Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine
Notes on the Report of the Commander in Chief, Navy, to the Führer on 15 June 1943 at the Berghof.
The Commander in Chief, Navy, reports:
1. Since April 1942 the number of men assigned to the Navy has suffered because most personnel were sent to the Army. The situation at this moment is such that the 30,000 men now assigned to the Navy barely cover the losses. Since April 1942 the commissioning of naval vessels, the extension of shore defenses and air defenses, and the transfer of personnel to the Mediterranean have raised additional personnel problems. The demands could scarcely be met by refusing all replacements for shore and air defenses and bringing in Waves. These sources have now been exhausted.
If the present manner of assigning personnel to the Navy is retained, a shortage of 200,000 men is already in evidence. This figure is based on the assumption that submarine construction will be raised merely from 25 to 30 per month and that anti-aircraft defense, both ashore and afloat, will be extended rapidly to keep up with new tactics developed by the enemy. By increasing the submarine program to 40 and by building the additional light ships, which have already been ordered, the shortage becomes even greater and will require an immediate change in the assignment of personnel. Annex 1 gives a list of Navy requirements.
The Führer: "I don't have this personnel. The anti-aircraft and night-fighter forces must be increased in order to protect the German cities. It is also necessary to strengthen the Eastern front. The Army needs divisions for the protection of Europe."
The Commander in Chief, Navy, calls attention to the consequences if submarine warfare ceases, since losses surpass new constructions. He suggests the possibility that the whole material strength of the enemy will be hurled against Europe and that our coastal supply routes will be endangered. If naval warfare ceases, then the war has actually come to an end for the majority of English people since they would feel that their own lives were no longer endangered.
The lowest limit has already been reached in officer complement. The officer candidates who enter in the fall of 1939 are now becoming submarine commanders. In order to carry out the large submarine program it will be necessary to transfer officers from the Army and the Luftwaffe to the Navy and to increase considerably the annual number of officer candidates for the Navy.
The Commander in Chief, Navy, states that it was his duty to point out the consequences of too small an allocation of personnel. If the Navy does not receive the requested personnel then, from January 1944 on, no newly commissioned patrol boats, minesweepers, S-boats etc. could be manned. By 1 January 1944, the last available soldiers would be transferred to submarine training. The remaining training schools of the Navy would run out of men in the winter 1943/44.
The Führer declares that a cessation of the submarine warfare is out of the question, that he would have to allocate personnel as it becomes available, and orders a list of the required personnel with the date when they will be needed drawn up and submitted to him. He will see to it that appropriate action is taken.
II. The Commander in Chief, Navy, states that a larger submarine construction program and the increase in the construction of minesweepers, S-boats etc. make an allocation of workmen and steel to the shipyard industry necessary. The requirements are given in the attached list (Annex 2). These two graphs show what a small portion of the whole armament industry is involved and what a modest increase of workers and steel is being requested.
Even though a further increase in production by the shipyard industry will, no doubt, be possible through new efficiency measures, only a relatively small saving in the requested number of workmen and the requested increased allocation of steel will be obtained. In such an undertaking of simplification and systematizing one must also take into consideration that the present rapid output of the shipyards must not suffer from such a change and that, no doubt, a standardization of the shipbuilding process, which takes much time and is very complicated, is more difficult than that of arms and equipment.
In regard to the question of labor for the shipyards the present situation is such that, instead of the requested increase, there is a further loss of workers caused by the 2nd SE Action (2. SE Aktion) which cannot be tolerated.
The Führer declares that the removal of workmen from naval production is out of the question and orders Field Marshal Keitel to take the necessary steps. The enlarged construction program must be carried out at all costs. He will discuss the question with Minister Speer and immediately inform the Commander in Chief, Navy.
countersigned: Korvettenkapitän Mejer
Annex 1Personnel Requirements of the Navy for the Period June 1943 to September 1944 in Connection with the Acceleration of the Submarine building program to 40 submarines.
Annex 2Labor Requirements for Speeding Up Naval Construction Until the End of 1945.
1. Construction of Warships.
3. Building Plans.
The Battleship Bismarck.
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