Halder attends a Fuehrer conference and records in his diary:
What happens if the offensive is postponed for a prolonged period, say 6 to 8 weeks, i.e. Middle of March?
Directives are prepared for Navy (stepping up of sinkings) and Air Force (attack on England).
Halder's diary records a discussion of the plans for Fall Gelb after the Mechelen Incident of 10 January 1940.
Air effort to destroy enemy aviation is of prime importance. Present clear weather spell is not long enough. Better chances nor before March.
- Hence: Air Force must deliver first blow; orders not until the night before.
- Other missions: Enemy command organisation must be smashed. Headquarters. All must be attacked at the same minute, and with heaviest bombs. Other points of strategic importance.
Maastricht bridges must be captured intact: Occupation of Holland. Offensive must attain maximum penetration of enemy territory: Ju 88* England thus will not be attacked from the air in the first days. From third day onward, small groups of Ju 88 can attack England.
Target is reducing by 35 divisions to 120 divisions - which means demobilising roughly 20% of the men under arms - allowing them to return to industry and agriculture where labour is needed. The army are not planned to be used in an invasion of England. This order is confirmed by Hitler a week later
In the morning a Fuehrer directive comes in. It directs immediate initiation of measures to lay the foundations for a reduction of Ground Forces to 120 Divs., including 20 of Armour and 10 of mot. Inf. The directive is based on the assumption that with the now imminent final collapse of the enemy, the Army would have fulfilled its mission and so, while still in enemy country, could comfortably start on work to prepare the projected peacetime organisation. Air Force and Navy alone would be carrying on the war against Britain.
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 bombing raids on the Ruhr, captured French and Czech anti-aircraft guns are to be sent to Germany for home defence.
Afternoon: Fuehrer conference. The following points were dealt with:
- Captured enemy materiel: AA Guns for Home Air Defence! Release everything that can be used for this purpose. Take Czech guns out of Rhine Valley. French 7.5 cm guns will be taken to ZI, with ammunition, and offered to Air Force. Naval guns for coastal defence (from West Wall and booty). French long-barrelled guns.
Preparations for protecting flank of Ninth Army. Fuehrer has reserved decision on what may be given to others.
- Ammunition columns for K 5 and L 12 guns to be employed against England.
As commander of Army Group A he criticises the dispositions as outlined in the invasion plan saying that they would not form a sufficient threat to England.
In the evening I have a long talk with von Salmuth which at time becomes very warm. He is apparently the troublemaker in AGp. B. I was just like him to tell Bock that our regrouping plans were an insult to him as C in C, and that he had better go on furlough and let the AGp. veterinary take over his job.
This sort of touchiness is becoming a bother. He has no rational arguments to offer against our arrangements, but from sheer ego wants a strip of the Channel Coast. The contention that the new dispositions, as ordered, would not form a sufficient threat against England is childish. The threat to England is in the number of Divs. drawn up opposite her coast, and not in the boundary line between AGps.
General Halder (Chief of the General Staff) and Admial Schniewind (Chief of the Naval War Staff) meet in Berlin to discuss a landing against England. Halder is under the impression that it is feasible but this is not what Schneiwind intended. Both services then beginning the operation independently.
There is no general staff formed for this and the time taken for correspondence to travel between the OKH in Fountainbleau and the OKM in Berlin further complicates matters.
Schniewind (Naval Operations Staff): Discussion, of basis for warfare against England.
- Prerequisite is air superiority. (Then perhaps we. can
dispense with land- warfare.) - Smooth sailing!
- Fog after middle of October.
- Line, of departure for invasion: coast from Ostend to Le Havre.
- A large, number of small steamers (1,000) could be assembled. Camouflage, air- protection! 1,000,000 men in one
wave. Only small coastal craft suitable.
- Arty. cover for second half of stretch across water and
on beaches must be furnished by Air Force.
- Underwater threats can be neutralized by net barrages. Surface threats can be minimised by mines and submarines supplementing land-based Arty. and planes.
- Cliffs are at Dover, Dungeness, Beachy Head, Rest of coast suitable for beach assault. Firm bottom.
- Dr. Feder type concrete barges are now being tested. Production in sufficient numbers held possible in July. In addition to these we want railroad ferries (Todt's proposal) for transporting tanks.
Leeb (Ordnance Office): He was told all along that invasion of England was not being considered. I tell him that possibilities have to be examined for if political command demands a landing, they will want everything done at top speed.
Ordnance enumerates the following capabilities:
- About 100 tanks III and 20 Tanks IV can be fitted for
- As many as on 40 tanks can be carried by one railroad ferry. Unloading on special landing tracks.
- Persistent smoke screens can be produced by new smoke
It is necessary to set up special experimental teams soon
in order to get Tank, Engineer, and Naval experts, together for practical tests- on a broad basis. Problem of direction of such teams and part to be played by each Branch of Armed Forces in it must be clarified soon.
Need for air superiority and "similar to large-scale river crossing" are noted.
von Greiffenberg: Matters discussed:
- Operational questions. Britain which must be dealt with separately, and the East are the primary problems now. The' latter must be viewed chiefly with reference to the requirements of a military intervention which will compel Russia to recognize Germany's dominant position in Europe. Special issues, such as the Baltic and Balkan countries may introduce some variants.
- Organization of OKH Staff. Greiffenberg must take over OQu I.
- Wolff-Metternich, art historian.
- Respective jurisdictions of Civil Administration and
Military Command in France.
- Paris Military Headquarters
- Cuts in Staff
- Build-up of supply base France. Railroad difficulties! Setting-up of separate supply base for England unnecessary; is already taken care of by base set-up for southward drive of right wing.
von der Chevallerie reports on his Div. Problems of officer and Gen, Staff training.
von Greiffenberg -. Buhle: Operations against England.
- Paramount factors: Weather - Air superiority.
- Method: Similar to large-scale river crossing, on line
Ostend - Le Havre.
- Potential beachheads s Cliffs at Dover, Dungeness and Beachy Head. Elsewhere many good landing spots, even if beaches rise at steep angles.
- First wave: six Divs. (picked units reinforced by
four Armd, Bns.)
- Technical means: amphibious tanks, rafts, flamethrowing tanks, assault boats from the Rhine. - Six-barreled rocket rocket projectors not before October. - Use of chemical smoke. - Airborne landings. - Amphibious Engineers.
- Special Staff Reinhard. (Must be replaced in his unit.
- Joint exercises and trials at Putlos or, better, on North Sea Coast.
- Selection of units; strength requirements, reinforcements for them.
- Air photographs of fortifications and defense preparations (Urgent!).
- Signal communications.
- In our Hq: .planning staff under. Greiffenberg, in addition Buhle and a representative of Navy; also Thoma, Jacob, Brand, Thiele, Liss, Ziehlberg, Roehricht.
- Deception: Diversion by spreading of rumours. Mask actual width of jump-off frontage by propaganda and actual preparations.
- Training must be geared to the special tasks ahead.
- Appointed time: August. - Fog from middle of October onwards.
- Draft operational plans: At the earliest.
von Greiffenberg (on conference with Loyke): Navy preparations for coastal defence: Coastal Arty. will arrive very late (takes three months). Org. Todt should be called in to do their construction work. - Liaison necessary with Admiral France (Schuster). - Plans to be drawn up will embrace coast only as far as Le Havre!; further south everything will be improvisation.
Air build-up against England: AA precautions in area of AGps. B and C are. insufficient.
Buhle: Some of the specifications of the OKW directive on demobilization are utterly impracticable. Continued availability of discharged men assured only on furlough basis, not if demobilized.
Report of British-French naval action at Oran.
Final OKW communique on campaign does not mention Gen. Staff with a single word. Significant!