The United Kingdom is one of the major powers with a huge colonial empire providing them with enormous amounts of resources and a huge navy to protect it. Amid the Great Depression and the rising threat to international stability posed by the aggression of Germany and Italy, the politicians of the UK were divided on how to respond. Some, like Neville Chamberlain, believed that a catastrophic war like the Great War from 1914 to 1918 must be avoided, and that letting Germany take German populated lands such as in Austria and Czechoslovakia is the price worth paying for peace. Others like Winston Churchill see Hitler as a dangerous madman who only desires conquest whose regime must be militarily defeated.
In 1936 the UK is one of the most modern countries in the world with very advanced technology in almost all areas, many being well ahead of other countries. Rather than relying on sheer numbers of infantry and tanks, the successes of the UK in the war rely more upon modern equipment and commanding talent. The main task of the UK is defending its colonial assets rather than expanding its borders, although the potential for conquest exists in the Middle East and Asia. British troops may find themselves defending Singapore from Japan, fighting the Italians in Libya and Ethiopia, protecting Norway from German invasion, and preparing for an intervention in the Balkans and the Mediterranean.
To avoid overextension wise economy of forces needs to be applied and Britain's supporting range of Allies will need to be incorporated into a military alliance to counteract the Axis in all theatres.
The most immediate need for Britain is to increase the amount of Leadership points and to increase Industrial Capacity which is seriously lowered by the free-market system. In the Industry tab Education, Agriculture and Industrial Production/Efficiency are the most important things to consider. On top of this keeping radar and encryption/decryption up to date should be standard. Resources should not be a problem although steel production may be worth considering to keep stockpiles high. In the Theory tab, Supply Transportation and Supply Organisation should be researched to improve supplies delivery to many remote locations in the British Empire.
Besides the Infantry upgrades, it is worth researching Marines, Paratroopers and the various attrition upgrades, as some of your fighting will take place in the jungle and a lot in the desert. Upgrading Garrison toughness and defense will also help you hold on to some strategic areas like Hong Kong and Malta. Armour is a must for the United Kingdom and it should be an objective to upgrade all Light Armour, however the Light Armour upgrades (engine and armour) also benefit motorised troops. Artillery and anti-tank upgrades are a must to combat the German Wehrmacht.
Naval research should focus on either Carriers or Battleships, Destroyers and Cruisers of your choice (light or heavy). Submarines make little sense as the focus will be on protecting rather than ambushing sea lanes. Whatever your choice is, you have to immediately start upgrading your ships accordingly. In HoI3 you can't upgrade a ship's armour, main armament and engines once it's built so focus on researching one ship type at a time before constructing them. You can upgrade ASW (Anti-submarine Warfare), Anti-Aircraft guns and Radars so leave those for once the ships are already being built.
Fighter planes are essential for the U.K. and this should be kept up to date in terms of research. Interceptors also share many techs with Close Air Support, depending on the player's approach the UK can happily use naval bombers, tactical and strategic bombers.
As far as Land doctrines are concerned, anything that improves the abilities of infantry, armour, artillery and special forces is worth investing in. The historical choice of your nation was Grand Battle Plan and that's probably the best thing you can pick.
Air Doctrines should focus on improving your fighters and chosen bombers piloting and ground crews, followed by missions that you think you will be undertaking. Airborne Assault Efficiency is a must, as are the various CAG/NAV upgrades to keep your carriers or naval bombers up to date.
As far as the navy is concerned it's important to pick your "thing" right at the beginning of the game and stick to it no matter what. Submarines should be avoided at all costs, at the very least the player should keep the destroyers tech up to date along with the capital ship of choice.
Distribution of leadership
At least 80% of the British leadership should be spent on research (25+) in order to keep up with Germany. That leaves you with enough to influence one nation diplomatically and the rest on keeping your Officer corps up to date and some spies for intel.
Your main priority out of these should be intelligence. First invest in protecting yourself by recruiting 10 counterespionage spies while using the intel minister that aids in counterspionage. As a democracy with free press laws, you need that minister to knock down enemy spies. Then your main focus on intel should be to lower your neutrality as this gets you to better economic and conscription laws [read the laws tooltips]. You should also spend some intel on raising enemy threat levels and on supporting potential democratic allies [support our party or perhaps support the ruling party]. You should be able to get to 2 better economic laws by the end of 1938 in a 1936 start with this strategy [each economic law step means 25% more IC].
Diplomacy: Start off first trading with neutral countries that you want in your alliance such as the USA: every trade improves relations and moves those countries towards your faction. Later on use diplomatic influence on some of the more powerful countries to join the Allies. For example, you want all your dominions to share the war effort with you as well as snatch some local major powers from Axis so you can dominate regions without having to invest your limited resources in there. Brazil is a good example of such a country, with pretty sizable fleet and good strategic position (long coast so many chances to hunt convoys, close to your colonies so they can defend them) it's a very strong candidate to join your cause.
Don't invest much into Officers, your starting laws are very inefficient in training them and you will waste points with little gain. Keep it at zero if it doesn't seem too unrealistic.
A quick way to gain Allies members is to puppet ALL of your colonies to help fight abroad for you, I've seen puppet India and (I think) Pakistan wreck the Japs, and Egypt at least delays the Italian invasion of North Africa. However this is at the cost of a bit of IC so be prepared to lose some industrial and production power if you do this.
Once war starts all neutral countries will quickly start drifting towards Allies for protection so you don't have to put as much investment into diplomacy as Axis members. You might want to speed up your dominions joining your cause though (South Africa, Canada, Australia), you also want to snatch some of the more powerful regional powers (Brazil to get some help for your navy or Republican/Nationalist Spain to protect Gibraltar, or even to help defend France) and countries with valuable resources (Romania, Venezuela, Persia) which will supply other countries in your alliance and embargo Axis.
On the other hand, there are countries which will quickly move towards allies on their own without much encouragement like Poland, Netherlands, Belgium or Scandinavian countries so don't waste your precious leadership on them as long as they aren't influenced by Axis. But be careful, if they do start being influenced, immediately send your own diplomats so they can protect your interest in those countries!
If your main focus is halting Germany, DO NOT accept Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, nor Switzerland into the Allies, the maginot line in France is very resilient by itself because it's level 10 forts, and any flanking would ruin it. Instead try influencing Italy while supporting the liberal conservative party there, or just any democratic parties. If you get Italy to join the Allies, you have a powerful continental power by your side. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg are mostly invaded by Germany after France falls.
If you're hesitant about influencing Ireland towards the Allies, if you immediately start increasing threat in Ireland, while at the same time lowering your neutrality, you can invade Ireland before the war starts/Nationalist China drags you into war, and then you can puppet them and they will be in the Allies sooner! This also happens to give you a convenient reason to turn to a war economy...
In general, you should try to pick at most two-three countries you want to become Allies and make long-term investments to recruit them. I usually start by influencing Brazil so they stay in my corner and later (with better Education research) start investing points into more countries, usually dominions first and then whoever is strong and close to Axis. It doesn't take long to get each of them on board.
I have a house rule to not influence Japan since I want them to join Axis but it's a viable strategy to get a powerful ally in the Pacific. I also don't want to drag USA into war too soon (rumour says the cost of that will be losing the whole colonial empire!).
Another option is to focus all of your energy into a specific region such as Scandinavia of Southern Europe. Exert influence on all nations in that area including those drifting toward the Axis. If you can ally with 2 or 3 usually the other one will join as well. Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece and Hungary might seem weak but when chained together they are quite hard for the German AI to handle.
Treaty of Munich:
UK has two choices here, oppose or support the Treaty. Opposing the treaty gains you Czechoslovakia as an ally but loses your influence with the US and other allies, as they see you as being aggressive instead of Germany. "Peace in Our Time!" gains you influence with France and the US and is generally the better option to choose as the Czechs will get overrun quickly anyway.
Guarantee the Independence of Poland
There's no reason why you wouldn't guarantee the independence of Poland, it lowers your neutrality giving you more industrial capability.
1940 General Election
Historically, Halifax spoke first and Winston Churchill was therefore made Prime-Minister.
Our Finest Hour
This event can be triggered when France surrenders leaving the UK on its own to fight the Axis in Europe. It gives the UK an IC boost!
The United Nations
When the UK and US are both at war with Germany and Japan, you can form the United Nations.
The End of the Beginning
To trigger this you will need to have captured Tripoli and Misurata from Italy in North Africa, and forced an Ethiopian surrender. This signifies a turning point in the war.
Describes laws and political parties.
Use the counter espionage minister to help you knock out enemy spies. This is crucial for a democracy due to the free press laws [reading the counter espionage tooltip on the intel page for more information].
As a democracy, you can get to better economic and conscription laws by lowering the intel mission of lowering your neutrality. Read the laws tooltips for what you need to do. By using first counterspionage and then the lower your neutrality mission, in a 1936 start you can get to 2 better levels of economic laws by the end of 1938: this means a 50% better modifier for your IC!
If you are role playing UK it is relatively easy to maintain a Tory Majority by occasionally supporting the ruling party. However, if you neglect your ruling party and choose decisions that weaken it, it is possible for Fascists or even Communists to take over the land.
First focus on protecting yourself, then focus on lowering your neutrality so that you get to better economic and conscription laws, more diplomatic options, and most importantly, being able to invade countries, such as little Ireland.
You should focus all your early spies on counter-espionage at home, remove any sending orders to other countries until you have 10 domestic spies. You also should seek ministers who add to your counter-espionage efficiency (be careful, not counter-intelligence but counter-espionage). This will allow your nation to overcome the penalties you get from your free-market and open-society political system. There are reports for 1.2 version on the forum saying that without a proper minister your chance of catching enemy spies will be so low they can jeopardise your research as high as 20%!
When you already have 10 spies at home set to counter-espionage and proper ministers to support their work, you will notice you are catching 30-40 spies per month. Imagine the havoc they would cause if you didn't catch them right away!
You should closely watch pop-ups saying that enemy spy was caught and try to determine who's your biggest enemy in the field of intelligence. When you have your target set, usually Germany but can also be USA or even France, prepare 10-12 free spies and send them to that country all at once with a mission to attack their domestic spies. When defenders are all killed, you can wreak a real havoc on your own (-12% research penalty for example) but remember to switch to counter-espionage once in a while to destroy whatever defensive force your opponent has built in the meantime. This will make your main enemy in the field of espionage more focused on defending himself rather than attacking you and will take some heat off your domestic Bonds. For countries that you want to be on your side such as the USA, you can use the support our party to get them more inclined to move towards your faction.
You can also increase threat in certain countries to invade them sooner. Ireland is a textbook example. It can be easily steamrolled due to its lack of even infantry.
As the leader of your faction you are supposed to support everyone else in whatever needs they might have so they can prepare for the war more easily. You have a vast colonial empire producing tons of all resources so sell to everyone who wants to buy and all the earned money invest into buying Crude which is the only resource you are lacking.
If you wish to expand your IC through either significant conquests or factory building (or both), trading for extra metal and energy will be required at some point. The most cost effective strategy is to trade out the excess of rare materials for money, and to use that money to buy metal and energy. This can be sustained for a very long time because by the time it becomes necessary, you are very likely to have a 99k stockpile of rares. So you can even trade them out for a large daily deficit for quite some time before it becomes an issue, at which point producing excess supplies and trading them for money will become the best option. The best trade partners to sustain a high IC (350+) are obviously the United States and the Soviet Union, as they both produce the ressources you need in massive quantities.
The UK has more than enough IC at the game's start, the problem is that most of it is sunk into free-market customer-oriented system which is really good for the population but isn't the best thing to have when preparing for a war. Rather than erecting many new factories, you should focus on squeezing more from what you already have by researching Industrial Capacity and lowering neutrality. Setting up the following builds is highly recommended at the game's start:
-Level 10 radar in Dover -Level 10 radar in Malta -Level 10 coastal fort in Malta -Level 10 land fort in Hong Kong -Continually building at least 1 set of convoys -Continually building at least 1 set of destroyers -Continually building at least 1 aircraft unit (fighters or bombers)
When the war finally breaks out, with full economic mobilization and heavy industry focus your free IC will sky-rocket allowing you to build all the planes and ships necessary. All free IC should be put into preparing security for your trade lanes and homeland from imminent German hostile actions.
You should have at least one Light Cruiser, one Destroyers fleet and one light airplane in production queue at all time to build up their practical knowledge before the war and speed up their research later on. It's probably best if you build versatile planes that can both defend your skies as well as take the fight to enemy. My personal preference are Multi-roles (Spitfires!) and Carrier Air Groups but don't hesitate to add some Interceptors.
I would strongly discourage producing more Strategic, Naval and Tactical bombers than you start with because I doubt you can find any spare IC to build more than one aerial practical before the war.
Producing artillery attachments and provincial AA defense will raise your artillery practical so try to have at least one of those in the queue at all time as well. Also building up your infantry force is a good idea but it's secondary to other tasks and can be safely ignored until 1939. May 1939 Germany attacks Poland, then it takes like a whole winter to get France out of the way so first Germans landing on the isles you can expect in spring 1940. No need to invest much IC into infantry 4 years ahead of time.
You should have at least one powerful radar before the war breaks out, preferably in Dover. It will give your planes enormous advantage in Battle of Britain as well as will allow you to check how many ships there are stationed in the main port of Germany in Wilhemshaven so you can blockade them and bomb them.
Another radar station is priceless if put on Malta. It will "light up" the whole central Mediterranean for you allowing you to see placement of Italian armies in the whole area between Libya and the Balkans as well as ports where their bigger fleets are stationed so your Carrier Air Groups can damage them. It will be a real thorn in Italy's side so make sure you improve your Coastal Fortress on Malta along with the radar so it doesn't fall into enemy's hands. At least a basic coastal Fortress in Gibraltar is a good idea as well. Improving Coast Fortresses increases your construction practical so try to have at least one at all time in the queue.
You can vastly ignore and under-fund upgrades until early 1939 since you won't be fighting before early 1940 anyway. Try to stay on green with supplies but also don't hesitate to cut down funding here if you can finish another plane or ship instead.
Once the war breaks out, you can expect to lose three convoys and one escort per day, on average. As of For The Motherland v3.05, convoy raiding is extremely effective even when performed by the AI. This means that if you don't build some extra convoys ahead of the war, you will run out within a few months. There isn't much you can do to stop it either, so sustained convoy construction will be required throughout the war in order to keep your trade and supply routes running at full efficiency. In the early months of the war and until you manage to sink them, Germany will have a few nice capital ships that it will use in the Atlantic, so you will need to patrol the seas in full force with large fleets of capital ships in order to stay safe. Later, once you sink their main capital ships, you can split up your forces and use small patrols of 2-6 DD's to hunt for submarines. But even that is not very effective, as they will rarely find subs, and those that they do find will most often get pummeled but manage to retreat. It is frustrating to watch German subs revealed by your Dover super-radar travel across the channel and slip through sea areas patrolled by your DD's without ever being engaged by them... In one game, as of August 1942, I have only managed to sink 13 German subs even with permanent patrols on my main trade lanes. In the meanwhile I was forced to build several hundred convoys (probably around 2500 convoys and 800 escorts) to keep up with the rate at which they were destroyed. The bottom line is that convoy raiding with submarines appears to be extremely IC efficient. You might want to try it against Japan.
The United Kingdom has a wide set of strategic priorities. It needs to defend the British Isles, prevent interdiction of its supply lanes by the Germans, Japanese and Italians, defend India and the Far-East (particularly strategic Singapore) against the Japanese, and build up forces to conduct an invasion of the Axis powers. With that in mind, it needs strong forces in all three branches.
The British Army starts off old-fashioned and in need of modernisation. It is not recommended to follow the AI approach and to build lots of garrison units; they will not be useful to defend the U.K. whereas regular infantry can be shipped off to fight abroad at a moment's notice. The bulk of the fight will take place in North Africa and Europe, where the most useful units will be armour and motorised infantry divisions backed up by artillery, anti-tank brigades and engineers. By 1941-1942 the player should be looking to have upgraded all regular infantry divisions to motorised or special forces and to have at least 4-5 armoured corps before invading Sicily.
A strong force of Marines and Paratroopers is vital for the United Kingdom, particularly for warfare in areas distant from Europe. These can give the British Army very high mobility in poor-infrastructure areas by allowing the UK to focus on taking key provinces and cutting off enemy forces from their bases of supply, and by exploiting British sealift and airlift capabilities. They also require few supplies compared to conventional mobile divisions.
Defending the United Kingdom requires absolute naval supremacy over Germany and Italy. Thankfully the Royal Navy is more than up to the task. The large starting fleet with many battleships and the long supply routes the United Kingdom possesses suggest a combination of battleships and destroyers as the core of the Royal Navy. It is also quite possible to build up and improve the carrier force to allow that to serve a decisive role, with battleships relegated to supporting amphibious invasions. Remember that the carrier approach will require upgrading the various naval bomber/CAG technologies so will be a costlier option in terms of leadership.
The largest threat to Britain is from submarines preying on its shipping and small groups of destroyers should be sent to patrol areas around Biscay and the Irish Sea at all times. Following the "bases for destroyers" event the U.S.A. will give the U.K. a force of 8 destroyer flotillas, however these are largely outdated and should be used for hunting submarines only. There is also potential for developing cruiser warfare with small groups of light and heavy cruisers for patrolling shipping channels and blockading areas like Gibraltar and the Suez canal.
Next to the Navy, the Royal Air Force is the most crucial service branch of the British military. A force of fighters spread across Southern England to intercept German bombers is a must. The Hurricane interceptors are the best unit for the job, however multi-role Spitfires may be useful to later provide an air-support role during later invasions.
CAS or tactical bombers may be useful when Britain turns to the offensive in order to multiply the striking power of its forces. Historically, Britain used strategic bombers including the Lancaster to strike at German cities like Dresden and Berlin, although this is a costlier approach to take - if using transport planes to perform airborne assaults these share the same technology as STR. If avoiding the route of aircraft carriers, naval bombers can and should be used to strike at the Italian navy in the Mediterranean but if aircraft carriers are deployed they can be safely ignored.
A diverse RAF is recommended to be able to defend from hostile bombing, attack troops and logistics in mainland Europe, defend the British Navy and its interests overseas, insert paratroops into key locations and take out airfields, ports and other sites weakening the defences the Axis can put up.
War with the Axis
Sooner or later, the United Kingdom will enter into war with the German-led Axis powers. The main fronts of this war will be in France, North and East Africa and Thailand/Singapore. British strategic objectives are to defend the U.K. and its allies, defeat Italy in North + East Africa, hold the Far-East, liberate French occupied territories in North Africa and finally to invade and liberate Italy and German occupied mainland Europe.
German Offensive 1939-1940
Germany will typically annex Austria in 1938 and Czechoslovakia in 1939 greatly increasing its strength. Historically the U.K. government tried to appease Hitler but the player has the option of refusing the Treaty of Munich and immediately declaring war. Unopposed, these events lead to the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands in early 1940, and France/Norway in the summer of 1940.
Alternatively, if you want to support Czechoslovakia it is possible to use diplomatic efforts to keep Hungary neutral and to ally with Poland and Yugoslavia by 1938. When war is declared, mobilize the whole British Army and invade East Prussia (if you can't reach it, temporarily occupy Kiel). The Germans will hold out in Konigsberg for a while but the rest of Prussia will fall. You can't supply it so drop a few garrison troops and then take your army to invade/reinforce the Kiel Beachhead. Secure a small perimeter and send mobile units to run around behind the German line. At this point the German AI will panic and re-deploy troops from all over Germany. Your eastern Allies will keep falling back but Germany will be caught in a quandary. Most AI's will strip the West to attack your beachhead. This allows France to go on the offensive and push Germany back. Eventually your eastern Allies will fall but if you fully commit you can overrun most of Western Germany. At this point offer an Alliance to Poland who will likely accept. Poland and Britain can win a victory as early as 1941 approximately 30% of the time using this strategy.
Early War Period 1940-1941
Defending the British Isles requires a comprehensive net of patrol ships to catch any transport convoys plus appropriate air cover to defeat any invading bombers. The heaviest concentration of British shipping is around the Channel from Dover/Portsmouth and around the coast of France. While coastal defences will prevent beach invasions, this require units to man them and realistically reinforcing the entire coast of Britain is a huge waste of industry. The best defence is therefore foreknowledge of where the enemy is attacking from. A level 10 radar in Dover will shed light on a huge area of land and sea allowing your fighters and ships to intercept enemy forces quickly and prevent invasions.
In terms of physically defending the U.K. a few motorised divisions can easily do the trick. Avoiding using garrisons or militia as they are less useful and cannot be used for overseas operations. Work on upgrading your current infantry stacks to motorised divisions as this will greatly increase their flexibility for use in other theatres.
North Africa can be quickly and easily conquered using a single armoured division and 2-3 motorised divisions. Target the runways and blockade the ports around Tobruk and Tripoli to give your troops the tactical advantage and prevent Italian reinforcements from landing. Building a level 10 Coastal Fort in Malta will make it virtually impenetrable and a crucial base/radar station for aircraft and ships to strike at Italy. North Africa is only 2-4 provinces wide, so you can concentrate your forces closely together with armour to push the Italians back. After the Italians are defeated, this corps can be turned north to hold Greece or to prepare for Operation Torch (see below). If you move quickly enough Torch can be attempted in 1941 one year ahead of history.
East Africa will initially be invaded when war is declared with Italy along with Ethiopia as their puppet. You won't lose much except the crucial coal supplies in Khartoum and Addis Ababa…if you like your factories working, you might want to secure these. The good news is that a single motorised corps is capable of blitzing into Addis Ababa and forcing an Ethiopian surrender. Secure the ports of Mogadishu & Port Sudan to prevent Italian reinforcements and you should be able to quickly mop up any remaining infantry.
Norway and Denmark
At some point, Germany will attempt to invade Denmark and Norway. Having 2-3 corps of mountain divisions with some armour ready to ship out to Norway should beat them back rather easily. Let them penetrate inland before striking (make sure they don't capture Narvik and Oslo though) and then land invasions on their supply ports. If this is well executed, it is possible to eliminate 10-15 divisions of German infantry in one swoop!
Invasion of Persia
An invasion of Persia can be done any time in 1941 but was historically carried out in late August. The reason for capturing Persia is to secure the oil fields from the Axis powers and preventing trade with them. You can either conquer Persia, install democracy or puppet the nation.
The invasion of Persia was an Anglo-Soviet joint operation but you can easily do it alone as the U.K. There are a few victory points close to the Iraqi border. A single motorised corps based in Kuwait can quickly sweep through to attack Tehran. It is possible to quickly capture Tabriz in the north with a paratrooper division and also invade from the east from India - if executed properly Persia will surrender within two weeks.
Hong Kong + the Far-East
Japan will declare war sometime in late 1941 or 1942. The Japanese will attack Hong Kong early on, but providing you have land defenses and infantry stationed there they will not be able to take it. Likewise, Singapore can be defended by land by concentrating your troops on the Siam border, and by vigilantly manning the coastline of Malaysia to prevent beach invasions. Motorised troops cannot move in the jungle around Siam, so you will need to hold some infantry corps specially for this theatre. Paratroopers and Marines are very effective in the Far East, as is Artillery.
Siam will usually join the Axis and fight against you. Fortunately, India can be defended by 2-3 divisions of infantry in the single passable province between Bhutan and Calcutta. This pass can be held indefinitely especially if you have Ghurka infantry. Attacking into southern Siam from Singapore will allow you to reach the bottleneck there which is a single province wide and several long: the Japanese will severely struggle to force you out of that. Once you capture Banghkok either through Marine invasion or by invading from the south, Siam will usually surrender.
Avoid the Imperial Japanese Navy in open battle but attack Japan's supply lines and blockade key ports to ensure the Japanese Army becomes undersupplied. A couple of infantry corps with artillery support can usually push East to capture Vietnam, however navy/carrier support will be needed to blockade Japanese ports and prevent reinforcements landing.
Operation Torch 1942
Before invading Italy it will be necessary to force a Vichy France surrender by seizing Vichy assets in Lebanon and Africa. Like the operation on Persia this can be done in a matter of a week or so by quickly invading victory points Beirut, Dakar, Casablanca, Algiers, Oran or Tunis.
Position your troops prior to the invasion. Two infantry divisions in Palestine will be capable of seizing Beirut. Simultaneously invade Dakar and Casablanca with your marines (by now you should have at least 3-6 landing craft ready). This should be enough to force a surrender. If not, land a motorised division to quickly drive east and capture Algiers, or send infantry towards Tunis from Libya. Air and sea support to your invasions will be helpful, and give you a good practice run towards an invasion of Sardinia or Sicily in 1943.
Sicily and the Italian Campaign 1943
By 1943, you should have at least two full expeditionary armies of mixed special forces and breakthrough armor divisions itching for action. Italy is the most obvious place to start in that it is closest to home, and will be the biggest blow you can deal to the Axis at this point since landing in Germany is unlikely to yield anything but a catastrophe at this point.
Landing in Sicily is easy enough, and will prompt a response from the Axis who will send some troops to garrison the end of the Italian "boot". Land paratroops in Messina to prevent them crossing and capture the key ports with armour and motorised divisions. Use your main or secondary fleet to prevent any Italian interference in this operation. You can also capture Sardinia and Corsica in similar lightning operations. Make the best use of your landing craft + Marines to capture key ports and follow them up with plenty of infantry and tanks on transport ships.
Be patient and wait for the Axis to get settled in Southern Italy, then land some forces in Taranto to cut them off. Establish a defensive line, and repeat the process, landing a little further north and cutting off the enemy frontline troops again. This is far better than targeting victory points to elicit a quick surrender as it will destroy numerous enemy divisions in the process, divisions which should be sorely needed for the war against the Soviet Union at this time. A single encirclement can capture and destroy up to £500k enemy soldiers in one battle! What's more, even if you don't succeed in creating large pockets, you are still forcing the enemy to commit a large amount of forces to the defense of Italy, which relieves some of the pressure on the Soviet Union and hastens the defeat of Germany in the East.
When you've captured Rome, Milan and Naples, Italy will usually surrender. Suddenly the Italian army will give way, Greece will be liberated and many Hungarian/German divisions will become trapped in small pockets of Italian countryside. Mop these up quickly while reinforcing the borders of the Cote Dazur and Trieste to prevent a counter-attack. Landing in the Balkans is also possible, opening a second front against Germany if you are already on the ground in Italy. This will further dilute the forces the Axis are able to commit to their offensive in the East, reducing the probability that they will succeed in defeating the Soviet Union. In the north of Greece, there is a continuous line of mountain about 6 provinces long. Like in Italy, it is a frontline that can be held easily.
When you see that the Eastern front is starting to move back towards Berlin (if it ever does, as sometimes the German AI will crush the Soviet Union regardless of your best efforts to prevent it), plan your landing in France. If you followed the advice on building a Level 10 Radar in Dover, you will be able to get a clear view of the German forces there. If you see that the coastline is fairly heavily garrisoned with infantry, it means that the war is still going well for them. When they start to feel pressure in the East the German AI will recall all that infantry and leave only token garrison divisions behind. This is your cue to launch D-Day. Bring lots of troops and secure as many ports as possible, as quickly as possible. Use your armour to Blitzkrieg back the plains of the Netherlands, and if you have mountain divisions you can put pressure on Austria through the alps. By now you should have many 5-star divisions and experienced leaders, so make the best use of them.
Your forces in Italy should be able to take Marseille without much resistance. Likewise, utilise your Marines to capture Bordeaux once Northern France is secure.
At this point the UK player can either attack the USSR or the USA.
If you intend to wage World War 3 on the Soviet Union, there are a few things you must be aware of. First of all, it will be necessary to control all of Europe. Puppets and Allies compromise your military operations far more than they ever help them. This does not necessarily mean you must wage war on Spain and Portugal, but since it's never bad to have more IC/ressearch, you might as well go ahead and conquer them too (for democracy, of course!). It will also be optimal to have defeated Germany through a landing near Berlin, securing most of the German territory for you. This is because it will be much harder to defeat the soviets if you have to drive them out of Germany first.
Militarily speaking, the likely situation is that the Red Army will have far more front line divisions than Britain. At this point in the game (probably 1943-44 if you were quick in defeating Germany), you should have around 600 land brigades while the Soviets will have ~1000-1200. However, the technical superiority of your forces should be significant enough that it will allow you to prevail if you play your cards right. To win here, it is imperative that you make good use of heavy breakthrough divisions and push through plains to create large encirclements, eliminating large portions of their army as quickly as possible. The best divisions for this task are 5-brigade armored divisions (ARM-ARM-MEC-SPART-SPART), as they are both fast and powerful and also have relatively low softness, making them super-efficient against soft targets.
On defeating Germany and it's allies, you should have captured sizable supply and fuel stockpiles on mainland Europe. Nevertheless, supplying a massive war against the Soviets will likely see this stockpile dwindle quickly. Setting your armoured armies in motion will very quickly drain the supplies available in Europe, and it might be impossible to ship enough supplies through convoys to keep up with the rate at which they are consumed. This adds an element of urgency to the whole operation: it will be necessary to defeat the Reds before your armies run out of supply. This may or may not be possible depending on how strong the Soviet defenses are, and it might be necessary to switch to «arcade» supply mode for Operation Unthinkable to work at all.
Gaming the System
Italy can be knocked out of the war in days by doing the following: land a division (motorised or something fast) at Savona and at Venice. Take the ports and move quickly to take the VP provinces at Bologna and Milan. At the same time, land a division at Rome and a division at Naples. This should take enough Italian VPs to force their surrender. Having divisions land at Taranto and Palermo can't hurt either just to make sure, as if Italy stays in the war most of your divisions will have to flee and the one attacking Milan will probably be lost to Italian soldiers attacking from the French front.
Early in the war Italy neglects to guard most of these ports.
Buying production license from Nepal to build ghurka brigades allows the player to have unlimited number of them (if there is enough money).
|Major Powers||France · Germany · Italy · Japan · United Kingdom · United States of America · Soviet Union|
|Regional Powers||Argentina · Australia · Belgium · Brazil · Bulgaria · Czechoslovakia · Guangxi Clique · Hungary · Manchukuo · Nationalist China · Nationalist Spain · Netherlands · Poland · Republican Spain · Romania · Sweden · Turkey · Yugoslavia|
|Minor Powers||Austria · Canada · Chile · Colombia · Denmark · Finland · Greece · Ireland · Mexico · Norway · Peru · Portugal · Shanxi · South Africa · Switzerland|
|Micro Powers||Afghanistan · Albania · Bhutan · Bolivia · Communist China · Costa Rica · Cuba · Dominican Republic · Ecuador · El Salvador · Estonia · Ethiopia · Guatemala · Haiti · Honduras · Iraq · Latvia · Liberia · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Mongolia · Nepal · New Zealand · Nicaragua · Oman · Panama · Paraguay · Persia · Philippines · Saudi Arabia · Siam · Sinkiang · Tannu Tuva · Tibet · Uruguay · Venezuela · Xibei San Ma · Yemen · Yunnan|