I have viewed this episode four times now in an attempt to qualify it. The computer whiz Max has been replaced by a military combat game designer and Mack Markowitz, Navy SEAL sniper. They are also utilizing black powder weapons experts and armorors to help man crew-served weapons and demonstrate volley fire. The experts are now split between a younger performer and an older scholar, which formalizes a trend emerging in season two.
There were no surprises in the weaponry demonstrations, with artillery being horrific as expected, doing much more damage than the Myth Busters scaled down examination of wood fragmentation. Both swordsmen did fine work with their blades, the saber and the colichemarde, the broad-bladed small sword.
As for the two warriors, Napoleon and Washington, the historians fail to reveal that these men relied on their commanders for most of their victories. The jingoism showered on Washington reaches unrealistic heights as his generalship—rated as fair at best by military historians—is held up as of the top rank, when in fact he was a poor general who made up for his deficiencies with a doggedness born of the knowledge that the gallows awaited should he lose.
The hybrid warfare [riflemen and musket-armed line soldiers] used by Washington is extrapolated from the effects it had on British troops to prove that Napoleon’s Grande Armee would also be befuddled, without taking into account the fact that the French infantry had one crucial advantage over the British, they moved 25% faster, instead of marching at 3.5 miles per hour they moved at 5 miles per hour. That is a clutch consideration when dealing with Washington’s more open American formations, which did not operate in wilderness but in open farmland and woodland. Recall that LeClerc’s troops were able to outmaneuver and run down the Negro machete armies in Haiti.
Washington, with his dueling sword, would certainly defeat Napoleon in a duel, but leading his best and largest army against a small French corp under Devout, Messina, Murat, Ney or even LeClerc, would have savaged his army before noon. There would be no second volley but a charge with the bayonet—this was called “winning in Napoleonic form” with cold steel.
Overall the new format is excellent and I am looking forward to the remainder of Season 3.