Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum - Caesar at Hastings

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It’s Hardcore History, Addendum.

So we’re finally getting enough of these Hardcore History Addendum shows out

so that a little bit of the pattern, I think,

is starting to establish itself in terms of what it was going to be,

because we said at the outset I was hoping to use it

as a subsidiary feed for things that just didn’t really fit

into the big Hardcore History experience, should we say.

So far we’ve had interviews.

Daniele Bellulli and I did a program together.

We did a sort of a mini Hardcore History episode

on the sinking of the Indianapolis and all those sharks.

And now I think we will put the last piece maybe in place

in terms of the strange stuff you might find

on the Hardcore History Addendum feed,

with an admittedly somewhat perhaps historically goofy show,

but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have interesting elements

in it that might be worth examining

that point to bigger societal historical trends.

But it falls into the category of these little teeny

narrowly focused sort of subjects

that once again I figure we’ll use in the Addendum program.

I mean, it might be boxing, it might be punk rock,

it might be comic books, you never know.

But it’s going to appeal more to a slice of the audience

rather than a more wide section.

So I’m hoping that like in five years

when you look at the whole archives,

it’ll be full of stuff that you might not care for,

but other things that you really think is,

oh, that’s fun, that’s really narrow,

I like that subject,

so 1950s science fiction comic books, my favorite.

Today’s program, I’m going to start it off with a question

and sort of progress from there if I can.

You know, these things aren’t scripted,

so I don’t always know where it goes.

I mean, for all I know, I’m starting off with one idea

and this will be about 1950s science fiction comic books

by the end, so we will all see where this journey takes us.

But let me start with inviting you over

for a war game with me.

And I’m talking about old school stuff,

this isn’t computer deals, this is, you know,

we open up the trays and the boxes

and we pull out the miniatures.

Maybe we’re going to have a battle

where I’m going to pull out one tray for myself.

Maybe we’ll take out a Second World War German army

or Soviet army from 1942.

I’m going to give you another tray and another box

and when you open it up, you see miniatures from armies

from 1914, the start of the First World War.

So, in other words, your friend Dan

then invited you over for a nice fair war game,

may the best man win or woman win,

and I take a middle Second World War army

and I give you a start of the First World War army.

It’s like 25 years difference,

that’s practically cheating, isn’t it?

You stand no chance.

I like to stack the deck, what can I say?

At this point, you would declare this to be unfair,

cite unsportsmanlike conduct and go home.

If, however, we decided we were going to play,

you know, what was always called ancients back in the day,

that’s really anything pre-gunpowder,

we’re going to have a battle from the ancient period

and I pull out an army from 1066,

you know, pull out some Normans,

the army that invaded Britain

and deposed the Anglo-Saxon monarchy there, right?


And I give you an army from more than a thousand years earlier.

You may, depending on the army,

be perfectly willing to fight with it

and, in fact, think that I put myself at a disadvantage.

What if I gave you Alexander the Great’s army

from three, let’s just say 338,

throwing out a number there,

Macedonians against Normans?

Now, anybody that actually played war games

in the era that I did knows

that you were forced to fight battles like this all the time.

You were forced to fight alternative history battles

by the nature of the economics of the hobby.

Let me explain.

And see, this is where we go into territory

that a lot of people are going to go,

why do we care about this?

I’ll check out another addendum show later

and hopefully it’s your favorite topic when you do.

See you later.

Okay, for the rest of you.

And we’ll probably whittle down the audience

to 1950s science fiction comic book lovers by the end only.

Maybe only like Spanish language 1950s science fiction comic books

by the end.

But in this case, as I said,

every pre-gunpowder era war gamer from the 1970s, for example,

except for you total hardcores, was a fantasy war gamer.

Because we played 25 millimeter, first of all, folks,

which meant the figures were relatively big

and relatively expensive, especially if you were a kid.

Then you had to paint them yourself.

And that took a long time.

I mean, the whole process involved a loving commitment

to an army back in those days.

Lots of money, lots of time to build your army.

What were the odds that anybody else was building

a historical enemy for your army?

And the answer to that is it wasn’t common.

Usually you’d be fighting two armies

that never were anywhere close to each other on the map

and were from wildly different periods.

Because what choice did you have, right?

Romans against knights, not that unusual.

But the interesting question that has the larger impact

and is maybe more interesting for people

who aren’t totally into this hobby,

like some of us have been,

is why if you have a First World War army from 1914,

totally outclassed to the point of it’s not even worth

getting out the miniatures to fight a 1942 army,

you know, a quarter century difference,

why can a single period from the dawn of humanity

to about the Renaissance be covered

in the same War Games rule booklet?

Just for those of you who care, War Games research rules,

four, five, and six were the ones we played.

And if you look at those rules, by the last of them,

you have knights and Egyptian, you know,

pharaonic armies in the same rule booklet,

totally able to fight each other in a tournament, by the way.

Why is that?

See, that to me is the bigger societal question.

Because it says something about the pace of change

and a ton of other things that are integral

to why you get the kind of militaries in history

that you get.

I mean, there’s a lot of interesting books.

I read one by John Lynn, a historian who wrote Battle,

a history of combat and culture.

And he makes a point that we all understand,

but he wrote a whole book specifically pointing it out

about how the cultures of all these societies,

especially when you go back to periods

where militaries weren’t standardized the way they are now.

Even though culture still plays a role,

you go look at a military in any country in the world

and it looks broadly similar to other militaries.

I mean, we have a sort of a standardized thing now.

You need to do to win.

Back in the day, it was much more exotic.

And militaries could really differ from one to another,

and especially region to region.

And so the culture had such an influence on the militaries

that it kind of determined at times how they even fought, right?

You might have a military that in terms of technology

and weapons and ferocity and numbers

and all these other factors was the equal of its opponent.

But because of some cultural question,

they were inhibited or maybe even enhanced.

How can one not think, for example,

of the Native American practice of counting coup

as a wonderful example of how a culture

can influence one’s warfare?

Is that the smart thing to do from a military standpoint?

Probably not, but it’s part of the culture.

And, you know, you lose something important

to the people who are involved if they don’t do this.

And especially in the earlier period,

you see this in most militaries one way or the other.

I mean, try to figure out why the heck a knight is a knight

when it comes to their performance on the battlefield, right?

You start getting into all kinds of cultural questions.

Because it’s not just weapons systems and armor, right?

There’s other stuff going on, but good luck quantifying it

and good luck making a case.

And you can go back to what the people of the time thought,

but they were a bunch of, by today’s standards,

racist, ethnocentric xenophobes.

I mean, who’s going to believe those guys?

Of course they think there’s something special

about themselves.

We don’t do that these days, of course.

Not, of course not.

Now, just so you know, this is hardly a new idea.

I’m just deciding to look at it in this particular program,

but people have been fascinated by this forever.

I mean, how many wonderful movie or TV themes

can we remember that play with this idea?

It’s really alternative history or what-if history.

That’s the category it falls into.

I’ve probably mentioned before,

because it’s a perfect example of those movies

that are not good movies,

but because of what they’re doing in the movie,

I’m hooked anyway.

The 1980 movie, The Final Countdown.

That’s not a good movie, but if you like stuff

like I like stuff, it’s worth checking out

because the premise is easy to understand.

You have the USS Nimitz, a super carrier.

When this movie’s made in 1980,

it’s state-of-the-art, basically.

This was, by the way, sort of a half-publicity piece

for the U.S. Navy, so they cooperated,

but that’s part of what made it so cool.

And so, the premise is that the USS Nimitz from 1980

gets in this weird storm that transports them back in time,

serendipitously enough,

to the day before the 1941 Pearl Harbor strike,

and they happen to be right in the vicinity.

So, as they figure out,

oh, my gosh, we’ve been sent back in time,

and oh, my gosh, it’s the day before Pearl Harbor,

and oh, my gosh, what can, you know…

You get this wonderful setup that’s about to happen

as this movie goes on, right?

And they lead up to it great.

I mean, there’s a scene that, for people like me,

is worth the price of admission alone,

where you see 1980s-era jets

using missiles to down replicas of Zeros,

and, you know, this is pre-CGI,

so they’re really flying these things.

I mean, it’s great, right?

But what you’re setting up, of course,

is what everybody really wants to see,

which is the 1980 super carrier USS Nimitz

going to intercept the Japanese fleet

on the way to Pearl Harbor, right?

Does one 1980s super carrier

equal six Second World War,

early Second World War aircraft carriers

and corresponding fleet with them?

I think so, but we’re going to find out, right,

as the final countdown goes on.

But then the storm comes back

and takes the Nimitz back to its own time period.

I like to call that time travel interruptus,

and there’s nothing more unsatisfying

than not getting to see that battle.

But there are other television shows

and movie plots and premises…


…that do the same thing.

I mean, who doesn’t recall,

if you’re an original Twilight Zone series fan,

as I am,

the episode that involved the Army Reservists

who were on maneuvers on the battlefield

where Custer’s last stand happened,

the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

The plot is also simple.

These guys have a tank.

I think it’s like a World War II

leftover M3 Stuart light tank,

37 millimeter, three Browning machine guns,

but a light tank, right?

But they’re on maneuvers at the site

or right around the site

of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

And as time goes on,

they, like the Nimitz in the final countdown,

begin to realize that they’ve somehow

been transported back in time

and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

is unfolding, you know, nearby.

And, you know, more and more clues begin to surface,

the final clue being an arrow

between the shoulder blades

of one of these, you know, 1950s, 1960s Army Reservists.

And then at the end,

when they realize where they are,

they go back to their tank and they,

you know, I’m going from memory here,

but I’ve seen it a million times,

they go back to their tank

and they pull out, like,

their submachine guns or whatever,

and they run off to the battlefield

in order to help.

And then the next scene is,

it’s something like the memorial

for the people who fell there, right?

And it’s got all of, you know,

the Custer victims’ names on a plaque.

And on the plaque now are added

the three names of the modern Reservists.

And it’s this, you know, puzzle.

And then the last scene is sort of showing

their commander as he figures out,

wow, they must have gone back in time.

And wow, they must have died at the battlefield

and fought there.

And then the last line is something

to the effect of,

it’s too bad they couldn’t have brought the tank.

It might have made a difference

or something like that.

Well, of course,

that’s the final countdown ending too.

Don’t you want to see the 1M3

against, what was it, like 2,000, 2,500,

you know, Native American Plains warriors?

Truthfully, I don’t think it’s much of a battle.

As soon as they figure out

they have nothing to penetrate this thing with

and as it’s mowing down natives,

I think they’re gone.

I think the morale breaks.

I think anybody’s would.

But you still want to see it, don’t you?

So, someday when I make this movie,

I was going to write a book,

maybe it’ll be a movie someday,

called Fighting Out of Time.

And it was going to be these questions.

I’m going to do it as a podcast today instead

and sort of explore it a little bit.

But the idea would be to actually have that battle.

I mean, if you’re going to have a great battle,

why not show it?

And it’s fantasy,

and yet it’s historical at the same time.

I mean, take, for example,

one of the wild ideas that blew my mind

when I first heard it.

And I first heard it in 1985.

It was not particularly new even then

because it involves two of the great military commanders

in history.

So, it is normal for people to compare them

and they’ve been doing so for a long time.

In this case, it’s Napoleon and Alexander the Great.

The book that blew my mind on this was a book,

it’s called The Origins of War,

from the Stone Age to Alexander the Great

by military historian Arthur Farrell.

And at the time in the middle 1980s,

you know, I was, to get back to the wargaming thing,

I had an Achaemenid Persian army

and I had a Neo-Assyrian army

and getting updated information on either one of those

was nearly impossible.

And then in the 1980s, little bits of real information

began to trickle out again.

The first real glut of information

in like 20 or 30 years.

And this book had some of it.

So, I mean, I desperately needed this book.

But when you get to the last chapter,

in an effort to make his case

that Alexander the Great had brought warfare

to a point where it was modern enough

so that you could begin to make weird comparisons,

he tried to reimagine the Battle of Waterloo, right?

Early 1800s,

the Duke of Wellington with his Anglo-Dutch army on one side,

Napoleon back from exile, you know,

the comeback kid with his army,

the Prussians in the distance on the way.

Maybe the most written about battle in human history.

I’m not sure. I think I read that somewhere.

But if not the most, one of the most,

which is why it gets studied so often, by the way,

because when you have this many accounts

from this many angles,

you can begin to piece things together really well.

And this is, by the way,

one of the earlier battles in relatively modern history

where people were able to do that.

And they did it with real interest,

especially for the rest of the 1800s,

because this was the ultimate battle of the age.

And a lot of veterans on multiple sides had fought there.

What Farrell does first

is try to imagine how Alexander the Great

would have done at that battle

if he were commanding Napoleon’s army instead of Napoleon.

So this was part of his effort to show

that Alexander wouldn’t have been daunted by the numbers

or the scale or the size of the battlefield or those things

because he had relatively similar numbers

and battlefield sizes and all that kind of stuff in his day.

Then Farrell goes on, however,

to do the part that just blows your mind

if you’re a person like me,

and tries to imagine, in order to make a point,

how Alexander would have done at the Battle of Waterloo

in place of Napoleon

if he also used his own army instead of Napoleon’s French one.

This seems, on the surface, preposterous.

You’re going to replace early 1800s-era Napoleonic French

with Macedonians from something like the 330s BCE,

an army that was ancient by the standards of the Roman Empire?


But maybe not as preposterous as you might think initially.

Farrell makes an interesting sort of a point,

and he does it with the usual disclaimers

you always have to do with counterfactuals

or alternative history.

For example, he concedes that the gunpowder

and the sound of explosives and stuff

would have a big impact on Alexander’s troops

and the horses and all that.

So you take that out.

That becomes one of those things that you make allowances for.

You pretend that Alexander’s Macedonians

had fought gunpowder before

and then try to measure how it would go.

But then it gets kind of interesting

because Farrell points out things that you might not consider.

For example, at my first thought,

you just think, how are Alexander’s men

lined up shoulder to shoulder in these deep blocks

like, you know, so many bowling pins?

How are they going to get past all this musketry

and this cannons and everything like that?

But Farrell reminds us that at Waterloo,

Napoleon had a lot of infantry formations

that were formed up in column deeper than Alexander’s.

And they still got right up to the Anglo-Dutch lines

before the Anglo-Dutch opened fire with their muskets.

Let’s talk about that for a minute.

There’s a famous phrase you may recall

that you’re not supposed to fire

until you see the whites of the enemy’s eyes.

That’s because the muskets, when used singly,

are pretty ineffective and inaccurate

during this time period.

But if you wait till someone’s right in front of you

and you fire a whole bunch of them at once,

you can do great damage.

The problem always comes with the reloading,

because in this time period, that’s a pretty slow process.

And even if you have ranks fire in sequence,

so the first rank fires, then kneels and begins to reload,

second rank fire, there’s still these pauses

between the discharge of the weapons,

between the volleys.

It’s what’s gonna happen during that lull

that’s maybe going to make a difference here.

If the Duke of Wellington and his Anglo-Dutch forces

stand up from behind a ridge

at 20 yards or 15 yards

and opens fire at the Macedonian pikemen in front of them,

they may blow them away.

They did this against Napoleon’s forces

and caused terrible trouble, right?

They could blow them away, so the same thing would happen.

No worse than how the French did, right?

But if they don’t blow them away,

remember, unlike Napoleonic infantry,

they’re not armed for combat, for hand-to-hand combat,

with a long musket and a knife on the end of it, a bayonet.

They have those 14-foot-long spears.

They have them arrayed in a formation

that makes them look like a hedgehog or a pincushion.

The Roman general, I think it was Aemilius Paulus,

described the sight of a phalanx, a pike phalanx,

advancing as absolutely terrifying.

And he didn’t think it could be defeated on level ground

if it kept its formation.

What would that do to the thin lines of musketeers

if they ever got past that initial volley, right?

Charged at the run, which they were trained to do,

between the volleys in the interim?


And remember, unlike the Napoleonic infantry

they would be charging into,

they have armor and helmets.

They have swords for sidearms.

They are ready for hand-to-hand combat.

In fact, it’s the only thing they do.

Farrell also points out that these skirmishers,

the people with slings and bows and arrows and javelins

fighting as light infantry people,

that they might do better against Napoleon’s forces

than they did historically because historically

they’re usually launching their sling stones

and arrows and javelins against people who have shields

or helmets or armor or all three.

The Napoleonic troops have none of those things,

so they may be more vulnerable than the ancient opponents

and targets of the skirmishers were.

Finally, you have the cavalry question,

and this is a big open-ended one because, you know,

you have the involvement of some technology here.

We talked about technology changing slowly,

but there’s a pre-stirrup and a post-stirrup period

when it comes to cavalry and stirrups,

and how much of a difference that makes is heavily debated.

I’ll tell you this, I think you’d probably have,

and I could be wrong about this,

I think you’d probably have more good cavalry

on the Macedonian side, so even if they weren’t able

to compete person by person,

I think they might outnumber them.

And I certainly think that if I’m on horseback

with a 12-foot, nine to 12-foot lance,

I’d rather have that than a man on horseback

charging with a saber and, well, that’s just me.

That’s a personal preference question, isn’t it?

My point is that it’s both goofy and fascinating

because what does it say about development,

the pace of change, how cultures influence militaries?

I mean, it brings up some very interesting questions

like how could an army fighting more than 2,000 years

before the one fighting at the Battle of Waterloo

have any chance at all at the Battle of Waterloo

when you wouldn’t stand a chance in hell against me

if you were using a 1914 army

and I was using a 1942 one?

You would like to say that it is a simple question

of the speeding up of the pace of change,

that once upon a time, change moved rather slowly

compared to today.

I mean, for example, they were using things like spears

and bows and arrows in warfare from prehistoric times

until right around the Middle Ages or the Renaissance,

even after the Renaissance.

That’s a long time with certain elements in place,

technologically speaking.

You might argue, as many do,

that when the pace of change speeds up,

usually dated to around the middle 1800s,

right, middle of the 19th century,

think US Civil War, think Franco-Prussian War in Europe,

that from that moment on, technology speeds up to a point

where armies need to stay technologically current or lose.

And that’s not to say that they didn’t need to before.

It just became a much more overriding issue.

And you see that, by the way,

if you look at any of the major wars from the 1850s onward,

there’s the beginning of the war where there’s a sort of shock

as everyone’s getting accustomed to the power

of the new weaponry and trying to learn how to use it

and integrate it into systems and all that kind of stuff.

You see that in each of these wars,

just this utter shock at what 10 years

or 20 years of change has wrought on the old rules.

And it’s about this time period,

and I’m not saying that the saying dates from that,

but that the idea of generals are always fighting the last war

seems to be relevant,

because this is where fighting the last war can get you killed.

Fighting the last war didn’t get you killed

through most of human history.

Fighting the last war was often the best way

to fight the next war, especially if you did well.

If you are a Roman general,

there’s not that much going to change in your lifetime

on the basics of war.

If you are a general, if you’re a soldier in 1914

who ends up being a general in 1945,

look at all the change that went on in your life.

So the pressure’s been on the modern generals, right,

to try to adapt quickly to a pace of change

that earlier generals never had to deal with.

And of course, the funny thing is we moderns

can relate to their situation more easily

than we can relate to, say, the Roman general situation,

because we understand the accelerated pace of change

intrinsically, don’t we?

It’s such a part of our modern lives

that it’s become difficult to try to imagine

that it’s ever been otherwise,

and yet it’s only been this way for a relatively short period of time.

That, to me, when you start thinking about

how human history has been for most of human history

and it begins to sound like science fiction,

that’s when you know we live in really interesting times, right?

I mean, take, for example, this pace of change question.

Forget the fact that it can sometimes seemingly move backwards, right,

and knowledge can get lost in certain places at certain times,

and capabilities can go down

like a civilizational stock market in decline.

Forget all that for a second.

And, you know, I love those things.

I mean, I can hardly keep from just going off on tangents on those,

but I do that enough on other shows.

Check them out if you haven’t already.

But just focus on all the ramifications

that happen in a society when knowledge,

especially things like technological knowledge,

when those things stay current for much longer swaths of time.

I mean, here’s an analogy.

It’s science fiction,

but it’s more representative of human history

than the way we live now.

Imagine if we today were still using…

And you got to, you know, don’t give me these notes saying,

go, you wouldn’t, the viruses we would have by now,

you have no idea.

Imagine we were still using the computers from 1995.

Windows 95 on every desktop except for you people

that have the early apples running around your office.

But my point being, imagine that we are very little changed

from the technology of when computers first became something

a lot of people had in their homes.

If you were a person who began using computers back in 1995,

or for that matter, 2005,

think about how competent you’d be on this operating system by now.

Right? Think about what a guru

these old people would be in any of these companies

simply because of the hours of experience

they had accrued over a long lifetime

using the same operating system that you’re using today,

you know, as a 17-year-old hacker.

Now, instead of talking about computers and operating systems,

imagine if we’re talking about weapons and warfare.

There’s a sort of a physics to the pre-modern battlefield

that remains relatively constant over time.

I mean, this is why Arthur Ferrell thought to put Alexander in charge

of Napoleon’s troops, because he wouldn’t have been daunted

by the scope and the scale and all that kind of stuff.

Well, the pre-gunpowder especially era,

there are limitations on human and animal muscle power, for example.

Space, range.

I mean, think about the speed.

The fastest thing on a battlefield in the biblical era of warfare

is a horse.

The fastest thing on the battlefield in the Civil War era

of the United States in the middle 1800s is a horse.

So, these sorts of things meant that the realities

the generals dealt with in terms of limitations and speed

and how things moved and the amount of food everybody ate

and all that kind of stuff were the same for the Romans

as they were for, you know, the Chinese and the Tang Dynasty.

And this is why, if I pull out my 25 millimeter ancients

and I’m feeling magnanimous and I allow you to pick which side you want

and I pull out an army from 1066

and I pull out another army from 54 BCE,

so about a thousand years, a little bit more apart,

and I say, pick whichever one you want and we’ll fight,

it’s a sucker’s game if you pick the later army.

Now, of course, it depends on what the later army is.

In this case, what if we picked two armies

that both successfully invaded Britain?

My Normans from 1066 that fought at the Battle of Hastings,

often referred to as the last outside power to ever conquer Britain,

and Julius Caesar’s Romans who did it in 54 BCE,

he’s often referred to as the first person to do it,

although there was probably some Celtic person in prehistory

that did it first, but you know what I mean.

What if those two armies fought each other

instead of the opponents they actually did?

Now, first of all, tell me you’re not buying a ticket for the movie

to watch that play out on the screen.

I mean, I’m going to a movie to watch a 1980s jet

shoot down a Second World War Japanese Zero.

I sure as heck am going to go watch legionaries take on,

you know, Norman proto-knights.

But, you know, beyond just the geeking out about history,

this sort of a square off has all kinds of interesting overtones

concerning the pace of change that I’m not sure you can,

you know, conclusively label in any single direction,

but just take, for example, the fact that if those two armies

actually met, it’s going to be the earlier army

that has the higher level of capability in most of the categories.

And if you’re an ancients fan like I am,

you may just have already internalized that to the point

where you don’t even notice it anymore,

but think about how strange it would be

if we said that same thing today.

I mean, what if we could put a man on Mars 500 years ago,

but we can’t quite do that again yet?

As weird as that would be to us living today,

there were lots of periods in human history

where at least somewhere else in the world,

there were civilizations that were dead and gone

that had capabilities above your own,

however you want to define that.

In this particular situation, we are defining it in terms

of the army that ends up on the field.

And in this case, both of those armies,

when they’re on opposite sides of a battlefield,

are representatives of the civilization and society

that supports them and that raises them

and that creates a system that results in them.

I mean, for example, the Roman system

is a highly organized system.

The British would call it, in my War Games research rules,

a regular military.

You know, they are drilled the way our military is.

They have regular pay, they have engineers

and cooks and logistics people.

I mean, it’s an entire operation that goes on

generation after generation.

Officers, ranks, all these kind of things.

The Duke of Normandy’s army is something

that’s totally different.

And it’s a reflection of the society it comes from.

First of all, it is a rigidly structured society

in terms of people’s place,

although not as rigidly structured

as it would be 200 years from now.

And where you were in the society determined

how you fought, what your role on the battlefield was.

I mean, think about the Japanese and the samurai.

Is that necessarily the best military

that country can come up with? No, but it’s the one

that matches the societal conditions and the hierarchy

and all these other aspects of the culture

that ends up playing into the military.

Now, things are so standardized that a Chinese military,

a Brazilian military, a U.S. military

look more alike than different.

But in the pre-modern era, it got really exotic,

especially place to place and region to region.

I know I said that already, but it bears repeating.

It’s one of the main attractions of the period

from a wargaming standpoint.

Because even when you’re looking at something

like Napoleon’s era or the U.S. Civil War,

I mean, both sides are wearing uniforms

that are relatively similar.

I mean, it’s not all that different.

But you go to the ancients period and you’ve got…

I mean, there’ll be elephants on the battlefield.

There’ll be people in armor. There’ll be tribesmen.

I mean, it’ll be everything you can think of.

It’s very colorful, very different.

The armies are really, um, there’s a discordant feel

to the whole thing, but it’s part of the attraction.

There’s a much more rigid, standardized way

of doing things, even by Napoleon’s time.

Um, the kind of soldier that the early middle ages produced

is going to be what the wargames research rules

of my day would have called an irregular soldier.

Irregular meaning not that they were, uh,

that there was something wrong with them,

but that they were trained differently

than people like the Romans, or for that matter,

people like the militaries today.

You think of a tribal warrior, or you think of someone

who comes from a hereditary warrior class,

uh, where training is sort of based on your place

in the society, a knight.

An upper class warrior.

These are people whose, um, training with weapons

and fighting is in no way necessarily inferior

to someone like the Romans, or someone like the Macedonians.

They’re just trained differently.

On a one-to-one level, they might be superior.

Would you rather face your average Macedonian spearman,

or would you rather face a knight?

On the other hand, would you rather face a unit of knights,

or a unit of Macedonian spearmen?

I mean, once you start talking about units moving together,

and all that sort of stuff, it’s a different argument.

Um, but the armies of the early Middle Ages

in Western Europe were irregular armies.

They were ad hoc armies,

meaning they were thrown together for battles.

Uh, sometimes you’d get lucky and have some training.

The, uh, Duke of Normandy famously is supposed

to have gotten some training time in

before he crossed the channel, and a little bit afterwards.

So, by the standards of his day, he’s bringing

a somewhat trained and somewhat cohesive army

across the channel.

Unfortunately, he’s facing a very trained

and very cohesive army, and trained as an army.

I was trying to think about how…

we should structure this movie.

I’m trying to look at it from, you know,

Dan Carlin, filmmaker, screenwriter,

showrunner, uh, standpoint.

And, uh, if you figure that probably the way

the Battle of Hastings happened,

although there are some dissenters,

is that the Normans cross the channel,

arrive, and they find the Anglo-Saxons

waiting for them on the famous hill nearby Hastings.

So, we’re going to assume that the Romans

also get there first.

I mean, they were there a thousand years earlier.

I assume they had time to set up.

And in my movie, uh, I haven’t walked to the ground

and measured this and thought it out,

but I’m just going to assume the battle does not take place

in the same spot in the movie that it did historically,

because there’s a lot more Romans

than there were Anglo-Saxons.

I’m not sure a guy like Julius Caesar

is going to be able to deploy his army

where the Anglo-Saxons deployed.

There’s not enough room.

And that’s where we should start this movie.

How much room do you need?

In 54 BCE, Caesar took five legions

across the channel

in what the ancient sources say were six to eight hundred ships.

Think about that for a minute in your mind’s eye.

And an ancient society doing this.

And in fact, Caesar had his people go to work

and produce this fleet over a winter.

It’s the winters here.

By the end of winter, you have six to eight hundred ships,

some of which are capable of carrying lots of horses.

The English Channel is no picnic,

no matter when you want to cross it.

And when in 54 BCE, Caesar crossed it,

he had crossed it the year before.

The first time the Romans get word of what lies

beyond the ends of the earth in, you know,

this misty area that no one actually knows about.

And, you know, tribesmen have been going back and forth

forever, but no civilized man from the Mediterranean

has ever gone and explored like Davy Crockett

this mysterious land.

And so in 55 BCE, with a smaller force,

Caesar goes over there, writes about this.

We should take a little sidebar tangent moment

to point out that if you ever wanted to get started

and read some great ancient history,

you could do a lot worse than starting with Caesar.

Remember, this is a guy who’s writing his war memoirs

in real time, sort of surrealized,

like, you know, someone would do for a magazine today,

where you get one chapter at a time of the magazine

as he’s writing it or as his people are writing it.

And Caesar’s on campaign here.

And he’s part conqueror, part politician on the rise,

part ethnographer, part Charles Darwin,

and part Lewis and Clark as he goes across

and thrills the readers at home with tales

of what lies beyond, you know, the ends of the earth.

In 55 BCE, depending on your view of Caesar,

either because he was just launching a reconnaissance

and always planned to come back,

or because he underestimated how many people he’d need

for the job and was sort of defeated,

Caesar comes back in 54 with a conquest army.

Five legions, that’s 25,000 men or something.

Probably understrength, because let’s recall

that this is just a little side gig for Caesar at this time.

He’s in the process of conquering all of Gaul

and punching the Germans in the nose a couple times

during the process.

I mean, that’s the big deal, the main show.

This is a sidebar gig.

He’s like that big band that comes into play,

New York or L.A., but you know,

you got to pay the hotel bills the night before

you do something over in Bakersfield or, you know, Roanoke.

There’s a little irony on two aspects

of this Caesar expedition.

One is that this conquest of Gaul he’s involved in

is going to include the very areas

that these Normans will come from eventually.

So Caesar’s conquering it during this time period.

So maybe this is the Normans coming back, you know,

as descendants, trying to prevent the original conquest

of their territory.

The other thing that’s worth pointing out

is that the real Battle of Hastings,

both sides probably approached the battlefield

on centuries-old roads built by the Romans

that were still better than anyone was producing locally

since they left, so a little irony there.

In the historical situation, of course,

as pointed out in Caesar’s memoirs,

he portrays the inhabitants, these Britons,

as very similar to the Gauls in what’s now modern-day France,

but with their own little cultural differences.

One, they were still using chariots,

which were antiquated over on the continent by then,

so running around with horse-drawn chariots.

And they also painted themselves blue with woad,

which made them look somewhat different

than most of the Gauls on the continent.

I don’t know, there was so much cultural transmission

over the English Channel that sometimes the Gaulic tribes

in the very north of France had a lot of similarities,

and that’s sort of how Caesar kind of saw them,

similar, but slightly different.

The Romans basically had no problems

in field battles with them at all,

so the Britons resorted to the same tried-and-true strategy

that most peoples do when they can’t field

a field army that’s competitive.

They go guerrilla and non-traditional,

and Caesar’s left trying to deal with what appears,

if you read between the lines,

to be a rather vicious counterinsurgency war

of the sort you saw all through the 20th century, for example.

And the Romans were very good at these, by the way.

It sounds particularly vicious,

and then Caesar throws in a few friendly leaders,

signs a few whatever passes for, like,

deals or contracts or agreements,

crosses back across the Channel

and gets back to his main task, which is conquering Gaul,

and then going and really becoming the guy

who brings down the Roman Republic, right?

So, a lot of stuff ahead for Caesar,

no time to mess around in Britain,

and it was an easy task dealing with any field battles.

Now, we should point out something about field battles,

because I think in our little comparison here, it matters.

Caesar probably fought more field battles

than anybody you can think of from that era.

Famously, he’s supposed to have fought over 50.

Fifty field battles is so much,

it’s hard to get your mind around

compared to the people that are considered to be in his class.

I mean, think about a guy like Alexander the Great.

You can argue, depending on how you want to classify

what constitutes a field battle,

that’s a formal battle where both sides sort of line up

and get to it.

Adrian Goldsworthy gives Alexander five field battles.

It’s not unreasonable,

but compare that to more than 50 for Caesar.

Caesar’s battles were also huge,

and this matters in our comparison

about the pace of change.

Caesar, and again, you have to allow for exaggeration

and all the sorts of stuff that come with these numbers,

but even if you take the low numbers,

Caesar’s battles would all be considered to be very large

by William the Conqueror’s standards in that time period.

Now, some of you might make a case,

and I think you’d have a good one,

that this is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison here

because we are comparing a society like Caesar’s

and urban, dense civilization of imperial size and strength

to a small feudal territory.

The Duke of Normandy was in control of the resources,

manpower, and territory of something

that would be too small to be a Roman province

in their republic or empire.

So if you compare them to, say, the Song Chinese in 1066,

a similar kind of organized people

capable of putting large numbers of organized people

into armies and then feeding them and caring for them

and all that kind of stuff,

might be a better comparison.

That’d be an interesting battle, by the way.

Worth saying, though, that in 1066,

it’s one of those periods where no…

You don’t have any great armies dominating the scene,

and even the Song Chinese are at one of their low points,

having the traditional Chinese problems

with the northern barbarians,

and it’s a particularly bad time.

I consider to be, along with many others,

I think the Normans are one of the better armies

in the period, but they’re really different.

They’re a feudal society taking on a society

much more like our own, probably,

than the Norman one was.

Now, the Norman army that William the Conqueror

brought over has been compared by some people.

It’s not a bad analogy.

His expedition’s been compared to some sort of,

like, a venture capitalist entrepreneurial kind of thing,

a profit-sharing deal where, you know,

anyone who wanted to get in on this, you sign up.

We’re going to go over there. It’s speculative.

But if I win and if I become the king of this territory,

we’ll parcel it up and you’ll get a piece

commiserate with the amount of investments you put in.

And that might mean, you know,

how many men did you bring with you?

Because William the Conqueror is going to conquer

the British Isles with an ad hoc army,

which was pretty much the way that they did things,

you know, at that time and at that place.

These people often fought a lot.

A guy like William the Conqueror fought a lot,

just like Caesar did, but most of the battles

he’s going to have been involved in

are going to be very different kinds of affairs.

Sieges, ambushes, you know, looting, raiding,

anti-guerrilla looting and raiding,

small-scale battles just between heavy cavalry.

I mean, a lot of these battles,

if you look at the history of the early Middle Ages,

or what used to be called the late Dark Ages,

now late antiquity, you’ll see these battles

between like, you know, 500 heavy cavalry on one side

and 800 heavy cavalry on the other side,

and they just left the infantry at home.

And that’s a battle.

In Julius Caesar’s day and at, you know, in his world,

that’s a skirmish.

That doesn’t count as one of his 50-plus battles,

but it counts as one of William the Conqueror’s.

So it’s pretty darn likely that when William the Conqueror

shows up at the British Isles,

he’s commanding the largest number of human beings

he’s ever commanded, maybe by a lot.

And the numbers are all over the map, typical of the era.

You get some low numbers at like 5,000.

8,000 is more often the low.

You get some high numbers at like 17,000.

A lot of people put it in the 11,000, 12,000 range,

and it’s not quite understood how many of these people

are considered to be combatants versus noncombatants.

Both sides have noncombatants.

The Romans are employing cooks

and people who do the armor repair.

I mean, they’ve got giant cities attached

to each of these legions, basically.

And every night, let’s recall, they build a camp,

and the camp to the Normans

would look like a giant fortified city.

And every day that that camp stays in the same place,

the Romans fortify it and make it more permanent.

That’s one of the things that someone like William

is going to have to deal with.

He’s got a bunch of, as we were saying,

entrepreneurial partners

who are not under his direct command

other than by agreement, right?

You can’t order them around at a certain point.

You know, you piss off some of these other people

because they’re going to be contingents of nobility

and higher class people from France and among the Bretons

and these other people that will come over.

You know, William’s got to kind of be…

You can’t be too hard-ass.

You can’t be too General Patton with them

because they’re there because they want to be there.

Or because they owe him a favor, or whatever it might be.

These are the people, by the way,

that are going to be something

that William’s going to rely on in this.

In this encounter, if we are setting up

the tail of the tape here before this encounter,

William the Conqueror’s army,

because, you know, I like the boxing analogies,

reminds me of, like, Mike Tyson

in the later years of his career.

He’s not very dangerous in any of the other ways

that he used to be, but he’s still got this left hook,

this punch that will just ruin you,

no matter who you are.

You know, under the right conditions, you will lose.

Don’t underestimate, you know, what the striking arm

of William the Conqueror’s army can do.

And the striking arm are these proto-knights.

Let’s call them proto-knights

because they’re not really knights yet.

When people think of knights,

they’re thinking of the knights of the high Middle Ages.

Say, the 1300s, or the 1400s, or maybe even the 1500s.

These mounted tanks on giant horses

who charge with a lance underneath their arm

in a fashion known as couched.

These are not them.

They are on the way to becoming them.

I like to think of, you know, because I do,

I like to think of European cavalry

as sort of progressing through stages.

Let’s remember, it is the Romans and the Greeks

who first write about encountering these people

north of them in what we would consider to be,

you know, Central and Western and Northern Europe.

And the first cavalry that they encounter

from these regions that will continue to produce cavalry

over these eras, I like to call it European cavalry 1.0.

It’s the Gallic cavalry.

The various sorts of cavalry, although, you know,

probably their great, great, great, great grandfathers

that Caesar is both fighting against in his wars in Gaul

in 54 and the 50s BCE, and using in his own army.

During Caesar’s period, they didn’t have their own cavalry

or not much of it anymore.

They used what were called auxiliary cavalry.

They used locals. They used mercenaries.

They used people they could hire or people that wanted to fight

or people that owed them, you know,

that they’d conquered previously.

And Caesar will have 2,000 Gallic cavalry with him

when he invades Britain

and when he fights William the Conqueror in our film.

I consider that to be European cavalry 1.0.

I only bring them up at this moment

to point out the difference between they

and this cavalry of the early Middle Ages,

these Normans, these Proto-Knights,

because they’re more like European cavalry 3.0.

And let’s say European cavalry 2.0, the middle one,

is that Gothic cavalry,

the stuff from what we used to call the Dark Ages,

the stuff that was involved, you know,

in the latter parts of the Roman Empire and afterwards,

call that 2.0.

And so, by this time, you have this Norman cavalry.

And unlike most of European cavalry 1.0,

these Normans and these French and these Bretons,

all this Western European heavy cavalry

made up of generally, you know, the higher-class warriors,

these guys are all going to have armor from head to thigh.

Male, you know, interlocked rings,

and they’ll have neck pieces of it.

They’ll wear the traditional…

This was really the traditional helmet of the…

Again, they used to call it the Viking era

in European military history.

You saw it all the time.

It’s a conical helmet, like a cone,

that they wear on their head.

And then it either has or doesn’t have

the nose piece, the nasal,

the strip of metal that follows the nose,

you know, all the way from sort of the tip up to the…

You know, between the eyes.

And it’s one of the more obvious pieces of armor

in terms of what it’s intended to do.

I mean, you don’t have to be very imaginative

to just see that, oh, yeah, that’s to prevent somebody

from slashing across your face sideways with a sword strike.

One of the major things that happened

during this period, by the way.

So, these Norman and Breton and French proto-knights

would also carry what was called a kite shield,

which looks like a giant teardrop,

an extended teardrop.

They carried a nine-foot lance,

or somewhere around nine feet.

How they used it seemed to depend on the…

either the man himself or one of many styles.

Because the Bayeux Tapestry,

which is an account of the Battle of Hastings,

which people actually made,

shows a lot of these sorts of elements of the battle.

What they were armed and armored like,

how they rode up and did things.

And they show these proto-knights,

some of them are using the spears

in the fashion that they will later on,

but they’re throwing them, big nine-foot spears,

they’re throwing them, they’re using them overhand.

So, it seems like, once again,

we’re not quite at this period where later on

you’re going to have these medieval knights

with the lance under the arm.

You have these proto-knights.

In addition to that, let’s not think about them

riding these massive, scary war horses,

which will be something that does happen later on,

although that might be overplayed.

But in this period, historian John France

is one of the people that suggests

that these horses might have been a lot smaller

than we think in most cases,

not all cases, but most cases.

I mean, he gives a possible size as like 12 hands high,

doing the measurements from the artwork.

Twelve hands high, he points out,

is, you know, a Shetland pony is ten hands high.

So, this is not your knights of the Middle Ages.

When William the Conqueror shows up to fight the locals,

he’s fighting a bunch of people who represent

the predominant troop type of the,

you know, era that’s coming to an end.

A lot of people used to put, you know,

in the good old days, the Viking era ends

and the era of the Middle Ages begins

at the Battle of Hastings,

as though you could have a moment like that,

there was such a clean break.

But that’s how it used to be portrayed.

If you think about all the people

that fought at the Battle of Hastings

as sort of looking like things from the Viking age,

it’s not a bad visual image.

The Anglo-Saxon forces that William defeated

at that crucial battle, you know, once again,

the emphasis on English in European history

being what it is, it was always touted as,

you know, open up a book,

one of the most important battles of all human history.

Well, nowadays, when you rank it amongst all the battles

that are out there, it’s fallen quite a bit.

But even when I was a kid,

this was one of these great important battles of all time.

When William shows up at the site

where this battle was fought,

he finds something like 10,000

of the locals awaiting him on a hill.

These Anglo-Saxons, these English,

these Proto-English, I’m not sure what stage

we could definitively refer to them by at this point,

had just come from fighting another battle.

And people differ as to whether or not

this was just sort of luck on William’s part

to show up when he did, good timing,

or whether or not he knew about all this

and was taking advantage of the fact

that there was a Viking, actually,

wrong word for it by this period,

a Norse invasion of the north of the British Isles.

And the Anglo-Saxon king, the monarchy,

they went up there, they brought the army,

they raised the troops, and they fought these Norse

up north, and they had one of those battles

where it’s a glorious victory,

and they decimated the other side,

but they really took it on the chin in doing so,

and then immediately had to run down

because news that William had landed

and was going to move on London had reached them.

And so they basically ran down the length

of the British Isles to get to the site at Hastings,

blocking William from his goal.

But the whole army hadn’t made it yet.

They’re kind of strung out over the length and breadth.

They raised some locals, but it seems like

they were trying to get their act together

at the last minute, and so when William arrives

on the battlefield, he looks up, and on this hill,

this famous hill, you find the Anglo-Saxon army,

what there is of it, awaiting him.

Like I said, maybe 10,000 people.

The best part of it are a bunch of people

that seem like Viking house carls.

They’re Anglo-Saxon house carls.

These are professional troops,

although almost certainly professional troops

in the same way that the core of knights

around William of Normandy probably were.

Professional warriors, highly trained and skilled

and nasty fighters individually, but you know,

you wouldn’t want them marching around the battlefield

in drill formation. That wouldn’t work out.

But they provide the core, the spine of this army on the hill.

The rest is provided by a bunch of people

that range from Thanes,

which are sort of well-armed upper-class people,

but not quite as upper-class as the leadership,

all the way down to what are called the Ferd

and the Select Ferd, which, at a certain point,

if you’re really bringing up the dregs,

has, like, pitchforks and that kind of thing.

And a lot of people, no armor, no helmets.

Almost everybody tries to bring a shield,

and they fight in a shield wall,

that famous formation from the era

where everybody sort of gets as close as they can to each other

and provides an almost solid object for the other side

to try to beat themselves to death trying to break down,

which is a little bit how this battle’s going to go.

And if you’re a Battle of Hastings fan, you know that…

And this is going to be so different

than what the Normans are going to have to do

if they’re facing Julius Caesar and the Romans.

The Normans can just sort of approach the battlefield

and do whatever they want at their leisure.

They will control when encounters happen,

where they happen.

The only thing these Anglo-Saxons are going to be able to do

is stay in their shield wall on the hill,

because they only have one type of troop type.

It’s infantry. There’s no cavalry.

There might have been some people

who rode to this battlefield, but they dismounted

and fought in the traditional infantry formation.

There’s also no skirmishers.

So there’s no one to go out

and force any action on William at all.

So if he wants to initiate contact

on the left side of the line for a while,

and if his left does badly, they retire down from the hill,

lick their wounds, have some lunch,

and maybe William says, okay, you know,

maybe after lunch we’ll go over and attack on the right.

I mean, he’s got that kind of freedom.

He’s not going to have that against Julius Caesar.

In the traditional battle, though,

what ends up happening, and it’s important

if we’re trying to figure out whether William would win

or Caesar would win,

how the Battle of Hastings actually went,

because William, who probably outnumbered the Anglo-Saxons,

would several times attack up this hill.

He divides his army, by the way,

into a formation that was used by Normans at other times,

so maybe it was used in this battle that never happened,

that we’re going to have a scholarly analysis of,

a fantasy battle that we will break down logically,

you know, and scientifically,

but these Normans would bring three separate groups

as part of their army.

They’d bring a corps of archers,

a corps of melee infantry, we’ll call them,

and then a corps of,

divided into the traditional medieval three types,

and a corps of this heavy cavalry.

At Hastings, he lined them up sort of in three lines.

The first group were the archers.

At Hastings, these had self-bows,

which are the least powerful.

To the Romans, these would be non-impressive,

but in this period, there were not a lot of people

using a lot of bows,

so it might have been unusual and different.

At other battles, the Normans would use crossbows,

which would be much more effective.

Then the second group that they had

were all these melee infantry, so think about a,

we used to sort of call them your mixed medieval rabble,

but that’s not fair,

but it would be whatever the person had

in terms of protection,

so it would range from nothing to leather armor

to various forms of metal armor.

Some would have helmets, some wouldn’t.

Almost everybody would try to bring a shield.

The weapons would range from spears to sidearms

to here’s something that I love

in terms of weapon continuity.

There were people using clubs on both sides

at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

Is there any older weapon than clubs?

Maybe stones, and the Anglo-Saxons

were throwing stones at the Normans,

so what did we say earlier,

the shelf life of experience?

Well, how about the shelf life of weapons technology?

But what ended up happening was the archers

were supposed to go in there and start to break up

that shoulder-to-shoulder, almost solid formation

of the Anglo-Saxons,

then the melee infantry were gonna go in there

and batter it down even more.

The goal, to loosen it up.

And if you could disorder it,

disorder is the phrase we used to use in wargaming,

it means if the cohesion of the formation

begins to break up so there’s holes in it

and gaps and spaces that other troops can break into,

especially if they’re still in tight formation,

you begin to fall apart.

So these melee infantry were gonna go in there

and hopefully take advantage of any problems

that the archers had caused,

and then the next line was going to be

the exclamation point that won the battle.

So when I think of a Norman army

and I think of why I would wanna be careful facing one,

I try to figure out how I’m gonna deal with these.

These are the Mike Tyson side of the army,

a part that you have to be worried about.

Even at the end of Tyson’s career,

when he doesn’t have much that you need to worry about,

you always need to be worried about the potential punch.

And that’s made from these troops,

especially the core of Norman proto-knights

around William himself.

These guys are hard to figure,

and Caesar’s gonna have trouble with them

because they’re hard to figure.

They’re sort of the wild card in this army.

They’re heavy cavalry, as we said.

So now this is the setup.

Let’s say 12,000 of these soldiers.

They approach the area around Hastings,

and their scouts come back to them,

probably not that far from the battlefield

because neither the early Middle Age Europeans

or the Romans, to be honest, were great at reconnaissance.

Both of them more surprised than you would hope for.

But probably William gets some feedback,

and the feedback is that up ahead

is a much larger army than we expected,

and they don’t look like Anglo-Saxons.

Now, I could not decide

if I found it more intriguing to imagine

both of these sides coming together in my movie

with no knowledge about the other side,

or if it was cooler to imagine

that there’d been some prep, right?

I mean, you have a score sheet,

or you have an advisor,

or some video on the other side,

or maybe a caddy, like in golf.

You know, and the caddy could come up to maybe Julius Caesar,

who’s probably being, you know, who he is.

He’s probably dictating five letters,

seducing a woman, bad-mouthing a political opponent,

and listening intently to everything the caddy says

and absorbing it.

This may be, by the way, the part of this battle

that just screws it up for everybody,

because if you’ve got a genius like Caesar on one side,

is it really representative of anything?

You might be able to put Caesar on the Norman side,

and it becomes a rout just because, you know,

genius is genius.

But in this case, the advisor, the caddy,

could tell Caesar, listen,

these people on the other side

are a little bit like a better armed and armored version

of what you’re already facing.

You’re facing barbarians. These are kind of barbarians.

I mean, they’re not trained in any units.

They don’t have a deep, organized,

hierarchical civilization or anything like that.

Their army is simplistic,

but they have those traits that you’ve become accustomed

to seeing on the continent.

I mean, when you run into the Germans,

Caesar, they have that attitude.

They have that impetus. They get berserk.

There’s a frenzy.

There’s that unquantifiable thing we always talk about.

And Caesar would be well aware of it.

They called it the Führer Teutonicus in Caesar’s time,

but it seems to be something you ran into

in Western Europe, Central Europe, Northern Europe,

and what the heck do you define it as?

But whatever it was, the Normans had it, too.

And for what it’s worth, the old theory used to be

that the Normans had it because they were Vikings, basically.

A couple of generations removed

from the old country, so to speak.

Those of you who like continuity

should note that the way William of Normandy

became the Duke of Normandy

was very similar to how the old barbarians

got a piece of the old Roman Empire.

It was sort of, let’s call it a farming out

of the traditional military responsibilities,

or maybe you call it privatizing it.

But when Rome couldn’t defend some of its territory

from barbarians, it used to let those barbarians

settle in the territory.

And the deal was that they could live off of it.

They could settle there. They could raise their families.

They could farm it, whatever they wanted to do.

But they had to protect it against the people,

you know, like themselves.

And they owed their allegiance to you, right?

So they were still, it was still, you know,

basically all yours. You had just farmed it out.

The Carolingians in this period,

right before Hastings, had done the same thing.

They had Viking problems during the Viking eras.

This area around Normandy was getting hit all the time.

So the best idea was maybe turn it over

to a bunch of Vikings, tell them to settle there,

Christianize them, and let them keep the other Vikings out

and they’ll owe their allegiance to us.

Well, as happens sometimes with the Roman Empire,

these Normans, as they were called,

which was just another word some people used for Vikings,

Norseman’s very close.

These guys were probably Danish, but again, not 100% certain.

They settled in Normandy, quickly forgot that part

of the deal that said, we’re vassals of you,

and became a thorn in the side of the rulers of France

for a couple hundred years,

while also making their presence felt

in a way that defies logic,

punching way above their weight class

for reasons people have speculated upon forever.

I love some of the adjectives used to describe them.

Energy is one of the words you hear.

The Normans had amazing energy for 200 years,

but what it meant was they were fighting and rabble-rousing,

causing trouble, conquering places as far apart as England,

continental France, Italy, fighting for and against

the Byzantines, playing a major role in the First Crusade.

And eventually what ends up happening to them

is they get absorbed in all these societies

that they were involved in.

So, into the history of England,

eventually subverted into the history of continental France.

Their aspect will become a part of Italian history.

Again, for and against the Byzantines,

and in the Holy Land, well, as long as there was

a European crusading presence in the Holy Land,

the fume of the Normans, the stench of the Normans,

as maybe some of the Byzantine royalty would suggest,

would linger.

They had a lot of energy, and some people suggested

this was because William the Conqueror’s,

I think it was great-great-great,

I think three greats, grandfather, was a Viking.

And that wonderful Viking, a berserk frenzy,

in a War Games research rules,

it was known as impetuous quality,

that in your rule set, nobody knew why they had it,

but Normans, just like Vikings, got like a special plus

because they had this quality.

Once again, what is the rule set reflecting

when it gives you that special plus?

What the heck is that?

It’s that question of what makes a knight a knight

once you get beyond, you know, the weapons and armor.

There’s something else going on.

What makes a samurai a samurai?

It’s not just the weapons and armor.

So, it’s the part of history that’s unquantifiable.

It’s also the part that because it’s unquantifiable,

Julius Caesar needs to worry about.

As he looks across, listens to what the caddy says,

continues to woo the woman, badmouth the political opponent,

and dictate five letters at the same time,

and sees this army from the early Middle Ages,

approaching him.

First thing he’s gonna notice, being who he is,

is that it’s small.

He’s used to fighting much larger armies than this.

And it was only three years before

that the Battle of the Sombra happened,

right across the English Channel.

You may recall,

because we did a show where this was included once,

that at that battle, according to Caesar himself,

so let’s imagine that he doubled the enemy numbers,

but he said the Romans thought that they were in a safe spot.

Once again, never the greatest reconnaissance

on Rome’s part.

They were all, so they had their weapons stacked,

their armor wasn’t on, everybody was all scurrying around

like a bunch of ants, building their fort

and all that kind of stuff, and all of a sudden,

unexpectedly, 60,000 Gallic tribesmen

come screaming out of the woods,

charging the completely unprepared Romans.

60,000 sounds like a crazy number,

but let’s just say it was 30,000.

If it’s 30,000, it’s still like more than twice as many people

as William the Conqueror is going to bring

to our, you know, filmed battle.

Once more, we’re assuming that Julius Caesar

is waiting for these Normans to arrive,

just like the Anglo-Saxons were at the Battle of the Sombra

three years previously, with a lot of these same troops,

it should be pointed out.

So, Caesar’s fighting with these people

who remember being at that battle

when the supposedly 60,000,

but maybe closer to 30,000 tribesmen

come screaming out of the woods,

and long story short,

Caesar and the Romans won that battle.

So, that shows you the crazy superiority

that these supremely organized armies can have

over the disorganized ones.

And I say disorganized, I don’t mean it intentionally,

because the funny thing about it is,

a guy like William would have thought his army was organized,

by his standards,

but that’s because they didn’t do things anymore

the way, for example, the Romans did,

not in that part of the world.

That is also a sign about the pace of change

and how earlier societies can sometimes have capabilities

that later societies don’t have.

Now, there were contemporaries.

If somebody wanted to try to be the caddy for William,

I mean, how do you do that?

It’s funny, because it’s easier to imagine

the less sophisticated army

than it is to imagine the more sophisticated one.

If you went to the commander of the USS Nimitz in 1980

and said in the final countdown,

you’re about to face Admiral Nagumo

and his six strike carriers from late 1941,

the commander of the 1980 Nimitz is going to go,

okay, I know what I’m up against, right?

It’s easy for him to imagine

the less complicated technology and tactics and ships.

A lot harder to go to Admiral Nagumo on the other side

and say, Admiral, you’re about to face the USS Nimitz

from 1980, it’s a super carrier, it’s only one carrier,

it doesn’t really have any other ships with it,

but you’ll probably have everything in your fleet destroyed

before you even see it.

I mean, that’s like trying to explain

that the H.G. Wells War of the Worlds aliens are coming,

and let me tell you about what they’re going to be able to do to you.

It might be a much longer conversation

before they understood, and the caddy speaking to William

is probably going to have the same problem.

How do you explain an army that’s more sophisticated

than his to him?

Well, here’s my movie’s angle on that.

That may or may not be true, but certainly could be.

These Normans were famous mercenaries,

and they fought for and against people like the Byzantines.

You may recall that the Byzantines

did not call themselves the Byzantines.

They called themselves, in the time of the Normans, the Romans.

Because really, as many people point out,

they’re the part of the Roman Empire that never fell,

the eastern side.

They’re still around centuries later,

and they never lost the understanding

of how to organize troops in a professional, regular way, right?

Drill them the same way that cadets on the parade ground

at graduation at military academies all over the world still march.

That’s how the Romans marched.

That’s how the Byzantines marched.

So maybe the caddy could go up to William and say,

you know those Byzantines we talked about?

Those guys that move around the battlefield

in complete unison with each other.

At the commit, they can change facing on an order.

You know, remember those guys? These guys fight like that.

And I always love bringing up Hans Delbruck.

And for those of you who don’t know Hans Delbruck,

he’s a hard to explain guy.

He’s one of those historians that has managed to remain relevant

in some ways long after his historical information is relevant.

Because in all the years since Delbruck lived,

and he was writing more than a hundred years ago,

the historical knowledge has just changed so much

that his information is just wrong.

But he talks about some of that physics of the battlefield stuff,

the limitations of muscle power, human power,

animal power, logistics, all these kinds of things

that in a lot of ways, especially, you know,

up until you start getting things like vehicles on the battlefield,

cars and stuff, I mean, stuff that basically remain pretty constant.

And he’s so skeptical that he’s a wonderful piece of ballast

to anchor you before you read other people’s stuff,

just to make you suspicious automatically.

But Delbruck talks about the Romans in Caesar’s army

facing the Gauls, which as I said,

is what he’s doing during this period historically,

and talks about why the Romans are going to beat the Gauls.

And it has to do with things like organization

versus ad hoc sorts of organization.

This would apply just as much to William’s army

as it applies to the Gauls.

Listen to what Delbruck writes, though,

and understand that what the Romans are going to do

to this army from the early Middle Ages

is they’re going to move on it.

Delbruck writes about the Romans and the Gauls, quote,

The superiority of the Roman art of warfare

was based on the army organization as a whole,

a system that permitted very large masses of men

to be concentrated at a given point,

to move in an orderly fashion,

to be fed and to be kept together.

The Gauls could do none of these things.

It was not so much the courage of the Romans,

which was in no way greater than their own,

but the Roman mass power that subdued them.

And again, not that their own mass of itself

would not have been much greater,

but their mass was an inert one, incapable of movement.

It was the Roman civilization that conquered barbarism,

for imparting the capability of movement to a large mass

is a work of art that only a higher civilization can achieve.

Barbarism cannot do it.

The Roman army was not simply a mass, but an organized mass.

And it could be a mass only because it was organized

and formed a complex and living entity.

End quote.

So these armies from the early Middle Ages in Europe have a problem,

and that’s that they have the famous choice of this era,

which is you can stand still and keep your formation intact, right?

You can be the Anglo-Saxons on the hill,

you can have your shield wall, you can be shoulder to shoulder,

you can be solid.

But when people start to move,

because they move as individuals, it all falls apart.

Now, if that happens and the enemy gets their hands on you,

especially with cavalry, you are meat.

So your choice is we stay here and we don’t move

and we don’t fall into disorder.

But that allows all the impetus to go to your opponent, right?

You have no way of pressing them.

That’s why the Anglo-Saxons stayed on the hill

and never bothered William down at the bottom of the hill.

The only way they could bother him is to come down.

If they came down, he’d kill them.

The reason you know this is because that’s what actually happened

in the Battle of Hastings.

Several times, these Saxons,

thinking they were pursuing retreating horsemen,

broke formation and ran down the hill.

And when they were strung out all along the hill as individuals,

the cavalry came back and killed them.

Still undetermined whether the maneuver

that made these Anglo-Saxons so excited

they thought they went won was a feigned flight,

a planned tactic, or whether or not, you know,

they had just kicked the Bretons’ butts or something like that.

And they were running away in disorder and just,

oh, look, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter

and all those Anglo-Saxons ran down the hill

so we could kill them.

Imagine that. Let’s do that again.

That’s an example of another tactic

that probably would not have worked against Caesar.

So, as William approaches this battle in my movie,

let’s imagine what’s gonna happen here.

I’m going to think that several miles from the battle,

around the same time that William is getting word

about this strange army that’s deployed

on a much larger piece of ground

than the Anglo-Saxons historically deployed upon

and that it’s waiting for them,

I imagine you’d start getting reports

that there were encounters happening,

probably with light infantry skirmishers.

Caesar’s got, we know he’s got slingers and light troops,

so people with javelins, people with maybe bows and arrows

and a bunch of other people, and they’re going to engage

the Duke of Normandy’s army before he gets to the battlefield.

They’re going to swarm around him like mosquitoes.

They’re not going to do a ton of damage,

but they keep you from being able to leisurely

just deploy things at your will.

They are killing, you know, this guy and that guy here and there.

They’re wounding that guy.

I mean, it’s a pain in the rear,

and it’s going to be the beginning of an encounter

where the Normans are not going to be given any time

to just sort of sit around and think what they want to do

and lick their wounds and then leisurely attack later.

Caesar and the Romans will be on them

before they get to the battlefield,

inhibiting their ability to deploy.

William really doesn’t have any troops capable of doing this

unless we want to buy into the theory,

which is probable, though,

that the Breton cavalry he has could skirmish.

I’m not sure you want to have a bunch of basically

proto-knightly skirmishing cavalry out there against the Romans,

but you can do it if you want to.

Remember, Caesar himself has cavalry,

2,000 Gallic cavalry, famously,

European cavalry 1.0.

I’m thinking, and, you know, sometimes these battles,

if you read the ancient accounts,

sometimes there’d be these skirmishes ahead of time

that sort of let one side feel out the other,

and a lot of times it had to do with cavalry

because they were so mobile.

Maybe Caesar has his 2,000 Gallic cavalry,

or some of them skirmish a little bit

with some of these early middle-aged proto-knights

and sees what happens.

But if he does, he’s going to see,

uh, I don’t think we want to encounter them close up.

So maybe the Gauls skirmish,

which some people have suggested

that that’s what they fight like anyway,

but no one knows.

But if I’m the caddy around William the Conqueror

giving him advice, I’m going to tell him

that you’re going to feel better if you can see that cavalry,

because if you don’t see the 2,000 Gallic cavalry,

you’ve got to worry about where they are.

If you’re Julius Caesar, you might send that cavalry

on a wide outflanking maneuver, you know, out of view.

And then right when the battle reaches its crucial point,

they come crashing in, you know,

from behind you or something, turning the tide.

Or maybe Caesar has them make

an even wider outflanking movement.

And they go and they sack the Norman camp in the rear

where all their stuff is, the noncombatants are,

maybe the treasury is.

Or maybe Caesar goes even farther around the flank

than that, goes all the way to the coast,

burns the ships that William’s going to need to get home.

If you don’t see the 2,000 Gallic cavalry,

you better be thinking why you don’t see them.

William’s army is divided into the three sections,

as we said, the Corps of Archers,

the Corps of Melee Infantry,

and then behind them, the heavy cavalry in three lines.

The Romans are in a traditional formation.

Understand that the Romans built this army

that happened in Caesar’s time.

And this is the height of the Roman army of the legions.

So right from before Caesar, you know,

maybe his relative, Marius,

is the guy that you date this era from,

to about the mid-200s, maybe,

is the height of the great legionary armies.

In the same way that the Norman army really relies

on the power of this Norman proto-knightly cavalry

to do its business,

the Roman army’s about the legionaries at this stage.

Some armies have lots of different things

they can hit you with and sting you with.

The Normans are about the proto-knights,

the Romans are about the legionaries,

and that’s why in my movie,

it’s going to be those two elements coming together

that are going to decide things.

This isn’t going to be something where,

oh, the skirmishers decided it,

or the cavalry around the flank decided it.

In this battle, you’re going to have

what you didn’t get in the final countdown,

or that Twilight Zone episode.

You’re going to get to see legionaries against Normans.

Now, the legionaries during this period

represent sort of a cross-section

of the soon-to-be Roman Empire.

Remember, this is the end of the Republican.

In the same way that the cultures

of these feudal societies

determine how their militaries look and operate,

the cultures of societies like, well,

the late Roman Republic do, too.

It influences, for example, how these commanders behave.

They’re jockeying for political position in Rome,

and things like what the old newspapers are saying,

or the equivalent, the scuttlebutt in Rome,

about your conduct on the battlefield matters.

So, it influences your conduct on the battlefield.

These really, in the width and breadth

of the history of the Roman army,

this is a Roman army in transition

from the era where, you know,

how much money you had determined, you know,

which ranks or what type of troops

you were on the battlefield,

to one where these are, after Caesar’s time,

not that long after Caesar’s time,

are gonna be professional state-run forces

of long-serving professionals.

They’re not quite there yet. They’re on their way.

These are volunteers who are recruited,

but they often sort of re-up their recruitment a bunch.

They fight with the general for a while

because they become attached to them

in a financial and prosperity sense in some cases, too.

Their allegiance becomes to these generals,

so they stick around.

By the time Caesar’s fighting in Britain in 54 BCE,

some of these units and troops have been fighting with him

for quite some time.

Some of them have been involved in, you know,

skin-of-their-teeth battles in Gaul in previous years.

So, this is an experienced veteran force,

and the Romans got very good

when their soldiers had been serving for a while.

The legionaries are all heavy infantry,

and heavy infantry during the pre-gunpowder era,

their job is to engage in hand-to-hand combat

with the other side.

So, usually to break the enemy’s main battle line,

because normally you’re fighting, you know,

the major portions of armies or infantry.

Not always, but usually.

The Roman legionaries have been called

by some of the best pre-modern heavy infantry that ever were.

I don’t know about that specifically,

but I think if they’re not in your top three, you’re insane.

They are all armored by this period.

The armor being provided by the state.

They are equipped with weapons provided by the state.

They’re run, you know, they have factories

that create this stuff, and the quality is high.

The metal quality is high, for example.

The standardization is high, and the standardization

allows the army to be trained in ways

that some of these tribal or early armies

from the Middle Ages,

they don’t have the same kind of standardization, right?

You want an axe at the battle? You bring your axe.

You want a sword? You bring a sword.

You bring a sword, but it makes it tough to coordinate.

The Romans are all armed, the legionaries are all armed

the same, so their tactics can be standardized.

First of all, they are, at ground zero, a swordsman.

They have a big shield, by the way, that covers,

you know, about three-quarters of their body.

Big ol’ heavy shield, though, because you’re not supposed

to be moving around dodging and weaving.

Your job is to run into the enemy head-on with that shield,

and you’re gonna hit him with the shield first.

You got a sword that is one of the great swords in history.

If you’ve never held a good recreation of the Gladius,

it’s worth your time if you’re a fan of history like I am.

And the sword changed over time.

Started as a Spanish sword,

did so much damage against the Romans, they adopted it,

and it would get longer and shorter and change its shape

and have various versions.

Julius Caesar’s version’s actually a little longer

than the one that will come in the famous empire.

It’s about Adrian Goldsworthy puts it at, like,

two feet, six inches.

It’s a little longer than you might think for a Roman sword,

but not like the one the Normans carry, usually.

The Normans have a wide variety, of course,

because they’re not standardized.

The one thing you notice when you pick up a Gladius

of any kind is its weightedness.

It’s not a heavy sword.

Swords are generally lighter than most people think anyway.

But its weight balance is such that it feels like a cleaver.

You know, like you could swing it

at about halfway down your swinging motion.

The sword itself helps pick up steam.

But it’s really the point that does the majority of the damage.

It’s got a point that just is meant for just puncturing

through things like armor.

And the Roman training generally insisted that they run up

to the enemy’s battle line, shove the big old shield

in their face, and stab upward with this sword

into the guts of the opponent.

Because as the manuals pointed out,

a slashing cut rarely kills, but a stabbing wound,

even an inch into the enemy, is often fatal.

Weird as that may sound, right?

In an era before medicine, you pierce the viscera

and somebody’s probably going to die.

Good chance of it anyway.

Let’s qualify that remark,

especially if you’re using Roman medicine.

The Romans, of course, had another weapon

for which they were famous, the pylum.

The pylum is a heavy, heavy javelin.

If you’ve ever held it, it’s another interesting weapon

and you look at it and you just kind of go,

it’s sort of ingenious.

A variation like most of the Roman weapons

of something they encountered once upon a time

and then decided they could make a better version themselves

and then standardize it.

Basically, and Adrian Goldsworthy says,

it’s a myth that they were deliberately built

to be flimsy at one point so that it would bend.

Because we all grew up thinking that, you know,

these had a long tip and then when they were thrown,

the weight of the handle would bend the pylum downwards.

So if it was sticking in your body or your shield

or whatever, you had this thing that was impeding you.

Goldsworthy says that’s a myth,

which sort of implies that it was just bad craftsmanship.

Nonetheless, these heavy javelins

are a whole different animal than the lighter ones

you throw to distance,

although the Romans had those too.

But these things were much more like

the Duke of Normandy’s muskets,

where in your head you may be thinking

that they’re shooting real far away, you know, at things,

but they weren’t in the Napoleonic era

because they weren’t that accurate.

You had to fire a lot of them at short range

and then they started mowing people down.

Well, it’s the same principle sort of with the heavy javelin.

The heavy throwing weapon is what the war games

research rules used to classify it as.

That’s in line with the equivalents

were like Frankish throwing axes.

I mean, heavy throwing weapons were nasty

because they mess up your unit, right?

And they’re thrown in volley.

So imagine you and a bunch of your friends get together,

line up in shield wall formation

because that’s a good one for people, you know,

that haven’t trained together.

You think, oh, let’s just get together,

form a solid body, we’ll overlap shields.

You can kind of work that and improvise that,

and it works okay if you don’t try to move.

So you imagine you’re in that formation

and these Romans come up

and they fought during this time period in cohorts.

A cohort is about 480 men on paper.

But if we’re going to be historical

about our fantasy battle here,

and you know I like to be rigorous

in my logical breakdown of fantasy battles,

then I think you’ve got to say

that these are probably understrength units by now.

I mean, after all,

Caesar’s been fighting in France, right?

And it’s been nasty, so I think,

let’s just cut our 480 paper strength down to 350.

And now you have to imagine that these people are in blocks.

If you could view it from the Goodyear blimp looking down,

the Roman cohorts, that’s what they’re called,

of 480 men on paper,

are like little rectangular blocks on the battlefield.

Their normal tactic is, especially against infantry,

that when they’re about 15 yards or something,

this could vary,

they unleash a volley of these heavy javelins.

So imagine, in this case, 350 of them at an opponent,

and then they take advantage of the disorder created by that.

I mean, if you and your buddies

are in your shield wall formation

and 350 heavy javelins come at you all in one volley,

how long does it take you to open up your eyes again

and be ready and gird down again and get ready for something?

How long? What’s the time period?

Because the Romans are then going to charge

right on top of the volley of heavy javelins

and try to take advantage of what that volley did to you

with these swords as a cutting machine.

That’s how they did it.

So in this battle, this fantasy battle,

as it begins, I’m going to think that William moves.

I’m going to say he moves because if he doesn’t move,

Julius Caesar will kill him one of two ways.

Either he will just, if the Romans sit there,

they will be building stuff.

And he will have, like, fortifications built

if William sits around for too long.

You wait three days, it’s going to be like, you know,

World War I in the early Middle Ages.

So I don’t think William’s going to sit there

and let the Romans do that.

I also truly don’t think Caesar would even bother.

I think if the enemy showed up there,

Caesar’s going to force them to do something.

And I think those skirmishers will be the reason

that it happens.

Go look at a video online of rioters.

And by the way, I think that that,

and I could be wrong about this.

This is just my own belief.

But when I look at these videos of really big riots,

the ones where the authorities come out in shields

that might be like Roman shields and they get in formation,

I think that looks very much like

what a pre-modern formation might.

And when you see them up against sometimes these crowds

that are sort of chaotic and moving like a swarm of bees

and they come forward and backwards,

I think that’s both what skirmishing

and what a lot of earlier battles must have looked like

when we talk about the physics of warfare.

I think you’re getting a pretty good idea

when you look at those videos.

Finally, some of them have horsemen

that charge into the mass.

The authorities bring in cavalry

and they charge into the mass of the protesters.

And again, I think you’re seeing, you know,

elements of muscle power and range

and how horses interact with people

that might give us a clue better than some of the other sources

in terms of things we can visualize,

especially better than movies and TV and that kind of thing,

about what the physics of warfare might be like.

And I think if Caesar’s got a couple thousand,

let’s just say 5,000 skirmishers in front of William’s troops

as they try to sit there,

they’re going to be pretty badly stung

by the time this battle even starts.

I especially think his archers are going to have had trouble

because shooting at these skirmishers

is going to prove fruitless.

I mean, they only have so many arrows.

Do they really want to waste them on a bunch of unarmored guys

dodging and running and moving around

and trying to not get hit by their arrows?

Or do they want to save them for, you know,

the troops that they really have to use them against?

I’m going to suggest that they save them,

and I’m going to think that when that happens,

they’re going to lose a lot of people in the process

and you’re not going to be able to keep the skirmishers off you.

When these archers approach Caesar’s ranks

and unleash their arrows,

I don’t think the arrows are going to do anything.

The Romans have formations

where they can create their shield wall of their own,

but the Romans famously have a roof to their shield wall.

It’s called the testudo, the tortoise formation.

If Caesar wants to, he can just have his troops on a command

create this formation where they look like a box of shields.

These little self-bows that the Anglo-Saxon era

Norman infantry are using

are probably as weak as anything the Romans have faced.

I mean, remember, the Romans have faced bows from the east

where they’re fantastically powerful composite bows.

These would not damage the Romans.

And so, I see the archers, you know, shooting all their arrows,

running out, not having much to work with.

So, they do what they did historically

at the Battle of Hastings, and after shooting their arrows,

retiring behind the melee infantry.

You know, this group of mixed early Middle Ages infantry

that then move up and try to deal with the Roman legionaries.

Now, this is where we can have some fun.

Do they move up and try to deal with the Roman legionaries?

Because if they move,

their formation’s probably going to be disordered.

Do they really want to be disordered

against these formations in front of them

that looked like blocks of marching men in unison?

I don’t know.

Maybe it depends on, you know,

what the people in charge of that unit,

the historical commanders, running things want to do.

I don’t know.

But if they want to maintain their formation,

they’re going to have to stay in place.

If they stay in place,

these legionaries are going to move around them.

They’re going to outflank them

so that they’re going to be surrounded,

at least on one side, maybe on both sides.

So, you see the problem that these untrained troops

in these units have.

They can’t move,

and they’re fighting people who can.

So, either you have, at some point,

a bunch of disordered melee infantry

running into the legionaries

and running into that storm of heavy javelins

followed by the swords,

disordered and out of formation and without cohesion,

in which case they’ll get killed,

or you see them maintaining their cohesion

but getting outflanked, in which case they’ll get killed.

So, I don’t see the infantry from this period

causing the Romans any trouble.

It’ll be just as easy,

and there are probably less of them,

than what Caesar’s been dealing with on the continent

in Gaul, historically.

The problem, of course, and the crux,

you know, the money scene in this film

is going to be how Caesar deals with the unquantifiable,

you know, Norman, Mike Tyson punch that can lay you low.

At the Battle of Hastings,

after the melee infantry retired,

not having been able, by the way,

to break the Anglo-Saxons on the hill,

it was the turn of the heavy cavalry.

I would see the same thing,

the heavy cavalry coming and trying to deal,

maybe, with one of these cohorts

that seemed a little exposed,

maybe the last one on the front lines.

And they were set up often in a checkerboard formation,

so that you would have one covering another,

and they had a reserve.

So, unlike most of these armies from the early Middle Ages,

who didn’t have a reserve,

there were people behind the front of the Roman line,

in case somebody broke through,

or in case somebody surrounded you,

you have to create a new front.

You take someone from the rear and a cohort from there,

and you make them the new front line on the edge, on the flank.

So, maybe the Normans see the best place to strike

at the front, in my movie, of the line, at the edge.

And they come barreling in,

and I have to try to figure out now

how I want to interpret, you know,

the physics of ancient warfare.

The best account I ever heard

of the questions involved that experts have,

you would think we would understand this, right?

I mean, it’s crazy to think we don’t,

was the one that historian David Nicole gave

in the Osprey book on the Normans.

It’s a rather introductory book,

but I had never seen anybody do such a great rundown

of the major questions involved.

And he’s doing it in terms of discussing

the Normans specifically,

but it applies to all pre-modern battles.

You just don’t know how they fought.

The very common questions about what happens

when two groups of people, blocks of men,

run into each other.

We wish we knew any of these things.

It’s why when people say,

Dan, what would you do with a time machine?

I always say, I want to be in a hot air balloon

a hundred yards above one of these ancient battles,

just so I can see how the whole thing works.

Here’s what historian David Nicole

sort of sums up some of the major questions here.

And when you hear it, you kind of go,

wow, yeah, that is a lot of stuff

to not really understand how it worked.

And by the way, several of these words,

I’m not going to cut up the narrative with it,

but they’re in quotes because, for example,

a word like cavalry shock tactics,

which is something you’ll hear people use,

is an implicit belief right there

that that’s what cavalry did.

So some of these words are in quotation marks.

And he writes, quote,

only recently have historians used psychological techniques

developed during and after the Second World War

to probe the probable stresses

faced by men and animals in pre-industrial warfare.

What, for example,

was the reality of medieval cavalry shock tactics

against disciplined or at least determined infantry?

Were infantry more afraid of horses

or of the men riding them?

Did cavalry fear archers more or less

than they feared other cavalry?

What happened when charging cavalry

met disciplined infantry in ranks?

And at what speed did they come into contact?

What effect did the impact have on any second rank of cavalry

or on the further ranks of infantry?

What happened when two forces of cavalry on the move

met head-on?

And how closely packed were such units when they collided?

How, in fact, did cavalry pass through other cavalry

or ride down infantry?

Clearly, he writes, the results of combat

were intended to be more predictable

than the results of a suicidal accident.

Unfortunately, he says, medieval illustrations of battle

often portray what looks like the split second prior

to a violent encounter rather than realistic combat.

End quote.

So does this heavy cavalry charge

into the Roman legionaries

like driving a car into a crowd of people?

Or is that more of a, you know, one of those tragic accidents

Nicole was talking about?

Maybe they come up and they throw their spears

the way it shows in the Bayeux Tapestry,

and they wait to see if that has any effect.

And if it breaks the formation a little bit,

then they can, you know, charge in there with swords

and stuff like that.

They may ride along the front of the infantry

and just spear them as they go by

in sort of a spear-fishing fashion.

Or Nicole suggests or theorizes that it’s possible

that the horses of the Normans were trained to push,

as it’s called, and that the Normans would go up

and with their spear tip, essentially touch the spear tip

onto the enemy’s shield, or human body,

and sort of jostle it.

And if you have 40, 50, 60 guys against the front lines

doing this jostling at the same time,

well, he says, was the Anglo-Saxon formation

at Hastings jostled to death?

Maybe he said jostled to defeat,

but he was just sort of theorizing there,

and who doesn’t love that?

I know I do.

As I’m theorizing about this situation,

I can’t help but think that whether or not the Norman

or the other heavy cavalry here

are gonna crash into the Roman ranks,

whether or not they’re gonna ride along the front

like they’re spear-fishing for legionaries,

or whether or not they’re gonna do something like

throw these lances and wait for some effect to happen

so they can charge in with swords,

I think they’re gonna have to deal with one immediate thing

that’s going to be sort of the judgment moment here,

is how do they handle when at some point

they come too close or decide to charge in

to the legionaries, and they get, what did we say,

an understrength cohort.

So we’ll say 350 of these heavy javelins

thrown simultaneously in a volley,

tossed at their face.

Forget about the men, by the way.

Think about what that does to the horses.

The horses of the European cavalry at this period

are not armored.

The men are, but the horses aren’t.

Even if they were, I’m not sure it makes a ton of difference.

That is a storm of steel, ancient style.

Doesn’t it sound like you’d have this awful train wreck,

15 yards, 10 yards in front of the Roman front lines

as everybody fell on top of everybody

and then the rear ranks fell over them?

And then, when that mess is screaming and writhing,

one second after the collapse,

then the 350 to 480 Romans in that cohort

charge with their swords?


So, I’m thinking 90% chance that’s how it goes.

Here’s the problem.

The Normans, like Tyson late in his career,

still have a puncher’s chance.

The possibility exists that with whatever it is,

that unquantifiable thing that always gets them a plus

in the war games rules I grew up playing,

based on contemporary accounts

and people’s attitudes at the time,

of all the biases they were and whatnot.

Even the Byzantines, who couldn’t stand the Normans,

called their charge irresistible.

So, how do you model that in your war games rules?

So, maybe it’s irresistible to the legionaries, too.

You don’t become a person on the world stage

the way the Normans were people on the world stage

for a couple of hundred years

without having something special.

Who the hell knows what that is,

but it was a battlefield quality.

And I’m suggesting that like the Seleucids

at the Battle of Magnesia,

the Roman cohort that first gets hit by these cavalry breaks.

The Romans, by the way, the legionaries had famously,

throughout their history, faced heavy cavalry,

really heavy cavalry on multiple occasions,

and multiple different kinds of heavy cavalry.

They faced, as I just said, the Seleucids,

who were like Alexander the Great’s successors,

and they were fully armored men on fully armored horses.

Those are called cataphracts, by the way,

and the Romans would develop their own cataphracts

to imitate them.

The Romans faced the Parthians and the Sassanids,

both of whom used cataphracts.

They faced the Sarmatians, a steppe people,

like the Scythians and the Huns and those kinds of people,

who also rode fully armored horses

and had fully armored men and used the contus,

a big long lance.

And the legionaries never liked facing them,

but did pretty well.

They did break the left flank,

supposedly, of the Romans at Magnesia,

and the cataphracts tried to raid the Roman camp,

and the Roman camp, being like a castle almost,

gave them too much trouble.

In other words, despite the occasional problems

that the Romans had with this cavalry,

by and large, they dealt with it.

And I think they would have dealt with the Norman knights too,

even if that first cohort ran,

because as I said, the Romans are going to have a reserve.

There’s gonna be another cohort

that’s going to move up and move on

the Normans as they’re pursuing this other unit.

So imagine what this looks like on film.

They’ve splattered into this one legion.

The 480 or so men are now running.

It’s devolved into a million little battles.

One Norman on two fleeing Romans, you know.

And it’s stretched out over a long space,

and then a unit of formed men marching in formation

like a block marches right up to that,

and then just tears it up.

And the Mike Tyson super punch

that you have to worry about was outboxed.

There are other things Caesar could have done, by the way,

if you think about the way the Byzantines

used to handle the Normans.

They fought the Normans for real, didn’t like it,

didn’t like facing any of the Western European cavalry,

but they had all sorts of ways to beat them.

Most of them involved around boxing them,

not fighting them, starving them.

They said they had all these wonderful qualities

that made them like Vikings.

And at the same time, they were like children

in other respects, tactically unsophisticated,

not willing to put up with much hardship.

I mean, I think the strategic on specifically says

that if they run out of wine, the army will go home.

And so the Byzantines often just sort of refused

to actually settle down and fight them,

and they would often just go home.

But when they did fight them,

they also had all these little stratagems on the battlefield.

One of them was caltrops.

A good way to think of caltrops is like tacks

that somebody would throw on the floor in front of a doorway

so that when someone walked in the doorway,

all of a sudden they’re bare feet,

they’ve got tacks everywhere.

These are like tacks for horses,

and oftentimes the Byzantines would set up a whole zone

of these things in front of their infantry formations.

So think about like a 50-yard by 50-yard square,

you know, 10 yards in front of the front lines

when the Normans or the Frankish cavalry

or whatever it is charge, they hit those tacks.

And the same thing happens to the cavalry

that we imagined happening when 350 heavy javelins hit it, right?

They fall apart into a car crash,

and you can either counter charge them

or in the case of the Byzantines,

probably just shoot them down from there.

We also should remember that it’s at this point

that it’s very possible in my movie

that the 2,000 Gallic cavalry, the European cavalry 1.0

that would never want to face these Norman proto-knights

head-on arrive to face them

when the Normans are least capable of resisting,

when they’re routing, when they’re running away,

when they’re trying to escape, when they’re in ones and twos,

and all of a sudden, the 2,000 cavalry just sweep down

on the battlefield, spearing down everything.

If they haven’t already burned the Norman camp

or the ships to have them go home,

unlike the real Battle of Hastings,

which took all day, 9 a.m. to sundown,

and which the Normans almost lost

on a couple of occasions during the day,

I don’t think this would take too long.

And unlike that battle, had the Normans lost,

I think a lot of them would have gotten away

because those infantrymen would not have been very good pursuers.

I don’t think many of these Normans get away this time.

I think the Gallic cavalry and all the light troops

meet the Normans on the beach trying to get away,

and you have an ancient version of the Dunkirk battle

from 1940 in the Second World War.

But this time, the side trying to get away

by the skin of its teeth doesn’t make it.

I think Julius Caesar in my movie

walks up to William the Conqueror

and offers him a drink in his tent before he has him executed.

Then again, maybe he wouldn’t.

Caesar was known for his clemency, after all,

especially if his clemency would get him something.

On the other hand, I prefer to think about him

treating William the Conqueror the way he treated somebody

like the Gallic leader Vercingetorix.

Put him on ice for a while, save him for the party.

And then when we eventually have the triumph

for this whole region, not just this one little area,

we’ll bring him on display with the other malcontents,

march him down one of the main streets in Rome

so everybody can jeer at him

and give me credit for defeating him,

and then we’ll have him ritually strangled

with the rest of them.

William the Conqueror ritually strangled by Julius Caesar.

It has a ring to it, doesn’t it?

Especially if you’re Roman.

But let’s not be too trusting of the pre-fight analysts,

the pundits, the prognosticators who suggest

that this Roman victory over the Normans

is a foregone conclusion because, you know,

sometimes the puncher wins.

The closest analogy maybe you can find

for an actual battle between Normans and Romans

is when the Normans fought the people

who still called themselves Romans, the Byzantines.

How about the Battle of Dyrrhachium in 1081?

That’s one of those battles

where there’s an interesting, ironic twist

that all you fans, true fans,

of the Battle of Hastings already know about.

In this case, you have an army.

Let’s just politely say it is far off the highs

of Byzantine strength and power,

and the Byzantine state in this period

and the Norman state in this period put together

don’t equal a tiny percentage

of Julius Caesar’s late republic power,

but it makes them a better match against each other,

and they met at the Battle of Dyrrhachium

in modern-day Albania.

Amongst the Byzantine army is a famous unit

that’s been around for a long time by this time period.

They’re called the Varangian Guard.

Varangian’s another word usually used in the East for Vikings.

Viking is more of an avocation than an ethnic term,

we should point out.

But the Varangian Guard used to be composed

of all those Swedes and people like that

who fought with battle axes

and looked a lot like Vikings to us.

By this time period, they’re using what’s left

of those kinds of people.

I love the way from a hundred years ago,

a historian like Sir Charles Oman probably would have put it,

I’m putting words into his mouth,

but he was one of those guys

that would have been very comfortable saying

that the Middle Ages began at the fields of Hastings

when the Viking system of warfare,

of infantry using battle axes and going into shield walls

was decisively defeated by, you know,

the mounted knights now of Europe

who will rule the roost for several hundred years.

Something like the Battle of Dyrrachium in 1081

would be something like, you know,

the final appeal of the Viking Age being denied

when the results of Hastings are confirmed.

A guy like Oman might say,

because what happened at the Battle of Dyrrachium

is the Byzantines were using mercenaries and auxiliaries

just as the Romans had.

In this case, some of them were refugees

from the Battle of Hastings.

Much of the Varangian guard in 1081 were Anglo-Saxons.

And the ironic twist from the Battle of Hastings

is not only are there Anglo-Saxons

who fought at the Battle of Hastings

at the Battle of Dyrrachium,

they’re once again fighting Normans.

In fact, Normans where it’s very likely

there were some people who fought

at the Battle of Hastings too.

This is like getting a second crack.

You know, Frasier Ali one, this is Frasier Ali two.

And just like the first fight though,

the Anglo-Saxons in the Varangian guard,

if you believe the sources,

pursuing what they thought was a defeated foe once again,

just like at Hastings, blows themselves out

like a bunch of horses who’ve run too far and too fast,

loses their cohesion

and gets their rear end handed to them again.

Famously, they’re supposed to have tried

to take refuge in a nearby church,

which the Normans proceed to burn down, killing them all.

Welcome to Norman history, by the way.

The ironic part about it is they were supposed

to be pursuing a beaten foe

because the Byzantines had managed to blow away

a whole flank of Normans and Norman knights.

So this should have been the beginning of the end.

They should have been able to wrap around them

in a half moon sort of fashion

and just begin to roll up the enemy army.

But what saved them is the proverbial big punch

when the Norman knights charge again,

supposedly at a joint in the line.

So if you think about the Byzantine frontline

having a left wing and a right wing and a center,

there are joints or hinges between a wing and the center.

They’re supposed to have charged at one of those wings.

Maybe, again, physics of battle thing,

in small groups that just continually scared the hell

out of the people they were running into.

Remember, the Byzantines considered

the Norman charge irresistible.

And the funny part about that is just like a boxing match

where psychology comes into play.

And they used to say, if you were going to face a Tyson

or a George Foreman or a Sonny Liston,

that you could be so intimidated that you were beaten

before you even crawled into the ring.

If you read or hear, or there’s a reputation

going around the scuttlebutt here in the military barracks,

that the Norman charge is irresistible,

and all of a sudden you see them coming at you,

how much of that becomes a foregone

psychological conclusion?

And remember, when you’re talking about group psychology

as opposed to somebody who maybe can toughen it out

in the ring, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.

How many people in your formed formation

lined up like bowling pins have to decide that,

listen, the first people who run away here

are going to be the people who survive?

How many of them have to decide that they’re going to flee

before the whole formation melts?

I had a gun pointed at me once.

I always wondered how I’d behave.

And it was a ridiculous situation

because the police officers just ran at me.

I was in a crowd of other people and just said

that we had to run away.

But the gun was blocks away.

I mean, there was really no danger at all.

But I’ve never forgotten the sense of contagious panic

that took over instantly.

I always wondered how I’d behave,

but I always assumed I’d have some time to think about it.

Instead, it just takes over.

Remember, the Greek god of panic is the ruler of battlefields,

and it doesn’t take a whole lot to spark a collapse.

And it looks like at the Battle of Dyrrachium,

the Norman charge at the hinge in the Byzantine line,

again, if that’s correct and you believe it,

is supposed to have caused the entire center

to just sort of collapse.

So before we look at the paper and decide

that these legionaries will automatically, obviously,

beat the Normans, let’s account for the fact

that sometimes, you know, the same reason

my war games research rules gives that’s plus one

to Normans, Vikings, ancient Germans,

and early Celtic people, or whatever it is,

you never know what they might, you know,

what sort of rabbit the Normans might pull out of a hat.

And I guess when we try to look at this in terms of my movie,

I think that’s the kind of thing that’s going to have

to be included in the director’s cut.

And of course, you know, me being a capitalist,

there’ll be an extra charge for that.

If you think the show you just heard is worth a dollar,

Dan and Ben would love to have it.

Go to dancarland.com for information

on how to donate to the show.

For the latest news, information, and thoughts from Dan,

make sure to follow his history feed on Twitter.

The address is at Hardcore History.

So, I just heard the audio that you just heard.

And my first reaction afterwards was,

we’ll see, that’s why we have a Hardcore History addendum feed.

You would not want a narrowly targeted show like that

on a more broadly based program

like the big Hardcore History one, right?

I’m hoping, as I said, that in five years,

when you look at the archives, it’s a bunch of stuff

maybe you don’t care about, but hopefully a few of them

are really hitting your sweet spot.

I mean, if you’re a pre-industrial military history,

alternative history fan,

this show probably just totally tickled your fancy, right?

Would have tickled mine.

So, I hope you enjoyed it.

Those of you who stuck around,

I do have a few announcements to make.

The cynical amongst you may consider them

nothing more than a cheap excuse

for why the next big Hardcore History show

is going to be late.

I would argue with that because I don’t think

it’s a cheap excuse, I think it’s a good excuse.

Those of you who are familiar

with the old Ed Sullivan Show act,

with the guy who used to spin plates,

and he’d have like five or six spinning plates

on these canes or sticks or rods or whatever they were.

And of course, you know, the plates will start spinning

at some point, and, well, I had all these plates

successfully spinning for a while,

and then they all started wobbling at once.

And well, the next Hardcore History’s big show,

Supernova in the East, will be a little late,

I guess is what I’m saying.

But I have a good reason why,

and I think you might like this stuff.

And it’s multiple things, right?

Like I said, multiple spinning plates.

The first one was, I was fortunate enough

to be involved in the Jordan Peele reboot

of the Twilight Zone series.

And you know what a Twilight Zone fan I am.

There’s a lot of this show that’s got some basis in that,

I’m sure, genetically or, you know,

early developmentally speaking.

It was a remake of the famous William Shatner

in the plane with the gremlin on the wing episode.

And it was revamped so that there’s a podcast involved,

and you’ll never guess who they chose

to be the voice in the podcast.

And not only did I get to be in this remake

of a show that, you know, I think it was formative,

important to my formative development,

I got to be Rodman Edwards was the name,

was the host of the podcast.

Well, that’s Rod Serling’s name, Rodman Edward Serling.

So that was really cool.

One of those opportunities that you just have to say

to yourself, well, I don’t care if this takes some time,

can’t turn this down.

By the way, my thanks to the producers

for thinking I’d be good at that gig.

Now, in addition to that,

the long-awaited, much-anticipated

virtual reality project that I’ve been working on

for a while is here.

The World War I experience,

we call it War Remains, by the way.

It debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival

not even quite a month ago, I don’t think.

And it’s getting rave reviews, I guess,

is the only way to say.

I mean, you know, I’m not a big self-promoter,

although I’m going to have to learn in the near future,

I guess, but it looks like people like it.

You know me, I always, with everything I do,

think about what I would have done differently.

And my main complaint about War Remains

is it’s not long enough.

Why can’t it be as long as a podcast?

Why can’t I have you in my virtual reality experience

for six hours?

I will transform you,

but there might be some counseling involved afterwards.

So, you know, more responsible and intelligent people

talked me back from the ledge on that.

But I’ve been working with some really, really good folk,

and they’ve made a really cool thing.

I mean, the sound was done by Skywalker.

I mean, okay, who do you want doing your sound?

Brandon Oldenburg, an award-winning creative artist,

put this whole thing together.

And if you’re in a room with him

and you watch him start drawing on the board,

you just sit there and go, holy crap.

Madison Wells was in charge of this whole thing,

and they’re doing movies now.

So, I mean, it was a really cool group of people to work with.

And what they put together was, we call it a taste,

a taste of the trench warfare in the First World War.

And the reason we call it a taste is because

the first thing you have to acknowledge

even trying to do something like this

is it’s nothing like the real thing, right?

Because you’re not going to get hurt.

You’re not going to come back with a leg missing.

What we always try to say, though,

is it’s nothing like the real thing.

It’s just more like the real thing

than anything you’ve been exposed to yet.

And there were some really interesting meetings

during the creative sessions for this whole thing

where you ask these really interesting questions.

One of the questions was relating to how we form

a mental conception of things, like war.

And we tried to imagine if you had never seen a war movie

or modern or like World War II warfare

portrayed on television.

If you’d only read about it or only heard a radio report of it

or something like that, how much different

would your mental visualization of what that looked like be?

The motion picture version of, let’s just say,

Second World War combat allows you to get a much better idea

of what it visually and audibly sounded like, right?

A better impression of what it really was.

Now, is that anything like it really was?

Not really.

I mean, you know, war on the ground is war on the ground

and watching a movie is watching a movie,

but it’s more like a book.

It’s more like war than a radio broadcast.

And this virtual reality production is more like

the First World War than anything else you’ve seen.

That’s all we can say about it.

My goal from the very beginning was to get as close

to realistic as possible.

There was a problem with that.

And this was one of the second big questions

and conversations that happened during the creative meetings.

How close do you want to simulate

a negative human experience?

Because we’re all curious about this,

but we don’t want to get our legs blown off.

And we had to sit there and try to figure out

how uncomfortable to make it.

Because you can already, I mean, Skywalker could turn up

the sound and blow your eardrums out, right?

But who wants to pay to get a ticket for that?

And yet, one of my military history professors

used to yell at us all the time.

And it took me a long time to realize

he wasn’t yelling at me, he was yelling at him.

He said he wasn’t yelling because he was a yeller,

he was yelling because he was half deaf,

because he was an artillery guy.

And in war, during these periods where a lot of these big guns

are firing, people’s hearing gets damaged.

So if you want to have an experience more like

the veterans, should we damage your hearing?

I was probably on the we should damage your hearing side.

The more responsible people talked me out of that.

But you could see what an interesting dilemma it is.

If I was promising to take you into a virtual reality

experience of, you know, 18th century dentistry,

and it’ll seem real, I doubt you’re buying a ticket for that, right?

So there’s these interesting questions that come up

about how real you want to make it.

And, you know, and you’re trying to hit the sweet spot of people.

Because some people are going to be really hardcore

and can handle more, and some people are going to be

really soft core and need less.

So how do you know where is the sweet spot for people?

And we thought about it something like, you know, Jaws.

When I was a kid and you went to see the movie Jaws.

I mean, it was so, at the time, it was so scary

that it scared people from going to see the movie.

And yet at the same time, it created this attraction

where you kind of wanted to see it.

I kept telling the guys we were doing this with,

and I liked everybody we were working with,

flight school guys, I mean, everybody.

I kept telling them that this is exactly the kind of thing

I’d want to go to.

And so I kind of had that in the back of my mind the whole time.

What would I like to see?

One of the things we didn’t do is we consciously didn’t come up

with a story or a person to follow.

We consciously didn’t try to tell you

how to interpret what you were seeing.

And we had discussions, and I was talking about people

like Ernst Junger, you know, from the Storm of Steel book,

where he didn’t have the typical reaction

that you get in books like All Quiet on the Western Front,

where you get this terrible anti-war feeling

from all the waste and all the carnage and all that,

which is pretty typical.

But there were people that felt differently about it, right?

It had a whole different take on it.

So we focused more on the experience itself

and figured that you would have a chance afterwards

to sort of take it all in and decide how you felt about it

and how you interpreted it

and what sort of lens you saw it through.

I hope you like it. I hope you get a chance to see it.

It was a lot of fun, and it’s creativity

on a really wild level

when you add the virtual reality aspect to it.

My thanks to everybody involved.

Brandon, Ethan, all you guys.

Clint, Kisker, I’m forgetting everybody,

but, you know, I’ll have time to thank everybody.

Finally, there is a book that I’ve been working on

for some time, but you know me, not long enough.

It’s been interesting working with deadlines again.

As I tell you that the next big Hardcore History Show

is going to be delayed,

that’s not something you can get away with

in the literary world,

so it’s been interesting working with deadlines again.

And I just want to say that it was really interesting

consciously knowing that things were not going to be

as easy to do as people suggested,

but, you know, that means I think I consciously

or unconsciously wanted to do this opportunity,

so there will be a book for you

in the not-too-distant future.

I don’t have a final name for you yet,

nor do I have a release date.

More will be forthcoming on that,

but the majority of the heavy lifting is over.

Again, it probably delayed the next show a little bit.

I hope that when, you know,

all the spinning plates are taken together,

you think it was worth it.

And, folks, we’ve said this before.

I know it sounds like pandering,

but it’s really the way I feel.

I understand that none of these opportunities are here,

except for the podcast and the listeners.

And so, thank you. I appreciate your patience.

You’re the best crowd in the world when it comes to that.

We’ve got you well-trained, don’t we?

But, you know, I’ve missed y’all.

It’s nice to be back.

I don’t really feel like I was gone,

but sometimes we feel like we’re off the air

sometimes around here, but we’re not.

You know, you can follow us, by the way,

at Hardcore History.

The War Remains folk also have a Twitter handle.

It’s at WarRemains.

You can hashtag WarRemains, too.

And when the book gets a little farther along

and I have more to report, there will be updates.

We are currently working on Supernova in the East,

part three. It’s underway, don’t worry.

I don’t know when it’s coming out, but I never do,

because, after all, one of the wonderful benefits

of this podcast and your indulgence

is that I don’t have to work around any hard deadlines.

We can just focus more importantly

that it at least meets my minimum, you know,

quality standards, and I can almost guarantee you

the next one will.

And hopefully it won’t be too far in the distance,

and hopefully there’ll be another Hardcore History

addendum show before too long.

Nice to talk with y’all again.