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BattleField Detectives - Acorn's Athena Division Releasing DVDs of the History Channel-Aired Program

3-disc set will be available in mid-February

Posted by David Lambert
    Seen on the History Channel: new scientific insight into historic battles! "An eye-opening documentary" - The Times (U.K.); "Clear, concise, and rich in detail" - The Sunday Times (U.K.).

    What explains the massacre at Waterloo? Why was Gallipoli such a disaster? What role did luck play at Hastings? Battlefield Detectives puts these and other famous battles under the microscope by revisiting the sites-some little changed, others transformed completely-where the fighting took place. Using 3-D computer models, maps, artifacts, original footage, and dramatic reenactments, investigators recreate the conditions at the scene.

    New research is adding to our understanding of what really happened in some of the great battles of history, including Agincourt, Trafalgar, Balaklava, Little Big Horn, and Vietnam. Geologists are finding answers in the landscape and psychiatrists in the minds of the warriors, while climatologists and meteorologists are showing how weather was often crucial. From firearms experts and forensic scientists to crowd-behavior specialists, genealogists, and engineers, a wide range of authorities unlock the long-buried secrets of the battlefields.
Acorn Media's Athena division has announced that on February 14th they will release a 3-DVD set of Battlefield Detectives, the show which has been seen on the History Channel. It's priced at $59.99 SRP in the USA and CA$74.99 SRP in Canada, and includes these bonus features:
  • 16-page viewer's guide with articles on the Anglo-Saxons and Normans, the treasure ship Girona the Crimean War, the history of Kemal Atatürk, and Sun Tzu's The Art of War, and a map of Bonaparte's battles
  • Biographies of major military leaders
  • Plus Nelson's notable quotes, the story of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" poem, and discussion questions at
Besides those extras you'll get 9 episodes running 432 minutes, presented in anamorphic widescreen video, English stereo sound and English subtitles. Package art is at the bottom. Pick it up and see the investigations into these historic battles:
  • Episode 1 Who Got Lucky at Hastings?: An academic uses modern management theory to determine whether William was a better leader than Harold at Hastings in 1066. Meanwhile, an equestrian historian assesses the behavior of horses in battle, and computer experts create 3-D maps of the Hastings area to reveal the secret of William's success.
  • Episode 2 Agincourt's Dark Secrets: Medieval warfare specialists investigate how terrain affected the way the 15th-century Battle of Agincourt was waged, what the rare battlefield artifacts tell us, and just what happens when an English bodkin point meets French armor. A remarkable document written just before the battle may answer the key question-not how did the English win, but how did the French lose?
  • Episode 3 What Sank the Armada?: The sinking of the Spanish Armada in the summer of 1588 has been attributed to English heroism, Spanish incompetence, and bad weather. Now archaeologists are working with oceanographers, meteorologists, and ship design experts to uncover the real reasons for the Armada's disaster.
  • Episode 4 Trafalgar's Fatal Flaw: New research shows that Britain's most famous naval triumph, the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, was anything but inevitable. Far from executing a carefully developed plan, Nelson sailed straight at the enemy broadsides based on little more planning than a recently discovered "back of the envelope" tactical sketch.
  • Episode 5 Massacre at Waterloo: What went wrong for the French at Waterloo on June 18, 1815? Experts re-create the defensive ridge where Wellington stationed the allied troops, assess the impact of the weather conditions on Napoleon's artillery, and consider the psychological state of his commander on the ground, Marshal Ney.
  • Episode 6 The Charge of the Light Brigade: Researchers use satellite technology and archaeological finds to unearth the truth about what happened at Balaklava during the most celebrated battle of the Crimean War. How disastrous was the British cavalry charge-and who were the actual heroes in the defense of Balaklava?
  • Episode 7 Custer's Last Stand: Native American eyewitness accounts tell a new story of events during the Battle of the Little Bighorn: of chaos and panic, with no gallant last stand by Custer and his men. Using the methods of crime scene investigation, forensic scientists are uncovering evidence of what really happened.
  • Episode 8 The Gallipoli Disaster: Historians show how bad maps and worse intelligence produced the catastrophe of Gallipoli in 1915, and geologists reveal how terrain won the battle for the Turks and lost it for the Allies. Modern experts conclude that no amount of leadership, planning, or luck could have saved this doomed military venture.
  • Episode 9 Vietnam's Bloody Secret: Veterans from both sides explain how state-of-the-art weaponry and a huge budget failed to overcome the morale and inventiveness of the communist forces. Experts show how America never really understood who it was fighting, what motivated its enemies, or what methods they used.
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