Chinese Charioteer vs. Egyptian Charioteer

July 9, 2009


Deadliest Warriors -Season 2 Episode 5

This battle to a while to research because I had to find the right period in history for each warrior and because of the complex nature of chariot warfare. Hopefully it's worth it.

Chinese Chariot Warrior (Zhou Dynasty) vs. Egyptian Chariot Warrior (18th Dynasty)
This battle pits two teams of ancient charioteers against each other in a classic duel of speed vs. power. 

Chinese chariots of the Zhou Dynasty were powerful battle-wagons drawn by 4 horses that carried three heavily armed and armored warriors into battle.

Ancient Egyptians favored speed and maneuverability in their chariots, relying on two horses to carry a driver and deadly archer into battle while a spear wielding warrior ran alongside.

Zhou Warrior  - Circa 1000 BC.
The Chinese Zhou dynasty lasted for nearly 800 years and was in a constant state of warring for much of that time. Zhou warriors perfected bronze-era technology, including the heavy chariot, which they turned into a deadly and mobile weapon. Zhou charioteers were mostly noblemen who equipped themselves with heavy armor and weapons, and used multi-horse chariots to carry themselves into battle.

Warriors of the Zhou Dynasty used several different styles of armor. One type was made of boiled leather on a fabric backing. Red lacquer was often used to harden the armor and protect it from the elements. Zhou chariots were also protected by leather coverings that came up to a warriors' waist, and their horses had chest and neck armor made of animal skins or leather.

Jian: A Jian is a category of double-edge sword that became the standard for Chinese armies during the Zhou Dynasty. This weapon was made of bronze and had a straight, double-edged, blade that was 2-3 feet in length and was used for both stabbing and slashing. Many magnificent swords were produced during this period, some so excellent that they were thought to have magical properties.

Ge (hook): The Ge was a special anti-chariot polearm of the Zhou that was essentially a hooked dagger attached to a wooden pole that could be used to strike enemies or drag them from their chariot. The Ge came in many different sizes, from hand-held to 12 or 15 feet in length.

Recurve Bow: The Chinese bow of this time had developed from a simple design of bent wood and a string, to a complex, recurve, design. A recurve bow has tips that curve away from the archer, which allows the weapon to store more energy than an equivalent sized straight-limbed bow. This allows a shorter bow to be as effective as a longer one, which is ideal for use from a chariot.

Chariot: The Zhou introduced a four-horse chariot capable of carrying a three man crew of heavily armored warriors into battle. Zhou chariots were used to break the flanks of enemy formations, chase down undisciplined infantry, and duel with enemy chariots. War chariots were essential during battle and many weapons of the period were manufactured specifically for them. Typical heavy chariots would be crewed by three men; a driver in the center, a soldier on his right side and an archer on his left.

Egyptian Warrior - Circa 1400 BC.

The 18th Dynasty was a period of great power and expansion of Egyptian kingdoms and their Pharoas. Egyptian warriors during this period perfected a form of lightning warfare that relied on light, fast-moving troops and extensive use of the bow and arrow. Foremost among these warriors were the Charioteers, who were exclusively noblemen who paid for their own horses and weapons, and used their light and fast chariots to carry deadly archers into battle.

Leather Shield & Scales: Egyptian warriors rarely wore helmets or armor due to the warm climate in which they fought and the type of fast warfare that they preferred. Wealthy Charioteers would occasionally wear a shirt covered in light bronze scales, while soldiers and runners would often carry light shields made of leather straps attached to a wooden frame.

Kopesh: A typical khopesh is 2' in length and is composed of a hilt connected to a straight and unsharpened section that finishes in a curved, crescent shape, blade. This makes the Khopesh not a true sword, but a specialized battle-axe that was used exclusively as a slashing weapon.

Spear: The Egyptian spear typically consisted of a bronze or iron blade attached to a 6' wooden shaft. These conventional spears were short, javelin-like, and made for throwing or thrusting. The spear never gained the importance among Egyptians that it had in classical Greece, but many Charioteers and warriors carried multiple spears as auxiliary weapons.

Hyksos Bow: This weapon was a composite bow introduced into Egypt by invading Asiatic people and later adopted by Egyptian charioteers because of its compact size and penetrating power. The Hyksos bow required great strength and skill to use, but it fired a bronze-tipped arrow that could penetrate nearly any armor of the day.

Chariot: The Egyptian chariot was typically drawn by two horses and consisted of a light, wooden, semicircular platform with a guard in front and an open back, surmounting an axle and two wheels of four or six spokes. This design made Egyptian chariots lighter and faster than those of other armies. The main purpose of an Egyptian chariot was to deliver a skilled Archer who would rain arrows on enemy formations and also keep enemy chariots at bay. Chariot runners equipped with shields and spears would also accompany the vehicle into battle. These runners would follow the chariot and capture or dispatch enemy chariot crews or defend their own. Most importantly, they were used as a second wave of attack to receive opposing chariots as they penetrated the Egyptian line. Since the Egyptian chariots could turn very quickly, they would wheel around for a second charge and often catch enemies from behind as their runners attacked from the front.


Jian vs. Khopesh
The Khopesh is an interesting weapon, and very good for striking from a chariot, but it was not designed to defeat thick armor like that worn by the Zhou Chinese. Meanwhile, the Jian wasn't the best weapon for fighting from a chariot, but it was the superior weapon when dismounted. Edge: Jian

Ge vs. Spear
The Ge is a fierce but specialized weapon, while the Spear is a versatile but underwhealming one. In a battle of chariots, I have to go with the weapon designed to defeat them. Edge: Ge

Long Range
Recurve Bow vs. Hyksos Bow
Theoretically, these weapons should be nearly identical. However, the Hyksos bow played a much more important role in Egyptian warfare and was the focal point of their entire army. Edge: Hyksos

4 Horse Chariot vs. 2 Horse Chariot
The heavy Chinese chariot was useful for carrying heavier troops quickly into battle and could be used as a weapon to steamroll enemy lines. The lighter Egyptian chariot provided speed and maneuverability, but it won't provide the direct kills. Edge: 4 Horse Chariot.

This is a very close fight to call because the Chinese have far superior armor and heavier weapons, but the Egyptians have a big advantage in speed and maneuverability. In the end, I think this is going to come down to a shootout between bows, with the Egyptians getting the edge in skill and speed. While the Egyptian chariot won't provide direct kills like the heavy Chinese chariot, it will put the Egyptian bowman in better positions to fire, and do so more often.

(Kill Estimates)
Kills     Zhou    Egyptian
Close       70      20   
Mid        100      90
Long       210     350
Special    110      50       
Total      490     510