a one on one fight, and is an endangerment to the unarmoured user. It was designed for clearing the deck of unarmored opponents BEFORE the user boards the ship. According to tests conducted on the show, even if the grenado was somehow used, it did not penetrate the plate armor.)

FLINTLOCK: 10 (I'll give it 10, even though this is probably a gross overestimation of it's practicality as well)

BLUNDERBUSS: 352 (I do not agree with this figure, but I'll be willing to let it slide, as the knight could defeat the weapon even with it's method of use. The blunderbuss fires what is known as a grape shot. Grape shot is a type of scatter shot that is the progenitor of our modern shotgun ammunition. It will pierce plate armor to an extent at close range, however, the tests undergone in the program did not take into account all of the knights armor. This test needs to be redone to see the actual effectiveness of the blunderbuss, and at what ranges it can pierce armor. Scattershot is known for losing it's effectiveness quickly at a distance, and this effect COULD be multiplied by armor. Early firearms were also not tote ready. You could not load this type of firearm up and carry it around on the ready without risk of compromising it's "ready to fire" form. Flintlocks were also known for misfiring commonly, and this really should be taken into account when considering its use. )

CUTLASS: 0 (This is a type of sword that focuses heavily on the cut. Though a fine weapon in it's own right, it does not penetrate armor very well, and would prove virtually useless against plate armor. You absolutely will not get within the killing range of a fully armored knight and kill him with this sort of weapon. Attempting to do so would allow the knight to take the blow harmlessly on his armor and return a blow immediately. The "Pirate" dies, the knight comes out unscathed. )

BOARDING AXE: 0 (If the pirate actually chose to fight with this weapon he would undoubtedly be felled before coming into striking range. Even if this was done, the "Test" proved that the boarding axe was easily defeated by armor, and the fact that the pike stuck in minimally would only serve to make the weapon harder to withdraw.)



MORNING STAR: 0 (There is no credible source that proves the existence of a morning star type flail. Similar chainless maces did however exist, although they would have seen little application in this fight as they were used for felling an armored opponent. This weapon should have been replaced with a rondel type dagger for finishing an opponent after grappling.)

CROSSBOW: 0 (Knights did not regularly use crossbows. However, if they did, this fight would have been ridiculously one sided, as it is a more accurate weapon with a much longer lethal range. I would say the kill figure on this would probably have won 500 of the fights before they began IF knights did employ their use personally. The crossbow would have been used in Knightly armies by the genoese crossbowmen historically.)

POLE AXE: 415 (This would be the knights primary weapon, and you can see its effect on a human body by reviewing the program. Upon entering close combat with the pirate this would have been the weapon that ended the fight very quickly. It was probably the most versatile weapon reviewed on the program and it's effectiveness against an unarmored man who is unfamiliar with its use is unfathomable. It has superior range against all of the pirates melee weapons and is being wielded by a combatant who is an absolute expert in its employment.)

LONGSWORD: 223 (The show used the misnomer "broadsword", a term created by the Victorians to encompass all medieval swords. A knight in full plate armor would probably have chosen a longsword as his sidearm of choice. This is also a versatile weapon which proves absolutely deadly to an unarmored opponent. Despite what the pirate expert said about medieval swords being "bashing and blugeoning weapons" this is not at all true and medieval swords were honed to an optimal edge for felling an oppponent without damaging the edge. The show chose what appeared to be more of an arming sword, though I may be mistaking it for a small hand and a half. If for some reason the knight did choose to use a single handed sword, he would have also employed the use of a shield, though this is not all the necessary due to his plate armor. The shield would have been made of thick layered wood and would have provided for a lot of extra protection against the blunderbuss and flintlocks. In the program the use of the shield was neglected completely.

I really hope viewers will take time to actually read into what I'm saying here. The whole thing is horribly misrepresented and gone about in the wrong way. There's no free-sparring, no overview of tactics, and the show clings to stereotypes such as "The Holy Warrior" and "Sinner". Knights usually fought for money and personal gain. I'm not saying they were all wicked men by any means, but they were definitely not a widespread group of crusading fanatics; especially not in the 15th century.  This is the way the fight probably should have come out, whatever the case:  the knight was a more sophisticated and well trained warrior who was familiar with gunpowder in his own era, although in the end we're just talking about man vs. man, the knight would typically be the better equipped, better trained warrior in this type of scenario.

This blog is probably overreacting a hell of a lot to something that is supposed to be entertainment, but being a practioner of historical martial arts and combat in general, I was compelled to write down what many educated viewers were probably thinking when they saw this.

P.S. If it wasn't clear, this is not an analyzation of the dramatized bit at the end of the show, ridiculous as that was. I understand that that is a theatrical interpretation ment to give the viewers a visual unveiling of the chosen winner.

Hope this sheds some light on the matter at hand. Enjoy.