Führerbefehle No. 32 (6-11-41)

The Führer and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces
OKW/WFSt./Abt.L(I Op.) Nr. 44886/41 gK Chefsache II. Ang.

The Führer's Headquarters
11 June 41

By officer only

Directive No. 32
Preparations for the time after Barbarossa

A. After the destruction of the Soviet Armed Forces, Germany and Italy will be military masters of the European Continent – with the temporary exception of the Iberian Peninsula. No serious threat to Europe by land will then remain. The defence of this area, and foreseeable future offensive action, will require considerably smaller military forces than have been needed hitherto.

The main efforts of the armaments industry can be diverted to the Navy and Air Force.

Closer cooperation between Germany and France should and will tie down additional English forces, will eliminate the threat from the rear in the North African theatre of war, will further restrict the movements of the British Fleet in the Western Mediterranean and will protect the south-western flank of the European theatre, including the Atlantic seaboard of North and West Africa, from Anglo-Saxon attack.

In the near future Spain will have to face the question whether she is prepared to cooperate in driving the British from Gibraltar or not.

The possibility of exerting strong pressure on Turkey and Iran improves the prospect of making direct or indirect use of these countries in the struggle against England.

B. This situation, which will be created by the victorious conclusion of the campaign in the East, can confront the Armed Forces with the following strategic tasks for the late autumn of 1941 and the winter of 1941-42:

  1. The newly conquered territories in the East must be organized, made secure and, in full cooperation with the Armed Forces, exploited economically.

The strength of the security forces required in Russia can only be forecast with certainty at a later date. In all probability, however, about sixty divisions and one Air Fleet will be sufficient, with allied and friendly forces, for our further duties in the East.

  1. The struggle against the British positions in the Mediterranean and in Western Asia will be continued by converging attacks launched from Libya through Egypt, from Bulgaria through Turkey, and in certain circumstances, also from Transcaucasia through Iran.

a) In North Africa, it is important that Tobruk should be eliminated and conditions thereby established for the continuation of the German-Italian attack on the Suez Canal. This attack should be planned for about November on the understanding that the German Africa Corps will be by then brought to the highest possible efficiency in personnel and equipment and with adequate reserves of all kinds under its own hand (by the conversion of 5th Light Division into a full armoured division), so that it is not necessary to move further large German formations to North Africa.

The preparations for the attack require that the tempo of transport be quickened by all means available, including the employment of ports in French North Africa and, when possible, the new sea route from Southern Greece.

It will be the duty of the Navy, in cooperation with the Italian Navy, to arrange for the necessary tonnage by chartering French and neutral shipping.

The possibility of moving German motor torpedo boats to the Mediterranean will be examined.

The Italian Navy will be afforded all support in improving unloading facilities in North African ports.

Commander-in-Chief Air Force will transfer to the Africa Corps sufficient air units and anti-aircraft artillery for the operation, as these become superfluous in the East. He will also reinforce Italian protection of seaborne convoys by the use of German air formations.

In order to coordinate the handling of transport, the Supply and Transport Office of the Armed Forces Overseas has been established, which will work on the lines laid down by the High Command of the Armed Forces, in cooperation with the German General at Italian Armed Forces Headquarters, and with Commander Armed Forces Southeast.

b) In view of the expected British reinforcement of the Near and Middle East, especially for the defence of the Suez Canal, a German operation from Bulgaria through Turkey will be planned, with the aim of attacking the British position on the Suez Canal from the East also.

To this end, plans must be made to assemble in Bulgaria as soon as possible sufficient forces to render Turkey politically amenable or to overpower her resistance.

c) If the collapse of the Soviet Union has created the necessary conditions, preparations will be made for the despatch of a motorised expeditionary force from Transcaucasia against Iraq, in conjunction with operations mentioned in paragraph (b) above.

d) Exploitation of the Arab Freedom Movement. The situation of the English in the Middle East will be rendered more precarious, in the event of major German operations, if more British forces are tied down at the right moment by civil commotion or revolt. All military, political, and propaganda measures to this end must be closely coordinated during the preparatory period. As central agency abroad I nominate Special Staff F, which is to take part in all plans and actions in the Arab area, whose headquarters are to be in the area of the Commander Armed Forces Southeast. The most competent available experts and agents will be made available to it.

The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces will specify the duties of Special Staff F, in agreement with the Foreign Minister where political questions are involved.

  1. Closing of the Western entrance to the Mediterranean by the elimination of Gibraltar:

Preparations for Operation Felix, already planned, will be resumed to the fullest extent even during the course of operations in the East. It may be assumed that unoccupied French territory may also be used, if not for German troop movements, then at least for the movement of supplies. The cooperation of French naval and air forces is also within the bounds of possibility.

After the capture of Gibraltar, only such forces will be moved to Spanish Morocco as are necessary to protect the Straits.

The defence of the seaboard of North and West Africa, the elimination of English possessions in West Africa, and the recovery of the areas controlled by de Gaulle, will be the tasks of the French, who will be granted such reinforcements as the situation requires. The use of West African bases by the Navy and Air Force, and possibly also the occupation of the Atlantic Islands, will be facilitated by our control of the Straits.

  1. In addition to these contemplated operations against the British position in the Mediterranean, the ‘Siege of England’ must be resumed with the utmost intensity by the Navy and Air Force after the conclusion of the campaign in the East.

All weapons and equipment required for this purpose will be given priority in the general armaments programme. At the same time German Air Defences will be strengthened to the maximum. Preparations for the invasion of England will serve the double purpose of tying down English forces at home and of bringing about a final English collapse through a landing in England.

C. The time at which the operations planned in the Mediterranean and the Near East can be undertaken cannot yet be foreseen. The strongest operational effect would be achieved by a simultaneous attack on Gibraltar, Egypt, and Palestine.

Whether this will, in fact, be possible depends upon a number of factors which cannot, at the moment, be foreseen, but chiefly on the power of the Air Force to provide the forces necessary for the simultaneous support of these three operations.

D. I request Commanders-in-Chief to begin the planning and organisation of these operations as outlined above and to keep me informed of the results so that I may issue final directives before the campaign in the East is over.


The Führer and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces
OKW/WFSt./Abt.L(II)Org. Nr. 441219/41 g. Kdos. Chefs

The Führer's Headquarters
14 July 41

By officer only

Directive No. 32b
Personnel and Equipment

On the basis of my intentions for the future prosecution of the war, as stated in Directive 32, I issue the following general instructions concerning personnel and equipment:

  1. General:

Our military mastery of the European continent after the overthrow of Russia will make it possible considerably to reduce the strength of the Army. Within the limits of this reduced Army, the relative strength of the armoured forces will be greatly increased.

The manning and equipment of the Navy will be limited to what is essential for the direct prosecution of the war against England and, should the occasion arise, against America.

The main effort of equipment will be devoted to the Air Force, which will be greatly strengthened.

  1. Manpower:

The future strength of the Army will be laid down by me, after receiving proposals from Commander-in-Chief Army.

The Replacement Army will be reduced to conform with the diminished strength of the Army.

The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces will decide, in accordance with my directives, on the employment of the manpower which will become available for the Armed Forces as a whole and for the armaments industry.

The Class of 1922 will be called up at the latest possible date, and will be distributed by the High Command of the Armed Forces in accordance with the future tasks of the various branches of the Armed Forces.

  1. Arms and Equipment:

a) The Armed Forces as a whole.

The arming and equipment of troops will be reduced to the requirements of the situation in the field, without reference to existing establishment scales.

All formations not intended for actual combat (security, guard, construction, and similar units) will be armed basically with captured weapons and second line equipment.

All requests for ‘general Armed Forces equipment’ will be immediately reduced or rejected in relation to available supplies, need, and wear and tear. Continued manufacture of such weapons as can be proved to be necessary will be decided in agreement with the Minister for Armaments and Munitions.

Plant (buildings and machine tools) already in use will not be expended unless it can be shown that existing equipment cannot be put to full use by the introduction of shift working.

Work on all such permanent buildings for industry and the Armed Forces as are intended for use in peacetime, rather than for the immediate prosecution of the war and for the production of arms, will be halted. Construction directly necessary for the conduct of the war and for armaments will remain subject to the regulations of the General Plenipotentiary for Building. Buildings erected by civilian contractors will be limited by him to such as are most essential to the war effort.

Contracts of all kinds which do not comply with these principles will be immediately withdrawn.

The manpower, raw materials, and plant released by these measures will be made available for the main tasks of equipment and placed, as soon as possible, at the disposal of the Minister of Armaments and Munitions for use elsewhere.

b) Army:

The extension of arms and equipment and the production of new weapons, munitions, and equipment will be related, with immediate effect, to the smaller forces which are contemplated for the future. Where orders have been placed for more than six months ahead all contracts beyond that period will be cancelled. Current deliveries will only continue if their immediate cancellation would be uneconomic.

The following are exceptions to these limitations:

The tank programme for the motorised forces (which are to be considerably reinforced) including the provision of special weapons and tanks of the heaviest type.

The new programme for heavy anti-tank guns, including their tractors and ammunition.

The programme for additional equipment for expeditionary forces, which will include four further armoured divisions for employment in the tropics, drawn from the overall strength of the armoured forces.

Preparations for the manufacture of equipment unrelated to these programmes will be halted.

The Army’s programme for anti-aircraft guns is to be coordinated with that of the Air Force, and represents a single unified scheme from the manufacturing point of view. All available plant will be fully employed in order to achieve the delivery targets which I have laid down.

c) Navy:

The Navy will continue its submarine programme. Construction will be limited to what is directly connected with this programme. Expansion of the armaments programme over and above this is to be stopped.

d) Air Force:

The overall armaments programme will concentrate on carrying out the expanded ‘Air Armaments programme’ which I have approved. Its realisation up to the spring of 1942 is of decisive importance for the whole war effort. For this purpose all available manpower from the Armed Forces and industry will be employed. The allocation of aluminium to the Air Force will be increased as far as possible.

The speed of the programme, and the extent to which it can be fulfilled, will be linked to the increased production of light metals and mineral oil.

  1. The programme for powder and explosives will concentrate upon the requirements of the Air Force (bombs and anti-aircraft ammunition) at the expense of the requirements of the Army. Buildings will be restricted to the barest essentials and confined to the simplest type of construction.

Production of explosives will be limited to the existing basis.

  1. It is particularly important to ensure supplies of raw materials and mineral oil. Coal production and the extension of the light metal, artificial rubber, substitute materials, and liquid fuel industries will be supported by the Armed Forces in every way, particularly by the release of miners and specialist workers. The construction of the necessary plans for the extended air armaments industry will be developed simultaneously.

  2. The allocation of manpower, raw materials, and plant will be made in accordance with these principles.

  3. The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces will issue the necessary orders for the Armed Forces, and the Minister for Armaments and Munitions for his sector, in mutual agreement.