In terms of talent this was a mismatch, as the Mongol experts had only one horseman and both Comanche experts were excellent riders. Imagine using a jeep with a machine gun mounted on it and declaring it a weapon of a certain potency independent of its mobility. There is a danger in such tests with horseman that you get the equivalent of a stunt driver testing against someone who is simply a competent driver.
Of particular interest is the bow test, in which a Mongolian composite bow is tested against a small simple bow. The Mongol bow—and you will see this in film depictions of its use—was not even bent. The man did not use a thumb ring draw and never engaged the power of the bow. This is understandable as there are few living humans that could draw a Mongol bow rather than just plucking the string.
Weapon doctrine is weak on the Comanche war hawk weapon with the second stoke using the spike—prone to getting stuck—instead of the blunt side being used for the initial blows with finishing stroked with the spike. Tactically this is a better weapon than depicted in the demo.
The flanged mace is sickeningly effective, but is shown being used two handed when it would have been paired with a shield and used in a circular flow manner rather than chopping two-handed swings.
As is the case with all the demonstrations of Asian broadswords, the use of the Mongolian scimitar was completely lacking in tactical acumen. There was no shifting, passing or drawing, just a man acting like a blender motor with blade.
The use of the small scalping knife was forensically excellent, with a fine understanding of small blade mechanics. The doctor likewise does a very good job of defining the use of the knife. The lack of knowledge of time and measure is especially absent from this episode, though it is obviously being imported into the computer simulation.
This episode of the show featured an awkward final battle, with the weapon changes even less realistic than usual. This is a clunky format and the squad model seems to address this well when used.
The high point of this episode is the horse lancer work done by the Comanche man. This gives the viewer a good idea why lancers were active in modern warfare up through the 1870s. The Mongols could have been much better represented. There were different types of Mongol horseman, with units of lancers utilizing shock and melee tactics after the disorganization wrought by the horse archers.
Once again, like with most off the series episodes, the shields used by these warriors—especially the Mongols—were simply left to hang as decoration instead of being paired with their weapons. In the next season the Mongol idea will be resurrected for the Genghis Khan versus Hannibal episode.
Despite my criticism this episode is well worth viewing, especially the lance and horse archery work. Probably the most fun is when they let the Mongol infantryman smash simulated skulls with the mace. Keep in mind, that he would have a shield on the other arm and be using passing and shifting footwork to time the descent of the blow with a landed step and then letting it arc around before the shield, back over the head and come again. To experiment with these Redondo tactics take a 24-31 inch stick, tie and tape a tennis ball to the end of it and see how you can make it flow, and the fact that even with massive shoulders you can’t put the brakes on this thing without hurting yourself.