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In the beginning of October 1939, I had a discussion on the Norwegian question with the Commander of Naval Group East, Admiral Carls, with whose opinions I completely agreed. After that I gave the Fuehrer an oral report on the dangers of an occupation of Norwegian bases by the British and on the possibilities to forestall such a move. The Fuehrer to whom I submitted a short memorandum promised to think it over. About at the beginning of December, the Fuehrer received reports on the activity of the National Samling movement in Norway under the leadership of Quisling and its successes. The incorporation of Norway into a Germanic empire under German leadership and with elimination of English influence was the aim of this movement. These matters were obviously carried to the Fuehrer by Rosenberg. Around the 12 Dec. 1939 the fuehrer commanded the OKW to effect the preparations for the occupation of Norwegian bases in the coming spring. As it was a question of an operation of all three branches of the Armed Forces it had to be worked out by the Armed Forces high Command in which the special Naval adviser took the chief part and took the lead in working it out in accordance with a memorandum prepared by the Sea Warfare Command and in close cooperation with the Sea Warfare Command.
I had left the Danish Question open in my report to the Fuehrer supposing that after the occupation of the Norwegian coast the English influence in Denmark could be completely eliminated in such wise that the intelligence service there could not cause any more harm and the Danish Government would comply with the demands of the German high Command without function. However, the Fuehrer decided to occupy Denmark at the same time.
The Navy made the decision to transport the first group of the occupation troops with their equipment on warships and to land them under their immediate protection. Even though the combat-readiness of the warships was impaired by loading them with troops, by this method the possibility of a punctual landing at the ordered time was best provided for. Further groups with munition and supplies were to be loaded on steamships which were to arrive simultaneously or soon after the warships. The difficulty was that at that time the divisions of the army still demanded to be transported with all equipment and "rear echelon service" while a considerable limitation of their equipment would have been necessary and possible. Considerable demands of transport space were made by the Air Forces for their ground organization for which no experience existed at all up till then. The Navy had already in peacetime an organization of "Naval Service offices" in all large German ports which worked in close touch with the Merchant Marine and were at all times exactly informed of the location and the readiness for sailing of the German merchant ships of their area. material for the rebuilding of these ships for transport purposes was at their disposal, plans for such rebuilding were ready in their hands. in January these offices received directives to have the necessary transport space ready in spring. A transport in a westerly direction was given as the reason for camouflage purposes. The Air Force did not join this organization that also was very favourable for secrecy, but gave the order for their extensive transports to a certain firm with which it had already cooperated at the time of the transports to Spain. This included certain dangers for secrecy and eliminated the experience of the Navy. Moreover, the command of the Air Force did not approach with particular enthusiasm this task in the work of which not the Air Force, but the not so well liked Navy, had the leading part. in the Navy the impression existed that some things could have been better done with regard to the reconnaissance of airfields in Norway and to the preparations for the improvement and the building of airfields.
The preparations for the enterprise were rendered more difficult by the long and very cold winter of 1939/40 which delayed quite a bit the bringing up of the steamers involved in the transport from the eastern part of the baltic Sea and their loading. With all the effort to forestall the English in the occupation-their unneutral action against the German supply ship in Flekkefjord in 1940 made the apprehension of the German Command appear only too well founded-the date for the landing was fixed by the Fuehrer not earlier than on April 9, 1940 in which regard it could not be helped that according to the latest information received the English planned an enterprise in Norwegian waters for April 8-it remained open whether mine-laying on occupation of air bases. My request to fix the landing on April 7 was unfortunately not granted by the Fuehrer.
The general order for the execution of the landing was signed by the Fuehrer; detailed directives valid for all armed forces were given by the high Command in which, as already mentioned, the special navy adviser took the lead. The ports of embarkation were distributed from Wesermmende to Stettin-Swinenmende along the Coast. The transportation of the troops to the ports was undertaken only in the last hours before departure without their knowing where they were being transported. it was particularly difficult for the keeping of the secret that for the enterprise in northern Norway some units of southern German mountain troops were destined whose appearance in Northern Germany was already conscious enough by itself. But we succeeded in keeping them uncertain about the destination until to their complete surprise, they were embarked on the destroyers in Wesemende in the night of April 7. The number of the Army and air units i cannot state anymore from memory at present. Also, the composition of the landing troops I can give only in general terms.
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