"Summer Campaign of
battle in Russia is nearing its end. Thanks to the unequaled
and self-sacrificing devotion of our soldiers on the Eastern
front, German arms
have achieved a great defensive success.
The enemy has
suffered severe losses in men and material. In an effort to
exploit what appeared to him to be early successes, he. has
the winter the bulk of reserves intended for later operations.
As soon as the
weather aud the state of the terrain allows, we must seize the
initiative again, and through the superiority of German leadership
e German soldier force our will upon the enemy.
Our aim is to wipe
out the entire defense potential remaining to the Soviets,
and to cut them off, as far as possible, from their most important
forces, German and allied, will be employed in this task. At the
same time, the security of occupied territories in Western and
especially along the coast, will be ensured in all circumstances.
I. General Plan
In pursuit of the
original plan for the Eastern campaign, the armies of the
Central sector will stand fast, those in the North will capture
link up with the Finns, while those on the southern flank will
into the Caucasus.
In view of
conditions prevailing at the end of winter, the availability of
and resources, and transport problems, these aims can be achieved
one at a time.
all available forces will be concentrated on the main operations
in the Southern sector, with the aim of destroying the enemy
before the Don,
in order to secure the Caucasian oilfields and the passes through
encirclement of Leningrad and the occupation of Ingermanland may
undertaken as soon as conditions in that area permit, or
sufficient forces can
be made available from other theaters.
II. Conduct of
A. The first task
of the Army and Luftwaffe, when the period of thaw with its
muddy ground conditions is over, will be to establish the
for carrying out our main operation.
This calls for
mopping-up and consolidation on the whole Eastern front and in
the rear areas so that the greatest possible forces may be
released for the
main operation. The other sectors of the front must be able to
meet any attack
with the smallest possible expenditure of manpower.
Wherever, for this
purpose, offensive operations with limited objectives are to
be carried out, in accordance with my orders, every effort will be
ensure that all available forces of the Army and Luftwaffe are
ready to go into
action in overwhelming strength, in order to achieve rapid and
Only thus shall we be able, even before the beginning of the big
to make our troops confident in the certainty of victory, and to
instil into the
enemy a sense of his own hopeless inferiority.
B. The next task
will be a mopping-up operation in the Kerch peninsulaun,
the Crimea and the capture of Sevastopol the Luftwaffe, and later
will have the task of preparing these operations, and hindering
traffic in the Black Sea and the Kerch Straits as energetically as
In the Southern
area, the enemy forces which have broken through on both
sides of Izyum (note :near Kharkov) will be cut off along the
course of the
Donets river and destroyed.
concerning the mopping-up still necessary in the Central and
Northern sectors of the Eastern front must await conclusion of the
fighting and of the muddy season. The necessary forces, however,
provided, as soon as the situation allows, by thinning out
C. The Main
Operation on the Eastern Front
The purpose is, as
already stated, to occupy the Caucasus front by decisively
attacking and destroying Russian forces stationed in the Voronezh
area to the
south, west, or north of the Don. Because of the manner in which
formations must be brought up, this operation can be carried out
in a series of
consecutive, but coordinated and complementary, attacks. Therefore
attacks must be so synchronized from north to south that each
offensive is carried out by the largest possible concentration of
particularly of air, forces which can be assured at the decisive
sufficiently shown that the Russians are not very vulnerable to
operational encircling movements. It is therefore of decisive
as in the double battle of Vyazma-Bryansk, individual breaches of
should take the form of close pincer movements.
We must avoid
closing the pincers too late, thus giving the enemy the
possibility of avoiding destruction.
It must not happen
that, by advancing too quickly and too far, armored and
motorized formations lose connection with the infantry following
that they lose the opportunity of supporting the hard-pressed,
infantry by direct attacks on the rear of the encircled Russian
from the main object of the operation, in each individual
case, we must be absolutely sure to annihilate the enemy by the
attack and by the direction of the forces used.
operation will begin with an overall attack and, if possible, a
breakthrough from the area south of Orel in the direction of
Of the two armored and motorized formations forming the pincers,
northern will be in greater strength than the southern. The object
breakthrough is the capture of Voronezh itself. While certain
will immediately establish a strong defensive front between the
from which the attack will be launched, and Voronezh, armored and
formations are to continue the attack south from Voronezh, with
flank on the River Don, in support of a second breakthrough to
towards the east, from the general area of Kharkov. Here too the
objective is not simply to break the Russian front but, in
the motorized forces thrusting down the Don, to destroy the enemy
The third attack in
the course of these operations will be so conducted that
formations thrusting down the Don can link up in the Stalingrad
area with forces
advancing from the Taganrog Artelnovsk area between the lower
waters of the
Don and Voroshilovgrad across the Donets to the east. These forces
finally establish contact with the armored forces advancing on
opportunities arise during these operations, particularly by the
capture of undemolished bridges, to establish bridgeheads to the
south of the Don, advantage will be taken of them, In any event,
will be made to reach Stalingrad itself, or at least to bring the
city under fire
from heavy artillery so that it may no longer be of any use as an
It would be
particularly desirable if we could secure either undamaged bridges
in Rostov itself or other bridgeheads south of the Don for later
In order to prevent
large numbers of Russian forces north of the Don from
escaping southwards across the river, it is important that the
right flank of our
forces advancing east from the Taganrog area should be
armored and motorized troops. These will, if necessary, be formed
According to the
progress made in these attacks, we must not only provide
strong protection for the north-east flank of the operation; we
immediately set about establishing positions along the Don. In
anti-tank defenses are especially important. These positions will
from the first
be prepared with a view to their eventual occupation in winter,
for which they
will be fully equipped.
In the first
instance, units of our allies will he used to hold the Don front,
will become longer and longer as the attack proceeds. German
provide a strong supporting force between Orel and the Don, and in
Stalingrad strip. For the rest, individual German divisions will
available as reserves behind the Don front.
Allied troops will
be mainly disposed so that the Hungarians are farthest north,
then the Italians, and the Rumanians furthest to the southeast.
D. The swift
progress of the movements across the Don to the south, in order
to attain the operational objectives, is essential, in
consideration of the season.
Apart from giving
direct support to the Army, the task of the Air Force will be
to cover the deployment of forces in the Army Group South area by
strengthening air defences. This applies particularly to railway
across the Dnieper.
If enemy forces are
seen to be concentrating, the principal roads and railways
serving the concentration area will be brought under continuous
l in the enemy's rear. A first priority will be the destruction of
across the Don.
At the opening of
operations, the enemy Air Force and its ground organization
in the theater of operations will be attacked and destroyed by a
effort of all available forces.
The possibility of
a hasty transfer of Luftwaffe units to the Central and Northern
fronts must be born in mind, and the necessary ground organization
maintained as far as possible.
In the Black Sea it
is the principal duty of the Navy, in so far as our combat
and escort forces and our tonnage allow, to assist in supplying
the Army and
Luftwaffe by sea.
Because the battle
potential of the Russian Black Sea fleet is still unbroken it is
particularly important that the light naval forces to be moved to
the Black Sea
should be ready for action there as soon as possible.
The Baltic will be
protected by blockading Russian naval forces in the inner
waters of the Gulf of Finland.
V. My basic order
to ensure secrecy is once again to be brought to the attention
of all staffs concerned in these preparations. In this connection
to be adopted to our allies will be laid down in special
preparations planned by the various branches of the Armed Forces,
and their timetables, will be notified to me through the High
Command of the