Generalleutnant Rudolf Veil's 2nd Panzer Division reaches the French coast at the mouth of the Somme near Abbeville cutting the Allied forces in two.
When presented with it, Hitler's reaction to Seelöwe is unfavourable. This is probably the first time he has been presented with plans to invade England as it has not been presented to the OKW. At this stage the plan is a landing on the East coast.
The Führer and the Commander-in-Chief, Navy, discuss in private details concerning the invasion of England, on which the Naval Staff has been working since November.
Seeking guidance on U-boat strategy Raeder asks Hitler if the war was going to be decided quickly, or was it wiser to assume that it would "last some time"? Hitler favours the second assumption.
Hitler promises that, after the "main operations in France" are finished he will concentrate on the submarine and Ju 88 construction programs.
Raeder names air superiority over the Channel as the first condition of any invasion:
I named absolute mastery over the Channel by our air forces as the first condition of any landing attempt. Furthermore, this German air superiority had not only to achieve mastery of the air, but also would have to damage the British Fleet tremendously even if it could not completely prevent its appearance on the scene. Anything less than this would make the risk too great and the invasion unjustified. The diversion of a huge percentage of Germany's ocean, coastal and river shipping for transport of the invasion troops, I pointed out, would greatly impair Germany's domestic economy.
Hitler listed to all that I said, but expressed no views of his own at the time except to order that for the time being no preparations for a landing be made. But in any case Hitler had now been warned that any landing in England would have to be carefully studied first, and then just as carefully planned.
Reader brings the invasion plan to Hitler to forestall it being suggested by "some irresponsible person" and Hitler jumping to the idea which would mean the Kreigsmarine would be faced with impossible tasks.
All my experience with Hitler had convinced me of the importance of giving him our own opinions of a situation before less qualified people could gain his ear.
Furthermore, we had just completed a most successful amphibious operation, over wide waters, against Norway, and many people might get the idea that a similar move could be equally successful against England.
At first glance, the jump across the Channel, whose opposite shore could easily be seen from France in good weather, would seem far less dangerous that the Norwegian landings. But any experienced naval leader would know that just the opposite was true. A long and careful preparation was absolutely necessary.
Such a landing would be extremely difficult and attended with the gravest risks. However, the development of the aeroplane for both combat and and transport purposes had brought a new element not present in previous wars, and hence the possibilities of a successful invasion were not so infinitesimal as formerly. A powerful and effective Air Force might create conditions favourable for an invasion, whether it could was not in the Navy War Staff's province.
Generals Keitel, Jodel, Commander von Puttkamer (Hitler's naval adjutant) were present at the conference.
Halder records in his diary:
The overall picture of the day shows that the big battle is in full swing.
Hydrofoils and floating bunkers with caterpillar tracks that could climb beaches are mentioned as landing craft by Raeder.
Authored by Konteradmiral Kurt Fricke (cheif of the Operations Section of the Naval War Staff).
This is the first meeting since the invasion was initially proposed. It has not been disclosed outside Raeder's own headquarters.
Hitler states it is his intention "to dcrease the size of the Army when France has been overthrown and release all older men and skilled workmen" and primises the Navy and Luftwaffe will have "top priority".
The Air Force consists of around 1,500 servicable aircraft.
Warlimont (Jodel's deputy chief of the OKW's Operations Staff) notes that:
With regard to a landing in Britain, the Führer … has not up to now expressed such an intention, as he fully appreciates the unusual difficulties of such an operation. Therefore, even at this time, no preparatory work of any type has been carried out at OKW.
Only the Kriegsmarine has begun provisionally earmarking shipping and collating topographical intelligence about the coast between The Isle of Wight and the Wash.
Raeder urges the Luftwaffe to start "vigorous air attacks on British bases in order to destroy ships under construction and repair". Hitler replies he is contemplating "taking such action soon".
The preparations for an invasion of England … the locality chosen for landing … mines … shipping … special craft … air supremacy.
Raeder records no comment from Hitler but does talk about a plan to settle Jews on Madagascar and complains about a "rude telegram" from Göring sent him about a plan to invade Iceland code-named Icarus - Raeder says it will require the entire Navy.
Heretofore, apparently, no one outside the Navy had given the matter any thought. But shortly after my second report of 20 June the Supreme Command of Armed Forces suddenly began to show an unexpected interest. After the fall of France it was obvious that it would be a pertinent question as to what direction the war should take now. The last Norwegian defenders capitulated on 10 June. Norway was now in our hands. On the same day Italy entered the war on our side, and with the signing of the armistice with France on 21 June the only opponent left was England.
Keitel explains "that the demands made by the Navy have been approved at this very moment."
Discussion is centred on the occupation of France. Britain is mentioned though Hitler expresses the view that she is "coming down a peg". Instructions for the reduction of the army down to 120 divisions and doubling of armoured units are confirmed.
In response to British boming raids on the Ruhr, captured French and Czech anti-aircraft guns are to be sent to Germany for home defence.
Shortly before departing from Bruly-de-Pesche Hitler tells OKW operations staff that, in a few days, he will want to examine studies for an invasion of Britain.
He tells Jodel "The English have lost the war but they haven't noticed it; one must give them time and they will soon come around."
A visiting Luftwaffe staff officer found Keitel and Hitler's air adjutant "convinced that England was prepared to sue for peace, and that the war was as good as finished."
OKW Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl reviews options to increase pressure on Britain to agree to a negotiated peace. The first priority is to eliminate the Royal Air Force and gain air supremacy. Intensified air attacks against shipping and the economy could affect food supplies and civilian morale in the long term. Reprisal attacks of terror bombing has the potential to cause quicker capitulation but the effect on morale is uncertain. Once the Luftwaffe has control of the air, and the British economy has been weakened, an invasion would be a last resort or a final strike (“Todesstoss“) after England has already been practically defeated, but could have a quick result.
If political measures do not succeed England's will to resist must be broken by force. (This might be accomplished) (a) by making war against the English motherland, (b) by extending the war to the perhipery.
The latter would require the co-operation of nations that hoped to see the British Empire disentegrate and to sieze the spoils. Italy, Spain, Russia and Japan are the obvious contenders for this.
Germany's final victory over England is only a question of time. Germany can choose a form of warfare which husbands her own strength and avoids risks. Since England can no longer fight for victory but only for the preservation of her possessions and world prestige, she should, according to all predictions, be inclined to make peace when she learns she can get it now at relatively little cost.
Italian Ambassador to Berlin, Dino Alfieri, is recived at Tannenberg and presses Hitler with offers of troops and aircraft for use against England but gets no reply. Hitler tells Alfieri that Germany is plannig an air attack against Britain which would be "bloody" and a "horror". The Luftwaffe is refitting and building bases in France, Belgium and Holland. "These activities had begun immediatel after the conclusion of the armistice with France" and now gigantic columns were rolling westward with material "for undertaking the impending tasks."
Ribbentrop and Keitel are present.
Armed Forces High Command
WFA/Abt. L Nr. 33124/40 g.Kdos.Chefs.
2 Jul. 1940
Re: Warfare against England
The Fuehrer and Supreme Commander has decided:
- A landing in England is possible, provided that air superiority can be attained and certain other necessary conditions fulfilled. The date of commencement is therefore still undecided. All preparations are to be begun so that the operation can be carried out as soon as possible.
- The High Commands of the branches of the Armed forces are to supply the following information promptly:
- Estimate of the strength of the British army in view of the planned objectives. Probably losses, especially of equipment, and the expected condition of the army after partial rearmament during the next few months.
- Possibilities of using artillery from the Continent for additional protection of ship concentrations and transports against British naval forces (in cooperation with the Navy).
- Analysis of the landing possibilities for large numbers of Army troops (25 to 40 divisions) and antiarcraft units, with a description of the coastal topography of southern England and of the British naval and land defences.
Statement as to which routes and what equipment could be used for troops and supply transports on such a scale with adequate safety.
It should be kept in mind that a landing on a broad front will probably facilitate the further penetration of the Army.
- Information as to the type and amount of shipping pace available and the time required to make it ready.
- Opinion on whether and when we can reckon with achieving decisive air superiority. In this connection information of the comparative strength of the British and the German Air Forces.
- Which airborne forces can be used to support the operation and in what way. Transport planes should be assembled for this purpose, regardless of all other tasks.
The High Commands should jointly examine all organisational questions pertaining to the landing troops arising from the necessity to limit and utilise the naval and air transport space in the best manner possible.
The forces to be landed should be greatly superior in numbers to the British troops, especially as regards tanks; they should also be largely motorised and protected by strong antiaircraft forces.
- All preparations must bear in mind that the plan to invade England has not taken any sort of definite shape as yet, and that these are only preparations for a possible operation. As few people as possible of these plans.
The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces High Command
The Fuehrer began by saying that he has been considering the desirability of making another gesture of psychological and propogandist importance. He has not yet made a decision; however, he considers such a gesture useful in principle, although he is now convinced that the war against England will continue.
Keitel, Jodl, von Brauchitsch and Halder are also present at the Berghof.
All preparations are in full swing.
Minesweeping has begun with exploratory sweeps but can be carried out according to plan only if we have air superiority. It will take three weeks if the weather is favourable... Mine-laying will begin at the end of August if we have air superiority.
Two windows are available with favourable moon and tides:
- 20-26 August
- 19-26 September
He concludes: "the best time for the operation, all things considered, would be May 1941."
In the presence of the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Chief of the General Staff I explained the difficulties, and called extra attention to the fact that the weather in the Channel got notoriously worse in the fall.
The British Fleet, I emphasized, undoubtedly would make its appearance. The safe transport of the troops was the most vital consideration. The Air Force could not effectively protect three beachheads stretching over 100 kilometres of coastline. Therefore, I said, the landings should be restricted to the single area at Dover, and all the efforts of the Army and Air Force should be concentrated on this single narrow space. I concluded that the wisest thing would be to postpone the invasion until May 1941.
Hitler, however, decided that the attempt should be made, and set 15 September as the date for the landing. But the actual signal for the operation to commence was not to be given until after the Air Force had made concentrated attacks on the English southern coast for a whole week. If these showed powerful effects, the landing was to be carried out; otherwise, it was to be postponed until May 1941. In any case, however, despite the Navy's warning, the preparations were to continue on the Army's plan for a broad invasion front.
Hitler remarks to the Army chiefs:
Britain's hope lies in Russia and the United States. If Russia drops out of the picture America too is lost to Britain, because elimination of Russia would tremendously increase Japan's power in the Far East.
Russia is the Far Eastern sword of Britain and the United States, pointed at Japan. Here an evil wind is blowing for Britain. Japan, like Russia, has her program which she wishes to carry through before the end of the war.
The Tripartite pact is signed in Berlin by Ribbentrop, Ciano and Kurusu.
It states that the pact does not "in any way affect the political status that exists between each of the Contracting Parties and Soviet Russia."