Smoked Pineapple

I filled the smoker this week. Chicken thighs with a smoked paprika rub, a pork roast and my first time Smoking a Pineapple. My apologies for no pictures but I was pressed for time.

The chicken thighs and the pork roast turned out delicious as always. I strongly suggest when smoking a pork roast that you smoke it to the minimum internal temperature for food safety. A pork roast will get dry if you smoke it to well done – and unless you are cooking for a big family meal you will be reheating the roast during the week.

Lynn urged me to smoke a pineapple. What we did was pretty simple. She cut the top and bottom off and peeled off the tough outer skin. Then she cut it into long triangles – you may have seen it cut this way at a grocery store. The length of the cut was the height of the pineapple. She sprinkled a small amount of cinnamon and put all of it into a disposable aluminum pan.

I put the aluminum pan with the pineapple on the top shelf so meat juices would not drip into it. I used fruitwood in the smoker (cherry this time). It took quite a while for the pineapple to get hot: one and a half hours. This was due to the distance from the heat source and the reflective properties of the pan.

The fruitwood gave the pineapple a nice, light smoky flavor. I ate a triangle for dessert several times this week. Lynn is planning on using the remainder of the pineapple to make various cocktail syrups. Store bought cocktail syrups tend to be far, far too sweet for our tastes.

This experiment was a success. If you want a stronger smoky flavor – either smoke the pineapple directly on the wire rack or use a surface without high sides. On the top shelf with the aluminum pan, most of the smoke will miss the pineapple. I’ve grilled pineapple several times before – and it sears well sealing in much of the juice. But smoking also turns out well.

Smoked Boiled Eggs, Beets, Bambi, Beef and King Mackerel

Many smoking experiments have been conducted over the last two months. In my old age cooking with smoke or over fire has become my “art” or my “science project.” Probably science fits best because I conduct experiments and record the results. All of these foods were prepared with an inexpensive electric smoker using a full water pan.

Smoked Boiled Eggs was one of my first experiments. I purchase bags of boiled eggs which can be found at most any grocery store including Wal-Mart.

Eggs & Beets from the Store

I have smoked boiled eggs with both strong wood (hickory) and mild wood (various fruit woods). The boiled eggs will quickly absorb the smokey taste. I put them on the top smoker rack for a maximum of 20 minutes when I first fire up the smoker. Ten minutes is not enough time. I cut up the smoked boiled egg over a large green salad. The exterior texture of the boiled egg will become a little rubbery – but the nice smokey taste when sliced or chopped into a salad adds a wonderful taste.

Smoked Boiled Eggs After 20 Minutes on Top Rack with Fruitwood

Smoked Beets – Lynn loves beets in most any form. I don’t care for beets, but can eat them if they are smoked. Lynn enjoys smoked beets on her salad. These beets were purchased at the grocery store pre-cooked in a package. Picture of the beets pre-smoked is above. Beets take longer to achieve a nice smokey taste than boiled eggs – 45 minutes on the top rack when the smoker is first fired up with fruitwood. This time should be cut to 35-40 minutes if you use stronger wood such as hickory. Again, the beets should be placed on the top rack when you first fire up the smoker. You want the beets to get the full benefit of heavy smoke.

Lynn eats the beets chopped up over a green salad or as a side dish for most any meal.

Smoked Beets after 45 minutes on the top rack with fruitwood

Smoked Bambi Tenderloin – The secret to an excellent smoked bambi tenderloin is to add fat and cook it rare removing the meat with an interior temperature of 145 degrees. Bambi tenderloin is almost devoid of fat. If you cook it medium to well-done you end up with venison boot leather. I attach two strips of bacon to the tenderloin with broken off wooden toothpicks. The toothpicks are broken off to prevent them from igniting and getting char or pine rosin on the meat. You need to use a remote read meat thermometer and pay close attention to it. Cooking with a smoker is usually forgiving – but bambi tenderloin can be ruined by over-cooking. Next, if you do not consume the entire tenderloin at one sitting, I strongly recommend eating it cold. Microwaving the smoked tenderloin can dry it out and harm the flavor. It is delicious cold.

Other than the bacon, I add some form of dry rub between the bacon strips. Do not cover the entire tenderloin with bacon strips if you wish the tenderloin itself to absorb the smokey taste. I’ve used a rather strong rub with the base ingredient of smoked paprika and a mild rub of garlic and herb Grillmates found at any grocery store. Both strong and mild rubs were excellent.

Smoked Bambi Tenderloin

Smoked Rack of Lamb – My experiments with Smoked Rack of Lamb are in the early stages. We love lamb and purchase two whole lambs every year. Lamb ribs can dry out in the smoker and many cookbooks suggest a two stage process where you pull the partly smoked lamb rack, wrap it in aluminum foil and either sear it on the grill or bake it in the oven. I don’t want to work with super hot meat after I pull it from the smoker.

To prevent the lamb from drying out I liberally brushed the exterior with extra-virgin olive oil and smoked it rare with a remote read thermometer to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. I used no rub and hickory wood for the smoke. The four of us (me, Lynn, Laura and Cory) all found it to be very tasty.

Smoked Rack of Lamb

I’m mulling over using a dijon mustard/fresh rosemary baste after first brushing it with olive oil in the future. But we only get so many racks of lamb per animal and my experiment (art) schedule will be slow.

Smoked Beef (Pot Roast) – My initial smoked beef experiments (art) were unsuccessful. After reading several smoking technique cookbooks and thinking it over, I decided that my problem was the cut of beef. BBQ and Smoking are useful in part is making inexpensive, fatty cuts of meat tasty. My initial attempts with Beef used better (less fatty) cuts of beef and the results were too dry for our taste – even when smoking them rare (145 degree internal temperature).

I switched to buying inexpensive slabs of thick cut pot roast. The results have been wonderful since I made the switch. The example below uses an inexpensive pot roast with two different dry rubs. Half of the pot roast has a mustard tarragon rub while the other uses garlic and herb Grillmates. The mustard is a little chunky.

Fatty Pot Roast with With Two Dry Rubs

I smoked this pot roast with fruitwood to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. We slightly preferred the garlic and herb rub to the tarragon mustard rub. But we both thought that having a variety on the big cut of meat was better than using only one rub.

I’ve used both Hickory and Mesquite wood on other pot roasts with great success. Those woods provide a stronger smoke taste.

Smoked Pot Roast After

King Mackerel – Before last week, the enjoyment from King Mackerel was catching them. They fight hard and landing a big one is a noteworthy accomplishment. No fish tale (I have multiple witnesses), I fought a 30+ pound King Mackerel for fifteen minutes on our last trip. I got him up to the boat twice. On the second attempt the mate had the gaff, and he was within thirty seconds of pulling him in when the big king spit out the hook and swam away. The King jumped clear of the water when he was initially hooked.

King Mackerel is very oily with a strong fishy taste. We have tried cooking Kings many different ways (bake, poach, grill) using various marinades with meager success. Kings have always been the last fish consumed, the first fish given away, and the fish most likely to be left in the freezer several years before discarding.

My experiment (art) was smoking the King Mackerel. I occasionally smoke Salmon steaks, with and without a cedar plank and they have always turned out well.

My “art project” was establishing a baseline. The King Mackerel fillet has a strong, thick skin. The only preparation was washing the fillet and sprinkling coarse salt over the fillet.

Prepared King Mackerel Fillet Before Smoking

I smoked the King Mackerel fillet skin down on the bottom rack. I used the bottom rack because I did not want the drippings to touch anything else in the smoker. Kings have such as strong taste that even a few drippings could mar the taste of other smoked foods. I smoked it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees using my inexpensive remote read thermometer.

The result was amazing! With smoked salmon steaks as a “10” the smoked King Mackerel was an 8.5! Without any sauce, rub, or using a cedar plank the King Mackerel was transformed by the smoker from a rather ill-tasting oily fish to something we would enjoy having for supper!

Smoked King Mackerel

We made a smoked fish dip which used most of the King Mackerel. You can find the recipe at:

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoked-fish-dip

It was wonderful! We ate it all in 48 hours.

My artistic endeavors have persuaded Lynn and I that the only way to prepare King Mackerel is smoking it.

June 2022 Gulf of Mexico Fishing Trip

Nine of us went on a 12 hour fishing trip out of Panama City, Florida on Sunday, June 19. We went out on the Game Changer from Captain Anderson’s Marina at 5:30am. Our group was me, Lynn, Sharon Abernethy, Cory Wiles (nephew in law), Richard Beil, Kris & Laura Garner and their 11 year old son Kam and Kris’s brother Justin.

It was a very hot day with temps approaching 100. Fortunately, the cabin is air conditioned and we had a breeze out on the water.

We had a good catch of 261 pounds of fish that we had processed. This does not count the barely edible Bonita, the Trigger Fish which were out of season, and all of the extra Red Snappers that we had to throw back.

We limited out in Red Snapper, caught 5 King Mackrell, several Red and Black Grouper, a bunch of Vermillion Snapper (in the red snapper family) and a bunch of Banded Rudder Fish (in the Amberjack Family). This will probably be more fish than we can eat over the next year.

We only had a couple get away. Several large fish were eaten by dolphins until we ran flat out for 15 minutes and lost them. I had a 30lb+ King Mackrell that I got up to the boat twice which was able to slip the hook on the second time it surfaced. And several people fought a large shark that eventually just bit through the line and swam away.

Nice trip, good company, good captain and mate.

The 9 of Us on the Trip
Lynn, Avery, Sharon & Cory

Hickory Smoked Bambi Tenderloin Plus Smoked Boiled Eggs

I have several excellent venison tenderloins. They are extremely lean and cooked improperly they turn into shoe soles. I used a variant of bambi tenderloin recipes I’ve tasted at various game cook-offs in Alabama and it turned out well.

First, I removed the white membrane from the venison tenderloins. This pair were expertly processed and there was very little membrane.

The rub is:

1 tsp celery salt

1 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp onion powder

1 T brown sugar

This was well mixed and applied to the top side of the two tenderloins. I’m not the biggest fan of meat rubs, so I usually only rub one side of the meat. If you like more of a rub taste, put the rub on both sides.

I then took thick cut bacon and wrapped it around both tenderloins affixing it with halved wooden toothpicks. Note that the wrap left plenty of room for the hickory smoke to penetrate the tenderloins. The toothpicks were halved so they would not catch fire and add a “pine char” taste to the meat.

They were smoked at approximately 250 degrees with broken Hickory Nuts for the smoke. I use Hickory Nuts when I have them. I break them up with a hammer and discard nuts where the meat has dried to a husk. I put them in the wood chip container without wetting them down.

The tenderloins were cooked to an interior temperature of 145 degrees using a remote read meat thermometer. You do not want to overcook the meat.

It was served sliced thin with horseradish sauce on the side.

I also smoked some boiled eggs. I bought a half dozen bag of boiled eggs at Wal-Mart. I put them directly on the wire rack of the smoker about a half hour after starting the smoker when the smoke was thick. I left them for 20 minutes.

They have a nice smoky taste and I cut them up on a salad. The smoke does not overpower the boiled egg taste.

There is a strong negative to when I put them on. The Hickory smoke was at its thickest and I got several good lung fulls of Hickory smoke which gave me mild asthma. I also had to wash all of my clothes. In the future, I’ll probably smoke them later in the process after the thickest smoke clouds have passed to avoid the side effects.

Panzer Cocktail Photo Bombs

Lynn subscribes to cocktail boxes. The boxes arrive with everything but liquor. They are themed by type of alcohol. She also belongs to a cocktail facebook group and posts cocktail pictures on her page. She studied cocktails during the plague and acquired a useful skill.

She stages cocktail photos, often highlighting the ingredients. Yesterday Panzer was determined to be the “star” of cocktail hour.

Panzer side bomb
Panzer High Altitude Bomb

Strategic Situation and Plans for 1943

First, I review the diplomacy, research, and battlefield situation.  Next, I outline my strategic goals for 1943.

Strategic Command has a reports tab providing information on number of units and losses to date.

Military Might and Military Losses:

               Germany has the largest land force (138 units) followed by the USSR (70), the UK (34) and Italy (18).

German land forces are currently concentrated in Russia.  Iraq has a smaller force and there are several small strategic reserves.  Italy’s troops are in North Africa or guarding Italy.  To the best of my knowledge, the UK has forces in England.  If there are forces left in the Middle East they have not been spotted.  A majority of USSR forces are spotted by Axis forces within Russia. 

               The German Air Fleet is larger than the rest of the world combined (19).  The UK and Italy both have 3.   The USSR has 9.  The UK lost most of their air fleet in 1942 during fighting in the Middle East.

               World Naval Power is roughly even between the Axis and the Allies in numbers, but the Axis fleet has a larger concentration of submarines.  The UK has the biggest fleet (27), followed by Germany (20), Italy (12) and the USSR (7).   Axis Naval Forces are concentrated in the Mediterranean, Southern France and the Baltic Seas.  I believe all of the Allies Mediterranean fleet has been sunk.  The Mediterranean is closed to Allied fleets. 

The Soviet Navy is probably located in the Black Sea.  All Soviet Naval forces in the Baltic have been destroyed to the best of my knowledge.  The location of the UK fleet is unknown except a strong squadron was spotted at the end of the year in the English Channel.

British trade to Egypt and Iraq were closed in 1942.  This is a major blow to UK industrial production.  Most or all of the Russian Baltic fleet was sunk in 1942.

               German and Italian Losses have been minimal with one Italian Army destroyed and an Iraqi Garrison destroyed.  France lost 42 land, 4 air and 4 sea units before surrendering the second time.  Poland lost 9 land and 1 air fleet.  The UK has lost 41 land units, 16 sea units and 13 air units. 

USSR losses all came in 1942 after they declared war on the Axis.  Their losses have been stunning with 126 ground units, 2 air and 2 sea units.

National Morale & Diplomatic Efforts:

               Noncombatants have an automatic 100% morale.  Winning increases national morale while losing hurts morale.  Germany has 114% morale, Italy 98%, the UK with 51% and the USSR with 83%.  Italy has mostly recovered the morale lost when Spain was conquered when Egypt collapsed. 

               The big diplomatic successes of 1942 was persuading Yugoslavia to join the axis and bribing the US Congress to stay out of the war.  The USA is 22% towards the Allies and Portugal which is 65% towards the allies.  Ireland leans 35% Axis.

               Almost all diplomatic efforts continue to target the USA.  A smaller effort (all of Italy’s effort and one of five German diplomatic chits) are aimed at Finland.  If Finland is persuaded to join the Axis in 1943 diplomatic efforts will be changed to target Turkey.

Research:

               Germany has maximized technology in: Command & Control; Infantry Warfare; Armored Warfare; Aerial Warfare; Naval Warfare; Spying & IQ; Production Technology; Infantry Weapons; Naval Weaponry; Artillery Weapons and Mobility.  For the rest of the discussion I use the format (x of y) where x = current technology level and y = maximum technology level.

               Areas with one current research investment are: Amphibious Warfare (2 of 5); Logistics (3 of 5); Industrial Technology (4 of 5); Anti-Tank Weapons (1 of 5); Advanced Tanks (4 of 5); Advanced Fighters (4 of 5); Heavy Bombers (0 of 5); Long Range Aircraft (4 of 5); Advanced Submarines (3 of 5); Ground Attack Weapons (2 of 3); and Anti-Submarine Warfare (0 of 5).

               Germany will probably complete research in Logistics; Industrial Technology; Advanced Tanks; Advanced Fighters; Long Range Aircraft and Ground Attack Weapons in 1943.  When those research fields have been completed Germany will invest in amphibious warfare and anti-aircraft defense. 

               Italy is behind Germany in most Technology.  Italy has fewer industrial resources to invest, started behind Germany in most technology, and has a much smaller military.  Italy is focusing on production research and various technologies relating to their Navy and Air Force in 1943.

1943 Strategic Planning

Diplomacy: Germany will continue to focus almost all diplomatic efforts on the USA hoping to keep them from joining the Allies as long as possible.  Germany will put minimal effort into persuading Finland to join the Axis.  Italy will focus her efforts on influencing Finland.  If Finland enters the war her ground forces can contribute to confronting the Communists in the East.  Also, if Finland joins the Axis diplomatic efforts will then be focused on Turkey.

Research:

               Germany will finish most research in 1943.  Germany has begun focusing on less important research efforts as her main lines of research are completed.

               Italy will focus primarily on technology which improves her Navy and Air Force.  Most of Italy’s contribution for the rest of the war will be at sea.

Military Goals for 1942

               USSR: Most land and air forces will target the USSR.  The primary offensive thrust will be taking Leningrad.  After Leningrad falls, attacks will be focused on taking Moscow through multiple rail and road routes. 

               The bulge in the Southern Front was destroyed in 1942.  Almost all forces in Southern Russia are minor Axis Allies (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Yugoslavia) whose forces are on this front.  Advances in Southern Russia will be done cautiously.  I do not want to open the Axis forces to flank attacks.  If the flanks can be protected, then advances will continue in the South.  However, advances in the South will be done without tactical and medium bombers.

               I have multiple reasons for this strategy against the godless Communists.  First, If the Axis can take Leningrad and close the Northern Ports, then foreign aid is largely shut down.  Leningrad is a major supply and rail head.  If Leningrad falls, then there are excellent rail lines in three directions heading towards Moscow.  The rail lines are critical for supply and predetermine possible lines of attack. 

               Mideast:  My quick goals are taking Kuwait and the Iraqi ports.  After that, German and Italian forces will liberate Iran and take those oil fields.  If this is accomplished, forces will be concentrated on the Iran-USSR border with the goal of taking Baku.  Sufficient naval forces will be retained around Gibraltar and in the Red Sea to prevent the Allies from getting into the Med.

               Naval Strategy: All 1942 Naval Goals were accomplished.  The bulk of the German and Italian fleets will be moving to Southern France and the English Channel.  All of the Naval Bombers are now located in Belgium or Northern France.

               The British keep launching raids on the Atlantic coast.  Their submarines keep hitting supply lines from Norway.  Italy is rapidly developing ASW technology and Germany has just started on this.  I think with air power the Axis Navy can start challenging the British in the Channel.

Air Strategy:  Ground Attack and Medium Bombers will be used to take Leningrad and then will target Moscow.  Minimal fighter squadrons will guard the southern Russian Front.  Current Axis air units in Egypt will remain with this force until the entire Middle East is conquered.  Several fighter squadrons will remain in France to prevent Allied bombing raids into Germany and occupied Europe.  All Naval attack aircraft are in France or Belgium.

Iraq Falls & Leningrad Threatened: September – December 1942 Strategic Command WWII

Turn 53: Grinding in Russia & Advancing Towards Baghdad 9-13-42: Four communist units were destroyed in the pocket in South Russia.  A counter-attack close to Minsk was repulsed.  Troops continued to grind towards Leningrad but Winter is approaching.  Axis forces continue on towards Baghdad destroying an artillery unit.

Leningrad Front
South Russian Pocket Reduced
9-13-42 Moving Towards Baghdad

Finland moved 6% towards the Axis after promises were made to restore Finland’s borders to those before the Soviet Aggression during the Winter War.

Italy achieved Advanced Submarine level 1 and Production level 2 technology.  Italy invested in Production research.

German Submarines have been successfully raiding in the South Atlantic.  The UK sent light forces to attack the submarines and lost a light cruiser.

Germany purchased 2 HQ units which should improve the logistical situation in Russia.  A heavy tank unit was also purchased. 

Turn 54: September 27, 1942:  The surrounded units in South Russia were destroyed.   Seven Russian land units were destroyed this turn.  The cumulative Soviet losses have driven their morale to 89%.  The British did not withdraw their Fighter Squadron in Iraq and they were destroyed on the ground.

Closing on Baghdad
South Russia – Surrounded Communists Destroyed!

Germany achieved Long-Range Aircraft level 4 technology and invested in heavy bomber technology.  Italy invested in Advanced Submarines.  Germany purchased one tactical and one medium bomber squadrons.

Turn 55: October 19, 1942:  German Mechanized Infantry penetrated to the Leningrad suburbs.  Artillery and anti-tank guns have been brought to attack the Russian forces around Luga which is on the rail line south of Leningrad.  If Soviet forces around Luga are destroyed there will be two supply lines supporting the attack on Leningrad.  Russian forces continue their attacks around Minsk, but German forces are well supplied and are repulsing the attacks.  Seven Russian ground units were destroyed.  Germany destroyed a Strategic Bomber squadron on the ground in Iraq.

Fighting in Leningrad Suburbs
Northern Russian Front

Stalin stripped the Southern Front of troops and the remaining forces are being mauled.  According to the Reports tab, Stalin has lost 108 ground units and is fielding 64 units.  Despite these horrific losses, Communist morale is at 87%.

Southern Russian Front

Germany gained Advanced Tank level 4 research and reinvested in this technology.  German Subs in the South Atlantic withdrew to resupply.  Germany purchased 3 Corps.

Turn 56: November 10, 1942.  In Iraq Axis Forces destroyed the Baghdad garrison and paused to refuel before taking the city (translated – I destroyed the garrison but ran out of movement points).  A British Corps has been spotted in Mosul.  The Mosul force will either retreat to Iran or be destroyed.

Baghdad Garrison Destroyed

A Soviet Armored Division was surrounded at Luga.  Germany has opened up two secure supply lines to Leningrad before the worst of Winter sets in.  Ten Soviet ground units were destroyed this turn and USSR morale slipped to 86%.

Surrounded Armor Near Leningrad

Aside from Leningrad, Germany halted their advance in North Russia after securing cities and rail/road nets to ensure good supplies during the winter.  The screenshot shows this.  Although it looks like there are gaps the in German lines, if the Communists move into the gaps without securing the roads and rails they will quickly suffer from lack of supplies and be easily destroyed.

Germany achieved Spying & Intelligence level 3 technology and invested in Anti-Submarine Warfare research.  Germany purchased two Heavy Artillery units which will be helpful in repelling Russian attacks this winter.

Turns 57 & 58: December 1942:  Iraq Conquered and Russian Winter Sets In – Baghdad fell in early December.  The UK Corps in Mosul was also destroyed.  Two major oil fields were secured in Northern Iraq.  German and Italian troops are rushing towards Basra and Kuwait.  The UK supply line from Basra has been cut.  Next on the agenda is liberating Iran.

On to Kuwait!

Deep winter has come to North Russia.  Leningrad may not fall until Spring.  There are combat penalties for attacking in deep winter and Germany has strong defensive positions in North Russia.  Ground Attack and Medium Bombers are also grounded during snowfall.  In South Russia Axis allies from the Balkans along with limited German forces continue to advance.

North Russian Front End of December
Commie Corps Surrounded in South Russia

Germany achieved Advanced Submarines level 3 technology.  Italy achieved ASW level 2 and Production Technology level 2.  Germany purchased 4 Corps and Italy purchased a Battleship.

A large British Fleet has been spotted in the English Channel, but bad weather prevents the German and Italian anti-ship air fleets from attacking.  Much of the German and Italian Navies will be moving towards South France in the near future leaving enough force at Gibraltar and the Red Sea to keep the Mediterranean Sea closed to Allied forces. 

British Fleet Spotted in the English Channel. Snow Grounds Axis Airforce

Middle East & Russian Advances: June – October 1942 Strategic Command WW2

Turn 47: June 21 1942: Port Said in Egypt was captured and a British Army was destroyed.  A British Corps was surrounded and a British HQ was damaged.  It seems like British defenses in the Middle East are collapsing.  But supply difficulties in the area might allow the UK to survive.

Germany continued to advance in the North destroying 9 Soviet ground units and a Light Cruiser.  According to the Reports tab, the USSR has lost 51 ground units and has 71 land units in their forces.  This has not hurt Soviet morale very much as it is at 99%.  In contrast, British morale is at 59%.

North Russia
South Russia

Italy gained Command & Control level 2 and Industrial Technology level 4.  They purchased one research chit in Anti-Submarine Warfare.  Yugoslavia moved 7% towards the Axis.  Germany purchased a panzer unit and a corps.

The Axis navies are on the move.  Three German submarine fleets are moving towards the South Atlantic to cut the Basra-UK convoy route.  Much of the Italian Navy is moving towards Gibraltar since the Allied Mediterranean fleet has been sunk.

Yugoslavia Joins the Axis! Turn 48 July 5, 1942: Getting Yugoslavian troops up to combat standards and moving them to the Southern front of Russia will take three turns.  First, all of the ground units will be upgraded to Infantry Weapons 2.  Next, all of the units will be fully reinforced.  Finally all of the troops will be moved by rail (operational movement) to the Southern Russian Front.  This will work for all troops initially deploying and that are purchased by Germany this turn.  Units purchased in later turns will be delayed.

The Commies had a huge push in South Russia but they destroyed no units and took no cities.  This was a nutty move given the danger at Leningrad.

South Russia Communist Attacks

The British are slowly marching towards Syria, but hopefully the German push in Egypt will prevent them from capturing Damascus.  A British Corps was surrounded at El Arish.  A British HQ unit was almost destroyed (taken to 2).  A British Aircraft Carrier has been heavily damaged and trapped at Aqaba on the Red Sea. 

Germany achieved Logistics level 3 and reinvested in this research.  Germany purchased one Armor unit in addition to upgrading the Yugoslavian Army.  Germany said “yes” to deploying the Egyptian Legion (a garrison unit) in Egypt and also sent a submarine flotilla to the Black Sea as decision options.  Italy invested 3 diplomacy chits on Finland.  If the Finns join the Axis Leningrad is in bigger trouble.

Nine Communist units were destroyed in Russia including one HQ.  Losing HQs is painful because they are very expensive units to buy and their loss wrecks your supplies in their sector.  According to the reports tab, there are 68 communist land units deployed and 60 have been destroyed.   

The UK has been launching commando raids almost every turn somewhere in Europe from the Atlantic Ocean to little effect. Having a garrison where the raid takes place seems to have no effect on the raids either.

Turn 49, July 19, 1942:  Bribing Congress and the Press continues to slowly work with the USA moving towards the Axis and leaning only 26% to the Allies.  Germany achieved Production Technology level 5 which finishes this line of research. 

The British had a disastrous turn in the Middle East.  A British HQ, a Corps, a Fighter Squadron and a Tactical Bomber Squadron were all destroyed.  Their damaged Aircraft Carrier was sunk off Aqaba.  The British keep moving towards Damascus which caused me to cancel a planned landing by an Italian HQ and two Armies in Syria. 

Disaster for the UK

A Soviet Battleship left Leningrad and sank a German Destroyer squadron.  But the Kriegsmarine sank the Soviet Battleship.  Once again, the Soviets launched widespread ineffective attacks in the South.  German troops with their allies destroyed 9 Communist ground units this turn.  Tallinn is close to falling in the North.

Jerusalem and Amman Captured! Turn 50, August 2, 1942: German and Italian Forces captured Jerusalem and Amman which will conquer both Palestine and Transjordan.  On to Syria and Iraq!

Palestine & Transjordan Fall

Germany achieved Advanced Fighters level 4 and Industrial Technology level 4.  Germany reinvested in Advanced Fighter research and also funded research in Advanced Submarines and Anti-Tank weapons.  Italy achieved level 1 in Production Technology.  Germany invested in diplomatic bribes on the US Congress. 

This turn a Russian Fighter Squadron and six ground units were destroyed.  The Yugoslavian Army and HQ were operated to the Southern Russian Front.  Tallinn is close to falling in the North.

North Russia – Tallinn in Danger

Despite the massive Russian losses, they continue to field new formations.  Soviet Morale is 95% and UK Morale is 56%.  Germany has 114% morale and Italy has 99%.

South Russia August 2. Note that Soviet Attacks are Opening a Gap in their lines.

Turn 51, August 16, 1942: Congress loves bribes!  The USA moved another 4% towards the Axis and leans only 22% to the Allies.  Germany achieved Advanced Submarines level 2 and reinvested in this technology.  Germany also purchased a Yugoslavian Army and two German Corps.

Tallinn fell in the North.  Germany can consolidate their forces and push towards Leningrad.  Eight Communist ground units were destroyed this turn bringing USSR losses to 82 ground units.  According to the reports tab, they still field 69 land units.  A UK Medium bomber squadron was destroyed on the ground in the Middle East.

Tallinn Falls
8-16-1942 South Russia – Gap in the Lines Increasing
Beirut Captured

Turn 52: August 30, 1942: Germany keeps driving in the North.  In the South, the Communists did not protect their flanks and five units were surrounded.  Another six ground units were destroyed in Russia. 

5 Communist Units Pocketed in South Russia

A UK Corps and an HQ were destroyed in Syria.

Syrian Cities Secure – On to Baghdad!

Italy achieved anti-submarine warfare technology level 1 and reinvested in this technology.

Russian morale is FINALLY starting to drop hitting 91%.

January to May 1942: Egypt Captured and Commies Mauled: Strategic Command WW2 War in Europe AAR

Turn 42: February 11, 1942: – USSR Declares War on the Axis!  Declaring war in the heart of winter is nuts, but Stalin did it.  The USA is leaning 30% towards the allies and is the primary diplomatic target of Germany.  Italy is focusing on persuading Yugoslavia to join the Axis.  Because Axis forces are closing on the Suez Canal, the USA sent a load of tanks over and the UK formed a new armor unit in Cairo.  Axis forces then captured Alexandria.  Egypt will leave the allies if Cairo is captured.

The Axis made a number of strategic choices.  First, Italy decided not to send an Expeditionary Force to attack the USSR.  That move would have been costly (400 total points) and yielded only one HQ and 2 Corps.  Instead, Italy will focus on the Middle East.  Germany paid for the Atlantic Wall and Costal Artillery units were formed at three ports.  Germany also formed the “Free India” Garrison.  Interestingly, I recently read an article about the Free India force in a military magazine.  After the War the captured leadership of the Free India Garrison became a major political headache for the UK.  Eventually, they decided not to shoot them as traitors for fear of even greater unrest in India.

Germany achieved Logistics level 2 and reinvested in that field.  Italy invested in Spying and Intelligence.

Axis forces destroyed on Commonwealth Army and Garrison in Egypt while capturing the Port of Alexandra.  Germany funded raising a Bulgarian Army.

Alexandria Captured
Starting Positions at the Start of the War
Baltic Front Advance
South of Great Marsh

German forces in Russia destroyed one Army, one Armored Unit, one Corps and 2 Garrisons.  The USSR was not prepared to defend their borders when they declared war.

Turn 43: March 25, 1942: There were major diplomatic successes with Yugoslavia moving 21% to the Axis (66% now) and the USA moving 4% towards the Axis.  Unfortunately, the USA reacted negatively towards Axis forces closing in on the Suez Canal so the net was USA 31% towards the Allies.  Diplomatic efforts were refunded after these successes.

Eleven Soviet ground forces were destroyed this turn.  A Bulgarian HQ and a Hungarian Armored unit were formed.  Aircraft sunk a British Destroyer Flotilla in the English Channel. 

Baltic Front

A huge sandstorm engulfed Egypt halting all combat operations.

Turn 44: April 16, 1942: Nine Communist ground units were destroyed on the Russian Front.  According to the Reports Tab – the USSR currently has 65 ground units which is more than they had just prior to declaring war.  Stalin has raised a huge force very quickly.  Twenty-eight ground units are currently spotted on the Eastern Front meaning about half the Russian Army deployment is unknown.

Northern Front – Riga Threatened
Southern Front

The Egyptian sandstorm continued for the second month.

Germany discovered Long Range Aircraft level 3 and invested in Ground Attack Weapons.  Italy invested in Naval Weaponry and Anti-Submarine Warfare research.  A Hungarian Corps was funded by Germany.

Cairo Falls! Turn 45 May 8, 1942:  Cairo quickly fell after the multi-month sandstorm finally lifted.  A British Armor Unit and a Submarine Flotilla were destroyed.  This cut the Egyptian-UK supply line which hurts British military production.  The weak resistance force in Baghdad was destroyed and Iraq was seized by the British. 

Cairo Captured!

Yugoslavia swung to 83% in favor of the Axis.  Hopefully they will join the Axis before the end of 1942.  Germany researched Amphibious Warfare and Spying & Intelligence both at Level 2.  Germany reinvested in Spying research and also purchased a research chit in Long Range Aircraft.  Italy researched Naval Weaponry Level 1.  Three Anti-tank units were formed by Germany as part of a triggered event.

Another eight ground units were destroyed in Russia as the Axis continued their advance.

Northern Front
Southern Front

Turn 46: May 30, 1942:  As expected, Egypt surrendered.  Germany purchased 2 Romanian Corps as they continued to advance in the Baltic towards Leningrad. 

Italy researched Production Technology Level 1 while reinvesting in this field and purchasing an additional research chit in Spying and Intelligence.

Riga Falls

My Russian Offensive attempts to keep as short of a front as possible. Offensives can only occur where the supply situation is good. For this reason, German forces are advancing along major rail and road nets. They must capture major cities at major road junctions. Riga’s capture eliminates a pocket along the Baltic. All German ground attack and medium bombers are concentrated on the Northern advance. I’m grinding towards Leningrad while using the Pripet March to guard my flank. The Southernmost line of attack is aimed towards the road and rail hub of Minsk. That will be a stopping point and the anchor of that part of the line.

Southern Front

My goal on the Southern Front is to eliminate the pocket targeting Southern Poland and Hungary. If the pocket is eliminated, the front line is shortened and troops can be transferred to the Northern Front. Only two German armored units are on the Southern Front along with one Hungarian and one Romanian Armored unit. For some unknown reason, Stalin has the majority of his army in the South including almost all armor. As you can see from the screenshot above, Russian forces have not been pushed back terribly far in the South. But a huge Russian armored force has been destroyed. The Communists keep sending units far in advance of their main lines, where they get isolated and destroyed.

The final reason I’m targeting Leningrad is my desire to cut the northern supply line from the Allies to the Soviet Artic Ports. If Leningrad falls, diplomatic pressure may entice Finland to join the Axis making it possible to close the communists artic supply line.

Strategic Situation and 1942 Plans

First, I review the diplomacy, research, and battlefield situation.  Next, I outline my strategic goals for 1942.

Strategic Command has a reports tab providing information on number of units and losses to date.

Military Might and Military Losses:

              Germany has the largest land force (102 units) followed by the USSR (49), the UK (34), Italy (16) and the USA (7).

German land forces are currently concentrated on the border of the USSR.  North Africa has a smaller force and there are several small strategic reserves.  Italy’s troops are in North Africa or guarding Italy.  To the best of my knowledge, the UK has forces in Egypt and the Middle East and in the UK itself.  US and USSR forces are within their respective borders.

              The German Air Fleet is larger than the rest of the world combined (17).  The UK has 7 followed by Italy (3) and the USSR and the USA each with 2.  World Naval Power is roughly even between the Axis and the Allies in numbers, but the Axis fleet has a larger concentration of submarines.  The UK has the biggest fleet (30), followed by Germany (19), Italy (11), the USSR (4) and the United States (1).  Axis Naval Forces are concentrated in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas.  I believe most of the Allies Mediterranean fleet has been sunk.  I know the Mediterranean is closed to Allied fleets.  The location of the rest of the Allied Navies is unknown.

              German and Italian Losses have been minimal with one Italian Army destroyed.  France lost 42 land, 4 air and 4 sea units before surrendering the second time.  Poland lost 9 land and 1 air fleet.  The UK has lost 28 land units, 12 sea units and 8 air units.

National Morale & Diplomatic Efforts:

              Noncombatants have an automatic 100% morale.  Winning increases national morale while losing hurts morale.  Germany has 113% morale, Italy 92% and the UK with 71%.  Italy took a morale hit when the Axis declared war on Spain.  Although Italy has had military success in the Mediterranean on both land and sea, its morale has not budged.

              In diplomacy, the USSR is 92% towards the Allies.  Once a country passes 90% they start mobilization followed by a declaration of war.  The USSR will join the Allies within two turns.

              Other notable diplomatic leanings are the USA which is 30% towards the Allies and Portugal which is 65% towards the allies.  Yugoslavia is 45% towards the Axis and Ireland leans 35% Axis.

              Almost all diplomatic efforts have targeted the USA to keep them from joining the Allies.  A smaller effort was aimed at the USSR with few observable benefits.

Research:

              Germany has maximized technology in: Command & Control; Infantry Warfare; Armored Warfare; Aerial Warfare; Naval Warfare; Infantry Weapons; Naval Weaponry; Artillery Weapons and Mobility.  For the rest of the discussion I use the format (x of y) where x = current technology level and y = maximum technology level.

              Areas with one current research investment are: Amphibious Warfare (1 of 5); Spying & Intelligence (1 of 5); Production Technology (4 of 5); Advanced Tanks (3 of 5); Advanced Fighters (3 of 5); and Advanced Submarines (1 of 5).  Areas with 2 investment chits are Logistics (1 of 5); Industrial Technology (3 of 5) and Long Range Aircraft (2 of 5).

              Italy is behind Germany in most Technology.  Italy has fewer industrial resources to invest, started behind Germany in most technology, and has a much smaller military.  Italy has maxed their investment in Production Technology and Industrial Technology. 

1942 Strategic Planning

Diplomacy: Germany will continue to focus almost all diplomatic efforts on the USA hoping to keep them from joining the Allies as long as possible.  Germany will put minimal effort into persuading Yugoslavia to join the Axis.  Italy will focus her efforts on influencing Yugoslavia.  If Yugoslavia enters the war her ground forces can contribute to confronting the Communists in the East.

Research: Germany has maximum research investment in Production and Industrial Technology.  No further investments are needed in these areas.  German Research Goals for 1942 are: Advanced Tanks; Advanced Fighters; Long Range Aircraft; Logistics; Spying & Intelligence and Advanced Submarines in that order.  If any additional research opportunities arise Germany will invest in Ground Attack Weapons (2 of 3); Anti-Submarine Warfare (0 of 5) and Anti-Tank Warfare (1 of 5).

              Italy will focus primarily on technology which improves her Navy.  Most of Italy’s contribution for the rest of the war will be at sea.

Military Goals for 1942

              USSR: Most land and air forces will target the USSR.  The primary offensive thrust will be through the Baltics towards Leningrad.  The German Baltic Fleet will hopefully locate and destroy the Communist Baltic Fleet.  Germany will use the Pripet Marshes to guard the right flank as they advance towards Leningrad.  Minsk is at the North East corner of the huge marsh and is a natural stopping point.

              The Southern Front in Russia has a huge bulge in front of the Pripet Marshes and heading into Hungary.  Minor Axis Allies (Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary) will have all of their forces in this front.  A large contingent of primarily infantry with one or two HQ units and minimal armor will be used to reduce this bulge and shorten this flank.  After the bulge is reduced the Axis minors with sufficient German reserves will hold this front without further movement East in 1942.

              I have multiple reasons for this strategy against the godless Communists.  First, If the Axis can take Leningrad and close the Northern Ports, then foreign aid is largely shut down.  Leningrad is a major supply and rail head.  If Leningrad falls, then there are excellent rail lines in three directions heading towards Moscow.  The rail lines are critical for supply and predetermine possible lines of attack.  The final reason is the Russian Baltic Fleet.  If it is destroyed, then Germany and Italy can fully concentrate their Naval Forces on the British Isles.

              Mideast:  Goal one is taking Egypt and closing the Suez Canal.  Goal two is Palestine and Trans Jordan.  Goal three is Iraq.  The final goal is capturing Iran – but that will probably occur in 1943.  Aside from garrisoning captured national morale points, I doubt if additional forces will be needed in this region.  There are 4 HQ units (2 German and 2 Italian) and sufficient armor and infantry to achieve these objectives.  The problem is getting the German and Italian forces which took Algeria to Egypt.  If air and sea sweeps indicate that Allied Naval Forces have been defeated in the Med, then these troops can use sea transport to reach the front.  Although Iraq is currently part of the Axis, it is weakly garrisoned and out of contact with German and Italian Forces.  It is anticipated that the Axis will lose, then retake Iraq.

              Naval Strategy: Goal one is ensuring the Mediterranean is under 100% control.  Goal 2 is destroying the Russian Baltic Fleet.  Goal three is closing the convoy routes from Egypt and Basra to the United Kingdom.  If these goals are accomplished, the entire German fleet and most of the Italian Fleet will move West towards the Atlantic.

Air Strategy:  Ground Attack and Medium Bombers will be transferred to the Russian front to aid in the Leningrad offensive.  Minimal fighter squadrons will guard the southern Russian Front.  Current Axis air units in Egypt will remain with this force until the entire Middle East is conquered.  Several fighter squadrons will remain in France to prevent Allied bombing raids into Germany and occupied Europe.