In the Gamer's Guide to 1900, much is made about the increased friction between Britain and France. Certainly this is true, as the move from Egypt to the Mid-Atlantic with support from Gibraltar can put an early squeeze on France and looks to be as close to a "Sure Thing" as one could expect in an opening.
However, the increased friction does not automatically mean that the two must fight, as the Gamer's Guide also points out. For one thing, it has the drawback of pulling the British fleet out of the Eastern Med., and tying it up on the Atlantic for the foreseeable future. Any Sultan worth his turban will move a unit there and capture Egypt at the earliest opportunity. Even Italy might stake a claim. The point is, once that fleet sails west, Britain probably loses its chance of ever again having units in that corner of the board.
There are a couple of options for Britain and France to work together. One, as showcased in the demonstration game that is covered in the 'Zine beginning with the 2009 Spring Retreat issue, is to send Gibraltar to Egypt via the Mid-Atlantic. This can certainly work, but also has a few drawbacks. First, France may not trust Britain's intentions once the fleet is in the Mid-Atlantic. Second, the move is sure to anger the Sultan and, if he has managed reasonable growth and is not threatened by attacks to the north, may lead to a long slogging naval campaign. I'm not convinced that it is in the best interests of Britain to be too quick to surrender its influence in the eastern Med by sending Egypt west; and the success of an attack on Turkey depends greatly on the diplomatic situation.
There is another option for British/French cooperation that avoids a number of these pitfalls. That is what I call the Maltese Falcon, a joint B/F attack against Italy.
The diplomatic setup for the opening is as follows:
The moves are:
A vanilla opening for Britain in the north. If relations with Germany are bad, the fleets could move to ENG and NTH instead of NTH and NWG to deter further German aggression. Also, if Turkey moves to Palestine, the attack can be aborted and Egypt covered. At this point, Italy likely sees the attack coming, and realizes that Tripolitania may be out of reach.
The movement of the remaining French Army depends on its position after Spring '00. If it did not move successfully from MAR in Spring, try to open Marseilles for a fleet build — move A MAR to PIE or BUR, for example.
The pieces are now in place. If all has gone well, Italy has no builds, otherwise, they are limited to at most one. (If Italy managed to get two builds, Swi and probably Greece, then they have allies and it is time to rethink the attack). France can reliably count on two builds, and Britain can reasonably expect three. Britain's builds are largely irrelevant to the attack on Italy, and should be determined by other considerations such as the situation in Scandinavia and threats to Egypt. France should build a fleet in Marseilles.
In Spring, the allies shift from securing the neutrals to a direct attack in the Boot. The moves are:
The French units in Iberia move back toward Marseilles.In fall, the hammer comes down:
If the allies can pull this off, then Italy is headed for a swift demise, and England maintains a strong presence in the Eastern Med.
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