The History Network
The military history podcast specialists, looking at all aspects of war through the ages.

In 1909, famed mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published The Crime of the Congo, an exhaustive book cataloguing the evils of Congo Free State. On the first page, Doyle included unsettling photographs of African women with severed hands, cut off in the course of forced labor or punitive acts. Doyle's ruthless critique of King Leopold II was published in the context of mounting international criticism against Belgian colonialism, which resulted in the annexation of the territory in 1908. Dur: 29mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1601_Violence_and_Red_Rubber_in_the_Belgian_Congo.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 2:20pm UTC

Jasper, Josho, Murray and Lindsay are joined by Egyptologist Arianna Sacco to discuss Ancient Warfare Magazine VII.1 Warriors of the Nile, Conflict in ancient Egypt.

"One of the earliest civilizations in the world, the culture of ancient Egypt blossomed along the banks of the River Nile. Around 3000 BC, the country was already a unified kingdom ruled by a single king. Its powerful rulers built impressive monuments in the form of the famous pyramids during the so-called Old and Middle Kingdoms, many of which still endure to this day. Egyptian civilization would reach even greater heights during the New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC), when its warrior-kings ventured more boldly beyond the safety of their own borders to forge an actual empire." more

Dur: 38min
Direct download: Warriors_of_the_Nile.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 7:00am UTC

Jasper, Josho, Michael and Lindsay discuss the meaty topic of the Celts in the classical world (issue VI 6).

"In 106 BC, a Roman army captured the Gallic stronghold of Tolosa and appropriated a vast treasure hoard. It was soon claimed that they had recaptured the spoils that a band of marauding Gauls had originally looted from the Greek sanctuary at Delphi in 279 BC. The claim, while dubious at best, nonetheless illustrates the ancient tendency to lump Celtic peoples together, treating separate raids by distinct peoples as part of a single menace. In the ancient retelling, both Rome and Greece were sacked by a chieftain named Brennus (albeit in different centuries), a neat onomastic coincidence that is likely too good to be true." More
Direct download: Attack_of_the_Celts.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

The legend of the triumphal German Panzer Divisions sweeping all before them during the Blitzkrieg across Europe in 1939-40 gives the impression of a modern mechanized force, but what we rarely hear about is that behind this spearhead was the bulk of the infantry who relied upon its use of horses. So dependant upon the lowly horse were they that at its height the Wehrmacht used over 1.1 million of them! Dur: 20mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1510_Horses_In_The_Wermacht.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 5:35pm UTC

Germanicus Caesar is a famous name in the annals of Roman military history yet his life story is known to remarkably few. It is a Boy's Own tale of adventure, courage and derring-do, but it is also the chronicle of the man who was intended to be the third emperor of Rome, but never was. Dur: 41mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1509_Germanicus_Caesar-Romes_Most_Popular_General.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 9:48am UTC

We have all seen it - on coins, stamps, postcards, t-shirts, billboards, and classroom walls. In 1851 Emanuel Gottlieb Luetze painted "Washington Crossing the Delaware", an iconic image of the General's attack on Trenton during a bitter December night in 1776. Lost in all of the painting's fame, however, is the irony that the German-born artist was glamorizing the defeat of German auxiliary forces as the turning point in the American Revolution. Dur: 46mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1508_German_auxiliary_Officers_Critiques_of_American_Revolution.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 11:58am UTC

Kublai Khan, the Grandson of Genghis Khan, became emperor of Mongolia in 1260. Northern China was already under his control and Korea gave him access to the sea, with Japan just 100 miles away. Five times, between 1266 and 1274, Kublai Khan sent emissaries to the Emperor of Japan, addressing him as "the ruler of a small country", demanding he pay tribute and become a vassal state. Five times the emissaries returned empty-handed. Dur: 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1507_Kamikaze_Mongol_Invasion_of_Japan.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 10:05am UTC

Turning points are sometimes controversial but it is generally accepted that the Battle of Gettysburg was the major turning point of the American Civil War. It marked the high point of Confederate arms in that it was their last venture into the north and the furthest they reached. After Gettysburg the South was essentially permanently on the defensive and never regained the capability of significant offensive action against the North. Dur: 27mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1506_Battle_of_Gettysburg.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 4:44pm UTC

With only 8 moving parts, the AK-47 assault rifle is simple to maintain and its simplicity of use and durability are legendary. It can fire 600 rounds a minute and every single bullet is potentially still lethal at distances of more than a kilometre or two-thirds of a mile. 70+ Million have been produced (over 100 million if you count its variants). Its initial design was submitted as a competition entry after the Soviet Army asked for designs for a reliable weapon capable of withstanding all that the then Russian front could throw at a weapon. Dur: 23mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1505_Kalashnikov.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 8:47pm UTC

Jasper, Josho and Michael are joined by Jason Klazmer to look at the the armies of Diocletian (Ancient Warfare Magazine VI-5)

"When Emperor Alexander Severus was assassinated in AD 235, the Roman Empire fell into an abyss that it would only crawl out of after almost fifty years. Roman armies clashed in struggles for the throne, with generals proclaimed emperor by their troops and then meeting violent ends a few months later – often at the hands of those same troops. Besides this internal power struggle, the Empire was also plagued by attacks from without." 

Dur: 40min 49sec

Direct download: The_Armies_of_Diocletian.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

The origins of the Zulu War of 1879 can be traced to the first decade of the 19th century. It was then, that a rather minor clan of the Bantu people begun to grow into a formidable military force united under a single warrior chief. Zulu were always united in their ways by kinship. Dur: 28mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1504_The_Battle_of_Islandhlwana.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 7:56pm UTC

Contrary to the 2010 film version of Robin Hood there was no medieval landing craft version of the "Saving Private Ryan" ilk. Before the Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (the LCVP), boats needed to be beached and their occupants jump over the side into water. Vital time was lost. Dur: 23mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1503_The_Higgins_Boat.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 10:21am UTC

From early in 1754 the Seven Year war started to bubble into full scale global conflict. In North America French and British colonists clashed over trade and disputed territory. In May 1756 the first naval action took place at Minorca in the Mediterranean where the British were forced to withdraw, opening up hostilities in Europe. In India the French and British East India Companies vied for influence over the region in a series for proxy conflicts as each would support local rulers against one another. At Plassey Robert Clive won a victory that would help secure the close relationship between Britain and India for the next 200 years. Dur: 16mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1502_The_Battle_of_Plassey.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

The history of Cyber-warfare can be traced back to the advent of the telegraph communications in the first half of the 19th century. During the First World War the importance of codes and wired communications came of age with such famed episodes as the intercepting by the British Intelligence of the Zimmerman Telegram dispatched by the Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur Zimmermann, to the German ambassador in Mexico, Heinrich von Eckardt. Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1501_Stuxnet.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:46pm UTC

In this our first video / audio recording Jasper, Michael, Lindsay and Josho look at Pyrrhus.

Pyrrhus was the second cousin to Alexander the Great, and at only two years he began his career as a penniless exile after his father was dethroned. Pyrrhus would rise to become King of Epirus, King of Macedon and King of Sicily...

Direct download: The_Campaigns_of_Pyrrhus_of_Epirus.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 8:00am UTC

In the early morning of 18th July 1972 nine British SAS soldiers stationed at a fort outside the coastal town of Mirbat in Southern Oman saw approaching in the distance what they believed to be the local troops returning from night watch. That was until they opened fire - they were in fact up to 300 Adoo Communist rebels...For six hours the SAS and a handful of local soldiers held out. Dur: 17mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1410_The_Battle_of_Mirbat.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 7:04pm UTC

In David Thomas's The importance of Commando Operations in Modern Warfare 1939-82 he states: "Commando operations in the sense of self-contained acts of war mounted by forces operating within enemy territory are as old as warfare itself. However, before the second world war, the types of missions that later would become known as 'commando operations', were regarded in western military thought as belonging to the separate phenomenon of irregular warfare, that is, to partisan and guerrilla activity. Therefore, the several [British Commando] forces which came into existence between 1940 and 1942 owed their formation not to British army strategy and doctrine, nor to any far-reaching conception of commando warfare, but to the fertile imagination of Prime Minister Churchill and a number of gifted officers." Dur: 32mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1409_British_Commandos_Op_Biting_1942.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 4:21pm UTC

By 1840 Harry Smith was a veteran soldier of the British Empire, he had joined the Army in 1805 and had seen active service in South America, the Peninsular Campaign where under the Duke of Wellington, he witnessed the burning of the Capitol in Washington, was a Brigade Major at Waterloo and in South Africa had commanded a division in the Xhosa wars before being appointed Governor of the Province of Queen Adelaide. Dur: 37mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1408_Harry_Smith_India.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 11:25pm UTC

By mid 1940 of the European powers and Britain and her Empire stood alone against Germany. The situation looked dire. Though the miracle of Dunkirk had managed to save thousands of British troops much of their equipment had been lost, Britain needed to replace this and her own industry was not up to providing in numbers the goods required. Though the United States was officially neutral it would supply goods on a "cash and carry" basis, and millions of pounds was flowing out of Britain to the US, in the form of gold, to pay for vital war materiel. But this could not go on, Britain had only so many assets it could liquidate. Dur: 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1407_Lend_Lease.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 9:05am UTC

When Neville Chamberlain delivered his speech on September 3rd 1939 to declare that Britain was at War with Germany, western focus was fixed on that and the hearts and minds of Britain's population braced themselves for another World War as did the hearts and minds of much of Europe. Many events would shape the outcome of World War II, but one set of battles even before it began - some three months earlier, The Battle of Khalkhin Gol between Russia and the Japanese on the Mongolian Border - might have played their own big part in the eventual outcome of the second world war. Dur: 23mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1406_Khalkhin_Gol.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 2:06pm UTC

Of the Battle of Valmy, military historian J.F.C Fuller, wrote, "The Cannonade of Valmy was more than a military event; it drew a line between the form war had taken since 1648 and the form it was to assume after 1792." The events leading up to the Battle of Valmy are a good representation of such changes in political and military situations in both Revolutionary France, and the rest of Europe at that time. Dur: 26mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1405_The_Cannonade_of_Valmy.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:02pm UTC

True cavalry with men mounted on horse back started to appear from the 9th century BC, as chariots were slowly replaced. Imposing they were used in shock charges, their rapid movement made them ideal for reconnoissance, screening an army and for chasing down the enemy. Though despite there usefulness they only remained a small part of a Mediterranean army, comprising of perhaps only some 10% of the total numbers. In the late Roman empire period cavalry drawn from Northern Europe became more prevalent.

The expense of the horse and equipment often made it the province of aristocrats, creating at times divisions in social and political status between that of the infantry and cavalry.

In this episode Jasper, Josho, Murray, Lindsay and Michael consider questions of the tactical roll of the cavalry, the logistics of providing for the cavalry and their weapons and equipment, and the social status of the cavalry and use of "Barbarians".

Dur: 50min

Direct download: Cavalry_in_the_ancient_world.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 9:00am UTC

Mata Hari is one of the "best known" spies of World War One. While she may not have been a "saint" by any stretch of the imagination - it is said that she "drew every man's lustful admiration and every woman's envy" - there's plenty of speculation as to whether she was really guilty of the espionage for which she was accused and for which she paid the ultimate price...execution by firing squad on 15th October 1917. Dur: 22mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1404_Mata_Hari.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 1:20pm UTC

The military performance of an army is not just dependant on numbers:- the men need to be fed, equipped, quartered, transported (the list goes on). If you can deprive your opponent of these elements you can degrade his fighting ability. The policy of Scorched Earth denies your opponent of anything useful in the area they are passing through (either in attack or retreat), this can include burning of crops, ripping up rail lines or destroying buildings anything of any use is destroyed. Dur: 22 mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1403_Scorched_Earth.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 1:26pm UTC

The Dacian Wars of Domitian and Trajan

The Dacians lived in modern day Romania, they had long been a threat along the borders of the Roman Empire. In 101AD Trajan launched the first of two campaigns against Dacia, eventually it would become a Roman province. Though poorly documented the conflict is celebrated on Trajans column in the centre of Rome, providing a spiralling view of the campaign, and at Adamclisi (in modern day Romania) which depicts brutal fighting between Roman Legionaries and Dacian warriors.

Jasper, Josho, Michael and Lindsay discuss how these actions fit in with other actions along Romans frontiers, a look at arms and armour, the lack of sources when looking at the campaign and we take a look at Trajan himself.

Dur: 37min

Direct download: The_Dacian_Wars_of_Domitian_and_Trajan.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

In 53 B.C. a Roman army confronted a force one quarter its strength yet suffered Rome's bloodiest defeat in more than a hundred years. The Battle of Carrhae pitted 40,000 Roman soldiers against an army of a mere 10,000 of the Parthian Empire on the sands of Mesopotamia. The humiliating loss rippled through Rome and crumbled the fragile foundation of the Republic; from this rubble rose the Roman Empire. And the disaster of Carrhae, and the folly leading to it, would write a bloody epitaph of the Roman commander, Marcus Licinius Crassus. Dur: 32mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1402_Battle_of_Carrhae.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:36pm UTC