Deadliest Warrior (2011): S03E03 – US Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Forces


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


US Army Rangers, the upper branch of the American army, vs. the North Korean Special Operations Forces, the most skilled fighters in the worlds’ most secret country.

  • U.S. Army Ranger team: Staff Sergeant Tim Kennedy (US Army Ranger), Lieutenant Colonel John Lock [retired] (US Army Ranger/Historian)
    US Army Ranger weapons: M4 Assault Rifle, SR-25 Sniper Rifle, Claymore Mine
    US Army Ranger hand-to-hand combat: Special Operations Combatives Programme
  • North Korean Special Ops team: Charles Joh (SWAT CDR/Tactics Specialist), Ji Jay Kim (Former South Korean Marine), Thomas Rix (Former US Intelligence Officer), Grand Master Ho Jin Song (9th Degree Black Belt)
    North Korean Special Ops weapons: Type 68 AKM, PSL, Anti-Personnel Box Mine
    North Korean Special Ops hand-to-hand combat: Hapkido and Tae-kwon-do hybrid
  • This is the first match-up which could potentially take place in real life due to the current relations between the two warriors’ countries.
  • For mid-range weapons, the Type 68 was tested against the M4 Carbine in eliminating six targets inside a command post. Although both rifles completed the test in 30s, the Type 68 used only 13 shots while the M4 used all 30 shots. The edge was given to the Type 68 for its greater stopping power.
  • For long-range weapons, the SR-25 was tested against the PSL in eliminating six targets (3 static, 1 moving, 1 hidden, and 1 counter-sniper) during a simulated assault on a communications post. The SR-25 completed the test in 1m and 48s while the PSL completed the test in 2m and 7s. The edge was given to the SR-25 for its lighter recoil and 20-round clip capacity.
  • For explosive weapons, the Box Mine was tested against the M18 Claymore in eliminating a group of three targets. The box mine failed to trigger the pointman’s 100G shock patch but still killed it with a potentially fatal leg amputation while the M18 Claymore killed all three targets through its shrapnel spray. The edge was given to the M18 Claymore for its higher lethality.
  • For close combat, the NKSOF’s hapkido+taekwondo combination was compared to the Army Ranger’s SOCP. The combination of hapkido and taekwondo relies on using the attacker’s energy against him and attacking his pressure points as well as using circular motions and quick strikes followed by a lethal finishing blow while SOCP relies on simple, quick blunt force to do damage and make space. Both styles of fighting were deemed to be equally effective but were factored into the simulation as X-factors, not weapons.
  • This is the only match-up without short range weapons, the third without any melee weapons, and the third to feature hand-to-hand combat (although this was the first time it was factored into the simulation).
  • This episode used footage from the film Black Hawk Down, which is based on the real-life story of Rangers risking their lives to recover fallen comrades.
  • This is the second battle where a combatant eliminates himself and an opponent in a suicide (the third Ranger, mortally wounded by the fourth NKSOF soldier, detonates a Claymore which kills both of them).
  • The PSL is one of two weapons to not score any kills in the Season 3-formatted simulation.
  • This battle is the closest match in Deadliest Warrior history with a difference of 8 kills.
  • A bonus scene not shown in the original broadcast available at showed the battlefield tactics of each warrior in the scenario of North Korea invading South Korea and the response by the US, which Mack deemed too close to call for him to give either side the edge.
  • The US Army Rangers are the second warrior to get the edge in explosive weapons and win (The other is the IRA).

Re-enactment 25

Somewhere along the Korean Peninsula, a group of 5 U.S. Army Rangers are getting set to raid a Korean occupied facility, largely resembling a factory. The lead Ranger gestures with his arm, and the other Rangers copy as they march up to the facility. The Ranger sniper separates himself from the group and sets up his SR-25 rifle, surveying the area. He soon finds the enemy sniper and his spotter on a ledge, and a patrolling soldier further down. The Ranger takes aim and takes out the sniper. He quickly changes targets to the half-aware patrolling soldier and quickly downs him. The sniper quickly vacates the area, hauling away the sniper rifle while the spotter crawls to avoid any further engagement and takes his AKM assault rifle. Meanwhile, the Ranger group marches slowly up a drainage ditch when one ranger trips a box landmine, sending him flying. Hearing the commotion, two Korean Special Ops emerge from a doorway and start firing full-auto volleys at the Rangers. The injured Ranger calls for help while another Ranger braves the shots and attempts to pull the downed man to safety. Soon, the Korean from the roof fires his PSL, cutting down the Ranger. The downed Ranger is also shot through with the North Korean’s Type 68. Both sides continue to fire on each other until all three Koreans fall back into the facility. Seeing their chance, the Rangers begin their advance after the Koreans. Back inside, the Korean leader gestures to his friend to ambush them from the stairs while he goes on ahead. Two Rangers follow them into the building and are met with assault rifle fire. The Rangers waste no time and quickly kill the attacker, sending him over the railing. Meanwhile, the Ranger sniper comes to another part of the facility and whips off his backpack. A nearby NKSOF hears the commotion and goes to investigate. The sniper finishes rigging up a Claymore landmine, but is stopped dead in his tracks by the SOF’s rifle fire. The intruding soldier walks up to confirm his kill, but the sniper, barely showing signs of life, presses the detonator. He is killed by the mine’s explosion while the Korean is flung into the air and killed by the deadly shrapnel. Back inside the facility, both of the remaining Rangers are searching for the Korean leader. While cleverly hidden in the shadows, the Korean leader kills one of the Rangers when he comes too close. The Korean leader fires off one last round at the Ranger leader before emptying his gun. The Korean leader runs for the stairs as the Ranger leader spots him and takes a shot at him. The Korean leader sets his rifle down under cover from the stairs and continues his escape, while the cautious Ranger leader makes his way after him. The Korean leader sets himself hidden behind a wall and waits for the Ranger leader. The Ranger leader soon gets within range of the Korean leader as he tries to wrest his M4 away from him. The Ranger leader fights back and hits him across the face with the rifle. The Korean leader attacks with a spinning hook kick which spins the Ranger leader around and to his knees. The Korean leader tries to choke him from behind, but the Ranger leader flips him over his shoulder. Before he can do anything, the Korean leader kicks him in the head, knocking him down. The Korean leader gets to his feet as the Ranger leader does the same and tries to kick the M4 away from his hands. The Korean leader manages to hold down the rifle, but the Ranger leader counters with a headbutt. The Ranger leader stomps at the Korean leader to keep his distance and fires a rifle round into him, and the Korean leader drops dead. The Ranger raises his fist and shouts “Rangers lead the way!” in victory.

Winner: US Army Rangers.

Deadliest Warrior Series

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

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 03 August 2011.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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