Deadliest Warrior (2011): S03E09 – Gurkhas vs. French Foreign Legion


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


Britain’s ferocious Nepalese warrior mercenaries are matched against France’s hardened and expendable foreign mercenary forces.

  • French Foreign Legion Team: Corporal Nick Hughes [retired] (FFL Recon Diver/Commando), Geoff Wawro, PhD (French Foreign Legion Historian)
    French Foreign Legion Weapons: Camillus, MAS-36 Rifle, Browning Automatic Rifle
    French Foreign Legion Tactics: Active Defence
  • Gurkha Team: Sergeant Rastra Rai [retired] (20-Year Gurkha Soldier), Lieutenant John Conlin [retired] (Former Gurkha Commander)
    Gurkha Weapons: Kukri, Enfield No. 4 Rifle, Bren Light Machine Gun
    Gurkha Tactics: Improvised Ambush
  • This is the first episode to feature warriors fighting under a country other than their native one (the Gurkhas fight for the United Kingdom and the Legion is open to foreigners who want to serve France).
  • For short-range weapons, the kukri was tested against the camillus in eliminating 3 targets (2 guards, 1 pop-up). Although both weapons scored 3 kills with the camillus having a higher strike force of 81 mph to the kukri’s 59 mph, the edge was given to the kukri for its larger blade.
  • For mid-range weapons, the MAS-36 was tested against the Lee-Enfield No.4 in terminal ballistics and in eliminating 5 targets (3 moving, 2 static) with 20 rounds. In the first test, the MAS-36 had a muzzle velocity of 2647fps compared to 2417fps for the Lee-Enfield No.4. In the second test, both rifles had a 5/5 kill ratio with the Lee-Enfield No.4 scoring a 13/20 hit ratio in 2:07 and the MAS-36 scoring a 14/20 hit ratio in 2:54. The edge was given to the Lee-Enfield No.4 for its faster reload and longer range.
  • For long-range weapons, the BAR was tested against the Bren in eliminating 3 targets at 100, 50, and 25 yards. The BAR completed the test in 58s while the Bren completed the test in 53s but jammed once. The edge was given to the BAR for its mechanical reliability, lighter weight, smaller recoil, and longer range.
  • The rate of fatigue for the French Foreign Legion was 10.9%, and 5.02% for the Gurkhas. This was factored in due to the legendary regimens of each warrior. The Legionaries brutally train in the desert, complete with severe corporal punishment and the world’s highest training mortality rate. The Gurkhas are physiologically less susceptible to fatigue due to the high altitude mountainous environment in which they live, strengthening their legs from incessant high incline traversal and lessening their dependence on oxygen after generations of exposure to the thin mountain air.
  • Even though both fighting forces still exist today, this match puts them both in World War II due to their reputation during that period.
  • This is the second match-up where the opponents are contemporaneous allies (they both fought for the Allies during World War II).
  • The French Foreign Legion is the second warrior group composed of different nationalities.
  • A bonus clip available on showcases additional X-Factors that went into the simulator.

Re-enactment 31

The battle begins with 5 relaxed French Foreign Legionnaires milling about at their campsite. Not far away, a squad of 5 Gurkhas are preparing an ambush. A legionnaire sentry relieves his fellow guardsman as the lead Gurkha cuts a hole in the legion’s barbed wire fence using wire snips. The sentry watches along the perimeter of the camp site, unaware of the Gurkhas’ position. A Gurkha takes aim with his Lee–Enfield No. 4 and fires, alerting the rest of the legion. The legion immediately scramble for defensive positions, firing their MAS-36 rifles and BAR machine guns while the Gurkhas fire back with their Lee-Enfields and Bren machine guns. As his position begins to crumble, the sentry attempts to leave his sandbag cover, but is shot down in the crossfire. An African legionnaire quickly re-cocks his bolt action MAS and fires, killing a Gurkha. He quickly fires off one more shot before running back for cover behind sandbags. As the rest of the small legion falls back, the Gurkhas start to advance, taking position in front of the sandbags and continuing to lay down covering fire as two Gurkhas run up through the camp, dodging small artillery fire and jumping over the barbed wire barricade. A Gurkha jumps out of cover and briefly stops to clear a jam in his Bren machine gun, but is shot by a legionnaire who gets up from his position and fires his BAR at the Gurkha. As soon as he’s visible, a Gurkha behind a nearby tree shoots him in the head with his Lee–Enfield rifle. While the other Gurkhas inspect the tents for any other legionnaires, the African legionnaire pops out of cover behind sandbags and shoots one of the wandering Gurkhas in the head. The other Gurkha sniper quickly retaliates by shooting him in the head while he’s still standing. As the Gurkhas draw closer to the 2 remaining legionnaires, the lead legionnaire jumps out of cover and fires his MAS at the lead Gurkha. The Gurkha takes cover behind a tent as the 2 legionnaires unload the rest of their ammo at the retreating Gurkhas. As they retreat, the lead Gurkha gestures to his partner to split up as the 2 legionnaires come charging at them. Nearby, the other legionnaire cautiously searches for his prey, aiming his rifle. The lead Gurkha sneaks up behind him and brings his kukri blade down, cutting through the legionnaire’s kepi and into his skull. The other Gurkha, armed with his kukri, is also brought down from behind as the lead legionnaire grabs him from behind and stabs him in the neck with his Callimus knife. The two leaders soon confront each other near a hillside, knives in hand as a knife fight showdown ensues. Both leaders step to each other, daring the other to attack. As soon as they come closer to each other, they begin to swing at each other, with the Gurkha scoring the first strike with a backhanded cut across the left cheek. The Gurkha goes in for a follow-up strike, but the legionnaire counters with a strike across the right cheek that causes the Gurkha to stumble down the hillside. As soon as he regains his balance, the legionnaire goes in for a strike and follows up with a thrust. The Gurkha recovers and moves out of the way, causing the legionnaire’s Callimus to get stuck in a log that was behind the Gurkha. As the legionnaire tries to free his knife, the Gurkha takes the opportunity to slash his opponent diagonally across the back and kick him. The legionnaire frees his knife and swings his knife 180 degrees, causing the Gurkha to jump back. The Gurkha slashes the legionnaire twice across the face. The legionnaire goes in for a thrust attack in desperation, but the Gurkha grabs him arm and stops him. He then swings his knife, slashing through the legionnaire’s throat. As the legionnaire lies on the ground drawing his last breath, the Gurkha raises his arms and bloodied kukri into the air, shouting “Ayo Gurkhali!” (The Gurkhas are here!) in victory.

Winner: Gurkhas.

Deadliest Warrior Series

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

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 14 September 2011.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.