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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > War > Armory > WWII > Cold War > Weapons Races (Acorn Media/Athena DVD Set)

Weapons Races (Acorn Media/Athena DVD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episodes: A



From the creators of the acclaimed series Hitler’s Bodyguards comes Weapons Races. This three disc, eight episode set from Athena collects this smart Discovery Channel series for the first time on DVD.  Following a highly successful formula, each episode sets up the historical period in which the particular weapon system was developed.  All successful battlefield weapons develop out of some need or shortcoming in the actual theater of war.


In WWI, the various powers needed something to break the stalemate of trench warfare. The show’s producers identify and describe the horrific conditions prior to the development of the first tanks during WWI.  It was these lumbering, temperamental, and sometimes unreliable behemoths that eventually broke the stalemate.  Many of the nations involved raced to field effective machines, and it was Britain that managed succeeded by fielding enough machines to allow their infantry to sally from the trenches and dislodge the Germans.  Post WWI, the development of tanks continued, and it was Germany that won this leg of the race, stealing the best ideas from abandoned French designs to create truly reliable and impressive armored machines.  Of course, Germany was later out-produced by the Soviet war machine that developed more efficient production methods that allowed them to outnumber Nazi tanks by a factor of 10 to 1.


In all cases the weapons races detailed in this series are supported with amazing archival footage of production and battles.  Successes are enjoyed, but the innovators often learned more from their and others’ failures.


This boxed set also includes a sixteen page viewer’s guide containing historical support material, biographies of notable weapons innovators, and a link to more online information at athenalearning.com.  This set would provide ideal classroom learning support for any unit on the eras it covers.  Athena again delivers compelling and informative content.



-   Scott Pyle


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