From: Bangor, Maine, USA
Hmm, well, with your list of objectives, here's my relatively basic analysis.
It's going to be *really* tough to do both the Mediterranean dominance and an attack on the USSR by '41. The only way I've ever been able to do that is by crippling France on the first turn, but if you're not playing with the no- ZoC- on the surprise impulse optional, it's tough to knock over Belgium and France quickly enough on the first turn, since you'll need to detour through the Netherlands to avoid a Dyle Defense. Since you've said that the '41 attack is preferred but not necessary, I'm going to prioritize the other stuff rather than really gearing up for a superstrike on the Soviets.
Secondly, if you're going after a Mediterranean strategy, I'd probably elect to align Hungary and Bulgaria instead of getting full ally status with the Romanians. If you're delaying a Barbarossa, and not putting everything you have into the knockout strike, the advantage you secure by being able to move men into Romania prior to a declaration of war with the U.S.S.R. goes way down. Furthermore, in the Balkans, I would try to knock out Yugoslavia in '39. You're just not going to have a lot of time or attention to spare once France heats up as a theater, and you almost certainly aren't going to be able to finesse your way through Greece to align the country.
Towards that end, I would divide your initial set up as follows.
First Turn Germany
Fleet goes in Kiel
Bock, a strong inf, and a gun in the forest southwest of Vienna
Your Mountain, another strong inf, and another gun in hex 0226 (the one with the partisan fist)
2 more mid strength inf in that mountain between them (hex 0227) Support them with the Me-110 and some of your longer ranged 3 factor bombers
Your 3 Garr and your two weakest inf should cover the French border, one guy on each hex. It's really just to stop him from end running into your cities; the real deterrence against a French counterattack is their pumping up your production. Give them the forts to help bolster things.
Your SS div can reach Copenhagen in one impulse with Railway movement, so you put him north of Kiel
That leaves us with Rundstedt, Leeb, the two ARM, the Mech, the Two Mots, 4 inf, 2 guns, and the inf and engineer divisions to smash Poland with. They should be supported with the stukas. You're guaranteed good weather on the first impulse, so groundstrike concentrations of Polish troops and eat them.
On your second impulse, DoW Denmark and Yugoslavia, and rip them apart. Denmark should fall in an impulse, but Yugoslavia might put up a fight, especially around Zagreb, where the terrain is icky. If you get lucky with the Italian plane draw, you might have an SM 79 or a Cicogna, which you can put in La Spezia to help further support your activities. Still, you ideally want to be in Belgrade by the years end. Focus on killing Yugoslav units more than on gaining territory, the UK can't really spare much production and probably won't even induce them into the force pool.
Set up your reserves, especially the Mech, in northwest Germany, and on even a reasonably good weather impulse (you should get at least one) attack the Netherlands and get into Rotterdam. When March rolls around, hit Belgium, and then pour into France, and don't stop attacking south till you hit the water.
Now, builds. Assuming you knocked Poland out on the first turn, (at the very least grab the resources) and you used 2 oil up in operations, and the Soviets claimed Bessarabia and thus reduced their tribute payment to you by one, you should have the following production.
9 resources in Germany
1 in Austria
1 in Czechoslovakia
2 in Poland
Receiving in L.L.
3 from Sweden
1 from Hungary
1 from Turkey
6 from the U.S.S.R.
2 from Romania
-2 for Oil
leaving us with 24*3/4=18 BP, of which we have to give 2 to the Soviets, leaving us with 16 BP total. (It works out very nicely. You'll have 24 factories exactly if you grab the red one in Lodz. You did have the engineer take Lodz, didn't you?)
On the first turn I would build 5 pilots (10) the Me-110,(3) an inf (3) and that free Vienna CBV mil. In general, you're going to need planes a lot more than you're going to need land units, of which you already start with quite a few once the reserves flow in. Again, especially if we're delaying the attack on the U.S.S.R. till '42, we doing really need a ton of Arm and Mech until then, which are usually the big cost land unit builds
The reason I build all those pilots on the first turn is two fold. One, you'll need them; you start with a bunch more planes than you have pilots anyway. Two, you're maxed out on Ftr2, and your land bombers from 36 and 37 are pretty lousy. Waiting to build bombers until 1940 lets you scrap the worst guys out of your forcepool (unless you drew them already), and concentrate on building nice things like Stukas and Ju-88s. First chance you get, scrap those HS-123s and every LND3 you can.
First Turn Italy
You have 3 major objectives and one minor objective as Italy in closing the Med. For all of these, I would generally recommend declaring war on both France and the CW on the first turn, probably in the third Axis impulse, so you can get involved with whatever Germany is up to; also importantly, it lets Germany drip you resources, which you *will* need to produce anything meaningful. In no particular order, I suggest the following:
1. Neutralize Malta
2. Take Suez
3. Push westwards to Morocco
4. Grab the Cyprus resource.
A lot of these will require invasions, and more than one will probably require German assistance.
Now, I'm used to playing with Limited Overseas Supply, so I tend to ignore Malta directly and instead focus on blasting convoy points and Transports that make it into the Med. If you're not, you'll probably have to invade it, on the 3rd impulse if possible. Note however, that you can't really stop the British from reinforcing it with someone, at which point your division assaults will be more or less meaningless.If he does that, get revenge by sinking his TRS with a port strike on the surprise impulse using the Gabbiano. (or at least trying)
Cyprus is nice, but honestly can probably wait, it's easy to knock out of supply, so whenever you have a minute, send an inf division to overrun Famagusta.
The western med gets a lot easier depending on what the French drew for their territorials. Generally though, you should be able to overrun Tunisia with your territorials, but Algeria is a tough nut to crack even if it's only defended by one unit. Due to the scarcity of ports, going past Algeria is going to require a HQ, so will probably have to wait until after Metropolitan France falls. Deployment wise, this means that I'd put my fastest territorial in hex 0605, and everyone else in the eastern reaches of Libya, right up at the border in Bardia.
If you are having to wait, the M.O. should be something like this: Overrun Bone if you can with the territorial. If you can't use a division to invade Oran, he probably won't be able to cover both. Once you have a port, ship in a few German Corps, and have them march on Algiers. Once you have that, ship in a HQ and start your walk to Rabat.
Now, the CW only starts with Wavell and 2 weak territorials in Egypt, but don't get complacent, they can reinforce that garrison and they probably will, fast. If, however, they don't put anyone in on the first impulse (Say they were reinforcing Malta instead) you can sometimes do an end run by breaking down your mountain inf into a MTN div and a Mot Div, and then using the mtn div to invade at Port Said on the surprise impulse. He should be able to make it through, and if Wavell doesn't counterattack and risk DSB and a relatively low odds attack, you can ship in your mech and mot the next impulse on a combined, and then march out with some fast guys for Suez.
If you don't get that end run to work, you'll probably need German help in the form of planes, or wait all the way until the Japanese enter the war so they can knock out the Red Sea supply route.
Your first turn builds are pretty hampered, given that you'll probably use the Romanian oil for reorg, won't have taken either Cyprus or Algeria yet; leaving you with a grand total of 2 BP. Internal jury is out as to whether to start a trans, to start a pilot or a nav, or just to save the BP. (I'm used to playing with Factories in Flames, which gives you a lot more flexibility, sorry :( )
Either way, stay flexible, and look for opportunities. You're not strong enough to overcome organized resistance, so look for gaps in the deployment; the CW is stretched enough that there will be some, and hit there. You will want another transport reasonably soon, the Germans will start wanting to send troops into the Med, and that means you have to haul them about.
Dealing with France.
Once you've knocked out Belgium (should be early in M/A 40), you'll have 10 hexes of border with the French. Some of them face the Maginot line, and while you probably will have trouble breaching head on, Metz or Strassburg can sometimes be taken by assiduous use of artillery and the engineer. Keep an eye out, since the French probably can't afford to garrison those hexes to the same strength that they will in the north.
In the North, mass your armor, and look for blitzes; it's surprisingly possible to knock a few sections of the French army out of supply. But most of all, use your air power. By M/A, you'll have your Para, an ATR to service him, and you should have something like 6 active FTR2, 2 active FTR3, 5 LND2, and 3 Lnd3. Bomb the French with impunity, using groundstrikes to paralyze the defense while your armor punches through. You will probably need to use an O-Chit at some point, and if you start your general attack in M/A, I'd go land; if you wait till M/J, I'd use it to launch a mega-groundstrike wave on an air. Either way, if you're going for full conquest, the important part is to stay out of France and avoid increasing their production until you're ready for an overwhelming strike, following by a blast of killing as many French units as possible. You'll want to destroy about 75% of them with your strike by turn's end. Downgrade to retreat and avoid letting units escape to the production tract.
To get the air units mentioned above, N/D should have you build a Lnd 2 (scrap any HS-123 in the force pool, and if you were lucky enough to draw all three eligible stukas in your initial draft, power to you, build a CVP instead so that you can build 2 Lnd2 when J/F 40 rolls around. Build another 4 pilots in N/D 39, and then slack off a bit on the pilots, as you warm up production tracts in M/A 40 for those juicy LND 3. (you will want the FTR2, but they can wait a *little* while, your initial air advantage will be enough that you can let it slide just a bit if you're not planning on a sealion.)
Early 40, you'll also want to build Rommel, Gustav/Dora, maybe a second field gun. By the middle of the year you'll want a synth plant or two, and towards the end I'd work on another O-chit. Throughout the year you'll probably want 1-2 pilots and 2-3 planes a turn. Focus on LND, you'll need them to crack the Pyranees. Later in the year (assuming you'll get to Gibraltar by mid-late 41) you'll want to build the two Condors, to help you clear Cape St Vincent. Don't get your ENG killed, or you won't be able to repair the factories you capture, which you'll need to keep production up.
It's okay to start your attack on Spain a little piecemeal, there aren't any production bonuses involved, and you win by stretching the Spanish out, so even little bulges you can't break through with will be helpful. The Italians can open a second front by invading around Cartagena or Almeria, letting one of you make an end run for Madrid. Still, it'll probably take a little while to get through. Not a lot of real tricks, just use overwhelming air power to bludgeon your way past.
I'll admit, with the combination of DSB and no LOS, taking Gibraltar looks dicey. IF he masses his fleet in Cape St Vincent, you're going to have a hard time digging them out. If he puts in the 7-3 reserve and the Montreal Mil, that's 12 factors, doubled for mountain, doubled again with his de-facto infinite Shore Bombardmutent if you can't chase his battleships off. You can get the Italian fleet to give you some SB of your own, and put big guns in Tangier and hex 2413, so you can use a spate of ground support with them. You'll probably need an O-Chit to break through though. In the meantime, your spare units (since you won't need a lot of land corps for this operation) should be filtering up through Poland, and flooding through Egypt if you haven't taken it already. There's not a lot of defensive terrain there, so you should be able to punch through with 2 Armored Corps and some supporting inf.
I'd continue more, and in greater detail, but it's getting late and I can (and probably will) elaborate on this later.
Hoping this was somewhat helpful,
This is all very useful, but I should note a few things. Take a look at the Optionals I posted:
I don't need my ENG for the factories. I'm not playing with Construction Engineers. I fully intend to aligne Yugoslavia to Italy, as well as Iraq later, in order to bolster their production and oil. Also, you talk about attacking some of the Low Countries in early to mid-1940. When I said aggressive Axis, I meant it. Weather permitting, they'll all be toast by the end of '39.
I'm going to try to get my screens to work well now, and I'll post the initial units for each nation as soon as I can.
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it!
-Lazarus Long, RAH