How to Go to War

How to Go to War

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 8:00pm - 11:00pm

Pictured: Host Saul David

Credit: BBC

Travel across history to explore how armies have been moved, fed, clothed, kitted, and get hands-on to see how life in the field really worked. Imagine you’re in charge of an army of 150,000 men. Before you can even get near the fighting, you have to work out how to feed them 4,000 calories a day, find them warm clothes and sturdy boots, move them, their ammunition and their supplies over thousands of kilometres, keep them clean and parasite-free, and give them a place to sleep, store their weapons, and go to the toilet. It isn’t the glamorous side of the job, and it’s unlikely to win you any medals, but it’s your ability to meet these demands that will really determine whether or not you win the war. Packed full of surprising facts and new perspectives, How to Go to War, airing Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. pm WXXI-TV, offers a fascinating guide to the secret world of army logistics. Hosted by military historian Saul David, each episode looks at a different branch of the discipline, taking viewers from the deep past to the present day by focusing on key stories from some of history’s greatest conflicts.

Episode One: Staying Alive airs at 8 p.m.
How to keep an army fed and housed. Disease has killed more men than any other enemy. Saul sees how amazingly similar today’s Camp Bastion in Afghanistan is to Roman military bases in England, and discovers how the introduction of canned food changed everything. From dysentery in medieval Agincourt to the hideous tropical illnesses of the 19th century, Saul comes face to face with the physical and psychological devastation that disease can wreak.

Episode Two: Stealing a March airs at 9 p.m.
How generals have met the challenge of moving armies. This is the story of one of the greatest military challenges: moving thousands of men across rivers, continents, and oceans. From the letters of 17th century generals to the planning behind the D-Day landings, Saul tells the stories of some of the greatest triumphs of military persistence. He also reveals stories of failure and tragedy – from the destruction of Napoleon’s grand army in the Russian winter to the sinking of the Lancastria.

Episode 3: Raising Arms airs at 10 p.m.
How generals have struggled to kit out their armies for battle, and to pay for it. So you’ve made it there and stayed healthy long enough to fight. Now it’s time to do battle. This is the story of the development of the professional soldier, clothed and kitted with the latest technology. Saul sees how battlefield medicine works and experiences the brutality of a speed amuputation. Finally, he reveals how logistics continues after the fighting is over – bringing men back home, and clearing up the enormous global mess that war can make.