The Sealion Opening 

by John Dodds 

Analysis of the first three years play in the northern triangle shows that England invariably allies with France or Germany to attack the other.  In very few cases do France and Germany band together to invade England.  The reason for this is clear; England's defensive position is very strong and whilst she often has problems expanding, the island fortress can be easily defended.  It takes a number of years and considerable resources for her continental neighbours to defeat her. 

There is an effective opening which will serve as a prelude to a full scale assault on England.  It was named The Sealion after Hitler's unsuccessful plan to invade England in 1940.  The first documentation of this opening appeared in Richard Hucknall's Fall of Eagles No. 25 in November 1978 and it is this that I have primarily used as my source. 

The key to the whole plan is co-operation with Russia.  The Russian player must be persuaded to open with A(Mos)-StP.  This move is crucial and should it not take place then the opening is best abandoned before Autumn 1901.  However, Germany can use the threat of a stand-off over Sweden to persuade Russia to make this move.  Germany and France need to work in close harmony and absolute trust is a vital ingredient for success. 

The opening moves for these three countries should be: 

FRANCE:  A(Par)-Pic; F(Bre)-ENG; A(Mar)-Spa/Gas/Std.

GERMANY:  A(Mun)-Ruh; F(Kie)-Den; A(Ber)-Kie

RUSSIA:  A(Mos)-StP; F(StP)sc-GoB/Fin 

It is important that neither France or Germany should move to Burgundy as this will cause friction between them resulting in units being unprofitably used in the Autumn to defend home centres.  The Autumn 1901 moves should be: 

FRANCE:  A(Pic)-Bel; F(Bre)-ENG [if stood out in the Spring] or F(Bre) S GERMAN F(Den)-NTH.  The other unit can pick up Spa or Por unless it is needed to defend Mar from the Italians.

GERMANY:  F(Den)-NTH; A(Kie)-Den; A(Ruh)-Hol

RUSSIA: A(StP)-Nwy; F(GoB/Fin)-Swe 

Following these moves England will be in one of two positions: 

(a)  He will remain on three units; or

(b)  He will have taken Nwy with F(NWG) S F(NTH)-Nwy gaining a single build, but France will have a F(ENG) and Germany a F(NTH) and both countries will have the opportunity to convoy in S02.  In addition Russia will have A(StP) and F(Swe) with which to threaten Nwy. 

If the situation is (a) then it is probable that England will occupy NTH preventing Germany from building F(Kie) and also ENG may be neutral, preventing Franc from building F(Bre).  This is probably England's best defence to the Sealion and so if a stand-off occurs over ENG in Spring 1901, France may be advised to move F(Bre)-Pic in A01 to open up Brest for a fleet build.  Germany and France will then have a clear naval advantage. 

Should the situation be (b) then France should build F(Bre), Germany F(Kie) and the stage is set to destroy England in 1902/03. 

A fair division of the contested supply centres would appear to be Bel/Lpl/Por and Spa for France, Lon/Edi/Den/Hol for Germany and Nwy & Swe for Russia.  Although Russia appears to get a rough deal from this, gaining only half as many centres as both France and Germany, he will have secured a solid Scandinavian base which will make his northern front safe from attack.  This opening was played in the Tinamou Wezand (78GU) which was won by Germany. 

Republished from Perspiring Dreams No. 11 (March 1981)


Home - About this Site  - Diplomacy Rules and Maps - Dip Strategy - Variants - Dip Software - Play Diplomacy - FtF Diplomacy - Postal Diplomacy - Diplomacy Humour - Tournament Scoring - Dip Hobby History - Zines - Con Reports - UK Zine Archive Miscellaneous - FAQ - Links - Recommended Reading