Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Their Finest Hour: Operation Sea Lion

Operation Sea Lion has recently become a hot topic of discussion on the Europa Association recently. Would it have been successful if launched, or would the British have repulsed it at some point? Would the British have surrendered, or fallen back on the Empire if defeat came?

Since England, in spite of her hopeless military situation, shows no signs of being ready to come to an understanding, I have decided to prepare a landing operation against England, and, if necessary, to carry it out.

Actually, we decided to prepare a landing. We deposed Uncle Adolf years ago. We just keep his picture on the wall for old times sake.

The rules of Their Finest Hour are at least 33 years old, and do not line up exactly with current rules, but it is what we have to work with since no one has any idea if and when Lightning War will ever be released.

Instead of having task forces, all capital ships are represented by individual counters. Instead of moving hex by hex in a series of naval subphases, this game uses the concept of sea zones, and a series of “action segments” to move naval units around the map.

Four British factories produce certain aircraft models, such as the Supermarine Spitfire. If the factory is knocked out due to sustaining 7 or more bombing hits, the British no longer receive air reinforcements of that particular model. The British secretly assign a model to each factory. As the German player, we have no idea which one produces which, but may be able to figure it out as the game goes along.

One of the key advantages the German player has over their historical counterparts 75 years earlier is that we understand the value of the British radar sites. They are prime on the list of Luftwaffe targets.

Sea Lion, German operational plan (click image to enlarge)

Sea Lion, German operational plan (click image to enlarge)

The objective of the Luftwaffe is to engage the Royal Air Force and destroy as much of it as possible. The German High Command believed the destruction of the RAF was paramount to launching an invasion.  I think the RAF needs to be weakened, but I am not sure it needs to be destroyed. Air superiority over the chosen landing sites is the primary objective. Objective #2 is to hold the Royal Navy off in the distance and prevent them from reaching the danger zones.

The biggest question for me is do I want to follow the original German plan and hit the southern beaches between Southampton and Ramsgate, or do I want to figure out my own plan? It has been said that the British ultimately figured out where the Germans were going to land. That probably wasn’t too difficult considering the number of landing sites is limited. Let it also be said that Rommel also figured out where the Allies were going to land on D-Day, but no one listened to him.

Counters are being sorted, strategies being developed, and the battle will begin sometime next week. Can the Germans pull off a landing, or will the British stave the Germans off one more time?


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7 thoughts on “Their Finest Hour: Operation Sea Lion

  1. Alan Tibbetts on said:

    The British are building POW camps for our German visitors. Accommodations will be crowded at first.


  2. Alan Tibbetts on said:

    Before you get to our boys on the beach you must first get by our boys at sea.

    And in the air.


  3. Alan Tibbetts on said:


  4. Stephen on said:

    LOL I’m looking forward to this – THF is way at the back of my wardrobe somewhere. I did wonder about playing it with SF or maybe given the naval element, TDDH rules.


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