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Report of the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer in the afternoon of 4 February 1941.
Chief of the OKW [Generalfeldmarschall Keitel]
Fregattenkapitän von Puttkamer.
I. Naval Situation.
1. The Commander in Chief, Navy, explains with the aid of a map the operations carried out by auxiliary cruisers.
2. The battleships, which are to carry on warfare in the Atlantic in conjunction with cruiser HIPPER, have gotten under way. At present the ships are in the Norwegian Sea. The first attempt to break through had to be postponed because enemy forces were sighted. The ships were in contact with a task force consisting of cruisers and destroyers south of Iceland in quadrant AL from 0700 until 1300. After refueling in the Norwegian Sea the ships will make another attempt. The HIPPER operation will be launched simultaneously from Brest.
3. It has meantime been established that the appearance of enemy forces in the sea area off Stavanger was intended to assist Norwegian steamers in running the blockade from Swedish ports. Our inadequate reconnaissance did not reveal the plans of the enemy in time.
4. The scanty submarine successes are due first to the few boats in operation and second to the hampering effect of the weather. An increase in submarine operations may be expected shortly. Twenty one more submarines will become available for operations in a few weeks due to the fact that ice conditions make it necessary to discontinue submarine training temporarily.
5. It has not yet been possible to clear the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal completely, since ice conditions complicate the work. At present the passage of the BISMARCK and TIRPITZ through the Canal is out of the question. It is therefore best that the two ships remain at Hamburg and Wilhelmshaven, where there is a much greater anti-aircraft protection than at Brunsbüttel.
6. Ice conditions in the Baltic Sea are greatly hampering ship movements. The Belts are closed to shipping. Weather conditions also handicap the training program.
7. Blockade running. After consultation with the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Economics, it has been decided to import vital raw materials by sending German and neutral blockade-runners to South America. Blockade-running likewise has great propaganda value.
8. A meeting with Admiral Riccardi at Merano has been planned provisionally for the middle of February in order to discuss naval strategy and to attempt to influence Italian naval warfare through the Naval Liaison Staff at Rome. Escorts for German troop transports are also to be discussed.
9. See Annex 1 for an evaluation of the strategic situation if America and Japan should enter the war. A copy was given by the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer.
II. Operation "Marita".
1. Rumania. The Naval Commission under Admiral Fleischer has not yet returned. Thus no complete picture can as yet be formed of the measures to be adopted. The transfer of two coastal batteries, one with three 28 cm. guns, and one with three 17 cm. guns, is in progress.
By adding German batteries to the defenses of Constanta it becomes necessary to obtain control over the whole Rumanian coastal defense system because of its importance as flank protection for the Army. A German admiral is necessary to coordinate the use of German and Rumanian forces along the coast. To do this, he must have authority to direct the Rumanian units of the coastal defenses: Fleet units, Danube flotillas, coastal batteries, mining vessels; and naval reconnaissance. Liaison officers must be attached to the German Commanding General and to the Rumanian Naval High Command.
2. Bulgaria. Although there is little or no German naval personnel in Bulgaria, here it is also necessary to have some control over the coastal defenses, due to the importance of protecting our flank. However, a liaison staff attached to the Bulgarian Naval High Command will be sufficient, as the matter is on a much smaller scale and the Bulgarian coast is less important than the Rumanian.
3. Greece. After Greece has been occupied, her coasts will require defenses against attacks from the sea, as the British Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean will still be able to maintain naval supremacy for a time, although threatened by our air forces. Besides Greek coastal waters will gain particular importance; oil shipments to Greece and Italy from the Black Sea and exports from Turkey must pass through them, since the open sea cannot be used.
Fortification and patrol of the rugged coasts of Greece will demand a vast amount of personnel and material, which the German Navy no longer has at its disposal. It is therefore vitally necessary to get Italy and Bulgaria to take over as many of these tasks as possible. Italy should be responsible for the west coast and the Peloponnesos, and Bulgaria for the coast of Macedonia, while the German navy would be in charge of the east coast, where the main harbors of Salonika, Volos, and Piraeus are situated.
In order to support the Army in occupying and exploiting the ports and to assure immediately at least the most essential protection against attacks from the sea, it is planned to provide a naval shore commander for each of the three harbors named, and to provide crews to man Greek batteries, consisting of one medium battery at Salonika, one at Volos, and two at Piraeus.
The means necessary for fortifying the Greek coast, even if limited to the east coast, in a way comparable to the defenses along the Norwegian and French coasts cannot be made available without causing extremely vulnerable gaps in the coastline defenses of Norway and France. The German personnel and materiel needed for the task are not available due to commitments made to Rumania and Bulgaria, and for operation "Felix".
A naval commander who will be in charge of the naval units stationed in Greece must also be appointed.
4. In order to achieve proper coordination between the naval units operating in the entire southeastern area and to guard all naval interests there, a Commanding Admiral (Commanding Admiral, Balkans) is required as supreme authority. He would have his headquarters first at Sofia and later in Greece (Salonika or Athens).
The Führer sanctions the proposals made in Paragraphs 1 to 4.
III. Operation "Attila".
Lasting success can hardly be expected from the measures planned so far for the purpose of holding French naval vessels at Toulon. It may be possible to limit the operational readiness of the French warships through measures suggested by the Italian Armistice Commission; these include surrender of ammunition and fuel, granting of leave to crews, etc. These measures would, however, cause great ill feeling and might thus have an undesirable political effect. Hence they would serve a useful purpose only if operation "Attila" really takes place within a reasonable length of time.
IV. Operation "Barbarossa".
1. All naval forces in the Atlantic, all destroyers and torpedo boats, and the bulk of the defense forces in the west are being concentrated against Britain as planned.
All minelayers and PT boats together with a small part of the anti-submarine and mine-sweeping units are to operate in the Baltic Sea. Finnish harbors are to be used.
The number of submarines operating in the Atlantic will probably increase owing to the curtailment of submarine training; training boats are to be transferred to Trondheim. Several submarines are intended for the Baltic.
Nevertheless in the face of the increased British activity which must be expected, operations by the Air Force will be of the utmost importance, particularly in Norway and in the defense of the Skagerrak and Kattegat. In these areas it is only the danger from our planes which restricts British operations.
2. Plan of attack against Russia:
a. Coastal protection must be provided by coastal artillery, defensive mine barrages, and by declared mined areas from Oeland to Memel and from Sweden to Bornholm to Kolberg.
b. The entrances to the Baltic Sea will be closed by navigational obstacles and a strong threat from the air, as well as by coastal guns and mine and net barrages. If necessary, use will be made of the floating batteries SCHLESIEN an SCHLESIEN-HOLSTEIN: Loaded minelayers are being held in readiness.
c. It will be necessary to stop all merchant shipping in the Baltic Sea. Especially troops can be transferred to southern Sweden at first only through the Baltic Sea entrances west of Gjedser. If the Russians respect Swedish territorial waters a certain volume of traffic may be possible under Swedish protection. A crossing from Sassnitz to Trelleborg will be possible only if the situation develops in our favor. Perhaps later it may be possible to move gradually farther east.
d. Offensive measures must be taken in the form of surprise attacks by the Luftwaffe against Russian bases and ships in the Baltic Sea, Arctic Ocean, and Black Sea. The locks of the White Sea Canal must be destroyed in order to prevent the escape of ships to the north. PT boats, submarines, etc. will be used for mine laying. Mine barrages are to be laid from Finland to block the western entrance to the Gulf of Finland. For this purpose Finnish forces will be used; German mines will be supplied.
e. The Luftwaffe must operate in the Arctic Ocean against Polyarny and Murmansk; this is very important in order to prevent the British from gaining a foothold there. In the Black Sea support will be given to Rumania and Bulgaria by providing mines and coastal guns.
f. Vast mine-sweeping operations sill probably be necessary once the Russian fleet is eliminated. Assistance will be rendered by Finland, Sweden, and possibly by captured Russian units.
3. Special proposals:
a. Support by the Luftwaffe:
V. Naval Air Forces.
1. Systematically planned attacks must be made by the Luftwaffe on supply lines, docks, ships, and harbors.
The effective British attacks against the north coast of Germany show the unbroken striking power of the Royal Air Force, which is also operating simultaneously in considerable strength in the Mediterranean. American airmen are participating.
American Douglas bombers, DB 7, were used for the first time during the night attacks on Bremen on 2 and 3 January. This is an indication of the effective aid already being given to Britain by America, and demonstrates the importance of cutting off as much as possible the supplies of war material to Britain.
Submarine warfare alone is for the time being not in a position to cut off imports effectively because of the small number of submarines available and because of present weather conditions. Hence the Luftwaffe must attempt to hit Great Britain where it hurts most, by attacking her imports. To achieve this raids must be made on her main ports of import and lasting damage must be inflicted on naval bases, especially shipyards.
Despite heavy attacks on individual armament manufacturing centers, results have shown that output has not been decisively affected and the morale of the population has remained unshaken. On the other hand, measures taken by the enemy government and their propaganda reveal that the problems of imports, and this means shipping space, is Britain's most vulnerable spot. Britain's naval and merchant vessels must be the main target for attacks.
Aerial photographs of attacks on Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Cardiff show how ineffective the night attacks were, although some were carried out with considerable forces. Despite the laying of large numbers of mines by planes, the volume of supplies entering London has not noticeably declined. So far we have not succeeded in seriously damaging British ports of import from the air, with the exception of Bristol and Southampton and possibly a few of the docks at Liverpool. The enemy has created sufficient auxiliary ports north of the line Liverpool Hull to compensate for losses.
Attacks by the Luftwaffe on enemy shipping will yield better results if production plants and repair shops in Great Britain and ships in the harbors are destroyed than if individual ships at sea are attacked. Thus attacks on the shipyards in the Tyne and Clyde areas, in Barrow, and, in Chatham and Devonport on the southern coast of England, are especially important. This elimination of shipyards is not merely of importance for naval warfare; it is absolutely vital for the prosecution of the war as a whole.
The growth of Britain's sea power by the addition of four more battleships, three aircraft carriers, and twelve cruisers requires no comment. In addition, there is the great increase in the number of smaller vessels, such as destroyers, torpedo boats, submarines, sub-chasers, gunboats, and minesweepers, the continuous production of which will have an unfavorable effect on our submarine warfare. Working in close cooperation, our planes and submarines are capable of exerting a decisive influence in the struggle against Britain and America. To this end, however, coordinated, well-directed operations against enemy shipping are essential. Ships afloat must be the target of the submarines; ships in harbors and shipyards must be the target of the Luftwaffe.
The Führer agrees; he is of precisely the same opinion.
2. See Annex 2 with regard to the organization of the coastal air forces.
The Commander in Chief, Navy, hands the Führer a copy of the memorandum dealing with this matter and explains it in detail. The Commander in Chief, Navy, emphasizes particularly that for reasons of economy of forces the air reconnaissance provided for submarine warfare be likewise utilized for operations carried out by battleships and cruisers; otherwise these operations cannot be justified. A Commander, Naval Air should be attached to Group West for this purpose, according to the present arrangement the Commander in Chief, Navy is not authorized to use the planes in this manner. The Führer feels that the Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, would greatly resent this interpretation, since he is always anxious to assist the Navy. The Führer thinks it would be better if the Commander in Chief, Navy, would attach an officer to the Commander in Chief, U-boats, whose duty it would be to direct air reconnaissance to provide information for operations carried out by battleships. (This would be the Commander, Naval Air.) When the Führer refers to a new memorandum drawn up by the Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, the Commander in Chief, Navy, requests that General Jodl further clarify and finally decide this matter in conjunction with General Jeschonnek and Admiral Schniewind, with due regard to the two memorandums.
3. The question of the designation of the naval officers assigned to the Luftwaffe. The Commander in Chief, Navy, reports on this matter, on the basis of his discussion notes. The Reichsmarschall has already broached the subject. The Führer therefore points out the effect this would have in practice: A subordinate cannot recognize and correctly address an officer as lieutenant j.g or lieutenant s.g., etc., if the officer in question is wearing a Luftwaffe uniform. The Commander in Chief, Navy, insists that the officers have been deprived of their rights; he declares that he shall continue to address them by their former ranks, and requests that in spite of the fact that for practical reasons the Luftwaffe rank is used while the officers are on duty, their right to use their old rank be confirmed.
1. Agreement has been reached with the Danish government on the purchase of Danish torpedo boats. Eight boats will be handed over. The transfer is to be carried out soon, but is being delayed by the ice conditions.
2. Despite considerable misgivings regarding security, it has been decided to accept employment of foreign workers (Danish, Dutch, and French) in the naval shipyards. The Führer has grave scruples, and suggests that the French workers might be employed by civilian firms in other towns in order to free Germans for the naval shipyards. The Commander in Chief, Navy, explains that the enormous shortage of skilled workers has caused this dilemma which is equally undesirable to the Navy.
3. A certain slackening in the preparations for operation "Seelöwe" was sanctioned during the previous conference. The results are as follows: For as long as operation "Seelöwe" must be maintained as a blind, the measures cannot be further reduced; it is considered essential to continue training activities on their present I scale if the deception is to be kept up. Apart from this, everything possible is being done to avoid increasing the preparations if this involves the use of men and materiel.
As things now stand, the Navy needs six months to prepare operation "Seelöwe“ if it is to be carried out. This includes the completion of the barge construction program. If operation "Seelöwe" is to be carried out with present resources, without the barge construction program, (perhaps merely to police Britain after she has been conquered) two months will be sufficient.
The Führer states that the deception must be kept up particularly during the spring.
Annex 1Observations on the Question of Japan and the Tripartite Pact.
I. Basis for the observations:
1. Comparison of the decisive naval forces:
b. Judged by European standards the cruising ranges of the various types are wide, in keeping with the vast sea areas concerned, and the two navies differ little from one another in this respect. The ranges of the vessels are as follows:
Battleships about 10,000 miles
Heavy cruisers 13,000 to 14,000 miles
Light cruisers 9,000 to 10,000 miles
Submarine cruisers 18,000 to 20,000 miles
Large submarines about 8,000 miles
Medium-sized submarines about 5,000 to 11,000 miles
In the immediate future it is probable that there will be a greater increase in vessels in the United States than in Japan.
b. She is interested in the oil in Borneo, therefore she is interested in the Philippines and Guam, since they are bases belonging to a strong hostile power [U.S.A].
c. In her attempts to expand in the direction of Australia she is confronted by obstacles in the form of Guam, Wake Island, and the Gilbert Islands, which either lie across the route to Australia or menace it from the flanks.
d. Alaska, the Aleutians, and Hawaii are the advance bases of the United States against the Japanese sphere of influence in East Asia.
Hence, Japan's aims are to encircle China; to get a foothold on Borneo while at the same time eliminating the Philippines and Singapore; to obtain space for settlements on New Guinea and in Australia; and finally to eliminate American pressure on the Japanese sphere of interest.
b. Singapore is the key position on which depends the expansion of British power in the Far East. Without Singapore the British position in the Far East is untenable.
c. British oil interests in Borneo and Burma (Rangoon) have a great influence on the situation as a whole, since through them the British have ample supplies for themselves and at the same time ensure a shortage in Japan.
Japan must be kept out the Dutch East Indies to avoid disruption of sea communications between the Indian Ocean on the one hand and the China Sea and the Central Pacific on the other.
d. Despite the apparent independence of Australia and the surrounding possessions, they are indispensable to the maintenance of the high standard of living in Britain and also as a source of wealth and manpower for any British wars.
e. The interests enumerated under "a" to "d" presuppose the maintenance of British sea communications in the Indian, Malayan, and Pacific areas.
b. The basis of U.S. power politics lies in the triangle Hawaii-Upolu-Guam with the point lengthened to Manila. With this basis, power politics in East Asia are unthinkable.
Panama - Hawaii
Panama - Marshall Islands
San Diego - Hawaii
Hawaii - Upolu
Hawaii - Guam
Guam - Manila
Upolu - Guam
Guam - Yokohama
Nagasaki - Singapore
Yokohama - Sydney
Hakodate - Unalaska
b. Great distances prevent or hamper actions between large fleet formations or attacks on enemy bases. However, the vast sea areas simplify war against merchant shipping and warfare waged by small task forces operating independently with their own supply vessels. The value of aircraft carriers and seaplane tenders both for reconnaissance and for attacks on enemy bases, harbors, etc., is enhanced by the vastness of the sea areas, which can hardly be spanned by land-based planes.
By reason of the great distances the conditions for submarine operations are different from those in Europe. On the one hand the long approach routes to the focal points of shipping render it difficult to station submarine packs; on the other hand, the convoy system for protection against submarines can be used only in the vicinity of the coast or of a base because of the length of the sea routes to be protected. Both the Anglo-American coalition and Japan are dependent on sea communications. With Japan, however, this will no longer be the case once she is at war; from then on her supply lines will be severed either automatically, that is by blockade of the export centers, thus cutting off supplies from foreign sources except for those from Manchukuo. A similar situation existed in the case of Germany since the beginning of the war. Thus shipments to Japan from more distant areas will practically cease.
From this moment, the Anglo-American powers, primarily, will therefore be interested in maintaining sea communications. Thus they will be forced into a defensive role, while Japan, like Germany, will be able to concentrate on the task of attacking sea communications.
The only exception will be transports to and from China and Manchukuo, and military transports to other locations depending on developments in the war situation.
1. We must aim to get every possible kind of support which can be designated as "short of war" according to the American example. The United States provide the best model for this.
2. We must use our influence to increase Japanese support gradually, in spite of the fact that as a result the American attitude toward Japan and Germany may become more unfavorable.
3. The following measures seem to be practicable:
b. By declaring a neutral zone around the Japanese Island and island possessions according to American pattern, the measures given under "a" would be facilitated, and if Japan took a sufficiently firm stand, it would be difficult for the enemy to interfere with them.
c. Procuring intelligence: Japan would place her entire intelligence system at the service of the German naval war effort. The indirect route would run from the Japanese source (warship, merchant vessel, shore station, agent, or Japanese Consulate) via the appropriate office in Japan to the Japanese Admiralty, thence to the Attaché in Tokyo, from him to the Seekriegsleitung and from there to the German vessel in the Pacific area; in exceptional cases, directly from the Attaché to the vessel. (Example: American procedure in the Atlantic.)
In addition, it is possible to arrange a direct exchange of intelligence between Japanese and German warships.
The term "intelligence" covers all movements of warships and their disposition, movements of enemy transports and merchant vessels, information of the mine situation and on any other enemy defense measures or installations, and on the supply situation at enemy bases; this last item is important for predicting enemy strategy.
d. Every effort should be made to get Japan, and Japanese ships to supply Italian East Africa with fuel, food, and finally war meteriel. These supply shipments might well be carried out under escort of Japanese warships. As Britain is still weak in the Indian Ocean and is concerned about the attitude of Japan, no energetic countermeasures need be expected for a time. The technical side of the problem would have to be solved by taking supply vessels along.
e. Neutral Japan must exert strategic pressure on the enemies of the Axis powers by taking suitable measures. Among these are the following: Surface task forces should be concentrated in specially selected operational areas, for example, the South China Sea, the region south of the Aleutians, the waters around the Philippines, the vicinity of the Marshall Islands, etc. Submarines should appear in distant operational areas, for example, the coast of Australia, the Sunda Strait, the Macassar Strait, the Samoa Islands, and the Gulf of Panama. Certain pieces of false intelligence should be released, concerning for instance the equipping and training of large forces of invasion troops for landing in islands, operations against Indo-China, Burma, Siam, etc.
If such Japanese "short of war" measures multiply, the American attitude will stiffen to an increasing extent.
In evaluating briefly a possible U.S. entry into the war as the result of the above measures, with Japan living up to her commitments under the Tripartite Pact, the following becomes apparent:
1. The situation if the U.S.A. remains neutral:
b. Our own operations in American waters are greatly hampered by the American Neutrality Zone.
c. The unneutral conduct of the United States from the strategic aspect, including aid to the enemy by supplying intelligence, shadowing, capturing our merchant vessels, etc., injures German warfare and our attempts to resume overseas shipping.
d. American ships sail unmolested all over the world, with the exception of the closed area off northwestern Europe, and to some extent directly or indirectly relieve Britain. (Compare reports and war diaries from auxiliary cruisers in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.) The declared zone, however, prevents American vessels from supplying Britain directly.
b. The American flag would no longer afford protection.
c. Because of their great length, U.S. sea communications in the Pacific are very vulnerable; consequently relief to British shipping would be diminished in the new situation.
d. The American naval forces, which have so far given only undercover aid to Britain, would openly appear as enemies of Germany and strengthen resistance on the high seas.
b. Thus America's probable line of conduct would not result in any considerable strengthening of the enemy coalition in the European area of naval warfare; because of the necessary orientation towards East Asia, the naval forces of the United States would have to be kept for that theater. The same applies to the army and the air force, which in all probability would be employed mainly for the defense of the numerous bases and the protection of the Pacific coast.
c. When estimating the extent of Japanese initiative, the attitude of Russia and the possibility of a cessation of the Chinese war must be taken into consideration, besides the unknown factor of the actual Japanese war potential. How soon and how strongly the Japanese can take the initiative depends on how soon a settlement with Russia is reached or to what extent that power can be tied down at another place. The effects on the European theater of war and on the outcome of the war as a whole will depend on the extent of Japanese activity. Apart from tying down American forces and damaging vital Anglo-American sea communications, the European theater of war could also be relieved at sea, on land, and in the air by the withdrawal of British forces from the home area or from the Mediterranean.
Japan is in a very favorable strategic position for launching attacks on enemy shipping in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific. Determined warfare on her part would hardly permit America to use a considerable proportion of her merchant shipping for the British; strong financial reasons and public opinion would also speak against such a procedure. On the other hand, if Japan should pursue a hesitant and inactive war policy or should be greatly hampered by lack of oil and raw materials and by political obligations to Russia or China, the effect of her entry into the war would diminish very soon. It remains an open question whether in this case the focal point of the American war effort would shift to the European theater, so that the disadvantages of American participation in the war would outweigh the advantages of Japan's entry.
b. If Japan has created the essential basic conditions for carrying out a war in the Pacific and in Malayan waters by immediately putting into effect a suitable supply policy and by limiting her aims in China.
c. If after entering the war Japan does not pursue purely selfish aims which are not directly connected with the total war effort, but rather regards herself as part of the Axis front against the Anglo-American powers, and if she is capable of waging war with the greatest energy and the necessary tenacity.
d. It follows from what has been stated that it is in our interest to encourage Japan to take any initiative she considers within her power in the Far Eastern area, as this would be most likely to keep American forces from the European theater in addition to weakening and tying down British forces.
We can accept the risk that such action by Japan might bring about America's entry into the war on the side of Britain, since, so far as naval warfare is concerned, the total advantages outweigh the total disadvantages.
It is vital that Japan should play her part in the common war aim of the signatories of the Tripartite Pact, which is to overthrow the Anglo-American coalition.
It must be made absolutely clear that any selfish interests must for the present be subordinated to this common aim; they can be fulfilled by means of the peace treaty after final victory.
1. Before Japan can be instructed as to her war tasks it is of prime importance to have an exact knowledge of her war potential. This knowledge must cover not only the characteristics and condition of all naval vessels, etc., but also the state of the armament industry and supplies of oil, raw materials, and food.
This foundation for rational cooperation must be created now in a spirit of mutual trust.
2. As shown in section "I", Japan has several strictly limited national aims in her sphere. She must be made to realize very definitely that, regardless of these aims, the primary war aim is to combat the supply lines of the Anglo-American powers. This will be the task of the Japanese Navy in the Pacific and in the Dutch East Indies area.
On no account should primary importance be accorded to landings or to seizure of areas which involve tying down essential parts of the Japanese fleet permanently, unless the execution of such projects is essential to the main task. The war on the supply lines can be carried out in the vast area of the Pacific Ocean with task forces, auxiliary warships, and submarines. These measures could be supplemented by mines layed by camouflaged minelayers after the pattern of our auxiliary cruisers.
3. It must be assumed that if America enters the war her forces will make considerable use of Empire bases, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, etc.
Allowances must be made for this factor in operations by Japanese submarines and Japanese task forces. Even though annihilating blows can hardly be struck at American surface forces, and in any case are not the main task of the Japanese surface forces, that latter must strive to tie down the largest possible portion of the U.S.A. fleet in the Pacific and to wear it down by keeping it constantly on the move. This diversionary activity would have a decisive influence on warfare in European waters.
4. Occupation of enemy or pro-enemy bases must be subordinated to the above mentioned tasks. Such action might be necessary, however, in order to protect the rear. This situation would appear to exist in the Philippines and Guam. If these bases were occupied, America would be eliminated to a very great extent from the western Pacific, and Japan would have more freedom to move to the south and the southeast. It is impossible to judge whether these measures are feasible and can be recommended to the Japanese until their actual strength is known.
A foothold on Borneo would be of great importance for oil supplies. However, such occupation appears possible only if strategic obligations in other theaters of war keep superior British and U.S. forces away from the Singapore area. (The Mediterranean.)
Close coordination of the measures taken by the signatories of the Tripartite Pact must be striven for. The present weakness of Britain in the Far East invites an attack on Singapore. It appears that such an attack might be successful; if it should succeed, Britain's supremacy in East Asia would be at an end. Despite this, considering the common war aims such action must be secondary in importance to the war on supplies, as even under the most favorable conditions it would tie down strong Japanese forces for a long period, and considering the enemy's tenacity would probably entail serious losses. The presence of American forces in Singapore will influence the decision to carry out this measure even if other tasks no longer exist.
V. If Japan enters the war, strict coordination by a combined staff seems necessary if we are not to repeat the error of two allies conducting warfare independently of one another, as was the case when Italy entered the war. It would be well to have the headquarters of this staff in Berlin, with Japan represented by a plenipotentiary from the Japanese Naval Staff. It would be necessary to have the best possible direct radio communication between the two naval staffs.
This combined staff or "Supreme War Council" would be responsible for coordinating the policy of the signatories of the Tripartite Pact by constant discussions of the strategy to be followed, so that all war measures from the time of Japan's entry into the war would form a strategic whole in all theaters of war. This procedure should be continued to assure coordination of all measures even though the situation should change. Only in this way can the war be carried on in a unified manner and the enemy be prevented from proceeding according to the principle "divide and conquer", as he did in the case of Italy.
Annex 2Naval Air Units.
1. In the course of the first year of the war, 1939 to 1940, the Seekriegsleitung in cooperation with the Luftwaffe gained valuable experience, which clearly showed not only the close inter-dependence of these two branches of the Wehrmacht in the war against Britain, but also the operational limitations of their respective air forces.
2. By mutual agreement in autumn 1939 the size of the naval air units was fixed at six coastal air groups and two ship plane squadrons. At the same time the German Navy relinquished all claims to the development and construction of specialized types of seaplanes with the exception of long-range reconnaissance planes and ship planes, as it recognized the need for concentrating on the Air Force construction program. The air forces then at the disposal of the Navy represented the minimum required to fulfill naval tasks.
These tasks have not diminished after a year of war with Britain. On the contrary, they have increased considerably. The coastline of the Reich now extending from Kirkenes to Bayonne must be defended. On the strength of this fact alone, sufficient air forces should be made available to enable the Seekriegsleitung to carry out the additional tasks which have arisen in connection with the defense of this enormous stretch of coastal waters and which must be carried out independently of the air war against Britain.
As the result of numerous transfers to the Luftwaffe, all of which were to be of a temporary nature as stipulated beforehand, the naval air forces were weakened further, however, and it became necessary again and again to request help from the Luftwaffe in order to carry out tasks for which the units of the latter were not adequately trained. The Luftwaffe regards these frequent requests as highly prejudicial to its operations against the British Isles.
The temporary transfer of Coastal air Group 506 must be noted in this connection as well as the transfer of Coastal Air Groups 606 and 808. Squadrons 3/406 and 3/906 were placed at the disposal of the Luftwaffe for general purposes, and considerable support in men and equipment was given the Luftwaffe in forming the 2nd Air Corps; this included transfer of Squadrons 2/106 and 3/106.
It seemed necessary to make this brief summary, which illustrates the Navy's constant readiness to assist, in order to prove by concrete facts that the Navy has taken a completely objective view of the situation and avoided whenever possible to let its own air forces remain idle even for a short time. However, in the light of the foregoing, the Navy feels that the increase in the demands made upon it entitles it, in all fairness, to request the return of the trained air units; these are commanded by naval officers and were created and trained for naval warfare.
3. In this war against Britain the Luftwaffe and Navy can render effective support to one another only if their most important tasks are fully recognized and they have the means to carry them out. Air forces under the direct tactical and operational command of the Navy are weapons of vital importance to successful naval warfare.
Among their duties are coastal patrol (as far as 300 miles off shore), convoy escort duty and submarine pursuit, as well as long-range reconnaissance for the purposes of submarine warfare and operations by surface forces.
Naval tasks in the extended area of coastal waters of the North Sea were considerably increased by the occupation of Norway. With the resumption of westbound traffic they were increased further.
With the shifting of the focal point of submarine warfare and operations of surface forces based on the French Atlantic coast, additional defense tasks have arisen which demand considerable forces in view of the threat to our flank from the British fleet operating from bases along the south coast of Britain.
The fact that long-range reconnaissance in the submarine zones of operations and along the suspected British convoy routes is of vital importance for submarine warfare was repeatedly pointed out by the Commander in Chief, Navy, at Führer conferences and called to the attention of the Luftwaffe by the Seekriegsleitung. The request for long-range reconnaissance has gained added weight now that the war on merchant shipping is to be intensified by surface forces making surprise attacks from the west coast of France.
For the purposes of naval warfare such long-range reconnaissance must constantly provide surface forces and submarines operating in the Atlantic with a clear picture of the situation there. The value of the reports depends on the factual accuracy of information about positions and types of vessels and the tactical situation. The correct recognition and reporting of types of vessels is especially important for surface operations, as the tactical and operational conduct of our units is determined by this information.
By Führer decree Bomber Group I/40 was put under the tactical command of the Commander in Chief, U-boats, to fulfill the demands of submarine warfare; in order to increase the strength of this unit plans were made to build up a supernumerary long-range reconnaissance squadron through addition of He 111 H-5 planes with personnel from the coastal air units. Much as the Seekriegsleitung welcomed such a move, the fact that the unit was placed under the tactical command of the Commander in Chief, U-boats, limits operations in support of the surface forces. The Seekriegsleitung feels that this emergency solution confirms its conviction regarding the necessity to provide the requisite number and types of planes for carrying out the tasks of naval war.
4. Recognizing that it would be impossible for the Luftwaffe to take over all the tasks for which planes are necessary, the Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, in the Protocol of 1939 endorsed the Navy's views both in respect to the tasks themselves and the types of planes. Thus he committed himself in favor of independent naval air units. The most important points with which the Protocol of 1939 deals are summarized as follows:
a. Zones of operations. It is agreed that Britain proper and those sea areas that are closed to naval warfare form the focal point for operations by the Luftwaffe. An agreement must be reached with the Navy whenever the range of the air forces permits operations beyond their own zones of operations and in the territory assigned to the Navy.
b. Reconnaissance. The Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, is not responsible for any naval reconnaissance duties. Reconnaissance at sea for naval purposes is the special task of the Navy.
c. Participation in naval engagements. Planes of the Luftwaffe will participate in naval engagements (engagements between ships) only upon request of the Navy or by previous agreement.
d. Equipment of naval air units. The Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, agrees to increase the efficiency of the naval air forces according to suggestions of the Commander in Chief, Navy, and to assure under all circumstances that the planes provided fulfill the strategic demands of the Navy.
5. In 1939 the Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, acknowledged the need for a naval air force, and the principles laid down in the Protocol at that time have proved absolutely correct. The Seekriegsleitung feels therefore that in the interest of the general war effort it is the obligation of the Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe, to furnish the means which will enable the Navy to carry out its tasks.
While giving full credit to the Lutfwaffe for the excellent results, achieved in operations over the sea, the Navy needs the following units under its own tactical command:
In the North Sea Area:
In the North Sea Area:
These planes would continue to carry out all weather reconnaissance. necessary for air warfare.
7. In order to carry out the tasks enumerated under "5" with the forces at hand, a suitable type of plane must be supplied.
The other coastal air group is to be supplied with Ju 88 A 5 F planes. For extended reconnaissance, for constant patrol of remote sea areas, etc. as set forth under "a", Coastal Air Groups 406 and 906 must be equipped with Bv 138 B planes.
For duties given under "b". Coastal Air Group 606 and if necessary 806 (see Paragraph 6) are to be supplied with planes of very long range.
b. Groups 406 and 906 are to be supplied with Bv 138 B.
c. Coastal Air Groups 506 and 106, or at least one of these two groups should be equipped with He 111 H-5 planes; if only one is equipped in this manner, the other one should be equipped with Ju 88 A 5 F planes (long-range reconnaissance).
d. Coastal Air Groups 606 and 806 should be re-equipped with planes having the longest possible range.
e. A more satisfactory arrangement should be made concerning Bomber Group I/40.
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