From the latest celebrity gossip to in-depth philosophical theory, podcasts can do it all. So it should come as no surprise that there is a myriad of podcasts about war available for consumption by military history buffs. From ancient history to the present day, these war podcasts will reframe your understanding of conflict.
A History of: Hannibal and the Punic Wars
Even though Hannibal died thousands of years ago, he's still regarded as one of the best military generals who ever lived. This podcast covers his most crucial victories and how advanced his military tactics were, especially for the time he lived. The structure of the podcast changes—some episodes are lecture-style, while others include conversations with guests.
Although Hannibal and Carthaginian warfare is the focus of the podcast, it also covers ancient Rome and all facets of the Punic Wars. One of few military podcasts that doesn’t primarily cover the World Wars, A History of Hannibal is a breath of fresh air.
History of the Crusades
Throughout the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, war and religion collided with violent and lasting effect. In 1095, Christians first invaded the Middle East in hopes of taking the Holy Land from Muslims. This mission lasted in various iterations for 200 years, during which relentless military campaigns ensued, and hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in the name of religion.
This podcast covers the history of the Crusades—how and why they happened—and the key battles and players involved. With over 250 episodes of the series available to date, host Sharyn Eastaugh offers the most extensive coverage of the Crusades.
The History of WWII
This podcast covers every detail about history’s deadliest modern conflict. Host Ray Harris has been hosting the show since 2011, meaning that a lot of material about the war has been covered—including the years leading up to it, the war itself, and the years after. The podcast does not focus solely on the American perspective, as it also covers Japan, Germany, China, Italy, Russia and France. Harris also takes a deep look at all the leaders involved, and how they came to power.
With a surplus of World War II coverage available for military history enthusiasts, it’s difficult to find something that covers new material. This podcast does just that, while maintaining a high standard of accuracy and evincing passion.
American Military History
This podcast is centered on detailing every war the U.S. has participated in through the perspective of a soldier. In order to try to understand the intricacies of war through a soldiers’ eyes, host Justin Johnson also goes in depth about each military branch. The episodes are organized on the site by each war—currently, the majority of episodes focus on the American Revolution. Other wars covered by the podcast thus far are the Seminole Wars, the Black Hawk War, the War of 1812, the Cherokee Wars, the Mexican American War and the Civil War. Other episodes detail particular military tactics, presidents, and soldiers’ individual stories.
Related: 7 of the Best American History Books
Anyone who considers themselves a a military buff should give this podcast a listen. The detailed organization of the episodes allows the listener to choose what they want to hear about. The details of the lesser-known wars also offer a stronger foundation for how the United States came to be. As the American Military History Podcast charges forward, it will likely cover more recent wars in our history.
Hosted by Adin Dobkin and Angry Staff Officer (yes, that's really the name he goes by), this podcast covers tactics used in various wars. The selected tactic is covered all season, with examples from relevant wars discussed in each episode. For example, guerilla warfare and snipers are covered, and the season begins with the first implementations in war.
This podcast will be of interest to those who are curious about how military tactics evolved, and how they either succeeded or failed in certain wars. The hosts also include first person accounts, both of their own and of their guests and subjects, lending a more personal touch to an often abstract subject.
BBC's World War One
There are a ton of World War I podcasts out there, but this one focuses on the British Isles, and specifically Ireland’s perspective during the war. Under English control until 1921, the Irish were forced to send soldiers to fight on England’s behalf during the war. Torn between wanting their own independence and fighting alongside a country they felt no allegiance to, some Irishmen viewed World War I as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
When we think of World War I, we tend to think of the major powers, like the U.S., England, Germany, France, and Russia. It’s interesting to hear about what other countries experienced during this time, particularly in the case of Ireland, because they became involved against their own control. The podcast covers everything from life on the front lines to what it was like at home, to how women were able to gain a sense of autonomy during the war. Although BBC’s podcast has sadly concluded, there are 75 available episodes for military buffs to consume.
Civil War Talk Radio
Civil War Talk Radio started its days as a classic radio show, which might make it an odd contender for a best podcast list. However, its modern distribution as an online radio segment/podcast is more than enough for us to include it here. First airing in 2004, Civil War Talk Radio takes an incredibly in-depth look at the deadliest war for U.S. citizens.
Related: 9 Best Civil War Movies
Guest hosts, scholars, and Civil War experts are frequent fixtures on the show, as each episode is an hour-long conversation with an outside guest. The amount of episodes is daunting, but they do not need to be listened to in any particular order.
Although this podcast covers history of many types, its war coverage is particularly strong and gives insight into key political figures and unbelievable war facts, including the existence of a horse that had the ranking of sergeant. Viewers can call in questions to the hosts about previous episodes, the upcoming episode, or anything in between. Guests include politicians from both parties who are able to freely offer their perspectives, which leads to some polarizing episodes. Many episodes are focused specifically on World War II.
If you’re curious about non-American war perspectives, then this podcast is the right fit for you. Based out of the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, this podcast focuses on giving the listener a comprehensive understanding of what war is and how it affects international security. Professors from the prestigious university are hosts, giving listeners a taste of what it would be like as a student in that department.
This is one podcast where order matters–start from the beginning, and move on forward. If you’ve ever wondered how the Vietnam War was able to go on for so long, considering many Americans opposed it, then this podcast will have some answers for you. Including taped phone calls made by President Johnson and interviews from those involved in prolonging the effort, this podcast offers a fascinating glimpse into the conflict.
The podcast also touches on President Johnson’s failed partnership with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the day when LBJ showed the country what was really going on in Vietnam.
Related: The 9 Best Vietnam War Movies
Featured photo: BBC