The Leader And Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.
The Leader's Headquarters. 6th September, 1941. 10 copies
Directive No. 35
Combined with the progressive encirclement of the Leningrad area, the initial successes against the enemy forces in the area between the flanks of Army Groups South and Centre have provided favourable conditions for a decisive operation against the Timoshenko Army Group which is attacking on the Central front. This Army Group must be defeated and annihilated in the limited time which remains before the onset of winter weather. For this purpose it is necessary to concentrate all the forces of the Army and Airforce which can be spared on the flanks and which can be brought up in time.
On the basis of the report of Commander In Chief Army, I issue the following orders for the preparation and execution of these operations:
1. On the southern sector of the front the aim is the annihilation of the enemy forces in the triangle Kremenchug-Kiev-Konotop by the forces of Army Group South which are advancing northward across the Dnieper River, acting in conjunction with the attack by the southern flank of Army Group Centre. As soon as the completion of this task allows, those formations of 2nd and 6th Armies, and of 2nd Armoured Group, which have become free, will be reformed for the new operation.
Beginning about 10th September at latest, the motorised forces of Army Group South, reinforced by Infantry Divisions, and supported at the main point of attack by 4th Air Fleet, will make a surprise movement from the bridgehead secured by 17th Army northwestwards on and beyond Lubny. At the same time 17th Army is to gain ground in the direction of Poltava and Kharkov.
The offensive against the Crimea from the lower Dnieper River will continue, with support from 4th Air Fleet; so will -- so far as available forces permit -- the offensive from the Dniepropetrovsk bridgehead. An advance by motorised forces south of the lower Dnieper River towards Melitopol would be of substantial advantage for the mission of 11th Army.
2. On the Central Front, the operation against the Timoshenko Army Group will be planned so that the attack can be begun at the earliest possible moment (end of September) with the aim of destroying the enemy forces located in the area east of Smolensk by a pincer movement in the general direction of Vyazma, with strong concentrations of armour on the flanks.
For this purpose mobile focal points are to be established with motorised units as follows:
On the southern flank (probably in the area southeast of Roslavl, the direction of the thrust being northeast), from the available forces of Army Group Centre and 5th and 2nd Armoured Divisions, which will be released for the purpose.
In the 9th Army sector (the thrust being probably towards Bjeloj), by bringing the strongest possible forces from the area of Army Group North.
Only when Army Group Timoshenko has been defeated in these highly coordinated and closely encircling operations of annihilation will our central Army be able to begin the advance on Moscow with its right flank on the Oka River and its left on the Upper Volga River.
The Airforce will support the offensive with the 2nd Air Fleet, which will be reinforced at the appropriate time, especially from the northeastern area. It will concentrate on the flanks and will employ the bulk of its dive bomber units (VIII Air Corps) in support of the motorised forces on both flanks.
3. On the Northeastern Front, in conjunction with the Finnish Corps attacking on the Karelian Peninsula, we must (after the capture of Schlusselburg) so surround the enemy forces fighting in the Leningrad area that by 15th September at the latest substantial units of the motorised forces and of 1st Air Fleet, especially VIII Air Corps, will be available for service on the Central Front. Before this, efforts will be made to encircle Leningrad more closely, in particular in the east, and, should weather permit, a large scale air attack on Leningrad will be carried out. It is particularly important in this connection to destroy the water supply.
In order to assist the Finnish advance beyond the fortifications along the old Russofinnish frontier, as well as to narrow the battle area and eliminate enemy air bases, forces of Army Group North will move north across the Neva sector as soon as possible.
With Finnish cooperation, the Bay Of Kronstadt will be so completely closed by mine laying and artillery that enemy forces will be unable to escape into the Baltic Sea to Hangö and the Baltic Islands.
As soon as the necessary forces can be made available, the battle area around Leningrad is to be covered to the eastward and on the lower Volkhov. The link up with the Karelian Army on the Svir River will only take place when the destruction of the enemy around Leningrad is assured.
4. As regards further operations, it is intended that the offensive towards Moscow by Army Group Centre should be covered by a flank guard composed of available motorised forces in the Army Group South sector and advancing in a general northeasterly direction, and that forces from Army Group North should be moved forward on both sides of Lake Ilmen to cover the northern flank and to maintain contact with the Finnish Karelian Army.
5. Any saving of time and consequent advance of the timetable will be to the advantage of the whole operation and its preparation.