Sea Lion - How would you do it?



  • If you wanted to try out a Sea Lion then how would you go about blitzing the UK?


  • Customizer

    Generally, Sealion is kind of a standard move if Germany wants to attempt it. In some cases, Germany elects not to go for Sealion and goes straight for Barbarossa instead, or occasionally someone will come up with some other inventive strategy.
    Anyway, if you want to try a Sealion, usually it goes this way:
    G 1 – Purchase an Aircraft Carrier, Destroyer and Submarine.
    COMBAT MOVE: Take France, Normandy and Yugoslavia. Use Luftwaffe and Subs to kill as much Royal Navy as possible, especially Sea Zones 110 and 111. You might also sacrifice your Battleship from SZ 113 to save some of your planes.
    NCM: Cruiser & Transport from SZ 114 to SZ 112. 1 Infantry from Norway to activate Finland. 1 Infantry from Romania to activate Bulgaria. 11 Infantry & 3 Artillery from Germany to W. Germany. 1 Fighter & 1 Stuka to SZ 112 (to land on new carrier), all other surviving planes land on Holland/Belgium or W Germany, depending on their range.
    PLACE: Aircraft Carrier, Destroyer and Submarine in SZ 112.
    COLLECT: Between the territories you conquered and plundering the French treasury, you should have about 70 or 71 IPCs for next round.
    G 2 – Purchase 10 transports.
    COMBAT MOVE: Won’t be much combat. If any Royal Navy survived and you have the chance, finish them off with your surviving Luftwaffe and/or Subs.
    NCM: Move any surviving land units from France back to W Germany. Move infantry from Bulgaria to Romania. Split surviving units in Yugoslavia between Romania and Slovakia/Hungary, perhaps a tank or two can go up to Poland.
    PLACE: 10 transports in SZ 112.
    COLLECT:  Should be about 51 IPCs from territories and NOs.
    G 3 – Purchase land units to place in Berlin to go to the Eastern Front. Once London falls, Russia can attack so they may do so. If not, then Russia is your next target anyway. If possible, replace some of your Luftwaffe losses from rounds 1 and 2.
    COMBAT MOVE: INVASION! Fill all 11 transports in SZ 112 with 11 infantry and all the tanks and artillery you have available. If you run out of tanks or artillery, use any surviving mechs or other infantry. Just make sure that both spots on all 11 transports are full. Move fleet from SZ 112 to SZ 110. Unload transports into England. Fly all possible aircraft to England as well. If the UK did not scramble when you attacked the navy and still has fighters available to scramble now, you should divert a couple of planes to assist your destroyer and cruiser, but the rest can go on to England. Odds are that the UK saw your purchases and bought accordingly, so he will have a big stack of men there, so it will be one hell of a battle. However, Germany should have the edge in firepower if you didn’t lose too many planes taking out the Royal Navy. In most Sealion battles like this, the odds are usually about 65-75% in Germany’s favor.
    Of course, there are many things that affect this. If you lost too many planes taking out the Royal Navy, then you won’t have as many to support the invasion. If UK decides NOT to scramble, then any planes you sent to support the fleet are pretty much wasted, although you will get a cruiser support shot for the first round.
    You have to remember the pros and cons of a successful Sealion.
    PROS: You will get to plunder London’s treasury and Great Britain itself is woth 6 IPCs. Also, taking Britain out will be a big help to your little buddy Italy, who should be able to dominate the Med and Africa in the next 2 or 3 rounds.
    CONS: Once London Falls, both Russia and the United States can immediately declare war on the Axis and attack. With all the preperation for Sealion, your Eastern border may be weak which will invite a large Russian attack. The US may very well end up taking London right back in a couple of round and may also screw up plans for your across the world friend Japan.
    Anyway, that’s a pretty general plan for Sealion. There are some that plan it for a G 4 attack or even later, but G 3 is kind of the standard if you are set on doing Sealion.  Good Luck.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    Everything knp wrote is correct and that’s a great way to do sealion.  I’ll just add a few more little bits to it:

    1. sink z106 with subs G1 so the Canadians don’t come to London.  Get the subs out of there G2 because you want UK to earn as much as possible so you can take it all G3
    2. SBR London G2 and bring lots of escort fighters and a tac so you can hit the airbase
    3. Do not let Japan make any declarations of war against UK/ANZAC or USA on J1.
    4. Do not let Japan make any unprovoked declarations of war against UK/ANZAC or USA on J2 if USA built bombers on USA1.  Otherwise those bombers may go to reinforce London and those 5 extra hits may ruin your sealion
    5. Italy should put its planes in Paris or West Germany in case you want to SBR the London airbase on I2.  A risky move, but if successful the Brits wont be able to scramble so you don’t have to provide air cover to z110 on G3.
    6. Watch out for a nasty airstrike that may sink your fancy fleet in z110.  Warning signs are if USA has bombers in East US and carrier based planes in z106, and UK has activated Eireland.  In that case, build a carrier from the Normandy IC and land some planes on it when you do your sealion.

  • Customizer

    Yeah, I forgot to mention SZ 106.
    UGH! I also forgot the SBR. Oftentimes when I am Germany and try a Sealion, I even forget to actually do it. Very good idea though.

    Hey Variance,
    Very good idea about the extra carrier built by the Normandy IC. I never even thought of that one. Good way to protect your German fleet for later use, like an amphib landing in Leningrad perhaps?
    You probably work better with your Axis partners than we do. Far too often our group ends up playing like six individual countries with the most help being providing a landing space for planes or an occasional “1-2 punch” sort of thing.
    You mentioned having the Italians fly up and blast London’s airbase, which is a terrific idea. Then all your Luftwaffe can commit to attacking Britain and you get the cruiser shot to boot. Our problem is that Italy is usually so involved trying to clear the Med and take Egypt that they can’t spare the planes. Of course, with London out, that will make it much easier for Italy and they will get Egypt in another round or two, but I guess we fail to think that far ahead.
    We have even had a few problems between Japan and Germany, although whichever of us are playing those two usually work together pretty well. There have been times though where the Japan player will be like “I want to attack now. I want to go after the DEI!” and the German player will be like “But then you will get the Americans involved and I will never get London!”


  • '12

    How often are US Bombers a real threat?  It seems that to be really effective you have to make that buy US1 and US2, and you’ll be at least 1 short if you made just 1 Carrier to get the Fighters into SZ102 (or is it 120?).  German players do the Naval buy in the vast majority of games, but I’ve never seen the Bomber response ever.  Probably because if you don’t get the invasion, the Bombers become a wasteful buy since you have a lot of high-attack units sitting around with no fodder to protect them.

    What do you do with all those Bombers that early in the game when the invasion doesn’t happen?  Fly them to London and SBR Germany every turn until they get shot down?



  • Bombers are a real threat and very flexible later.

    Send them to New Zealand and take out chunks of Japan around the DEI.

    Watch some of all we need is love’s games and you’ll have a new appreciation for bombers.

    –Jeff


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    @knp7765:

    Yeah, I forgot to mention SZ 106.
    UGH! I also forgot the SBR. Oftentimes when I am Germany and try a Sealion, I even forget to actually do it. Very good idea though.

    Hey Variance,
    Very good idea about the extra carrier built by the Normandy IC. I never even thought of that one. Good way to protect your German fleet for later use, like an amphib landing in Leningrad perhaps?
    You probably work better with your Axis partners than we do. Far too often our group ends up playing like six individual countries with the most help being providing a landing space for planes or an occasional “1-2 punch” sort of thing.
    You mentioned having the Italians fly up and blast London’s airbase, which is a terrific idea. Then all your Luftwaffe can commit to attacking Britain and you get the cruiser shot to boot. Our problem is that Italy is usually so involved trying to clear the Med and take Egypt that they can’t spare the planes. Of course, with London out, that will make it much easier for Italy and they will get Egypt in another round or two, but I guess we fail to think that far ahead.
    We have even had a few problems between Japan and Germany, although whichever of us are playing those two usually work together pretty well. There have been times though where the Japan player will be like “I want to attack now. I want to go after the DEI!” and the German player will be like “But then you will get the Americans involved and I will never get London!”

    Well a lot of those ideas aren’t mine.  When the final rules and setup were being tweaked (alpha 2, 3) a lot of people considered every possible thing that could be done to maximize sealion working and how allies could maximize the defense.  That’s all posted over at the harris site and people like corriganbp and oztea deserve a lot of credit for making it work.  If both sides do everything right and dice aren’t ridiculous, then sealion will work about 2 out of 3 tries. The trouble then is Germany can’t really win against the USSR so it falls to Japan to go for the pacific VC win.  It’s a lot easier for the axis to work as a team than the allies, which may be why it seems just about balanced in 1-on-1 online games but not so much in real games (which I never get to play).

    Eggman, a nice anti-sealion buy would be 1 carrier in z101 and 3 bombers in West USA if the plan is to sink the fleet, or better yet just build 4 bombers save $4, then all 5 go to London if Germany builds the transports.  The advantage to this is if axis is determined to go thru with sealion, then Japan’s schedule has to be pushed way way back or face a failed sealion (e.g. a british destroyer in z37 can stop a J3 India crush if Japan can’t clear it J2). If Russia is too strong to beat after sealion, and Japan is mucking around, then its a pretty sad situation for the axis despite the fun they had defeating London.  Now if the Germans back out of sealion, then they blew the first turn income on naval units and like jeff said, those bombers will be murder elsewhere.  Part of the sealion max defense is to not do Taranto so the German naval build has that going for it, but the whole schedule is faster if you skip the sealion threat and just go straight barbarossa.  These counters are why it is out of fashion now, and a lot of people seem to be thinking more along the barbarossa lines.



  • Uk builds 6 infantry and 1 fig UK1 and UK2 builds as much ground as possible(counting an average bombing run while bringing over as many units as it can from Canada.

    UK, has enough to drive G3 sealion down to 30-40%.  This is also including a 97 strike.  But if there is a credible sealion risk, UK stacks 92 UK1 and brings planes/navy back UK2.

    G3 Sealion only really works now a days if UK buys heavy for africa or germany gets unaturally good dice.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    The success of a G3 sea lion is highly dependent on what the UK does, because a few units in or out of the fight can really tip the odds.  For example, if the UK builds all infantry both turns and does not do the sz 97 attack then they can have 5aa, 26inf, 1mech, 1tank, 5ftrs and 1bomber defending your attack of 11inf, 2arty,9tanks, 4ftr (assuming no losses and 1ftr covering the fleet) 5tac and 2bombers the odds of winning that fight are less than 20%.  On the otherhand if 2ftrs and 1bomber are in Med due to the sz97 attack and the 1inf and 1tank could not get over from Canada, then the odds are closer to 75%.

    One thing you can do, if you made the big investment in transports and the strategic bombing did not work out as well as you expected, and you find the odds are prohibitive, is to land your 22 units on Scotland on G3 and then attack London on G4 with those plus another 22 units (just remember to buy 10 inf for Berlin on G4 so you are ready for the Russian on slaught).

    Another option is to buy 2 transports on G1 instead of the sub and destroyer.  That way you can land 6 units in Scotland on G2 that the UK either has to attack (drawing units out of London) or are additional units for your attack on G3.  Just make sure your navy is strong enough not to be sunk by a UK2 attack.

    On the subject of US bombers, the real threat they pose is not so much as defenders of London (although as noted above a few units can make a difference) but as destroyers of the German navy and your 77 ipc investment in transports.  5 bombers and 2 carriers worth of planes flying out of sz 102 can take out most German fleets (which may mean you need to make a naval buy for Normandy on your attack turn as Variance suggested) or you need to make sure that he cannot land in Erie or Scotland (this is why UK players often send the mech to Erie on UK1)


  • '12

    I agree that Bombers rock, I just think you can buy too many too early.  Since I haven’t seen to many Sea Lion games unfold I’ll take everyone’s word for it that they aren’t wasted (even if the attack is called off).  Where else can the Bombers land if Germany diverts 1 TT to take Ireland?  Since it’s been pointed out that Japan needs to hold off on the DoW to make this work, then you aren’t landing them in London US2 to count as hits in the G3 attack, which means that Germany can still probably have good odds to win even with the loss of 2 extra ground units.  If you didn’t get to land in London to defend and you are blocked from a round 3 attack due to lack of landing places, what is the Allied play then?


  • TripleA

    Another alternative is carrier 2 transport buy round 1.  You drop 6 units on scotland. The drawback to this is that it can be countered if UK keeps enough air on london and buys a sub or two, as he can sink the naval the shucks units over.

    The advantage to carrier 2 transport buy, is you can shuck units to the baltic states and war with Russia instead.

    Plus you can still do the UK thing,

    On G2 you should bomb london to restrict their purchase and damage their airbase.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    OK Eggman so if Germany builds carrier, destroyer, sub, or like Cow said it builds carrier, 2 transports (or builds nothing at all), let’s say USA decides to build 4 bombers and UK builds all infantry and does not do taranto, brings fleet and planes home etc. so its a strong sealion defense.

    Now if Germany builds transports anyway then sealion is on!  At this point if Japan makes an unprovoked dow on UK/ANZAC or USA, then those bombers fly to London and sealion will fail.  The axis side knows that so Japan cools its heels.  Sealion happens and London falls (2 out of 3 times), but then USSR builds such an enormous infantry reserve over the next few turns that a Europe win is next to impossible.  Don’t forget Russia also gets a windfall for holding originally axis territories on Eastern Europe for a turn or 2, plus Iraq.  So after sealion the axis must win on the Pacific side, but now the problem is that because USA built those bombers Japan has been on such a slow schedule that UK pacific and ANZAC are pretty strong.  Taking Calcutta and/or Sydney and/or Hawaii will be hard.

    If Germany does not build the transports, those bombers are not useless.  They can cause all kinds of mayhem down around Australia or they could go to the med and do can openers for UK, or maybe even just reinforce a VC somewhere like they would have done for London.

    If you are doing the sink-the-fleet approach (ie build carrier and 3 bombers), you could still send the 4 to London if Japan declares war, or if Japan cools it you can try and sink the fleet and land in Scotland or Eireland.  Notice that Germany can prevent this airstrike but that means unloading 2 of the transports on Eireland and Scotland instead of London and that might be enough to make sealion fail or lose air units.  Or they could spend money on carriers instead of infantry to defend Berlin.  The cute part of the sink the fleet thing is when you lose the carrier based planes first and then roll the carrier(s) out panama canal to the new naval base you will build there plus some fighters in Western USA.



  • ofcourse having those transports in the Baltic makes for a great way to dump troops into Lenningrad if you opt for Barbarossa instead. Make sure you protect those transports near airbases that way you can scramble as well. I like to have 5 transports just outside of Lenningrad and 5 in SZ 113. That gives you 10 new units to drop into Lenningrad plus what you build there.


  • 2017 2016 Customizer

    @variance:

     If both sides do everything right and dice aren’t ridiculous, then sealion will work about 2 out of 3 tries.

    You got that right! Last weekend I think I had the worst dice I’ve ever rolled. I couldn’t roll a 1,2 or 3 to save my life. Most of the night it was 4’s, 5’s & 6’s. That can be very demoralizing and hard to get past.



  • Something I thought about was the attempts at sinking the “non-main” fleets around the UK.  You know, the one off Canada with the DD and TT or the one in SZ109 or even the CR in SZ91.

    Now I know the UK can get in 2, or even 4 more units from Canada if you ignore those ships early, but I think there is a significant benefit to initially ignoring them:

    I would rather have fodder in the form of SS to take hits when I’m risking my aircraft to eliminate the fleets in SZ110 and SZ111 so that I can leverage those aircraft to clear the way on G2 and/or G3 in battles I’m confident I’ll win.

    So instead of risking a SS vs DD in SZ106, or 2 SS in SZ109, I think theres more benefit and less risk in sinking those battleships early while preserving my aircraft and then dealing with some DD rolling @2 under potentially scrambling aircraft with the remaining subs with the entire German Air Force swinging where there is likely only one roll of the dice to clear the threat.

    I’ll take my chances later with 4 more fodder units on London if I have more of my aircraft engaged in that attack because I protected them with my SS fodder units early.

    Food for thought anyways, particularly if you want to wait until G4 to Sea Lion with “better” odds.



  • Interesting, but what would you do with the one in 117?


  • Customizer

    @corporal:

    ofcourse having those transports in the Baltic makes for a great way to dump troops into Lenningrad if you opt for Barbarossa instead. Make sure you protect those transports near airbases that way you can scramble as well. I like to have 5 transports just outside of Lenningrad and 5 in SZ 113. That gives you 10 new units to drop into Lenningrad plus what you build there.

    I once got a Sealion of opportunity that way. I bought a carrier and 2 transports G1. UK 1 fighter and 6 infantry for London, plus my subs in SZ 106 failed so he brought over that DD and transport with 1 infantry and 1 tank. I decided that Sealion was a “no-go”. On G2, I bought 2 more transports along with some planes, ships and land units. On G3 I attacked Russia and used those 5 transports to hit Leningrad. All was successful and I was making good gains against the Russians.
    UK saw this and got a little careless. He didn’t buy any more for London and used up his stack of men in invasions of Normandy, Holland and Norway. All were successful, but I also took them all back. I had to use those 5 transports to take Norway back with men and artillery/tanks from W Germany. My Baltic fleet plus planes also sank his transports and their escorts in SZ 112. This was round 7 when I took Norway back.
    The US was mostly occupied with Japan so they weren’t doing much in the Atlantic, mostly bombing my factories and building an invasion force to hit Italy, but it was still in E USA at this time. This was when the UK made a fatal error. Instead of dumping a stack of men to protect London, they replaced the lost transports and a couple of warships for escorts. London was relatively lightly defended, mostly with tanks and men to go on the transports. So, on G8 I loaded my 5 transports and hit London and took it, which also got rid of the US bomber threat.
    A couple of rounds later, the US did manage to get over there and liberate London and even sank my fleet, but Italy had gotten to Cairo and I took Moscow by that time. Next round I took Stalingrad and we had an Axis win on the Europe board.


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