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Arts & Culture

Ground War: Firepower

N-LOS (non-line-of-sight) cannon; Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.
Dominic Aston, ©Granada
N-LOS (non-line-of-sight) cannon; Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

Airs Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

"Ground War" explores the key technological advances that have defined ground warfare through the ages. From the gladius to the AK-47, from the chariot to the tank, from the trebuchet to the howitzer, and from the battle ramp to the star fort, the series follows the fascinating punch and counterpunch of battle tactics and new technologies.

With classic examples like the stirrup and lesser known innovations like the gunner’s quadrant, the series reveals how even the smallest innovations can have a wide-ranging effect on the way wars are fought.

The episodes explore the development of the soldier and his weapons in “Warrior Weapons,” movement in the combat zone in “Battlefield Mobility,” the evolution of artillery in “Firepower” and battlefield engineering in “Command and Control.”


This episode tracks the development of artillery from the ancient Greeks through the invention of gunpowder in China, to the very latest generation of big guns and directed-energy weapons.

Preview: Ground War