Adolf Hitler – order to the German Wehrmacht
April 13, 1945
In case communications on land in central Germany are broken, I order as follows:
1. In the separate area in which I am not present myself, a commander in chief appointed by me will conduct all military operations and will, in the area concerned, take command of all forces of the three branches of the Wehrmacht on all fronts, of the reserve army, the Waffen SS, the police, and other organizations attached to them.
2. If I myself should be south of the interrupted communications, Admiral Donitz will be appointed commander in chief in the northern area. An army general staff (commander, Lieutenant General Kinzel), which will be kept as small as possible, will be attached to him as operations staff. The following will come under his command:
(a) commander in chief of the Army Group Vistula, who will command the eastern front;
(b) commander in chief northwest, who will command the western front;
(c) commander of the armed forces Denmark;
(d) commander of the armed forces Norway;
(e) commander in chief of the air fleet, Reich, for the air forces engaged.
3. If I myself should be north of the interrupted communications, Field Marshal Kesselring will be appointed commander in chief in the southern area.
The following will come under his command:
(a) commanders in chief of Army Groups South and Center, for the eastern front;
(b) commander in chief Army of Group G, for the whole of the western front;
(c) commander in chief, southeast;
(d) commander in chief, southwest;
(e) commander in chief of the air fleet, for the air forces engaged.
4. The commanders in chief appointed for separate areas in paragraphs 2 and 3 will conduct the overall defense of the Reich in their areas, if necessary independently, should my orders and decisions, even by wireless, not reach them in time in view of the communications situation.
They are personally responsible to me for the entire employment of their entire war potential, in closest cooperation with the Reichskommissar for defense of the separated area. Apart from this, as far as communications allow, the unified control of operations by myself personally, as hitherto, will not be altered. In particular, the duty of supplying day-to-day reports is not affected.
The high command of the Luftwaffe and the Reichsfuhrer SS, as the superior officer responsible for the military duties of the Waffen SS, will be kept informed of decisions as quickly as the technical possibilities of communications allow.
5. The commander in chief in an area which is temporarily cut off will also avail himself of the services of the local representatives of the supply, transport, communications, and armaments organizations as laid down in the order issued on April 11, 1945.
6. The headquarters of the proposed commander in chief of a separated area will be identified and prepared forthwith, in agreement with the chief of armed forces communications, General of the Signal Corps Praun, and in accordance with the order by the chief of the high command of the armed forces dated April 11, 1945, “Establishment of subsidiary headquarters.”
7. The activity of the commander in chief of a separated area will be initiated only on special orders from me. These will also define the army groups under whose command each army will come.
8. Similarly, I shall appoint a supreme Reich commissar for defense for a separated area under whom all authorities of the party and the state will be coordinated, and who must cooperate closely with the commander in chief of the separated area.
9. The chief of the high command of the armed forces will issue operational orders.
The following supplementary order is for the commander in chief of the navy: I entrust the commander in chief of the navy with immediate preparations for the total utilization of all possible sources of manpower and materiel for defending the northern area, should land communications in central Germany be interrupted. I delegate to him plenipotentiary powers to issue the orders necessary for this purpose to all authorities of the state, the party, and the armed forces in this area.