Military blogs (in which I lump more complex websites) are popping up more and more to exploit the growing technology and reach a wider audience. Whether it’s small unit tactics or grand strategy theory, in-depth discussions of combat units or logistics chains – there’s a blog out there that deals with it. In fact, there are a lot of them that deal with it; which itself creates a problem. Which one should I read?
I’m not an expert – otherwise I’d have my own brilliant blog rather than disordered ruminations – but I do get around the blogosphere a little. Here is the core of my online military resources:
- The Cove is my favourite. The recently launched and still expanding professional development network of the Australian Army is first of all beautiful. Secondly, it is more and more leading the way as a one-stop for all the key needs of the self-studying soldier as it sources its materials far and wide, bringing it elegantly to the screen of the avid learner. Did I mention it was beautiful?
The great thing about The Cove is that it caters to literally any rank. Not all the sections have been launched yet, but so far they’ve hit on some key basic soldiering skills, analysed contemporary conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, provided leadership lessons, given PME resources from the British and Americans (including a great game from Sandhurst), discussed pressing issues in army training, provided learning opportunities for languages and to learn more about logistics…I could go on.
- Speaking of logistics, a superbly promising addition to the blogosphere is David Beaumont’s Logistics in War. To best flaunt your superiority – after all, amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics – it would be good to know about the complex art of logistics in the contemporary operating environment. Apparently logistics does not just happen.
- Mountain Tactical Institute is the best resource I know of for fitness. I do not have the luxury of a dedicated training cadre that fits all my fitness needs so I have had to learn a lot from other sources. Unfortunately, conflicting information is not only rife but also dangerous.
- Angry Staff Officer is the funniest military resource I can think of, and his Twitter feed is no less entertaining. His fun analysis of the Lord of the Rings breach of Helm’s Deep as a case study in combined arms breaching remains high on my list of the most educational yet entertaining military articles – it is rivalled only by similar posts on the attack on Minas Tirith or various brilliant discussions of Star Wars and defence.
Staffer, with co-host Adin Dobkin, has the unique ‘honour’ of being the only person I have never met to convince me to give them money. They started a podcast called “War Stories” in which they masterfully track the development of tanks and tank warfare from WWI through to (as of my writing this) their use by Israel in 1973. It was such an educational podcast, as well as a listening experience that can only be described as ‘smooth’, that I thought “heck, I like this guy, I like what he’s doing…take my money.”
- Staffer has a very American sense of humour, whereas Mick Cook’s is dry, self-depreciating, and equally prone to making me look like a looney as I laugh seemingly unprovoked on public transport. Frankly, The Dead Prussian podcast is worth listening to just for the banter. It’s not a blog at all, I just didn’t want to miss the opportunity to plug one of the very few podcasts which downloads automatically on my phone. Almost everyone else needs to be vetted; I know I’ll be listening to TDP.
- Speaking of podcasts, I got into reading the insightful commentary of the Modern War Institute by listening to their great podcast. One thing I particularly appreciated about MWI’s writings is the way they relate strategic level ideas to tactical level formations.
Allow me to list in rapid-fire a few of my other favourite sources:
- Small Wars Journal – professional, academic, and well worth a touching base with frequently.
- Grounded Curiosity – superb resource for ‘strengthening the intellectual foundation for [the] profession of arms.’
- From the Green Notebook – a well-named blog with succinct articles on what has helped one armoured officer grow in his military career.
- War on the Rocks – I mostly use this one in podcast form, but often hit the website for a written take on issues in defence and strategy.
- Land Power Forum – a uniquely Australian blog published by the army with great insights into the specifically Australian view of land power in the twenty first century. If you’re interested in the Australian Army, you could do worse than read this blog to find the up and coming senior officers.