Five years of madness

It's been five years of madness already!


I happened to attempt to beat up the small wars fashion in my very first blog post, back at its zenith. Guess I'll never join the mainstream.

The blog actually started elsewhere and was migrated to this place in late 2007 because of design issues. Sometime in between, there was a second minor design makeover with the green background (supposed to be the colour of a factory-fresh 60's-80's German moleskin battle dress uniform) and the header collage featuring the recent German camouflage for European terrain. By the way; the Scutum (Roman late Republican and early Imperial era infantry shield) is meant to represent defence and the statue is meant to represent thought. I did not find any graphic to represent freedom. My favourite graphics search method (google image search) only yielded the same painting of a half-naked French revolution woman over and over again.

Regarding the content; I had an initial list of about two dozen topics when I started this blog and it was meant to be complete when all topics were covered. Strangely, the list grew quicker than I could write blog posts. After a year or two it was so long and full of topics that I hadn't bothered to write about that I ditched the list.
Nowadays, its equivalent is a list of 20-30 blog post drafts in the blogger interface - some of them lingering there and waiting for final polish or dismissal for months. Record-holder is a post which I wrote in 2009. I wanted to hold back those thoughts, but a recent look at it revealed that my thoughts on the topic had advanced well beyond and I had already written well beyond the scope of that old draft.
There are already about 950 blog posts on this blog.

Visitor-wise, there was first a steady growth, then an up and down with an overall stagnation. As far as I can tell only about 15% of my visitors come from a German-speaking country (Austrians are especially rare visitors, and I have almost no idea why). The very rare bilingual blog posts are a residue of ~30% German visitors from earlier years and of my original intent to pull this off in a bilingual fashion. The workload would have been crazy with that idea.
The small German readership is a bit saddening, for I'll most certainly blast off at the German army reform in the near future. Frustration with it is accumulating already.

In case you wondered why blogging became so slow during May; I have had  several breakthroughs that finally make me comfortable about beginning to write a book draft in earnest. My level of confidence was previously hampered by a couple of unsatisfactory gaps.
There will certainly be no publication this year. The book draft will be recognisable for blog readers as my work, but I held back enough thoughts to make it a very different beast than the blog.
Well, that and the other reason I didn't write much in May is because I fell sick for a while.

Finally, here are the visitor statistics, as logged by Statcounter since early 2008 (visitor count in 2007 was only below 10-20 per day, including robots):

(click on it for a bigger, readable version)
S Ortmann


  1. Keep it up Sven! Great blog.

  2. Will the book be in German or English?


  3. Your numbers aren't bad at all. Of the blogs created by normal folks, I have noticed that it is the chatty, personal lifestyle blogs that tend to grab the huge audience.

    For a content driven blog, that's content is not of interest to the everyman, you are doing very well.

  4. Congratulations on five impressively fruitful years! Gives me a great deal of thinking reading each of your posts. Keep at it!

  5. @Tim
    The last German book of this kind was published more than 30 years ago. There's no market for this in German.

  6. Matthias Wilde31 May 2012 at 22:11

    Yes, depressing, given a population of 82 million people...I´d probably buy it, though.

  7. Another problem is promotion.
    There's no suitable public internet forum, almost no mil blogosphere, no suitable journal and almost no academia that could spread the word for a German-language book of this kind.

    Even Frieser's "Blitzkrieg Legende" book appears to depend more on the English edition for sales.

    In German, I'd certainly sell under 100.

  8. ill take one also.

    Thats two!

  9. Thanks for the reply, do many Germans know English? Have you thought of using amazon kindle to publish it? If you get a publisher to print it some will promote it for you. I too am interested in the book when you complete it.


  10. The share of German readers here has dropped below 15%, it really doesn't matter who knows English. German military literature largely ceased to exist when the WW2 vets were done by the late 50's.

  11. Five years is certainly a triumph of persistence in Blog-land. Congrats! And may your audience continue to grow and learn.

  12. Glückwunsch. This is quite the anniversary, so in the spirit of this blog, allow me to add a few critical words.

    I'm a German university student of political science, so reading all sorts of crap in English is my daily bread. I don't mind it, in fact whenever I hear someone complain about it, I find myself calling them yokel and rube in my head. I accept that in political science, because this field is naturally dominated by anglo-saxon authors. Writing in another language is just idiotic.

    But I don't think that's the case in this blog. There is great interest in the subject, a fact that Thomas Wiegold proves every day. There is also a lot of unclaimed space. If you were to start writing in German, you would literally be the only blog in your genre of tactical/operational/technical writing.

    One thing you easily forget when you write and read English language stuff on a daily basis is that while most people *can* read stuff in English, it is usually very hard and strenuous work. They will find it exhausting to the point where they have to put so much effort into just comprehending what is being said that they completely miss the content of it.

    So this low figure does not at all surprise me. And I don't think it makes a lot of sense to complain about the sorry state of German-language military writing and then contribute to this very state by shunning the German language.

    These are just my two cents. I've been reading your blog for quite a while and I'll continue to do so, because I generally like your style of pragmatic thinking and beneath-mainstream subjects. I'm sorry I can't add anything constructive to your problem of German readers. Try French maybe? :)

  13. The english version is indispensable. It's too important to me to add to the very few English MilBlog voices on the contra-war side. There are so many acid hawkish MilBlogs out there that the MilBlogosphere is de facto a warmonger club without respect for foreign people's sovereignty.

    I tried to write this blog bilingually, but the occasional bilingual texts were such a huge effort that it's simply beyond my intrinsic motivation budget.

    To write in German adds another problem; Germans would expect me to be informed about the tiniest recent developments in the Bundeswehr, and my contacts are simply not that tight. English allows me to write more naturally about topics in general instead of in reference to a single institution only.

  14. You don't need a printed book for publishing. Make it an e-book and you can even add a colour version at a low price + it's globally available.