“We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France. We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, we shall fight in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender, and if, for which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”- Winston Churchill
In World War II, the invasion of Britain was foiled by Churchill and the superior power of the British Fleet. However, while faced with many of the same problems, the German player in Axis and Allies Global 1940 is equipped, at the start of the game, to break the British Fleet and conquer the United Kingdom.
Operation Sealion- the German Amphibious Assault on England- is one of the most widely known strategies in Global 1940. Executing Sealion essentially boils down to three phases- building up your strength, the actual invasion, and consolidating your gains.
Planning for Sealion
Unlike Barbarossa, Operation Sealion is something that the German player must specifically aim for when entering the game. Germany can have no other goals or objectives until London falls. So, bearing all that in mind: what should Germany buy on G1 in preparation for Sealion? I think the best option is two destroyers and a strategic bomber. Why? Destroyers are cheap! You’re going up against a huge fleet- having cheap ships is important, since they make great cannon fodder for more powerful ships (or aircraft). The reason for the strategic bomber is that they’re going to be necessary, not only to break the British fleet, but for air support during the actual invasion. With purchases complete, what should Germany do on G1 to start breaking Britain?
As I mentioned in Essay#2, Germany can only muster one battleship for combat against the UK on G1. Therefore, it must rely on air power. Germany starts the game with 2 strategic bombers, 4 tactical bombers, and 4 fighters, all of which can attack sz110 and land in Holland/Belgium. Therefore, an attack using these units will give Germany 7 units attacking on a 4 and 4 on a 3, or a massive 40 on attack! This is facing 1 British cruiser, 1 French cruiser, 1 British battleship, and possibly 2 scrambling British fighters. That’s a mere 18 on defense, or 2 units at a 3, and 3 units at a 4. The chances are high that Germany will win this battle. The air units should land in Holland/ Belgium. So, right there, Germany has just eliminated a fair portion of the British Fleet. Except…that critical air power is no longer located in a position to help the exposed German battleship! That’s assuming there even is a German battleship left! The British seem to have won, don’t they? Those two destroyers are now toast…or so it seems. While it is true that the British can now move ships to plug the gap in sz110, or even send ships into the Baltic, they are in fact at a serious disadvantage. They simply cannot replace everything they’ve lost, whereas you can. Replacing the two cruisers (that’s counting the French one), costs sixteen. They could also replace one of the fighters they may have scrambled, or they could save up the ten IPCs. Replacing the battleship is also an option, but that battleship would be isolated. And that’s not the only reason the British are vulnerable. Germany now has somewhere around eight air units in a perfect position. No matter what moves the British make, they are vulnerable. The tac bombers and fighters can attack: United Kingdom, sz109, sz113, sz111, sz110, and sz112. The only two precautions Germany needs to take at this stage is to land their Poland tactical bomber in Western Germany, and (depending on casualties), move one fighter to Western Germany as well. Alternatively, they could just move their Norway fighter to Western Germany instead of sending it into combat. The reason is this: Britain has a destroyer, a cruiser, and a battleship in sz111, as well as a strategic bomber in United Kingdom, which can attack the two new German destroyers in sz113. Here, even if you fail in the defense and you lose the destroyers and air units, you’ve still gained something. One: These British units are off-position and poorly deployed. They cannot take part in any naval action in the Channel for at least a turn. Two: They probably won’t live that long, as you not only have a brand-new strategic bomber right next to them, you’ve also got a huge air force in Holland/Belgium. But, despite its tremendous effects, the sz110 naval battle is not the only preparation that Germany should take to ensure victory in a Sealion attack.
#1: Move your sz124 submarine to sz119. If the sub survives UK1 (unlikely), it can convoy-raid Scotland for 2 IPCs. If it’s destroyed, then that’s one more British ship that’s not in the Channel.
#2: Use your subs in sz103 and sz108 to attack the British destroyer and transport in sz109. Although scrambling a fighter will destroy the subs, it’s worth it for two reasons. One: that fighter isn’t in the Channel, and two, the destroyer can still be sunk. If the subs survive until the end of UK1, they can convoy-raid United Kingdom.
#3: Similarly, use your sz117 and sz118 subs to attack the British destroyer and transport in sz106. Assuming the subs survive, they can cost the UK 3 IPCs.
#4: Occupy all three French territories.
The goal of these steps is to wear down the British economy, while also increasing the German economy by capturing all of France.
So, what should Germany do on G2?
If you followed all the steps in this article so far, you’ll have 4 IPCs left over from G1, plus your 30 IPCs income, plus 10 IPCs bonus income for not having Scandinavia under Allied control and not being at war with the Soviet Union. Not only that, but you’ll have gained 24 IPCs from France! That totals to 68 IPCS! What to do with them? Well, your Luftwaffe in Holland/Belgium should be fairly intact still, so I’d go with an aircraft carrier, a tac bomber, a fighter, and three transports. This will set you up for a G3 landing. In terms of combat, if you still have those destroyers and strategic bomber left over, use them to attack any British units left in the Baltic, or any British units in sz111. Use your strategic bombers to wreak as much havoc on the Industrial Complex in United Kingdom as possible. Any fighters/tactical bombers should be saved. If you have any subs left in the British home waters (unlikely), use them to attack the British home waters. They probably won’t survive, but they’ll do their purpose. Finally, move your sz114 cruiser into position.
So, by G3, the UK should be without much of a fleet, sapped of IPCs, and desperate to repair its IC. Therefore, it is vital that Germany strike! On G4, Germany has 4 transports. Fill each transport up with 1 infantry and 1 artillery. That aircraft carrier can be used to punch through sz110. If you still have that cruiser from sz114, you should save it for a bombardment. That bombardment shot should be targeted at an AA gun. The goal is to save as much power for the beaches as possible. Expect your troops to have roughly 3 tactical bombers and 3 fighters worth of air support. If you have any strat bombers left over, use them to attack the British fleet, and use the carrier planes to attack instead. You should triumph!
This is why I don’t personally like Sealion much. Both the US and USSR can declare war on you simultaneously now that London has fallen. The Americans will try to launch an amphibious assault, but Germany will have a hard time repulsing it for two reasons. One: they don’t have much naval strength left over, and two, they don’t know where the blow will fall! Will it be in England or France? Thinning out your defenses to cover both isn’t a good idea, so my advice is simple: Keep your units in London, but if the Americans do attack France, stockpile defenses (probably tanks) in Paris. The other threat is much more pressing: Russia.
Part of Sealion is unavoidably neglecting the forces in the East: You can’t afford to crush England while keeping the East well protected. So, on G3, you must take action to prepare for the inevitable Russian blow. One: You’ll have a minimum of 49 IPCs to spend. So, spend it on tanks! Place six tanks in Germany, and that’s all you’ll be able to afford. In addition, purchasing for an invariably defensive war on the Russian front is not as easy as purchasing for Sealion. On G1, you received 19 IPCs from Paris, to be used against a foe who you could easily wear down, and who had no time to prepare. Here, your IPC gain from London won’t be much higher- maybe somewhere around 20 to 25 IPCs- and it has to be used against a foe who has had much more time to prepare than you. So, on G3, in terms of non-combat on the Eastern Front:
#1: Activate Finland if you haven’t done so already.
#2: Using ONLY ONE INFANTRY, activate Bulgaria. The reason for this is because you don’t want to move any more Romanian units than necessary.
#3: Move any spare units in Germany into Poland. Then, move your Poland units south to Romania (if that means moving them into Slovakia/Hungary, then moving an equal number of Slovakia/Hungary troops into Romania, that will work, as well)
#4: If that fighter and tactical bomber are still in Western Germany, noncombat the fighter to Poland, and the tactical bomber to Romania.
Note that this plan is just an outline to be ready for Russian buildup, if Russia is concentrating heavily up north in Leningrad, then move more units to Norway and Poland then Romania.
Ultimately, after a victorious Sealion, Russia is your most immediate threat, but America is ultimately your biggest threat. If they marshal their economy, and sacrifice some ground in the Pacific, they can reconquer the UK by means of amphibious assault- something that means the end for the Germans, and fulfill Churchill’s prophecy that “the New World, in all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue, and the liberation of the old.”
Next time, in the last German essay, AxisAndAllies1940 will cover ways in which Germany and Italy can cooperate.