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Fighting them in the Hills - Surviving Sea Lion


Archibald
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The Allied player in the early to mid game should always remember the importance of garrisons in his key territories. If your opponent's paying attention and the only two Canadian units on the map turn up in Europe then it's a fair bet that Canada's lying empty.

In the last game I played as the Axis (I've no idea who against. ;) ) I also used the tactic of invading an empty Canada and launching Italian raids into the US to distract them. Taking Canada just as you launch Sea Lion has a profound effect on the Brits, as their income drops by 30 MMP, and they find a long term defence of the UK difficult to sustain.

As the British, accept the fact that you're going to lose London eventually. The key to holding the UK is having an army in Manchester and another Army fully entrenched in the Pennines mountain hex just to the south of Manchester. Your HQ should be well back and just able to supply these two.

Timing how long you maintain the defence of London is crucial. As long as you can keep another unit adjacent to it, London will not be fully surrounded and will be able to reinforce to ten every turn. This will probably mean the Germans being dependent on their HQs alone for supply with a consequent drop in readiness.

The downside of holding London too long is that if it's surrounded, all the other resources in Great Britain will drop from 10 MMP to 5 MMP. Great Britain alone with London surrounded and Chatham undamaged, produces 55 MMP per turn. With London and Chatham gone, and Manchester the capital, Great Britain alone produces 60 MMP. Remember also, that if the rest of Great Britain's cut off from the capital, then you won't be able to place new units outside of the London kessel.

With London gone, Axis attention will turn to your strongpoint in Lancashire. Hopefully, there will be a turn's hiatus while Luftwaffe units redeploy into the UK. It may even be worth bombing Chatham to drop it below five and impede the Axis ability to bring reinforcements in. It'll take the Axis a wee while to knock an army under command and fully entrenched in a mountain hex down. This should give the army in Manchester time to go from level four entrenchment to level six as Manchester becomes the capital.

By this stage, American readiness will be going through the roof and they'll soon declare war. It'll take three turns to get any American armies landed in Liverpool, during which the UK and US are probably at their most vulnerable ever. Resist the temptation to send the US fleets screaming towards the British Isles. Keep them together with some of your badly battered British fleets in a screen around the US to forestall any Axis spoiling raids into the US. A cruiser knocked down to strength two might be useless for defending Great Britain, but it's very effective at spotting and hurting pesky axis transports bent on raising the swastika over Galveston.

Don't think that landing American armies through Liverpool will automatically save the UK, as the Axis by this time will be pounding them with the Luftwaffe almost as they hit the quayside. Your saving grace is that the Soviets and the Yugoslavs soon join in.

If the Axis have attempted Sea Lion, then Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria will have stayed neutral. This has the effect of greatly shortening the German defence line in the east, but also making Yugoslavia a difficult prospect when the coup takes place.

When the Soviet Union comes in, don't charge like a bull at Warsaw, as the line of Axis corps will probably hold long enough for the UK to be taken. Load all the troops available onto transports in the Baltic and send them towards the North Sea. Even if germany's got any Kriegsmarine left, you'll get a few units through to land around Edinburgh (with snow on their boots smile.gif ) and bolster the defence of Great Britain.

Your Main Effort should be directed against Rumania. Don't declare war immediately. Build Zhukov near Odessa and get units onto transports around Sevastapol and Rostov and into position on the Rumanian coast. After a few turns you'll be able to declare war on Rumania, smash through the Carpathians, land on the Black Sea coast, take all those lovely oilfields and relieve the Yugoslavs. Achieve this and the Germans will be in a world of pain. smile.gif If they're still slugging towards Manchester they'll be in a quandary of whether to allocate the Luftwaffe to finishing off the UK or of defending the soon to be violated Hungarian neutrality. Before you know it, you've gained the initiative. smile.gif

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Archibald,

I wish you had called me around 6PM last night!

Following this advice, might have saved me. I built up my Russians and advanced them in line against an Axis wall and took Finland, both actions making no difference in the war that was being lost in the West.

Loading up a few transports would have been key.

Keeping my US fleets defending the US and even Canada would have been key.

Letting London fall (nice analysis there, thank you. I had not thought of that), might have helped.

But of course, making less mistakes could have helped too.

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Archibald

As always excellent and well done! Thank you for your write up on your experience of How to Defend against Operation Sea-Lion. It's always good to have insight on a particular situation before it happens to ones self. I myself respect the fact you have fought the Good fight and want to share in the fruits of your labour. Defensive survival of UK is the #1 priority for the UK regardless of whether Operation Sea-Lion occurs or not! Everyone should take heed your words of Wisdom here good Sir!

6 Quick Questions Sir:

#1 Was your British navy gathered near the Isle before "Sea-Lion" took place or was it spread out?

#2 How soon was the Attack on UK after the fall of France(what was the date also if you remember?)?

#3 How much did you commit to the Defense of France of British troops?

#4 Did you have any troops in Canada?

#5 What was left in Egypt to defend with?

#6 What Tech if any had you spent to this point for UK?

[ January 14, 2003, 12:52 PM: Message edited by: 82ndReady ]

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Timing is everything! You make the Axis player wait too long to conqour the World in France so he HAS to conqour the UK or the game is over. I have noticed the guy that keeps a strong Fleet is harder to kill. The guy that keeps it right out of FOG view. Also keep shis aircraft a little back from the lines after Fall of France is eminant to keep 10-strength. I have often hit England after USSR and lost. I'm fed up with with people stretching France so far so in the future my strategy will be an UNPROTECTED Canada? I lost a whole game cause I didn't have a Corps on the USA. 1 Italian Corps lands on Texas Oil, can make more money than it's worth by the time Americans unentrench it.

I have noticed the players I've been against were good with their navies! Plus build enough Corps it's just about impossible to make a landing feesible on England.

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Originally posted by 82ndReady:

#1 Was your British navy gathered near the Isle before "Sea-Lion" took place or was it spread out?

I usually try to "Copenhagen" the Regia Marina with an Anglo-French fleet as soon as they enter the war. With them knocked down I leave two surface fleets around Suez to forestall Axis transports around the Nile Delta. The carrier gets sent home to the UK.

If I'm having a hard time of it, I won't leave a fleet in Gibraltar. if the Italians have been kicked hard enough they'll have trouble breaking through Gib even without a fleet in position.

There's a temptation to use fleets in the defence of France, as they can perform a useful harrying function on the German right flank. Defending France is a fine art; a full blooded Franco-British defence can make life hell for the Germans (I have the scars from Rambo to prove it), but delayng the fall of France a few turns might leave Britain so fatally weakened that she can't stop an invasion.

Usually I'll leave three or four fleets in and around Liverpool, with the same number in and around the Firth of Forth. Keep them close to the ports, as your supply will suffer otherwise.

Use the French fleet to destruction. Use them as your spearhead against the Regia Marina and the Kriegsmarine. British fleets should be used for polishing off the enemy and gaining easy experience.

#2 How soon was the Attack on UK after the fall of France(what was the date also if you remember?)?
It was about six or seven turns after, as I'd harried the invasion ports down to 0 and he had to redeploy the Luftwaffe and win air superiority over the Channel by forcing me to withdraw. If you don't knock those ports down, you can expect the Jerries at your door no more than three turns after France falls.

#3 How much did you commit to the Defense of France of British troops?
Absolutely nothing. I personally believe in either giving France all you've got or just letting them stew in their own gallic juices.

#4 Did you have any troops in Canada?
I left the corps in Canada. Don't put anything else there. It's usually not worth the Axis launching an unsuccessful invasion or a spoiling raid, as it makes the Americans go ape.

#5 What was left in Egypt to defend with?
The corps in Cairo and the French Syrian corps around Suez, which goes Free French if it's on British territory when France falls. If I can spare it, I'll send a corps round Suez to sit west of Cairo. This stops Cairo being surrounded on both sides and allows it to reinforce to eight per turn.

#6 What Tech if any had you spent to this point for UK?
Very little. At the most a point or two on jet aircraft. Once you're sure that Germany's looking elsewhere, you can begin pumping up the research.
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I had a blockade done against me and I managed a corps and a HQ landing and everything else got sunk or went home. It was the end of the game. AirPower alone has a hardtime killing units. Though you've got to have enough MPPs to afford a full round defense if he tries a Northern approach.

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