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

Marlborough, following his victory at Blenheim in August of 1704, attempted to exploit the situation even further by campaigning in the Moselle Valley. Due to the lack of political will of his Dutch Allies together with a shortage of supplies and the autumn rains fast approaching, Marlborough ordered his forces into winter quarters. Dur: 23mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1802_The_Battle_of_Ramilles.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 10:00am UTC

The bombing of and the battle for Caen was just part of the overall bombing of and battle for normandy. The bombing of Normandy devastated and flattened many Normandy towns and cities and resulted in thousands of ‘friendly civilian cadualties’. U.S. General Omar Bradley remarked after the war that "We went into France almost totally untrained in air-ground cooperation." Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1801_Caen_1944.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 5:42pm UTC

In March of 1943 the 79th Armoured Division was due to be disbanded. A manpower shortage called for the bulk of the force to be redeployed, to make up shortfalls in other units. But the disastrous raid on Dieppe the previous year had proved that any invasion of mainland Europe would need to be supported by Armour, and this would need to be modified for an amphibious assault. So it was that Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), had his "happy brainwave" and asked Major General Percy Hobart if he would oversee the conversion of the unit to a Specialised armoured unit, concentrating on developing vehicles that could overcome the German Defences. The strange vehicles that were developed and operated became known as "Hobart’s Funnies". Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1710_Hobarts_Funnies__Funnies.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 11:00am UTC

Angus Wallace (from the History Network) is joined by Josho, Lindsay and Mark McCaffery to look at Ancient Warfare Magazine Volume 7, Issue 6The Reluctant Warlord: The Wars of Marcus Aurelius.

"With Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Empire was for the first time ruled by two emperors, both adoptive sons of the late Emperor Antoninus Pius (r. AD 138–161). Marcus had selected his nine-year-younger adoptive brother Lucius Verus to be his co-emperor. The two individuals could not have been more different in character. While the ascetic Marcus, whose main interest was philosophy, had been taught to “avoid the ways of the rich” (Meditations 1.3.), critics declaimed against Lucius’ luxurious lifestyle and his habits."

Direct download: The_reluctant_warlord-the_wars_of_Marcus_Aurelius.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 1:00am UTC

D-Day the invasion of Europe was to take place at low tide, this minimised the risk of landing craft hitting mines and other submerged obstacles. But this created problems for the troops being landed. It was going to be a long dash over a sandy beach which may have been mined, supporting vehicles could quickly become bogged down in the soft sand then once over the beach the man-made defences had to be breached. To achieve this the 79th Armoured Division was formed, commanded by the maverick, Major General Percy Hobart, he oversaw the development of a number of unusually modified tanks to overcome problems the invaders would face, these would become known as “Hobart’s Funnies”. Dur: 23mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1709_Hobarts_Funnies__Hobart.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 8:41am UTC

Column, Line or Square is a very simplistic way to view Napoleonic era tactics. Troops were either deployed in Column to march, Line to fight or in the case of the infantry Square to defend against Cavalry. Sounds simple. But these were tactics drawn up and codified to allow for a new era, where large numbers of troops were deployed. Sometimes they were conscripts, sometimes poorly trained and in the case of the infantry using muskets with limited range and poor accuracy. Dur: 20mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1708_Napoleonic_Infantry_Tactics.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 9:45am UTC

The Battle of Arras was in fact a series of Battles in April/May 1917, including Vimy Ridge, which has gone down in history as being an allied victory, but which in reality saw little gain in terms of allied advance and huge casualty figures on both sides after its 39 day duration. In fact such was the attrition rate that for the allies it surpassed The Somme in terms of daily casualty toll. Include the German casualties and an average of some seven and a half thousand casualties a day occurred throughout. Dur: 21mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1707_The_Battle_of_Arras_1917.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 1:47pm UTC

The clang of gongs hung in the heavy air of an August day, 1860. Waving their yellow flags, the rebels in their red turbans and colourful garb marched closer and closer to Shanghai – until artillery erupted from the city walls and sent them scurrying for cover. Yet the rebels would not fire back. At last they withdrew, scratching their heads that the British and French troops were killing them, not greeting them as Christian brothers. For these rebels had been baptized and had no quarrel with the foreigners of Shanghai. And their enemy was the same Chinese government that Anglo-French forces on that same day battled in the north. Dur: 33mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1706_The_Taiping_Rebellion.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 6:59am UTC

In looking back through history, it is kings, queens, politicians and generals who steal the limelight. Those people who actually "do" the bidding are often much less well known. How many people are familiar with Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, Marshal of France? The foremost military engineer of his day, he was renowned not only for building fortifications but for developing the art of siege craft. Dur: 15mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1705_Sbastien_Le_Prestre_de_Vauban.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 4:57pm UTC

It had been largely accepted that "Charles the Sufferer", the feeble and sickly King of Spain, would die without an heir. The nearest claimants to the Spanish Crown were the king's cousins; the Bourbon King of France, Louis XIV, and the Austrian Habsburg Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor. Married to Charles's Sisters, both had a strong claim. With the succession storm brewing Europe's monarchs entered into agreements in order to place themselves in favorable positions at the moment of Charles's death. Some aligning themselves with the house of Bourbon, others with that of Habsburg. Dur: 23 mins  File: .mp3

Direct download: 1704_The_Battle_of_Blenheim.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 6:10pm UTC

There is no single factor to blame for the outbreak of the First World War. At best we can say that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, was the catalyst setting in motion a string of events that resulted in war. For decades tensions had been mounting between the European powers. It was these tensions that lead to a complex web of alliances, which would eventually drag the great powers into war. Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1703_The_Origins_of_the_First_World_War.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

Josho, Murray and Lindsay are joined by Roel Konijnendijk to discuss Ancient Warfare issue VII.5

"The march of the Ten Thousand is one of the best documented campaigns in Greek military history, thanks to the detailed narrative of Xenophon. He was a young Athenian expatriate who eventually rose to a senior position of command among the Hellenic survivors of Cyrus’ mercenary army."

For more information Ancient Warfare Magazine visit

Direct download: March_of_the_Ten_Thousand.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 5:00am UTC

On October 17, 1777, British General John Burgoyne surrendered his army to American forces under the command of General Horatio Gates, marking the end of an ambitious campaign to isolate the rebellious New England colonies from the rest with a three pincer movement all leading to Albany, New York. There were two battles at Saratoga. The first, the Battle of Freeman's Farm, took place on September 19 and the second, the Battle of Bemis Heights, took place on October 7. One patriot, Henry Sewall, wrote "Perhaps an unprecedented Instance that near 6,000 British & foreign Troops, under the command of an accomplish’d General, should surrender themselves Prisoners of War in the field to an Army of raw Continental Troops & Militia!" Dur: 43mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1702_The_Battles_of_Saratoga.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 2:34pm UTC

1701 The Abwehr: German Military Intelligence

The Versailles treaty, imposed after the First World War denied Germany a Military Intelligence gathering organisation. But in 1921 the German Government reactivated the intelligence service. As a sop to Versailles the new counter intelligence service would be called the Abwehr, or "Defence". Dur: 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1701_The_Abwehr-German_Military_Intelligence.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 9:35am UTC

Logistics And The Army Train

Josho once more hosts this episode joined by Murray, Michael and Lindsay.

"Looking at ancient warfare through the lens of a logistician and discussing the army train provides a unique way of understanding combat operations. It is often said that amateurs discuss tactics and professionals discuss logistics. No combat operation would happen without the support of supplies, equipment, men, animals, and materiel to sustain those operations"

For more on this issue of the magazine visit

Direct download: Logistics_And_The_Army_Train.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 4:00am UTC

With Jasper away Josho is joined by regulars Lindsay Powell, Murray Dahm and guest Mark McCaffery.

"The rise of Early Republican Rome, from leading city in Latium to imperial power dominating peninsular Italy, seems inexorable. The Romans' aggression, competitive nature and habit of annual campaigning -- for land, slaves, booty and glory -- are often cited as the stimuli for conquest."

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

The Dessert War or Western Desert Campaign was one of the two major stages of the North Africa Campaign of WW2. The Western Desert was crucial to the allied forces being able to continue their fight against the Germans following allied defeats and losses in Greece and Crete. It was imperative that the Western Desert remained in the control of allied forces. The first Major Allied Operation of the Western Desert Campaign was codenamed Operation Compass. Dur: 14mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1610_Operation_Compass.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 10:26am UTC

To commemorate our 6 millionth download this week, we've gone back in the archives and edited a two-parter from season 10 together on Lettow-Vorbeck. Enjoy!... The lasting image of the First World War is that of trench warfare. However, far away from the trenches of the Western Front an extraordinary struggle was fought in a remote corner of Africa. When Germany went to war in August 1914 it possessed but few colonial possessions mainly situated in Africa. Dur: 52mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1609_Lettow_Vorbeck.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 1:39pm UTC

The Battle of Adowa stands out during the scramble for Africa of the 19th century. It was was that rare event of a native African army defeating a well equipped, modern European force. Dur: 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1608_The_Battle_of_Adowa.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 2:41pm UTC

Few ancient states could match the scope and power of the Seleucid Empire. Founded in the late 4th century BC by Seleucus Nikator, a former officer of Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Empire at its peak included the modern states of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. The expanse of Seleucid rule bridged worlds, encompassing Buddhists and Jews, Greeks and Persians, walled cities and nomadic tribes. The Seleucid king might deal with an embassy from an Indian dynasty one day and a delegation of Roman senators the next. Dur: 20mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1607_Antiochus_The_Great.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 5:39pm UTC

1606 Ranald Mackenzie Part 2

Following the Civil War, Mackenzie reverted to the rank of Captain and rejoined the Corps of Engineers in New Hampshire, improving fortifications along the Atlantic coast. However, after spending the last two years in a combat command, engineering no longer held his interest. He wished to return to the field and advance his career. In early 1867, Mackenzie headed to Washington to petition General Grant to send him west. Dur: 42mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1606_Ranald_Mackenzie_Part_2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 5:24pm UTC

1605 Russian Life Line: The Arctic Convoys

For a year Britain and her Commonwealth stood alone against Germany, in June 1941 Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, invading Russia. Churchill was desperate for allies, and Stalin had been openly hostile to Capitalist Britain but now as the Wehrmacht romped across Russia that summer Stalin's attitude changed. Dur: 21mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1605_Russian_Life_Line_-_The_Arctic_Convoys.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 11:26am UTC

May 8, 1945 marked the end of the War in Europe while August 15 marked the same in the Pacific theatre. With the defeated nations being occupied and made into new allies, an entirely different conflict for the world was now beginning. The Cold War had begun. Dur: 22mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1604_K-278_Komsomolets.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 1:31pm UTC

Jasper, Josho, Murray and Lindsay discuss Ancient Warfare Magazine VII.2 Struggle for Control: Wars in Ancient Sicily

"Created by the gods and land of the giants, Sicily was a wealthy but deadly prize that dangled in front of many ancient powers. The unfortunate island would be subjected to a seemingly endless series of wars fought by people from all over the ancient Mediterranean. For centuries, the Greeks and Carthaginians would bludgeon each other to the point of exhaustion over a desire to dominate the island. Heeding the siren’s call, the power of Athens would be dashed against Sicily’s rocks. Like a lover forced to choose between two suitors, Sicily would choose Rome over Carthage and thus accelerate the demise of the latter." More

Direct download: Wars_In_Ancient_Sicily.mp3
Category:Ancient Warfare Magazine -- posted at: 2:00am UTC

"Ye Sons of Great Britain! come join with me And sing in praise of the gallant British Armie, That behaved right manfully in the Soudan, At the great battle of Omdurman". So go the opening lines of The Battle of Omdurman by William McGonagall. It was indeed a great battle where the British and Egyptian forces were heavily outnumbered by the Dervishes of the Mahdist leader Abdullah al-Taashi. It involved a gallant British cavalry charge in which Winston Churchill took part, and it was a battle with which the discipline of a modern army won over a vastly larger force with older weapons. As the French historian and writer Hilaire Belloc put it: "Whatever happens, we have got... The Maxim gun, and they have not". Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1603_Omdurman.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 11:26am UTC

On January 20, 1889, the following death notice appeared in the New York Times: "MACKENZIE—At New Brighton, Staten Island, on the 19th of January, Brig. Gen. Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, United States Army, in the 48th year of his age." Such a death notice, lacking much detail into his life and career, could be expected if the officer was a minor figure of the late 19th century army, having played little or no role in the Civil War or the more recent Indian Wars. However, this notice is not fitting for an officer who graduated at the top of his class at West Point in 1862 and in three short years, rose to the rank of brevet major general. Dur: 29mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 1602_Ranald_Slidell_Mackenzie_Part_1.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 3:04pm UTC