This is the Technical Difficulties, we’re playing Citation Needed. Joining me today: he reads books, you know
— it’s Chris Joel! I’ve not picked a letter! The bounciest man on the internet, Matt Gray! Hello YouTube. And everybody’s favourite Gary Brannan, Gary Brannan! All aboard the zipline to the poop deck! [Laughing] In front of me I have an article… Where’s the zipline from? Soft landing! In front of me I have an article from Wikipedia and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a point and a ding [DING], and there’s a special prize for particularly good answers, which is… And today’s article is: Sergeant Reckless. That is my rank in the army. Have a point. [DING] Sergeant Major — Sergeant Reckless! You get a point — Yay! …for successfully saying this is something or someone in the military. Is it someone called Sergeant Reckless, before we go too far? “Someone” is putting it a little bit strongly. Is it a dog? Ooh, but you’re close. Horse. Point! [DING] Although, to be honest, the horse is named Reckless. Why might it have had the Sergeant? Got a field promotion. Point! [DING] Started at the bottom and worked its way up. Held official rank in the United States military. — Okay.
— Did it order anyone? Er, no. Yeah, a lot of donkeys that were subordinate to it. ‘Private Donkey, Private Ass…’ Although, if you think about it, privates in the platoon must have been technically outranked by the horse. Yeah, they’d have to salute the horse. Horse can’t salute, can it? Yeah, it can! Can it? Yeah! Balance on the other three. Yes, but can it do that with the other leg? Leg up! Don’t know. Have you seen a horse try? I don’t know about you, but most of the horses I’ve seen have not been in the army. Oh, that’s fair. Most of the horses I’ve seen have been civilians. Yeah, but they’d tend to use it to adjust their glasses or something, even if they weren’t in the army. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Monocle. Can you imagine the length of the bridge of the glasses for a horse? Yeah, that’s fine. A monocle’s still going to fall out. They’ll have two monocles! All right, they’ll fall out, but that’s just the universal exhibition of surprise. More of a windscreen for a horse, isn’t it? Wraparound cricket glasses. Can you imagine? A prescription windscreen basically — why don’t you have those? Why don’t I have a windscreen? I’m a human. It’d be like one massive bit of glass that goes all the way round. Poker visor things! Yeah! No, because it’d be massively heavy. Glasses are really heavy. I’m not talking about — all right, for the 1940s horse in the army, Yeah. Yes, impractical because of the size of the glass. For the modern man of today there must be thin materials we could use for — No, there really aren’t. If you make the glasses thin, the refractive index has to be high so they’re really heavy. Science! I’ve… He’s asked. He’s tried. I’ve literally tried to order extra-extra-thin glasses, and they basically kept falling forwards off my face because they were just so heavy. In moments of surprise, or at any time? Any time! Because any glasses should fall off at any moment of surprise. Yeah. No, originally a racehorse, Sergeant Reckless was purchased from a Korean stableboy at the Seoul racetrack who needed money to buy an artificial leg for his sister. Sergeant Reckless’s sister? No, no, the stableboy’s sister. Oh. They didn’t give the horse an artificial leg. Sorry, I tuned out halfway through what he was saying. It sounded like the horse’s sister was in hospital. That makes a lot more sense. It’s fine. It was technically an open modifier; I could have… It’s a brown horse, but it’s got a white leg because it’s all they’ve got left. I’m going to give you a point.
Sergeant Reckless was indeed a chestnut horse. [DING] With, I’m quoting here, “a blaze and three white stockings.” White head marking and three white legs, but not on the fourth. Two points. [DING DING] Two points straight away. Well done. Because it’s the false — oh, no, that was his sister. Yes, a blaze — a wide white stripe down the middle of the face. Do you think they camouflage that before they go into battle? It’d be an obvious target. He didn’t actually — ‘Aim for this bit.’ He didn’t have a bulls-eye on there. There might as well be, if you’ve got a big — you know, it’s a nighttime battle, Sergeant Reckless is in the trench with you, See what’s going on… [horse snort] That’s what made him reckless. He refused to camouflage it. We’ve made a presumption here, folks. Ahh. Female. Lady horse. There we go. [DING] Her date of birth and parentage are unconfirmed. What was the reason you would buy… An army platoon — the Recoilless Rifles — why would they buy a horse? Glue. No. Lucrative incomes via betting. By the way, by ‘recoilless rifle’, it is basically, er — A rifle that fires without recoil? If you think rifle, you think small stuff. This is basically a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher. Was it a bit like — the Indian army, didn’t they use elephants as gun platforms? Er, no, it is just a pack horse. That’s bull****, it’s a bloody racehorse. To pack the tube of the rifle. They needed a horse that was strong and powerful, and could travel long distances at speed. Nine-month military career. Right. In a single day, made 51 solo trips to resupply front-line units. ‘Go over there, horsey.’ I think that may literally have been the order, It was: Here are some shells; they’ve trained the thing… Slap it on the back and it goes out and back. How do they know this horse wasn’t trying to run away and just kept getting caught and sent back in the other direction? It’s an equine shuttle bus. Er… equine cargo platform. Cargo lifter, if you want to go for that. It’s the original shipping container. More like BigDog. Yeah. Yeah, that robot Google is working on right now. Oh! Ugh! — Yeah, their unnerving…
— Google?! Yeah, Google bought Boston Dynamics Did they? Because that’s not scary at all. The massive autonomous robots for military use, basically, the electronic descendants of Sergeant Reckless, yeah, Google owns that company. (Boston Dynamics are owned by Google?) Delivering your Amazon packages soon! Yeah. I love that we’re slightly slagging Google, and I wonder if the lights are going to go out any second now. That’s a good point. We are in YouTube’s own studios here, which we’re very thankful for. Mister Google, who I assume owns it, is just over a big red button on his desk. Mister Google?! Could be. Terry Google and Sons, are, when you type in your search query, ‘Right, okay, better get the replies to that in.’ Straight over to the card index, pull it out… I was going to say, old card index. Yup. Was that the sound of a cat trapped in a card index there? [Riffling] Reowr! It’s filed under C. Yeah. For ‘Cat’. Which actually, in YouTube’s card index — quite big, these days. Yeah. Yeah. K for ‘Kitten’ outranks it, but… Hold on, hold on, hold on, archivist question: Do you file ‘Kitten’ under K, or do you file it under ‘Cat’, bracket, ‘kitten’ or comma, ‘young’? If — and here we go technical — if ‘Cat’ is the collection, I think ‘Kitten’ would be a series beneath it. All right! I’m glad I asked that question. If you were giving me cat videos to file, I probably would do, erm… probably, yeah, by cat-egory, so… I think I probably would put ‘Kitten’ underneath. Okay. Depends how they originally came. But if it was Terry Google and Sons… Yeah. You type in ‘funny cat photo’, they’d have to get the cat out and the camera out and take the photo to send you it. That’s true. That’s Victorian Google for you. They telegram it over. Send it round with a courier. Lad turns up with a hand-cranked projector, ‘You wanted a funny cat video, sir?’ Oddly, that is the same sound as taking the cat out of the file there. I was going to say. Sitting there with your brandy — ‘Heh! Heh! Heh! Most amusing.’ The horse was known for a few things: for her willingness to eat nearly anything, including… Including ammunition. Nearly. About thirty dollars’ worth of something… Gun cotton. Poker chips. Waiting for her to ‘cash out’ about a day later… It’s like a one-armed bandit. Bar… bar… bar… hrm. Booomf! Also the first horse in the Marine Corps known to have participated in a certain type of military operation. Formation skydiving. I mean, I’d like to see that… It’s not technically a military operation. I’ve just realized. Both military operations and medical operations happen in a theatre. Ahh! You’re right. Yeah. The theatre of war… This is not funny, I’ve just realized they’re the same words. Profound. Yeah. I mean, I can’t give you a point for it… Give him some biscuits, at least. Really? It’s not worth biscuits. Come on! I don’t think it’s worth a biscuit. I’m going to be — aaa! Oooh! What happens now? Biscuits! Stolen biscuits! We’re looking for a type of military operation. Some kind of big thing you wouldn’t expect a horse to be involved in. USO show. Ocean landing. Yes! [DING] Absolutely. Point. In fact, that, you can have the biscuits you just stole for. Amphibious landing. Doors open: at the front is a grizzled-looking horse with a cigar in his mouth. ‘Let’s do this.’ ‘What’s the matter with you? You wanna live forever?’ Was awarded, first of all, two Purple Hearts, which is the medal you get for… Being wounded. Point. [DING] Absolutely right. The Marines taught Reckless battlefield survival skills, such as…? We’re talking 1950s here. Negotiate spiky things put in the way to slow you down? I’ll take — literally, I’ll give you a point for that. [DING] How not to become entangled in barbed wire. Helicopter. How would you teach it? You’d just go: ‘No. No!’ I don’t know how you train a horse. Put the carrots round the barbed wire rather than through. And how to lie down when under fire. Also, if she heard ‘Incoming!’ she would run for a bunker. …killing soldiers in its path! Smashing. I don’t know if a horse can fit in a bunker, but… Is it stuck in the door with its hooves just clipping on the concrete? [Whinnying] Winnie the Pooh wedged in Rabbit’s burrow, legs going. Putting on its flash goggles and radiation suit as well, obviously. They should put webbing on the horse, so as it’s cantering for the… Guys just grabbing on the side and getting dragged to safety. ‘Tell you what, boys — just follow the horse, eh? Ha ha.’ What happened the first time that the recoilless rifle — basically, the rocket launcher — was fired near her? Did it not properly not-recoil, and she was fired backward about a hundred yards? No… Not at her, near her? Near her. Did she run away? Did she spit out her gum and go, ‘Call that a bang?’ All four feet left the ground, as she jumped — it’s a difficult thing for a horse. Wow. Imagine if you could hear the horse’s words, you’d see: ‘****!!’ “You never told me it’d be that loud!” What did they do to train her? Pop paper bags behind her or something like that? ‘Bang.’ Basically, by the end of the mission… ‘Bang.’ Hold up a flash card. By the end of the mission she was used to it. When learning a new delivery route, she would only need someone to lead her a few times, and then she would make the trips on her own. ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine. All right, I’ll do it.’ Goes behind a bush, waits there for an hour. Throws everything off and comes back, like you’s’d do on your paper round. ‘Yeah, I took it.’ There was a standing order not to ride her, but during the Battle of Vegas Hill… Ohhh! …what happened? Somebody did. [DING] Went to a casino. With a man on her back. Obviously someone rode her. What might they have travelled through? Three casinos and a Siegfried and Roy show. Did they traverse a river? No. Atomic test site. More dangerous than that; less dangerous than that. The enemy line. Minefield. Ah. ‘Well, I’ve got a ton of horse between the mine and me, I’ll be all right.’ Yeah. In my head… [Trotting sounds] And there’s an explosion and it’s just rider and horse: [Rising sound] [Falling sound] That’s how she did the vertical takeoff when she was surprised. Yeah. But — antipersonnel minefield? Or anti-tank minefield? Doesn’t say.
I didn’t know there was much of a difference. Yeah. Pressure. Well, two differences. Pressure… Anti-tank goes off when you put however many tons through it, and goes off immediately. Yeah. Anti-personnel goes off under much lighter pressure, but goes off after you pass by. Why? Blows up behind you, and gets everyone. And gets everyone in line, right. So, my question to you is: if you are travelling fast enough on a racehorse… ALL: Oooh! Do you get heroes-never-look-back explosions? Can you imagine being the man in the enemy trench, seeing someone riding a horse through a minefield, with a following trail of explosions, as a grizzled, combat-ready horse strolls through with a cigar in its mouth? You can just imagine the guy behind enemy lines going: And as the horse comes up, spitting out the cigar and the chewing tobacco and going, ‘Got any more?’ The noise, though! ‘What caused that?’ ‘…a horse…!’ I mean, the answer is still probably: no, you end up with chunks of horse. Yes, let’s be honest here. Or as we call it now, delicious, delicious lasagna. Yes. But I do like the way that Gary is writing the comic book… Yeah. Just writing the comic book character of this. After retiring from active service, there was a campaign to get her back to the United States, to the country that she’d now served. Does anyone want to guess how that played out? Bit like Saving Private Ryan? Another crack squad of horses is sent in… No! Sailed from Yokohama — Hold on… this horse served in the Pacific? Yes, bought at Seoul Racetrack. Oh yeah, I forgot all that bit. I thought… In my head it was in Europe. I do apologize. Horse with a flamethrower! 1950s. — Ahhh. Korea.
— The Korean War. Yup. The ship went through a typhoon. Horse: still fine. Horse probably drove the boat. The entire crew dead… Horse at the wheel. ‘We’re getting home!’ [Whinny] In horse, yes. What was the first problem with getting off in San Francisco? Seasickness. Er, no. Horse had vommed everywhere. Not enough gimbals on the boat. Thing is — yes, you can have a point, that did happen. [DING] But we’re talking problems when we get there. Scurvy horse. Nope. Quarantine? Er… yeah, I’ll give you a point for that. [DING] Customs were fine, but the Department of Agriculture insisted on full lab tests, which would make her late for the banquet where she was to be guest of honour. Two things. One: you’re going to argue with a fully armed, combat experienced horse. Yes. Two: I’m glad she’s going to a banquet where she’s a guest and not the main course. That’s true, yes. Why did the Marines consider that lab test to be a bit of an affront to her honour? Did she have to pee in a jar? You know, you’re along kind of the right lines there. It was a blood test, but… Was it an STD test? Point! Yes. [DING] Oh my God. They were testing for dourine, which is an equine STI. Did she have it? No. She’s been away a long time. It did happen a lot, you know. No, she made it to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, in which she rode — — in a dress! Sorry… In a ball gown. What did she get to ride in order to get there? An even bigger horse! An open-top carriage. A carousel. No, no. I’ll give you a hint: it was not held on the ground floor here. In a lift?! In a lift! They put a horse — Sorry, this horse has been in combat, and the most amazing thing is they’ve put a horse in a lift? [Elevator music]
[Whinny] At which point, someone is on the third floor, has been drinking heavily all night, the lift doors open and there’s a horse in a ball gown — with medals… Puts the bottle down, picks up something stronger… Congratulations, Chris — you win this week’s show. Hahey! You win a pigeon! Just one? Although you do have to collect it from Trafalgar Square. Game on! Bring him his butterfly net! With that, we say thank you to Chris Joel! Matt Gray! And Gary Brannan. I’ve been Tom Scott, and we’ll see you next time! He’s got the beard, I’ve got the bulk. Wow. That’s a slogan there. Let’s make lots of money! Where’s the hyphen in that? I’m trying to diagram the sentence. Anywhere you can put a hyphen changes it. Is it an Australian bird? No, it’s not. If he didn’t win a sporting event, or invent some kind of metalworking process, then quite frankly I am out of here. [Translating these subtitles? Add your name here!]