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Report of the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer on 11 July 1940 on the Obersalzberg.

Present: Chief of the OKW [Generaloberst Keitel]
Fregattenkapitän von Puttkamer

1. Norway. The following are reported on: Naval activity in northern Norway; transport operations for the Army; patrol of the sea area Narvik-Tromsø. The HIPPER and the NÜRNBERG will provide support for destroyers, minesweepers, etc. Repairs of the GNEISENAU are expected to be finished by 25 July.

Question: Is it still necessary to revive shipments of ore from Narvik by sea for such a short period, in view of the increasing supplies of iron ore from Lorraine, etc.?

The Chief of the OKW will investigate and report.

2. Development of Trondheim. The Navy has begun planning the naval base; it requests to be put in charge of base installations, since the over-all plan will have to be coordinated.

The Führer wishes to make Trondheim a base with extensive defenses against both land and sea attack. The occupation force is to be made up of one division of Army, Air Force, and naval personnel. There must be facilities for constructing the largest ships without regard to draught. A beautiful German city is to be built on the fjord, separate from Trondheim; it does not need to be directly connected with the harbor and the shipyards. The Führer agrees that private firms may be commissioned with building the shipyard. A super-highway is to be built via Lübeck, Fehmarn Belt bridge, Zealand, Helsingør bridge, Sweden, Trondheim.

Possibly the railroad to Narvik could be given to Sweden in exchange for the extraterritorial use of Swedish soil. The Trondheim-Kirkenes road will be widened and improved; parts of it will have to be blasted out of rock, entailing ten to fifteen years work.

At the request of the Commander in Chief, Navy, the Chief of the OKW will select persons capable of planning the city, etc., with whom the Navy can discuss plans.

3. Situation with regard to submarine warfare: An effort will be made to use Brest and Lorient as bases for repairs also, so as to make it possible to intensify submarine warfare soon.

4. Six auxiliary cruisers are at sea; their crews might be used to effect the occupation of the colonies.

5. The Commander in Chief, Navy, points out the total absence of guns and anti-aircraft defenses in Baltic bases; he requests prompt information concerning developments in the east, so that bases can be protected against raids. He plans to use captured guns as substitutes. The Naval High Command is to report the number of such guns needed to the OKW, as the Führer considers re-armament necessary.

6. Siege (see Annex 1): The Commander in Chief, Navy, considers a declaration of siege practicable when the war against Britain is intensified. Advantages and disadvantages are discussed; the advantages predominate. The Führer intends to make a declaration. The Naval High Command has discussed details with the OKW and the Foreign Office.

7. The Führer plans to make a speech before the Reichstag and asks whether the Commander in Chief, Navy, considers this would be effective. The Commander in Chief, Navy, thinks it would, because the contents would become known to the British public.

The Commander in Chief, Navy, is of the opinion that for a speedy termination of the war with Britain the impact of war must be forcibly brought home to the British public itself. This could be done as follows:

8. Invasion (see Annex 2): The Commander in Chief, Navy, considers that an invasion should be used only as a last resort to force Britain to sue for peace. He is convinced that Britain can be made to ask for peace simply by cutting off her import trade by means of submarine warfare, air attacks on convoys, and heavy air attacks on her main centers, as Liverpool, for instance. The Commander in Chief, Navy, cannot for his part, therefore, advocate an invasion of Britain as he did in the case of Norway. Prerequisites are complete air superiority and creation of a mine-free area for transports and debarkation. It is impossible to tell how long it would take to clear such an area and whether it could be extended right up to the enemy coast. Furthermore, it would be necessary to enclose the transport area by flanking mine fields. Lengthy preparation of transport facilities would be necessary, and deep inroads would be made into German economic and armament programs (submarine construction, withdrawal of transport facilities, etc.). Orders for these preparations should therefore not be issued until the decision to invade has been made. Trials with landing equipment are in progress in cooperation with the Army Ordnance Department, engineers, etc. The Führer also views invasion as a last resort, and also considers air superiority a prerequisite; he expresses his views on installing heavy army guns, which have the advantages of permanent implacement and better camouflage against aircraft.

9. The Führer asks whether France should be allowed to take part in warfare against Britain, for instance in the submarine war in the Atlantic. The Commander in Chief, Navy, replies that this should be permitted in the Mediterranean if the Italians desire it. They should also be permitted to defend their bases, such as Dakar and Casablanca, but apart from this they should not be allowed to operate in the Atlantic. The Führer agrees.

10. Bases: The Commander in Chief, Navy, points out the importance of Dakar for warfare in the Atlantic. The Führer would like to acquire one of the Canary Islands from Spain in exchange for French Morocco. The Navy is to establish which of the islands is the most suitable, aside from the two main islands. The Commander in Chief, Navy, declares Madagascar to be of less importance, as the Atlantic remains the main theater of war.

11. The Commander in Chief, Navy, reports on a plan for expansion of the fleet (see Annexes 3 and 4). The Führer agrees to immediate continuation of construction on [battleships] H and J, unless the war lasts so long that entirely new plans can be worked out. Work on such plans is to be commenced. On the big ships the upper deck must be the strongest in order to be bomb-proof, and everything on the upper deck must be at least splinter-proof; everything else must be eliminated.

The Führer agrees to continue construction of [battleships] O, P, and Q, with reinforced upper decks. The Commander in Chief, Navy, does not discuss the improved type of Panzerschiff mentioned in Annex 3.

The Führer considers cruisers equipped with flight decks necessary for warfare against merchant shipping on the high seas. The Commander in Chief, Navy agrees. The GRAF ZEPPELIN is to be completed and sent on trials, and a cruiser with a flight deck is under construction. The Führer considers that quicker firing anti-aircraft guns than the present 3.7 cm. ones are necessary for destroyers. The Führer agrees that immediate work on expansion of the submarine fleet is necessary on termination of the war.

12. A war merit pennant is approved by the Führer.

signed: Raeder

Annex 1

Berlin 6 July 1940

Siege of Britain.

The decision on declaring a "Siege of Britain" was delayed because the Minister for Foreign Affairs [Joachim von Ribbentrop] insists on composing the accompanying communiqué personally.

On account of this delay, the question was examined whether the politically favorable moment for the declaration of a Siege of Britain has not already passed. It might be better to omit such an announcement in order to avoid attacks from unfriendly neutrals, especially as intensification of naval warfare has already been effected by the laying of mine fields. If notification were not given, political difficulties could scarcely be expected, as practically no ships of important neutrals continue to sail to Britain. It would therefore be possible to forego any announcement and to sanction submarine attacks without warning against all ships with the exception of those of Ireland and the U.S.A.

An announcement made at the right moment however, i.e., at the commencement of total war against Britain, would undoubtedly produce a good psychological effect both at home and abroad. The disadvantage that no actual, increase in successes will mark the proclamation of the operational area will be outweighed by the effect of the air war against British home territory. Possible American tendencies toward altering the neutrality laws and revising the stipulations in regard to the war zone would either be hindered or made considerably more difficult by a German proclamation. Apart from this, a proclamation would create a clear position from a legal point of view, which could be referred to if incidents occurred. Finally it is important for the future that by our action we should create a precedent to which we can refer in order to obtain international acknowledgement of operational and mined areas, since in our present situation the neutrals have no choice but to accept it. Especially favorable in this respect is the fact that our declared operational area would coincide with the American war zone.

For the above reasons the original idea of proclaiming an operational area is being maintained. As the accompanying communiqué is to be composed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs only at the last moment, the proposal of the Seekriegsleitung has been submitted to the OKW, Operations Staff, including a draft of a note to the neutrals and suggestions for sparing Irish import trade, i.e., coastal shipping and ships bearing special markings which conform to the instructions of the Seekriegsleitung. It was also stated that the Seekriegsleitung considers that the press should confine itself to elaborating briefly the announcement made by the German News Agency. Above all, anything must be avoided which would give the impression that a basic change in the methods of German naval warfare - e.g., unrestricted submarine' warfare - has been brought about. On the contrary, attention should be drawn to the fact that now, as a result of concentration of all forces against Britain, the operational area has become extremely dangerous.

signed: Fricke

Annex 2

Operation "E"

1. The task to be performed is transport of 100,000 men with equipment in a single wave, that is about seven divisions. The fighting strength of a division according to data supplied by the Army High Command is as follows:

Infantry Division: 15,000 men, 1,700 vehicles, 4,500 horses.
Mechanized Inf. Division: 14,000 men, 2,500 vehicles.
Armored Division: 11,000 men, 2,400 vehicles.

To what extent the strength of the fighting troops, above all in regard to the number of vehicles to be transported, can be limited for the proposed operation cannot be estimated by this office.

2. a. Sea-going and inland vessels of 1,500 BRT and less, suitable for ocean transport and available in Holland, Belgium, and France as far as Boulogne, including about 370 sea-going and inland lighters, will allow transport of about 40,000 men and 1,300 vehicles.

Crews of the above vessels, estimated at about 3,000 men, would have to be drawn from Germany, and since the small German vessels are also to be used for this operation, they would have to be taken from oceangoing shipping. This would mean that a large part of German merchant shipping would be paralyzed; i.e., approximately seventy ships of 5,000 to 7,000 BRT.

b. About 1,200 vessels, sea-going ships, trawlers, motor fishing vessels, tugs, auxiliary sailing vessels, sea-going lighters, barges, and ferries can be drawn from German shipping, to which can be added a part of the 600 odd vessels of these types at present in the service of the Navy. About 200,000 men could be transported on these vessels, but only about 3,000 vehicles.

c. From Rhine shipping the German and Dutch passenger vessels with a capacity of about 4,000 men can be drawn on, and also about 1,500 barges for the transport of men and vehicles; this would produce a total capacity of about 120,000 men and 4,500 vehicles.

3. Added together, the shipping space available for this operation in occupied territory, in Germany, and on the Rhine, is sufficient to transport over 300,000 men but only 8,500 vehicles. This means that there is space to transport the vehicles of about three divisions. No rearrangement in the loading at the expense of men and in favor of vehicles is possible, as the loading capacity of the ships with regard to vehicles is used to the fullest, and in these ships men would be carried only as an extra load. Embarkation of 100,000 men, or seven divisions, with equipment in a single wave is therefore not possible with the transport facilities available.

4. In the ships which are to be used, with the exception of lighters and barges, the vehicles will have to be loaded on deck on account of insufficient hatch capacity and since the cranes and winches are too light. For the same reasons and because of the ships' draught it will be possible to unload on an open coast only by means of landing bridges with floating bridgeheads on account of the tide. To what extent it would be possible for engineers to construct these bridges under such conditions as would prevail has not yet been examined.

Lighters and barges present quite a different picture, since because of their shallow draught they can run close inshore and unload by means of collapsible bridges.

5. Among the vessels available there are about 2,000 lighters and barges with a capacity of about 6,000 vehicles. As these vehicles can be disembarked on an open coast quickly and without great preparations there, and the necessary troops can be carried in lighters and tugs, it is considered best to employ only lighters and barges for the first wave. This would have the following advantages:

Annex 3

Views of the Seekriegsleitung on Expansion of the Navy after the War.

I. Basic Principles for Naval Expansion:

1. The ultimate expansion of the Navy will be governed by the following:

Both will indicate who Germany's future enemies will be, their strength, alliances, and their strategic plans in regard to Germany.

2. The ultimate strategic position of Germany as a result of the war cannot at present be foreseen. Considerations for expansion of the Navy must therefore be based on the probable new naval situation which, as far as can be seen, will have undergone the following deep-rooted political and strategic changes:

3. The fate of the British Empire after the war is uncertain. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that Great Britain will have to sacrifice all interests on the Continent and recognize German supremacy in Europe. Great Britain in her weak situation will look to the U.S.A. for support, and because of her great interest in a strong Britain in Europe, America will be forced to be hostile to Germany. The two Anglo-American powers will maintain or reconstruct their great sea power for the protection of their empire, thereby becoming the next natural enemies with which Germany will have to deal.

4. Germany's colonial activity and the greatly increased trade involved, the protection of her colonies and sea communications, the addition of colonial and foreign bases, as well as, most important, the constant possibility of British enmity would necessarily force Greater Germany to become a naval power of the first order; there will be possibilities for large-scale naval operations, details of which cannot yet be predicted. In this way the development of German sea power, which has lasted over centuries and has been handicapped by numerous mistakes and failures, will be brought to final fruition.

5. The age-old principle that naval warfare is the battle for economic and strategic sea communications is still true. The main task of naval warfare remains:

6. The various experiences of this war cannot yet be fully evaluated. Experiences to date, however, show the very great importance of the air force in naval warfare, a fact which must be taken into consideration not only in the proper incorporation of the air force when the question of the future composition of the fleet arises, but also in relation to the type of ship to be constructed. It must also be borne in mind that the composition of a fleet at any time and the durability of the vessels constructed must take into account as far as possible the rapid development of the air force and the effect of its weapons.

7. While in this war the duties of the German Navy in protecting merchant shipping arose only as a result of the occupation of Norway, after the annexation of a large colonial empire they would, in the event of war, attain very substantial, though perhaps not decisive, importance right from the beginning. Even if Germany should find herself in the above strategic situation, however, the main task would still be to conduct offensive operations against enemy sea communications, bases, and harbors.

8. In solving the problem of the most suitable composition of the Navy to guarantee fulfillment of the main tasks assigned to the German Naval Staff, the first and most decisive question concerns whether it is necessary to build battleships.

The Seekriegsleitung considers the most important lesson of the war up to date the realization that, in spite of the unusual development and successes of the Air Force and experiences of submarine and mine warfare, the battleship has not lost any of its importance. On the contrary, war experiences, connected with naval warfare on the high seas, have clearly shown the necessity for building ships of precisely this type, as many and as quickly as possible, although in a new and improved form. Modern methods of warfare have merely proved that the operation of battleships in coastal waters has become outmoded. The Seekriegsleitung is convinced that the course of the war justifies the "re-birth" of the battleship. Only the battleship, if suitably constructed, would be in a position to stand up under the heaviest bombing, combining in itself better than any other surface unit the best protection, maximum endurance, and the most effective defense against air attack. From this arises the demand for construction of bigger, heavier, and more powerful battleships.

The strategic expansion of German naval warfare by use of bases outside Europe compels Germany, in her struggle for naval supremacy, to continue building battleships as fast as possible. A decisive threat to the enemy's heavily patrolled Atlantic sea routes can be made only by heavy battleships which, on account of their power, can score great, immediate successes and can indirectly support surface raiders and submarines. In this new strategic situation in naval warfare on the high seas only the battleship will be able to attain the desired end: The adequate protection of our own sea communications, destruction of those of the enemy, and termination of his naval supremacy.

The theater of operations for German battleships of the future will be the Atlantic, not the North Sea or the Arctic Ocean. The strategic demands which must therefore be considered when building the ships are a wide operational radius and special suitability for conditions in the Atlantic.

In view of Germany's complete lack of battleships for ocean warfare, no new developments and discoveries based on past experience can or must be incorporated in the plans for the construction of this type of ship. It is far more important to begin building big ships of the first series according to previous plans and to take new developments and discoveries into consideration only when construction on subsequent series commences; that at least, should be the principle. In so far as obvious improvements can be carried out on ships under construction without causing any delay, they should of course be undertaken.

9. Immediate construction of battleships is not to be thought of without simultaneous construction of a proportionate number of large Atlantic escort vessels, without which no operation of battleships on the high seas is possible. The most suitable vessel for this task is the scout cruiser, whose characteristics and operational radius meet the demands of naval warfare in the Atlantic. Apart from these scout cruisers a great number of large, powerful destroyers will be necessary for escort duty with the battleships, and for operations in the North Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and the Baltic Sea. In view of the complete lack of light naval forces, it is urgently necessary to accelerate their construction.

10. The period needed for the construction of this nucleus fleet will be considerable. Until sufficient ships are built to enable the Navy to live up to its tasks, the Navy will actually be very weak, unless it manages in a comparatively short time to build up a strong submarine fleet with the necessary coastal forces. Germany is therefore dependent on a strong submarine arm to a decisive degree if she is to build up a large fleet. Until this fleet has been built, the main naval task of attacking the enemy's sea communications will fall to the submarines. These are to be supported by many auxiliary cruisers constructed according to experiences gained in this war.

An early peace would make it necessary to adhere in the main to the present war construction program, until sufficient submarines have been accumulated to eliminate any direct threat to Germany's security. The requisite number would be about 200 boats, including those engaged in training duties. On attaining this number, submarine construction should be restricted, allowance being made for wear and tear, for an increase to a total number of 250 boats, and for suitability of type to meet the new naval situation. The ratio of large submarines should be increased and the submarines generally enlarged. Should peace come at a later date, coinciding roughly with the completion of approximately the number of submarines required, then the reconversion to the general peacetime plan for ship construction would take place correspondingly earlier.

11. In view of the necessity of having to control the heavily guarded sea routes in foreign waters and having to break up concentrations of heavy enemy naval forces, warfare against merchant shipping could not be left to the submarines and auxiliary cruisers alone. Nothing has occurred to alter the opinion that the Atlantic Panzerschiff is the most effective instrument and the mainstay of the war against merchant shipping. New vessels of this type must be constructed in accordance with the experience gained in this war, to embody the features best suited to operations in the Atlantic, high speed and adequate guns of 28 cm.

In view of war experiences with heavy cruisers, these ships have no place in a modern fleet. Fleet reconnaissance duties are now assigned to the air units and to scout cruisers. The Seekriegsleitung, however, considers that there are extensive duties for vessels of the cruiser type in protection of our own merchant shipping, protection of the colonial empire, and control of the sea routes involved. Cruisers of the M class are considered suitable for such duties. In view of the special urgency in construction of battleships and destroyers, the construction of auxiliary cruisers and cruisers must, for the time being, take second place. This deliberate postponement must and can be borne in favor of a strong German submarine fleet, which will be the mainstay of naval strategy until the Atlantic fleet is ready.

The construction of raiders and cruisers (with the exception of scout cruisers) must take second place to insure the speediest possible construction of a strong group of battleships. The guiding principle should be that construction of battleships must in no way be injured or delayed by building cruisers or Panzershiffe for raiding merchant ships. The backbone of naval strategy on the high seas against enemy sea communications is the battleship itself.

12. Experiences with regard to the suitability of the present type of aircraft carrier must still be evaluated. Examination of enemy naval strategy as well as reflections on our own strategy in ocean warfare lead, however, to the clear recognition of the fact that aircraft carriers or cruisers with flight decks for use in warfare in the Atlantic definitely cannot be dispensed with.

13. Besides the construction of vessels for ocean warfare, the development of coastal escort and patrol forces is of equal importance; they are a prerequisite to great sea power at home as well as in the colonial empire. The necessity for the construction of a large coastal defense force, consisting of torpedo boats, minesweepers, submarine chasers, motor minesweepers, and S-boats, simultaneous and carefully synchronized with the fleet construction program is strongly emphasized.

14. Finally, it must be realized that the task of building up the Navy of the Greater German Reich can be achieved only by straining all industrial resources and manpower reserves over a long period of years. The preliminary reflections of the Seekriegsleitung should make possible a planned adjustment of the immediate building program to the armaments industry as a whole, and should mark the first step towards the operational goal of German naval construction.

II. Building Program:

1. As soon as the peace has been concluded, the Navy should be expanded as quickly as possible. First of all a transitional program should be set up. Care must be taken that immediate work is started only on those types, constructional details of which are already perfected; but on the other hand a proportionate composition of the fleet should be aimed at. The following are the perfected types which in the opinion of the Seekriegsleitung are ready to go into immediate production:

The following figures give a suitable proportion of the various types to one another, taking into consideration the date for completion: Construction on the improved Panzerschiff and cruiser M can be temporarily postponed if it is not possible to start building all vessels simultaneously.

It would be desirable to start work on four battleships and a corresponding number of light naval forces; the actual number will depend to a great extent, however, on when the war ends and to what extent submarine construction can be suspended in view of the number of submarines available at the time.

2. Construction Plans:

a. New plans must be drawn up at once for the following:

b. Apart from this, new designs are not necessary at present. For the further development of all types apart from vessels going into construction immediately, constructional changes must be undertaken as soon as possible, utilizing experiences gained during the war:
Draft signed by Schniewind

Annex 4

Berlin 2 July 1940

Naval Construction Division

Construction of Battleships and Cruisers after the war.

The ships Indicated below can be built after the end of the war on the following conditions: The Industrial facilities must be exploited to the utmost, over and beyond the provisions of the Z plan, and without taking into account the articles produced by Krupp for Russia; the construction of submarines must be curtailed greatly: One battleship of the H class requires as much work as sixty five submarines, one of the O class as much as 50 submarines.

H-class battleship:

1 ship at Blohm and Voss . . . Construction to be continued immediately
1 ship at Deschimag . . . Three months after the war
1 ship of the same or improved type at the Deutschen Werke . . . Twelve months after the war
1 ship at the naval shipyard at Wilhelmshaven . . . Eighteen months after the war

The third and fourth ships cannot be built any earlier because Krupps capacity for manufacturing the necessary cemented armor plate is limited.

O-class battleship:

1 ship at the Deutschen Werke . . . Three months after the war
1 ship at the naval shipyard at Wilhelmshaven . . . Five months after the war
1 ship at Schichau, Danzig . . . Five months after the war

Two or three M class cruisers for independent operations in the Atlantic can be built simultaneously. Up to six scout cruisers (small cruisers to operate in cooperation with the battleships in the Atlantic) can go into construction within twelve months after the end of the war.

Building time for:

H-class battleship: about forty eight months
O-class battleship: about thirty nine months
M-class cruiser: about thirty months
Scout cruiser: about twenty four to twenty seven months

An appendix contains sketches for H and O-class battleships and two new plans for battleships of H class (Tr.N.: Appendix not attached.)

Naval Construction Division

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