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As it Happened. -

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Good evening. Manny Tsigas with a World News Australia update. Barack Obama is due to meet with congressional leaders at the White House later tonight to begin negotiations surrounding its end of year fiscal cliff. The deadline for billions of dollars in spending cuts and tax increases is just four days away. The death toll severe weather conditions sweeping across the United States has risen to at least 15. Brutal winds have knocked down trees and damaged homes and several cities that have already experienced major storms are due to be hit again. And 'Wild Oats XI' has taken out line honours at this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race for a sixth time and it's still on course to secure handicap honours as well, completing an historic second treble. And I'll have a full World News Australia bulletin for you at 10.30pm. Our history has been shaped
by centuries of war.

From the armies of the Romans...

..to the modern,
global conflicts of today.

I'm Saul David
and I'm a military historian

and what history tells us

beyond the derring-do it's the nuts and bolts
of how you house and feed your army, how you move it
and how you kit it ready for battle

Today, military logistics
dominates modern warfare

with entire branches of specialists
dedicated to feeding,

moving and kitting out
frontline soldiers ready for battle.

This is the story of how this elaborate,
high-tech world came to be.

Because throughout history,

faced by any military commander

If you don't keep your soldiers fed, they'll never even make it
to the battlefield.

Think about it this way, you're slaughtering for 80,000 men
a minimum of 300 animals a day.

you'll never steal a march
on the enemy.

US General George C Marshall

as America's greatest contribution

And don't forget,
America invented the atomic bomb.

And any army that isn't equipped
with the latest technology

Some of the greatest failures
and victories in history

have come down to the detail
of military logistics. The real story
of how wars are won and lost.

Weapons...

From longbows to cruise missiles,

the very tools
soldiers need to fight,

has always been History tells us that a general
can move and feed an army

as efficiently as he likes, but the
real litmus test is the battlefield. All that energy he expends
getting his men to the front will count for nothing
if they can't perform in action.

What he needs is for his men
to arrive disciplined,

with the right kit

Get it wrong and the consequences
are almost always fatal. This film is about the arms race
and how it's paid for. This projectile was effective
at 1000 yards.

We'll see how new weapons

You've a live patient
on the end of this. And why survival in World War I

depended on new ways

This gun fires 600 rounds a minute,
that's ten a second. This is the story of kit and how
it changed the soldier's life. The uniforms he wore,
how he lived and trained

All soldiers go through
a rite of passage. Afternoon, sir.
Afternoon.

Their first trip to
the quartermaster to get kitted out. But today's kit would baffle
a soldier of even 50 years ago. This is the stuff of modern war -
ballistic sunglasses. Helmets with infrared ID
to avoid friendly fire.

Ballistic underwear
to protect against IEDs.

And finally, of course,
his actual weapons.

An SA80 rifle.

Having better kit than the enemy
has always been critical to success.

And for English soldiers
700 years ago, that meant one thing in particular -
the longbow.

Tim Sutherland is This is what they call
a self yew bow,

it's made from a single piece of yew which has got horn nocks on the end
to hold the linen cord.

This has probably got a draw weight

that you were forced to train
to use the bow. And, of course, English archers
were renowned across Europe

for their efficiency on
a battlefield with this implement.

if you could fill your army
with archers instead of men-at-arms,

you are gaining
a large artillery advantage

because, of course, you could

Even mediaeval commanders knew
that experts held the key

to supplying the best kit available.

To stay at the very forefront,
in 1414,

the Board of Ordnance met here,
in the Tower of London,

to discuss the technological
cutting edge of weapons. From bows to swords and from muskets
to artillery pieces. And what I have in front of me
is quite an extraordinary document

because it dates from that period

and it's effectively from the Board of Ordnance to the
people supplying it with weapons.

This page here

It starts off by saying "Paid to
William Bucksted, king's bowyer."

And then down below him "Paid to
John Clark, king's fletcher."

He makes the arrows.

And then thirdly

I can't quite make out his name -
"king's bowstring maker". So, on this one page, you've got
the three constituent elements

is still being used And yet, just a page later, we see
the future of weapons technology.

The entry reads "Paid to Robert

And so, in just a page,

from bows to cannon,
the future, of course.

Henry V's longbows
were the end of an era.

A new age was dawning
of muskets and cannon. This was the beginning of greater
complexity, specialisation and cost.

Just like today, commanders knew
that cutting-edge kit

One, five rounds.
In your own time, carry on.

..that the soldiers using it
had to be properly trained...

..and, somehow,
that it all had to be paid for.

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demonstrators and used vehicles all priced to clear
with huge factory bonuses. is on now, but must end

In the 1690s, after a series of wars
against France and Spain,

And so the government came up

They called it the Bank of England. We might think
of Threadneedle Street

as the heart of commercial finance

but 300 years ago it was all about
military might.

The Bank of England underpinned

because sound finances enabled us

The Bank of England was
a body set up not to lend money

In 1690, it was becoming

A professional fighting force equipped with the very latest
weapons of the highest quality.

With secure finance

and the Board of Ordnance
providing quality kit,

the army was ready

Big improvements were being made

And to make effective use of it,

armies had to become
more professional.

In 1741, right here
at the Woolwich Dockyards,

an academy was established

It was the beginning of an effort
to make training more technical

This was to have ramifications
right through the 19th century

with increasing specialisation,

that set soldiers apart from
civilian life and, ultimately, with the legend of the
highly-disciplined British Redcoat.

The docks themselves
had connections to ordnance

when a gun wharf had first been
built on the banks of the Thames.

But now it was going to have but a place where the latest
arms technology

Developments in artillery

through World War I,
World War II and beyond.

Large guns firing barrages
from distance

All this started
in the 18th century.

So, what we've got here is a typical

It's a British 6-pounder made
out of bronze and it incorporates

a number of innovations that really
increased the effectiveness of The first of those innovations
is this elevating screw here.

It doesn't look like much the speed and precision
with which you could aim this gun. Before, you would just
have had wedges of wood pushed underneath the barrel
to raise it up and down,

not a very efficient
or precise way of doing it.

You also had something
known as a single trail.

This is the trail
at the back of the gun here.

Formerly, you would have had two
wooden trails to attach to a horse

but they weren't very stable

and it meant the gun

This gives it
a really stable platform

and at the end
you've got this hook.

This would have been
attached to a limber.

Limbers were new, they had
two wheels and a box on the top. And in that would have been
the ammunition supply.

when you're moving this gun around,

but the ammunition supply It's a much more effective,
self-contained unit

than it had been before.

By 1800,
the Royal Artillery had expanded

from its original 200 men The sum total
of all these innovations

was that artillery was becoming
more effective than ever before. And that itself was producing
something new, devastating injuries
on a scale never seen before.

These remarkable watercolours were
sketched by a battlefield surgeon

called Charles Bell. They depict just some of the
injuries he witnessed from Waterloo.

equipped with
the most devastating firepower

And it was the artillery which This is a solid iron cannonball
known as a round shot

and it was designed

to plough through
whatever lay in front of it. It's an incredibly fearsome
antipersonnel weapon. This is an original
from the Napoleonic Wars.

You would not want to be hit
by a missile like this one.

On Sunday 18 June 1815,
a force of allied European armies confronted Napoleon
just south of Brussels

near the Belgian village
of Waterloo.

Down below me
is the famous Waterloo battlefield and directly opposite
is where Napoleon commanded

on that side of the valley with
the French armies coming this way.

The allied commander, Wellington,

was just over there
at the crossroads.

And the French artillery,
key to the battle,

were in the base of the valley.

And they'd have been firing
their bouncing cannonballs

up towards the ridge line, behind
which most of the British troops

and allied troops were gathered to

And yet, by forming defensive
squares against French cavalry,

they became an easy target
for French artillery.

One British square lost 400

and another British officer as a perfect hospital, full of dead,
dying, mutilated soldiers.

and brought the final curtain down
on Napoleon's imperial ambitions.

Nearly 50,000 men were killed
or wounded that day.

One in four of every man fighting. These fields would have been strewn
with the dead

The most famous casualty of all

this is the saw that was used
to amputate the Earl's leg.

It's rather beautiful, isn't it? Trauma surgeon Mick Crumplin

of battlefield surgery and knows
just what the Earl of Uxbridge faced

If you take the knife
and place it ready to start.

the pressure has to be even
and severe.

So, mind my fingers and yours too.

With no anaesthetic,

if operations took

Feel it tear through,

And surgeons prided themselves

You've a live patient
on the end of this. So, no time for hanging around.
No. A very sharp knife.
This is an original, is it?

It is. This is a 200-year-old shear
steel knife with an ebony handle.

I can feel the bone. When you feel bone,
desist from cutting hard and concentrate on the bits
that feel soft. Once the flesh and tendons
are severed, it's time for the bone. It's not an easy procedure.
Don't go push, pull, push, pull.

It's push, push, push.

Very sharp, isn't it?
You can feel... ..resistance.
It's cutting beautifully. It's quite a painful bit
of the operation. You think you're there...

It's like green sapling wood,
cutting bone.

Roll it over a bit more,

The limb is removed and cast away Unfortunately, I took so long that my patient would
almost certainly have died. In the real world at Waterloo,
that would have been a human body

and the idea of actually

which must have felt very like that
with this kind of shuddering,

flinching human

it felt quite chilling to me,

and I didn't have
any noise and any movement.

And what it must be like under real
conditions, I can't even imagine.

The modern soldier
is a professional -

a trained specialist who occupies You're all right, you're going
to be back in here in a minute.

..ready to go into action as But this idea of the soldier

A striking example of this evolution
was the building of barracks. One of the few

was built in the 1840s
above Pembroke Dock in west Wales.

One of the things you can clearly
see from this picture

is the separation of the military within the boundaries
of the barracks.

And also, of course, the civilians
who were there, beyond,

on the fringes, kept well away from

there are only two places like this
left in the world -

It's fascinating

because all the architecture is

The military moved out

and it looks pretty much to me

What came out of the barracks
was the stuff of legends. The stiff-upper-lipped
British officer

and the bulldog
of a regular soldier.

The mid-19th century
saw the appearance

of the professional Redcoat who distinguished himself
on the battlefield

through his training,

That legend was cemented

Because it was here
that the 19th-century powers of Britain, France and Russia
fought for control of the Near East. What was at stake was nothing less
than the balance of power in Europe.

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The small peninsula of the Crimea
was the setting

for the ill-fated valour
of the Charge of the Light Brigade. But on the same day,
another British action

to protect the supply base of
Balaklava also went down in history

This time,
it was the Russian cavalry

charging at a small unit
of British infantry.

infantry would form

the Russians could have flown past
on either side and taken this port. So instead, Colin Campbell,
the 93rd commander, ordered them to form
two seemingly fragile lines,

"Men, there must be no retreat,
you must die where you stand."

because, having unleashed
two volleys, the Russians were stopped in
their tracks and forced to withdraw.

Balaklava was saved.

were about more than discipline

They were also about technology

as higher standards of manufacture This is an original gauge set for an
1853 Pattern Enfield rifled musket.

It's completely unique in the sense
that it's the only one of its kind.