The Principles of War Podcast

Best PME podcasts for 2020

Best PME Podcasts for 2020

Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular as a source of Professional Military Education.  They work very well for auditory learners, they are accessible outside the Defence network and they can be listened to in down time – during jogging or the commute to work, making it a great way to add extra learning into an already busy schedule.

Here are the best military podcasts that we have come across for 2020, along with some of their best episodes from 2019.

Principles of War

The Principles of War

Our podcast focused on a range of subjects this year, including Long Tan and a series on the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, looking to broaden our horizons with a more joint apporach.  Keep an eye out for our work on Jutland this year, along with more battles from New Guinea and the including the Australian Divisional landing at Lae and then we will start our Falklands podcast series.

Here are our 3 most popular episodes.

Episode 39-The unwomanly face of war and the moral centre of gravity    Do yourself a favour and listen to Svetlana Alexievich’s book, The Unwomanly Face of War.

39 – The unwomanly face of war and the moral centre of gravity

Episode 46 – The Battle of the Bismarck Sea   A land battle, fought at sea and won in the air, the Battle of the Bismarck Sea shows the effect that innovative air power can have in a campaign.  We spend time looking at GEN Kenney, Commander of the USAAF Fifth Air Force and the way that he fostered a culture of Innovation and Creativity, a necessity given that lack of resources that he had to conduct the Air War in the SWPA.

46 – The Battle of the Bismarck Sea

Episode 40 – Long Tan Mission Analysis   We discuss how we managed to put a Coy in contact outnumbered by a force ratio of 20:1.  What decision making and factors played into this situation?  The series, mostly with interviews from Dave Sabben, look to understand how D Coy, once in the situation, held their ground and managed to fight their way out of a tactical situation that is so unlikely that we never train for it.

40 – Long Tan Mission Analysis

War Room

War Room is the online journal for the United States Army War College.  It crowdsources content with the intent of featuring innovative and provocative articles and podcasts that explore the challenges in national security and defense.

Jacqueline Whitt, Andrew Hill, and Con Crane on the “lessons” of history – this one is a three-part episode, the first episode is here:

Ron Granieri with Eirik Kristoffersen, Chief of the Norwegian Army on strategic leadership and alliances:

Bridging The Gap Between The Civilian World And The Military     Jacqueline Whitt w/ Jennifer Mittelstadt on bridging the civ-mil gap in PME.

The Modern War Institute Podcast

Modern War Institute

The Modern War Institute at West Point generates new knowledge for the profession of arms, enhances the West Point curriculum, and provides the Army and the Nation with an intellectual resource for solving military problems. The MWI Podcast is a covers a range of operational and strategic topics.

The Army’s Iraq War Self Reflection

MWI Podcast: The Army’s Iraq War Self-Reflection

Armies of Sand? An Assessment Of Arab Militaries’ Battlefield Performance

MWI Podcast: Armies of Sand? An Assessment of Arab Militaries’ Battlefield Performance

Inside The Long, Brutal Fight To Recapture Mosul

MWI Podcast: Inside the Long, Brutal Fight to Recapture Mosul

The Spear

The Spear

The Spear Podcast is also produced by the Modern War Institute.  It is an excellent podcast discussing individual battles from a PL and COY level.  A much more tactical podcast with some excellent learnings from contemporary combat.

The Spear- Inside The Battle For Mosul

Podcast: The Spear – Inside the Battle for Mosul

The Spear-Responding To The Nerve Agent Attack In Britain

Podcast: The Spear – Responding to the Nerve Agent Attack in Britain

The Spear- Remembering The Battle Of Mogadishu

Podcast: The Spear – Remembering the Battle of Mogadishu

Strategy Bridge

 Artwork for U.S. Foreign Assistance Policy with Jessica Trisko Darden

The Strategy Bridge is a non-profit organisation focused on the development of people in strategy, national security and military affairs.  Hosted by P. R. Beckman, it covers a wide range of topics with some excellent guests.  Some of the podcasts in strategic history are especially interesting.

Here are 3 episodes from 2019 that we think are worth a listen.

A Theory of Tactics with Brett Friedman

On J.C. Wylie’s “Military Strategy” with Nick Prime

U.S. Army Professionalism and Preparations for War, 1815-1917 with J.P. Clark

War On The Rocks

War On The Rocks

Hosted by Ryan Evans, War on the Rocks is a platform for analysis, commentary, dabate around foreign policy and national security through a realist lens.  The podcasts are produced with subject matters experts with deep expertise and experience in the subjects they cover, making the episode excellent learning material.

Here are some of the best episodes for 2019:

The Unmasking of Ned Stark and the Future of Air Force Leadership

Fresh Voices on Grand Strategy

Civil-Military Relations Gone Wild?

Wavell Room

The Wavell Room is our British contribution to the list.  It is a not for profit that is run by volunteers.  It is a great way to get an understanding for some of the contemporary issues that the British military is facing.

These are 3 well worth while listens from the Wavell Room.

The Role of Disinformation on NATO’s Eastern Flank

Weaponised Truth and Democratisation of Information; War Talks

How to Not Manage Morale

Australian Naval History Series

UNSW Canberra

The Australian Naval History series is produced by UNSW and the Australian Naval Institute.  Listening to these podcasts helps non naval types get an appreciation of the capabilities and limitations of Naval power and it’s integration into joint campaigning.  There is also some fascinating historic stories that are told here as well.  I listened to the episodes on the Coast Watchers (a naval unit!), as background to the Battle of the Bismark Sea series.

HMAS Sydney in the Korea War

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

The exploits of HMAS AE 2 in World War I

The Dead Prussian

Produced by Mick Cook, the Dead Prussian was the first Australian PME podcast.  Mick predominantly interviews authors and lecturers and covers a wide amount of ground with a lot of interesting learnings.

Here are 3 great episodes from 2019.

Episode 75 – On Boyd’s Conception of War | The Dead Prussian Podcast

Episode 71 – On the Legion vs the Phalanx | The Dead Prussian Podcast

Episode 86 – On Mission Improbable: Transforming the British Army Reserves | The Dead Prussian Podcast

US Army Heritage and Education Centre

USAHEC Military History Podcast

The United States Army Center for Heritage and Education makes available contemporary and historical materials related to strategic leadership, the global application of Landpower, and U.S. Army Heritage to inform research, educate an international audience, and honor Soldiers, past and present.

Here are 3 of their best 2019 episodes.

Rampage: Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series

Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy – General Omar Bradley Memorial Lecture

Smashing Hitler’s Panzers: Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series

No list of PME podcasts and audiobooks would be complete without mentioning Bruce Gudmmundsson excellent RADIO PME website.  It is an extensive resource listing almost all of the PME podcasts and audiobooks available.  Use the site with caution because even cursory browsing will generate many hours of podcast episodes to listen to!  Click on the Welcome Button, select current or historic PME and look for the topic that you are after. .  Dr Gudmundsson is the author of On Infantry, On Artillery and Stormtroop Tactics, was a USMC Reservist for 20 years with 8 years of active duty, rising to the rank of Major.  He is a MWI Adjunct Scholar.

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Ben Reed November 5, 2020 at 7:35 pm

Would love to hear Coral-Balmoral in a similar format to Long Tan.
It’s impossible to find podcasts about Coral-Balmoral, which is surprising because it’s another major battle the Australian Army fought in Vietnam.

James Eling January 3, 2021 at 2:52 am

Hi Ben, I am hoping to interview one of the Gunner Officers from the Battle soon. I have Lex McAulay’s book to read up on and then get the interview done. Last time we lost a gun in combat, although retaken very shortly after that. Quite an interesting story.

Ben Reed March 7, 2021 at 10:03 am

SGT Humphrey’s Gun (No. 6?) One of the many instances of bravery throughout the Coral-Balmoral battles.
Out of interest, I’m trying to locate an Army Learning Production Centre DVD from 2010(?). It was a lecture that featured 102Bty GPO, 1RAR Mortar Platoon Officer, 1ARMD Troop Chris from the battles.
Was a fantastic lecture and would dearly love to get my hands on a copy again.


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