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The Medival European Knight vs a Japanese Samurai

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  • Originally posted by revans View Post
    Galfirdus, I think takes the knights, not sure about pirate or biliev.
    I would go with the knight if I had to bet but I don't rule out the prospect of a samurai victory. My basic belief is that combat, personal, tactical, and strategic, centers around one's ability to minimize one's weaknesses and maximize one's strengths. If you know how to do this you can beat just about anything. The story of David and Goliath is a classic example. Whether or not you believe this duel actually happened it is an excellent object lesson.

    My verdict is that the knight would win if both opponents are equally skilled. But he is not invincible. If the samurai is crafty enough to force him to fight the samurai's fight then the samurai could win. That is why, early in this debate, I provided a scenario both for a knight win and samurai win.
    A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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    • Ok, Now to answer all the questions about my assessment. Also, I did not take a postion on the initial posts, because I felt doing so would polarize the post into a camp, thereby precluding the other camp from actually reading it for content, instead of just picking it apart. First and foremost I wanted to identify all the factors inherent in such an encounter, and the difficulties for all sides.

      I felt that the Samurai Advocates were too highly praising the Samurai's stamina, even though they had never seen one fight for an extended period of time.

      I felt that the Knight advocates were putting too much emphasis on the lance charge, and agreeing with the S advocates that the K could not survive an extended ground duel.

      I also felt that because the shield has always been a mainstay of the ancient and medieval European army, and one that virtually every knight committed to canvas is carrying, that it should be included as part of the knight's kit. The Samurai didn't use shields. Their problem, not the knight's.

      Bilev1:

      By the way, TacCovert, good analysis, realistic conditions, overall I liked your assessment, assuming your 'neutral conditions'. However, I think a mutual charge would be suicide for a samurai. The samurai will probably realize this looking at the metal giant with the long lance. The samurai will probably try to kill or maim the horse somehow or flank the knight somehown in order to neutralize the lance.

      Tac,

      Ahh, but in the scenario, the samurai has challenged the knight to a duel. After exhausting his limited arrow supply, the samurai must close, and in something of a expedited manner. His honor, after all, is at stake. I based the challenge off of the the general attitudes. Samurai were much more intent on dueling than knights, so I assumed that with both armies drawn up the S would challenge first. In the first charge, I also showed the S's unwillingness to close for a true lance charge.

      Revans:

      Taccovert 4, welcome to this ongoing debate and very nice posts. But one little quibble and I also have waffled, who wins in your scenario? You have avoided taking a side in this thing. I believe the samurai would win, Galfirdus, I think takes the knights, not sure about pirate or biliev.

      Tac,

      I'm taking the Knight. After all, if both are at the top of their game, stamina will be about equal, with maybe a slight edge, a slight edge towards the S. After all, the S has trained with his lightweight armor, and the knight with his heavy armor. Take 2 average people and have them run a marathon, only one is running in full pack and one is running with a camelbak, the camelback will win by a mile. But take a runner that has trained all his life in full pack, knowing nothing else, and one who has trained in camelbak all his life, and the race will be much more even. Resistance and duration builds muscle and stamina. The Knight will be proportionately equal, but in reality will be much stronger and have greater endurance than the S. If both were given Katanas and no armor at all, the knight would win, hands down.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

      Comment


      • I can't believe that never crossed my mind, Tac you are by far more focused on the ball then me. By the way as one of the knight advocates I did not agree with "evade until the knight is tired" idea I just couldn't think of anything to say against it, I had a strong feeling against it because of the wide use of heavy armour, anti-armour fighting methods and anti-armour weaponry it just doesn't make sense that such a simple counter against an amour advantage could exist.

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        • Yeah, reluctantly I find myself agreeing with Tac's assessment. I never thought about the training aspect in full armor. It would give the knight greater stamina having known nothing else.
          Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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          • To shed some personal experience on the training thing:

            In boot camp we train for forced marches with 35 pound ALICE packs (Love/hate relationship with these suckers). In Combat Training, we used MOLLE IIs. Those Mollys had a whole lot more stuff in them. Mine ended up weighing about 110 pounds for the final march, a 15K back to barracks from the field. I hurt on those marches in Combat Training, because I had never gone so far with that much weight. Had my pack in Boot camp been 55 pounds, it would have been much easier. Had it been 125 pounds, I would have suffered in boot camp but blazed through the MCT forced marches.

            We also did a lot of moving in Flak Jackets and assault packs, indeed virtually every blasted day. We never did that in boot camp. But when I checked into my unit and had to do a PFT on the spot, my 3 mile (5K) run time was 2 minutes faster than it had been previous to combat training, even though I had done little running over a 400 yard dash the whole month. The weight alone, even walking, built stamina.

            Knights come from squires (exception to the rare nobleman or king directly brought into the heavy cav ranks from nothing) which trained heavily. In fact, they typically trained with swords, shields and armor roughly 50 to 100 percent heavier than the combat gear. This way, when they moved up and actually fought for real, their speed was vastly improved. I do some sword work, as well as bayonet work for reenactment and simulated combat purposes. I train for bayonet work with a heavier rifle bayonet combo that I would ever actually use. The same for sword work. The whole idea is that if I train to swing a 8 pound sword, swinging a 4 pound one will be much easier.
            Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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            • Weapon wise, the Samurai would wins. The katana is truly fearsome weapon.

              Armor wise, the Knight would wins. Clad in heavy plate, I don't think even the katana could penetrate.

              However, all that armor would be very heavy, and anything exposed would be the target of the katana. But, the knight does have good variety of weapons to choose from, warhammer, maces, flails, axes, longswords, shortswords, broadswords, pikes, etc.

              In general I would have to say the the European knight would probably win. But it would also depend a lot on the skill, vigor, and strength of each opponent.

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              • Welcome to the debate that doesn't end Tankguy3.

                Just to ask a question (the rest of my position is presented in my assessments). If the Katana is such a fearsome weapon, why does it have such a limited use against a fully armored knight? I mean, if the knight truly had a severe weakness to it, he should fear it. But why should he fear something that can do little or no damage to 75+% of his body?

                Is fearsomeness an inherent trait? Or is it in the eye of the one being subjected to it?
                Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                • Oh my Odin. What have I done!







                  I can barely scratch reading this now. Go Euros!!! All continue trying to cacth up.
                  yeah!

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                  • Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                    Ok, Now to answer all the questions about my assessment. Also, I did not take a postion on the initial posts, because I felt doing so would polarize the post into a camp, thereby precluding the other camp from actually reading it for content, instead of just picking it apart. First and foremost I wanted to identify all the factors inherent in such an encounter, and the difficulties for all sides.

                    I felt that the Samurai Advocates were too highly praising the Samurai's stamina, even though they had never seen one fight for an extended period of time.

                    I felt that the Knight advocates were putting too much emphasis on the lance charge, and agreeing with the S advocates that the K could not survive an extended ground duel.

                    I also felt that because the shield has always been a mainstay of the ancient and medieval European army, and one that virtually every knight committed to canvas is carrying, that it should be included as part of the knight's kit. The Samurai didn't use shields. Their problem, not the knight's.

                    Bilev1:

                    By the way, TacCovert, good analysis, realistic conditions, overall I liked your assessment, assuming your 'neutral conditions'. However, I think a mutual charge would be suicide for a samurai. The samurai will probably realize this looking at the metal giant with the long lance. The samurai will probably try to kill or maim the horse somehow or flank the knight somehown in order to neutralize the lance.

                    Tac,

                    Ahh, but in the scenario, the samurai has challenged the knight to a duel. After exhausting his limited arrow supply, the samurai must close, and in something of a expedited manner. His honor, after all, is at stake. I based the challenge off of the the general attitudes. Samurai were much more intent on dueling than knights, so I assumed that with both armies drawn up the S would challenge first. In the first charge, I also showed the S's unwillingness to close for a true lance charge.

                    Revans:

                    Taccovert 4, welcome to this ongoing debate and very nice posts. But one little quibble and I also have waffled, who wins in your scenario? You have avoided taking a side in this thing. I believe the samurai would win, Galfirdus, I think takes the knights, not sure about pirate or biliev.

                    Tac,

                    I'm taking the Knight. After all, if both are at the top of their game, stamina will be about equal, with maybe a slight edge, a slight edge towards the S. After all, the S has trained with his lightweight armor, and the knight with his heavy armor. Take 2 average people and have them run a marathon, only one is running in full pack and one is running with a camelbak, the camelback will win by a mile. But take a runner that has trained all his life in full pack, knowing nothing else, and one who has trained in camelbak all his life, and the race will be much more even. Resistance and duration builds muscle and stamina. The Knight will be proportionately equal, but in reality will be much stronger and have greater endurance than the S. If both were given Katanas and no armor at all, the knight would win, hands down.
                    Your a genius! It takes much more strength to swing slowly as the Knight then it does to swing fast as a Samurai. So with no Armor the Knight will be fast with his blade. If the blades should lock, the Knight will still be stronger from working in the heavy armor.
                    yeah!

                    Comment


                    • I think the closest we'll ever come to knowing is to study the battle of Kulikovo field. At the opening of the largest (maybe) battle of the Middle Ages, the Russian champion and the Mongol's champion engaged in a one on one duel. The Russian noble can represent our Knight, in this case, because his equipment would have been similar and he would surely have been trained to fight for all his life. The Mongol warrior would have worn heavy lamellar armor, like the samurai, and would have had a life on campaign to toughen him.
                      Apparently they both killed each other.

                      Comment


                      • East meets West

                        Originally posted by Swampwolf View Post
                        I think the closest we'll ever come to knowing is to study the battle of Kulikovo field. At the opening of the largest (maybe) battle of the Middle Ages, the Russian champion and the Mongol's champion engaged in a one on one duel. The Russian noble can represent our Knight, in this case, because his equipment would have been similar and he would surely have been trained to fight for all his life. The Mongol warrior would have worn heavy lamellar armor, like the samurai, and would have had a life on campaign to toughen him.
                        Apparently they both killed each other.
                        Well researched comparison!!!
                        I tried to do the same, substituting a Mongol for a samurai as AFAIK the Mongol invasions in Europe were the only occasions where a Western knight could meet an Oriental counterpart, but failed to come up with anything like the Kulikovo duel.
                        Perhaps the outcome is symbolic for our discussion
                        BoRG

                        You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

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                        • It would be interesting to know how they died.

                          I'm betting that the Russian bled to death from his wounds, the 'death of a thousand papercuts', and the Mongol was felled by a single, or maybe two blows or stabs to the head and torso, ie massive trauma.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • I'm pretty sure the story has them attacking head on, lancer style. I can more easily imagine them making one pass, giving each other a part of their lance, and dying afterwards than I can a kind of duel out of the Iliad. Who really knows though.

                            According to legend, the Russian died but remained in his saddle, while the Mongol died and then fell from the saddle. The result was symbolic of the coming battle and the fates of Russia and the Golden Horde.

                            As far as eastern warriors and their western counterparts, I think that with the emphasis on a warrior being something intrinsic to human civilization, and respected by any man, the final conclusion comes down to the man himself. Whether the medieval western method of fighting was more useful or less than the eastern method is going to depend on the exemplar. Instead of just using Japan vs West, let's use just England and Japan. England has its legend of Robin Hood, splitting one arrow with a second, and Japan has Yoichi, splitting in half the Taira (enemy clan, during a major naval battle) symbolic fan in half with an arrow.

                            England has William Marshall, who was said to have unhorsed a disrespectful then Prince Richard by handy swordwork from the ground, and Japan has Sanada Yukimura, who led a ragtag coalition in a hopeless last stand, but still managed to singlehandedly break the enemy lines and stab the commander in the kidney before dying.
                            These stories abound in any civilization and I think it's fair to say that everyone has their heroes.

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                            • Knight and Samurai

                              I just ran across a link which may help. It's a comparison of the two ways of fighting and how similar they were.

                              http://www.ospreysamurai.com/

                              Follow that and then click on Knights and Samurai on the left. It's a good description of what we were discussing.

                              I hope that someone will help me revive this thread. I get tired of talking about the samurai to myself.
                              Last edited by R. Evans; 30 Aug 07, 15:54.
                              Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

                              Comment


                              • Uh oh, here we go again!
                                A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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