Northern Opening

From DipWiki


Richard Sharp's name for the opening F Lon-NTH and F Edi-NWG. There are four named variations:

  • Yorkshire Opening (the pure Northern Opening)
  • Churchill Opening
  • Wales variant
  • Clyde variant

In his book, "The Game of Diplomacy," Richard Sharp applied the term "Yorkshire Opening" to the pure Northern Opening (A Lvp-Yor). Although the offensive role of the English army is limited, this opening is the only move to guarantee England a build in 1901, since Yorkshire can guard London against a sneaky French assault through the Channel, and one fleet can support the other into Norway if Russia opens with A Mos-STP. The opening vies in popularity with the "Churchill Opening." Note that it may be important which England supports himself into Norway. If Russia orders A Mos-STP in Spring of 1901 and A StP-Nor in Fall of 1901 then to achieve Norway, the English will need to support a move by the fleet in the North Sea, in case Germany orders an attack on the North Sea to cut support.


In this Northern Opening variant, known simply as the Churchill Opening, and named after after Sir Winston's plan to invade Norway in World War II, the English army is sent to Edinburgh. This is a little more risky than the pure Northern Opening, as England cannot guarantee securing a build in 1901, but it offers more flexibility, since England can follow with a Bohas in the Fall, if desired, to exert pressure on Sweden in Spring of 1902. The Churchill is usually seen a sign that England is more interested in securing a presence in Scandinavia than in worrying about the Franco-German relationship, and hence provides an early hint of a triple alliance. Because of this, the Fall destination of the English army is equally likely to be Belgium as Norway. The Gamer's Guide to Diplomacy calls this "England's best opening," From Edinburgh rather than Yorkshire, the army can be convoyed by either fleet. It thus has the choice of going to Norway or to the Continent. It can also be convoyed to Norway by one fleet with support from the other. This opening is viewed as primarily anti-Russian. It can also be anti-German. One powerful Fall move is A Edi-Nor, F NTH C F Edi-Nor, F NWG-BAR, threatening Russia even more directly.

BOHAS Continuation

This Fall continuation of the Churchill Opening has the English army convoying to Norway while the North Sea fleet is sent to Skagerrak. At the risk of leaving the North Sea open, England gains the ability to start quickly on Russia's Scandinavian holdings, beginning in the south, or to conduct a surprise attack on a German Denmark.


Manus Hand's name for the anti-Russian continuation of the Northern opening. In Fall of 1901, the Norwegian sea fleet is sent to the Barents Sea while England's other two units take Norway. Especially if Russia has opened to the south, this opening puts heavy pressure on St. Petersburg, and can thus be used to relieve England's fellow "witch," the Turk, from Russian aggression. If Germany prevents Russia from gaining Sweden, the attack on Russia's north can be swift and final, often ending with Russia conceding St. Petersburg to the English in return for a promise that only fleets will occupy it. If Russia opens Mos-StP, England's better choice is a supported attack on Norway, but the threat of a Barents invasion in 1902 (with an occupied Norway) remains a strong argument for a Northern Opening.


Named after the German ship wrecked during WWI in the Baltic, which gave Great Britain and Russia access to German naval codes for the remainder of the war, this is Manus Hand's Anglo-Russian Northern Opening continuation. England's task is to convince Germany to open to Denmark and then move to stand Russia out of Sweden. Russia opens to the Gulf of Bothnia, and, in cahoots with his English ally, assists in isolating the German for a strong 1902 attack. Russia avoids Sweden in Fall of 1901 and instead sails to the Baltic. Simultaneously, England takes the vacated Denmark. Norway can go to either England (the "Prince Louis Madgeburg") or Russia (if Russia opens with a Northern System; this is the "Benckendorff Magdeburg"). The Prince Louis (F NWG-Nor in Fall 1901) has the diplomatic advantage of allowing England to claim shock and continued friendship with Germany, but the Benckendorff can be used to force a Spring disband of the German fleet (NWG HOLD in Fall 1901, then NWG-Nor and NTH-SKA in Spring 1902 while Russia moves her Norway army to Finland and send a newly built fleet into the Gulf of Bothnia), forcing the German to play a unit short in Fall of 1902.