“Deadliest Warrior,” Season 3, Episode 1, “George Washington vs. Napoleon Bonaparte” matched two generals of almost the same era but with decidedly different fighting styles. The episode also introduced changes in the show’s format.
The standard “Deadliest Warrior” tests of various period weapons still happened. First up, Napoleon’s eight pounder iron cannon was matched with Washington’s six pounder bronze cannon. While Napoleon’s cannon was more accurate, Washington’s was lighter and easier to use. The resulting destruction of several simulated targets, lovingly described by the show’s trauma surgeon, was almost even, but the edge was given to Napoleon, who was actually a master of artillery, because of a tie breaker test that proved Napoleon’s grape shot was better than Washington’s scatter shot in mowing down infantry.
Next up was a test of infantry weapons. First, four marksmen potted targets using French Charleville muskets, followed by four shooters with two Brown Bess muskets and two Pennsylvania long rifles. Washington got the edge in this one as, while the rifles took more time to reload, they had longer range and were more accurate.
Finally, edged weapons were tested: a French cavalry saber vs. a more versatile Colichemarde sword carried by Washington. The kills both mounted and dismounted were about even, but the edge was given to the Colichemarde for its versatility in dismounted combat and effectiveness in parrying sabers.
A new feature was a match of the various combat styles and skills of the two generals. Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz was matched against that of Washington’s at Yorktown to gain insights into how each would conduct a battle against another. A number of what were called “x factors,” including various skill sets for each general, were assigned a numeric value and then programmed into a computer.
The results of the simulation, which matched Napoleon and four French soldiers against Washington and four Continentals, were, to say the least, controversial. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Napoleon would have destroyed Washington in any stand up battle. Of course, Washington would have likely mimicked Kutuzov’s strategy against Napoleon, refusing battle, luring him deeper into the countryside, wearing him down with guerrilla raids, and then destroying Napoleon when he was at his weakest.
In any case, in a typical “Deadliest Warrior” manner, it all came down to Washington and Napoleon going at it live steel to live steel. Here Washington, the physically more imposing man, put a quick end to the Corsican Ogre. However, the simulations of 5,000 encounters showed the two generals almost evenly matched, with Washington only edging out Napoleon by one percentage point of victories over defeats.
Source: Deadliest Warrior, George Washington vs, Napoleon Bonaparte, Spike TV