In the games I’ve played, Sealion has been a popular German strategy. While I realize that it is held to be suboptimal around here, no one in my group seems to be good enough with the Allies to take advantage of Germany’s being out of position. It’s not very fun, especially in multiplayer where UK might be someone’s only major power, for them to be out of the game completely on turn 3 or 4, and from what I’ve read I don’t think it’s very historical either.
I’m wondering if anyone else has come up with any ideas to defend London, aside from the turtling (buy inf and let them hit you) and waiting for America and Russia I’ve seen recommended so much. I’ve tried a few things, from buying subs to bypass the Germans’ air defense to scaring the Germans back behind Denmark then blocking SZ 112, but everything has seemed low percentage or easily countered. However, I now think I’ve come up with something that will give Britain a good chance to survive the first several turns, even in the face of invasion. The main goal of this strategy is to survive until turn 5 or so, by which time the Americans can be in position to help (if Germany keeps banging its head against you).
On their first turn, I assume Germany buys probably the most advantageous combination of units, 1 CV + 2 Tr. They wipe out the Royal Navy’s Home Fleet, something like:
2 subs, 3 tac, 3 ftr, 1 bmr –> sz 110
1 sub, 1 ftr, 1 tac, 1 bmr, battleship --> sz 111 (send battleship to insure preservation of flexible planes, if y’all have a better idea for the BB let me know)
2 subs --> sz 106
Take paris, move units on the rest of Europe to set up for sealion.
Move cruiser and transport to sz 112, fly as many planes back to W Ger as possible, place ships in sz 112.
At this point it should be pretty clear that Germany is coming for England, however if they try to be mysterious and save all their money this strategy should still work. If they are going full Russia you can just do Taranto or whatever other opener you feel like.
Buy nothing. Unconventional, but I think I have good reason for it.
Hit Tobruk or Ethiopia if you like, but with this strategy you’re basically punting on the Med in the early game in order to stay alive long enough to work your way back there.
Hit Malta with the fighter there and the tac from Egypt. Move your carrier and cruiser over to sz 92, leave the destroyer in sz 94 to block the Italians.
Bring the transport over from Egypt with the fleet, carrying an inf and the tank.
Send your sz 109 destroyer and your bomber to take out the sub(s) off of Canada. If there are no subs here, great, go to sz 91 with the destroyer and leave the bomber. Send the Tr from 109 in noncombat.
Fly the Malta planes to the carrier, and the Gibraltar plane to London. Move everything from Scotland into London.
Start sending the DD from S. Africa into the Atlantic. It will arrive too late to prevent a G3, but every unit counts in this theater, and it could help against a G4, or at least help revenge-kill the Kriegsmarine.
They do whatever, you’re not too worried right now. If they spare your destroyer blocker, move it to sz 91 next turn.
If the French fleet is still alive, the Italian player is dumb, but maybe they got greedy and sent everything to Egypt. Send them to sz 91, get ready to join the British fleet.
Traditional Sealion buy is all transports this turn. If that’s what they do, great, just what you want. If they get wise and buy bombers at the expense of transports, you can counter that as well. They do whatever, get units in place for a G3 attack.
This is highly dependent on Germany’s round 2 buy. You should have ~61 IPCs to spend, with more or less depending on whether or not you took Ethiopia or Persia, and if the Germans successfully convoyed you.
Germans buy only transports:
Buy a battleship, a carrier, and 3 destroyers. If you lost a plane in the Malta attack in the first round and have 62 or more IPCs, swap one of those destroyers for a fighter.
The goal is to have a fleet in sz 110 large enough to fight off the Germans and prevent a landing from ever happening.
Move your fleet up to the Channel. When your units are placed, you should have 1 BB, 2 CV, 2 CA, 3 DD, 6 ftr, 1 tac, and you should have better than 80% odds if the Germans try a sea battle.
German unit assumptions: 1 CV, 1 CA, 5 tac, 5 ftr, 2 bmr, 13 tr
Germans buy 2 or more bombers (and the remainder are transports):
You probably won’t be able to defeat them at sea, so buy 10 tanks and get ready for the landing. You should have enough to tilt the odds in your favor if they try to invade next turn.
Position the fleet for opportunistic strike on the Kriegsmarine, send planes to London.
German unit assumptions: 1 CV, 1 CA, 5 tac, 5 ftr, 4/5 bmr, 10/8 tr
Regardless, send the transports from Gibraltar and Canada to England with their troops.
They buy land units, either for a second wave or to shore up the eastern front. If they have insufficient air power, they won’t be able to take out your fleet this turn. If they have enough to scare off your fleet and you bulked up your defenses, you should still have about a 60% chance of repelling the invasion. If they try to land in Scotland for a G4 Sealion, kill those transports and their small escort.
After this point, the US should be getting ready to help, and Russia should be distracting Germany. Even if your opponent tries some sort of crazy J4 opening, you now have a good chance to survive, and if they do the fashionable J1 then you might even have a few American units in London. With Britain secured, reclaiming the Middle East will be an easier task than if there was no UK Europe economy at all.
I hope that my strategy is sound. Please let me know what you think.