This a quick review of 2013 at TD Towers and a look forward to 2014.
- A Message from the Dear Leader
- Social Media
- 2014 Plans
- And Finally…
A Message from the Dear Leader
Always my number one thing to say at the end of the year.
So, thank you to the readers, commenters and contributors to Think Defence.
Thank you for your perseverance, patience and efforts without which this place would be a much poorer place. If Think Defence does have a strength it is that I think we don’t take things too seriously (it is only the internet after all) but we don’t trivialise either.
Thank you to the many people that send me interesting news and information through the contact system or via email, am not brilliant at responding to everything in a timely manner so the thank you is also an apology.
Thank you to the numerous people that give me permission to use their images in posts and the MoD photographers and news types who do such a great job in both providing compelling photographs and making them accessible.
Thank you to Parliament, the MoD and defence industry who all strive to provide as much information for public discussion as possible within the constraints of security and commercial confidentiality.
Thank you to the many other defence bloggers with whom I share information, ideas and compliments. I hope I haven’t missed anyone off when I give a shout out to the very kind gentlemen at Defence with a C, Thin Pinstriped Line, Chuck Hills Blog, SNAFU, Defense Industry Daily, CIMSEC, LiveFist, Hush Kit, Information Dissemination, Bring the Heat Bring the Stupid, Defense and Freedom and Military History Now .
I am a big fan of the online defence community collaborating on developing discussions, hope to do more in 2014.
Thank you to everyone that posts links to Think Defence on other forums, UK and abroad.
Finally, an apology if I have upset or disappointed anyone, never my intention.
Depending on how you count, Think Defence, gets roughly a quarter of a million views per month.
It fluctuates depending on a number of factors but traffic has grown steadily in the year, total for the year being about 3 million
The majority of traffic is from the UK (66%) with the USA (9%), Australia (3%), Canada (2%) also making significant contributions to the ‘non UK traffic’.
London (16%) and Bristol (6%) were the two largest traffic source cities.
Windows is still the main operating system for desktop visitors, weighing in at 63% with Chrome and Internet Explorer used in equal proportion.
In the mobile world, iOS is dominant with 69%, Android at 27% and the balance being made up of Blackberry and Windows Phone. Matching the screen resolutions points to the iPad being the most popular mobile device for consuming Think Defence content.
The ten most popular posts were;
- Obituary for the Main Battle Tank
- Boots on the Ground
- Time to Fit Strike Length Launch Cells to the Type 45
- The Price of Cocaine
- Looking Forward to the an F35 Future (The Promise)
- The French Defence White Paper
- The Type 26 Global Combat Ship
- The End of a Maritime Strategy
- Hollow Force
- Is a 2nd Hand Shopping Trip a Good Idea
40% of inbound traffic comes from search engines (mostly Google), 40% direct (i.e. people typing the address into their browser) and social and referral traffic makes up the balance.
Social traffic is mostly Twitter and referrals from other sites comes from a collection of sites including the Thinpinstripeline, Warships 1, Military Photos, Arrse, pprune, wikipedia, defence with a c and others.
Apart from Think Defence (and variation thereof) the most 10 popular search terms by which people found Think Defence were;
- Rivet Joint
- Stanag protection levels
- Warrior TES H
- Type 26 Frigate
- A400M Atlas as MPA
- Atlantic Conveyor
- Santa Claus Amphibious Falklands
- Type 45 Upgrades
No, I don’t understand number 9 either!
The most commented on posts by month were;
- January, RN OPV’s What do Patrol Vessels Do?, by Jed, 380 Comments
- February, Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 5 By Sea By Land, by Think Defence, 287 Comments
- March, The Second Coming, by Think Defence, 123 Comments
- April, The French Defence White Paper, by Think Defence, 377 Comments
- May, Carrier Strike – The 2012 Reversion Decision, by Think Defence, 206 Comments
- June, A Theoretical Construct for UK Defense, by Jeremy MH, 228 Comments
- July, Time to Cancel FRES SV?, by Jed, 690 Comments
- August, UK and Syria – The OLAAR, by Phil, 373 Comments
- September, Type 26 at #DSEi, by Think Defence
- October, Boots on the Ground, by IXION, 200 Comments
- November, BAE Statement on UK Shipbuilding, by Think Defence, 229 Comments
- December, Hollow Force, by Repulse, 357 Comments
The Top 10 Most Commented posts were;
- Time to Cancel FRES SV?, by Jed, 690 Comments
- RN OPV’s What do Patrol Vessels Do?, by Jed, 380 Comments
- The French Defence White Paper, by Think Defence, 377 Comments
- UK and Syria – The OLAAR, by Phil, 373 Comments
- Hollow Force, by Repulse, 357 Comments
- The End of a Maritime Strategy, by Think Defence, 354 Comments
- Small Carriers or No Carriers, by Think Defence, 346 Comments
- Looking Forward to an F35 Future – Part 5 (By Sea By Land), by Think Defence, 287 Comments
- Obituary for the Main Battle Tank – or its Future, by Monty, 262 Comments
- Army 2020 July 2013 Update, by Think Defence, 255 Comments
Between the contributing authors and I, 846 posts were published in 2013, averaging 70 per month
There are now 2.4 million words on Think Defence spread across 2,236 posts.
The secret formulae for what makes a good post with loads of comments and views continues to elude me but these are my personal favourite posts and highlights from the year;
January (46 posts)
- Looking Forward to an F35 Future Series, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (total 850 Comments)
- Royal Navy OPV’s – What Do They Do, from Jed (380 Comments)
- An Alternate Naval Typology, from Chuck (76 Comments)
- Wading into the OPV Debate (141 Comments)
- An Alternative Solution to Offshore Patrol – Privatise It, from John Gough (46 Comments)
- Posh Boys in Charge (128 Comments)
February (23 posts)
- That Famous Runway at Port Stanley series, Part 1, 2 and 3 (116 Comments)
- Miss Otis Regrets and the Band of the Irish Guards (7 Comments)
- Typhoon Blocks, Tranches and Enhancement Programmes (71 Comments)
- Expensive Civil Servants in Charge (42 Comments)
The Port Stanley Runway series was a massive piece of research which explains the low post count for the month.
March (43 posts)
I started the Ship to Shore Logistics series in March which did not complete until December, another pretty large piece of research.
- What Happens if We Run Out of Bad Guys (
- Is There Anything You Can’t Stuff Into a Container? (13 comments)
- On That FSTA Exclusivity Thing (36 comments)
- The UOR Crutch (68 comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – Starter for Ten (12 comments)
April (73 posts)
April seems to have been a busy month with 73 posts including starting the UK Complex Weapons series
- UK Complex Weapons - Sea Skua and FASGW(H) (22 Comments)
- Thoughts on Boston (32 Comments)
- What Comes After Puma?, from PaulG (109 Comments)
- The Springer is Long Gone – What Next?, from PaulG (29 Comments)
- More Clever Shit from Hesco (2 comments)
- The Future of Airborne Forces, from Monty (65 Comments)
- Pinzgauer 2020 (7 Comments)
- Twin Otter Short Take Off (39 Comments)
- UK Complex Weapons – CAMM (55 Comments)
- A New Model TA, from Phil (63 Comments)
- Livre Blanc (377 Comments)
- In These Times of Austerity (63 Comments)
- The Chemring Centurion (17 Comments)
- BAE 146 C3 (16 Comments)
- QE and Jam, from Chris.B (250 Comments)
- UK Complex Weapons – Lightweight Multirole Missile (27 Comments)
- UK Complex Weapons – the Brimstone Missile (70 Comments)
- No Mothers Day Nonsense Here (7 Comments)
- Obituary for the Main Battle Tank – or its Future, from Monty (262 Comments)
- An Offshore Problem (38 Comments)
The month was started with an April Fools Joke
May (64 Posts)
- Man and Machine in Perfect Harmony (2 Comments)
- A Tall Ship for the Royal Navy (43 Comments)
- Exactor (15 Comments)
- Platoon and Bren Gun Myths, from Phil (77 Comments)
- GMLRS Developments (25 Comments)
June (94 Posts)
- Ploughshares to Swords – A Look at COIN Aircraft, from Ace Rimmer (43 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – Introduction (3 Comments)
- Human Rights and Tommy Atkins (16 Comments)
- A European Joint Expeditionary Force, from Martin (131 Comments)
- Batteries – Just in Case Your Were Wondering (20 Comments)
- Lock, Stock and a Sandy Bottom (16 Comments)
- Life After Typhoon and Rafale, What Next for a European UCAV (41 Comments)
- Telemos, Talarion, Hammerhead and the Mystery of the European MALE (58 Comments)
- Apache AH1 – Worth it or Not? (214 Comments)
- SDSR 2015 – Impacts, Threats and Critical Assets (124 Comments)
- Horses, Tanks and a Tale of Two and a Half Fuckwits (104 Comments)
- A Theoretical Construct for UK Defense (228 Comments)
- Sea Control, from Simon (104 Comments)
- Lunch is Served, from Phil (19 Comments)
- Deception, from Tweckyspat (13 Comments)
- D Day, Sir Percy Hobart and the Funnies (16 Comments)
- FRES UV. new competition, new thinking, new approach,hopefully!, from Paul G (125 Comments)
- Time to embrace our status as a regional power, from Bad Robot (66 Comments)
- An Honest Account, from Harry Maskers (6 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 02 (History – 1944 Europe) (15 Comments)
July (65 Posts)
- The Pearson Super Lightweight Roller (2 Comments)
- Nuke Map (31 Comments)
- Vigilance Pods for CROWNEST, from The Other Chris (42 Comments)
- The C Quad Recce Vehicle (30 Comments)
- Time to Cancel FRES SV?, from Jed (690 Comments)
- Trident Alternatives (163 Comments)
- Army 2020 – July 2013 Update (255 Comments)
- CAC FC-1 Xiaolong: Argentina’s silver lining?, from Ace Rimmer (168 Comments)
- We Have a Winner (13 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 03 (History – 1982 Falkland Islands) (30 Comments)
August (107 Posts)
The busiest month of the year
- The UK and Syria – An OLAAR, from Phil (373 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 08 (Requirements and Drivers) (9 Comments)
- Club K Container Missile System (16 Comments)
- Type 45 – Time to Fit the Strike Length Silos?, from Martin (191 Comments)
- Syria – Speak Loudly and Carry a Small Stick (30 Comments)
- F35 – The Worlds Worse Aeroplane?, from the Securocrat (130 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 07 (Doctrine) (80 Comments)
- A Clever Lightbulb and the Increasing Cost of Military Equipment (9 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 06 (Case Study Observations) (14 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 05 (History – 2010 Haiti) (28 Comments)
- The Royal Navy and Unmanned Systems, from Defence Insider (22 Comments)
- How not to build an airforce, or what to do with 2Bn USD, from Tweckyspat (13 Comments)
- UK Complex Weapons – Part 6 (Fire Shadow Loitering Munition) (30 Comments)
- Remote Control Land Platforms, from EdG (5 Comments)
- 105 to 155 (99 Comments)
September (100 Posts)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 11 (Mid Point Review) (64 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 10 (USA Capabilities) (18 Comments)
- A Very Quick Look at Cold War UK Civil Defence, from technoelite (72 Comments)
- Does the Type 26 Need a Strike Length Vertical Launch System? (176 Comments)
- Future ASW, from Repulse (45 Comments)
- DSEI 2013 Highlights – The Type 26 Global Combat Ship (205 Comments)
- Type 26 at DSEI (234 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 09 (Current Capabilities) (51 Comments)
- Offshore Persistent Monitoring (34 Comments)
October (74 Posts)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 16 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Dredging, Aids to Navigation, Security and Mooring) (5 Comments)
- We Are Not Drones (74 Comments)
- A game of I SPY(D)in Barcelona, from Fedyakin (85 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 15 (CONCEPT 1 – Repair and Debris Removal) (30 Comments)
- Boots on the Ground, from IXION (200 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 14 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Rapid Survey and Munitions Clearance) (1 Comment)
- British Aircraft Production Totals, from WiseApe (63 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 13 (Expeditionary Port Access Concepts) (16 Comments)
- Would a 2nd hand shopping trip be a good idea?, from PaulG (100 Comments)
- Gonna Need a New Pair of Pants (1 Comment)
- The Defence Reform Bill (91 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 12 (Ports, Beaches or Both) (92 Comments)
November (81 Posts)
- Bluetooth Legs (2 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 23 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Access Pier) (10 Comments)
- Aliens and the Laws of Armed Combat (34 Comments)
- Harry Patch immortalised in digital tribute (1 Comment)
- Sailors as Props (41 Comments)
- Scottish Independence White Paper – Defence Issues (212 Comments)
- Cartography of the Anthropocene (0 Comments)
- Is the USA about to force the rest of NATO to change calibres again?, from Monty (92 Comments)
- HMS Illustrious packed with stores for Philippines relief mission (106 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 22 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Pier Head) (19 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 21 (Concept 2 – Requirements) (0 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 20 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Why not just JLOTS) (14 Comments)
- Securing The Nation: Defending an Independent Scotland (162 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 19 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Introduction) (4 Comments)
- Remembrance Season – How Was it for You? (65 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 18 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – Summary) (2 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 17 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 1 – RORO Link Span and Cargo Handling) (3 Comments)
- £800m (150 Comments)
- BAE Statement on UK Shipbuilding (229 Comments)
December (75 Posts)
- The Ideal SDSR 2015 Part 1, from Martin (18 Comments)
- The Ideal SDSR 2015 Wish List Part 2, from Martin (111 Comments)
- Hollow Force, from Repulse (357 Comments)
- A Fitting Tribute to Tommy Flowers (3 Comments)
- Brazil FX-2 – Saab Gripen Decision is Good for the UK (56 Comments)
- A Look at the Brazilian Navy, from Keith Campbell (31 Comments)
- The Darkest Day – How Not to Besiege a Fortified Town?, from Technoelite (12 Comments)
- II (AC) Sqn to become fifth Typhoon Squadron, from Tom (190 Comments)
- MoD Reform – The Groundhog Day Edition (56 Comments)
- Typhoon Tranche 3 Airborne (210 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 26 (Wrapping Up) (7 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 25 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Wave Attenuation) (9 Comments)
- Ship to Shore Logistics – 24 (Expeditionary Port Access – Concept 2 – Fuel) (10 Comments)
- Das Sprengsicherungskommando (The Bridge Guard) (27 Comments)
- Top 20 British War Films – Summary and Honourable Mentions (0 comments)
- MoD Finances – Did You Know (0 Comments)
Another thank you, and it is a massive one, to everyone that has thrown a few quid into the kitty.
I run Think Defence because I enjoy it and not as a commercial venture.
The reason I reluctantly asked for donations earlier in the year was simply because the site has grown into a bit of a traffic monster and the low cost hosting and free software model that worked when traffic was low could not support this increased traffic.
It varies from month to month but Think Defence costs about £2k a year to run
Total donations this year have been £365 from 30 people
This goes a long way so once again, my heartfelt thanks.
Think Defence has a presence on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr and Twitter
That’s called being down with the kids!
Think Defence on Facebook; I use this mainly as a mirror for posts from the main site
Think Defence on Tumblr; I also use this mainly as a mirror for posts from the main site
Think Defence on Pinterest; I use this to share the odd image
Think Defence on Flickr; The Flickr image store has pretty much all the images used on Think Defence, and more, split into a number of sets. In total, the Flickr image store gets about half a million hits per year.
Think Defence on Twitter; with 2,086 followers and 8,632 tweets I am probably more active on Twitter than the others
No doubt I will get pissed off and contemplate whether to carry on or give the whole lot up as a bad job, you should also expect a redesign at some point, gotta keeps things fresh!
Minor site improvements are also in the pipeline and a lot of behind the scenes tinkering on speed optimisation, will also have another look at comment SPAM which I know is an irritation but consider that this year, Think Defence had the dubious pleasure of seeing about half a million SPAM comments.
On the to do list is;
- A detailed multi part series on Army vehicles with Monty, Chris, Mr Fred (hopefully) and others, an exercise in collaborative writing. Any volunteers, please let me know
- Towards SDSR 2015
- Finish off the Complex Weapons series, Storm Shadow, Paveway IV and SPEAR
- Like the Ship to Shore series, something in the same vein on expeditionary air logistics
- Another look at the SIMSS Not a Frigate concept
- Learning lessons from Johnny Foreigner
- A Humanitarian Response Capability
- Coping with a declining budget, how low can you go
- Army fixed wing aviation
- Upstream engagement with the RAF
- Will the UK ever buy equipment from Russia?
- Decoys and deception
- Is the UK Defence SME is alive and well?
- Containers and pallets (it’s been a while)
I quite fancy covering a bit more history (I say that every year), does anyone have any subjects they would like to see covered?
An obvious question, am I, the commenters and contributing authors making this place a worthwhile yet not too serious place on the internet for those interested in UK defence issues?
How can we do better?
Is the balance between short and detailed posts right, does the subject matter span work?
Thanks again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Oh, and if you have a fiver spare, drop it in the post at Holidays 4 Heroes