The Gibraltar Lockdown -and what can the allies do about it?!

  • On special request, a thread to discuss Gibraltar  :-).

    The Situation:
    GE1 builds ships. CV+DD+SUB. Standard attacks on Paris, RN, etc. Bismarck is kept alive using the strafe tactic on SZ111. Italy grabs Gibraltar IT1 or (preferably) IT2. Germany flies in as much air as needed to make the Rock impenetrable. Up to the entire Luftwaffe can be stationed here. GE + IT combine their navy in SZ92 or #93, depending on the allied (USA) fleet attack strength.
    This looks harmless at first because the luftwaffe is stationed in some far away corner and not active in Russia/West Europe, moving Moscow into a comfort zone for a while. But… if you consider the opportunities it gives to the axis, combined with the lost stepping stone for the allies it may not be so harmless anymore.

    I am particularly interested in experiences with:

    A) Various ways to make sure Italy stays out of Gibraltar. Preferably without loosing Egypt too, but that’s optional.
    B) Long term effects for the allies if the UK does everything within its power to stay in control of Gibraltar first 3 rounds.
    C) Both short and long term effects if the UK fails to stay in charge of the Rock.
    D) The effects of loosing Gibraltar because the USA is kept out of the war until US4. Or… can your UK stay in control of the Rock even then?

    I have gathered some thoughts about all this, but as I am not particularly experienced in this course of events, I hope there are people with more experience in this strategy who are willing to share their experiences in any or all of the above (with or without an allied bid).

  • Buy 10 Subs and simply sink the Axis fleet and ignore the aircraft altogether?

    I doubt Germany and Italy would want to leave just aircraft there once there is no fleet to protect it and initiate a scramble they won’t win.

    Double bonus for convoy for Italy for remaining subs.

    My friend does this often with the US in the Pacific, forcing Japan to address the fact that not having enough DD means once the IJN is cornered, its over.

  • Customizer

    Well, if Germany puts all it’s planes in Gibraltar, they aren’t doing anything against Russia or Britain, so it’s kind of like taking them out of the game.
    Also, by round 4, the US can have a lot of transports with land units to fill them. If the German and Italian fleets are in SZ 92 or 93, then the US has a clear path to SZ 91 and can invade Gibraltar. Granted, it is probably a battle the US won’t win, but they can kill a lot of those German planes. It might be worth losing Gibraltar for a few rounds.
    Also, Spendo02 has a good idea. While the US is going after the German planes, UK could build a bunch of subs to go after the German and Italian ships. It will be some gnarly, bloody battles but I think the Axis will come off losing the most. The Allies will be better able to rebuild their losses while the Axis will have a hard time replacing their planes and probably not even be able to replace the ships.

  • Honestly, if the plan is to deny the Allies use of the NB at the rock - why not just simply SBR the NB by Italy?

    US can never use the NB unless the SBR utterly fails, which accomplishes the same point of interrupting the rotation of TT to and from Europe.

    In fact, the surprise factor can set the Allies back multiple rounds if you time it correctly and strand a landing force without US reinforcements in the pipeline.

  • '14 Customizer

    Very good point Spendo02… I have bombed that naval base many times to limit the use of Gib’s NB.  Without the NB they cannot reach Italy, W.Germany, Denmark or Norway.  I usually do this with Italy when Japan is planning to declare war on Turn 3.  This is the most important time that the axis must be coordinated.  Japan likes to dow on turn 3 to prevent UK or ANZAC from blocking off the DEI or taking some interior islands thus slowing down Japan even more.  If Japan attacks on turn 3 they get the jump on UK and ANZAC’s transports and DD’s blocking the DEI.  But… This causes USA to move to Gib on turn 3 which can be the end of Italy’s navy if USA put its CVs in 102.  This allows the planes to hit 92.  Its very difficult for Italy to secure Gib without the help of Germany because on round 2 they are lucky if they can take Gib and Morocco.  I’m assuming Italy takes Tunsia on Round 1 with inf+art+mech+tank and then continues to move to Algeria in Turn 2.  The axis must take Gib, Morocco and Algeria for that navy to be safe.  Its rare for Italy to have 2 transports on turn 2 unless they purchased one. Even if the axis control those territories its easy for USA to take either Morocco or Gib to setup a place to for UK to land its fighters from London.

    I think moving the entire navy to Gib is a trap.  Every time it ends in complete loss of Italy’s navy for a 1 round block that could be accomplished with a DD blocking, 1 transport taking Gib or Bombing the NB.  Bombing the naval base seems the best because USA cannot fix the problem since UK is in control of the territory.  Its better than a block because France, USA and UK can remove blocks for each other rather easy.

    Also… Remember subs can move through Gib without the need of control.  I have used the reverse of the “sub technique” for Germany and Italy before with success.  It mostly depends on how much USA plans to build in the Atlantic

  • Thanks for the reactions so far guys!

    Please remember I am not asking for all the awesome things the AXIS can do to make this work -rather what the allies can/need to do to stop it  😉.
    And then especiialy long term experiences as I already have some idas for the short term… Like how will things work out for the allies if they ignore the fact that they don’t have the Rock anymore and start invading from Iceland. Or how do you personally prevent Gibraltar from falling. Stuff like that.

  • 1. Scramble all UK aircraft on the G1 attack.  Sink as many ships / shoot down as many German aircraft as possible.  As this is vital to the Axis strategy of leveraging a Navy and aircraft from Gib - the less they have of them to stack up the better.

    2. Suicide your Med fleet to cripple the Italian fleet.  Again, if the Italian navy / air force is giving you problems, this is your best chance to do some damage now before it all stacks up off of Gib.

    3. UK2 and UK3 can consist of 3 SS placed off of Canada, plus 1 Bomber each round placed on London.  6 SS and 2 Bomber (potentially 3 depending on what you did with the one in London) is nothing to sneeze at for a navy that probably has 1 DD off of Gib, maybe 2.

    4. Save as much of your remaining navy as possible (IE the DD in SZ109/106, CR in SZ91).  Position them off Canada or SZ83.  These are both places the Axis navy does not want to go to hunt you down.  The strength of the Axis is in stacking together in SZ91, and an aerial counter attack if you fail to reclaim Gib.

    5. Sacrificing the starting UK TT to get 2-4 extra ground units on Gib will prove troublesome for an Axis trying to make a landing (Ger or Ita) with only a single TT.

    6. Fly that French Ftr down to Gib.

    7. Send the UK TT from SZ98 to Malta, snag the Inf/AA and drop them off at Gib.  You do expose any surviving aircraft from the suicide attack on the Italian navy, but I’ll chance it if it means an expensive attack on Gib.

    Overall that should get you something like up to 5 ground units on Gib + AA + 1 Ftr.  Ground units depend much on what you lose to the Axis before you get to go.  Its going to take a lot more than 1 Inf/Art on a TT to dislodge them, making it expensive for the Axis to take early.

    You also position yourself with somewhere around 6 SS, 2-3 Bombers, 2-3 DD and maybe a CR to strike against a SZ91 naval presence by the Axis - and thats as the UK.  No US purchase modifications necessary unless the Axis keeps spending on a Naval conflict it cannot win.

    Just make sure you are able to finish off stacked Axis aircraft on Gib, or put such a severe dent in them the US doesn’t have to worry about its fleet being sunk sitting in SZ91.

  • You make some good points Spendo!
    1 question though:
    Do you have experience with building lots of SUB/STR with the UK this early? I mean, won’t they just loose London horribly?

    I know the allies can take it if London falls with just 1 or 2 axis land units surviving but if Germany can keep a lot of surviviors here, I’m not so sure that’s a good deal. But that’s just me atm >.<

  • UK has the advantage of making the purchase decisions after Germany in this situation.

    Just watch for TT and where that Inf stack ends up that starts in Berlin.  Usually those are pretty solid indicators of Sea Lion or just smoke and mirrors to keep UK buying defensively early in the game.

    Admittedly, G4 Sea Lion is always a possibility if Germany does a half and half purchase of TT.  Tends to be less losses that way as well.  Although to run through it again (been a while) I went to AAA and Germany got diced on the first roll on taking London.  One hit with 13 TT full of units and 8+ aircraft seemed a bit odd.

    I honestly don’t see many Sea Lions these days, its a bit risky if your Russian opponent knows what to look for and how to press the advantage there.

    But to answer your question, I haven’t had to deal with the Axis making a fortress out of The Rock, so this is speculative and what I’d do after seeing it once.

  • Allright, I have been ‘investigating’ some thoughts I had about this, with TripleA. Made some moves with all Major Powers myself to visualize my thoughts. I’m becoming a real TripleA fan for working out strategies it seems ;-).
    Also very handy for posting the complete picture of one’s thoughts without writing a whole damn epistel  :-D.

    Basically, I was thinking of a favorite strategy of mine that I often use (but definately not as a ‘standard move’):
    The British relocating everything in SZ98 to Gibraltar and so this is a ‘non-Taranto’ option. For the details please check the attached tsvg-file. In it I have put my thoughts for the Allied response and a possible Axis outline (one of many, but a more persistent) to get their asses into Gibraltar.

    Any feedback on this allied strategy is most welcome! And any1 who wants to post a tsvg-file outlining how a Gibraltar lockdown can be prevented while doing Taranto, I’ll consider my new best friend  😉.


  • '14 Customizer

    If I may offer advice from the axis point of view… With operation Sealion I move that Germany stack forward just to fool my opponent into thinking I wont do a sealion. You cant just base it off the inf stack in Germany. In fact every time I do a sealion I first on turn #1 move the stack from Germany to Poland. I send 1 inf and 1 art to Norway and activate Finland. Now on turn #2 I move the 7 inf from Finland to Norway with the art. The other 2 inf is in Denmark and the 9 tanks move into W.Germany.  If Britain has less than 10 inf and 2 fighters in London on turn 2 I will always perform a sealion on turn 3. I have actually performed one with more units but I end up with 2-3 tanks left and most of the Luftwaffe destroyed but if less than 10 inf or 4-6 inf then I will take with 7 tanks and lose NO Luftwaffe except for AA which is usually 0-2.

    My round one buy is 2 S.Bombers and 1 sub. I don’t buy any transports on round 1. So in both cases your warning signal would indicate no sealion when in fact its coming 😉

  • Very good advice Cyanight!

    I must admit I paid a bit less attention to fooling UK in this TripleA file because I was ‘playing’ the UK myself as well  :-D. I also like your ‘memory-aid’ of how much units you’ll need to see in London to deter you from SL-ing it. Just beware of the RAF though. All FTR/TAC stacked at Gibraltar/Morocco can be back in London before you blink  8-).

    Also from my save-file, note how dangerous the Russian army looks (battle calculator?) if Germany advances one or more steps closer to Moscow.
    I’ve learned some valuable lessons since last time I played (and surrendered, due to being unable to retake Gibraltar):

    • If Germany goes heavily into the west, better not to annex Iraq with Russia. The Red Army has much better counter attack options with the 2MECH 2ARM 2FTR 1TAC facing Germany. Likewise, if Germany goes 100% land units into Russia from the start, Russia can annex Iraq without loosing counterattack options since it has none in the first place…

    • If Germany and Italy can manage to combine their fleets together in #91 or #92, it is not given that the USA & UK will overcome it, let alone retake The Rock. This point has been a real eye-opener for me.

    Cyanight if you have experience with circumventing/preventing an axis occupation of The Rock, would you mind putting that experience into a tsvg? Especially if that experience is including a ‘Taranto’ UK1? Just 3 or maybe 4 turns.

  • Customizer

    If you do a Taranto, the bulk of Italy’s navy is now gone and they only have 1 transport left. Frankly, I think that alone saves Gibraltar. I just don’t see the Italians using their last remaining transport to take Gibraltar. Even if they do, I just don’t see Germany flying all it’s planes down there just to hold it.
    I guess it’s just my way of playing the Axis. I don’t find it that important to take Gibraltar. Yeah, it does give the Allies more options, but I think it’s too much investment, especially for Germany, and doesn’t provide enough of a positive to make up for the expense.
    Also, like I mentioned before, if Germany sits all it’s planes in Gibraltar, once the US enters the war round 4, they can invade Gibraltar with a lot of land units. Even if they lose the battle and don’t take Gibraltar back, they will kill a lot of those German planes and they will find it hard to replace those precious planes.

  • I hear you, knp.

    I see ‘Taranto’ as a valid option, ofc. I simply have not given it much thought yet. Regarding The Rock, that is ;-).
    But I still think taking Gibraltar IT1 or IT2 viable, even with just 1 sacrifical TRS after Taranto. IF the kriegsmarine is large and expected to meet in the med.

    You see, It will take the USA a prolonged war of attrition (difficult to say how long exactly) to get it back if heavily guarded. During that time, Germany and Italy produce completely unhindered, pouring ~20 units into Russia per turn, quickly gaining more power there than they would have had with the Luftwaffe around…

    Therefore I think the Uk should take measures against this in addition to ‘Taranto’ alone. For example send in the cruiser as a blocker in SZ94 just to be sure. OR send the TRS from #98 with the Malta INF + AAA to Gibraltar in addition to some FTR from London.
    But this is all still without much experience. I havent been able to give it that much thought because I just recently bumped into this ‘Gibraltar Lockdown’ and it was kind of an eye-opener for me how difficult it was for the USA to break this AND keep Waikiki safe. Sure, a 100% effort against Gibraltar will quickly break it but from turn 3 and on, the USA also must spend to prevent an axis Pacific win.

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I think you missinterpret something here ItIsILeClerc.

    The problem for the Axis player is, if UK player skips Taranto (UK1) because G-player lost many Airunits (G1) and swings over to sz 92. What are you going to do as Axis players?

    Of course IT is able to strike down the RN in sz 92 (IT1) without FTR airpower)) but will be left as an easy pick up for France (F1) navy.

    Round 2:
    Germany could positioning it self before the Rock but needs at least one or two more TRS to invade the Rock.
    We remeber G1 purchase of 1x DD,1xSS and 1x Aircarrier.
    So Round 2 is not much an invasion option for Germany with only 1 TT, if UK of course reinforced the Rock correct with 1xInf and 1xMech Inf. from London and 1xInf and 1xAA from Malta and one or two FTRs on UK1.

    UK2: we remeber the IT TT’s and trying now to take them out as much as possible if they survived in Round 1 because IT-player choosed do use’em somewhere else (Reinforcing N-Africa).
    If the TT’s were used in the amphibiuos assault on the Rock then skip this step(they are gone).
    (The possibilty could exist that the amph-assault was successful and IT-player owns the rock, but the odds are:
    ITALY: 2xArm + 2xInf no Air vs UK 2xInf. +1x Mech.Inf+1xAA plus 1-2FTRs.
    We reinforce Egypt with an DD from S-Africa and an additional DD and Cruiser from India we have been sending that way. The Suez-channel is locked!

    IT2: Italy has no Navy only Airpower wich cannot reach the Rock and is only able to go for Egypt straight forward.

    Thoughts to this!?

  • I’m not sure where you think the misinterpretation happened aequitas, but I must admit I am having a little trouble understanding what allied course of actions you are advocating in your post (no offense, just blame it on my weak DNA ;-)). Let me try to summarize it for myself, to better understand what you were saying.
    Do you mean that you see both the Taranto and the Non-Taranto (where the units from malta + SZ98 all directly go into The Rock) options as valid?
    In that case there is no misinterpretation as far as I am concerned. Fully agree with that.

    So far, the only thing I’ll keep advocating is to stack units in Gibraltar, even with an UK1 ‘Taranto’. And still, this is just my own line of thought atm because I see how effectively the Axis can Lock that Rock down if Germany is allowed to land there early (as opposed to invading). I am also still convinced that IF the Axis can get a decent amount of land units + all their remaining air and their fleets in Gibraltar (in the worst case they can get 6 land units in plus 12-13 planes), the prolonged unhindered production this gives them will offset the absence of the Luftwaffe in Russia after a while. It can be troublesome at first but there’s no way Russia can match 15-20 Axis reinforcements per turn in the long run.

    So perhaps the most important questions should be:
    A). can the allies effectively bypass Gibraltar if they can’t retake it very quickly (IF they lost it in the first place)?
    B). (In the line of knp7765’s thoughts), can the USA afford it to spend 3 complete turns on Europe without getting into too much trouble defending/retaking Waikiki?

    These are the question where my real pain and/or lack of experience lies!

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    What would be your next move?

    (Don’t mind the Europe map please, since the Pac. is not really any close to this scenario. Thank you)

    sidenote: I really enjoy reading most of your post, i just think in this case we may talk in two diffrent directions ItIsILeClerc 🙂

    Gibraltar plott.tsvg

  • Thanks aequitas, much appreciated!

    Really love the save file :-).
    I have already come to the conclusion that #98->Gibraltar is a good move to make if Germany builds a fleet. Same goes for ‘Taranto’. I moved the axis in your save file to further proove this statement and to honor the name of that file ;-).
    The shameful truth (for me) is that I often make this very move (if I am not strafing Alexandria), but I obviously failed to make it my ‘standard move’ if Germany builds up a fleet GE1…

    For me, the final conclusion would be that the allies can perfectly well prevent the fall of Gibraltar and that my latest questions A and B therefore don’t need answering at all. Although experiences with such a situations are Always welcome to learn.
    The axis on the other hand, would be wise to not pursue Gibraltar if they see Italy cannot take it (Luftwaffe cannot land there and the Kriegsmarine ends up on the wrong side of The Rock). Better to let go of it and start focusing more on Egypt or other targets. I hope my moves in your file also prooved that.

    In general, I think that:
    Germany loosing a lot (or even, some) of aircraft without being able to keep Gibraltar in its basket is bad news for the Axis. Given that the USA is not ignoring Europe and is building up an invasion threat. The allies however, best realize that they need to stay in control of Gibraltar. Unless, ofc, Japan is not putting up any pressure on Honolulu/Sydney at all, allowing the USA to focus on Europe for 3 complete turns or even more.

    Note that UK1 can fly even more FTR into The Rock (perhaps even all of them). IF Germany would fall back into building a lot of TRS GE2, all or some of those FTR can fly back into London. But it’s optional.

    Gibraltar plott.tsvg

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Outstanding, now we are on the same page  :-D.

    I even went a little further on your turn ItIsILeClerc that you posted, see below 2.1.
    (and of course everybody who is interested in it)
    UK successfully depleted IT Navy and is able to hold the Rock.

    Now, I also used the same starting setup for a diffrent alternative ending, to show the risk wich comes with it.
    (see attachment alternative)
    IT 2 can be used as a Canopener to allready defeat the French ships and to prepare landing zones in N.-Africa wich allows German Air units to land after combat.
    BUT again: Only if the German Luftwaffe is still strong in numbers and able to reachout to sz92.

    Meeting at the Rock with all UK ships in the Meds is a very strong move. It allows to controll IT movements there and lures German Luftwaffe maybe into combat for the price of maybe all UK ships and is weakening German Luftwaffe in strenght as well. In my opinion a good alternative for doing a Taranto instead. Just not recomended to perform allways, it depends on numbers of German Luftwaffe G1 and IT as a canopener.

    Gibraltar plott.2.1tsvg.tsvg
    Gibraltar plott alternative.tsvg

  • Bismarck is kept alive using the strafe tactic on SZ111.

    Could you explain this? If you retreat to keep the Bismarck alive wouldn’t you also leave the Hood alive as well?

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16


  • Absolutely right, Ike!
    This will more often than not be the case. In one of my testings I even ended with the Hood AND the CA as survivors. Lucky dicers!
    I guess it is a matter of preference because GE1 it is choosing between two evils: Loosing the Bismarck has its evils, keeping it alive has downsides as well, as you stated. Keeping it alive provides more safety for the kriegsmarine in the short term.

    @aequitas: I am currently unable to look at your attachments (no time and no tripleA on this tablet) but I will asap  :-). Thanks again for the effort!

  • Thanks LeClerc.  Just checking if I was missing something!  Sorry to interrupt.

  • I have to say that with the German naval build described in the opening statement, and strafing the German BB (all German ships in sz112 defended w/air base) the UK will most likely not scramble and turtle adding inf/air to London (can’t see them scrambling or making luxury buys UK1). It has become pretty standard to build some defense for London w/German naval builds. The UK would have the option of attacking the German fleet though (odds not too good for UK).

    If UK does Taranto, it weakens the Italians effort to take/supply the Rock, but it would also cost the UK the Med fleet so they would be hard pressed to defend or retake it if lost. Assuming the Germans left sz109 alone (DD and transport) the UK could do Taranto and still place 2-4 ground units on the Rock and some ftrs probably sacrificing 1-2 transports (could be more if the Canadian transport survives). Also placing the 109 DD in sz 92 would stop Italian bombardment leaving them only one loaded transport and no air to invade Gib (not likely to happen IMO). So Italy’s job would be to kill off the sz93 French fleet (so they can’t move to sz104 to block out the Germans), and take out any UK blockers that might be in SZs 110 or 104). They will also want to take Algeria to allow the German bmrs a landing place. The UK may have dropped 2 units and air in Algeria w/French inf but Italy has the air power to take it IMO (but do they have enough to take out French fleet and a defended Algeria?). If the Germans have a clear shot at Gib from sz112 they could amphib w/a couple ground units 2 bmrs and ftr/tac stationed in Rome (land on carrier). So they will probably get it depending on where the UK beefs up defenses. How many units do they have defending the Rock, vs what is defending Algeria? If the Germans do take Gib, the Luftwaffe can’t land there, but I don’t think the UK will be in a position to take it back yet.

    No Taranto, but kill Ita sz96, move all available UK ships to sz92 (leave blocker in sz 94, w/French fleet in sz93 effectively blocking out the Italians from Gib this turn). Also transport up to 4 UK ground units to Gib w/air (including the French ftr). This would probably stop the Germans from invading the Rock from the Atlantic as well because of the Med fleet on the other side in sz92 (if they don’t get it Kriegsmarine is toast). The axis could try a double air sweep of the UK sz92 fleet though by again having Italy clear Algeria giving the Luftwaffe a landing place. It would take a toll on the axis air power though.

    Anyway I think that if the UK decides to fight for the Rock, even if they lose it, the Axis could be drained just in time for round 2 vs USA

    What happens if the US/UK goes Spain?

  • @IKE:

    Thanks LeClerc.  Just checking if I was missing something!  Sorry to interrupt.

    Yw Ike. And you weren’t interrupting as far as I am concerned ^^.

    What happens if the US/UK goes Spain?

    Good question, considering a strong Axis presence in Gibraltar with some minor units in Normandy + SF.

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