The Leader And Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.

Berlin.   1st March, 1940.   9 copies

Directive For Case Weser River Exercise

                1. The development of the situation in Scandinavia makes it necessary to prepare for the occupation of Denmark and Norway by formations of the Armed Forces (Case Weser River Exercise). This would anticipate English action against Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea, would secure our supplies of ore from Sweden, and would provide the Navy and Air Force with expanded bases for operations against England.

                The protection of the operation against action by English Naval and Air Forces will be carried out by the Navy and Air Force within the limits of existing possibilities.

                The forces employed on Case Weser River Exercise will be as small as possible having regard to our military and political strength in relation to the Northern nations. Weakness in numbers will be made good by skilful action and surprise in execution.

                The basic aim is to lend the operation the character of a peaceful occupation, designed to protect by force of arms the neutrality of the Northern countries. Demands in this sense will be made to the Governments concerned at the beginning of the occupation, and the necessary emphasis will be given, if required, by naval and air demonstrations.

                Any resistance which is nevertheless offered will be broken by all means available.

                2. I order General Of Infantry von Falkenhorst, Commanding General XXI Army Corps, to prepare and command the operation against Denmark and Norway, as Commander Group XXI.

                He will be immediately subordinate to me in all respects. His staff will be composed of Officers of the three services.

                Forces detailed for Case Weser River Exercise will receive special orders.

                Naval and Air Forces employed will remain under the command of Commander In Chief Navy and Commander In Chief Air Force, and will operate in close liaison with Commander Group XXI. Of the Air Force, one Reconnaissance Wing (F) and two Motorised Antiaircraft Regiments are not subject to this ruling, but will be under the immediate command of Group XXI until the occupation of Denmark is completed.

                Forces detailed to Group XXI will receive supplies from branches of the Armed Forces concerned, in accordance with the requirements of the Commander.

                3. The crossing of the Danish frontier and the landing in Norway will take place simultaneously. The operations will be prepared with the utmost possible speed. Should the enemy take the initiative against Norway, we must be able to take our own countermeasures at once.

                It is of the utmost importance that our operations should come as a surprise to the Northern countries as well as to our enemies in the west. This must be kept in mind in making all preparations, especially in the choice of dumps and embarkation points, and in the briefing and embarkation of troops. Should it become impossible to conceal preparations for embarkation, Officers and men will be given a false destination. Troops will be informed of the true objective only after putting to sea.

                4. Occupation of Denmark (Weser River Exercise South). Task Of Group XXI: The surprise occupation of Jutland and Fünen and subsequent occupation of Zeeland.

                For this purpose troops will push through to Skagen and to the east coast of Fünen as quickly as possible, securing the most important points. Bases in Zeeland will be occupied at the earliest moment to serve as springboards for the further occupation.

                The Navy will provide forces to secure the Nyborg-Korsör route, and to seize the bridge across the Little Belt with all speed. If necessary it will also assist in landing troops. It will also be responsible for coastal defence.

                The Air Force will provide air units primarily for purposes of demonstration and for dropping leaflets. Danish ground installations and air defences will be secured.

                5. Occupation Of Norway (Weser River Exercise North).

                Task Of Group XXI: the surprise occupation of important places on the coast from the sea and by landing from the air.

                The Navy is responsible for preparing and carrying out the sea transport of the invasion troops and of the troops to be transported to Oslo afterwards. It will ensure seaborne supplies. Norwegian coastal defences are to be prepared with all speed.

                The Air Force, after the occupation, will ensure adequate air defence, as well as the exploitation of Norway as a base for the prosecution of the air war against England.

                6. Group XXI will keep the High Command Of The Armed Forces constantly informed of the state of preparations, and will submit a timetable. This must indicate the minimum lapse of time necessary between the issue of orders for Case Weser River Exercise and their execution.