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Commander in Chief of the Kriegsmarine

Conference with the Führer on 25 July 1940, at 1700.

Present: Chief of the OKW [Generalfeldmarschall Keitel]
General Jodl
Minister Todt
Fregattenkapitän von Puttkamer
Oberst Schmundt

1. Submarine Warfare in the Atlantic; Italian Participation.

The Führer agrees to Italian participation. As, however, the tactical subordination of Italian submarines under the Commander in Chief, U-boats [Konteradmiral Dönitz], might result in a similar demand by the Italians concerning German fliers who might be sent to North Africa, the Führer wishes that the German and Italian submarines shall be under completely separate command for the present. The Commander In Chief, Navy, points out that operations must be coordinated; that the Italians must make use of German experiences; and that moral pressure should be exercised to urge the Italians to strong action. The Commander In Chief, Navy, proposes a liaison staff of the Commander in Chief, U-boats, with the Italian submarine command. The Führer approves this. The Italians are to be responsible for refueling their own submarines.

2. Placement of Batteries at the Strait of Dover. (Report by Kapitän zur See Voss.)

The guns are to be ready by 15 August. Only the 38 cm. battery will not be ready until the middle of September. Concrete covers will be built later as a protection against plane attack. The Commander In Chief, Navy, emphasizes the necessity of making use of the batteries as soon as they are ready in order to protect minesweepers and to close the Strait of Dover. (The 28 cm. Kurfürst battery will be ready about 1 August.) As British air reconnaissance is obviously closely watching the placing of the guns, firing them will not disclose German plans to any greater degree. The Führer agrees.

3. Operation "Seelöwe".

The Commander In Chief, Navy, describes forcefully once again the effects of these preparations on the German economy: Cessation of inland shipping and a great part of maritime shipping, strain on shipyards, etc. The Commander in Chief, Navy, requests that an order be issued that these preparations be given preference over anything else. (See Annex 1.) The Führer and the Chief of the OKW agree.

There follows a report on the state of preparations on 25 July 1940. (See Annex 2.) The Commander in Chief, Navy, again stresses the necessity of establishing air superiority soon in order to carry out preparations. At the present time, the following can be said: Every effort is being made to complete preparations by the end of August. Provided that there are no special difficulties and that air superiority is established soon, it will be possible to do the following:

    1. Provide and convert barges.
    2. Make available the necessary personnel.
    3. Prepare ports for embarkation.
    4. Reconnoiter the enemy coast.
    5. Clear the invasion area of mines.
    6. Lay protecting mine fields.
    7. Set up the organization.
It is still very uncertain whether a sufficient number of steamers can be obtained along the Belgian-French coast and how long it will take to convert them. The Commander in Chief, Navy, will try to give a clear picture by the middle of next week. The Führer orders a conference for the middle of next week.

signed: Raeder

Annex 1

Results of the Endeavor of the Naval Construction Division to Provide Transport Space for Operation "Seelöwe".

1. Inland shipping will be paralyzed almost completely owing to the fact that the majority of the inland barges are being commandeered together with the tugs necessary for their transport to the shipyards where they are being converted, and from there to the invasion harbors. The effects on armament production, the food economy, private industry, trade, and traffic cannot be estimated exactly, but they are very serious. The Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Transport have expressed the same opinion.

2. Requirements in raw materials:

    a. Iron and steel: 30,000 tons. It will be necessary to use the greater part of German rolling mills exclusively for this purpose for about 10 days. There will therefore be a corresponding delay in fulfilling other orders.

    b. Sawn timber: 40,000 m3 must be prepared and treated. This will have a considerable effect on construction and on armament production.

    c. Concrete: 75,000 m3 must be made available. This will have a detrimental effect on all construction work.

3. Shipyard capacity required:
    a. Shipyards for inland shipping: It will be necessary to commandeer completely shipyards for inland shipping in the Rhine and Holland-Belgium areas for at least four weeks. During this period all repairs and new construction in the shipyards must cease.

    b. Shipyards for maritime shipping: Certain shipyards will also be needed to a considerable extent for making ready sea-going ships, such as motor coasters, transport ships, freighters, etc., to the detriment of the submarine program, which has top priority. In addition, several hundred auxiliary warships and transport ships are to be equipped with degaussing apparatus. Certain works in all German shipyards for sea-going ships must be commandeered for this purpose for about four weeks, and work on the top priority submarine program will have to be postponed.

    In the naval shipyard at Wilhelmshaven, for instance, work on the battleship TIRPITZ will have to be suspended for about three weeks. In addition, large numbers of men working on harbor construction are required for this task, with the result that harbor construction of first priority will be held up for about four weeks.

4. The German Cable Association ("Deutscher Drahtseilverband") will be occupied to a great extent in producing the necessary towing gear (about 1,000), with the result that other work of first priority, e.g., cables for mines, submarine nets, etc., will be delayed by about three weeks.

5. A great deal of work will be entailed in transporting material between the factories and the workshops - the shipyards, etc. - and the Todt Organization has for the greater part undertaken this. As a result, other important transport tasks assigned to the Todt Organization will be delayed.

In order to be able to carry out these heavy demands on the armaments industry, trade, traffic, transport, and private industry of Germany, Holland, and Belgium - demands which mean that first priority armament plans of the Navy as well as of the other branches of the Wehrmacht must suffer considerable delay - it is essential that an order be issued by the highest authority to the effect that the execution of operation "Seelöwe" be given preference for the time being over first priorities of all kinds.

Annex 2

State of Preparations and Plans on 25 July 1940.

1. Organization of Transport:

a. Army requirements: For the first wave the Army requires 26 reinforced regimental units: 90,000 men, 4,500 horses, 3,900 carts, 2,300 motorcycles, 26,000 bicycles, 650 tanks, about 1,500 automobiles and trucks, about 2,600 mortars, infantry guns, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft guns, smoke screen apparatus, and mountain guns. This will necessitate about 550 barges, 185 tugs, and 370 motor boats for the Ostend-Boulogne area, and 45 steamers, 90 barges, 30 tugs, and 180 motor boats for the Le Havre-Cherbourg area.

b. The Luftwaffe reported (not until 24 July) the need for transport facilities for 52 light anti-aircraft batteries for the Army in the first wave; this is supposed to be in accordance with requirements of the General Staff. For this purpose, a further 800 barges and about 35 medium-sized steamers would be necessary as well as a corresponding number of tugs (about 250) and motor boats.

This additional requirement cannot be met at all, mainly owing to the shortage of tugs and accommodation for transportation units in the harbors along the coast. Arrangements for loading, crossing, the number of escort forces, and disembarkation on the enemy coast do not allow random increases in the invasion fleet. A maximum of 30% of the light anti-aircraft batteries requested (12 to 15 batteries) can be taken along.

c. The second wave of 160,000 men with equipment cannot all be transported at the same time with the shipping facilities that will still be available. About 2,000,000 tons of shipping would be necessary. Even if this tonnage were available, there would not be room for it in the embarkation area. It will be necessary to divide the second wave into four or five groups. The time interval between the first and second waves will be about 24 hours. It will take about 24 hours for the various groups of the second wave to arrive.

Difficulties resulting from weather conditions have not been taken into consideration. Commencement of shuttle traffic will be advisable, therefore, immediately following the first wave.

d. The required number of ships have not yet been taken over. Seizures on the French west coast have only just begun. The results are not known so far.

2. Conversion Work:

a. Barges are being provided with unloading ramps in the bow; the loading capacity per barge will be three or four armored cars, plus thirty tons of additional cargo. Conversion is being carried out in seven different areas. Material and parts are to be ready by the middle of August. For towing gear and equipment, the latest time of delivery is likewise the middle of August. The transport of material and personnel is also an important problem. The Todt Organization is handling it. 7,000 civilian workers will be required to get the barges ready. Army engineers are to assist.

Time required: The barges should be ready by about the end of August. Prerequisites are smooth transport to the place of conversion and immediate departure after conversion. The time required for assembly is uncertain, depending on the air situation.

b. 50 motor coasters holding two armored cars each are needed. Unloading will be done from ramps at the side of the vessels. They are being converted at the naval shipyards at Wilhelmshaven. A ship for trial purposes will be ready on 28 July; 50 more vessels will entail about four weeks' work. The date of completion depends on when the ships are brought to the place of conversion.

c.. Steamers: It is impossible to estimate as yet the work and time required for making ready the steamers. This operation calls for large loading hatches and much stronger loading equipment than is usually used in shipping. It is therefore impossible as yet to estimate the time needed.

3. Personnel Requirements:

a. The number of men required for the transport vessels and for the ports of embarkation and later debarkation is estimated at 24,000 sea-going personnel. 2,000 to 4,000 of these are to be taken from the Navy, and the remainder from ocean and river shipping. This will mean a severe blow to these services, which are already working under severe handicap. It is not yet possible to calculate how long it will take to assemble the personnel, as the nature of shipping is such that it is difficult to estimate the personnel obtainable in any one place. It is expected that the greater part of maritime shipping will be paralyzed.

b. The training and manning units for this personnel will be located in Emden.

4. Ports of Embarkation and Rear Communications.

The ports of embarkation are being prepared under the direction of the department for harbor construction of the Naval High Command, assisted by the Todt Organization and the Army. According to calculations to date it is expected that the ports will be ready to accommodate the first wave by 1 September. The first wave will Just about fill the available harbors, so that it will be possible for the second wave to be brought up only after the first has departed (see Paragraph 1).

5. Reconnaissance of the Enemy Coast.

This will be made first from the naval standpoint, with a view to landing possibilities. Military aspects, i.e., coastal defense, will be included when the necessary continuous air reconnaissance has been established, provided we have air superiority. Subsequently, landing places for each individual transport unit will be settled.

6. Mines:

a. No mine reconnaissance was possible before 21 July, owing to weather conditions. From 22 to 24 July two exploratory sweeps from Gris Nez to Dover were made by a motor minesweeper flotilla. No mines were swept up to a depth of 11.5 meters. The enemy detected this mine sweeping activity, and sent out aircraft and motor torpedo boats. At least three weeks will be necessary to sweep mines from the transport route, provided there are no enemy countermeasures at sea, from the air, or along the enemy coast. Weather conditions will affect the operation; also the enemy air force must be eliminated.

b. All mine supplies available at the moment, comprising 7,700 mines, as well as the corresponding anti-sweeping devices are being prepared. Their availability in the harbors of Ostend, Boulogne, and Cherbourg is guaranteed at the proper time, i.e., by 12 August. At least two weeks will be required for mine laying, depending on weather conditions and air superiority.

7. Supplies.

The probable daily requirements of the transport fleet and the escort forces have been estimated. The necessary quotas of supplies will be assembled in the harbors. Transport is difficult, since transport by sea is not possible as yet owing to air attacks and to the uncertain mine situation, and land transport facilities are still far from re-established. Army support has been requested with regard to transport by rail; 300 tank cars have been promised.

8. Organization.

A harbor command will be set up for each port of embarkation by 10 August at the latest. It will comprise one harbor commander, one harbor captain, one engineer officer on special duty, and a subordinate staff consisting of thirty non-commissioned officers, both sea-going and technical, and two hundred enlisted men. This unit will he under the command of the admiral commanding the coast. It will cooperate with the Army with regard to local embarkation, and with the local commander of the escort forces in organizing the departure of the vessels at the beginning of the operation.


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