Personally I prefer to open with an MG, particularly if he's a new player and prefers to to turtle, an MG will give him a base to play off which will slow down the combat for him, it will also help him against Mg42 which can really screw over brits as they have no counter until sniper which often comes after the wehr sniper. The vickers will normally beat an mg 42 in even combat. My build order atm for team games is (starterT)-MG-T-T-UC,
If your friend is new to online, play team games, a lot less relies on him then and he'll learn to deal with a lot more units fighting him at once and all he has to do is focus on killing germans which makes it easier on him as well, it makes 2v2 seem less effort in comparison which means he can focus on the parts of 2v2 which are important like unit preservation and field presence.
I mostly play team games and don't really play 2v2s and I haven't seen the replays but things I would mention if he's new, especially if he likes turtling and is good at it:
-I'm not a great 2v2 player but if you are in 2v2, it's on you as his ally to watch his flank, consider going a point and mid rather than trying to push both sides. As brits with a covered flank, once he's set up he can basically make himself unpushable until heavy armour comes out, especially if you as US or Soviets can help him counter mortar spam and infantry support guns. As long as you know what the british player is doing (which I assume you do as he's your friend), you need to play off him, you use his secure point to help you push mid or whatever that way he can help you too.
-Brits get caught short outside of cover, don't cap, do it with your second tommy section or get your teammate/s to do it, dive the capture point/fuel and lock it down immediately, brits can nearly always win first combat that way which will buy him time. Vickers will get you early picks which will pay off later and tommy's are better than all early game squads given distance and heavy cover and will kill sturmpioneers before they can get to them a lot of the time or at least trade in your favour. You MUST get to point first as a turtler or you else you might not be able to turtle for that game, which if that's what you're good at and like to do is a real problem. (most people will cap on their way to the point so it's not that time critical on all maps, cap a fuel/muni on the way for example if you think you have time or after your mg is set up but beware some people like to dive the point against brits to stop them doing this)
-Universal Carrier is your width (unless you want an AEC but that comes later), your squads are expensive and you probably don't want to be moving them out of cover regularly early on in case you run into an mg42 and have to retreat them. wasp is good, vickers k is better in my opinion, especially at vet 2, it becomes a goddamn exterminator, Chase squads back to base to confirm kills before at is prevalent and can help your mgs pin for 15 muni, it beats all machine guns (except US 50 cal if you are playing custom games), even garrisoned at range and gives them less vet as they never kill it. you must not feed their mgs veterancy or they will just incendiary round it and kill it, using the UC and micro managing it heavily will let you vet up quickly and deny them vet which becomes a massive advantage. watch for fausts, every goddamn german unit has one right now and if they get you it's gg no ree UC. If you use it well, it will force them to take AT early or go light vehicles so you can predict what they are going to do and preemptively counter them. UC Vickers also counter the hell out of kubelwagens which stops them cutting you off.
-don't sit and let mortars hit you, you can't afford it, if a shell lands near you, move your squad/mg immediately, just redeploy about 10 metres away and they've wasted a barrage, you can find as brits that you cannot counter mortar spam, especially infantry support guns early on, but remember early on, if they have 2/3 mortars and you don't you almost certainly have more combat units than them so push them. If they sit them behind an mg, use sniper or UC to counter them.
-If he's new, I would say avoid Hammer, the comet is great if you are a good player pulling off crazy flanks with them, comets take a long time to repair as you don't have heavy engineers and since the penetration nerf they dont really do enough to the front of panthers and they die easily if caught out or snared, you may as well get a firefly, it's a lot cheaper and better for turtling and scales better with veterancy. If he's turtling the only useful thing is the tank spotting, normal frag grenades are normally better than gammon bombs aswell and they have no minimum range and a short fuse. Anvil is a lot more user friendly, the churchill is goddamn monster right now, it literally has stabilisers for new players to use, the churchill is cheaper than a lot of tanks, it will quite happily 1v2 panzer 4s and can toe to toe with panthers, it can kill at guns with its grenades and if it gets in trouble it can revers backwards through its own smoke disperser, that along with it slaughtering infantry with it's shells and machine guns (which just got buffed btw). Back that up with a 6 pdr or firefly and you basically have a black prince, the churchill is by far my favourite tank in the game right now and is almost certainly due a nerf... It does... not... die... ever, which is really good if you're new to the game. Heavy engineers act as a lifeline as well as not only are they really good close quarters but they repair things faster than any other engineers which allows your tanks to take more damage without them being out of action for long.
-speaking of sappers, Heavy engineers are good yes, but even regular sappers, especially with 5 man squads upgrade are lethal, they are not like pioneers or rear ecehelon, they are more like defensive sturmpioneers, they are really good... like really really good, even in light cover they can toe to toe most assault infantry and are uber cheap to reinforce, people underestimate them all the time and get wiped, destroy cover is one of them best abilities in the game and every engineer should have it, use it to open up new angles for attack by "cool aid manning" through walls and fences where they are out of line of sight and use them to destroy cover that your enemy can use, especially if you build trenches with your tommies you will destroy most squads before they can reach you as they have no cover. Sappers are one of the best units in the game right now, and they are welsh and the voice acting is hilarious so use them.
-Use trenches, they a really good for tommmies, especially with brens, use them to contest capture points as the enemy have to clear the trench before they can cap which is really gross and really funny. Probably OP tbh.
Other than that, to sum up, Mortar pits really punish heavy weapon spam, (at guns, machine guns and 2 or less mortars) they will munch on them all day, they better to be built conservatively and further back than most people think so you can push anything that attacks them more easily. Remember kills with mortars are low risk to you, they give you kills without getting them veterancy so the kills you get are all free!
The 6 pdr is really good for some reason, penetrate panthers frontally more than comets for some reason. Bren is Stupid good (commandos can run and gun), British grenades are stupid good, churchills are stupid good, vet 2/3 firefly is stupid good.
Most useful regiments right now are royal arty, Dank hunters and royal engys, vanguard is good if you're good, although brits have the advantage of most stuff is pretty viable. GLHF
P.S.- I will add I reckon 90% of CoH2 online is experience, he'll learn over time to scatter whenever he sees red smoke and recognise stuka sirens etc and learn how much damage things can take and how quickly etc. Just make sure he keeps playing and he'll work it out and what works for him, also if he keeps playing, he might discover he's actually really good at something else, my mate started out as a Brit turtle and now he's a much more offense based US player.
Thank you very much mate for this comprehensive and well explained general strategy for UKF! I am a fairly new player to online matches and I wanted some general advice for playing the Brits. Your explanations were concise and easy to understand. Cheers!