Up till now you could generally rely on TV programmes about the Great War to tell one story – how donkey generals sent lion privates to futile death in the mud (having already arranged for one or two of the more saintly ones to be shot at dawn).
Tonight’s programme by Peter and Dan Snow, Twentieth Century Battlefields took a different approach – explaining how the Battle of Amiens in 1918 was the turning point of the war, and giving full credit to Rawlinson for effectively inventing modern military tactics by coordinating infantry, artillery, tanks and air power in the attack – and even the cavalry as well.
It was a clever piece of story-telling. They used every narrative device they could – animated maps, archive film, reconstructions, bits of old war movies, computer wargame graphics and clips of modern troops charging into action as well. It could have been a mess, but it cohered into a clear account of the battle – not at all easy to do. I’ll be watching the rest of the series.