COMMENTARY | “Deadliest Warrior: Genghis Khan vs. Hannibal” pitted two generals separated by about 14 centuries. In the one corner a Carthaginian conqueror who defied Rome for over 20 years, in the other a barbarian who built the biggest empire in world history.
Some spoilers follow.
Much was made of the fact that Hannibal had war elephants at his disposal. The guys had a lot of fun getting a real live, 9,000 pound elephant to step on a ballistic gel dummy and then measure the amount of foot/pounds the monster exerted. Suffice to say that the trauma surgeon spoke no truer words when he suggested he would rather be stepped on the head than the belly; the latter would be the most painful death imaginable.
The bulk of the episode was taken up, as usual, with weapons tests. I tended to disagree that an elephant was a better weapon than a compound steppe bow, for example. The way the Romans dealt with elephants was to pelt the creatures with missile weapons. These would turn the elephants in pain and panic and have them stampede the other side. (This, by the way, was how things turned out in the scenario.)
The Mongol saber was better on horseback, but the Carthaginian sword shone when wielded by a foot soldier. The fact that the Carthaginians had several javelins made that weapon better than the Mongol lance.
The one factor that seemed to be decisive was, as with the Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror scenario, the armor technology. Carthaginian armor, mainly brass and bronze, was simply no match to the Mongol steel armor. This showed in the combat scenario when Genghis Khan finally went toe-to-toe with Hannibal. Hannibal could not penetrate the Great Khan’s steel armor, whereas Genghis crushed Hannibal’s head through his brass helm.
The limitation of having a handful of fighters on each side really dampened what would have happened had the full scale armies clashed. Genghis Khan’s swarms of horse archers would have eaten Hannibal’s polyglot army, which consisted of Africans, Spaniards, and Celts, alive. The compound bows would have just outranged anything Hannibal had in his arsenal. Genghis Khan’s cavalry had another advantage that Hannibal’s heavy African cavalry could not have hoped to match: the stirrup. There would have been no doubled envelopment in such an encounter, as had happened at Cannae.
Source: Deadliest Warrior: Genghis Khan vs. Hannibal, TV.Rage