High Command Of The Army. 2nd April, 1944.
Operation Order No. 7 -- Directive For Further Operations By Army Group A, Army Group South, And Army Group Centre
1. The Russian offensive in the south of the Eastern Front has passed its climax. The Russians have exhausted and divided their forces.
The time has now come to bring the Russian advance to a final standstill.
For this reason I have introduced measures of a most varied kind. It is now imperative, while holding firm to the Crimea, to hold or win back the following line:
Dniester River to northeast of Kishinev-Jassy-Targul Neamt -- the Eastern exit from the Carpathians between Targul Neamt and Kolomyya -- Ternopol-Brody-Kovel.
2. For the present, Army Group A will hold the line Tiligulski-Liman-Dniester River around Dubosari, until we can assume that the Crimea can be supplied independently of Odessa. No more will be done than to prepare for the retreat to the Dniester River line. After closing the gap between 8th Army and the Carpathians, the strongest possible forces will be switched quickly from the right flank to the left flank of the Army Group. Romanian forces must be made mobile and deployed forward by us in every way possible.
Romanian forces will be disposed in accordance with the terrain, so that chiefly German troops occupy the sectors in danger of enemy tank attack.
It is particularly important that the heavy antitank guns which I have placed at the disposal of the Romanians should reach them as early as possible, and be brought into position in the most threatened areas. They will be manned by German gun crews. This may be a question of hours. The Army Group is fully responsible for this, and will employ a special staff to deal with it.
3. The chief task of Army Group South is to free the surrounded 1st Tank Army. 1st Tank Army must continue to break through to the northwest.
An offensive force of great striking power will be formed in the area southeast of Lemberg from available and newly arriving formations. This force must advance southwest at the earliest possible moment, in strong concentration, in order to annihilate the enemy forces which have broken through in the Stanislav area, and to reestablish connection with 1st Tank Army. In general, I am in agreement with the plans of Field Marshal von Manstein.
After contact has been established with 1st Tank Army, the line originally laid down will finally be secured by local attacks; contact will be made with Army Group Centre, south of Kovel; and a unified front will be established. The Hungarian forces which have been raised in Hungary will come under command of Army Group South. It is important here, too, to put them in the frontline along with German formations to stiffen them. Rigorous orders are necessary here.
4. For Army Group Centre, I am in full agreement with the heavy concentration around Brest.
The first task of Army Group Centre is to fight its way out of Kovel and establish contact with Army Group South.