So, the big question that makes this whole discussion moot is: What does building navy in the Baltic actually -do-? What is the goal of building it?
1. It ferries a few additional troops to Karelia faster.
Ok, but taking and holding the Karelia factory accomplishes the same purpose without wasting IPCs on building navy. In any case, the land units you build in Germany will get to the eastern front eventually, whether by walking there or taking a transport. Does a few of them getting there slightly faster until the navy dies accomplish that much (i.e., is there a quick attack that kills Russia very fast where you need those few extra troops in the east a couple of turns earlier)? Nah. The game designers were smart enough to make sure there’s no cute tactics like that which Germany can pull - it takes at least 6 turns or so to really take Moscow against any sort of decent Russian player, and the Baltic fleet should be dead long before then if you don’t play the naval arms war with England more than a carrier or two.
Not just Karelia. Scandinavia aswell. UK and RUS can easily take that, taking valuable IPC’s from Germany. Beig able to ship some men there helps out a lot.
2. It threatens the UK with invasion.
There is no way that Germany can build enough of a navy to compete with the UK -and- hold the east against Russia. It’s just not possible with the IPCs that Germany has access to in the beginning of the game. So, one or the other will have to go. Besides, the UK can easily build enough land units to prevent Germany from ever really taking the UK. US can come with assist if it’s ever needed, but it won’t. So this threat is empty in that it doesn’t gain any territories for Germany, and they’ll be losing territories to Russia while sitting around building this empty threat.
If UK has to resort to defending, my goal is already accomplished. That means less British IPC spent elsewhere. That means a field day for Japan.
As for Russia, let them come. Once they get stretched far enough, they’ll be pushed back again. In the meanwhile Japan is nearing from the East.
3. It makes the UK focus on fleet for an extra turn or two instead of prepping invasion of France or Scandinavia.
Ok, but it also makes Germany focus on building ships instead of land/air units, like they should be. So this is a trade-off, and one that Axis can’t really afford to make IMO. UK will eventually crush the Baltic fleet, and by crush I mean not a fair battle. Axis will lose on the IPC trade and UK should be left with a fleet that is unassailable, and -then- they can start the invasion prep. Also, by building ships, Germany is going to start losing instead of gaining land IPCs to Russia as they begin losing the land arms race since they are preoccupied with ship building.
UK focus on fleet for an extra turn or two
You mean, delay UK by a turn or two? Great. Another goal achieved.
So, I think we’re left with admitting that building ships as Germany has no real goal to it
In your opinion, yes. In my opinion, no. There’s other goals that you didn’t describe yet (next to delaying UK in building a fleet, you will also eventually have a very big chance to wipe out the same fleet, whilst Ger is sitting on +50 ipc, and UK is sitting on +20 IPC. Good luck in rebuilding the UK fleet after it got wiped…) and so on.
Look, I cant say it just as good as Mollari and some others did , so I am just gonna say…
“Prretty much everything MOllari and those others said”