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Battlefield (American TV series)

  (Redirected from Battlefield (documentary series))

Battlefield is an American documentary series that debuted in 1994 on PBS that explores the most important battles fought primarily during the Second World War and the Vietnam War. The series employs a novel approach in which history is described by detailed accounts of major battles together with background and contextual information.[1] The sixth and final series of the program was broadcast in 2002.

Written byDave Flitton
Directed byDave Flitton
Theme music composerDavid Galbraith
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Andy Aitken, Justin McCarthy
Original networkPBS
Original release1994 –



The series provides a comprehensive narrative of the war; in addition to traditional tactical details, subjects such as personalities and motivations of the leaders, technological developments, management of war economies, strategic contributions of smaller battles, etc. are explored in terms of their contribution to particular turning points. The narrator (Tim Pigott-Smith) speaks throughout the series, seasons 1, 2, and 4, with no interviews of actual battle veterans. The show is entirely made up of archive footage and 3D graphics. Rare archive film, including rare colour footage specific to each battle is included.

Battlefield presents a detailed analysis of the battle including leaders, commanders, soldiers and weapons. The show describes the events preceding the featured battle as well as details about its aftermath. The show also goes in depth to explain the political and military situation leading up to each battle, details about relevant weapons and tactics, analysis of the battle's cause, and its context in the war as a whole-all while using informative maps and graphical depictions of relative strength of the respective forces and their movements during the battle in question.

Episodes consist of two hour (100 minute) programs. Each episode of Battlefield is divided into segments. A typical sequence is as follows:

  • Prelude to Battle / Order of Battle / The Leaders / Strategy for Offense / Strategy for Defense / The Commanders / The Opposing Forces / Weapons / The Men / The Eve of Battle / The Battle, several Phases / The Battle Won / After the Battle

The series was produced by Lamancha Productions in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Series One – 1994Edit

Battlefield (American TV series)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes6
Original networkPBS
Original release1994 (1994)
  1. The Battle of France
  2. The Battle of Britain
  3. The Battle of Midway
  4. The Battle of Stalingrad
  5. The Battle of Normandy
  6. The Battle of Berlin

Series Two – 1996Edit

Battlefield (American TV series)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes6
Original networkPBS
Original release1996 (1996)
  1. The Battle for North Africa
  2. The Battle of the Atlantic
  3. The Battle for Russia
  4. The Battle for Italy
  5. The Battle of Leyte Gulf
  6. The Battle for the Rhine

Series Three (Vietnam War) – 1999Edit

Battlefield (American TV series)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes6
Original networkPBS
Original release1999 (1999)
  1. Dien Bien Phu – The Legacy
  2. The Undeclared War
  3. Search and Destroy
  4. The Showdown in the Iron Triangle
  5. Countdown to Tet
  6. The Tet Offensive
  7. War on the DMZ
  8. Siege at Khe Sanh
  9. Air War Vietnam
  10. Rolling Thunder
  11. Peace with Honor
  12. The Fall of Saigon

Series Four – 2000Edit

  1. Kursk
  2. Air War Over Germany
  3. Manchuria
  4. Pearl Harbor
  5. Guadalcanal
  6. Leningrad

NARRATOR Tim Piggott-Smith

Series Five – 2001Edit

  1. Tunisia
  2. El Alamein
  3. The Battle for Monte Cassino
  4. The West Wall
  5. Operation Market Garden
  6. The Battle for Caen

NARRATOR: Jonathan Booth

Series Six – 2002Edit

  1. The Battle for the Crimea
  2. Scandinavia - The Forgotten Front
  3. The War Against the U-Boats
  4. Destination Okinawa
  5. Campaign in the Balkans
  6. The Battle for the Mediterranean

NARRATOR: Jonathan Booth

Broadcast historyEdit

The Battlefield series was originally aired on the BBC (UK) and PBS Television (USA). The Military Channel showed a shortened version of the series. Major networks still showing documentaries from the 'Battlefield' series include Discovery Networks Europe (UK) and PBS (USA).

Home video releaseEdit

Battlefield series one VHS set.

Series OneEdit

The Battlefield series has been issued in videotape by Polygram Video (UK - PAL format) and Time-Life (USA - NTSC format). DVD collections were reissued by Polygram Video in the UK (PAL format) in 2005. In 2010 the original series was re-released on DVD in the US.


  • Release date: 02/05/2005
  • Format: PAL, six two-hour episodes on six DVDs
  • Running Time: 11 hours 10 minutes
  • Narrator - Tim Pigott-Smith
  • Executive Producers - David McWhinnie, David Rozalla, Ken Maliphant
  • Producer - Dave Flitton (series prod.)
  • Directors - Dave Flitton, Andy Aitken, Justin McCarthy

Series TwoEdit


  • Release date: 02/05/2005
  • Format: PAL
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Running Time: 300 mins

Series ThreeEdit

Series Three was reissued by Time-Life as 12 segments, each 50 minutes long, on NTSC VHS videotapes. The series was produced by LaMancha Productions and produced and directed by Dave Flitton. 3D Graphics by Greg Moodie and Gavin Bonnar. A PolyGram Visual Programming/Lamancha co-production. Narrated by Gavin MacFadyen.

Series FourEdit

Series Four has been published by Time-Life with 50-minute NTSC VHS videotape episodes. The program copyright is Cromwell Productions, Ltd. (2001).


For Battlefield Vietnam:

'I have never seen a sustained narrative about the Vietnam War which captures the subtle nuances of it in such clear and simple language. Superb treatment.' - Dr. Robert Goldich, National Security Specialist, US Library of Congress

'Every department of politics or modern history should invest in this set, and use it.' - Journal of Strategic Studies'


  1. ^ "Battlefield (TV series)". Vasile Iuga. Retrieved 1 July 2014.

External linksEdit