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Report of the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer in the Afternoon of 26 March 1940.

Present:

    General Keitel
    General Jodl
    Fregattenkapitän von Puttkamer

1. Operation "Weserübung".

Occupation of Norway by the British was quite imminent, according to the following information received at the High Command, Navy: Submarines were concentrated off the Skagerrak on 13 March; a radio telegraph message gave 14 March as the time limit for preparedness of transport groups; numerous French officers arrived in Bergen on 15 March. These are all sure indications that an operation was being prepared before the Russo-Finnish peace treaty. Beginning 10 March the Navy stationed submarines outside of the main bases in order to combat a British operation.

In my opinion the danger of a British landing in Norway is no longer acute at present.

The question of what the British will do in the north in the near future can be answered as follows: They will make further attempts to disrupt German trade in neutral waters and to cause incidents, in order perhaps to create a pretext for action against Norway. One object has been and still is to cut off Germany's imports from Narvik. These will be cut off at least for a time, however, even if operation "Weserübung" is carried out.

Sooner or later Germany will be faced with the necessity of carrying out operation "Weserübung".

Therefore it is advisable to do so as soon as possible, by 15 April at the latest, since after that date the nights are too short; there will be a new moon on 7 April.

The operational possibilities of the Navy will be restricted too much if "Weserübung" is postponed any longer. The submarines can remain in position only for two to three weeks more.

Weather of the type favorable for operation "Gelb" is not to be waited for in the case of operation "Weserübung"; overcast, foggy weather is more satisfactory for the latter. The general state of preparedness of the naval forces and steamers is at present good.

As regards the possibility of getting past the fortifications, the Norwegians have perhaps become somewhat firmer in their desire to preserve their neutrality; however, it is not probable that they will decide to fire quickly enough.

The British Fleet is at present well prepared for action. Five of the battleships attacked in Scapa Flow by the Luftwaffe are reported at sea; it is therefore to be assumed that only large cruisers were damaged.

U "47" sighted three battleships proceeding at high speed on a northerly course off the Orkneys.

The Führer agrees to operation "Weserübung" on X day around the period of the new moon.

2. North Sea.

Five large submarines are In position off the Orkneys for the purpose of intercepting heavy ships; six small ones are off the southwest coast of Norway, and two each off Narvik and Trondheim.

The ALTMARK has arrived in the southern part of the Great Belt and will be brought in on 27 March. U "31" was sunk in the Schillig roadstead by a bomber, but has been raised again.

The steamer STINNES was probably sunk in Danish territorial waters by a British submarine as a result of her own message (not in code) reporting her position.

Two auxiliary cruisers are to depart soon.

3. Use of Aerial Mines. (See Annex 1.)

It is particularly necessary to resume aerial-mine warfare since in the meantime one of our mines has come into the possession of the British, and they will introduce countermeasures.

The Chief of the OKW wishes to resume mine warfare with operation "Gelb". The Commander in Chief, Navy proposes that it be resumed at once, at least off the Thames, the Humber and French ports, since the blockade has become too lax owing to the present lull in submarine warfare.

A mine-laying attack on Scapa Flow and the Scheldt estuary was previously approved in any case. The Führer believes that resumption of mine warfare would effect a desirable diversion of the British from the north, and he wishes to settle the matter in one or two days.

The Commander In Chief, Navy, points out that the position of the mine fields and the type of mines to be used (depending on countermeasures) would have to be settled in detail between Group West and the commander of the mine-laying units. There must be closest cooperation between them.

The Führer agrees entirely. The Chief of the OKW supports this view.

4. Submarine Warfare in the Mediterranean.

The Commander in Chief, Navy, asks whether this question has been discussed with the Duce. The Führer replies in the negative, since no details regarding conduct of the war were discussed. The Führer, however, is of the opinion that submarines could operate in the Mediterranean, hut only against British and French ships.

5. The Führer approves the press release submitted to him by the Commander in Chief, Navy, which is to appear in the event of the death of Admiral v. Mueller (retired).

signed: Raeder


Annex 1

Re: Aerial Mines

1. Up to now the Navy has been in favor of letting Coastal Air Squadron 3/506 continue laying aerial mines off the east coast of Britain, mainly in the Thames, until the 9th Division is ready for action.

2. The Luftwaffe has expressed the desire to postpone all use of aerial mines until large-scale operations are possible. For this purpose the Luftwaffe wants 5,000 aerial mines on hand, and a subsequent monthly supply of 2,000.

The OKW agreed to this and a decision by the Führer to this effect was communicated to the Naval Staff on 27 February 1940, with the additional remark that the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine together should set the time for the beginning of aerial mine warfare.

3. The number of aerial mines required by the Luftwaffe cannot be reached before the end of August, when 4,929 mines would be available with combined naval and Air Force production; with Air Force production alone this amount would not be ready until about the middle of October 1940.

4. For this reason alone it is impossible to wait until so many are available. Moreover, for training purposes alone, the Air Force must begin first of all with smaller units. Above all, night operations make it necessary to use smaller units.

5. The Naval Staff therefore suggested to the Air Force Operations Staff to begin aerial-mine warfare as soon as possible, certainly no later than April 1940. The number of aerial mines available by the middle of April will be as follows:

    588 aerial mines A
    636 aerial mines B

    1,224 aerial mines + 50 from Air Force production
Subsequent supplies from naval production will amount to 300 of each type on 1 May and 1 June.

In addition to this, Air Force production is as follows:

    by 1 May, 30 aerial mines A, 20 aerial mines B
         1 June, 100 aerial mines A, 50 aerial mines B
This means that to the initial supply of: 588 + 30 = 618 aerial mines A, and 636 + 20 = 656 aerial mines B, 650 aerial mines will be added in May and 750 in June.

Even assuming the most favorable operational conditions, these supplies of aerial mines vould enable us to commence operations on a large scale by 1 April and to continue them.

6. Concentration of the British Fleet in Scapa Plow caused the Naval Staff to request laying aerial mines at this base. Since aircraft types of the Naval Air Units are unable to carry out this work in view of their range, this request was transferred to the Commander in Chief, Air.

The Naval Staff and the General Staff, Air, were then informed that the 9th Division is not technically equipped for carrying mines. After twenty two planes had been withdrawn from the 9th Division, on the orders of the Commander in Chief, Air, instructions were given that the remaining ten planes should be made ready for the Scapa Flow operation as quickly as possible. Since it was possible to overcome technical deficiencies which had prevented the He 111 from carrying aerial mines B, these aircraft were ready to carry out the operation starting on 19 March (according to information of 17 March, only eight are available; two are not ready).

7. Furthermore, the General Staff, Air has ordered support of Coastal Air Squadron 3/506 by forces of the 9th Air Division in laying aerial mines in connection with operation "Gelb".

8. These plans show that the Commander in Chief, Air is in agreement with the Naval Staff and has abandoned his original stand on the use of aerial mines.

The use of aerial mines at Scapa Flow will force the enemy to realize that no place along his coast is safe any longer from such operations, and he will therefore put appropriate defense measures into effect. Any further delay will give the enemy the opportunity to build up his defenses against mine-laying aircraft.

9. In addition, since one aerial mine fell into enemy hands, he has begun to work on measures against the mine itself. Foreign reports indicate that the enemy has solved the principle of degaussing, is making progress in working it out and introducing it, and will also sooner or later begin to test equipment for sweeping magnetic mines.

These facts also call for use of aerial mines with the least possible delay. They should be used at first on the east coast, and when the personnel is more experienced also on the other coasts of Britain and France.

10. Aerial mines can be layed at once by Coastal Squadron 3/506 and Squadron Stein of the 9th Air Division. According to information received from the Air Force Operations Staff concerning additional planes for the 9th Division, the strength of this unit will be as follows:

    15 March: 10 planes
    17.March: 18 planes
    24 March: 25 planes
    31 March: 31 planes
Thus on 31 March one group of planes suitable for carrying aerial mines should be available (He 111 H 4).

In addition, according to information from the Air Force Operations Staff, there will be the fourteen Ju 88's of Squadron Storp, which is to be expanded to a group in the first half of April. By the end of April another group of He 111 H 4's is to be added to the 9th Division.

Thus aerial mine-laying operations can be started at once with the following squadrons:

3/506, Commander, Naval Air, West.
Squadron Stein He 111 H 4, 9th Division.
Squadron Storp Ju 88, 9th Division. (The Naval Staff doubts that this squadron will be ready for action from either a technical or a personnel point of view.)

11. Summary:

a. The present supplies of mines and the anticipated monthly output permit the immediate commencement and the continuation of aerial mine laying, with steadily increasing operations.

b. If aerial mines are layed in Scapa Flow and in operation "Gelb" as planned, the enemy will be made to realize the danger to other harbors, and he will increase his defenses against aircraft. Hence many good opportunities will be lost if the laying of aerial mines is postponed any longer.

c. The enemy's discovery of the principles of the possible anti-mine measures makes it necessary to act quickly.

d. The laying of naval aerial mines by naval squadrons of the Commander, Naval Air, West, is purely a measure of naval warfare which has nothing to do with aerial warfare. It will, however, immediately increase the effectiveness of the blockade against England. This is particularly important at a period when all surface and submarine forces of the Navy have been diverted to operation "Weserübung", and all other forms of naval warfare have therefore practically come to a standstill.



   


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