The Leader And Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.
The Leader's Headquarters. 14th June, 1940. 6 copies
Directive No. 15
1. The enemy, compelled by the collapse of his front, is evacuating the Paris area, and has also begun the evacuation of the fortified triangle Epinal-Metz-Verdun behind the Maginot Line.
Paris has been declared an open city by means of posters.
It is not inconceivable that the main body of the French Army may withdraw behind the Loire.
2. Our relative strength and the condition of the French Army now make it possible to pursue henceforward two objectives at the same time:
(a) To prevent enemy forces withdrawing from the Paris area, and those on the lower Seine from establishing a new front.
(b) To destroy enemy forces in the areas facing Army Groups A and C, and to bring about the collapse of the Maginot Line.
3. I therefore issue the following orders for the further conduct of the operations of the Army:
(a) Enemy forces on the lower Seine and in the Paris area will be vigorously pursued by the advance of the right flank of the Army along the coast towards the Loire Estuary and by a turning movement from the Chateau-Thierry area towards the Loire above Orleans. Paris will be occupied in force as soon as possible. The naval bases of Cherbourg and Brest, and also Lorient and St Nazaire, will be occupied.
(b) Forces at the centre, up to approximately the area of Châlons, will continue, for the time being, in the general direction of Troyes; their armoured and motorised divisions will thrust forward in the direction of the plateau of Langres.
Infantry divisions will first reach the area northeast of Romilly-Troyes. Preparations will be made for their later use in the central Loire area.
(c) Orders for other formations of the Army remain unchanged. They will destroy the enemy in the enclosed area of northeastern France, ensure the collapse of the Maginot Line, and prevent the withdrawal of forces there towards the southwest.
(d) The Saarbrucken Shock Group will move to the attack across the Maginot Line on 14th June in the general direction of Lunéville. The timing for Attack Upper Rhine will be decided as soon as possible.
4. The Air Force has the following tasks:
(a) To keep up the momentum of our advance towards the Loire by means of air attacks. At the same time the advancing troops are to be supported by antiaircraft artillery and protected against air attack.
The enemy's retreat by sea is to be made impossible by smashing ports and shipping on the north coast of France.
The withdrawal of the enemy facing Army Groups A and C is to be held up. The focal point in this respect is in front of the tanks on the right flank of Army Group A.
Enemy transport by rail running southwest towards and beyond the line Neuchâteau-Belfort is to be prevented.
At the same time the breach of the Maginot Line by Army Group C is to be supported.
Antiaircraft artillery is to facilitate the attack by the right flank of Army Group A and, in particular, the penetration of French fortifications.