Azula vs. Galen Marek

After two days of prep time who will prevail in a fight to the death between the Dark Knight and the God of War?

Batman vs. Kratos

Monday, May 23, 2011

Byzantine Kataphraktoi: vs. Polish Hussars :Edges

(I must apologize for the lack of depth behind some of these. I have been extraordinarily busy). 

Long Range: Hunnic composite bow (toxton), sling  vs. Bandolet Wheelock carbine, Luk 

  Before I give an edge let me talk about how each weapon and how it is going to be used, since some questions have been asked in regards to a couple of them. 

  Lets start with the sling. In my Cataphract Bio I may have accidentely implied that the sling was used on horseback. This is false. I have yet to find a single instance of a Byzantine slinging from horseback. It was just given as a backup to archers. In the scenario  I see two ways that it can come into play. The first opportunity for the sling to be used is at the beginning of the fight when the two teams are about a couple of hundred meters away from each other.  Here they could dismount to hurl lead  at the hussars, who would have to retreat out of the slings range or rush into the battle . Presumably once the hussars got in a certain range the Byzantine would get back on their horses and switch to bows. The second circumstance is if an archer gets dismounted in battle and has either run out of arrows/broken bow. Now he has a backup weapon to switch to.  I am going to split up the damage review into two parts: man and horse.  For the man I really can't see it doing much. The  armor of the Hussar is too thick in too many places for the lead bullets to do much. Sure he may suffer some bruising and at worst, a fractured bone, but I cannot see the sling doing much damage in the places where the hussar is armored. Of course if the bullet got a lucky (or extremely accurate) shot to the uncovered portions of the neck , face and eyes then yes that Hussar is going down, but that is pretty much a given. The horse on the other hand.....

      Hussars did not wear much in the way of horse armor, preferring speed over protection. As a result a lead bullet to basically any part of the horse is going to be completely devastating. A horse isn't going to be able to run at all with a broken leg or a fractured chest which would take the mount away from the hussars, putting him at a disadvantage. This is assuming he survives of course cause if you break a horse's leg while he's in full gallop then his rider is going to be sent flying forward when the horse collapses, possibly breaking his neck. In conclusion the sling won't be the greatest weapon in this fight but it certainly has potential to help the Byzantine greatly. 

 Now onto the Hunnic Composite Bow: As I noted in the Byzantine bio, Byzantine Cataphracts were expert archers and will be bringing a high degree of skill to this match-up. They worked in combo with the lancers to ensure maximum devastation to the enemy formation(remember the point of heavy calvary were to break up these lines). I can see their armor piercing arrows making it through the weaker points of Hussar armor but their real advantage here will be shooting out the Hussar's horse. The best of the Byzantine's ranged weapons.

   The Tartar bow is the Polish Hussar's first and most common of the long range weapons. It has roughly the same range as the Hunnic bow,has a high draw,  can be used from horseback and is quite accurate in the hands of an expert. Unfortunately the Hussars were noted for their deficiency in the field of archery,  and while good Polish archers did exist in that time frame they are the exception rather then the rule.  Further adding on the Hussars problems in this category is their lack penetrative arrows, which means that only a divinely guided shot  is going to kill anything. The Byzantine's horse is protected by steel or ox-hide Lamellar, which was quite resistant to arrows. Thus this weapon may actually be the weakest in the fight. 

 The Wheelock carbine is where the Hussar shines in this match up. While it has many problems such as;  it is  prone to misfiring (especially in bad weather), takes a long time to reload , has a small range when compared to the weapons in the rest of this category  and is practically a one shot weapon, it is the only ranged weapon here that can tackle the big issue: armor. While I am not completely sold on it penetrating the many layers that make up the Byzantine's chest armor , it can penetrate just about anywhere else including the  Byzantine's horse's armor . It can be accurately used from horseback and pulled from the saddle fairly  quickly. The bandolet  is  the best weapon of this range. 

 Overall it is really hard to give an edge in this category, as the Luk(bow) is going to have relatively little effect on the outcome of this matchup while the Bandolet will have a high effect.  The Sling's contribution will be slightly greater then the Luk's while the Hunnic bow will be in the high-middle range  For all of its faults, I think that the Bandolet is powerful enough to give the Hussars a very  slight edge in this category. 

Edge Polish Hussars

Mid Range: Marzobarboulon , Kontarion  lance vs.  Flintlock pistols, Koipa lance

 It is a bit humorous  that the main weapons of both warrior, the two lances , are both going to be near useless in this match up due to the excessive amount of armor. The best either is going to be able to do is knock the other off their horse, which is pretty unlikely given the  superior saddle of the Hussar and the brittleness of the Kopia. Both have small advantages though; the Kopia has nearly three times the length of its rival, and the Kontarian can be thrown. A thrown  Kontarian will likely do the same amount of damage that a hand-held one will do, i.e. none at all, but it will still be an effective distracting tool. I can't really call this one. 

   Pistol vs. Marzobarboulon seems like a bit of a miss match but the darts do have some advantages . For one they don't jam and  if held by a professorial are surprisingly accurate and its possible these  could be thrown into the  eye, chin or neck. They also have a bit of a  surprise! factor, and can be hidden behind objects such as a shield or even in the sword hand and thrown.   Even if they don't bore through the Hussar's armor I guarantee he'll still be feeling the sting, and the Byzantine will be able to take out his horse with it. Same could be said about the flintlock though, and unlike the darts these will be able to get through the weaker parts of the Kataphract armor (like the face). For more lethality I am giving it a edge. 

Hussars are in the lead here, although not by much

Close Range: Spathion, Paramerion vs. Szabla, Koncerz, Pallash, 

 Every single weapon here has problems with armor, and so this category will not be decisive one.  The Spathion and Sazabla are  both slashing weapons, and in this battle the only way to get kills by slashing are to sneak up and grab your foes throat, ripping off the helmet, and slitting it. Not going to happen very often(although if timed well it may be able to hit the weak points of someone's armor). The Paramerion and Pallash are better at thrusting, but neither is going to really have the power to get through even riveted chainmail. Finally the Koncerz, though unwieldy , tips the edge in Hussar favor. Due to its length the Hussar's could and would use this as a small spear, and being hit with it would be painful to endure. 

again slight edge Hussar for having more options

Extremely close Range: Byzantine Dagger vs. Polish Hunting Dagger

     Obviously in a mounted battle these two weapons will hardly ever see use, and when they are their effectiveness will be limited by length and lack of armor penetration (only way either are getting kills is through precision strikes to the weak points of each's armor). The Polish hunting knife is a better knife then the Byzantine dagger, but its rarity hurts it here. The Byzantine dagger would have been available to every man, and for that reason it gets the edge
Special: tzikourion(axe), Bardoukion and other maces vs Czekan axe , Horseman's pick

The Tzikourion vs. Czekan is going to be an interesting match up, as both are fast and unlike other weapons
capable of doing damage through each of their opponent's armor. Both have a spike on the other side  for dual use. I really cant decide between these two axes...

     But I can judge between the two different types of  maces and the Bardoukion throwing maces get a sound edge over the Nazdiak, despite the latter's clear lethality. You have three of them, you can throw them with  bone shattering force, and the Hussars armor is going not going to really help him deal with the blunt force trauma(even the helmet, with its  assorted padding,  is not going to do enough) . The many layers of the Byzantines armor includes two heavy padded coat(innermost and outermost layers)  that will be able absorb a great of the impact from the Nazdiak's hammer side . The spiked side is most likely  not going to pierce through every layer and may end up getting lodged in, which would be fatal in battle. 

 The Byzantines get a sound edge here 

*Horse Breeds* : Nisean Horse vs. Eastern style horse, lack of directed breeding, makeshift horses

 When the messiah was prophesied to return in Judea by some Persian religious officials, the Persian king sent the Jews a Nisean mount to give to him. When Alexander The  Great's prized Nisean mount Buccephalus was stolen he threatened to level the entire country until the kidnappers gave him back (they swiftly did). When Cyrus saw that a Nisean horse drowned in a river he ordered that entire river drained in retaliation. 

       The Ancients were obsessed with  this breed which leads me to the conclusion that it must have been a truly fine horse. Full points to the Nisean though the Poles get points for adaptability. 

Helmets: double layer Mail Coif with Phrygian cap vs. szyszak helmet, nasal guard, karacena scale  gorget(rare) 

     This is pretty even to me. What the Hussars lack in complete  protection they compensate for increased feild of vision, while the Byzantine's vision will be a bit obscured. A very slight edge to the Byzantines since they all have neck protection whereas the gorgets were only really worn by high ranking  Polish officers(or those rich enough to afford them!). 

Body:  shirt, padded jacket, mail,Lamellar, padded coat known as Epilorikion  vs. Breast and back plate,  gorget, shoulder Pauldrons,  Tassets (rare) animal skins, WINGS!

I cannot give an edge here, both sets of armor are just so superb, each  side has only  one weapon that can really get through their opponent's body armor and that is the wheelock carbine for the Hussars and the flanged maces for the Byzantines. Other then that they are both tanks. Full points for both

Arms: Shirt, Upper Arm(manikellia): Steel Lamellar with possible mail undercoat and leather padding , Lower Arm: Mail(kheiropsella) with padding underneath. 

    Both warrior's arms are nearly completely covered, which is important since this section may be targeted first in a duel, as it holds the weapon. I am giving an edge to the Hussar for having a single Gauntlet, although 
as you can guess this edge is small.

Legs: leather boot, greaves(podopsella) , solid steel Lamellar skirt(kremasmata) vs. Tasset, leather 

  This edge is fairly simple. Edge to the Byzantine for more coverage. 

Blocking: Kite Shield vs. Dueling experience 

   The edge is obvious, but limited. The Shield is too heavy and cumbersome to do much maneuvering  in this battle, although it does give some extra protection to the Kataphracts left side. Dueling is going to help in sword to sword or hammer fighting,  further limiting the Byzantine edge.    
Horse Armor:  Stirrups, Basic Saddle,  Lamellar(Iron, Steel or Ox-hide),plate headpiece vs. Stirrups, Oriental style saddle, No horse armor
  The saddle has advanced since the Byzantine's time and the Hussar saddle will keep him from getting knocked off the horse a bit more then the Byzantine's will. Although the lack of armor  of the horse is going to enable them to be much faster then their slow counterparts, it makes the horse an excellent target. 

Byzantine Tactics vs. Hussar tactics:

 Yet another tough category to decide. Neither charge is going to be really effective due to the strength of the armor and weakness of their lances. The harrying tactics may be effective, but it leaves the archers vulnerable at the same time since the Hussars attack in waves. Both are going to conserve energy as much as they can, and both avoided heavy calvary in history when they could. In the end the mass of Byzantine military manuals  (sometimes called the Byzantine art of War because of the way they methodically list strategies to almost every unit type/ nation that surrounded Byzantium at the time) and hammer blow tactic  give him the edge, although it will only be a slight one. 

Motivation/Morale: Made Peace with God before battle, System of rewards and punishments, warrior saints, Army and Emperor vs. Confessions before battle, Patriotism, Social Maneuvering, Pay

Both of these sets of warriors are highly motivated, and I cant really give an edge. 

Rules Of Combat:   Last Prayer, Last Meal, trot until within a close distance, charge only at last possible moment. vs. ranks,  treated fellow Hussars as equals, conserve energy, forbidden from leaving battle formation

 Another even X-factor Category.  In my view neither of these really hurts or helps either them enough to give an advantage to either side. 

Discipline: Byzantine vs. Hussar:
    Both sides are neck in neck throughout this category. Both cultures had experience before entering the army, both were trained rather extensively, and both were surrounded by enemies. The Byzantines get this through two somewhat small factors: A. they were expected to train off campaign, and B. Byzantine Cataphracts were recruited based off wealth and ability, unlike just wealth for the Hussars.  slight edge

Martial Arts: eclectic fighters, War Sports,  Some evidence of classical Greek martial arts still in use vs. eclectic fighters, "War Sports" , Fencing, duels 

    Both had deadly war sports, whether it be an emperor-killing form of Polo or extreme jousting, and both were eclectic fighters. Fencing and dueling give the Hussars a much greater advantage then the Greek martial arts(which they may not have known about) give the Byzantines, as you can't really wrestle off horseback and in 106 pounds of armor. Full Edge Hussar   


  1. I'll be honest, I'm kinda surprised by the edges here. In my view, the bow would win out over the carbine due to the cataphract's experience with it was well as the long reload time of the carbine. Not to say it's a bad weapon, but the carbine would have a shorter effective range as well as only getting one shot off. To offset this, they would need to fire in massed volleys or up close which tends to expose them to trouble. Hussar horses would be easy pickings for a hail of arrows, and I doubt the Hussars would like to be knocked down and trampled by the Cataphracts once the horse has had enough and falls or becomes unruly.

    Also,I have to think the shield should at least count for something versus the Hussar weapons,and that having a shield is way better than not having one. Much like Pirate vs. Knight, I'm curious if the armor combined with the shield could stop the carbine at long ranges.

    With the lances, the Kontarion is sturdier and will at least have a chance of knocking the Hussar off his mount or getting the unarmored horse. The other one will be useless as there are records of Byzantines who were hit by lances but were unharmed.

    My last point concerns the armor, in that I didn't see you indicate that the hussars wore mail or any other type of joint armor to protect the armpits or groin. This could ever-so-slightly impact the success of the Cataphract in hand-to-hand combat.

    I'm not trying to make my own version of this contest; I just want to point out some ways the Cataphract may have the advantage since the edges as they are seem very favored to the Hussar. I would be quite surprised if the Hussar loses in the simulation, but I believe there were ways the Byzantine was superior and that the match would be closer than depicted here.

  2. I do not think the carbine will get through the shield, and I have already factored that in. The reason I gave the carbine a SLIGHT (.5) edge because it was the only Long Range weapon capable of directly killing...and the Hussars did not fire in massed volleys, they fired in with one hand while charging in (Hussars were taught to steer with their feet if necessary). Also it can be rather hard to hit a fast moving horse, and even if you do it might not go down on the first shot. This was a hard edge to give and I wavered for a while before ultimately deciding Hussar. The points are so close for this edge that it is not really going to be decisive.

    The kite shield is too big and cumbersome to be maneuvered very easily while on horse; mostly it would have just stayed on his left side and protected that.

    Both Lances are capable of knocking the other off his horse; the saddle didnt stop Alexius Commenus from falling off, he braced himself prior to impact. And the pistols are what decided the edge, not the lances.

    The Tasset could protect the groin and its going to be very hard to strike the armpits, but I factored it in anyway. Swords are going to be almost useless in this fight: hammers and axes are the weapons of choice here.

    You seem to be under the impression that I am short changing the Byzantine, that he's going to get slaughtered. This is false. A two point difference or less separates the two prospective warrior, and this will be almost as close as Dante vs. Alex.

  3. Also when are you going to do Gangsta thug bio?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I got sidetracked with that, it's kind of hard for me to justify spending hours working on something that only about a dozen people follow on a regular basis. It's not that I lost interest in the match; it's just that as you know it takes a lot of work to make these and I'm not sure if it is worth it for me to continue writing. Don't get me wrong; I love the concept behind these sims, and I have a lot of great memories of munching my popcorn in suspense reading some great literature courtesy of you and iHonk. I just think that the range of interest for something like this is pretty limited and when I tell my friends about these they think I'm nuts for trying to write.

    In my Intro to Music class I just took I learned that Berliosz waited for years to write his first symphony because he thought he could never compete with Beethoven's masterpieces. It's much the same thing with me,you and iHonk have so much more knowledge and dedication to this than I do that I would just rather appreciate the work of others rather than try to compare to them. I recommend your work to others because I think you are the best writer out of all of us, including myself.

    The forums were a lot more active even a few months ago, but looking back at the six competitors I used only Ares, myself, and iHonk are still around. Marek and Scarecrow still write every now and then, but tons of people stopped, including Francavilla, Kelly, Roker, Russia, and Ares. Even iHonk doesn't get as much of a following as he used to. Also, the way my mind works is that I get bursts of creativity every so often but often I just can't apply myself to sit down at the computer for a while.

    There ultimately comes a point where my time can be better spent elsewhere, and I think it's more productive to stay involved in the forum community where I can continue to offer my insight into matches there. Ares has taken this route, and he is more well-known and respected than ever. By staying involved, I can have the best of both worlds- a healthy interest in something that doesn't take up hours of my time.

    In closing, I adore the time and effort that go into your works, and I admire your dedication to these long projects, but I personally don't fit into such a schedule. Someday in the next month or so I will go back to my matchup and complete it, and this time it won't be released until it's finished. Until then, I will continue to be "afanofyourwork" and hang around the forums.

  6. heey guys.

    I was quite busy working on my own projects that i actually forgot reading yours. Its late in the evening now and i will head to bed soon, so tomorrow i will read about the edges you gave. from seeying your talk with Vicingetorix, i have something to look forward to and see in what ways i agree and disagree with you, so you can await another comment of me tomorrow when i acually have read your piece.

    on a lighter note, if you have not noticed, my story is finally done. After working for months on it, i have finished the story and as soon as i have looked into the warriors, i will start the sequal i told you about.

    I am also working very hard on my Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror match up, trying to be as indepth as possible. I have written down the information and weapons of Joan, and the information on Wlliam.
    As soon as it all is done i will post it.
    I have come across some informative and sometimes entertaining clips that you may enjoy. I will post them or send them to you soon.

    @Vice, i dont want to spoil the topic of monopolyman/afanofsparta but i do hope to see you here on this site more often and maybe you will write more in the future.

  7. Okay i have read it and altough i generaly agree, i think you are underrating the shield.
    Yes, on horseback, the shield will not see much use, only being able to protect the left side, but off horseback, it is an great offence and defence. So maybe you can think a bit of a sheld being used off horseback. in that way the dueling would not help much.

    Lastly i was wondering if the sound, smell and smoke of the gunpowder is going to suprise and take the kataphraktoi off guard. They have never encountered fire-arms before and it will be very disorienting i can assume.

  8. @ Aries: I actually changed my mind about writing after hearing iHonk, and I have decided to use my own creative philosophy when doing matchups. My second match, the one I'm working on now, is Toon Link vs. Sora, and the intro is complete while the profiles are in progress.

    I'm not necessarily saying the Byzantine should win, it's just that when one side gets all the edges we know who the winner will be from the start, and that takes some of the fun away. My own philosophy is that the matches should be as entertaining as possible, and I just think it's less exciting when I already know who will win.

    Aries, I know you are a regular around here to please take the time to check out my blog as well. You mentioned you write as well so I'll be sure to check out your stuff too. You can find my blog at:

    Thanks for your interest, and I'll be eagerly awaiting the simulation for this one!

  9. @ Vercingetorix. It'll be tonight if everything goes well. I already have the simulation written, and just need to post/explain results.

  10. This is very well presented and researched, but there are a few things you have missed about the winged hussars.

    The carbines, their firing would have scared the Cataphract's horses, who would be unused to such sounds. Probably the most significant reason for the Winged Hussars successes is psychological. The reason they wore wings, had meter long pennants, and wore leopard skins, was to intimidate their foes and more importantly, frighten their enemies mounts, who would, once again, be unused to such visions, smells, and sounds.

    Hussars regularly fought, and defeated, bow armed cavalry (Tartars and Turks). They used specialized tactics against such foes, and indeed any ranged troops. They always started their gallop in a slow pace, gaining momentum, and riding in a loose formation. After a certain moment (when within firing range usually) they would break into a full gallop. Moments before impact, they would close their formation. The cataphracts in this case would probably not have time to fully remount before the hussars reached them if using their slings, or not let out more then a single arrow volley if remaining mounted. In any case their effectivness would have been reduced.

    This gives the Hussars a real edge when it comes to the charge, but I think you are putting to much emphasis on the armour of both warriors, and am certain that a lance would have little trouble going through especially the mail armor of a cataphract. The Muscovites and Turks' cavalry also wore such mail(albeit more modern), and they still mostly fared poorly against the Hussars charge.

  11. Q Sire Brenshar

    Thank you for the comments, ill do my best to address them as I can.

    The Psychological impact of guns was one of the reason they scored so well, as in a head to head contest with bows and pre-repeating guns, The American Great plains and Sengdoku Japan both prove that bows are capable of standing toe to toe with firearms. The Hussar armor I admit I did not properly address, but in my opinion the years of training that the Byzantines had with their horse would help them in dealing with the Psychological aspect, albeit with some difficulty.

    The hussars did indeed defeat heavily armed lance Calvary, bow equipped cavalry, and various other types of cavalry- but did they defeat cavalry that combined all these traits into one? I think I mentioned the tactics that you elude to in my Hussar bio.

    Slings have a massive range, and if they slung them at 400-300 yards I believe the Cataphracts would have enough time to remount should the Hussars start charging then . Yes they may have gotten off only a single volley, but their is one big factor that you are ignoring and that is fatigue. An early charge will result in men and horses getting more drained earlier in the battle, such draining was less likely to happen to the Cataphracts as they would have been trained to conserve energy with all that armor on.

    As for the lance getting through mail I firmly believe that question is a resounding no. Deadliest warrior potrays uses butted mail, which was terrible and not historically used. Real mail was much more powerful , as this video shows : . And would the lance (or any other weapon of the Hussars )be able to go through not just the mail, but the overcoat, steel Lamellar and padded leather vest of the Byzantine? I believe this question's answer is a empathetic No! As I mentioned earlier the armor of the horse played a much greater factor then that of the man, which would be ripe target for the opportunistic Byzantine, who were known as scoundrels among their neighbors.

    I hope I have done my best to answer your questions!

  12. Also I would like to mention that their are accounts of Byzantine Cataphracts with multiple lances sticking out of their armor, looking like pincushions. None of those lances were able to penetrate, and many of them were less brittle then the Kopia.

  13. About lances vs Cataphracts armor - lance did not have to pierce armor - it would suffice to transfer the momentum of horse+rider to the other rider. And hussar lances were longer, so before Cataphracts could use theirs, Poles would have used(and broken) theirs.

    Who will win the lances battle would depend mostly on one thing - do cataphracts are glued to their horses strong enough, to survive the punch, or would they be thrown of the house. I'd say they have slim chances.

    Also - Hussars were supposed to "bounce" of the enemy ranks, if they couldn't break them - they transmitted the momentum by lances, and went from full gallop to almost stop in a few meters, there they would use pistols, or koncerz, szabla was only for not armored enemies. In their situation I would use koncerz and target heads of enemy horses.

    Anyway - great posts, thank yuo for the effort.