The Chief Of The High Command Of The Armed Forces.

The Leader's Headquarters.   19th July, 1944.   100 copies

Order Of The Chief Of The High Command Of The Armed Forces Concerning Preparations For The Defence Of The Reich

Subject: Preparations For The Defence Of The Reich.

                Regulations hitherto issued for the defence of the coasts and frontiers of the Reich are summarised and supplemented as follows:

                As basic principle, it must be observed that the Armed Forces Staffs must confine themselves exclusively, in making these preparations, to matters of a purely military nature. Other questions, for example, the mobilisation of all resources in the Home theatre, the direction of manpower and, particularly, measures for the evacuation of the German civilian population, are the responsibility of the Party alone. Corresponding measures in the economic sphere are the responsibility of the Ministries concerned. The necessary cooperation must be pursued relentlessly, with the sole aim of achieving the highest efficiency, regardless of questions of jurisdiction.

                I. Organisation Of Command

                1. The Chief Of Army Equipment And Of The Replacement Army is responsible for making preparations to defend the Home theatre of war in all matters concerning the Army and general service matters. Commanders Of Military Districts will act in accordance with his Directives. In matters concerning the Navy and Airforce, preparations are the responsibility of Commander In Chief Navy and Commander In Chief Airforce respectively.

                2. Basic rules for preparations to defend the Reich will be issued by the High Command Of The Armed Forces (Operations Staff). Supplementary Directives concerning service matters in general will be issued by the various branches of the High Command Of The Armed Forces. Rules in matters of supply and rations will be issued by Army General Staff, Quartermaster General.

                3. The responsibility of Commanding Admirals for preparation and execution of the defence measures for the coasts against enemy landings, as laid down in Directive 40, remains fully valid.

                4. The existing orders dealing with the following remain in force:

  • (a) Action against parachute and airborne troops in the Home theatre of war.
  • (b) Action against individuals landing by parachute.
  • (c) Action against mines dropped from the air in inland waterways.
  • (d) Protection of buildings and plant important from the military point of view, and for the war effort.
                5. Should military operations overlap parts of any particular Military District, special local Orders will lay down the areas in which direction of operations on the ground come under command of the Army in the field, and cease to be the responsibility of the Chief Of Army Equipment And Of The Replacement Army.

                Instructions on these lines have already been issued in respect of the General Government and Military District I.

                6. The defence of the Home theatre of war depends upon the preparedness of all sections of the population, at whose head stand the District Leaders and the Reich Commissioners For Defence in the different provinces of the Reich. These officials have been notified of their special duties in the defence of the Reich in a circular letter from the Chief Of The Party Chancery.

                Commanders Of Military Districts will support and further in every way the initiative displayed by the District Leaders and Reich Commissioners For Defence; they will decide, in the closest cooperation with them, and with the civilian authorities, the appropriate measures to be taken in matters involving the Armed Forces; prepare common measures to be taken in timetable form; and ensure that all concerned are given timely notice of measures taken by the Armed Forces.

                II. Tasks

                In the preparatory measures for defending the Home theatre of war, Commanders Of Military Districts will include all Command Staffs, Troops, Offices, and establishments of the Armed Forces and Armed SS in the area of their command. They will also include additional forces placed at the disposal of District Leaders and Higher SS And Police Leaders. Command Staffs, Troops, Offices, and establishments of the Navy and Airforce will only be included in so far as the fulfilment of their own duties (paragraph I.i) is not thereby prejudiced.

                The tasks embrace essentially these:

                1. An appreciation of the accommodation, strength, mobility, and armament of the forces available for operations.

                2. Plans for concentrating these forces, for chain of command, for placing forces on the alert, and for equipment and movements.

                3. Plans for embodying and training the German civilian reserves which have been made available by the Party authorities.

                The Regulations already issued in respect of coastal areas and occupied territories are now extended to apply to the entire Home theatre of war.

                4. Release of leading personalities of the Party and State from military service, in cooperation with the District Leaders and Reich Commissioners For Defence.

                5. Preparations for installations in planned defensive works, and for other tasks relating to defence and the primary tasks in battle.

                In siting defensive works, Commanders Of Military Districts are responsible for location, for instruction, and for the final form which they will take. The construction will in general be handed over to the Reich Commissioners Of Defence, in their capacity as District Leaders.

                6. (a) Preparations, in cooperation with Reich Commissioners For Defence, for moving prisoners of war to the rear.

                6. (b) Instructions on the measures to be employed for moving foreign labour to the rear -- this is the task of the Reich Leader Of The SS.

                6. (c) Instructions on the measures (to be prepared by the District Leader alone) for evacuating the German civil population.

                7. (a) Preparations for dispersal and evacuation, obstruction and demolition in the military sphere.

                7. (b) At the request of Reich Commissioners For Defence, cooperation with them in making a timetable of preparations for dispersal, evacuation, obstruction, and demolition in the civilian sphere. These are tasks of the Reich Commissioners For Defence, acting on the Directives of the Reich Ministries. The Military Commanders also have the duty of preparing support for the Reich Commissioners For Defence when they eventually execute these measures.

                8. The instruction of Reich Commissioners For Defence and the Senior Party Officials -- in the immediately threatened Provinces, down to District Leader -- concerning the condition of military preparedness and, eventually, of the military situation.

                9. Preparation in the supply field.

                III. Supplementary Regulations

                1. The broad instructions given above are of value only as a guide. Preparations will be confined, in every case, to the most restricted number of persons, in order to exclude unnecessary commotion among the civilian population. Should it prove impossible to carry out preparations of this kind without their having an undesirable effect upon the population, the preparations will be temporarily abandoned.

                2. The necessary Regulations for carrying out these measures will be issued by the responsible commands.

                Where these Regulations include general instructions of a fundamental nature, they will be submitted to the High Command Of The Armed Forces (Operations Staff) before being issued.

                3. These Orders apply, in essentials, for the preparation of defence in the operational zones of the Alpine Mountains approaches and on the Adriatic Sea coast, with the proviso that those tasks for which Commanders Of Military Districts would be responsible in the Home theatre of war will here be the responsibility, respectively, of Commander Operations Area Alpine Mountains Approaches, and Commander Operations Area Adriatic Sea Coast, in accordance with the Directives from Commander In Chief Southwest.