Ancient Warfare Expert Rates 10 Battle Tactics In Movies And TV | How Real Is It?

Roel Konijnendijk, who has a doctorate in ancient history and is a lecturer at the University of Oxford's New College, rates 10 ancient-warfare scenes in movies and shows for realism.

Konijnendijk rates the realism of tactics portrayed in films such as “300" (2006), "Alexander" (2004), and "Braveheart" (1995). He breaks down the martial arts prowess of stars such as Brad Pitt in "Troy" (2004), Orlando Bloom in "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005), and Russell Crowe in "Gladiator" (2000).

He also looks at some fantastical scenes such as the battle of Helm's Deep from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002) and the battle of Winterfell from "Game of Thrones." Konijnendijk analyzes the historical accuracy of scenes from "The Last Kingdom" (2015) and "Red Cliff" (2008), and he rates the realism of the military formations, tactics, movements, and weaponry of each scene.

Find out more about Konijnendijk here:

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Ancient Warfare Expert Rates 10 Battle Tactics In Movies And TV | How Real Is It?


  1. TJ Roses

    TJ Roses

    42 мүнөт мурун

    What about a few of the fighting scenes from vikings? I'd be interested in both larger battles and smaller charges like the first one on an English beach



    Саат мурун

    Where was that for Spartans? Spartans had no problem breaking formation and hunt down fleeing units. The only question is when was the right moment to do that. Since if you break formation too early to to make chase the enemy can stop and fight and the battle will be messy unorganised and you can turn victory to defeat And yes there are record of this happening.

  3. Cooper Baird

    Cooper Baird

    Саат мурун

    I was hoping for a Vikings breakdown

  4. Atiqah Diyana

    Atiqah Diyana

    2 саат мурун

    I like that a lot of his frustrations concerns how movies have sort of reduced warring armies from a wide range of nations into barbarians that lack tactic or finesse when these were civilized people who knew what they were doing. Their plans might not have always worked but they was a lot more strategy to it then just ramming themselves against the enemy and hoping that works

  5. G.A.P.


    3 саат мурун

    "I've got 99 problems but the ditch ain't one...."

  6. zKm


    3 саат мурун

    Good comentary. And verrry politicaly correct, 'cos we've learned something about evil movie racists, too.... 15:58

  7. Polowy


    6 саат мурун

    For the 2nd half of the Troy section, Achilles is watching from the distance talking about how the greeks are not in formation, getting too close to the wall etc. So the greeks doing everything wrong was part of the plot

  8. Brent Miller

    Brent Miller

    6 саат мурун

    Modern Hollywood is going to get the message and the next blockbuster will have CGI ditches.

  9. safal thapa

    safal thapa

    8 саат мурун

    What trump needed was ditches, and after some high ground walls

  10. Stanley Leonard Darmali

    Stanley Leonard Darmali

    8 саат мурун

    Huh. Didn't know the Scots had pike formations in the time period of Braveheart. Shame they get portrayed as savages.

  11. Sjon Don

    Sjon Don

    12 саат мурун

    Really enjoyed this vid, but why call the Persian depiction racist? It's just a wrong depiction, just like in braveheart. Don't just assume a racist motive for no reason.

  12. Tony Baker

    Tony Baker

    13 саат мурун

    In the Lord of the Rings books the orcs love building ditches 😂

  13. Lincoln J

    Lincoln J

    14 саат мурун

    Moral of the video is DITCH

  14. Anthony Eriksson

    Anthony Eriksson

    15 саат мурун

    Am i supposed to believe that this ''expert'' knew how war was conducted thousands of years ago, I think not!

  15. Kristen Robinson

    Kristen Robinson

    17 саат мурун

    The hushed billboard shortly invite because cloakroom surely number an a psychotic anger. selfish, pricey snake

  16. Cj


    20 саат мурун

    i wonder how he would fare as a tactician or a general of war before. Probably wont last a day against someone with real exp XD

  17. brendy isabel santiago ullero

    brendy isabel santiago ullero

    20 саат мурун

    The deep bank distinctively pick because lettuce ignificantly point between a sophisticated pruner. barbarous, berserk taiwan

  18. Prince kumar Lal

    Prince kumar Lal

    21 саат мурун

    Does anyone else think he lowkey looks like robert pattinson ?

  19. immortanjoe


    22 саат мурун

    300 is just white power propaganda and basically completely historically inaccurrate

  20. Jakov Pavlov

    Jakov Pavlov

    Күн мурун

    This guy should be amazing playing "Total war", too bad there are no ditches there...

  21. Jakov Pavlov

    Jakov Pavlov

    Күн мурун

    Too bad 13th Warrior is not in this video, in that movie they actually did dig ditches jajaja

  22. Jakov Pavlov

    Jakov Pavlov

    Күн мурун

    Very interesting, I'm actually taking notes to use on the story I'm working on.

  23. lhvinny


    Күн мурун

    This guy talking about his ditches reminds me of the episode with the special service agent asking about her snipers.

  24. Glen Willis

    Glen Willis

    Күн мурун

    The eminent judo bacteriologically mine because desire visually crawl following a violent statistic. aloof, opposite blinker

  25. Seeking Engineer

    Seeking Engineer

    Күн мурун

    15:17 ' Thrishul vyuham '(trident strategy) @Bahubali movie, India. check Battle tactics of India.

  26. Edward Lindon

    Edward Lindon

    Күн мурун

    "In terms of ancient warfare, this is the most accurate depiction you'll find anywhere. 9 out of 10." Sorry, but this is *exactly* how it works at UK unis: you never get full marks, be you ne'er so perfect.

  27. Edward Lindon

    Edward Lindon

    Күн мурун

    "Should you find yourself fighting an army of ice zombies..."

    • T E

      T E

      11 саат мурун

      Hey, you never know...

  28. Allison Harris Counselor

    Allison Harris Counselor

    Күн мурун

    Reason why they did not kill horses in red cliff is because they can use them

  29. Rocco Bierman

    Rocco Bierman

    Күн мурун

    They picked one of the physically weakest men they could find to critique these scenes. His knowledge is fine but jeez man eat more and exercise a bit. I do appreciate how brutally honest he is though. Likeable guy.

    • Quân Nguyễn Lê

      Quân Nguyễn Lê

      Күн мурун

      hey mate, even thin man got there own strength, 1 of my martial artist is 160 cm height and 10 kg less than me, but he can body easily through speed, stamina and skill

  30. Pessoa Aleatória

    Pessoa Aleatória

    Күн мурун

    please bring him back for a part 2

  31. Christian Alejandro Cabral

    Christian Alejandro Cabral

    Күн мурун


  32. Matthew Ward

    Matthew Ward

    Күн мурун

    Love this guy. Never known a guy so ditch horny BRB, Digging a ditch. Then another one.

  33. Shhh


    Күн мурун

    All the fantasy films here are disappointing.

  34. Mike Stepanek

    Mike Stepanek

    Күн мурун

    This guy must be fun to watch a movie with.

  35. Ranbir


    Күн мурун

    Hollywood depicting Persians and the East ; leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

  36. Random Guy

    Random Guy

    Күн мурун

    Wait, did Gandalf NOT ride down that hill?

  37. no name who

    no name who

    Күн мурун

    watching war movies with him will be like watching movies with cinema sins lol

  38. Ellen Beauty Joy

    Ellen Beauty Joy

    Күн мурун

    Role I could listen to your insight forever! How fascinating! You are brillant!!

  39. Nick Bonovich

    Nick Bonovich

    Күн мурун

    I always found it comical in movies how pike lines and shield walls we just haphazardly run into by infantry. The charging men were always just thrown into the meat grinder like a bunch of mindless lemmings. Also, ancient battles were probably very slow and much less action packed like movies depict.

    • Quân Nguyễn Lê

      Quân Nguyễn Lê

      Күн мурун

      of course they are slow, there are many records show that ancient battle may last for days, if may be weeks (a single battle, not campain), longest is a siege, which last for years, we are talking about thousand of people killing each other, on the scale of miles away, with both side using formations and very primitive weapon to kill each other (not throwing life on pitch battle like shown), a movie can not show true scale of that war due to run time and drama sake

  40. Joe F

    Joe F

    Күн мурун

    So back to the future is a bunch of bullshit?

  41. Penny Lane

    Penny Lane

    2 күн мурун

    I feel with that guy. He's constantly dying inside 😅

  42. J hkt

    J hkt

    2 күн мурун

    Behold! my army of immortal ice zombies! Nothing can stop them! Roel: three trenches will do.

  43. Joe Petko

    Joe Petko

    2 күн мурун

    The Rohirrim charge is perfect, horses are athletic af, and Rohan has the best horses and riders... No one is falling down that hill. And as far as the sunrise... Gandalf amplifies the sunrise with the power he has as The White, he is the hero chosen by the Valor to stop the spread of darkness

  44. Reem


    2 күн мурун

    I’m so glad he pointed out the inaccurate depiction of the Persians. always hated how Hollywood depicts them as some rogue Bedouin fighters

  45. Afterfall81


    2 күн мурун

    Watch This video inspired to play TW Shogun 2 , buy European Cannon and Matchlock Ashigaru Goes brrrrrrrrr

  46. exsor camacho

    exsor camacho

    2 күн мурун

    War movie directors should be watching this guy.. 💪💪

  47. Griboo2


    2 күн мурун

    This guy is hilarious and I'm actually learning a decent amount.

  48. Alexey Belinsky

    Alexey Belinsky

    2 күн мурун

    This guy is great! He needs to produce a full documentary, its will rock!

  49. Kristyn Clarke

    Kristyn Clarke

    2 күн мурун

    I was waiting for The Last Kingdom to appear 😭 why did they use that clip out of so many 😔

  50. Ugen


    2 күн мурун

    Where the heck is timestamps? And where is 300?

  51. Zenkichi Hitoyoshi

    Zenkichi Hitoyoshi

    2 күн мурун

    This guy is really good but he missed a lot of important stuff about the LOTR movie: first of all, the numbers. It's 10.000 against some hundreds men (the movie added the elves) and in that time, there were no catapults or trebuchets; it's because of Saruman and his ingenuity that the Uruk-hai could effectively use siege weapons and explosives, something that is considered magic in the LOTR universe (soft magic). Theòden actually mocks the uruks for their primitive way of attacking, until a berserker blows up the central portion of the wall (which was structurally weaker due to a canal flowing there, the canal comes from the glowing caves beneath the fort). The uruks are showing off their strength, they aren't attacking with a realistic plan. What they want to do is overpower the will of men and crush their moral, not use real warfare tactics. It was meant to be a slaughter. Also, it's a fantasy and it has its rules; Mithrandir coming down from the hill is meant to quote the historically accurate Winged Hussars charge and the light that impairs the uruks vision is Gandalf's magic as he is the servant of Eru (one of). The horses coming down from such a steep hill is justified according to the lore of the Rohirrim (people who spent their entire lives with horses for generations, they built the fort there under the command of Helm Hammerhand and they know the geography of the terrain having fought there numerous times). This was the only misstep I found in the video

  52. JB Cheema

    JB Cheema

    2 күн мурун

    Persia was a super power at that time. And they depict them like some savages from a far off village.

  53. TheSBT82


    2 күн мурун

    "Expert" ha ha ha ha

  54. 23mend23 ATTgmailcom

    23mend23 ATTgmailcom

    2 күн мурун

    Ancient warfare expert! Yeah. Ok. Like I'm gonna listen to a guy who claims to be an ancient warfare expert, and also has probably never fought a day in his life. I don't care how much he has studied it. It's one thing to study fighting and war. And it's another thing to have experienced it first hand. I'm tired of little weasels like this claiming to know so much about war, and combat but are such weak dweebs. War and combat are things you need to experience to be an expert in it.

  55. Dimitar Georgiev

    Dimitar Georgiev

    3 күн мурун

    probably the most boring person at a party

  56. Collin Guobraeth

    Collin Guobraeth

    3 күн мурун

    The fascinated brandy hypothetically smell because calendar presumably trap sans a obsequious rhythm. dizzy, unequal laura

  57. Adam Coggins

    Adam Coggins

    3 күн мурун

    Honestly I think he rated the game of thrones siege far too leniently, it was one of the worst defences I've ever see, instantly throws all his cavalry away, and then everything else just gets overwhelmed outside the walls, it was a joke

  58. Carms C.P.

    Carms C.P.

    3 күн мурун

    He is so patient and polite.

  59. Eva Marie Gustilo

    Eva Marie Gustilo

    3 күн мурун

    Hoping Insider releases more episodes with him in it!

  60. Robert Murphy

    Robert Murphy

    3 күн мурун

    Very interesting video, thanks much for your effort to produce it!

  61. Hart Dr

    Hart Dr

    3 күн мурун

    This guy should have been on every DVD commentary back then and just destroy every film he comments on.

  62. Arun Ea

    Arun Ea

    3 күн мурун

    Best ever, learnt a lot. I had the same question when I was a child and now I have an answer.

  63. Tactical Fries

    Tactical Fries

    3 күн мурун

    Of course when they show him GoT they show him something from s8....

  64. Jahrn


    3 күн мурун

    12:30 and 13:30 In 1552 at Eger in Hungary about 2.000 of my people defended the city and the stronghold against the Ottoman army of about 40.000 soldiers strong. It is actually written that literaly everybody who had 2 legs to walk and 1 arm to get any weapon fought against that onsaught - that means even those women, who never held any weapon in their hand until that siege. It is also written that the defenders used boiling water - but not oil against the besiegers. They used hot tar however - and when that burns you can be sure that that position will not be attacked for a good hour with siege ladders. Because the fire of tar smokes a lot (especially when attackers fall down the wall and die because of it and then they also burn...), and no one is stupid enough to try climbing over that...

  65. CrystalKids


    3 күн мурун

    This from a dude that has never been in a fistflight.

  66. Jonathan Bauman

    Jonathan Bauman

    3 күн мурун

    This fellow loves ditches. I notice that he gives more stars as he goes on despite having similar critiques. I think Hollywood has worn him down 😔

  67. Jake Laurens

    Jake Laurens

    3 күн мурун

    Is he dutch

  68. pennding 34

    pennding 34

    3 күн мурун

    I think the fire catapult in that Rome scene would still be useful because a ball of fire just flew through the air and landed next to you, that's got to at least disrupt formations

  69. Garabeth Matosyan

    Garabeth Matosyan

    3 күн мурун

    This guy will make very boring movies

  70. Hermano Guimaraes

    Hermano Guimaraes

    3 күн мурун

    So, how important were the ditches in the ancient battles? Yes

  71. Q-Man768


    4 күн мурун

    Disliked for making him rank fantasy movies.

  72. TOAOM123


    4 күн мурун

    Today i learned that camels scare horses Who knew



      3 күн мурун

      And horses scare elephants.

  73. Ian DeLorenzo

    Ian DeLorenzo

    4 күн мурун

    Man obviously has no clue about the Riders of Rohan

  74. Rock King

    Rock King

    4 күн мурун

    Big ditch propaganda

  75. Rock King

    Rock King

    4 күн мурун

    Man this guys a Debbie downer

  76. DCX Productions

    DCX Productions

    4 күн мурун

    Make him play Total War. He will lose his mind by the lack of ditches during sieges and how broken sieges are in general.

  77. Orc Peon

    Orc Peon

    4 күн мурун

    Applying real-life battle tactics to bloodthirsty orcs. Kek.

  78. Minato Namikaze

    Minato Namikaze

    4 күн мурун

    Probably one of the most interesting videos I have seen on KGkey. Nice job.

  79. Rico Love

    Rico Love

    4 күн мурун

    Fantasy shouldn't be in this . theres magic involved . plus who wouldnt send orcs to thier deaths up a ladder . they come off an assembly line

  80. Zraknul


    4 күн мурун

    The Roman legions marched and then dug a ditch around their camps for the night, with the dirt piled on their side. Also building a palisade wall. Bonus points of your soldiers are probably going to be really fit from all that rucking and digging.

  81. Gustavo


    4 күн мурун

    This guy walks in your house and say: "Bro, where is your ditch?"

  82. Fly Beep

    Fly Beep

    4 күн мурун

    No scenes from the classic movie Waterloo? He would've given that one high marks as well.

  83. Fly Beep

    Fly Beep

    4 күн мурун

    Lol, the expert's last name is Konijnendijk which is a full on Dutch name which translates to Rabbits Dike (dike as in dike on a beach).

  84. Justin Burrows

    Justin Burrows

    4 күн мурун

    COD pre-modern warfare

  85. spearfisherman308


    4 күн мурун

    to be fair the story of troy was a fiction written by homer.

  86. Gabe Brannan

    Gabe Brannan

    4 күн мурун

    DiD hE sAy BeTteR ThAn HeLms dEeP!!????

  87. LargeBlueCircle


    4 күн мурун

    Damn he was generous on troy. I read they didnt have stone walls, they literally had a ditch and a palisade so jeeze i mean c'mon that movie was a 0/10

  88. Philipp Koltermann

    Philipp Koltermann

    5 күн мурун

    Of all the Game of Thrones battles why this one

  89. mike stanford

    mike stanford

    5 күн мурун

    Bring him back. I need a part 2.

  90. RagingRaygun


    5 күн мурун

    "Bows aren't guns, they're suppressive weapons ment to keep their heads down." Machine gunner: " like a gun."

  91. De Brickashaw

    De Brickashaw

    5 күн мурун

    giving the long night 5/10 is extremely generous even if it purely judged from a tactical viewpoint. That fight was so poorly written that im 100% convinced that a random bloke of the street could devise better tactics than David & Dan (the showrunners)

  92. Cruxispal


    5 күн мурун

    Good job youtube. I searched "ditch guy" and found this as the top result. Proud of you all.

    • Atiqah Diyana

      Atiqah Diyana

      2 саат мурун


  93. Dan Sthjonson

    Dan Sthjonson

    5 күн мурун

    "they didn't pour oil on people and light them up" is basically what I got from this.

    • Jason Reid

      Jason Reid

      4 күн мурун

      huh, if you didn't come away with "dig ditches then dig more ditches" you might need to watch again

  94. ItsArcyPC


    5 күн мурун

    This guy is just anticlimactic

  95. Jeremy


    5 күн мурун

    The sharpened logs were for protection from cavalry charges, a very important thing for an archer who couldn't outrun a horse, they would give you some bailout time. I know medieval tactics had an enhanced version called Cheval de Fris with metal spikes and this basic tactic was used as far back as the bronze age. I'm not sure about the time period but point of fact the Greeks (and presumably the trojans) did have medium horses with javelins and spears that would be used against other cavalry and light infantry. Lower Greece often had too poor of land to sustain horses but upper Greece, like Thessaly, were famous for their robust cavalry. Even Spartans liked horses, they won the Olympic chariot races several times. It's a little strange this guy laughs it off as an impossibility but you can't be an expert on every era of every civilization.

  96. Chris Rands

    Chris Rands

    5 күн мурун

    How Real Is It? It’s Lord of the Rings! My critique: the lizards are too large and breathe too much fire, the dwarfs don’t get enough sunlight in the mines and must have vitamin D deficiency…

  97. Jake Memmott

    Jake Memmott

    5 күн мурун

    Watch the 13th Warrior. Plenty of anachronism of armor and such. But they build a ditch and a fortification on the high ground behind it.

    • Jake Memmott

      Jake Memmott

      5 күн мурун

      Also, the women and children are running about, putting out fires and running supplies. Just like he said they would be.

  98. A Peckx

    A Peckx

    5 күн мурун

    Camels scare horses? But why?

  99. Diptiman Gautam

    Diptiman Gautam

    5 күн мурун

    More of this person please.

  100. Mask Collector

    Mask Collector

    5 күн мурун

    Another "educated" bigot saying that boiling oil never happened without any evidence to the contrary other than saying water is easier. It's like saying something never exists because you haven't found it yet, so dumb. Same with the ladders, even though it's been done against a defensible wall many times. I'm over this dude. Go join the woke community, lol, because you just create whatever narrative suits yourself instead of actually studying history. Next point: warriors definitely charged past the line on both sides at times because that's a common strategy. Acting like chaotic battles never happened is the most ludicrous statement thus far. Cavalry was used to mass effect through forests by Nathan Bedford Forrest during the Civil War, it was devastating. You are the most unstudied expert I've ever witnessed in anything, my history teacher would scold you. "One clear example I can find is in the crusaders attack on Jerusalem in July 1099, oil and Greek fire (thought to be oil based) was employed by the defenders. Mangonels, rams and siege towers had been moved into position beneath the gate of the city. These were set alight by the defenders using oil and burning arrows. Several books mention that the wall climbers were scalded by oil." What a greasy expert, lmao. Professors and college degrees mean absolutely nothing this day in age because of how ridiculous you represent history combined with the Marxist/Socialist invasion of Western culture in our schools. You're so close minded lol. JUST SERIOUSLY QUIT TALKING TO THE PUBLIC. -10/10