The Leader.   High Command Of The Army

The Leader's Headquarters.   8th March, 1944.

The Leader's Order Number 11 (Commandants Of Fortified Areas And Battle Commandants)

                In view of various incidents, I issue the following orders:

                1. A distinction will be made between Fortified Areas, each under a Fortified Area Commandant, and Local Strongpoints, each under a Battle Commandant.

                The Fortified Areas will fulfil the function of fortresses in former historical times. They will ensure that the enemy does not occupy these areas of decisive operational importance. They will allow themselves to be surrounded, thereby holding down the largest possible number of enemy forces, and establishing conditions favourable for successful counterattacks.

                Local Strongpoints are strongpoints deep in the battle area, which will be tenaciously defended in the event of enemy penetration. By being included in the main line of battle they will act as a reserve of defence and, should the enemy break through, as hinges and cornerstones for the Front, forming positions from which counterattacks can be launched.

                2. Each Fortified Area Commandant should be a specially selected, hardened soldier, preferably of General's rank. He will be appointed by the Army Group concerned. Fortified Area Commandants will be personally responsible to the Commander In Chief Of The Army Group.

                Fortified Area Commandants will pledge their honour as soldiers to carry out their duties to the last.

                Only the Commander In Chief Of An Army Group in person may, with my approval, relieve the Fortified Area Commandant of his duties, and perhaps order the surrender of the fortified area.

                Fortified Area Commandants are subordinate to the Commander Of The Army Group, or Army, in whose sector the fortified area is situated. Further delegation of command to General Officers commanding formations will not take place.

                Apart from the garrison and its security forces, all persons within a fortified area, or who have been collected there, are under the orders of the Commandant, irrespective of whether they are soldiers or civilians, and without regard to their rank or appointment.

                The Fortified Area Commandant has the military rights and disciplinary powers of a Commanding General. In the performance of his duties he will have at his disposal mobile courts martial and civilian courts.

                The Staff of Fortified Area Commandants will be appointed by the Army Group concerned. The Chiefs Of Staff will be appointed by High Command Of The Army, in accordance with suggestions made by the Army Group.

                3. The garrison of a fortified area comprises:

                the security garrison, and
                the general garrison.

                The security garrison must be inside the fortified area at all times. Its strength will be laid down by Commander In Chief Army Group, and will be determined by the size of the area and the tasks to be fulfilled (preparation and completion of defences, holding the fortified area against raids or local attacks by the enemy).

                The general garrison must be made available to the Commandant of the fortified area in sufficient time for the men to have taken up defensive positions and be installed when a full scale enemy attack threatens. Its strength will be laid down by Commander In Chief Army Group, in accordance with the size of the fortified area and the task which is to be performed (total defence of the fortified area).

                4. The Battle Commandant comes under the orders of the local forces Commander. He will be appointed by him, will be subordinate to him, and will receive operation orders from him. His rank will depend upon the importance of the position in the battle area and the strength of the garrison. His duties call for specially energetic Officers whose qualities have been proved in crisis.

                5. The strength of the garrisons of a Local Strongpoint will be determined by the importance of the position and the forces available. It will receive its orders from the authorities to which the Battle Commandant is subordinate.

                6. The duties of Fortified Area Commanders and Battle Commandants, as well as a list of fortified areas, and of reports on them submitted by Army Groups, are contained in the Appendices.

                7. All previous orders concerning Battle Commandants are hereby cancelled.

Adolf Hitler.