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Web Video / Sabaton History

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"I'm Indy Neidell."
"And I'm Joakim/Pär from Sabaton."
"And this is
Sabaton History."

Sabaton History is a YouTube historical documentary channel co-produced by TimeGhost (The Great War, World War II) and Swedish Horrible History Metal band Sabaton.

Sabaton frontman Joakim Brodén and bassist Pär Sundström had previously appeared on episodes of Indy Neidell and TimeGhost's other channels to discuss the history behind the band's many songs about the world wars. Beginning in January 2019, the band started a collaboration with TimeGhost to produce a weekly series of videos focused on their music and the history behind it. Each video starts with a play-by-play of a given song's topic, followed by a "producer segment" delving into the writing process for the song and and trivia about it. In 2020 they began branching out into related topics, such as the role of disease in warfare and the effects that the Battle of Verdun had on later French military doctrine.

The channel's Patreon subscription also offers the chance to earn autographed special editions of the band's albums (beginning with 2019's The Great War), with Indy narrating a short introduction to each song.

The channel ended its original weekly schedule with episode 101 in January 2021 due to running out of songs, but confirmed they would still be updating less often. In June 2021 they debuted a new filming set in Sabaton's recording studio in Falun, Sweden, and eventually began releasing new episodes on a monthly basis.

Tropes in the Sabaton History video series:

  • Actual Pacifist: "The Ballad of Bull, Part 2" discusses Desmond Doss (of Hacksaw Ridge fame), a pacifist sent to fight in the Pacific who became the first conscientious objector ever to earn the Medal of Honor—for rescuing wounded soldiers under heavy Japanese fire despite several gunshot wounds of his own.
  • Anachronism Stew: Conversed in the producer segment for "The Unkillable Soldier". Joakim recounts that the director of the music video wanted the band members, who were dressed as German soldiers, to all wear Stahlhelms for historical accuracy. Joakim pointed out that them not wearing helmets didn't even make the top ten things inaccurate about the intentionally silly video.
  • Artistic License – Ships: The video for "Bismarck" erroneously describes the eponymous ship as the largest battleship ever. Actually, that was the Japanese Yamato and Musashi, although those two were built in such secrecy (due to being illegal under the Washington Naval Treaty) that their status as such was not known until after the war. It also neglects to mention that the Bismarck actually sank as a result of the engineering crew scuttling him rather than due to battle damage (attested to by a few survivors and confirmed by Robert Ballard's survey of the shipwreck).
  • Ascended Meme: The video for "The Last Stand" opens with an extended gag about the Fandom-Enraging Misconception invoked that the song is about The Crusades (it's about the 1527 Stand of the Swiss Guard).
  • Blatant Lies: Indy turns up in the "Christmas Truce" episode with an injury to his nose, and spins this yarn about rescuing children from a burning orphanage. In the next video he fesses up he caught an errant bit of hot fry fat while cooking.
  • Brick Joke: In the "Screaming Eagles" episode, Indy attempts to imitate an eagle in The Teaser—"AAAWK! AAAWK!"—which sends Joakim into helpless laughter. Then he does it again with no warning at the end of the episode. And then again over eighty episodes later in "The Unkillable Soldier".
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Indy briefly affects a Scottish accent while narrating the "Blood of Bannockburn" video, specifically while describing Robert's impromptu joust with Henry de Bohun.
  • Call-Back: In the producer segment on the "Hellfighters" episode, Indy briefly refers back to Joakim telling him about how he'd written the lyrics to "Metal Machine" on a roll of toilet paper.note 
  • Cargo Ship:invoked Played for Laughs. There's a running joke in the fandom about how much Joakim likes tanks, which becomes an Ascended Meme in the video for "The Last Battle": Joakim jokes that Besotten Jenny the tank is "my longtime lover".
    Indy: Does your lady friend watch this?
    Joakim: I hope not. (cut to TV color bar screen with an M4 Sherman in a heart pasted over it)
  • Combat Medic: The videos "The Ballad of Bull" and "The Ballad of Bull, Part 2" discuss a total of four of these: the song's topic Leslie "Bull" Allen (Australian awarded the Silver Star for rescuing American troops under Japanese fire), Desmond Doss (the first conscientious objector ever to earn the Medal of Honor), Franz Schmitz (a German Army medic), and Zinaida Mareseva (a Red Army medic killed in combat in 1943).
  • Death from Above: "Soldier of Heaven" describes the efforts by Italy and Austria-Hungary to out-climb each other on the Alpine front: higher altitudes meant being able to fire down at the other side with virtual impunity.
  • Forever War: "A Lifetime of War" is about the Thirty Years' War, which for some people lasted their entire lives. The Sabaton History videos for the song (covering both English and Swedish versions) go a step further, pointing out that Sweden was continuously at war with various countries for the full century covered by the Carolus Rex album.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language:
    • The discussion segment for "Far from the Fame" goes on an extended tangent about how to order various numbers of beers in Czech.
    • Indy narrates part two of the duology on the Thirty Years' War, for "En livstid i krig", entirely in subtitled Swedish. Indy is Texan by birth, but has lived in Stockholm for many years and obtained Swedish citizenship during the series' original run.
  • Guest Host:
    • Spartacus Olsson from World War II subbed in for Indy on "Night Witches Part 2" and a few later episodes because Indy had come down with COVID-19.
    • For "Swedish Pagans", guitarist Tommy Johansson appeared for the producer segment instead of Joakim or Pär, in keeping with the band's Running Gag about Joakim hating the song and the guitarists forcing him to play it.
  • Last Stand: The band writes about these a lot. So far the channel has covered:
    • "40:1", the song that invokedput the band on the map in Poland, was the first song the channel covered. It's about the Polish Army Border Defense Regiment Sarny's doomed defense of Wizna against the Wehrmacht in 1939.
    • Episode 5 covered "Last Dying Breath", about the Serbian Army's last-ditch defense of Belgrade against Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in WWI.
    • Episode 7, "Shiroyama", deals with the Satsuma Rebellion, with the last of the samurai dying in a final suicide charge at the eponymous Battle of Shiroyama.
    • Episode 8, "Smoking Snakes", is about the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in the Italian Campaign, in particular the legendary doomed resistance by a Brazilian fireteam entrapped by the German Army.
    • Episode 12 is "Bismarck", about the legendary 1940 voyage of KMS Bismarck, ending in her being caught and sunk by the Royal Navy.
    • Episode 51 is "The Attack of the Dead Men", about the defense of Osowiec Fortress in 1915 by Russian troops who were not only heavily outnumbered but also already dying from poison gas attack.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The video for "Lady of the Dark" discusses how much of Milunka Savić's background and even her war career is more folktale than proven fact, since she had slipped into obscurity after World War I only to reemerge at a veterans' gathering in 1964. Basically, we know she was a Serb, that she enlisted as a man and then was allowed to continue serving in combat openly after her sex was discovered, and that she was a remarkably good soldier who earned several of the highest awards for bravery from Serbia and the Triple Entente. Beyond that, we have a lot of war stories that agree on the essentials but differ in a lot of details; Indy's narration has a lot of "maybes" in it.
  • Oppressed Minority Veteran:
    • "Inmate 4859" and "Far from the Fame" from Heroes are both about World War II war heroes from Eastern Europe who became victims of their countries' new Soviet-imposed governments after the war's end, respectively Witold Pilecki (Polish, was shot as a traitor due to his loyalty to the Western-backed Government in Exile) and Karel Janoušek (Czechoslovakian, imprisoned for several years following the pro-Soviet coup).Part 3 of "Soldier of 3 Armies" similarly describes how Lauri Törni was arrested by the pro-Soviet Finnish Secret Police after fighting in the Winter War and Continuation War and charged with treason, though he was later freed.
    • "A Ghost in the Trenches" from The Great War is about Francis Pegahmagabow, a man from the Canadian First Nations who enlisted to serve in World War I despite not even being legally a Canadian citizen. Pegahmagabow became the most successful sniper of the war, earning the Military Medal twice, and became an activist for indigenous peoples' rights after the war.
    • And then there's "Hellfighters", which heavily discusses the racial discrimination faced by the US Army 369th Infantry Regiment "Harlem Hellfighters" for being mostly composed of Black Americans.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The video for "Metal Crüe" covers the history of Heavy Metal music instead of military history. They did a sequel for "Metal Machine" about specific heavy metal bands that inspired Sabaton, and then devoted full episodes to Judas Priest (backed by Sabaton's Cover Version of "All Guns Blazing"), Manowar (the "Kingdom Come" cover), and Motörhead (the "1916" cover).
  • Reluctant Warrior: The video for "82nd All the Way" discusses how Alvin York tried and failed to get a draft exemption based on his view that killing was against Christianity. He ultimately earned the Medal of Honor for a solo assault on several German machine gun nests during the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
  • Samurai: The "Shiroyama" video discusses the code of bushido in detail, but also makes a point that the samurai did adopt modern firearms. The song itself is about Saigou Takamori's Last Stand at the end of the Satsuma Rebellion.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The videos for "To Hell and Back", "A Ghost in the Trenches", and "The Ballad of Bull" all discuss respectively Audie Murphy, Francis Pegahmegabow, and Leslie Allen's struggles with PTSD.
  • Thread of Prophecy, Severed: The video for "The Lion from the North" discusses Gustavus Adolphus claiming to be the eponymous world-altering figure from a prophecy by 16th century Swiss mystic Paracelsus, and how that prophecy went awry when King Gustaf was killed in a mishap at the Battle of Lützen in 1632.
  • Warrior Poet: The episode for "In Flanders Fields", based around Sabaton vocalist Joakim Brodén's hymn-like arrangement of the famous poem by John Mc Crae, discusses how writing poetry was a common pastime of soldiers during World War I.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: A snippet of "Fields of Verdun" debuted on the channel: the bridge, which contains with Marshal Petain's famous (slightly misquoted) line, "Ils ne passeront pas!" in English.


Video Example(s):


Joakim and a Tank

In a send-up of a Sabaton fandom meme about his love of tanks, Joakim Broden jokes that the M4 Sherman tank Besotten Jenny from the Battle of Castle Itter, mentioned in their song "The Last Battle", is "my longtime lover."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CargoShip

Media sources: