The Leader And Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.

The Leader's Headquarters.   22nd September, 1941.   12 copies

Directive No. 36

                I. Owing to unusual difficulties of the terrain, defective lines of communications, and the continual arrival of Russian reinforcements in Karelia and Lapland, the weak forces of Army High Command Norway and 5th Air Fleet have not so far succeeded, in spite of immense efforts and the bravest actions, in reaching the Murmansk railway. The interruption by the enemy of our sea communications along the Arctic coast has still further reduced the likelihood that the Mountain Corps will reach Murmansk this year.

                We have, however, succeeded in tying down strong enemy forces and in drawing them away from the main Russian front, in driving back the enemy across the former Finnish frontier at all points, and in eliminating, so far, all threats to northern Finland, and above all to the nickel mines.

                II. The ultimate aim of our operations in northern and central Finland remains constant. It is to destroy the enemy forces around Murmansk and along the Murmansk railway.

                The importance of this area lies in the nickel mines which are vital for the German war effort. The enemy realises this importance. It is likely that the English will deploy strong air forces around Murmansk and Kandalaksha, and may perhaps even commit Canadian or Norwegian troops there, and that they will send as much war material as possible to Murmansk. We must expect air attacks, even in winter, against the nickel mines and the homes of the miners. Our own efforts must correspond with the greatness of this danger.

                III. I therefore order as follows:

                1. Army High Command Norway:

                (a) The attacks in the sector of III (Finnish) Army Corps will be halted and the forces thus released transferred to XXXVI Army Corps.

                (b) All preparations are to be made by XXXVI Army Corps for resumption of the attack towards Kandalaksha in the first half of October with the aim of at least cutting Murmansk off from its rail communications by the time winter sets in. Moreover, the question whether the continuation of this attack in the winter will have greater prospects of success than in the autumn is to be considered.

                The Finnish High Command will be requested to transfer 163rd Division, by rail via Rovaniemi, to the High Command Of The Army at the proper time.

                (c) The offensive of the Mountain Corps towards Murmansk is to be halted for the time being, and the northern flank will advance only so far as is required to improve the position and to mislead the enemy. On the other hand it is necessary, in the light of the tasks assigned to the Navy, at least to occupy the western end of the Fisherman's Peninsula before the beginning of the winter and thereby to prevent the enemy from hampering access to the port of Liinahamari by artillery and motor torpedo boats.

                The collection of intelligence and planning for this attack will begin at once, and the result will be reported as soon as possible. Special weapons suitable for use against targets on land and at sea, which are still lacking, will be provided.

                Whether the plan of Army High Command Norway for the winter can be carried out can only be decided later. This plan is to leave two reinforced Mountain Divisions in the Petsamo area, and to allow 2nd Mountain Division to rest in the Rovaniemi area. If possible this will be done. It is also planned to relieve 3rd Mountain Division by 5th Mountain Division or by a newly raised Mountain Division.

                (d) Numbers of lorries will be bought or hired in Sweden in order to shift the supply route of the Mountain Corps to the Arctic Highway. If this transport is not sufficient, reinforcements will be brought from home.

                (e) I have instructed Reichsminister Dr Todt to construct a field railway from Rovaniemi along the Arctic Highway to Petsamo by the ruthless employment of Russian prisoners of war.

                For the resumption of the attack on Murmansk, all modern weapons suitable for use in the tundra will be supplied.

                2. Navy:

                It is the task of the Navy to attack enemy supplies moving to Murmansk even in winter, and particularly at times when air operations are more or less crippled.

                For this purpose a suitable subsidiary base for light naval forces will be established -- preferably in Petsamo Bay -- in case we succeed in capturing the western part of the Fisherman's Peninsula. The flow of supplies by sea to Kirkenes and Petsamo, even should it be interrupted for a time, must be constantly attempted.

                Coastal defences in the bays of Petsamo and Kirkenes will be strengthened so that they are capable of meeting attacks even by heavy enemy ships.

                3. Airforce:

                It is of decisive importance that 5th Air Fleet should remain in northern Norway with strong forces suitable for action in winter.

                These forces are to be large enough to give effective support to the attack on Kandalaksha and the capture of the western part of the Fisherman's Peninsula up to the beginning of the bad weather. Meanwhile it is necessary to make continuous attacks on the enemy's shipping and rear communications as well as his supply and equipment depots.

                These attacks are to be continued throughout the period of bad weather whenever opportunity offers, and to be extended particularly to shipping and bases under construction.

                Airforce ground establishments must therefore remain, as far as possible, in northern Norway and Finland and must be protected against the winter by all possible means.

                Protection against enemy air attack of our own camps and communications and, above all, of the nickel mines and the naval base which is to be established must be ensured.

                Ground organisations and supplies will be increased so that, when the time comes, the resumption of the attack on Murmansk can be supported by considerably stronger air forces than hitherto.

Adolf Hitler.