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From the Saxon shield-wall to the discovery of gunpowder and the invention of the machine gun, Dr Sam Willis traces the history of the weapons that have shaped Britain.

Genres: History
Station: BBC Four (GB)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2017-01-05

Sword, Musket and Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History Air Dates


S01E01 - Cut and Thrust Air Date: 05 January 2017 21:00 -

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In the first episode, Sam receives a lesson in swordsmanship from the earliest combat manual as he gets to grips with the swords, shields and lances that dominated the battlefield a thousand years ago. Sam finds out what the Bayeux Tapestry reveals about the brutal reality of combat, why the crossbow came to be seen as an instrument of the devil, and he tries his hand at a longbow, the decisive weapon of medieval warfare.


S01E02 - The Big Bang Air Date: 12 January 2017 21:00 -

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From the Saxon shield-wall to the discovery of gunpowder and the invention of the machine gun, Dr Sam Willis traces the history of the weapons that have shaped Britain. In the second episode, Sam charts the impact of gunpowder on the battlefield, from the first cannons to early handheld weapons, and finds out what it's like to fire an English Civil War musket.


S01E03 - Rapid Fire Air Date: 19 January 2017 21:00 -

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Dr Sam Willis concludes his history of the weapons that have shaped Britain by looking at the drive to develop ever more precise weapons on the battlefield, from artillery shells to rifles to the Maxim machine gun. He test fires a 'Brown Bess' musket, the infantry weapon of choice at Waterloo in 1815; he tells the story of Spencer Percival, the only British prime minister ever to be assassinated, shot at point blank range in the lobby of the House of Commons in 1812; and he finds out whether a bulletproof vest made of silk might have stopped a bullet fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which led to the outbreak of World War I.

Sword, Musket and Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History Actors

Dr. Sam Willis(Dr. Sam Willis)



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