Deadliest Warrior (2011): S03E02 – Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


Joan of Arc, the female warrior who saved France during the Hundred Years’ War, vs. William the Conqueror, the Norman king who took the English throne by force.

  • Joan of Arc team: Claire Dodin (15th Century Weapons Expert), Timothy Pickles (Military Historian)
    Joan of Arc weapons: French Arming Sword, Steel Crossbow, Siege Cannon
    Joan of Arc armour: Plate Armor
    Joan of Arc tactics: “Audacious Attack”
  • William the Conqueror team: Jason McNeil (Medieval Combat Specialist), Stephen Morillo, PhD (Chair, Wabash College)
    William the Conqueror weapons: Norman Broadsword, Composite Crossbow, Torsion Catapult
    William the Conqueror armour: Chain Mail Hauberk
    William the Conqueror tactics: Feigned Retreat
  • This is the first co-ed episode, as well as the first episode to test siege engines.
  • For short-range weapons, the arming sword was tested against the Norman broadsword in eliminating four targets and damaging one special target wearing the opposing warrior’s armour. The Arming sword achieved four kills and penetrated William’s armour in 35s while the Norman Broadsword achieved five kills in 21s but did not penetrate Joan’s armour. The edge was given to the Norman Broadsword for its better performance at thrusting and slashing.
  • For mid-range weapons, the Composite Crossbow was tested against the Steel Crossbow in eliminating three defenders. The Composite Crossbow scored a 3/9 hit ratio, a 1/6 kill ratio, and an Average Reload time of 20 sec while the Steel Crossbow scored a 6/9 hit ratio, a 4/6 kill ratio, and an Average Reload time of 57s. The edge was given to the Steel Crossbow for its better accuracy.
  • For long-range weapons, the 12-Pound Siege Cannon was tested against the Torsion catapult in a simulated castle siege. The Siege Cannon inflicted heavy damage on a wall with its first three shots and bored a large hole into a gel dummy with the fifth shot, despite missing it with the fourth. The average reload time was 1m and 24s. The Torsion Catapult fired rocks over a castle wall and scored a 3/5 kill ratio with an average reload time of 1m and 1s. The edge was given to the Siege Cannon for its intimidation factor and ability to actually breach a castle wall.
  • For armour, Joan’s Full Plate was tested against William’s Chainmail Hauberk in encumbrance and protection capability. Joan’s Full Plate only reduced her mobility by 14% and deflected a blow from the Norman Broadsword while William’s Chainmail Hauberk reduced his Mobility by 27% and was pierced three times by the Arming Sword. The edge was given to Joan’s Full Plate due to its greater manoeuvrability and the failure of William’s Chainmail Hauberk.
  • For military tactics, Joan’s “Audacity” was compared to William’s “Feigned Retreat”. At the Siege of Orléans, Joan snuck some of her forces into Orléans and then ordered them to regroup for a bold, frontal attack on the English Siege Post which succeeded in lifting the siege and saving Orléans from capitulation. At the Battle of Hastings, William’s initial uphill attack was foiled by the Saxons forming a Shield Wall formation on top of a hill. By feigning retreats, he deceived them into breaking their shield wall formation and coming off the high ground which allowed his forces to inflict significant casualties on the pursuing Saxon forces. With their ranks thinned out and their shield wall reduced in effectiveness, William ordered his archers to fire on the rear of the Saxon army which succeeded in inflicting further casualties and mortally wounding king Harold Godwinson, clinching the victory for the Normans. The edge was given to William’s “Feigned Retreat” for the greater tactical significance of his victory at Hastings.
  • This is the first ancient match-up that features warriors of the same region (France). However, William, the Conqueror is Norman.
  • Joan of Arc is the only warrior whose historical death is shown.
  • This is the first ancient match to feature 5 on 5, as well as the first ancient match to have a counter to tell how many combatants are remaining on each side.
  • Joan of Arc is the second female to take part in the fight, the only female to lead a team, and the only female to survive the final battle (an innocent woman was gunned down in a fire fight between the Yakuza and Mafia, both female spies died in KGB vs. CIA, and all the female undead in Vampires vs. Zombies were killed).
  • This is the third of three episodes to have a warrior with at least one gunpowder-based weapon win over one who does not.
  • A bonus scene not shown in the original broadcast available at showed some additional X-factors that went into the simulator.
  • Joan of Arc killed 3 combatants in the simulation, earning her the most kills out of any female warrior (the female KGB agent earned 2 kills).
  • Joan of Arc is the twelfth warrior to win after scoring more kills at mid range and long range.

Re-enactment 24

Joan of Arc finishes a prayer to God and resumes her siege on William’s castle, assisted by four French knights while William the Conqueror defends with four Norman soldiers. Two of the Norman soldiers (one on the ramparts and one in an arrow slit) fire their composite crossbows with both missing. The French knights fire their siege cannon, damaging the wall and killing the archer behind the arrow slit. William orders his men to load and fire the torsion catapult which rains down a rock and crushes one of the French knights. The siege cannon fires another shot which breaches the castle wall and also destroys the catapult as well as knocking down the Normans who were operating it. The Norman soldier on the ramparts shoots his crossbow but only hits a siege mantlet. One of the knights fires back with his steel crossbow and kills the crossbowman. A third Norman shoots Joan with his crossbow but the bolt is unable to penetrate her plate armour. Reloading, the third Norman takes out the crossbow knight who was with Joan with a fatal shot to the eye. Joan readies the crossbow that the killed knight had been loading, and shoots the third Norman soldier, killing him. As Joan and the remaining two knights enter the castle through the breach in the wall, William’s fourth and last soldier kills a third knight with a slice to the face. Joan rushes up and stabs him in the neck with her arming sword. William now stands alone in his castle and readies himself with his shield and sword. Joan and her last knight charge up to William on two separate sets of stairs. The knight reaches the top first and William engages him. He disarms the knight who then desperately grabs and takes William’s shield away. William stabs the unarmed knight with his broadsword and pushes the man off the wall, just as Joan reaches his position. William and Joan fight, with William using his physicality, size, and leverage to strike Joan in the chest. Her armour absorbs the blow from his blade and is dented, but it protects her as she backs down a few steps. Clashing swords again, William tries to swing his broadsword down from overhead. Joan uses her lower position on the stairs to thrust her sword twice through William’s left leg. As he collapses, he makes one last effort to kill her, but Joan grabs his arm and sword. She dispatches the Conqueror with a thrust through his chain mail and into his chest. His blade taken away by Joan and mortally wounded, William falls down from the wall, landing next to the French knight he had killed. With the castle under her command and her enemy dead, Joan gives a shout of triumph.

Winner: Joan of Arc.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 27 July 2011.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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