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Report of the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer on 7 May 1940 at 1500.

Present:

    Chief of the OKW [Wilhelm Keitel]
    General Jodl
    Fregattenkapitän von Puttkamer

1. Transports. Of the 2nd Mountain Division 4,000 men (one fourth), about 2,000 horses, and 800 vehicles still remain to be transported; this will be carried out by 10 or 11 May.

In any case, the POTSDAM will be ready on 8 May and the GNEISENAU on 15 May for any urgent transport duty. The Führer desires that SS and police formations be dispatched to Norway as soon as possible after the 2nd Mountain Division.

Beginning next week, the Navy will have to withdraw escort units in order to be able to resume warfare in the North Sea; at present there is no exact information regarding the mine fields in the German Bight.

2. Fortification of the coast of Norway. Fortification of Trondheim is of primary importance; then defense of coastal waters for the protection of coastal traffic and fishing. North of Trondheim a number of points will have to be fortified according to the advance of the Army and the Air Force. In establishing Trondheim as a naval base, the most necessary factors are antiaircraft defense for the harbor and airfields and anti-submarine defenses. The Führer believes that a whole anti-aircraft battalion is necessary for the airfield.

In Stavanger one 15 cm. battery of four guns is available and ready for action. Two 17 cm. batteries, each with four guns are to be installed. After that, the 15 cm. battery can be transferred. The following are also ready: One 15 cm. battery for Trondheim, four 15 cm. batteries, and four 10.5 cm. batteries for the protection of the coastal waters.

The following were found in Bergen: Four 30.5 cm. guns (50 caliber lengths) with screw-type breech mechanism and coastal mounting, and eighteen 13 cm. long-barrelled coastal guns. Ammunition has not yet been discovered; it will be ascertained whether our ammunition can be used. Breech mechanisms (21 cm. and 13 cm.) are missing from the guns of the two old coastal fortifications.

The 38 cm. naval guns will not be ready until the first months of 1941, and then only with short supplies of ammunition; the 40.6 cm. guns will be ready still later. In view of their weight, it is not possible to transport them to Norway at present.

3. Submarine transports. Up to now seven submarines have been in operation for transport puroses (U "43", U "26", U "29", U "32", U "A", U "101", and U "122"), and they have brought or are bringing all required material to Trondheim. Among other things an 8.8 cm. submarine gun and three 8.8 cm. anti-aircraft guns have already been transported, and an additional 8.8 cm. anti-aircraft gun will be sent within the next few days.

It is proposed to release from transport duties the small boats having little cargo space, and to continue using the remainder until the railway to Trondheim is again in operation (about four weeks). Further, it is suggested that of the six boats which are not yet ready, only the first, namely U "123", be prepared for transport duty; the remaining five which are very important as communications boats for submarine warfare should not be converted at present. In an emergency they can be made ready for use within a few days. The Führer agrees under these conditions.

4. Of primary importance in home waters is the danger of British aerial mines. These are of the magnetic type, against which our countermeasures are effective, however. It will be necessary to organize the patrol of coastal waters and of river mouths and entrances, and to decide on routes for merchant shipping, etc. Attacks on enemy airfields are the best countermeasures; the British are resorting to this to combat our aerial mines.

The GNEISENAU hit a mine in the mouth of the Elbe; this only caused buckling and cracks so that lengthy repairs will not be necessary.

5. The Commander in Chief, Navy, repeatedly stresses the great and decisive importance of laying aerial mines. If the Luftwaffe had shown more interest, the Thames could have been mined during the past few weeks. Mine warfare is a naval matter. The Navy determines where the mines are to be laid, and of what type they are to be; the Navy develops mines; former naval officers train the units. Therefore, in order to conduct mine warfare with the greatest possible effect, the Navy should also carry out operations. The Commander in Chief, Air, will have great demands made on his forces by operation "Gelb", and he will not have sufficient time and interest for mine warfare. The Führer states that recently in a memorandum of the Commander in Chief, Air, the opposite view was presented, i.e., need for unification of all air units, only one reconnaissance, etc., in order to economize on personnel and materiel. The Commander in Chief, Navy, on the other hand, emphasizes the necessity of closest cooperation between the naval air units and the Navy.

6. A report is made regarding the seizure of the submarine SEAL.

7. The Führer approves the dispatch of a letter from the Commander in Chief, Navy, to Admiral Rechnitzer concerning Denmark's attitude.

8. Propaganda is discussed regarding the effectiveness of aircraft against battleships. The Führer is considering this from the point of view of the effect on the construction plans of other countries especially the U.S.A.

signed: Raeder


   


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