Corporal Frisk – A Chronicle of the First Year

As of today, it is exactly one year since I published the first post here on this blog, as well as made my first appearance on Twitter. To celebrate this occasion, here comes a look back at some of the posts of the first year. I will probably follow this up with a post on some traffic patterns, ie. how did people get here and where did they go.

The first post published was a simple “Welcome”-post, and largely corresponds to the “About”-page. My original idea had been to start small and slowly pick up speed, probably already having a few posts by the time anyone really started to notice the existence of my little turf of the blogosphere.

It didn’t quite work out that way, as Lt.(N) Mashiri found the blog almost immediately, and happily spread the word to anyone that cared to listen. This “forced” me to write a quick “real” post, the one and only so far dealing with Indonesia. I had the luck, if that word can be applied here, of starting my blog just before the Maidan really heated up, and my posts on the lack of a “red line” by the West and Belbek airbase during the Crimean invasion were some of the first posts that started to get a bit of attention.

Two months after the launch of the blog I wrote my first post about MTA2020. These have been highly popular, partly given the lack of information released by the Navy. This has meant that there is ample room for happy bloggers trying to piece together the bigger picture based on smaller insights, something which I failed horribly at on the first try. In hindsight, I placed way too much emphasize on the fact that the Swedish L10-support ship had been quoted as a project which could benefit from sharing data with, as well as the fact that the Hämeenmaa-class was to be replaced along with the Rauma’s.

After this followed a longer period of silence on the blog, but by June I published a post on the Russian Project 03160 “Raptor”, a design launched by Pella Shipyard that bears a striking resemblance to the Swedish CB90. The posts on the Raptor have also been longtime favorites on the blog, still regularly getting traffic.

July was a rather tense month in several corners of the world, with the downing of MH17 and the Israeli Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. I covered the downing of MH17 in two posts, The Buk and MH17 followed by Comment on the US assessment of the Downing of Flight MH17. Of these, the first post was the major watershed for the blog, generating more traffic than anything I had seen before (thanks again largely to Lt.(N) Mashiri). In fact, July alone had more than three times the views compared to the first six months of the year summed up. The Buk and MH17 is still by a large margin the most popular post on the blog, with Comments on the… having now slipped to six after being a top-three post for a large part of last summer/autumn.

The nice thing from my point of view was that the traffic continued to flow to the blog also after the immediate interest in the downing of MH17 had waned, with the blog keeping a steady stream of visitors reading about varied topics including the light machine gun 7.62 KvKK 62, the Outstanding Ships of the Finnish Navy, and the upcoming HX-project to replace the capabilities of the Hornet.

Next major jump in traffic came with the Swedish anti-submarine operation in October (the so called Red October-incident). This spawned a number of posts, with some very good viewer stats. The most popular posts commented on the situation as it was developing, and are therefore somewhat obsolete. However, my comment on Finnish Assistance and Russian Media is still very much up-to-date, and the bottom line is as important now as it was in October:

A journalist should indeed strive to present both sides of a story, but not all sources are created equal, and a failure to properly explain this gives the casual reader a tilted view of the story.

Despite being a rather cynical person, I am still sometimes struck by the sheer audacity displayed by some Russian officials and news sources, who presents blatantly false stories as truths or “second opinions” (the “Su-25 downing MH17” and “Dutch sub in Stockholm” comes to mind).

December brought the appearance of Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers over the Baltic Sea for the first time since 1987, which warranted a post on the aircraft in question. This was followed by a more general air spotter’s guide for the Russian aircraft that participated in the snap drill in question, which received favorable reviews from quite a number of readers, thank you for that!

The New Year has so far included two submarine-themed posts. The first was a post explaining why Finland doesn’t operate submarines, and probably will not do so for the foreseeable future. The second was my first Swedish post, which was written together with Swedish bloggers Reservofficer and Klart Skepp. This one dealt with joint Finnish-Swedish anti-submarine exercise/operations, and I must say that it was a fun and interesting experience to step out of the box and do something a bit different!