Taamvan is right. You cannot deter Taranto, since it would happen before I1 and the only thing you can do with Germany is land three fighters in Southern Italy – as we have seen repeatedly, that is not a deterrent.
My response to your strategy is based on a UK1 in which:
1. An artillery from India is used to activate Persia, with the intent of clearing Iraq on UK2.
2. The UK deploys blockers to hold Italy back for one round, does not do Taranto, retreats its carrier and cruiser to sea zone 81, and builds a minor IC in Egypt. In this scenario Italy has two transports to play with.
3. The UK pulls a fighter, tactical bomber, destroyer, and cruiser from India for use in the Med, with the fighter and tactical bomber landing on the sea zone 81 carrier.
In this scenario, the UK fleet cannot be kept from moving back to sea zone 98 on UK2.
Approximately 11-13 planes air-strafe Egypt, land on Alexandria.
The only way you can hit Egypt with 13 planes is if Germany built a strat bomber on G1 and every other non-strat bomber plane you had landed in Southern Italy on G1, or you build two strat bombers and use one non-strat bomber plane to kill fleet. The fighter you have listed for your sea zone 111 battle cannot make it to Egypt on G2 unless it skips the sea zone 111 battle. I don’t think your initial build of two strategic bombers is optional if you want to take 13 air units into Egypt. Let’s assume you did build two strat bombers on G1 for calculation purposes. If you do not do this, you cost yourself at least one hit in your one round strafe, and that is bad for Italy.
Leaving sea zone 110 untouched in my variant of UK play means that Italy cannot clear the Med on I1 – France will hold one sea zone, and the UK will hold three more (92 with naval units from sea zone 110, 96 with the sea zone 91 cruiser, and 99 with the sea zone 98 destroyer). If Italy is aggressive about claiming that NO on I1, it hurts its chances of an I2 attack on Egypt working.
UK can have in Egypt at the end of UK1: 1 AA gun, 7 infantry, 2 artillery, one tank, one mech, one fighter, and one tactical bomber.
Germany goes into Egypt on G2 with 4 fighters, 5 tactical bombers, and 4 strategic bombers. If the AA gun misses (let’s just ballpark this at 50%, it’s actually a smidge less) you lose the spare tactical bomber. On average you get eight hits in your strafe. In return, you lose on average five or six units. If the AA gun hits one attacking plane, you get seven hits. My following calculations are assuming that the AA gun does not kill any German planes and you get eight hits on your strafe.
German losses are irrelevant unless the strafe continues for a second round, and I’m assuming that Germany doesn’t want to waste its air force this way.
If the UK takes your eight hits as seven infantry and an artillery, the odds for a successful Italian attack are about 100% (assuming Italians have 4 infantry, 1 mech infantry, 1 artillery, 2 tanks, 3 fighters, and one strat bomber, and assuming that the UK has retaken control of sea zone 98 on UK2 but fails to actually produce new land units at the Egypt MIC and also fails to fly in additional air units). But let’s assume the UK player sees the writing on the wall and lands every available air unit there and also produces three infantry at the MIC. If the UK has brought the fighter and tac from India to a carrier in sea zone 81 on UK1, they can land in Egypt on UK2 and if the Gibraltar fighter survived I1 after landing in Malta it can also make Egypt. Your chance of winning that battle is about 25%.
That’s definitely not worth losing five German planes for in my opinion - three times out of four Italy’s attack fails. At best for the Axis, the game is now heavily tilted in favor of the Allies and it may be an outright Axis loss.
Your odds go up to about 29% if UK loses seven infantry and the AA gun. In this case with all the Italian air force coming on I2, it’s clearly better for the UK to keep the AA gun. Seven times out of ten Italy fails – it’s still not worth running this strat IMO.
_Your odds get really good if instead of moving the Ethiopia forces to Kenya on I1 you move them to Anglo-Egypt Sudan so they can join the attack on Egypt. Of course, then the UK can counterattack them on UK2, but it does weaken the defense. If UK does not attack them, your chance of winning goes to about 77%. If the UK does counterattack them, assume one mech, one artillery, and all available planes to smoke them in one round, your chance of winning the battle becomes about 61%. In this scenario, the UK would be right to attack those forces in Ethiopia.
If the UK built three tanks in Egypt instead of three infantry, your chance is about 52% (it drops below 50% if the UK builds two tanks and a fighter).
That’s hardly worth losing five German planes for in my opinion - almost half the time Italy’s attack fails. At best for the Axis, the game is now heavily tilted in favor of the Allies and it may be an outright Axis loss.
If this plan works, Italy is in a great position in the Med except that it is far too weak to really expand in the Middle East and fully hold off the output of the South African factory as well as UK forces that took Persia on UK1 and cleared Iraq on UK2 (no free unit payday for you!). Italy is now totally defensive in Egypt. (Please note that I did not move Persian forces into Egypt – then the numbers get really bad for Italy.)
I was generous with a lot of my rounding and estimation, so y’all please check those numbers. I could easily have missed something. Also please note that I have not used any bid units in the UK calculations.
One problem with this is that if the Italian forces in Ethiopia went to Kenya and not Anglo-Egypt Sudan, the Luftwaffe is now pinned on G3 if Italy decides not to attack Egypt on I2 following the G2 strafe. As soon as the Luftwaffe leaves and the Italians remain, those Italians are dead on UK3. Italy of course should retreat first, but then you left the sea zone 110 fleet alive and sacrificed a lot of German air force to accomplish nothing. The same result happens if Germany uses the Luftwaffe on G2 to clear the Med and then lands the planes in Alexandria. But hey, trading maybe 30 German IPCs for 5 Italian ones is a good trade, right? Winner in this scenario = Allies.
Here’s yet another problem: it’s hugely telegraphed by the G1 Luftwaffe landing in Southern Italy. It’s not something the UK should easily miss. The UK might might build transport in South Africa that can move those two infantry to Egypt on UK2. Italy’s chances of taking Egypt even with a one round strafe just hit the dregs. (Because the Luftwaffe could move back to West Germany for Sea Lion, the UK should still build at least three infantry in London. But, if Luftwaffe does not do the strafe, the Italian forces in Alexandria die on UK2. Italy has lost Africa, the Med, and the Middle East so that Germany can do Sea Lion. That seems like a lot to risk for an attack that means Germany can’t kill Russia…) Winner in this scenario = Allies.
Yet another problem: Even if Italy wins Egypt on an average or slightly good battle result, it cannot counter a UK3 factory built in Iraq/Persia. Italy may block Suez canal access, but with UK producing in South Africa and Iraq/Persia, Italy will be rapidly outspent. Compounding this is that the UK is still firmly in control of the Med, since Italy cannot have killed all the UK naval units. Italy’s navy will be gone, it’s air force diminished, and unless the German air force clears the Med (more German air dies helping Italy! Moscow is safe) it will assume control of sea zone 97 and convoy Italy’s income away for several turns. Winner in this scenario = Allies.
Biggest problem I see: You have to get lucky a few times for this to pay off. The Egypt AA gun has to miss on G2. Your destroyer has to kill the Malta fighter on UK1. You need the Egypt AA gun to not kill your Italian aircraft before they get to shoot on I2. You need a good roll on round one of the actual I2 attack into Egypt, or you need the UK to get a bad roll. Should we discuss the futility of betting that good rolls will happen? Average rolls in these circumstances are not going to be helpful to you.
Now, there is a lot of variability here – dice and AA guns are notorious for that, and the Gibraltar fighter might A) be killed in sea zone 96 by the Italian destroyer or B) might be killed in Malta by the Italians (which leads to a branch in which that fighter takes an attacker with it and another where it doesn’t kill anything) or C) left alone by Italy and free to make it to Egypt on UK2.
There is also the “have Germany go a second round in Egypt” variant, which pretty much guarantees an I2 capture of Egypt but destroys a large portion of the Luftwaffe in the process. Many of us think that is an outright loser for the Axis, since Moscow is essentially safe until turn 12 or 13 under that scenario. Winner in this scenario = Allies.
There’s also a lot of branches with that second Italian transport. Bringing two additional ground units to Alexandria would be its best bet, which would probably force the UK to leave Iraq alone and bring two more ground units in from Persia on UK2. My rough calculations on that variant show little to no difference in my numbers. If Italy were to use that second transport to take Syria, that would probably force the UK to clear Iraq (something it was going to do anyway) rather than transport additional forces to Egypt.
Given how much variability there is, I personally don’t think Germany is justified in leaving the sea zone 110 fleet alive in order to make a G2 Egypt strafe. Unless you are willing to sacrifice the entire Luftwaffe, you’re basically throwing initiative away to let the dice decide the game for you, and I’m not sure why the Axis would do that.
In short: if I saw you were going to do a Luftwaffe strafe of Egypt to give Italy a 50% chance to take it, I would be happy. If the UK gets diced and you come out without a Pyrrhic victory, so be it – getting diced happens. No amount of good play can prevent your enemy from rolling above average or you from rolling below average. You would not deter me from a turn one MIC in Egypt with a G2 air strafe threat. At best for you, if I wound up losing the Gibraltar fighter on UK1 because your destoyer got a lucky hit, I would just hold the MIC in reserve (intentionally not placing it on UK1) and place it on Persia on UK2 (having already spent the money for the MIC on UK1).