The rescue operations which Hitler planned in Tripoli and Albania were given the code name Sonnenblume --Sunflower and Alpenveilchen -- Alpine Violet respectively. After a meeting with Mussolini on 19th and 20th January, 1941, Hitler decided to modify his instructions. Undertaking Sunflower was to be pressed forward: German forces were to be sent to Tripoli in mid February and to go into action wherever British armour is expected or where final resistance must be offered. This was the beginning of the famous Afrika Korps. But in Albania Mussolini was preparing, and wished to launch, his own offensive, and Hitler agreed to hold up Undertaking Alpine Violet: only one Mountain Division, without heavy vehicles, was to stand by for service in Albania if required (in fact, it was not required). Meanwhile, owing to possible changes in political conditions -- Mussolini still had hopes of converting Franco -- preparedness for Undertaking Felix was still to be maintained in so far as this is possible. On 5th February Hitler issued general instructions on military cooperation with the Italians in these theatres. The German soldiers were to understand that they had been selected to render valuable assistance, both psychological and military, to our allies who, in every theatre, are struggling against an enemy greatly superior in numbers, and who, because of the limited productive capacity of Italian war industry, are insufficiently equipped with modern weapons. While recognising their own value, the Germans were to be free from any offensive arrogance and to earn the respect of their allies solely through their actions, their exemplary discipline, their courage and military prowess.

                Next day Hitler returned to the question of the war against the British economy: a war which must now be carried out with more limited resources, owing to the imminence of Undertaking Barbarossa, but was no less important, owing to the British bombing raids which might jeopardise that operation.