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

Ask most people about the Battle of Britain, and they will think of the Spitfires and Hurricanes of RAF fighter command in combat with the German Luftwaffe over southern England in 1940. History books will often also mention Bomber Command carrying out raids on the French and Belgian ports where the Germans were assembling the fleet of barges and small craft to be used to transport German troops across the Channel in Operation Sealion. Dur: 19 mins File: .mp3


The machinery of war which Charlemagne inherited from his father. Pepin the Short, and grandfather (Charles Martel, 'the hammer') was singularly well tuned to wage war. All of Charlemagne's vassals were expected to serve militarily and all free men were expected to serve if needed. This service included bishops, abbots and abbesses; they too could be called upon to provide armed men or other provisions of war according to the wealth of their estates. Dur: 17mins. File: .mp3

Direct download: 2905_Charlemagne_-_The_Father_of_Europe_Pt2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:30am UTC

Charles the Great, known as Charlemagne and the father of Europe, created an empire which would last 1,000 years. To secure it he fought continuously, on multiple fronts, throughout his long reign. Charlemagne came to power at a time when Europe was made up of many small kingdoms and principalities. Since the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, it had also faced invasion from various peoples who had established kingdoms of their own, such as the Visigoths and Muslims in Spain. Dur: 19mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2904_Charlemagne_-_The_Father_of_Europe_Pt1.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

Thermopylae and Artemisium were never intended to be decisive stands even though the defeat of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae has gone down in history as just such a stand. There were also 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans at that defeat but their sacrifice has been all but been ignored. (indeed the historian Herodotus goes out of his way to show the Thebans to be perfidious traitors). The other cities' soldiers had already withdrawn, and fierce debate ensued to keep the alliance together. Dur: 23mins. File: .mp3


The year 2020 represents the 2,500th anniversary of three battles which played a major part in shaping the future of the western Mediterranean world: the battles of Thermopylae, Artemisum, and Salamis. Dur: 19mins. File: .mp3


The American West contains many epic tales and stories, perhaps the most astounding is the story of Lewis and Clark and the Corp of Discovery. Over the course of seventeen months a group of over forty individuals traveled seven thousand miles through hostile native tribes from the middle of America through previously unexplored mountain ranges to the Pacific Ocean and returned healthy and well with only one casualty. Dur: 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2901_The_Lewis_and_Clark_Air_Rifle.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

July 15th 1779. The night was dark, the soldiers were ordered to fix bayonets and unload their rifles. Men exhausted, a 14 mile road march in the dead of summer that started at noon got them to this point. Anxiety filled the air as Washington's men set to take back Stony Point. What took 20 minutes left the southern and western and northern flanks of the point covered in blood. Dur: 16mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2810_The_Battle_of_Stony_Point.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

The greatest mercenary commander of the 14th century, inspiration for historians, poets, novelists and playwrights, John Hawkwood is a name everyone should know. 14th century Europe was a plagued with incessant warfare. The Hundred Years' War began between France and England in 1337 and would last until the middle of the next century. Other conflicts engulfed various parts of Europe as well, especially in Italy where Sir John Hawkwood would make and maintain his name. Dur: 20mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2809_John_Hawkwood_The_Greatest_Mercenary_of_His_Age_-_Part2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

The greatest mercenary commander of the 14th century, inspiration for historians, poets, novelists and playwrights, John Hawkwood is a name everyone should know. 14th century Europe was a plagued with incessant warfare. The Hundred Years' War began between France and England in 1337 and would last until the middle of the next century. Other conflicts engulfed various parts of Europe as well, especially in Italy where Sir John Hawkwood would make and maintain his name. Dur 18mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2808_John_Hawkwood_The_Greatest_Mercenary_of_His_Age_-_Part1.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

By the beginning of September 1066, King Harold II was in a quandary. Expecting Duke William of Normandy to invade, he had summoned the fyrd (what passed for the army in Anglo-Saxon times; made up of a proportion of the freemen of each shire who were required to perform military service in defence of the land) back in April and they had long since passed the usual two to three months' service. And now they were starting to grumble... Dur: 17mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2807_The_Battle_of_Stamford_Bridge.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

The Seven Years War, fought from 1756 to 1763, pitted the alliance of France, Austria, Sweden, Saxony, Russia and Spain; against Great Britain, Prussia and Hanover. The first truly world war, campaigns in the war were fought in Europe, India, North America, and on the oceans throughout the world. Dur: 27mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2806_Sir_Jeffrey_Amherst_and_the_Conquest_of_New_France.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

One thing to note in regard to Cretans is that when they are mentioned in our sources they are always referred to as Cretan archers or just ‘Cretans’ or, occasionally just archers and we must work out from the context that they were Cretan. Dur: 25mins. File. mp3

Direct download: 2805_The_Ubiquity_of_the_Cretan_Archer_in_Ancient_Warfare_Part2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

When a contingent of archers is mentioned in the context of Greek and Roman armies, more often than not the culture associated with them is that of Crete. Indeed, when we just have archers mentioned in an army without a specified origin, Cretan archers are commonly assumed to be meant, so ubiquitous with archery and groups of mercenary archers were the Cretans. The Cretans are the most famous, but certainly not the only ‘nation’ associated with a particular fighting style (Rhodian slingers and Thracian peltasts leap to mind but there are others too). The long history of Cretan archers can be seen in the sources – according to some stretching from the First Messenian War right down to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Even in the reliable historical record we find Cretan archer units from the Peloponnesian War well into the Roman period. Dur: 14mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2804_The_Ubiquity_of_the_Cretan_Archer_in_Ancient_Warfare.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

Bougainville is a 9000 sq. km pacific island and was first subject to European contact in 1768 when Louis Antoine De Bougainville landed there and, in an act of typical vainglory, named it for himself. People had been on Bougainville for 28,000 years but it was the Austronesian people who 4,000 years ago established pigs, chickens, dogs and cultivation with obsidian tools.  The Comte De Bougainville was every bit the equal of James Cook and it was he who established the Falkland Islands, circumnavigated the globe and fought as a captain of dragoons in the what was effectively the first world war, the 7 years’ war between England and France. As an Admiral he sailed south from Tahiti and nearly discovered the Great Barrier Reef then in 1768 encountered Bougainville, east of Papua New Guinea. The wonderful variegated coloured flower, Bougainvillea, is named for him. The island is a natural wonder and historical treasure.

This episode was written by Lt Col Chris Alroe.

Chris was an Australian Army Officer and specialist medical practitioner who spent twenty-one years full and part time in the Australian Defence Forces. He was at one time SMO 11 BDE and later appointed SMO 3 BDE, retiring from the army before taking up the appointment. During Operation Bel Isi commenced 1999, the UN Peace Keeping Mission to the Island of Bougainville after the civil war there, he was appointed Officer Commanding the Combined Health Element for the mission. He was commended by the Brigadier of the Mission for his survey of New Guinea Health services which he conducted as part of the plan to complete the Mission.

Direct download: 2803_Bougainville.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am UTC

The year 1776 began joyously for the American rebels. After the Battle of Bunker Hill and the subsequent siege of Boston, the rebel army, now formally organized into the Continental Army commanded by George Washington, successfully forced the British army under William Howe to withdraw from Boston and sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia. There Howe licked his wounds and awaited reinforcements. Dur: 28mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2802_The_Battle_For_New_York_Part2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

The year 1776 began joyously for the American rebels. After the Battle of Bunker Hill and the subsequent siege of Boston, the rebel army, now formally organized into the Continental Army commanded by George Washington, successfully forced the British army under William Howe to withdraw from Boston and sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia. There Howe licked his wounds and awaited reinforcements. Dur: 33mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2801_The_Battle_For_New_York_Part1.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

At the moment when the Galwegians were at their most hard pressed, it seems as if Prince Henry led his Battle in a charge (the detail is not in Richard of Hexham). Henry 'hurled himself, fierce as a lion, upon the opposing wing.' He put the English to flight on that wing (the English left) and continued on against the men stationed with the horses (some distance away from the English line if we use the detail from Richard of Hexham). The English there fled two furlongs and the poorly armed peasants ran with them. Several reconstructions of the battle have Henry's charge a mounted one although this is far from clear and there are reasons to believe his charge was on foot (he could not mingle with the English pursuing the retreating Scots as he did if he was mounted and therefore obviously stood out from the English troops). Dur: 19 mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2710_The_Battle_of_The_Standard_Part2.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC

King David I of Scotland invaded England in the summer of 1138 in support of his niece, the Empress Matilda, who was embroiled in a fight against her cousin, King Stephen (of Blois) for control of the English throne. This period of civil war, known as the Anarchy, raged in England from 1135 until 1153. It was caused by the succession crisis following the drowning death of William Adelin in the White Ship disaster in 1120. William was Henry I’s only legitimate son and, even though Henry nominated his daughter Matilda as his heir, when the king died in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne. Dur: 21mins File: .mp3

Direct download: 2709_The_Battle_of_The_Standard_Part1.mp3
Category:military -- posted at: 12:00pm UTC