Thursday 28 June 2018

Top 10 Tips for writing a Blog about Wargaming

There are tons of web pages out there with advice on how to write a blog, and most of them will be pretty much useless to your average wargamer thinking of setting up a new blog. A lot of the advice seems to be tailored to blogs linked to businesses or products and their tips are invariably all about driving up pageviews and generating income. Personally making money is not why I write a blog and over the years I have repeatedly toyed with the idea of sharing some of my top tips for writing a non-profit blog about wargaming.

I have no doubt my fellow wargaming bloggers will have different ideas and suggestions for newbies to the hobby thinking of writing a blog and all are welcome in the comments below. But after 9½ years and nearly 2.5 million pageviews I think I can tentatively say I know a little about writing a wargaming blog.

Pick a platform and a good title 
Here I am on my first tip and I'm already cheating by splitting it into two! So you got up this morning and thought to yourself 'I want to write a blog about my hobby'. Brilliant! But how do you do it and what will it be called? These are important questions that need some serious thought before you start typing furiously and sharing your enthusiasm with the world. A period of research and reflection is needed before you get going because these fundamental decisions will stick with you and your blog, hopefully for many years to come.

There are several ways to create a blog with platforms such as Blogger, Wordpress and Tumbler to name just a few. I've only used Blogger so I can't give an opinion on the others but I guess a lot will come down to which blogs you already enjoy reading and who hosts them. Blogger seems to be a common choice amongst wargamers as does Wordpress but I would definitely suggest a period of careful consideration before make the choice because although it may be possible to transfer your old blog from one platform to another you may have to spend considerable time reformatting old posts once the transfer has happened.

Once you have picked a platform the next and possibly the most important decision needs to be made; what are you going to call your shiny new blog? Whatever you choose I suggest it needs to be something catchy, original and something that you are not going to regret in a few months time! It is possible to rename blogs but that could leave you with a title and a URL that don't match. Personally I think the best Blog names are short, memorable and unique in order to stand out from the crowd. Pretty much the opposite of what I did when I started mine! 

Decide on a publishing schedule 
This may seem like an unimportant bit of advice but the rate at which you publish can make or break a blog (or a blogger). Does your target audience want to read every minutiae of your day to day gaming or would it be better to produce one better quality post per week? I would suggest that daily posts need to be shorter, punchier and preferably accompanied by a photo. A word of warning, daily posting may seem like a good idea when you are flushed with enthusiasm or when you have plenty of time on your hands but eventually this relentless schedule can become a drag on productivity and even spell the end of an otherwise great blog. For a long period I posted daily and it became harder and harder to keep up the pace. I almost gave it all up (several times) until I relaxed my posting schedule to fit around my life. Maybe its worth asking yourself would daily posts be better suited to another format such as Facebook?

For those that want to post less frequently I would suggest that the longer the period between posts the longer and more detailed the posts should be. Weekly or even bi-weekly posts can be much more detailed, in-depth encouraging discussion and feedback from readers. I would also suggest that in such a 'visual' hobby lots of photo's and graphics are almost a requirement but I'll come back to this point later.

Write for yourself AND your audience.
Maybe a tad controversial but I think this goes to the heart of blog longevity and why so many seem to have a very brief lifespan. When writing a blog becomes a chore the question has to be asked, why are you doing it? This links in some way to my previous tip about setting a realistic publishing schedule but really this point is one about motivation, not just time management. What is it that has driven you to the keyboard in the first place? In effect (and to nick a horrible concept from business) what is your blogs mission statement?

Most blog formats have a little section on one side about the author of the site. It’s usually just a few sentences to say something along the lines of "Hi, I'm Joe Bloggs and these are the games I play". Some profile pieces are much more detailed, others are more anonymous (and that’s fine) but often they don't say anything at all about the blog itself. These few sentences are not just your opportunity to say who you are but also to outline what your blog is about.  Now this can be as detailed or as broad as you like but I think it’s important to lay down the principles and goals of the blog.

As a writer a clear guideline of what you want to achieve really helps you keep on target. It can help you decide if that big article you want to write really belongs in this blog or on some other platform. Is a wargaming blog a suitable place for your views on fishing for instance? If you’ve stated that your blog is about wargaming and fishing then that’s fine, but if you haven’t I’d argue it belongs somewhere else. Similarly why alienate your audience by presenting them with content they didn’t expect and didn’t sign up for when they started following your site.

Another advantage of laying down a clear statement of your blogs intentions is that it helps you to find similar content elsewhere on the interweb from which you can draw inspiration and ideas. Your audience will be drawn to your blog in part by the mission statement you have written and in turn you will be able to see what they are interested in and what they follow. If you’re writing a blog called An Anglers Guide to Wargaming then it’s pretty likely that your readers will have a similarly niche interest and either write something like this themselves or follow other blogs with the same obsession. This can be a rich source of inspiration and ideas enabling you to write articles tailored not only to your own interests but also that of your audience.

Decide your Style
Once you have decided what your content will be you need to think about how you are going to present this. The most popular blogs tend to have a distinct theme or a style that clearly identifies and represents them. They stand out from the crowd because they have a clearly defined look that identifies them instantly. If your site is too generic it won't stand out and grab the attention of new visitors that land on your site through a web search or link. Web developers have something called the 5-second test which is based on average first time 'hit' statistics. This states that first time visitors coming to your site via a web-search will stay on the landing page for an average of just 5 seconds before moving on. So you need to grab their attention very quickly if you want to grow your audience.

Theme can also include such aesthetic questions as what colour will your background be? What font are you going to set as your default? What widgets or sidebars do you want to see? or indeed do you want a theme such as the one I use where the widgets are tucked away in a pop-out sidebar? Do you want a traditional format with one post showing after another or would you prefer a 'Magazine style' where multiple posts are visible to the reader when they open your site? The options are seemingly endless but I think its quite important to give this some thought when you are choosing which platform to host your blog. From my experience with Blogger, a wide variety of preset options are relatively easy to access and customization is also available. I guess the same will be true with other blog platforms.

Theme can also include important decisions such as what sort of content you will allow. You may be relaxed about the use of profanities or NSFW images but of course that may limit who can see your blog, especially if your target audience is likely to be younger members of our community (I'm thinking about the Games Workshop crowd, although that may be a bit of a generalisation). Another consideration is how you plan on sharing your Blog Feed (more on this later in Get Social!). If you plan on letting your blog be seen on the likes of Facebook, Twitter or G+ the you could fall foul of their policies if you allow NSFW content. You may be fine with this, but its something to think about.

Work on more than one post at a time
I think this is quite an important tip, especially if you have an 'unpredictable' life where you cannot always guarantee time to sit down and write. It's a good way to organise ideas and develop articles into better finished products before posting. I've always got four or five draft posts at various stages of completion on the go at any one time. I augment this 'multiple drafts' policy by also always carrying a small notebook and pencil with me. I suppose you could use a phone app like Evernote or GoogleKeep but I find it simpler to scribble down ideas in a real notepad (pen and paper doesn't require battery power or a wi-fi connection!)

When I start working on a project or a particular model I immediately begin creating the post that will announce it when finished. It may take weeks to finish something but in the meantime you will be crafting and refining a great post so that when you are ready to publish most of the hard work has already been done.

One of the other benefits of working on multiple posts is that you always have something up your sleeve for those weeks when you otherwise struggle to have anything to write about! I don't know a single wargamer that hasn't had a lean patch for games or painting at one time or another. Sometimes the work/life balance just seems to suck up spare time and before you know it a couple of weeks have gone by with no games, no painting and nothing to write about. Having a couple of posts part ready in reserve can be a life (and blog) saver. 

Be part of the community.
In short link to and read other peoples blogs. We often describe ourselves as a 'community' and its that shared collective enthusiasm for our hobby that for many people make this such a rewarding pastime. By being part of social media and wanting to write a blog you are (hopefully) acknowledging that you want to be part of this community; so embrace it and dive right in.

Meeting fellow bloggers at Salute - Always a highlight
I follow lots of blogs (450+ at last count!) and I try to comment on their posts as much as I can. There have been lots of times when this hasn't been possible (work/life etc) but its those connections that pay the best dividends. Reading and commenting as opposed to lurking will also increase feedback on your own posts.

I was going to list another tip as 'understand your audience' but really it part of this one. Always link to the blogs of your readers (if you can) so you can get a feel for what they write and like to read. There are some really great wargaming blogs out there and a newbie to the hobby and to blogging could do worse than learn from the success of others.

A picture says a thousand words.
Personally I like to see photo's in a blog. Our hobby is very visual and it seems to me to be a shame not to share pictures of newly painted miniatures or recent games or shows. In some way this ties into 'Why are you blogging'. I originally started this blog (nearly ten years ago!) as a forum for my painted miniatures and as a way to improve my brush skills. In the intervening decade the games I play have changed but I still love to include my own photo's in my posts. Anyone that has read my blog will see it liberally scattered with pictures of my painted miniatures, recent games, conventions and places I have visited.

Perhaps one of less appreciated advantages of a photo heavy blog post is that it becomes much more accessible to a wider audience. Pictures really do convey a thousand words and if you are able to use your own photo's then its hard to image any way you could stamp your personality more on your blog. A good photo can enhance a well written post and is an excellent way to 'hook' readers and encourage them to scroll further down the page (see my earlier comments about the 5-second test).

Finally photo's help to quickly define a post and what its all about. This is a benefit aimed squarely at your readers, especially if they are time starved wargamers trying to keep up to date with lots of blogs. It lets them engage quickly with those posts that most interest them when scrolling through their blog feeds. And a good supporting picture means your hand crafted post is more likely to be shared and remembered. 

Encourage Feedback
Always activate comments on your blog and actively encourage feedback from your readers. Part of the point of a Blog rather than a Website is that its an interactive format. New content becomes available regularly and then there is usually a discussion between the author and the readers. A traditional website may well have a comments page but not all sites activate comments with their articles. As a blogger I love reader comments and consider them a highlight of the whole process of maintaining a blog. Its also a useful way of letting you know your not talking to yourself!

Of course the downside of allowing reader comments is that eventually everyone gets a Troll. Someone, who with a few ill judged or spiteful word can make you feet like a bag of shit. Whatever you do, don't respond to these comments (Don't feed the Trolls!). If you're made of stern enough stuff I would also recommend leaving their posts untouched for all to see, often the positive response you receive from other commentators will outweigh the odd negative post. Trolls enjoy having their posts removed because its confirmation they hit a nerve. Let their words roll off your shoulders and ignore them until they starve.

The only exception to my 'don't delete' policy is where someone posts a malicious link or is trying to spam your site with an advert or other junk mail. Thankfully I don't get a lot of this but if you find it becoming a regular problem just activate comment moderation so you can review comments before allowing them to appear on your site. At the end of the day allowing comments can be a double edged sword and you need to be prepared for that. Inevitably some feedback will be hurtful or malicious but I think you need to look on this as a positive thing; You know you've 'made it' when you get trolled for the first time!

Get Social! 
Push links to your blog out to as wide an audience as possible. If you are going to spend time writing great content and sharing great photo's then you want as many people to see it as possible, don't you? I use a great website called which feeds links to my posts out to all my social network sites. All those back-links increase the ranking of your site in web-searches which in turn increases your audience but it also means you are making it easy for your readers to access your site in the way that most suits them.

If you search online and look at other websites 'Blog writing tips' posts they often talk about driving up customers or increasing revenue because really they are aimed at writers of commercial websites linked to a business or a product. But for most wargamers writing a non-profit hobby blog the desire to increase readership has more to do with widening the community we belong to rather than making a fast buck. You could 'monetise' your blog by signing up for adverts but unless your site becomes massively popular (or infamous!) the chances are you won't make much money from advertising and that's probably not why you started blogging in the first place.

Break the rules! 
Whatever you do, don't box yourself into a corner with a load of self imposed rules that you can't break. Whether that's an impractical posting schedule or a niche subject or even a theme, inflexibility can spell the end for a good blog. One option of course is to mothball Blog A and start Blog B if for instance your theme changes or your focus needs to shift due to external work/life issues. Its an option used by many bloggers but of course you run the risk that not all your regular readers and followers will travel with you to the new site. In this scenario you could well find yourself having to build an audience and a reputation all over again.

Phew, this has turned into a monster length post. If you manged to stay with me to the end, thanks! Please leave your comments below as usual, including any suggestions of what you would put in your top ten tips for a wargaming blog. 

Monday 25 June 2018

La Bataille du chemin de l'haie - 1914

Once again the Rejects got together in Posties shed-o-war to give his new WWI rules another try, this time with a fictional engagement between the Germans and French in August 1914. Once again Posties proved his rules stand up to scrutiny in a real game and everyone taking part seemed to be having a good time.  

The Schlieffen Plan is under way and thus far the German Imperial Army has been forcing back the French at every engagement. Now the French have an opportunity to defend more favourable ground along a line of hedges anchored on several buildings and a small village. The Germans must sweep the french away to keep up the momentum but can the French hold their ground and turn the tide against the invaders?

The Order of Battle
7th Armeekorps - Gen der Kavallerie Von Emen
      13th Infantry Division - Generaleitnant von dem Borne
              25th Infantry Brigade  - Generalmajor von Unruh
                      IR 13 - 3 Battalions
                      IR 158 - 3 Battalions
              26th Infantry Brigade - Unknown General
                      IR 15 - 3 Battalions
                      IR 55 - 3 Battalions
              22nd Artillery Regt - 6 x 7.7cm (2 Batteries)
              58th Artillery Regt - 6 x 10.5cm (2 Batteries)
              16th Uhlans - 4 Squadrons
              6th  Uhlans - 4 Squadrons (from Cavalry Corp)
5th Armee - 18th Corps d'armee - Gen de Maudituy
      36th Division of Infantry - Gen Jovannu
              71st Brigade - Gen Bertin
                     34e - 3 Battalions
                     49e - 3 Battalions
              72nd Brigade - Gen de Seze
                     12e - 3 Battalions
                     18e - 3 Battalions (Reserves - Arrived about turn 3)
              14th Artillery Regt - 9 x 75cm (3 Batteries)
The initial setup. The French (myself and Mark) are closest and in position along a hedge line. We also have troops in the small village on the forward right and more just out of shot along more hedges on the right. The Germans face us across a lot of open ground but we are outnumbered three to two and knowing Postie there will be more coming on later. 

The Village on our right was occupied by four companies of infantry (one in each building). This is a forward position but as we know from earlier games infantry in buildings are hard to dislodge. In our pre-game tactics chat my co-general Mark advocates pulling our troops out of here...I talked him out of this and the town went on to be an important obstacle for the Germans. 

My General has pigeons released...presumably to call for reinforcements PDQ. 

The game gets under way and the Germans begin their advance. Its soon clear that the main thrust of their attack is pointed squarely at my Battalions on the left of our line. Here I face twice my number of infantry so I direct two Artillery Batteries to start pounding the advancing infantry. 

The Germans move steadily forward in the face of my artillery. They are outside Machine Gun and Rifle range at this point but things will soon get much hotter for the invaders. 

Artillery fire lands on the advancing Germans but their artillery is also hitting my front line troops.Meanwhile on the other flank two German batteries (6 guns) have targeted the town we hold. 

Phew, three french Battalions arrive from reserve and they have appeared behind my positions. Hopefully I can get them forward in time to help hold the line against the Germans. 

My artillery fire is starting to whittle down the advancing Germans. More importantly I'm scoring 10's which inflict Courage Tests on the damaged unit. If the unit fails it will have to fall back.

The German players advance around the village on our right. They seem to be shifting units to support the attack in the centre and on their right, opposite me. Meanwhile our infantry in the town are drawing German artillery fire away from the rest of our infantry while being in a position to take pot shots at any enemy units in range.

The German line bends around the town but never seriously threatens to overwhelm it. Mark's infantry take a few casualties but they cling on tenaciously through the whole battle.

My infantry are having a hard time. One battalion has fallen back and suddenly my position looks precarious. Meanwhile Richard has moved his Uhlan cavalry in a fast flanking move and is ready to dismount them on my now almost destroyed positions. My reserves are advancing as fast as they can but its touch and go whether they can get back to the Hedge line before the Germans arrive in force. 

View from the other direction. The German Uhlans can be seen on the right and the strength of the German advance can be seen clearly. Mark and I shift some of our units along the line to try and fill the gap but it feels like there is a gaping whole staring at the enemy. 

My front line is thin but my reserves are moving forward as fast as they can...however several of my front units have to make courage tests and I could be looking at a complete collapse of my defensive line. 

The German noose tightens on the town but Marks infantry cling on and continue to hurt any German units in range.

The German Uhlans have dismounted and advance towards the hedge line, outflanking my front. Fortunately my units can move again and I am able to start shifting infantry back to the hedges just before the Germans get there. Suddenly my position looks stronger than it had and my reserves have finally begun to enter the battle. 

In the centre Marks infantry are under sustained artillery assault but the German advance is creeping forward slowly. Mark moves one of his units into the building on the road (recently vacated by my troops who have re-positioned to face the advance on the left) and he is able to lend some support to my troops. 

In the town the French infantry cling on and the Germans slowly shift units around the town like its surrounded by an invisible wall (!)

Disgraceful! Ray leaves the battle early to go watch England playing in the World Cup...doesn't he realise wargaming takes precedence over football?!?

The French are being hard pressed along the whole line and casualties are mounting on both sides.

The German Uhlans have dismounted and charged into the flank of my positions. Fortunately (and in the nick of time) I manage to get one of my reserve Battalions up to the hedge line to defend the ground.  Meanwhile in a last ditch attempt to dislodge my infantry Richard launches assaults with several other units against the front. I have managed to regain my position here fill every gap I can. With the whole right flank in melee its now just down the the luck of the dice which side wins.

Wow. I win all three melees inflicting serious casualties on the German units and throwing them back from the hedge line. This is a significant moment of the game and represented the Germans last best hope of snatching a victory. 

The next turn seals the fate of the German assault as rifle file destroys all but a handful of the German infantry companies. The Uhlans on my left flank have been cut in half and virtually nothing remains in front of my lines. 

With the German spearhead destroyed I can start thinking about shifting infantry to the right to provide support to Marks battalions in the centre. They still face four German Battalions and have taken a lot of artillery fire and are looking weak. 

With the German assault on our left in tatters and the realistic prospect that I can bolster the defence of the Centre the German players wisely decide to capitulate. They simply do not have enough battalions remaining to stand a chance of breaking through. On the extreme right flank Mark still has two undamaged battalions that have guarded the woods and the approaches to the town. Ray returns from the football to find his fellow generals have lost the game as conclusively as Panama lost to England in the footie. His remaining battalions are still trying to work around the town (still in French hands!) but there is little he can realistically do with them. 

Richard may have been on the loosing side but he gets the Outstanding Leadership and Courage Award for his fierce assault on the French lines.  

Two happy wargamers having halted the German advance in its tracks.

That was a tough fight for both sides and for a brief while I thought the German assault on my flank would win. If our reserves had come on a turn later, or in a different position, I couldn't have held the position. I'm glad I was able to convince Mark to keep his infantry in the town because I think they soaked up a lot of artillery that would otherwise have hit softer targets. His riflemen in the town were also able to harass the Germans in all directions, Their 12" rifle range from all sides meant the town dominated one third of the width of the battlefield and the mere presence of infantry in buildings deterred the Germans from launching an infantry assault. Keeping infantry in the town turned it into a fortress and I suspect influenced the German players decision to focus their attack on my side of the battlefield. 

Once again Posties simple streamlined rules worked excellently and really seem to capture the flavour of the early period of the Great War. All round an excellent game and I think everyone is looking to playing more in the near future. 

Saturday 23 June 2018

Italian L6/40 Light Tanks

I have been working on some more tanks for What a Tanker, this time some tiny Italian Fiat-Ansaldo L6 light tanks. These tiny 2 man tanks were originally built as an export product but were adopted by the Italian army and saw service in North Africa, the Eastern Front and domestically in Sicily and mainland Italy. According to the Surviving Panzers website (well worth checking out btw) there are only three examples remaining; one in Italy; one in the Citadel Military Museum in Albania; and the last one in the Kubinka Tank Museum in Russia. Only about 280 were built so its not surprising that so few still exist.

This was a very cramped tank with the commander also serving as the loader and gunner sitting on the left side of the turret. The driver meanwhile had to squeeze into a small area on the right of the hull. Overall the armour was pretty thin with the thickest of 40mm on the mantlet. Frontal armour on the hull was 20mm but elsewhere it was as thin as 6mm. The main defence of this tank was its small profile and its maximum speed of about 26mph. Not much for a crew to rely on when all they had to fire back at the enemy was a 20mm Breda cannon.

Its worth pointing out that the L6 was a development of the much smaller CV33 Tankette and the original specification was for a turreted vehicle with a 37mm gun. By the time this vehicle started to be introduced the gun had been downgraded to a 20mm but they had upgraded the engine to 70hp SDA 4 Cylinder which meant that despite being larger and therefore heavier than the CV series vehicles it was just as fast. The problem was Italian tank development always seemed to be running behind everyone else and by the time this vehicle was in service in significant numbers it was already outclassed by allied tanks. The Chassis of the L6 was later used as the basis for the Semovente L40 Anti-Tank Gun.

Another interesting point is that the Italians were still using Bolted and Riveted armour on an internal frame. The idea was that damaged sections could be easily removed and replaced. However in practice this rarely happened and riveted armour was much weaker than other tanks with a welded construction. In addition the internal frame would also have added unnecessary weight thereby limiting the amount of armour that could be used and still keep the vehicle within its specification. Unfortunately Italian tank designers had to take into consideration not just the tactical requirements specified to them but also political requirements. This held back innovation, used resources inefficiently and slowed down the speed of development. The L6 for instance was the product of a specification laid down in 1936.

Next on the painting table will be some M11/39's. Larger Medium Tanks but in many ways inferior to the L6's containing many of the same deficiencies that meant Italian tanks were always several years behind the designs of their opponents. Despite the inferior quality of their steeds, Italian tank crews were an Elite arm of the Italian Army and certainly didn't lack bravery when facing the British. 

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome

On Sunday I was treated to a day out with the family to visit the Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome. I've wanted to come here for a while but the weather always seemed to be bad, or we were too busy, so its taken a while to finally happen. I wasn't expecting to find much here because its a relatively new museum but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of exhibits and the quality of the displays. And unlike some museums they are well set up to keep kids (big and small) happy.

The airfield first opened in 1916 in response to the first Zeppelin raids on London. It was home to B Flight of No 37(HD) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps who remained here until 1919 after the RFC became the RAF. After the First World War the site became a farm again and remained farmland until 2009 when it became a designated conservation area. Finally in 2012 the surviving buildings were given Grade II* listed status. The Museum has received significant Lottery Funding in recent years and is well staffed by volunteers making this a surprisingly well restored site with some very interesting exhibits, replica aircraft and vehicles. They also run site tours throughout the day (included in the entry price) and our guide walked us around the site in a tour that lasted over 90 minutes. 

A series of interactive diorama's show life at the Airfield during WWI. This Pilot is writing home to his family telling them about patrolling for enemy Zeppelins.

Although the Zeppelin raids started off England's first 'Blitz' it was the later use of Gotha bombers and the much larger Zeppelin Staaken R VI Heavy Bomber (capable of dropping up to 4,409 lb of bombs) that did most damage. 

Whether British 'grit' in the first Blitz was real or just propaganda is open for debate.

Examples of the Machine Guns used in WWI Aircraft : MGs (top to bottom) German MG14, German MG06/15, British Lewis Gun, British Vickers MG

Officers uniform

Another interactive diorama showing an engineer working on aircraft engines - Engines had to be removed and completely serviced after roughly 60 hours flight time. 

Many of the building have been restored but there are half a dozen more in need of work. The site reverted to the landowner after 1919 and aside from the ravages of time the site has remained largely untouched since the Great War. 

Replica RFS tender vehicle. There are several replicas around the site. 

The Memorial on site is dedicated the the Pilots that were killed while serving at Stowe Maries. The Memorial was paid for from public subscription. 

Names of the Airfields war dead. Note that of the ten men named, eight were killed in flying accidents. The remaining two were killed in action over the Essex coast but its likely they were actually shot down by our own AA guns!

There are several replica aircraft at Stowe Maries, many of which fly. This Bleriot XI was made for the film Lafayette Escadrille (1958) about an american WWI Pilot and was 'flown' by a very young Clint Eastwood in a supporting role to the main star Tab Hunter. 

A replica Fokker Eindecker - These nimble planes with a forward firing (and more importantly, synchronised) gun gained an early advantage over the RFC between August 1915 to early 1916 in what became known as the Fokker Scourge. 

Arguably one of the best planes of WWI, the Sopwith F1 Camel. The rotary engine produced a strong gyroscopic effect which made this a very difficult plane to master. However in the right hands the twin synchronised MG's were deadly. 

While we were enjoying a picnic this Royal Aircraft Factory SE5 was taken up for a spin. Another replica it circled the site for half an hour before coming back down with a gentle bounce. 

The Pilots Ready Room has also been restored and sits facing the airstrip. This is where all pilots would stop for orders and debrief after a mission. 

This artists impression shows how the site may have looked during the Great War.

Another shot of the SE5 on the ground. Its a surprisingly small aircraft. The SE5 was a stable gun platform but also very manoeuvrable and in the right hands a very capable dogfighter.  

Another excellent British Aircraft (replica) the BE2e. Built by the Royal Aircarft Factory  it was a single-engine tractor two-seat biplane that first saw service before the war and was used primarily as a reconnaissance aircraft.  

As a working airfield the site is used regularly throughout the year and they have a long list of events including a Heritage Day in September providing free entry to the site. If you live near enough I would strongly recommend a visit as there is a lot to see and the site tours are excellent.