Even after the trouble I dealt with following my post about this show’s episode, ‘Vikings vs Samurai’, I feel the need to post another. My brother, against my advice, decided to watch the latest farce, ‘Knight vs Pirate’. While peaking in and listen from next door, I found it rather hilarious that Max Geiger refused to listen to his co-host Geoff Desmoulin, even butting heads with him over test results. Most notably, when the flintlock musket couldn’t penetrate the Knight’s plate armour. Having seen his “nerd fantasy” destroyed by a test of his own design, he quickly jumped to the defense of “Pirate experts” everywhere, claiming that he himself would have been bested by this shot. Pretty pathetic.
While he was quickly slapped down for his bias by Desmoulin, the cat was definitely out of the bag on this show’s historical accuracy. Instead of coming to a reasonable conclusion, discussing the training of one warrior against the other, the weapons which said warrior would likely bring into battle, the tactics used with these weapons in battle, etc we see the ‘Deadliest Warrior’ for what it is really, a complete and utter farce. The computer technology which this show clings to for legitimacy, is as reliable as match making software was years ago. Even if the program’s designer wasn’t skewing the results with his obvious bias, I highly doubt any software could properly simulate an actual battle between warriors. The only way to really have any definite answer to a “who would win” question, would be to have those two actually fight. Since this isn’t possible, a well informed discussion is the next best thing.
What I found funny with last night’s episode was that Pirate’s weapons had shown themselves to be highly unreliably in actual combat. Having studied Canadian history since high school, I should have remembered how “primitive” flintlock weapons were, not simply because of the way they are loaded, but how inaccurate and ineffective they are in actual combat. The standard musket was moderately effective, but nowhere near as useful as the even the most basic rifles of today are. The key issue here is the rifling of modern barrels, as well as the shape of modern projectiles. It is obvious that when deciding who was the winner, Geiger was ignorant to these facts that he didn’t take this into account. A rifled barrel spins the bullet, and it is this spin which gives it is accuracy. The shape of bullets themselves also helps with accuracy, as well as a greater ability to penetrate a target. Musket balls were not only inaccurate because of the way they sat loosely in the musket, but lacked this penetration power. Add in the fact that the ball would bounce around the barrel once fired, and you find that the projectile itself doesn’t have the same momentum leaving the barrel that it would have had fired from a modern gun. Because of this, even if a shot did find it’s mark, it wasn’t uncommon for the musket ball to not do fatal damage. Many soldiers died because of infections due to wounds sustained by projectiles which failed to penetrate. Even hit in the chest, there was a good chance the musket ball would become lodged in bone or muscle tissue. This was definitely not a “bringing a gun to a knife fight” situation when the weapon in question fails to meet the “gun standard.”
Comparing personal projectile weapons, the Knight actually surpassed the Pirate. As discussed above, muskets were highly unreliable, and even Deadliest Warrior’s blunderbuss tests showed that under the wrong conditions, such weapons could not only misfire, but not fire at all. While “primitive”, bows and crossbows were easy to operate and highly reliable. They were far more accurate at longer range than muskets were, and you wouldn’t have to depend on the sheer number of shots to hit a single target. While loading was an issue with the crossbow, a musket was far more cumbersome to operate. You probably would have seen a pirate carrying multiple muskets during a fight because of how time consuming reloading would be. Because of it’s superiority in this area, weapons like the English Longbow had the advantage in combat. It is conceivable that a trained Knight could take out a Pirate at range, especially with armour strong enough to protect from musket fire, easily firing four or five arrows before the musket could be reloaded and fired again. Why wasn’t this taken into account? Clearly, these are issues that Geiger should have addressed when designing his obviously flawed program.
I could go on and discuss how, much like the Samurai’s weapons, a standard Pirate sword would be ineffective against chainmail and plate armour. I could go on and discuss the tactical advantages of carrying a shield, and I could discuss how Pirates weren’t trained in combat like Knights were, but I think anyone with an internet connection and a five minute Google search could figure that out. I raised the previous points because the “Pirate experts” and Geiger refuse to even acknowledge the most basic form of common sense. Matter of fact, he threw fits and tried to sway his co-host’s opinion by making irrelevant points. No respectable historian would stoop to those lows to prove a point. Not only that, but just like the “Samurai experts” before them, these arrogant and ignorant representatives were given free reign by Geiger to push their fiction on the viewing audience. This, on top of being given the advantage in choice of weapons. While the “grenado” was a weapon employed by Pirates, it was found in Europe and Asia long before the days of Blackbeard, meaning that anyone could have access to such a simple explosive device. (UPDATE: Read a few comments on this point and I would like to clarify. While the “grenado” was used by Pirates, it isn’t unique to Pirates as this episode tried to suggest. It had been used for centuries by soldiers and sailors alike.) Not only that, but only an idiot would allow this weapon into a serious discussion of the outcome of a fight between these warriors. Covered in plate and chainmail armour from head to toe, the Knight is fairly protected. If the Pirate did use this weapon against him, he would most likely do more damage to himself. It is getting to the point where you can predict which side will win in the first five minutes by simply watching which team of “experts” is given this advantage.
In any event, it isn’t just me who is seeing this. Many viewers are outraged, and are expressing that outrage on the Spike TV forum. It has gotten so bad that in a desperate act to salvage whatever credibility Deadliest Warrior has, they have created a online segment called ‘The Aftermath’, where the Geiger and Desmoulin try to address concerns the audience has with historical inaccuracies and the blatant mismatching of warriors. I said in my previous post that putting a Ninja in a fight with a Spartan was a BAD IDEA!, and yet they went along with it anyways. Watching the first ‘Aftermath’ segment, I was dumbfounded by what Geiger had said. Aside from adamantly defending his flawed computer program, he pretty much admitted it was a bad idea to pair these two up, and then went out to criticize the viewers who were critical of the previous episode and it’s outcome. Excuse me, but what kind of host insults his audience? It’s Geiger who is living in the world of fantasy. It is obvious to anyone who watched last night’s episode that he not only owns Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series on Blu-ray, but goes around on Halloween dressed in the best Pirate costume he can find. Each episode is simply a fulfillment of his personal desires and bias, and even Desmoulin’s protests for common sense don’t seem to help keep this show focused.
I don’t think watching Geiger’s “nerd fits” is a great way to spend a Tuesday night. If he wants to push his fiction onto an ignorant audience, he should at least admit his own bias, the flaws of his program, and treat those who disagree with his views with even the slightest bit of respect. If not, I hope this show is canceled before it starts making an effort to actually offend people. Pathetic.