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on 8 December 2008
There's definitely something about military history that just strikes a cord with people. Whether it's the historical impact on today's society; whether it's a greater understanding of tactical evolution, or just ammunition for a pub quiz; military history is a fascinating subject for many different people for many different reasons.

Catching this series initially on the History Channel, I found the breakdown of the various types of conflict to be a real eye opener; it's a really powerful feeling when you come away with knowledge, and although this serves best as an introduction, Battleplan leaves you much more informed than it found you. Battleplan is insightful, informative, scientifically analytical yet easy to understand and, at fifteen quid, absolutely fantastic value.

It works like this; each episode begins with an introduction to a specific type of warfare (say, for example, flanking manoeuvres). Once the basic concept has been laid down, Battleplan then breaks down the topic into requirements and sizeable chunks. Using real-world examples (mostly of the Gulf and World Wars) we are able to gain a real insight into how they work in reality. Battleplan then analyses the real-world examples against the requirements laid out in the episodes. Thanks to the insight of established military historians, you feel as though you can rely on the information.

In summary; if you're casually interested, or beginning your learning in military history, especially of the modern era, you really can't go wrong with Battleplan, especially at this price; enjoy!
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on 13 November 2007
This is military strategy documentary. Each episode discusses an aspect of a Battleplan. The series was made is in colour with some B&W clips of old war footage.

Each episode identifies then examines each stage in the strategy needed for a particular battle plan and then compares two famous battles to decide if this criteria for the battleplan was met for both.

Using mostly realtime footage from battles and some animated maps, these aspects are discussed by the narrator with expert analysis provided by Lloyd Clark from RMA Sandhurst.

Overall this is an excellent series and even if you're not in the military or studying military strategy you should find it very interesting. However, if you are interested in military strategy then this series - like Sun Tzu's Art Of War is a must.

Below are a list of each episode on the 5 dvd set. Following this is a brief synopsis of 9 of the 18 episodes.

1. Blitzkrieg
2. Assault from the air
3. Deception
4. Assault from the sea
5. Counterstrike
6. Blockade
7. Siege
8. Battlefleet
9. Pre-emptive strike
10. Control of the air
11. The defensive battle
12. Guerrilla warfare
13. Urban warfare
14. Breaking a fortified line
15. Raiding operations
16. Strategic bombing
17. Flank attack
18. Special operations

This episode draws comparisons to both Eisenhower/Patton/Monty's use of flanking to achieve a breakout after the D-Day landings in Normandy and General Schwarzkopf's attempt to drive Iraqi forces out and liberate Kuwait during the first Gulf war.

This episode of Battleplan compares the the assault on Iwo Jima during the second world war led by Lieutenant General Holland "Howling Mad" Smith, USMC and General Douglas MacArthur's amphibious landing at Inchon to take back the capital city of Seoul during the Korean war. As the Battleplan is "Assault by the sea", there's no medals for guessing that both assaults involved various U.S. Marine divisions. The battle for Iwo Jima was fought with the 4th & 5th U.S. Marine Divisions and I think it was the 1st Marine Division that made the landing at Inchon. History tells us of the unqualified success of both of these assaults but did both General's follow the battle plan for assault by the sea?

Throughout history, Counterstrike has been the preferred battleplan of aggressive commanders who find themselves fighting on their own territory. General Lee in the 1860's American Civil War, Napoleon when he was defending france against a multisided invasion at the end of his carreer, Israel's counterstrike in 1973 against Egypt and Syria in the Yom Kippur/Ramadan War and the Soviet Union's defence of Moscow in 1941 against Hitler's Operation Barbarossa. This episode examines the criteria needed for a successful counterstrike and compares whether Israel in 1973 and the Soviet Union in 1941 met the requirements for the Battleplan for a counterstrike?

Blockade is one of the most potent weapons of war. Sink a warship and a nations military capacity is barely scratched, cut its supply lines and you threaten its ability to wage war. This episode of Battleplan compares the Blockade strategies used by Hitler against Great Britain and the United States against Japan during WW2.

Pre-emptive strike - catching the enemy unaware is every commander's dream, particularly when facing a much more powerful opponent. Get it right, and a smaller force can win a stunning victory. Get it wrong, and the attacking nation can be doomed to total defeat. This episode focuses on the Dec 7th 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and June 5th 1967 when Israeli Jets attacked enemy airfields in Egypt at the start of the six day war.

Control of the air has become a critical factor in modern warfare. With it, your forces have almost a free hand. Without it it's almost impossible to win a war. This episode of Battleplan looks at the attempt for control for air supremacy of Saddam Hussein's Iraq in January 1991 by the US, and Britain against the Luftwaffe in August 1940 over southern Britain.

November 1917, British tanks roll towards heavily fortified German trenches, in a battle Generals hope will change the course of WW1. July 1943, thousands of Soviet tanks take up positions to repel a massive German attack in what will be the largest tank battle ever fought. In both cases in WW1 and WW2, defending commanders have deliberately chosen to absorb an enemy assault they know is coming. Defensive battle is a gamble. It invites the enemy to attack where it might most effectively be destroyed. If the strategy works, the weakened attacker is left with little force to resist a counter strike. If it fails, the defenders can be left with no alternative but surrender.

Guerrilla conflict is not a new form of warfare but it underlies most wars in the modern world. And with it comes the type of warfare specially designed to confront and overcome it - Counter Insurgency. Both are deadly, both are brutal. And the wars of the 21st century suggest these strategies will be used as frequently in the future as they have been in the past. This episode analyses and compares the use of Guerrilla Warfare in Vietnam in the sixties and Afghanistan the eighties.

Vietnam 1968, US Marines battle street by street with communist insurgents during the struggle for the historic city of Hue. Stalingrad 1942, German troops fight close up with Soviet defenders in the city Joseph Stalin renamed after himself. Urban warfare is the most vicious form of fighting. In an era dominated by technology, it takes a soldier back to the most primitive type of warfare - hand to hand, knife against knife, street by street, house by house, even down to room by room. According to Lloyd Clark from RMA Sandhurst, the Americans call Urban Warfare FIBUA - fighting in a built up area. The British call it FISH - fighting in someone's house.
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on 16 November 2014
Having not seen the original series I was hoping for a little bit more than I actually got here.

I lap these sort of series up on TV but found this one just to formulaic. Boring narration of a bullet point type of presentation wears thin after just a couple of episodes.

The information on the other hand is excellent, I even looked up and double checked some of it when I didn't believe it or it was new information to me and in each case found that they were 100% correct. I might disagree with some of the opinions but whenever you start talking about generals and their armies there are always going to be prejudices to overcome including mine.

What was missing here was and expert narrator with an interest in the subject to pull the whole thing together, a retired general or war correspondent might have made it more interesting. The expert opinions were good but they were slotted in as part of the formula so I don't feel the best was made of them.
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on 24 February 2010
An excellent series, interesting and different from other military history documentaries. This series is all about tactics and strategy and what went right (and wrong) in certain operations. Each episode compares two operations, for example for `Assault from the Air' looks at Operation Market Garden in WW2 and Operation Junction City during the Vietnam War.

There are flaws though. Some episodes focus more on one operation and skip through too briefly on the other. In the episode `Assault from the Air', Operation Junction City is not covered so well. There is also frequent repetition (presumably where ad breaks would have been) that starts to get annoying. There also appears a few lazy and inaccurate clichés from time to time. For example, in the episode on `Blitzkrieg', it mentions the "impenetrable Maginot Line" (it wasn't impenetrable) and Poles facing German tanks with lancers (also a cliché).

These flaws are minor though, and I don't regret buying this DVD.
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on 6 April 2013
I quite enjoyed the series but found the US bias quite irritating. Firstly, there is the constant American drawl of the commentator and several military experts to deal with (thankfully we have Lloyd Clark from Sandhurst to help balance things up). Secondly, there is the attempt to shoehorn any US operation into the programs (sometimes two in an episode) which is frustrating (nations other than America HAVE fought in the last century). For example, in 'Battlefleet' they focus on the US carrier fleets at Midway AND Leyte Gulf which I turned off before the end as it got quite tiresome and repetitive. Maybe something like the Royal Navy's campaign in the Mediterranean would have provided a nice alternative?
All in all an interesting set of programs but a shame about the overwhelming US presence.
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on 22 February 2018
An excellent collection. The DVDs would form the basis of a military induction course in strategic warfare, and are clear and detailed.
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on 22 September 2017
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on 19 December 2016
Great DVD. Need to put a little time aside to watch it. One for the holidays.
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on 21 October 2014
Engaging series, which I decided to buy after initial viewing on 'Youview'. Well put together and if you're interested in this branch of history I certainly recommend purchase.
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on 20 February 2012
complete series very good suit anyone interested in the ,techniques and strategy of various battles ,land sea and air.covers ww2,korea,middle east ,etc.
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