Hitler's directive 43



The Führer
and Supreme Commander
of the Armed Forces
July 11, 1942 Führer Headquarters
No. 43

5 copies

  Directive No. 43

"Continuation of Operations from the Crimea"

1. After clearing the Kerch peninsula and capturing Sevastopol, the first task of 11th Army will be, while ensuring the defense of the Crimea, to make all preparations for the main body of the army to cross the Kerch strait by the middle of August at the latest. The aim of this operation will be to thrust forward on either side of the western foothills of the Caucasus in a southeasterly and easterly direction.

The operation will be known by the cover name "Blucher" (most secret), and the day of the landing will be known as "Bl-Day".

2. The operation will be executed on the following lines:

In accordance with the proposals of 11th Army, the crossing is to be planned so that the strongest possible forces are landed in the rear of enemy coast defenses.

The high ground north of Novorossiysk will then be captured. The ports of Anapa and Novorossiysk will be occupied, thereby eliminating bases for the enemy fleet.

After that, the operation will continue to the north of the Caucasus, its main thrust in a general easterly direction. In this connection it is specially important that the Maykop area be quickly occupied. The decision whether small forces should also be landed on the coast road along the Black Sea in the Tuapse area can only later be taken.

For this operation 11th Army is to keep the bulk of the medium and field artillery (flat trajectory and howitzer) mortar batteries up to 21cm. mortars inclusive, and some of the heavy projector detachments.

3. The Navy will take immediate steps to secure the necessary shipping for the crossing, in accordance with detailed Army requirements.

To meet this need, suitable shipping, apart from vessels already available in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and those which may be brought in for the operation, will be chartered or bought from the Bulgarians and Rumanians.

During the actual operation, the Navy will support the landing forces during the crossing, and protect them with all available means against action by enemy sea

Naval units detailed to cover the crossing of the landing forces will come under command of 11th Army during the operation.

4. The task of the Luftwaffe in preparing the operation is the overall elimination of enemy naval forces and harbors in the Black Sea.

During the operation its task, apart from immediate support of the landing forces, will be to prevent enemy naval forces from interfering with the crossing.

Preparations are to be made so that the Army forces landed on the Temryuk peninsula may be supplied for several days by air.

The possibility of using parachute and airborne troops is to be investigated. If possible, 7th Airborne Division will not be involved in these operations, or at least only in small part. It may be advantageous to employ units of 22nd Infantry Division as airborne troops.

5. The enemy is to be deceived into believing that large forces of 11th Army are being moved from the Crimea to the area north of the Sea of Azov. For this purpose a large scale movement by road and rail will be undertaken towards the north, while the actual
concentration for "Operation Blucher" will be concealed by night marches.

The High Command of the Armed Forces will support this deception by suitable means.

6. The following special operations (Abwehr II) have been prepared. These special operations are to be examined by the General Staff of the Army with the Office of Foreign Intelligence, Security Section II [Abwehr II], and, if approved, to be included
in "Operation Blucher".

(a) Parachute drop of a commando detachment in the Maykop area to protect oil installations ("Operation Schamil").

(b) Sabotage operations against the triangle of railways Krasnodar-Kropotkin-Tikhoretsk, and against the bridges over the Kuban in that area.

(c) Participation of a light engineer company of the Brandenburg Training Regiment, raised for operations of this kind, in attacks on enemy ports and coastal installations.

7. Details for the preparation and conduct of the operation will be worked out by the Army General Staff in conjunction with the Navy and Luftwaffe.

I am to be informed daily through High Command of the Armed Forces, Operations Staff, on the state of preparations (provision of shipping) and the forces to be used.