The Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.
Berlin. 20th November, 1939. 8 copies
Directive No. 8 For The Conduct Of The War
1. For the time being, a high state of preparedness must be maintained in order to deliver, at a moment's notice, the offensive which is being mounted. Only thus will it be possible to take immediate advantage of favourable weather.
The Armed Forces will make their preparations in such a way that the offensive can still be delayed even if orders for this delay reach Commands as late as A-Day-1, 2300 hours.<!a-tag =Angriffstag, the day of attack; a-day-1=the day before the attack> At this hour at the latest Commands will receive the codeword, which will be either:
Danzig (proceed with offensive) or
Augsburg (delay offensive).<!the words danzig and augsburg were previously rhein and elbe.>
Commander In Chief Army and Commander In Chief Air Force are requested, immediately after the date of the offensive has been decided, to report to the High Command of the Armed Forces, Operations Staff (Defence Department), the time which they have agreed for the beginning of the attack.
2. Contrary to earlier Directives, all measures planned against Holland may be taken without special orders when the general offensive opens.
The attitude of the Dutch forces cannot be foreseen. Where no resistance is offered, the invasion will assume the character of a peaceful occupation.
3. Land operations will be conducted in accordance with the Operation Order of 29th October.
That Order is supplemented as follows:
(a) All precautions will be taken to enable the main weight of attacks to be switched from Army Group B to Army Group A should the disposition of enemy forces at any time suggest that Army Group A could achieve greater success.
(b) Holland, including the West Frisian Islands, but (for the time being) excluding Texel), will be occupied in the first instance up to the Grebbe-Meuse line.
4. The Navy will undertake the blockade of Belgian ports and sea lanes and, contrary to former Directives, those of Holland also. For submarines this action is authorised on the night preceding the offensive; for surface craft and aircraft from the moment of attack by the Army. The interval between the initiation of blockading operations and the time of the attack by land must, however, be kept as brief as possible even where submarines are concerned. <!on 11th december a supplementary order modified this paragraph, authorising surface vessels to go into action at the same time as submarines, provided that they did not compromise the secrecy of the land operations>
Operations against the Dutch Navy will be undertaken only if the latter displays a hostile attitude.
The Navy will assume responsibility for the defence by coastal artillery of occupied areas of the coast against attack from the sea. Preparations for this will be made.
5. The tasks of the Air Force are unchanged. They have been amplified by the Special Orders given verbally by The Leader for airborne landings and the support of the Army in capturing the bridges west of Maastricht.
7th Airborne Division will be used for parachute landings only after the bridges across the Albert Canal are in our hands. When this occurs, immediate communication between Commander In Chief Army and Commander In Chief Air Force must be ensured.
Neither in Holland nor in Belgium-Luxembourg are centres of population, and in particular large open cities and industrial installations, to be attacked without compelling military necessity.
6. Frontier Control
(a) Until the opening of the attack, traffic and communication across the Dutch, Belgian, and Luxembourg frontiers will be maintained at a normal level in order to ensure surprise. Civil authorities will make no preparations to close these frontiers until the beginning of the attack.
(b) Upon the opening of the attack the frontiers with Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg will be closed to all traffic and communications of a nonmilitary character. Command In Chief Army will issue the relative orders to the military and civil authorities concerned. At the beginning of the attack the High Command Of The Armed Forces will inform the highest Government authorities that Commander In Chief Army is issuing direct orders for the closing of the frontiers and that these will include the Dutch frontier outside the theatre of operations.
(c) On the other frontiers between the Reich and neutral States, no restrictions on frontier traffic or communications will be applied on the opening of the offensive. Further measures for the control of the passage of persons and communications have already been prepared and will be enforced as necessary.
pp. Chief Of The High Command Of The Armed Forces.