M5: Weapons of War

Friday, June 18 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel

To prove how modern reality stacks up against the myths of history, the meticulous recipe for making the Damascus sword is resurrected and later tested in the lab, the battle field and measured for performance. For centuries, the making of the famed Damascus sword was a closely guarded secret. Sharper, stronger, lighter and more flexible than any other steel of its time, the Damascus sword was the backbone of the Islamic Empire – the second largest of all the ancient empires. After the advent of gunpowder however, sword making lost its luster and the famous procedure for making the sword was gone for more than three centuries.

Friday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel

The myths and legends of the Spanish Empire are ruptured as the M5 team constructs an ancient match lock arquebus and takes it into the field for testing. This weapon of war exploded onto the ancient battlefield over 500 years ago and set up the greatest military mismatch in history; the Spanish Empire against the New World. The arquebus – almost as dangerous to its user as it was to the enemy – changed the rules of warfare forever and ushered in the era of modern hand weapons. It allowed the Spanish to be virtually invincible against any foe without a gun. Stones, spears, bows and arrows dated from the Stone Age proved impotent against its explosive might. How effective was it? Was it truly the rule changer history suggests?

Friday, June 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel

The most powerful pre-explosive hand weapon of the ancient world – The Mongolian composite bow – is reproduced, tested and dissected. It was the largest of all the ancient empires and its success was based on the simplest of weapons – one that was essentially some string, a twig and a sharp stick – the bow and arrow. But the devil is in the details and the Mongolians of almost 1,000 years ago created an unparalleled weapon, the composite bow, which allowed them to forge the largest bordering empire in the history of the world. It was this weapon that was responsible for the creation of the “blitzkrieg” (a lightning war) where the horse, rider and weapon merged into a marauding united force.