Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Document No. 1541-PS

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The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces High Command/armed forces.

Command Staff/armed forces, Section L Nr. 33 406/40

Matter of Chief Fuehrer #9
Only through Officer 13 December 1940
[illegible notations] 12 Copies, 9th Copy

Direction Number 20
Operation Marita

1. The result of the battles in Albania is not yet decisive. Because of a dangerous situation in Albania it is doubly necessary that the British endeavor be foiled to create airbases under the protection of a Balkan front, which would be dangerous above all to Italy as well as to the Rumanian oil fields.

2. My plan therefore is (a) to from a slowly increasing task force in Southern Rumania within the next months.

(b) After the setting in of favorable weather, probably in March, to send this task force for the occupation of the Aegean North coast by way of Bulgaria, and if necessary to occupy the entire Greek mainland (Operation Marita). The support of Bulgaria is to be expected.

3. For the concentration of the task force in Rumania are necessary:

(a) The 16th Panzer Division which arrives in December on an army mission, and whose task remains unchanged.

(b) Following will be a task force of about seven divisions (final wave) to be dispatched to Southern Rumania. Engineers in the required strength for the preparation of the Danube crossing can conveniently be attached for transport to the 16th Panzer Division (as instructional troops). The field commander of the army will await my decision for the proper moment for them to be employed on the Danube.

(c) Preparations are to be made for further transport to take in the calculated maximum for the operation Marita (total of 24 divisions).

(d) It is the mission of the Air Force to give air protection to the concentration, as well as preparing the necessary primary and reserve installations on Rumanian soil.

4. The Operation Marita itself is to be prepared on the following basis:

(a) The primary mission of the operation is the occupation of the Aegean coast, and the Bay of Saloniki. It may be necessary to continue the attack across Larissa and the Isthmus of Corinth.

(b) Flank protection against Turkey will be the task of the Bulgarian forces, although it is to be secured and strengthened through the alerting of German Forces.

(c) It is not certain whether the Bulgarian forces will take part in the attack. Likewise the Yugoslavs position cannot yet be clearly determined.

(d) It will be the mission of the Air Force to support the drive of the army in all phases, to liquidate the opposing air force, and, as far as possible, to occupy British strongpoints on the Greek Islands through airborne landings.

(e) The question in which fashion the Operation Marita is to be supported by the Italian forces, and how coordination of the operations is to take place, awaits a later decision.

5. The military preparations which will produce exceptional political results in the Balkans demands the exact control of all the necessary measures by the General Staff.

The transport through Hungary and the arrival in Rumania will be reported step by step by the General Staff of the armed forces and are to be explained at first as a strengthening of the Germany Army mission in Rumania.

Consultations with the Rumanians or the Bulgarians which may point to our intentions as well as notification of the Italians are each subject to my consent; also the sending of scouting missions and advanced parties.

6. After the completion of the Operation Marita it is contemplated to use the access of the forces used therein for a new undertaking.

7. I anticipate reports from the Chiefs concerning their plans, which has already taken place as regards the Army. I want to be presented with exact timetables for the planned preparations, as well as for the necessary recallings from the armament industry (reconstruction of Furlough Divisions).

Signed: Adolf Hitler

Witnessed: [signature illegible] Captain in the General Staff

Commander of the Armies (Operational Section), 1st Copy
Commander of the Navy (Sea War Direction), 2nd Copy
Commander of the Air Force (Air Force General Staff), 3rd Copy
Chief of the German Army Mission to Rumania, 4th Copy

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces:
Command Staff, 5th Copy
Section L, 6-9 Copies
UNV, 10th Copy
Chief of Army Transport Forces, 11the Copy
Foreign Counter Intelligence Office, 12th Copy
Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV
Office of the United States Chief Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality
Washington, DC : United States Government Printing Office, 1946

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