The Sharp End: Episode 2
Early Modern • 25m
What was it like to be on the frontline of a historic battlefield?
Filmed at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, Dan Snow gets hands on with the weapons that helped define history, handled by ordinary soldiers on the frontline - from Anglo-Saxon swords to World War I machine guns.
In part 2, Dan gets to grips with the rifles and machine guns that would come to define the British military campaigns of the 18th & 19th centuries and first truly global conflict, WW1.
Taking aim at targets deep underground at the Royal Armouries shooting range, Dan first gets to grips with the Brown Bess Musket, a rifle that remained in use for over 100 years and would accompany British troops across countless battlefields of Europe including Waterloo before moving on to the infamous Vickers-Maxim Mark I machine gun, the machine gun whose unmistakable rattlings became a mainstay across the western front during WW1.
It may be impossible to experience what it was really like to fight close-quarters on a brutal battlefield, but handling these weapons first-hand gives a remarkable insight into the challenges facing a soldier at the sharp-end of industrial warfare.
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