Axis and Allies: Playing UK
Having played Milton Bradley's Axis and Allies Classic hundreds of times over two decades, and having tried a wide variety of strategies and tactics, I offer the following wisdom for playing the United Kingdom (UK).
When playing Axis and Allies Classic, the United Kingdom must use their assets and income to face both opponents simultaneously. As Russia faces Germany on the ground, the UK must harrass Germany from the air; as the USA moves to attack Japanese holdings in the Pacific, the UK must oppose Japan on the ground in Asia. Also, Africa must be cleared of German troops. This call to triple duty is challenging, but it can be done so long as the Allies support the same goals.
On the first turn, UK should buy one bomber for use as an industrial raider against Germany. 8 of UK's 15 remaining IPC's could be spent on a new transport if Germany has succeeded in sinking the other two in the Atlantic. Otherwise, buy additional ground troops (infantry are best) to assist clearing Africa. The USA should also be sending a few troops to Africa, so the UK's investment there can be minimal; one or two transport trips should suffice. Once Africa is cleared, and as long as the German navy has been eliminated, UK's troops can make their way to Russia or Asia for support.
Another first turn priority for the UK is eliminating whatever remains of Germany's navy. Use ships and planes, both fighters and bombers if necessary, to remove any German ability to move troops across the water. This strategy limits Germany to land action. As ships can so easily be sunk by planes, and Germany faces both Russia and the UK, Germany would be unwise to spend IPC's on additional ships.
During the first turn, don't forget to move your India transport to Australia, to eventually bring those troops back to India. You want to heavily defend India, because on your second turn you should purchase an Industrial Production Center for placement there. This move will serve to delay Japan's Asian advances. Encourage the USA to commit its Asian troops to India for further defense as well.
As your game progresses, bring your 2 European fighters to India or Russia for defense. Keeping Russia alive is vital; if Russia falls to Germany, there is no longer any opposition to Germany storming through Asia and into Africa for 11 or more IPC's.
On subsequent turns, purchase 1 bomber for European action and ground troops for Indian defense. Once you have 3-5 bombers hitting Germany every turn, invest in another fighter or two. Their defensive power is formidable and will be much appreciated by the Russian commander/player. Maintain your bomber force to keep Germany's troop count low, thus enabling Russia to survive longer, and possibly mount a counterattack.
When the situation permits, assemble 3-5 transports, along with associated ground troops, for an invasion of Europe. Finland-Norway is usually 2 easy IPC's, while Western Europe or Germany itself will require more troop power to conquer. When you are ready for the big invasion, commit your bombers to the attack to help ensure success. An early surprise invasion of Western Europe will draw Germany's forces away from Russia, at least for a turn. This may be all Russia needs to live another day.
Until India is properly defended, buy only infantry, as they are the best defenders for the money, and your production there is limited to three units per turn. Use your transports to bring troops quickly from other theaters, especially from Africa, to India. Once you feel comfortable, buy a tank or two and attack Japan's positions in Asia. Remember to support these attacks with fighters. Attempt to destroy any Japanese transports that can reinforce Asia, thus limiting the troops you must face there.
As a last priority, use a few troops to capture some Japanese islands, thereby cutting Japan's income. Any little bit could help to turn the tide.
These ideas are not the only course of action when playing UK, but they have worked well for me for years.