Suez Canal passage in Non-Combat move

  • If I secure the Suez Canal on the combat phase of my turn after its having been in my opponents control, can I then push ships through it during the non-combat movement phase? (Using 2nd edition rules, plus the OoB clarification) Please cite your source.

  • 2020 2019 2018


    tl;dr Yes, because the rules don’t explicitly mention such a restriction. You may want to ask @Panther or @Krieghund though, as I’m pretty sure they have ties to Larry Harris himself.

    Long-Version (with Citations, as you requested):

    The best I can come up with is on Page 9 of the “2nd Edition Rules” PDF found on this site (link:

    Specifically, the Panama Canal and Suez Canal appear to be treated differently. Here’s the bullet point for Panama (emphasis mine):

    @AxisandAllies2ndEditionRules said:

    Panama is divided into two sections to indicate the Canal connection the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These two sections are considered one territory. The Canal connects two separate sea zones. Your naval units cannot move nor can they attack from one sea zone to the other unless you or your allies control the Panama territory at the beginning of your turn.

    So, Panama is cut-and-dry. You can’t move through it unless you controlled the territory at the start of your turn. The rules explicitly state this.

    Here’s the bullet point for Suez, immediately below the one for Panama (again, emphasis mine, for the most part. The rules book italicizes some words and has “IMPORTANT” in all-caps):

    @AxisandAllies2ndEditionRules said:

    The Suez Canal connects a sea zone of the Mediterranean Sea to a sea zone of the Indian Ocean. If you or your alliance controls both countries bordering the canal (Anglo-Egypt Sudan and Syria Iraq), your naval units can move and attack from one zone to the other. IMPORTANT: Anglo-Egypt Sudan and Syria Iraq are considered adjacent to one another by land so land and air units can cross the Canal moving and attacking from one territory to the other on one move. No movement by ship is necessary to move from one territory to the other.

    As written, there is no text in this rule explicitly stating that you must control both territories at the start of your turn. So it appears that, by logic, you should be able to NCM sea zones through the canal if you captured both sides of it (Egypt and Syria) during combat. My thought is that, if they had intended for you not to be able to move through the Canal unless you owned it at the start of your turn, the rules would have explicitly mentioned it as they did for Panama.

    However, I can see the argument to the contrary, as every game since (Revised and onward) mandates that for all Canals you cannot move through them unless you control both sides at the start of your turn.

    I do not have access to the Clarifications you are referring to, so I can’t comment on those.

    Hope this helps. I’m no rules expert but figured I’d throw my two cents in.

  • @DoManMacgee well done and well written. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your break-down here. This was a pleasure to read. I agree with your summation. It would be explicitly written like the Panama Canal rule if it weren’t allowed.

  • 2020 2019 2018

    Not a problem! Love your video series on Classic by the way. Hoping you’ll examine other versions at some point but it’s clear that your love is for Classic first and foremost.

  • 2020 2019 2018

    Side-note, if you can NCM through Suez after capturing it leads to some adventurous variations in Germany openings. I have no idea how the details would work, but if you could hypothetically take Syria-Iraq G2 without moving the Mediterranean Fleet, you could move it + any hypothetical navy you bought in Southern Europe G1 into the Indian Ocean during NCM phase.

    No idea what applications that could have, since it seems like a poor strategy to waste IPCs on navy as Germany, but I guess you could speed up the capture of India/wiping out the UK Pacific Fleet, which could accelerate Axis progress in seizing real estate in Africa/the Pacific. Do you typically allow the “Economic Victory” condition for the Axis? I forget.

  • @DoManMacgee

    Being that I am a strict adherent to the rules as written from the MB version and being that the Economic Victory is not an optional rule, that VC is always open to the axis. IMO this is imperative in the mid-game for the axis and one of the classic’s finer rules.

    Disappointingly, TripleA and GamesByEmail both do not allow for NCM through the canal. (I will check TripleA once more when I can but am almost certain).

    Yes, this opens up some interesting possibilities. I posted this question bc it came up twice for me or my opponent in recent play by forum games. The context was more of a mid-game situation where the German fleet could have been let loose in the Indian Ocean… and then another where the combined fleet could have shot into the Mediterranean.

    I’m glad for this rule clarification. This is, in general, good for the axis.

    …IMO of course.

  • @DoManMacgee and thanks for your support of my channel! I love all the Axis and Allies and if I could, I would hit them all with a fine tooth comb. I respect Classic so much though for how revolutionary it was for it’s time.

  • Official Q&A

    You (or your allies) have to control the requisite territory or territories at the beginning of your turn in order to pass through any canal. The Suez rule doesn’t have the best wording, but the italicization of the word “both” is used to contrast the fact that you need two territories for this canal versus the one for Panama, and is meant to reference back to the Panama Canal rule and function in the same way.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Official Q&A TripleA Moderator

    @DoManMacgee said in Suez Canal passage in Non-Combat move:

    I do not have access to the Clarifications you are referring to, so I can’t comment on those.

    Look here:

  • Conclusion: For those who come across this thread in the future, Krieghund’s interpretation is the correct one as he worked closely with Larry Harris (the game designer) and it was the intent for both canals to be treated the same with respect to ownership and movement in the Non-Combat Movement phase.

    Personally, I’m much relieved as it means I played all my 2019 games correctly and don’t have to overhaul any of my YouTube videos.

    thanks guys! @DoManMacgee @Krieghund

  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Krieghund This is exactly why I called on you/Panther. I admittedly have zero clue what the actual intentions of the rules are (Hell, I do Non-Combat Moves during my Combat Move phase in all my TripleA and non-tournament games), so the best I could do is just quote the rulebook and do my best. Thanks for the help.

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