NOTE: I don’t really recommend a German naval strategy, you’d be better off aiming for Moscow. The only time Germany should go all out on naval purchases is for Sealion- which is a risky proposition as well.
In Axis and Allies Global 1940, Germany has three major naval commitments. While none of them are essential, they can open and close doors for Germany, and create more problems for them later on. These are the battles with the UK navy in the Channel and North Sea, the Battle of the Atlantic, and supporting the Italians in the Mediterranean Sea.
The English Channel/North Sea
Note: In this section, I will not cover Operation Sealion, the German Amphibious Attack on the UK. That will be left for a future essay. However, many of the hints in this section can be useful if planning a Sealion assault. At the start of the game, German sea power in the North Sea is quite small. They have a battleship in sea zone (sz) 113, and a cruiser in sz114. These two ships are within range of two British destroyers, two British cruisers, and two British battleships. In addition, if the Germans attack sea zone 111 (the only British sea zone their cruiser can reach on G1), a fighter can scramble from Scotland. So, Germany’s best battle in the North Sea on G1 consists of 1 German battleship vs. 1 British battleship, 1 British cruiser, 1 British destroyer, and 1 British fighter. Not good odds for Germany. And a British attack on sz113- even with scrambled German air units-will most likely end in a British victory. So, what’s Germany to do? Throw in some air support and take the offensive on G1. Germany starts the game with 3 tactical bombers and 2 fighters in Western Germany. Due to a combined arms rule, two of the tactical bombers attack at 4. In addition, Germany has another tactical bomber and 2 strategic bombers in Germany. Lastly, Germany can avoid the troublesome AA gun in Paris by sending its Holland/Belgium fighter to assist in the battle. If Germany likes, it can add its fighter in Norway, but unless planning for Sealion, Germany should use that fighter to prop up Finland on G2. Now, a German attack on sz111 consists of, at the minimum, 1 German battleship, 2 German strategic bombers, 4 German tactical bombers, and 3 German fighters facing 1 British battleship, 1 British cruiser, 1 British destroyer, and 1 British fighter. The odds are now clearly in Germany’s favor. If planning for Operation Barbarossa (the German attack on the Soviet Union), all air units should return to their original territories in preparation for a non-combat movement east. However, if planning for Operation Sea Lion, then all air units should land in Holland/Belgium. Either way, without spending an I.P.C. on purchases, you’ve just eliminated a fairly large portion of the British fleet in home waters. On UK1, however, your fleet will likely be destroyed. This is actually not a disaster, unless you’re planning for Sealion. With regards to naval strategy around the UK, what moves should Germany make, and what should Germany buy on G2?
#1: Occupy Normandy/Bordeaux on G1. This, coupled with Western Germany, makes for two I.C.s right next to British home waters.
#2: Using units from Greater Southern Germany, occupy Southern France on G1. This I.C. is largely out of range of Allied strategic bombers, and so can be used to safely build naval units (and transports, if planning for Sealion). Plus, it makes a convenient place to build ships to help the Italians in the Mediterranean!
#3: If your goal is just to weaken the British Fleet, not to invade England, buy two cruisers in Western Germany. If you had heavy air losses in sz111, buy a tactical bomber as well.
However, even if the British fleet is weakened and contained, the Germans still have another naval battle to fight: the Battle of the Atlantic.
The Battle of the Atlantic
The Battle of the Atlantic, like the German battles in the North Sea and English Channel, is seemingly impossible for Germany to win- on the surface. However, unlike the North Sea, the Germans have no air support whatsoever in the Atlantic. Unfortunately for the Germans, long-term victory in the Battle of the Atlantic is not really possible, barring incredible dice-rolls. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, as mentioned above, the Germans have no air support. Two, the German U-boats are spread out, and cannot support each other as effectively as the Germans in the North Sea, with one exception. Three, submarines defend on a 1. In spite of these problems, an effective strategy in the Battle of the Atlantic, coupled with a little luck, can delay Allied shipments of troops to Europe and Africa by at least three rounds. For a start, the U-boats face two major threats: the destroyers in sz106 and sz109. Thankfully for Germany, the sz106 destroyer can usually be sunk on G1, along with the Canadian transport. Germany can throw its sz108, 117, and 118 subs at the destroyer. With the transport and destroyer sunk, Britain is at a disadvantage for several reasons.
#1: During its Collect Income phase, Germany can convoy-raid it for up to 3 IPCs (1 from New Brunswick/Nova Scotia, 2 from Quebec)
#2: Britain has an economy of 28 IPCs, and just replacing the transport and destroyer will bring it down to 13.
#3: The Canadian forces will not be deployed for at least three rounds, on UK3.
Another advantage that Germany has by having subs in sz106 is that on G4, when the United States is at war, but has not deployed troops yet, the subs can go into sz101 and sink any US transports. This will only work if the US has focused its IPCs on the Pacific, which is quite likely. Even if you only destroy the sz101 cruiser (and perhaps a destroyer as well), other subs can finish off the exposed transports.
It’s quite difficult to purchase for the Battle of the Atlantic, seeing as how there are no nearby Axis ICs, but here are some hints.
#1: On G1, occupy Southern France and/or Normandy/Bordeaux.
#2: Buy a submarine every two turns. On G2, if you’re really committed to the Battle of the Atlantic, use your 19 IPC bonus from France to buy 3 subs
Germany should spread subs out to cover Norway, Normandy/Bordeaux, Morocco, French West Africa, and French Equatorial Africa.
The Mediterranean Sea
Although this isn’t a necessary battle, it’s definitely a helpful one, and certainly a prerequisite to helping the Italians in North Africa. In this section, I won’t be talking about in-depth German-Italian cooperation, that’s material for a future essay. The Italian and Allied navies in the Med. Sea are fairly well matched, however, the Allies typically squeak through to victory, cutting the Italians off from Africa. This is good news for the German player interested in the Med, as it means that they only need to commit a few ships to the Med, and can really take as much or as little part here as the German player chooses- making this just about the only situation where Germany can choose to not commit to a front! If Germany is interested in helping out in the Med, then they should occupy either Southern France or Yugoslavia. In the case of Yugoslavia, the Germans should build an industrial complex there on G2. The Med. should not, not, repeat not, be a serious IPC commitment on Germany’s part. A few destroyers on G3 should be more than sufficient. If Germany is serious about helping the Italians, they can land some of their Western Germany tactical bombers/fighters in Southern Italy, and then on G2 non-combat them into Libya or Tobruk.
In conclusion, Germany has three major naval battles it can fight, although none of them will decide the game. Next time, AxisAndAllies1940 will discuss the extension of one of these naval battles- Operation Sealion, the Invasion of England.