Wednesday 13 April 2011

Tank Battles of WWII - DVD Set

I've been watching a series of DVD's I got at Christmas called Tank Battles of World War Two. It's taken a while for me to watch these as needless to say nobody else in the house is that interested. However I have to say they are missing what is, in my humble opinion, a great series of historical programs.

This set consists of 6 DVD's each focusing on a different campaign or period of the war. The order of the DVD's is a little weird but the content is excellent with very little overlap between them. Here - in Chronological order - are the campaigns covered

(Disc 6) Blitzkrieg - The early creation of the Panzer Divisions and the development Blitzkrieg as a means of wageing war.
(Disc 3) The Fall of France - When Germany attacked France it faced arguably one of the largest and best equipped armies in Europe at that time. Its rapid destruction and defeat is as much a testament to the power of Blitzkrieg as it was to the ineptitude of French military doctrine at that time.
(Disc 1) Tigers in the Desert - The rise of Rommel and the advent of the Tiger Tank. Includes an intriguing reconstruction of a Tiger Crew in action.
(Disc 4) Barbarossa - The massive offensive to take Russia was a huge gamble and flew completely in the face of the idea of Lightning War. Here, on the wide open steppes of Russia, the limitations of Blitzkrieg were finally exposed.
(Disc 2) The Battle for Kursk -Operation Zitadelle was the huge German offensive designed to put Russia out of the war. Instead this became a killing ground that saw the ascendancy of Russian armour and the beginning of the long retreat back to Germany.
(Disc 5) The Ardennes Offensive - A last desperate gamble against the allies in the West

Throughout the series various experts are called upon for their analysis and insight. These include David Fletcher of the Royal Tank Museum; German army veteran Gerry Majewski; Author and historian Bob Carruthers; Dr Robin Clifton of Warwick University; Dr Niall Barr of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst; and Professor John Erickson from the University of Edinburgh.

Over the course of these 6 DVD's the whole sweep of the war - from an armoured perspective - is discussed and analysed. One of the things I liked about these programmes was the fact that you get 300 minutes of documentary with virtually no repetition or overlap of information. The quality of the research and breadth of information covered is huge and presented in a very interesting and logical way.

If you have in interest in the development and use of the Tank as a weapon of war then I think these programmes will definitely interest you. I also think most WWII wargamers would also find the content useful, particularly where colour film and original footage is used.


  1. well, that seems very interesting. I may be tempted to get a set.

  2. Thanks for the review.

    I like!

    Astonished to hear family won't watch tank DVDs. For some reason my wife and daughters were not very keen either.

    I get to watch lots of soaps.


  3. Ive seen a couple of these and can also reccommend them, a bit like the older 360 series but much more depth to them.

  4. I'm curious about the Kursk DVD; There appears to be two schools of thought on this 1) the Germans were totally defeated, or 2) The Germans, at least at an operational level, were actually winning when they called it off. So where does this DVD sit?

  5. There is a sister series called BATTLEFIELD with the same narration. I seriously suggest you pick these up too. They are 2 hour long break downs of the major battles. They don't contain all the flashy History Channel special effects and commentary from Soldiers who fought, instead they give a detailed unbiased view of the leaders, weapons, tactics and battles. Highly recommended and realatively cheap check Battlefield in Amazon. They are being reproduced from the US PBS series from the 1990s by a company called Timeless Media.

    Definately worth it for any gamer/history buff. They also have the Battlefield series for Vietnam.

  6. Would you recommend watching them in series order or chronologically as you listed?

  7. Sounds very nice and will put into my wish list.


  8. Alright sir thanks for the link.

  9. That sounds like an interesting series. Seems to be mainly available in the UK.

  10. I went along and ordered them, and the battlefield series as well. Always on the lookout for some interesting viewing material for my overnight hotel stays.


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