@taamvan Hello again, old friend! I confess that I had a little trouble following your playout; my apologies for suggesting that you don’t fully understand the Taranto Raid. Consider the comment about the 8/2 split advice for newer players, rather than advice for you.
That said, I disagree with 95% of what you’re saying about Middle Earth and Sea Lion. I’ve argued up and down this thread that it’s OK to lose London to a Sea Lion attack as long as you make Germany pay through the nose for it. That means any surviving Canadian forces go to London, not south, and it means the US1 build has to go at least partly in the east, and it means the R1 purchase should include some artillery and mechs, and the R2 purchase (in response to a G2 transport buy) should be mostly artillery and tanks.
It’s OK for the UK1 turn to be “on rails” because there’s no such thing as predicting the German strategy based on the G1 buy. Germany buys subs and strat bombers? Well, they’re useful for bombing London on G2 and then supporting an invasion of London on G3. They’re also useful for keeping Allied boats away from the western front and then for bombing Russia on G4/G5 and then attacking Moscow on G6/G7. Germany buys 10 infantry? Well, they’re useful for a slow march on Moscow that lands on G8/G9. They’re also useful for loading onto transports to invade London so the rest of your army can go defend Poland, or for launching a second attack on London on G4. Germany buys a destroyer, a sub, and a cruiser? Well, they’re useful for keeping the Baltic Navy alive long enough to load more troops into Norway and Leningrad, and they’re also useful for taking out any Allied naval blockers and scramblers so that most/all of your air force can go to London itself. Any buy that has any conceivable purpose in a war on Russia can also be used effectively in a Sea Lion. You cannot tell whether Germany is coming for London until after you see the G2 buy. There is no such thing as an “obvious” G1 move; it’s nothing more than superstition. You might think that if Germany buys infantry then they’re headed east, or if Germany buys a carrier then they’re headed west, and maybe you know your particular opponent well enough to get inside their head and read their psychology, but there’s absolutely nothing about the game mechanics that forces Germany to go west or go east based on their initial purchase. At worst, a heavy British air presence near London can slightly punish a G1 infantry purchase by forcing Germany to buy some protective boats on G2, limiting them to 7 or 8 transports instead of 9 or 10. This does not mean Sea Lion will fail, and it is not a good tactic to leave your air force at home and skip Taranto just to force Germany to buy a carrier on G2. They’ll get plenty of use out of the G2 carrier if they want to do Sea Lion.
As far as basic ME concepts, you know I have a running feud with GHG on that topic – the SA shuck is solid, but the turn 1 attack on Iraq is bonkers and the naval base in Persia is overkill. Just build a transport or two in South Africa, shuck the transports back and forth, take Persia UK1, and build a factory in Persia UK2 if there’s no Sea Lion. It’s not rocket science; it’s just solid, steady play focused in the center of the map. When you include the NOs, there’s a lot of money in Egypt / Iraq / Persia, and it’s quite lightly defended – if the British move on the region early, there’s almost nothing the Axis can do to stop them, except take London at exorbitant price, which then usually loses to a follow-up attack by the Red tanks and the US Atlantic fleet. By contrast, trying to mobilize the British to attack and control any other region (e.g. Normandy, Norway, Greece, etc.) in the opening usually means you’re running straight into the teeth of heavy Axis opposition. You wind up with fewer conquests at a higher price, further from the center of the map, which gives you less flexibility in the middle game. From Egypt/Persia you can branch out to Italy, Greece, Libya, Stalingrad, India, or the money islands. From Normandy, you’ve got almost nowhere to go except Belgium.