Episode Alexander the Great, The Battle of Issus – In November 333 B.C., twenty three year old Alexander of Macedonia led his army against the Persian Host of Darius, which outnumbered the Greeks by more than 2 to 1. The Battle of Issus, which saw the comprehensive defeat of the Persians, is a case study where strategic brilliance and daring deliver a battlefield triumph. Alexander’s victory over Darius was the beginning of the end for Persian hegemony in the Near East, and began the Hellenization that would dominate the region for more than 500 years.
Episode Julius Caesar, The Battle of Alesia – In 52 B.C. Rome’s pre-eminent general, Gaius Julius Caesar found himself locked in a titanic struggle against the forces of King Vercingetorix of Gaul. Pacifying Gaul was paramount to Rome’s security and Caesar needed a decisive victory to quell Gallic resistance once and for all. Having surrounded Vercingetorix and his army at Alesia, Caesar now found himself attacked in turn by a relief force which outnumbered him by 5 to 1. Using superior Roman tactics, discipline and military technology, he crushed the Gauls forced Vercingetorix’s surrender. This victory cemented Roman control of Western Europe for 400 years and elevated Caesar to mythic status as a battlefield commander.
Episode Georgi Zhukov – The Battle of Berlin (1993) – Follow the career of one of the greatest Soviet generals of all time in this historical documentary which focuses on Zhukov’s strategic planning to capture Berlin at the end of WWII. Uncompromising and ruthless, Zhukov even ran his men through minefields because he figured the casualties would be the same as trying to clear them away. But Zhukov’s handling of large forces and success in capturing Berlin have him rated as being the leading soldier of the last century.
Episode Horatio Nelson – The Battle of Trafalgar (1993) – The fourth programme in the series examines the career of Admiral Nelson, the greatest naval commander Britain has ever known. Concentrating on the pivotal Battle of Trafalgar, the programme examines how Nelson’s unique combination, of skill, bravery, cunning and preparation made him a truly Great Commander.
Episode Napoleon Bonaparte – The Battle of Austerlitz (1993) – We examine the life and achievements of Napoleon Bonaparte, investigating the nature and style of his leadership, his overall strategy and his formidable military skills. Napoleon was a ruthless master of war whose daunting military talent led him not only to dominate Europe for twenty years but to change it forever. In 1805, he fought perhaps the greatest campaign that ended on the fields of the small Austrian town of Austerlitz. Outnumbered by a combined Austro – Russian army, Napoleon’s only hope lay in luring his enemies into a deadly trap.
Episode Ulysses S. Grant – The Battle of the Wilderness (1993) – He went from clerk to President in under seven years, proving his worth during the American Civil War. A process of grinding down the opposition brought victory.