This week’s DW post is going to be a little different. Normally I do some research on Sunday and get my post out by Monday night or Tuesday morning. This leaves plenty of time for people to vote on who they think would win before the show airs on Tuesday night. This week the executive powers that be decided to run the last episode of the season on Sunday night. That being the case, I watched the episode on Monday and will do some post analysis here. Voting will still be open though as what I’m really interested in is people’s opinions.
This is the kind of matchup where you have to consciously put aside your personal feelings for the two groups. As Americans, it is really easy to vote against the Taliban just because of the current wartime climate. As a Brit it’s just as easy to vote against the IRA. So, the obvious issues aside, let’s look at the groups and weapons.
Who are the IRA?
I’m going to let wikipedia do some talking for me because whoever wrote the wiki entries knows a lot more about this than I do:
“The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation descended from the Irish Volunteers, established 25 November 1913 and who in April 1916 staged the Easter Rising. The Irish Volunteers were recognised in 1919 by Dáil Éireann (its elected assembly) as the legitimate army of the unilaterally declared Irish Republic, the Irish state proclaimed at Easter in 1916 and reaffirmed by the Dáil in January 1919. Thereafter, the IRA waged a guerrilla campaign against British rule in Ireland in the Irish War of Independence from 1919–1921.” – Wikipedia
The IRA was known for extreme urban guerrilla warfare. They used simple yet effective technology to do damage on a large scale. Their cells, usually 4-5 people in size, would strike quickly and unpredictably but with a large amount of planning and tactical know-how.
Who are the Taliban?
“The Taliban, also Taleban, is a pro-Wahhabi Sunni Islamist, predominately Pashtun fundamentalist religious and political movement that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when its leaders were removed from power by Northern Alliance and NATO forces. It has regrouped and since 2004 revived as a strong insurgency movement fighting a guerrilla war against the current government of Afghanistan, Pakistan, allied NATO forces participating in Operation Enduring Freedom, and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It operates in Afghanistan and the Frontier Tribal Areas of Pakistan.” – Wikipedia
The Taliban cells utilize fear as their greatest weapon, causing disorganization and panic in both their enemies and the local civilians. They use rugged yet powerful technology that properly fits the terrain of Afghanistan.
What are the Weapons?
The IRA utilized the LPO-50 flamethrower, the nail bomb, the slingshot, and the AR-15 Armalite.
The Taliban relied on the RPG-7 rocket launcher, PMN land mine, the bayonet knife, and the AK-47.
Both the flamethrower and the rocket launcher performed really well. Apparently the flamethrower heats up the inside of your bones to the point where it continues to burn you even after the flames have gone away. The rocket launcher was clearly devastating, as I think everyone could have predicted.
The interesting matchup was between the AR-15 Armalite and the AK-47. The Armalite was clearly more accurate, but when put through mud and water conditions, the AK-47 held up much better. This was a case of great value between both guns, and intelligent selection by both warriors.
The Armalite’s accuracy would be extremely useful in an urban setting where mud, water, and grime is less of a factor. The AK-47’s durability is definitely valuable in the caves and desserts of Afghanistan.
A Result and a Vote:
In case you didn’t see who won, I’m going to give you a chance to vote first. Who do you think was deadliest? (careful not to scroll down to far)
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In the end, the IRA took the victory. The accuracy of the Armalite and the deadliness of the nail bomb really helped their stats. The results were close though as the AK-47 and the rocket launcher did their fair share of damage.
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You gotta hand it to the guys at DW, they keep changing things up. This week, instead of general warriors, they have selected two specific individuals – William Wallace vs Shaka Zulu.
Let’s take a quick peek into both of these warrior’s histories, and then discuss if a one-on-one of this nature is a smart idea.
It turns out that William Wallace is more than just Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart. He was an actual dude – and a pretty impressive one at that. He started out as a landowner but became a resistance leader during the Wars of Scottish Independence.
Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, the right to the Scottish throne went up for grabs around 1300 a.d. Kind Edward of England capitalized on the ensuing confusion and bickering provinces by trying to force his hand and become ruler himself. Although many of the Scottish lords acquiesced to Edward’s pressure, a resistance grew (led by William Wallace).
As far as can be determined, Wallace used traditional Scottish weaponry. Most famous was the claymore or great sword, wielded by Mel in Braveheart. I’m not a period expert, but this is generally what they looked like:
In addition were broadswords with basket hilts and smaller dirks. The Scots were also known to utilize rounded shields, bows and arrows, and battle axes. So look for those weapons to make an appearance.
Much like Wallace, Shaka Zulu became a military leader and was a brilliant tactition. However, it would be a stretch to consider these two men parallels. Zulu was a slaughterer of the weak and a uniter by force.
Starting out as a warrior underneath the chieftain Dingiswayo, Zulu distinguished himself as a fighter of great courage and valor. After many years learning combat, Zulu (with the aid of Dingiswayo) became a chieftain in his own right. Through great political maneuvering and military acumen, Zulu grew his sphere of influence. Upon the death of Dingiswayo (by way of assassination), Zulu swore revenge on his killers and begun his accelerated growth into expansion and conquering.
Ultimately, Zulu united the Nguni people and took over a great amount of territory in Southern Africa. In doing so he created great social, military, and technological change.
A weaponry traditionalist, Zulu will likely bring old-style weapons to DW. Definitely expect to see the shield and spear combination.
Zulu (as a people) were also known to use clubs, throwing javelins, and knives.
Is the Individual Concept Smart?
The big question for this matchup: is it smart to use individuals over general warrior styles? On one hand, you can talk more accurately about what weapons they both used historically and how they behaved in battle. You also have some general idea of their physical prowess and intelligence.
On the other hand, how can you really test two individuals without letting them literally fight it out? With the general warrior model, you could test weapons and broad physical characteristics and make assumptions. With specific people, you don’t have that wiggle room.
In general, I have to say that I prefer the general warrior method. It allows the imagination to enjoy the possibilities of different warriors, whereas using specific people is going to get me hung up on the logical flaws of the tests.
That being said – I’m going to pick William Wallace as the winner due to better weapon technology and the advancements in metalurgy.
What do you think?
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