Stenographic transcription in the Headquarters of the Fuehrer. Discussion on the Situation of 1/27/1945
First copy of second transcription No 24/25
Situation at noon of 1/27/1945 in Berlin
Reich Marshal Goering
Field Marshal Keitel
Col. General Jodl
Col. General Guderian
Lt. General Winter
Vice Admiral Voss
SS Maj. General Fegelein
Maj. General Scherff
Rear Admiral v. Puttkamer
Colonel v. Below
Colonel v. Brauchitsch
Captain (naval) Assmann
Direktor Dr. Schuster
Lt. Colonel Waizenegger
Major v. Freytagh-Loringhoven
Major John v. Freyend
SS Major Goehler
SS Major Guensche
Beginning 16.20 hr. 655
Dr. Schuster: As far as the weather conditions are concerned, my Fuehrer, I have to report, the weather conditions are characterized by incoming depressions over the Atlantic all the way to France. They continue over Germany with snow and remain in the east, caused by a strata of cold air, which lies over Russia and which penetrates in the area of the province of East Prussia caused by strong winds from the east and south. An offshoot of this depression spreads all over Italy and this causes a considerable increase in difficulties in parachuting for the enemy.
A major change in the weather conditions cannot yet be expected. These depressions with some areas of precipitations will as before continue from the west; it is going to spread from west to east and stay longer here in this area, because a further advance to the east is barred.
For England that means, that the conditions for parachuting are deteriorating with these east winds, which blow here towards England. In the last 3 days the whole of the eastern counties and the Midlands, there were low-lying clouds with continuous falls of snow, accompanied by poor visibility and heavy icing in these clouds. But the weather in England is not so bad as to prevent all flying, because conditions over the west of England are better, when the wind is blowing off the land. There the clouds are sparse and visibility is good, i.e. better weather. Hence the complete lull in flying over England is not caused solely by the weather.
The Fuehrer: By what else?
Goering: Here there are no airfields; the latter lie in this direction.
Dr. Schuster (to the Reichsmarschall): We have further ascertained, that in December similar conditions existed over England and during 4 weeks the British flew under similar circumstances. They were compelled, within one month, to move 2800 aircraft to airfields in the North and the West of England.
Goering: They have also lost a lot in recent weeks through these changes.
Schuster: The fact remains, that the major part of the British airfields, approx. 90, are located in a territory of bad weather. England is reporting considerable snow fall and low temperatures.
New precipitations are coming over France and the western front. The whole territory from the Eifel to the south is covered today by snow with heavy clouds and very bad visibility.
The weather conditions over the Reich are very much different. Snow covered territories alternate with belts of fog, especially in the northern part of the Reich. Conditions improved somewhat in the territory south of Stettin as far as Breslau including the large territory of Posen. The clouds are dense, but at a height of 800-1200 m and below these clouds visibility is about 6-10 km, with the result that flying is possible today. This i.s the first day for some time
past, which show s somewhat more favorable conditions. Therefore the area of Pomerania and the Vistula, as far south as Cracow has very poor visibility the whole day owing to the snowfall. Here the units ar grounded. In East Prussia the clouds are dense, at a height of 300-500m with temperatures of 15 degrees. Yesterday there was a strong easterly wind with a velocity of about 40 km p.h. This strong east wind makes icing in the whole of this area worse. As far as Hungary conditions make for good flying over the whole Hungarian area with its heavy clouds at a height of about a 1000m. Budapest lies within the region of snowfalls. At nighttime: clouds at 400 m very heavy icing was recorded.
As regards to ice, I have to report that the Oder throughout the whole area, is completely covered with ice except in a few places. The ice is so thick, that people can walk over it and vehicles even drive across it. The ice is about 50cm thick. From 60 cm upwards armored vehicles can cross it. With regard to the Danube, there is ice in the neighborhood of Budapest.
Regarding Baltic ports I have further to report, that Pillau, even with these strong easterly winds and low temperatures, remains open the whole winter whereas Koenigsberg, at such low temperatures, has great difficulty to contend with as regards ice. The channel from Koenigsberg to the sea has to be kept open by ice-breakers. The Stettiner Haff(lagune) all freezes very hard, but Swinemuende is comparatively free from ice. The remaining Baltic ports, to the west of Swinemuende as far as the Mecklenburger Big already have heavy ice, particularly in the region of Ruegen and southeastwards.
As regards to Neisse I have to report, that it is frozen to the south of Ottmachau. The Neisse is only open in the town of Neisse itself. The situation is this: if we want to open the Oder by changing the water level, then very large quantities of water must be at our disposal.
The Fuehrer: Small quantities are not sufficient?
Schuster: The waves subside very strongly on this long course down to the Oder and exceedingly strong thrust of water is required; the ice breaks up, the blocks of ice push over the cover of ice, but freeze very fast again. The temperature has to be close to zero, so that the structure of ice can change and that the ice can break up easier.
Guderian: My Fuehrer, the situation changed somewhat at the army groups.
The Fuehrer: This has to be stopped at once! There is no sense in it anymore, they have to fight their way back; a defense line has to be built here and they have to repel that.
Guderian: The enemy has attacked here. Up till now he was repelled everywhere. However, it can be easily seen, that the XVIIIth panzer division is reinforced by the VIIth and there is a possibility Plijew will be placed here or down there.
The Fuehrer: It is obvious that position cannot be held with the forces at our disposal at this place.
Guderian: This is clear by now. The enemy achieved a dent up till here, and was repulsed in the center. He is further being repelled now. 10 tanks have been destroyed. The bridgehead is annihilated. Very strong attacks here. Strong attacks being made here from four directions, a total of 15 tanks were destroyed here.
A counter attack is made against the attack of the 23rd tank division.
The 356th division is arriving, the first transports are here already.
The Fuehrer: We cannot count upon it yet.
Guderian: The 23rd tank division is being taken out in order to build up replacements here. The advance of the 6th tank division came up till the red circle. An enemy attack was repulsed here.
The Fuehrer: This has to be discontinued. We have to change here to the defense, we have to retake that, the Werfercorps and the people's army artillery have to go on defense. The units have to be put in the line here in order to retake that.
Guderian: The situation in Budapest became more acute, because the enemy transferred his main effort in the center of the west section and penetrated up to the so-called "Blutwiese" (bloody field), on which up till now most of the parachuting took place. A counter-attack is in the making. Whether we will succeed with the available forces in improving the situation is questionable because our heavy losses increased considerably. He is attempting to build a bridge across the Margaretenwiese. The situation becomes more acute day by day.
On the rest of the front there are up here individual attacks: they were repulsed here, a small dent here, without any importance. An attack was repulsed here. Regrouping, replacement of Russian troops with Rumanian troops in this corner here. The Plijew corps is being withdrawn in this direction.
The Fuehrer: Here.
Guderian: Either he replaces the 6th guard tank army ....
The Fuehrer: No, he will succeed.
Guderian: Either he will succeed, or he goes over here.
The Fuehrer: No, he will succeed, in order to break through here. He knows, that the 20th is gone. Where is the 6th tank army now ?
Guderian: It departed in the direction of Vienna. I don't know exactly, where the transports stand at this time.
Keitel:6 trains have departed.
Winter: The forward elements of the 12th SS tank division are already in the train. The conditions are somewhat better and eased, because there is enough fuel on hand; the road conditions became better, because it did not snow; even the activities of the planes decreased in the afternoon. In spite of that the progress for which we hoped generally and which was ordered, could not be achieved. It can be assumed, that the rate of speed is slightly improving now.
The Fuehrer: I at once said: there is no sense in hypnotizing yourself and then saying: I need it here, consequently it must happen. After all, I must face facts as they are. The deployment of sufficient forces from the West is not feasible for another 6 to 8 weeks, because it just could not be done. Anyone who says the contrary is dreaming and lives in a state of wishful thinking, but not in reality. This is exactly the same, as when units were recalled from Greece. But that takes time; we can't help that. I shall be glad, if the 1st and 2nd corps get here, say in fourteen days, if they are able to come at all from so far away. If that can be done, it will be extraordinary. However, I believe, that at the most, combat units [Kampfstaffeln] will be here. But, there again, one cannot merely say, I entrain the Kampfstaffeln, whatever happens. And I cannot wait long, but I must see, that I get it done, otherwise everything that stays will also be destroyed.
Winter: There is a strict order that no consideration can be given to that, but they have to leave. It is quite clear, there is no other possibility; the must leave, otherwise everything will come to a standstill. All will be destroyed and afterwards nothing will get away. As far as can be foretold, the units which at least can be used here, will get away; those that have been farthest in the rear will arrive first.
Goering: How can he get out in such strength?
The Fuehrer: He assembled everything.
Guderian: He scraped everything together.
The Fuehrer: I believe he will start his next attack here. Now, I am not sure, whether the 44th division can stand up under it.
Guderian: There is still the 46th division which through its withdrawal moves the front farther back and shortens the lines.
The Fuehrer: Then they must be brought close to this position here, and not any farther back. We can't waste anymore time. Whatever breaks in front, cannot be repaired in the rear. Things must be tightened up. The attacks will most likely be in the direction of Kormon. That is quite clear. Then he also blocks the railroad.
Guderian: This is occupied by the 357th, which is going into position. The 271st is not so far advanced. Eventually it would be at our disposal for that.
Now we have to consider, whether we should bring the 356th here. In any case, the 46th Division must then come here.
The Fuehrer: What does the 46th division look like?
Guderian: It is a good division.
The Fuehrer: We must do it that way for the reason, that we come to a standstill here, so that I don't have to use the corps or the army here, but I have to use it in the south. But one sees how dangerous this is. Things must be cleared up. It is not quite clear to me, whether we can do it from here, because we have to expect frontal assaults, or whether we should come around from below. Because, once we are involved in long frontal assaults, this would not work. But with the strength of this army it can't be done. For that reason he must go into defensive positions as quickly as possible, before it is too late. He must build up a front between the Valances Lake and the Danube, and must cut his way through to the south.
Guderian: In the opinion of General Woehler and Balck, some bungling has occurred here. Turning to the west has been done too slowly. Certain complications in the passing of commands and communications have caused the delays.
The Fuehrer: I also think, it is too narrow again. The other one stood firm. Things are like this: if one pushes into an enemy, who is massed, then the meaning of a panzer division is of no value. A panzer division is then practically nothing else but an inferior infantry division with assault artillery support and panzer support. It is armored support artillery, nothing else. Here we have to learn from the British and the Americans. Now we must pay more attention to that. The panzers also, will then become more artillery support. For a break-through they are no longer useful, because of minefields, etc.
Guderian: Everywhere very close teamwork has been established between armored infantry, pioneers, and the armored forces.
The Fuehrer: I believe the training in firing of the armored forces at the present time is still limited to very short distances. Thus the panzers will be destroyed.
Guderian: No, my Fuehrer, I as Inspector General personally increased it to the highest possible range of our optical instruments.
The Fuehrer: The optical instruments must still be improved: for it is quite clear, if I advance them so far, they will then destroy the tanks and that through artillery fire. Thus the tanks will be destroyed. Our tanks, especially the old ones, with armored sideplates of 30- to 40-mm are hardly safe against heavy shrapnel. This must be decided upon today.
Guderian: This will be decided.
The Fuehrer: The pushing through has no sense any more. That doesn't help. How he stops it, doesn't make any difference. The right thing is for him to settle down here, go on the defensive, and try, through bringing up a unit, if necessary with the most combatable parts of both divisions and the 1st armored division, to take a good grip of the whole thing, and then sweep upwards, so that no space is lost any more.
Guderian: The XIIIrd armored corps, which up to now has been in reserve, has also turned up here.
The Fuehrer: So, that makes no more sense.
Guderian: Of course, he now has no tank-reserves.
The Fuehrer: I would no longer withdraw the 23rd from here.
Guderian: This is most likely taking place now. He will spread out the cavalry.
The Fuehrer: This is very serious. Once, Guderian, this is taken back, he will again push in here. He will make a strong attack in the direction of Stuhlweissenburg, because he is cutting up the whole business [Klumpatsch]. This must therefore be secured. That is the most important thing to do. The second one is here.
Guderian: Yes, that will be stressed later.
The Fuehrer: He will push in here with all his might. This is the first move.
Guderian: If that is withdrawn, certainly. The question is, whether this should be held here.
The Fuehrer: Then they will be destroyed here. It can't be done with the present forces. Here one line for the defense must be taken, and one here.
In this area he has to make the assault first against the weaker enemy; he can do that somehow. Otherwise he will get a defensive front here of such a length, that it can't be done with these forces. Then he must retreat. We must make decisions now with lightning speed. We have no time to try out anything like up there, but it must be done like lightning. Therefore I order that he immediately assumes the defensive and that he strengthens it with all possible means. Here he has the people's artillery corps. Here he must have other units, otherwise he can't do anything. Unfortunately one can not count on this division; this is an illusion.
Guderian: It will take a very long time.
The Fuehrer: Probably the rear echelon troops will arrive first. There is one train here?
Guderian: One train has arrived, six are due to arrive. There are combat units among them, but not many, some artillery and one battalion.
The Fuehrer: With cavalry I can't stop a tank assault, that will certainly happen here, and should he suddenly break-through here, then the whole thing is totally lost. Then I have to see, that I manage it somehow; there is nothing one can do about it. The whole assault came at a moment when he had the forces free here. That is too late already. It had to be carried out for a start, three weeks ago; perhaps at that time it would have been possible, that we would have come through with one push and establish a connection. It is also a question, whether one would have been able to hold that. I do not know. For, on the other hand, I do not overlook that one point, that the enemy would not have stood here, but here. This is also a questionable thing; if he pushes on farther here, then.... This must be put in hand right away.
Guderian: This will be done right away, my Fuehrer. At the Central Army Group movements are carried out smoothly. The other final position which is to be taken, is this line. The enemy has only pushed very slightly there. The withdrawal of the 208th division proceeds rather smoothly. The transport stopped due to various interruptions on the railroad. One part is being loaded in Briesen.
The Fuehrer: Is this the final position?
Guderian: Yes. It should be reached by 30 January.
The Fuehrer: Naturally, this would be good, because behind it we would still have the large Rochade Line.
Guderian: It should then connect with the 8th army at that point below. Over here the 100th Jaeger division is withdrawing; this is now almost accomplished Behind it is the Ski Jaeger division, of which the first two battalions already are in position up here. It isn't quite deployed as yet. Here is a part of the Ski Jaeger division, which had to be sent in, because the enemy had pressed heavily here. In the area of the 17th army very heavy battles have developed. The attacks have become static in one connecting line in the area from Richau to Auschwitz. However Auschwitz has been lost. Farther north the 371st division has been split into three fighting groups, between which only very loose connections exist. Five tanks have been shot up. The situation in the industrial area itself is serious. The enemy has encircled Mieslowitz from both sides in a break-through from the south and a breakthrough in the north, and has pushed through towards Kattowitz. There is fighting in Kattowitz. From the south enemy tanks have pushed into Kattowitz. Fighting groups, consisting of groups scraped together from other units, units of the 20th panzer division, have been committed to counter attacks in order to regain the loss. In various places farther north very heavy attacks and break-throughs have taken place, nevertheless General Schoerner decided to withdraw a further number of battalions here, in order to cut off the enemy break-through in the direction of Hindenburg and to the south of it which has taken place beyond Gleiwitz. In these battles, yesterday 30, and today again 10 tanks of the 20th panzer division have been shot up, altogether 40. However the 20th panzer division itself is engaged on a wide front in a very furious and unequal defense battle. The enemy once more has encircled us farther south. Three battalions of the 1st Ski Jaeger division are being sent up in order to counteract this move. The 8th armored division, now arrived in greater part (31 of 39 transports) is being assembled near Ratibor to be used in a counter-attack in the direction of Rauden.
The Fuehrer: Where is the principal coal district?
Goering: Rybnick and Maehrisch-Ostrau.
Buhle: That is a very important district.
Goering: High-grade steel and everything.
Guderian: As from this evening, regimental units from Gneisenau, now in the Protectorate will be put in marching order, to join the army group [Heeres-Gruppe] in Maehrisch-Ostrau overnight. Here the 3rd Russian guards-tank-army with its subordinate corps, a total of 5 tank corps is deployed, who are strongly pushing south, to surround this industrial district from the west. Here, the fighting is heavy and at present unequal.
To the north, within the region of the army group, fighting for the Oder-crossings developed. We succeeded at Kruppitz in throwing back the enemy yesterday. This morning, they advanced and recrossed the Oder. Counter-attacks are in progress to throw them back again. Here the 100th Jaeger division and the Stegmann group, which is an armored group of the 103rd panzer brigade are in the line.
The bridgehead which had formed a connecting link here, was broken into and split at this one place. Whether this situation will remain so permanent, is not quite certain.
To the north of Oppeln there is also an enlarging of the bridgehead, which will have to be diminished through counter-attacks of assembled combat groups under command of General Hoffmann. Here there was an advance as far as the river, likewise here in the middle.
The broad bridgehead south of Schurgast presents difficulties and anxieties.
The enemy also managed to cross the river between Brieg and Ohlau. Counter-attacks were started but did not succeed. Now, here in Zedlitz, where the enemy attack yesterday has progressed far beyond the street and the railroad, the enemy was thrown back into the street by combat elements under direction of the commanding officer Ohlau. We shall try today, by putting in the Pantherrabteilung I/39, to clear up the situation completely. So far 4 enemy tanks have been knocked out.
No change in the situation in the bend of the Oder southeast of Breslau. In spite of heavy attacks and a slight indentation of the lines, the 269th division has managed to maintain its position. The situation is difficult south of Steinau and at Koeben, where during the forenoon the enemy managed to accomplish deeper breakthroughs in the direction of Herzogswalde and Rauthen. Here combat elements of the LOS have been thrown in under the command of General Kirchner's LVIIth tank corps and here under the command of the staff of the 16th tank division which had already been withdrawn from the pocket, a counter-attack was made together with a number of SPW from the Glogau district about the result of which we have no reports. All we know is, that the attack has been ordered.
The Fuehrer: What does this mean?
Guderian: This is the objective of the Saucken and Juercorps. They have reached the district of Koppelstedt and are now to advance to Schmueckert; there they should turn south and beat the enemy forces in line. especially the 4th guards tank army and the two tank corps, which have advanced already as far as the river, thereby endangering the bridgehead, and thus relieving the sector north of Breslau.
The Saucken-corps was attacked today at Horle from the south. 16 tanks were destroyed in this sector. The northern flank of this corps is covered by the 19th armored div. which is deployed in the sector of Gosten and Storchnest and remains in fair fighting condition with a number of light artillery pieces and their own artillery, so that it is to be hoped that this screening is sufficient to cover the attack to the south.
The 9th army today moves into the Reichsfuehrer's sector of the Weichsel army group. The command in Glogau has already been taken over by the XXIVth tank corps under General Nehrung, who withdraws his forces, so far as they are still within his command, to form a new point of resistance on the Oder and if possible to extend this point eastwards from the Oder.
The enemy up here is at present advancing with tank corps. What has filtered through the line Glogau-Graetz, so far consists chiefly of reconnaissance elements, who are, up to Wollstein quite numerous but of negligible strength from there on. The Tirschtiegel position was held, and only a few patrols infiltrated there.
Fegelein: The Reichsfuehrer just ordered that the Tirschtiegel position be held by Volkssturm only, and all other elements were to advance.
The Fuehrer: That is the objective.
Fegelein: That is correct.
The Fuehrer: The objective is, that the Volkssturm is to be put in the line here, and all other available troops are to advance and press on down here.
Guderian: An order to all units had been issued. Above all, they were to advance to the line Lissa-Kosten-Posen. That was interrupted here. Without the Reichsfuehrer and myself knowing about it, these units were stopped at the Tirschtiegel positions by Wehrkreis III. I have made inquiries twice a day, whether these units are moving forward. The order has evidently not been carried out with the necessary emphasis.
The Fuehrer: It will be carried out with the necessary emphasis now.
Fegelein: He now has 2 companies of light artillery. His objective is to advance into the Posen sector.
Guderian: That is the Saucken group. The Reichsmarshall's division and the Brandenburg division are here. They will lead the attack, and annihilate enemy forces in the Steinauer-Oder bend.
The Fuehrer: That is good.
Jodl: There is only one thing I cannot understand. Didn't you say, that the 19th was to be withdrawn? No, the 19th is in Gostyn. Then it must be other forces, since they must cover the rear. No, so far only rear echelon units, workshop units etc., have been withdrawn. They are beyond the Oder. All else will be held there. I request authorization, for putting in line the war academy, which at any rate would close within the next few days, in order to form in this sector, directly west of the Oder together with 2 companies of the Berlin guard regiment a dense line of resistance, strongly interspersed with officers, to avoid dispersal of other forces.
The Fuehrer: Yes.And here cavalry is to be employed.
Fegelein: The reserve training cavalry regiment, about 1,500 strong, which General Schoerner supplies from rear echelons.
Guderian: The men are to be distributed.
Goering: What returns here, is of course very weak in officer material; now, when these good selected officers are added ...
The Fuehrer: I admit that. Here tens of thousand men retreat. They must be collected. They must also have officers, and the best, or else you cannot get hold of them.
Guderian: You want to start here, collect things, put them in order and initiate a forward movement.
Goering: But not in formations.
The Fuehrer: No, I want to establish a collecting line here, to assemble men and put things in order. But you can do that only with the best.
Goering: I am of the same opinion.
The Fuehrer: And here we must have the cavalry.
Fegelein: They will arrive the day after tomorrow.
The Fuehrer: What is the name of the unit?
Fegelein: That is the cavalry reserve and training regiment. They are about 1,500 strong.
The Fuehrer: Schoerner will be entrusted with this task, to cover the roads in the rear.
Guderian: The war academy is to cover the roads from Breslau to Glogau.
The Fuehrer: Eastwards of Breslau this can be done by the cavalry regiment. They are 1500 strong.
Fegelein: There may be more, I am not certain. The commanding officer is on the way. They are at the disposal of the 8th and 22nd divisions. But that is not of importance.
The Fuehrer: It is of no importance. The most important thing is, that they solve this problem.
Guderian: It is true that formations which retreat in marching order are in good condition and carry no surplus men, but that a good many shirkers have infiltrated into treckers and railroads returning from the front and that on these vehicles many soldiers are returning as drivers and helpers who have, in part, changed their uniform for civilian clothing. Control of these matters should not so much cover military formations, which under guidance of officers, maintenance men, and inspectors retreat in orderly fashion, but rather these treckers.
The Fuehrer: They are caught in a rear zone anyway. They cannot get beyond it, but whatever leaks through must be caught in rear echelons. Schoerner reports that so far he was able to reinstate 13000 men.
Guderian: As from today, with the taking over of the command by the XXIVth tank corps and the 9th army in the Weichsel army group, a new demarkation line will be in force, which will run north to Glogau, south of Lissa, north of Krotoschin into the general direction of Kalisch. Here the XL corps is in the line which covers exclusively the terrain from Lissa to Posen; then there is the Posen command and to the north the Vth SS-alpine-corps, with whom communication at present is very bad, due to harassing tactic of enemy patrols, which continuously interrupt the communication system. Up here, on the Tischtiegel front a continuous line, and ahead of it a locked door. It is not quite clear, whether Graetz is in our possession. Then, we have the Posen fortress, which was subjected to several attacks from the northwest and the south. Here, apparently a fort was taken, it is not entirely clear, whether here or there.
At any rate, something unpleasant happened there.
Through decoding of enemy radio messages it has been possible to as certain beyond doubt, that opposing forces were elements of the 1st guards tank army. They are to be deployed in this line. The.flanks extend exactly, as is pencilled in here, in this general direction.
The Fuehrer: I want within the next days, a clear picture of the troop concentrations, the position of the enemy, their probable objectives, and the areas of concentration, since counter-measures depend upon this knowledge.
Guderian: Yes. At any event the 1st guard armored army is reported as deploying in the Posen area.
Fuehrer: With how many corps?
Guderian: With their armored corps; four altogether.
Fuehrer: They have normally 1600 tanks. How many will they have left now?
Guderian: Half that amount at the most. The fortress Posen, which has held out, lies in between. The enemy infantry, according to radio messages, depends mainly on the railroad which runs from Nakel to the south toward Jarotschin via Gnesen.
Fuehrer: The further they penetrate here the more difficult their supply.
Goering: The railroads are all intact, indeed; they will get through smoothly along the railroads.
Fuehrer: I hope that not all trains and all locomotives were left behind by us.
Guderian: There has been a considerable bottle neck not everything could be gotten out. Then there the second guard armored army with their corps. The situation there has also become somewhat more complicated. Strong reconnaissance elements of the enemy have crossed the river Netze near Scharnikau and are advancing toward Schoenlanke, Schloppe and Filehne. Schneidemuehl was attacked today. This bridgehead near Usch was still in our hands this morning. The enemy, however, has by-passed it and crossed the river Netze.
Fuehrer: This river is no obstacle.
Guderian: It is frozen over now.
Fuehrer: Completely frozen over.
Guderian: He is threatening the position of Schneidemuehl and is also probing his ray from the east and the northeast; there he was repulsed. The headquarters of the army group is being moved to Groessinsee.
The situation around Nakel is uncertain, Nakel itself is lost. The Latvian division has displaced toward the north. The General High Command has withdrawn toward Preussisch Friedland; the enemy has broken through in between.
The situation around Krone is questionable. Bromberg is in the hands of the enemy. The holding force is in this railroad triangle and the enemy is advancing from there with the second guard cavalry corps along the roads of the valley of the Vistula and along the railroad in the direction of Schwetz. The Documents 33-3-PS-3901-PS; C-2-C-195; D-39-D-281XVIth panzercorps with the 4th panzer division, the 337th division and the 542nd division has launched a counterattack.
The bridgehead around Kulm which has become smaller is held on the eastern fringe only by the 252nd division.
Fuehrer: If necessary it must be given up.
Guderian: It must be given up. The Reich Fuehrer intends as he has already discussed with you, to give it up.
Fuehrer: The big one; he wants to have a small one.
Guderian: He wants to hold Graudenz and the small bridgehead of Marienwerder and take across his forces there.
Fuehrer: No he prefers to hold Graudenz. Marienwerder is so far away.
Guderian: Graudenz is preferable, it is a fortress. The lines run along here. The enemy attacked there and succeeded in breaking through. He also attacked near Graudenz but was repulsed.
The enemy is also pushing against the bridgehead of Mewe and succeeded in crossing the river to the south with minor elements but was repulsed to the north.
At Marienburg are battles for the castle and the railroad which are in our hands. A navy battalion is marching in there.
Fuehrer: They have thus far given a good account of themselves.
Guderian: Yes, indeed. The position along the Nogat is held by the navy.
The 7th panzer division is being deployed toward Neuteich, in order to defeat the enemy who has crossed the Nogat, and is fighting in collaboration with the navy regiment which up to now has occupied the bridgehead, in order to clear up this matter on the left bank of the Nogat.
The bridgehead south of Elbing is still in our hands. The enemy has penetrated into the town with several tanks, 15 altogether. A battle is in progress.
The Reichsfuehrer wanted to deploy the 32nd division in the Nakel area.
Fegelein: One regiment just arrived, he reports just now.
Fuehrer: Where ?
Fegelein: I do not know.
Guderian: The 227th division which likewise has come down from Kurland stands here. It is already here with essential elements, with the bulk of its forces, while the 32nd division is on its way.
Fuehrer: That's our problem child now (East Prussia).
Guderian: The army group North launched their attack, this morning, and achieved pretty good results. Advanced elements of these tank destroyers and the Arko 302 have advanced half way to Frauenburg-Elbing. There they were already this morning. Armored groups that advanced here got up to this point, the 28th Jaeger division got as far as Karwinden and Liebemuehl and engaged the enemy north of that town. Group Einem was to give support in this direction in order to force a decision. The 170th division and 131st division also obtained good results in their attack, as is shown here by these blue arrows.
Further to the south is the territory of the 18th armored division and the remnants of the 229th division. Their own attack aimed mainly at keeping the enemy engaged did not succeed, the decision remains that we defend ourselves in this position. It is intended to attack again at this place in order to tie down the enemy.
Down here an enemy attack was repulsed.
"Grossdeutschland" was pulled out here together with another division. at present however, still without gasoline.
Fuehrer: "Grossdeutschland" to be sent there?
Guderian: "Grossdeutschland" is to be sent up here, also the 562nd division. It is intended to move the 562nd division up there on foot in order to be able to deploy them up there or here, as necessary. The disengagement occurred without pressure of the enemy. The enemy did not pursue. O.P.'s and rear guard elements are still far behind in touch with the enemy.
There is a pressure against Friedland without result.
Furthermore, the enemy attacked south of Koenigsberg in considerable force. The 547th division, remnants of the 61st division and elements of the 2nd division "Hermann Goering" which were movable have been put into action. The main pressure of the enemy lies at the northeastern front and north of Koenigsberg where the remnants of the 551st division and the 286th division apparently have lost the last remainder of their fighting power and where, therefore, this morning a critical situation has arisen. It is not quite certain whether the front still runs as is shown here or whether it was taken back into.
Fuehrer: If they are in this line, they can no longer withdraw.
Guderian: Then nothing will come back from the Nehrung. I spoke with Colonel General Reinhardt and pointed this fact out to him.
Lasch, the commander of the fortress Koenigsberg, was given the command as far as the Samland coast. I ask for your subsequent approval.
Fuehrer: Yes, of course.
Guderian: He is the most remarkable personality we have up there. Koch himself has called up, also General Lasch, reporting that a serious crisis has arisen there. General Lasch went there personally in order to halt the disordered troops here. It is hoped that they get there in time in order to halt them. There are now 3 battalions of the 95th division, 3 battalions of the 58th division, 3 battalions fortress troops, a chemical brigade, and the 278th s.p. artillery brigade.
Fuehrer: I cannot understand one thing. One should have left the fortress troops here to the end and bring in the infantry first.
Guderian: Yes, indeed, do it the other way round.
Fuehrer: One can experience the most primitive affairs if one does not indicate exactly in advance what has to be done.
Guderian: It was indicated that at first one division should be restaged. That was done. There is still another battalion with trucks on its way. I hope they get there in time to halt it.
Fuehrer: Where are the S.P. guns?
Guderian: The S.P. guns are mostly here already. That's already on the way. The 278th and the Tiger detachment are still in here.
Fuehrer: I hope they have not been sent down here.
Guderian: They had such order.
Fuehrer: Find out, these are 60 pieces.
Guderian: This up here is the weakest point.
Army Group Kurland was again successful holding back the enemy. It has now become necessary due to strong enemy pressure to withdraw the front toward a formerly designated line. Enemy attacks have failed there, his preparations were broken up. Here is a break-through which is being successfully fought off by the 14th panzer division supported by elements of the 218th division.
All enemy attacks have been repulsed there under considerable losses to the enemy. He lost 10 tanks. Unimportant local break-throughs will be cleared up by the 12th armored division which is approaching the scene.
The enemy is regrouping from here also, toward the west and it seems more and more as if his main effort is directed toward the southern front in the direction of Libau.
Fuehrer: That's obvious because there is a port there, and they hope to get it. Libau, therefore, must be heavily protected.
Guderian: Rather heavy enemy air activities during the night.
Goering: There are 10000 captured air corps officers at Sagan, their custody is the responsibility of the Director General of Training [BDE]. Personnel for guarding or transporting them is said to be lacking. The thought has been expressed to leave the prisoners to their Soviet Allies. It would give them 10000 flyers.
Fuehrer: Why did you not remove them earlier. This is unequalled bungling.
Goering: That's the BDE. We have nothing to do with it I can only report it.
The Fuehrer: They must go, even if they have to march afoot through the mud. The Volkssturm will be called out. Anyone who escapes, will be shot. This has to be done with all means available.
Goering: That is from Sagen, there are 10000 men.
Guderian: Of those to be transported back, the 4th panzer division has been moved out completely, also the 227th division. The rest of the 32nd division is moving back now. Then the general command of the IIIrd SS panzercorps will move tonight, and tomorrow night the "Nederland" division, which has come out already. Sections of "Nordland" have also already been withdrawn from the front.
The Fuehrer: Are they to get replacements? Are these underway already?
Guderian: Fegelein has seen to that. He has already ordered that they should be replenished immediately.
The Fuehrer: It is absolutely clear, the army group Vistula has nothing beside the corps Nehring, one group and what stands on the Weichsel. This has to be organized. That comes only now from here, partly from Germany. This must be done. Nevertheless!
Goering: How many cattle-cars are required for 10000 men?
The Fuehrer: If we transport them according to German standards we will need at least 20 transport trains for 10000 men. If we transport them according to Russian standards, we will need 5 or 3.
Goering: Take off pants and boot so they can't walk in the snow.
Guderian: Then Wlassow wanted to make certain statements.
The Fuehrer: Wlassow is nothing at all.
Goering: Then they should not walk around in German uniforms. Everywhere one sees young people. That only irritates the people. If one tries to get hold of them, then they are Wlassow people.
The Fuehrer: Well, I was against it, to have them dressed in our uniforms. But who was for it? That was our dear army, who had their own ideas.
Goering: At present they are walking around like that.
The Fuehrer: I can't give them a change of clothes, we have no uniforms. Altogether at that time I wanted the foreigners.... But our Herr v. Seeckt sold German steel helmets to the Chinese. One has no sense of honor around here. Every wretch is put in German uniform. I was always against it. I was against putting Cossacks in German uniforms. We had to give them Cossack uniforms and insignia as proof that they were fighting for us. That is much more romantic too. The British would not think of putting English clothes on an Indian. Such shamelessness exists only with us because there's no character in it. Otherwise one would not put German steel helmets on the heads of others. The British let the Indians run around as natives.
Goering: The Wlassow-men surely are so hated over there, that they'll be punished if they are caught.
The Fuehrer: Don't say that, they are deserting just the same. That is the only thing they can do: desert, they are not capable of more.
Guderian: Shall the division garrisoned in Muensingen be gotten ready speedily?
The Fuehrer: Yes, indeed, have them made ready.
Fegelein: The Reichsfuehrer wanted to be put in command of the two divisions.
The Fuehrer: Wlassow will not desert.
Goering: They can't do more than desert. Then they'll no longer eat here.
Fegelein: The men will not desert, either: I have seen them.
The Fuehrer: They look mad. We have experienced it in France, they did desert.
Fegelein: The Russians will kill them all, because the Russians also kill all the laborers who have worked for us. We already have the proofs. They will beat them all to death.
The Fuehrer: We do exactly the same with those who have worked in the West. The Allies find it already difficult, to find a mayor.
Goering: I would use the Wlassow-men just the same.
Fegelein: And the officers from Sagan.
Goering: Obergruppenfuehrer Tuettner shall move the 10000 prisoners away from Sagan.
The Fuehrer: They must be moved away by all the means available, Volkssturm will have to be called out with the most energetic men. Attempted flight will be punished with shooting.
Fegelein: We have a man for it, who guarded the KZs. That is Gruppenfuehrer Gluecks, he will have to do it.
Guderian: Schoerner is complaining that Group Rudd has been called away. He asks for a written report on it and is beside himself. This is really inexcusable, after all one has to give something to the Reichsfuehrer.
The Fuehrer: Because he has nothing at all. Rudel can move much better out in the open than in the industrial section.
Guderian: Then may I tell Schoerner, that this is your order. I have talked it over with Zoller once more. He is of the same opinion. Then there are 1,800 men of the SS antitank replacement and training unit at Kastenburg. They shall be moved out immediately. I believe, they will have to be left in Koenigsberg, so that that man has something.
The Fuehrer: But there is no SS-unit here. I would put them also at Himmler's disposal, he needs them. There they have nothing at all. They must be given to Himmler, so he can gradually get a skeleton force.
Guderian: At present they are with the combat group Hauser, which has been at Loetzen.
The Fuehrer: If they were defending Loetzen, I would not say anything. But after that is gone anyhow!
Guderian: The question is, whether they are to be left in Koenigsberg, so as not to create a complete vacuum there.
The Fuehrer: I am afraid they will not get to Koenigsberg, but go to the West.
Guderian: An order can be given to that effect.
The Fuehrer: You can give orders alright. But whether they'll be carried out! Nobody carries out the orders.
Guderian: Yes, they do.
Burgdorf: Rendulic has just arrived up there.
Guderian: Rendulic and Natzmer have taken over the command.
Goering: The decisive question is arms. We screen out men. The men are here and get no arms.
Guderian: Here are the strength reports. I don't know if you have asked Wenck for them.
(Report) The 203rd has 3400 men, the 541st has 3100 still. Of the "Hannibal"that is to say the police unit there are 900 men; combat unit Hauser and 21st could not be obtained, however,
"Grossdeutschland", still halfway OK: 2 medium, 1 average, 3 weak battalions, 4 light batteries, 39 pieces of heavy artillery. This means the corps artillery and army artillery. Armor strength considerably diminished. Yet altogether still some 25. Then, my Fuehrer I wanted to request the authorization, to remove the recruits of 1928 from the Eastern military districts, so that they will be trained only in somewhat safer military districts.
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Buhle: This is going to be shortened now. It will be completely adapted to the emergency program for coal and electricity, to that everything else will stop with one stroke and something will come along there. Hence this month will be a very bad one.
Guderian: Then regarding the situation of south I want to state: The army group believes, that in that sector they cannot get along with only one division. They propose, to have the entire Corps Gille with 2 divisions remain there, to get out the first and 23rd and to take together the entire group under Breith.
The Fuehrer: Here we have to protect ourselves also; because here will be the next very large attack. The moment we leave there the big push will start. This is even more dangerous.
v. Freytag-Loringhoven: The 346th has arrived with 6 troop trains.
The Fuehrer: But this has no fighting power yet. These trains cannot be considered. All that comes from Italy are at first the service forces.
Guderian: There were, however, already a few combat troops among them. I shall find out, how much it is.
The Fuehrer: When he withdraws the 23rd, he has here only the cavalry. When this goes over to the defensive he will come over with his armor. This is a great danger.
Guderian: He will have to leave his armored group long enough until the danger is entirely removed.
The Fuehrer: He has to leave his armored group by all means here.
Jodl: The combat echelon went at first, and is departed. It has now completely left down there.
Winter: It travels about with speed?
The Fuehrer: But this is the decisive point. If he succeeds in breaking through here, everything is lost, we have to be clear about that. I have no objection to the Korps Gille going also over to the defensive.
Guderian: The 1st panzer division out and assigned to the 3rd. and whatever can be relieved of the 23rd, in addition the Generalkommando Breith.
The Fuehrer: He believes that he can not do it with the 1st alone.
Guderian: I do not know it, I have to discuss that myself.
The Fuehrer: How does the 1st look on the whole?
Guderian: It is not too strong any more. It was replenished once more in numbers. The 23rd is in fact the stronger one, it is better.
The Fuehrer: When I speak of danger, I would say: Dangerpoint one is here, danger-point 2 is here, dangerpoint 3 is here. If he breaks through at this place everything is lost. If he advances here, this part will collapse too.
Guderian: This is the 1st, the 3rd, the 23rd.
The Fuehrer: The 23rd is the best.
Guderian: Yes, passable, also the 6th, and then the two SS divisions. This is the position of the 24th. It has somewhat suffered naturally in the fighting. But in spite of that, it is always the best with regards to replacements.I shall discuss that.
The Fuehrer: Say it again: This is the most critical point. The next one is here. When he breaks through at this place the thing is lost. This is also a dangerous point.
Guderian: Here are artillery and mine throwers.
The Fuehrer: When one is forced into a hose, it will slow up the retreat. But here you have the wide plain. When he penetrates in here the whole thing collapses, this is the most dangerous.
Jodl: No important change has been noticed with the enemy apart from the 6th English airborne division which went into the lines in the sector of Venlo which caused a slight consolidation of these very wide division sectors. In the attack on the Roer bridgehead also no additional divisions have been deployed, apart from a few panzer brigades. so that the English guard panzer division and the 60th English division, also the 11th English panzer division are here still in the reserve. The American group around Luettich is very likely still there.
The Fuehrer: What about the English air attacks in the south in connection with the weather situation.
Keitel: No attacks on a large scale.
Jodl: It was bad, it was snow storm and fog.
Goering: No action on both sides. I therefore do not believe solely in the weather condition.
Keitel: There was no large scale attack.
Jodl: Only five trainloads have been dispatched of the 1st SS panzer division. The division is now moving into the sector. Gasoline is there. If now further delays should occur it will be the fault of the march technique or of the strongly snow covered roads. Here too the conditions did not deteriorate.
The Fuehrer: One day without flying is of course better than five days with flying, if they move fast on such a day.
Goering: There is no flying today, Buechs?
v. Below: Very little, so far.
Jodl: The 12th SS pz. division is moving now with the advance units into the zone of embarkation. The 9th SS pz. division has also started moving. It is unknown in what direction the 2nd must come.
The Fuehrer: If the weather stays like that for one or two days, do you believe that he will attack? When can we count on the arrival in Vienna of at least the combat troops of this panzer army, not before two or three weeks?
Jodl: The one corps will be there in a fortnight.
The Fuehrer: And the 2nd corps?
Jodl: That one will mix.
Winter: That will take 12 days. The 2nd Corps can be there in another 4 or 5 days, if it keeps going like it did so far.
The Fuehrer: They are arriving just in time, because down there will be the next crisis.
Jodl: The railroad will probably run then very smoothly. If they are assembled now we should think that in 16 days the complete 4 divisions will be there and the speed with 40 trains will then be rather fluid.
The Fuehrer: This is the first real fighting power. Across Germany it goes very fast.
Goering: In a fortnight he can be deployed up there.
Jodl: 23 trains arrived with the second mountain division. The 25th did not start moving yet.
The Fuehrer: How did the 2nd stand up?I understand it had a slight failure.
Yes, I have such a report. I shall ask the division commander for another report.
The Fuehrer: But it proved itself very well up there. The best division can once sustain a reverse somewhere.
Jodl: There are entirely new conditions here. It is always like that. When a division comes into a new theatre of operation. there is always a little crisis at first.
The Fuehrer: Even the best division can get a shock.
Jodl: Besides every new division will be regarded suspiciously.
The Fuehrer: Especially if it arrives in good condition; well looking men with good boots, in good shape, and the rifle not rusted. At once they say: Where do they come from, are there still such things?
Jodl: The 3rd panzer grenadier division has been started moving. It comes to Erkelenz.
The Fuehrer: What dirty tricks are done there, I know from my own experience. Once there arrived a brand new division from home. One regiment came to the place where we were. They passed through but rested then and stacked rifles. Our men then really did a nasty trick. Before they could blink an eye the nice rifles were gone and the old completely dirty and rusted ones were there. They had to go on. It was a mess but nothing could be done. Immediately they say: Where do they come from, do such things still run around?
Jodl: The Fuehrergrenadier and Fuehrerescort brigade did not yet start moving, but are now assembled. The Fuehrergrenadier brigade reports the following strength: 4,229 men basic strength, 2 panzer IV, 3 in repair, 8 panzer V, 10 in repair: 5 assault guns, 11 in repair, 27 in transit. That amounts to a total of 60 panzers.
The Fuehrer: And the Fuehrer escort brigade is slightly stronger.
Jodl: I do not have its report.
The Fuehrer: I believe it has 7000 men.
Goering: Can not small groups of panzers6 or 10be assigned which \speed around in the foreground and put the panzer advance guards out of action?
The Fuehrer: This is being done. They work in very small groups of 10 to 14 assault guns with SPW.
Goering: They look for the panzers.
Keitel: Antitank reconnaissance patrols [Panzerjaegerspaehtrupps].
The Fuehrer: And antitank reconnaissance cars with PAK which drive very fast. They will now be deployed there for hunting.
Goering: Reconnaissance units can be very helpful.
Jodl: At the thrust against the 6th parachute division on the 26th, the enemy lost 25 killed, who have been counted and 2 Flamepanzers (flamethrowing tanks) which have been destroyed. Stronger range finding fire by batteries southeast of Nymwegen.
The Fuehrer: Until when, may we assume, can the 7th parachute division be brought back from down there, to its original unit?
Jodl: That will take long, at least 14 to 20 days.
The Fuehrer: Alright, but we have to bring it up here; because here will be a critical point of the first degree. And the 5th parachute division?
Jodl: There are no stronger forces yet but at least the 5th and 3rd are here.
Goering: We have to combine them. The fighting strength of 4 combined parachute divisions equals that of five divisions.
Jodl: Assembled reserves have been destroyed here through artillery fire. The assault continues here with the present forces. He penetrated in Ottilienburg and was thrown out.
The Fuehrer: They moan terribly about the whole situation on the Western front and cry.
Jodl: The front has been pushed back there. There are now two flat bridgeheads beyond the Roer. It was quiet on the rest of the front, there was movement. The attacks did not take place with the same concentration as during the last days, but were continued more weakly and sporadically. The enemy penetrated south of Hevenbach. A counter-attack is being made there. Farther south he was repelled again. Northwest of St. Vith he was also repelled.
The Fuehrer: Here is the Schnee-Eifel.
Jodl: No, the Schnee-Eifel is farther back. Here runs the Westwall. This is the wooded ridge of hills, which has to be held then. Well the line will be running a little bit backwards. They are still standing somewhat in front of it. This was the part, which was in the hands of the enemy. Here is the Westwall. Farther south the attacks were sporadic and weaker. Three strong attacks in the direction of the castle Reyland were repulsed.
This arc will be retaken on this chord. The Roehr has been already reached in one place. From there the line bulges again. Only skirmishes took place today. The following up of the enemy was prevented again and again through counterattacks. The enemy is suffering here considerable losses anyway.
The Fuehrer: You reported, that the Americans lost 85000 men this month; that would mean 50 of their total losses during the whole world war.
Jodl: Farther south all was quiet. The enemy advanced again yesterday in the corner at Remich up to Schlossburg and beyond. He was again repulsed there by counter-attacks north of Tettingen. Additional attacks were repulsed. The tanks withdrew after the leading tank was destroyed.
Considerable movement was observed southeast of Saarburg. Some replacements or reinforcements seem to take place near Saargemine. There was a strong concentration of rolling stock in the area around Metz and a strong concentration of vehicles in the area around Saverne and Saarbourg.
There was no fighting yesterday at the newly gained Moder front, where the section of Moder Rotbach was reached everywhere. The bridge in the rear near Merzviller has been completed in this section in spite of the shelling by enemy artillery; it is a 40 ft bridge, which facilitates the supply.
Heavier fighting was raging down here, where the enemy continued his attack from the area south of Erstein and south of Colmar. We succeeded here, however, to repel all attacks. One tank was destroyed. These attacks were also repulsed at Markolsheim and 8 tanks were destroyed here.
The Fuehrer: This matter here has to be straightened out under any circumstances. The situation is such, that we have to attempt to retake this segment. Does this mean the recapture?
Jodl: This is the recapture,-which he ordered, on the 27th this line, on the 28th this position.
The Fuehrer: But the most important thing is, that this segment will be taken by us. He should carefully consider, whether we should not pull out here the 6th mountain division, relieve it by some other unit, move this unit around and unite it with the 2nd mountain division, so that we can manage. Only mountain divisions can do the trick; the decisive point is, that Breisach remains safely in our hands. If that remains in a large bridgehead, the danger in itself will be small. Maybe you can talk it over with the Western High Command. An attempt has to be made, to remove by any method the 6th SS mountain division and transfer it to the 2nd mountain division, so that both mountain divisions can jointly execute the attack. This can be done in partial movements. The enemy cannot achieve here very much with his tanks. The attack has to be carried out here. That always was also Himmler's idea, because he cannot achieve very much with his tanks. On that sort of ground that may result in a success. The distance is 30 to 50 km. A mountain division can do that. Otherwise it cannot be done. If his affair could be settled, it would fit very well with that linking up here Schlettstadt could be outflanked; that is not so necessary, that can be smaller too, this does not make any difference, the only thing is, we would have better protection, because Colmar is very close.
Jodl: And the whole artillery is here.
The Fuehrer: The bridges have to be out of artillery range. Planes are reported, when they approach, but not artillery fire Up here the whole thing has been stopped.
Jodl: It has been stopped.
The Fuehrer: Discuss it with Western High Command, whether the 6th SS mountain division cannot be pulled out there. This line can also be held easier defensively later on than the other one.
Jodl: Much easier.
The Fuehrer: If 2 mountain divisions are placed in the frontline, the whole position could be held.
Jodl: This order was issued yesterday.
The Fuehrer: Especially an elaborate defense line has still to be built here.
Jodl: That's the old one, the new one is a little bit farther in front.
The Fuehrer: This one has to be developed.
Jodl: The question of command in the West is still to be discussed today.
The Fuehrer: Yes, Goering, I wanted to talk that over with you. Well, the people, who are speaking here today, assume, that Student has become very tired.
Goering: He need not stay, you don't know him, you don't know his terrible slow way of talking. You don't understand that. But he is still -- if I don't consider Model -- of all of them, as he was before, the one of those with the greater standing power if the going is tough, I am convinced of that. He is terribly slow; you think he is nuts, because you don't know him. But I take him gladly.
The Fuehrer: He had the same thing previously at the operations in Italy.
Goering: He talked just as slowly. Everybody thought, he was dumb. I take him gladly, because I know and you, gentlemen, are witnesses -- that he will be called again in a critical hour. I am taking him with the greatest pleasure; for I need him, because he inspires again his parachute army. He says: "Yes, the Fuehrer told me also...." I know him, the others don't. I don't blame them, because they don't have any other means to judge him. The other day somebody asked me, whether I had a dumbbell up there. Then I replied: No, he is not dumb, he talked so slowly before. As he was wounded on the head, they think that this is an effect of it. But he had it previously. Nevertheless before every operation he says: We better jump on the enemy.
The Fuehrer: He performed the most audacious operations.
Goering: Well, I gladly take him, so that he won't be judged wrongly. I know, he will be called in the critical hour. He stands up well. He is not a great genius in any other respect but he is sticking it out in a good and straight fashion, who knows that he has to hold his troops in line. But I take him gladly away, that you can judge later on how the front is held, after he is gone.
The Fuehrer: I would regret that very much, I really don't know. Does Blaskowitz stick it out so well?
Goering: No, he is a smoothy. Student's little toe is worth more than all of Blaskowitz.
The Fuehrer: That's just the question.
Goering: But I shall be delighted to take him because I know at the critical moment you will get angry and ask for Student again. I shall be looking forward to that day.
Fuehrer: I won't.
Goering: No, but you will give him back to me then. Why should I expose an outstanding man to such gossip. You know him he has always talked so slowly.
The Fuehrer: At the time I developed our plans for the West he was just as slow. But at the end he delivered the goods. The same goes for the operation for the liberation of the Duce.
Goering: He did his other jobs in Italy well, too.
Fuehrer: He absolutely cleared up everything in Italy.
Goering: If he had stayed there, no bridgehead would have been established there either. But I need him urgently. He must reorganize the army of parachutists and move the divisions there. You got a man then whom you can transfer somewhere else where the going is rough, in case the need arises. He won't yield an inch. He probably will speak then still more slowly, that is possible, but he will be slower in retreating, too.
The Fuehrer: He reminds me of Fehrs my new valet from Holstein. When I tell him something it takes him minutes to grasp it. He makes a very stupid impression, but he doe his job very well, only he is terribly slow.
Goering: Student is a man with very clever ideas. There is no doubt about it. He figures things out for himself.
The Fuehrer: It was suggested however, to move Blaskowitz up there and give his job to Hausser or should we do it the other way around?
Jodl: To move up Hausser.
Goering: Hausser has now become familiar with things here now.
Jodl: Here are essentially SS-formations.
The Fuehrer: I just want to say that's mere improvising. In case I want to carry out that thing I should like to have Hausser here too.
Fegelein: Especially since pressure always comes from the Reichsfuehrer although he can no longer interfere; he, nevertheless always presses him.
The Fuehrer: To carry out this operation. The Reichsfuehrer is all wrapped up in it. He says: "My Fuehrer, if we have that piece here, then he has one important supply line less, we have a beautiful new position, and I can guarantee that nothing is going to happen at Breisach." After all, the whole bridgehead depends on it. Ferries this and ferries that, a bridge is much better after all.
Jodl: In any case, the difficulties caused by the severing of the line] becomes already apparent. Hausser has now pulled out all he could out of the line and deployed them down below there, so that it is impossible to figure out at the moment, how to get out the fast moving formations. For this reason also it will be necessary to concentrate the control in one hand; too many high headquarters only cause difficulties, there. Apart from that he has no quartermaster staff. I would suggest that Hausser is left here and that we give him also the 1st army. That I believe would be the right thing.
The Fuehrer: Hausser is a shrewd fellow. He gives the impression of a shrew-mouse.
Jodl: A terribly sarcastic, witty man. At least that's what he was.
The Fuehrer: He has the features of a fox.
Guderian: He has a good wit.
Keitel: He is very quick-witted.
The Fuehrer: With his sly little eyes. Only I am not quite sure whether he has suffered through the last serious injury.
Fegelein: No he has not suffered, this was tested. The Reichsfuehrer said he does not quite trust the story. He says if he comes with a succession down there, and he does something which does not fit who's mind is not quite in order this would be most embarrassing for him [sic]. The Reichsfuehrer is so smart he would not have suggested it if he did not know exactly that it would be possible, because he makes a fool of himself and the Reichsfuehrer is very sensitive in such matters.
The Fuehrer: We all are. But, of course the Reichsfuehrer is always being subjected to criticism.
The Fuehrer: When something goes wrong.
Goering: I should like to ask that the relief of Student takes place in such a manner that it does not look as if he was a failure; because he has not failed in a single point, nowhere, this I wish to emphasize, but he accomplished all his tasks very well, even though there was not much going on. He carried out the flooding etc. I should like to arrange it so that I require him urgently for the parachute army and make the request.
Fegelein: Hausser has also the following philosophy: He says as a soldier I am almost 65 years, the highest achievement I can accomplish is that I shall die in battle.
The Fuehrer: I do not want that at all.
Fegelein: But he is pushing.
The Fuehrer: This is no philosophy at all.
Guderian: I know him very well. This will not necessarily have to come to pass. He is a happy man.
Fegelein: Above all he gives his last regardless of anything. He walks through artillery fire and when his aides flung themselves to the ground, he says: why are you so sensitive?
The Fuehrer: I would lie down, too. I had only one general who did not lie down. But he did not hear it.
Jodl: Nevertheless I would suggest it. This a little weak, Christiansen too is not exactly a born army leader.
Goering: That I admit.
Jodl: Up there it is rather thin as far as command is concerned.
The Fuehrer: Allright. . .
Jodl: I believe that this is the most practical way. Thus the Reichsfuehrer will get his staff in the East.
Guderian: This is especially important: at present the staff of the Reichsfuehrer is a miserable improvisation with which he cannot achieve anything. The communication service does not function, it is bad. They cannot go on like that. Something must be sent there immediately.
Keitel: Entirely adapted to his personality.
The Fuehrer: Well, it shall be done thus: Hausser remains here, Blaskowitz there.
Fegelein: My Fuehrer, I have here something which requires immediate decision. I have just checked. Out there in the barracks of the Leibstandarte there are 6000 men for the 1st panzercorps. It will yet take some time for the moment. I request that 4000-5000 of these men with the best officers are placed behind Schoerner. It does not matter during the next fortnight whether they are in the barracks or on the streets.
The Fuehrer: We are not going to do that: because they have to be trained. When the Leibstandarte is pulled out, they must move in immediately.
Fegelein: They are trained. I will not be able to assemble them any more at that time. This corps has not much time. Take the cavalrymen, they are 1500 men. You can add a few "Volkssturm" men.
Fegelein: Shall I bring the commander here?
The Fuehrer: Just as you like, I, for my part, see no need talking to him.
Fegelein: Well, they are not to be taken away then.
The Fuehrer: No.
v. Below: Then the ammunition allotment.
The Fuehrer: Yes, the business about the ammunition allotment. He says: with eight or five rounds for heavy field howitzers he cannot fight a defensive.
Jodl: This is the calculation by the Quartermaster General and he added: this will become still worse.
The Fuehrer: But he cannot fight a defensive in such critical places.
Jodl: I assume that it was figured out that way.
The Fuehrer: If one has a large front line sector with quiet sections, it might be possible. But if one has the bad luck
Jodl: This is prorated for the entire western front for every artillery piece.
The Fuehrer: Quite. But if one has the bad luck to be in a sector which gets a constant boxing and he receives his 5 rounds of ammunition, he cannot possibly manage, because on a single day of defense he needs 500-600 rounds. In the first World War during large defensive battles we used up to 500-600 rounds with a small battery.
Guderian: This calculation goes for the entire front.
The Fuehrer: For that very reason. If one has a large sector. it is better.
Jodl: This is ordered for the entire western front.
The Fuehrer: Now he is doubly unlucky. All others have divisions while he on the Rhine has only a medley of troops which have no artillery at all. Consequently his allotment is very small because he has the artillery only where there is shooting and where emergency exists. He has no other artillery, only Russian cannons etc. There is no shooting elsewhere. For instance he has 100 field howitzers, they are in the midst of constant heavy fighting. If he can fire 500 rounds per day with 100 field howitzers it will not be of much use in a heavy battle. This has to be taken in consideration when he gets a larger sector. that this will be balanced.
Jodl: No, this is for the entire front.
The Fuehrer: In the world war in normal times in 1915/16 we had an ammunition supply which was atrocious.
Guderian: 1 to 2 rounds per gun per day.
The Fuehrer: Frequently the regiment begged all day long for retaliation fire. Then, regularly towards the evening, six rounds were approved, 4 with time fuse and two with percussion fuse. This was the entire artillery support of an infantry regiment. They came usually after the others had ceased firing and upon that they started again. We became raving mad and said: if only we had not started with those 6 rounds. But I must say: when there were attacks during heavy fighting there was unlimited ammunition. Then they fired all the barrels could shoot.
Guderian: This is not the case at present.
The Fuehrer: Normally there was an enormous restriction. But when an attack was imminent or actually started, they really blasted away. I know, on 9 May the battery of Major Parzival fired 5000 rounds. They fired away, the whole day long, full blast, that is to say more than 1000 shells per barrel.
Jodl: In Italy all quiet, now and fog. The last remainders of the 29th armored infantry division are now withdrawn and the last parts of the 4th parachute division have gone into the line. The 1st and 4th parachute divisions are now combined under the 1st parachute corps.
The Fuehrer: I don't know, do you think that the English still regard the whole Russian development with honest enthusiasm?
Jodl: No,definitely not. The plans were indeed entirely different. This will perhaps be realized in its full extent only later.
Goering: That we stop them there and in the meantime let the Russians conquer all of Germany, that is definitely not according to their plans. If things continue like that we shall receive a telegram in a few days. It is not so that we do not let them advance one step and, according to the opinion of the enemy, hold like mad in the West and the Russian penetrates more and more into Germany and practically has all of Germany.
The Fuehrer: In that way the National Committee, the organization of the traitors, could have a certain importance. If the Russians really proclaim a national government, then the English will naturally get frightened.
Jodl: Those have always regarded them with suspicion.
The Fuehrer: I have ordered that something is to be played into their hands now, namely the report that those set up an army of 200000 of our men, under the leadership of German officers, completely infected by communism, which they intend to send into battle. I ordered that this report be played into the hands of the British. I gave it to the Foreign Minister. That is something which will have an effect on them, just like you prick a shoemaker's awl into something.
Goering: Those entered the war so that we should not get to the East but not that the East come to the Atlantic.
The Fuehrer: That is quite clear. That is something abnormal. English papers are already writing bitterly: What is the sense of that war?
Goering: On the other hand I read in the "Braunen Blaettern" a report, they could support the Russians with their air force. Because they could reach with their heavy bombers those territories to which the Russians would have come, even though it would have been a long flight. But the report comes from an absurd source.
The Fuehrer: They cannot give them tactical support. If we ourselves do not know where the Russians are and where we are, how could they know?
Jodl: 31 trains of the 356th division departed with speed 8.
The Fuehrer: I have a disagreeable duty yet to perform today. I have to "hypnotize" Quisling today, or I let him come tomorrow at three o'clock. Below, try to find out whether this is possible.
I want to have a short talk with the Foreign Minister, as to whether Quisling can be received at 3 o'clock; whether that is at all possible; whether he will wait till the end of our state of war. It is an awful affair. He is completely out of his head, the people have driven him crazy.
Jodl: The cleaning up near Travik is finished. The 104th is being brought up here. It is impossible to get through here. He further asks that the bridgehead near Visegrad be eliminated. I have no objections to this. Since we no longer intend to attack in that direction, it is no longer important. He requests to withdraw behind the river Drina because they can thus save forces and can spread out more.
The Fuehrer: Yes.
Jodl: The 22nd is fighting in this direction and has now reached the Drina. The bridge there is out. They are moving north on the western bank.
Here in this district there is a considerable lessening of tension through the moving away of Partisans in connection with the fights of the Jetnicks. Communication with Plevlja is re-established. The situation here has thus improved.
First elements of the 297th division have reached Brod. Supply situation has again improved because the 8-ton bridge was completed yesterday the 25th. Communication is thus re-established. A hospital convoy has been attacked on the road by fighter planes here, 10 dead and 7 more wounded. The Syrmish Front was quiet. Commando activity of our own. About two divisions can be assembled here by the 1st February, 3 or divisions by 6th February.
The Fuehrer: In other words, it can't be done before then.
Guderian: If there is no crisis, mein Fuehrer, it is better to wait.
The Fuehrer: Absolutely. I will not give myself away in advance, but preparations will be made quite secretly and then suddenly the matter will be tackled from both sides concentrically.
Jodl: Whether the 233rd Schuetzen division is completely lost is not certain, but it must be assumed. Again, several attacks against the Fischer group which have been repulsed.
The territory round Virovitica was quiet. A new movement is intended toward the south to be done by the Cossacks who as a matter of fact are doing very well.
The Fuehrer: The Cossacks are good. But why must they wear German uniforms? Why not have the beautiful Cossack uniforms?
Jodl: Most of them have Cossack uniforms.
Guderian: Red fur caps.
The Fuehrer: They still have them?
Jodl: Yes, they have red trousers with silver stripes.
The Fuehrer: Really it is wonderful that Cossacks are marching with us!
Burgdorf: General von Pannwitz, the commander of the Cossack division, always visits his troops in a Cossack uniform. I have seen a photograph of him; he looks quite savage with his crooked sword dangling in the scabbard hanging down in front.
Jodl: They have been recruited as national troops. They now also have their reinforcements because their families were with them. I don't know where they are now. They were in East Prussia before.
Guderian: They left there long ago. They reached some place or other.
Goering: They were in Belgrad.
Jodl: They have their children there.
Goering: Their campaigns always resemble a tribal movement, they take everything with them.
Jodl: Nothing else has happened here excepting attacks that were repulsed. This territory was also quiet on account of the tremendous amount of snow. The same is true of the Brenner pass. In the north the 163rd division is now with 57 trains in Oslo, the 2nd mountain division left Aarhus with 39 trains.
I now want to present the report of General von Uthmann from Stockholm.
That is a case where even the ambassador could show a stiff upper lip.
The Fuehrer: Can the ambassador show a stiff upper lip? Thomsen always makes some very clever remarks; his views on world policy are inspired by the Stockholm atmosphere.
Goering: Mein Fuehrer, may I read you the following about the panzer division which is fighting with the Saucken Corps ? The report is dated 27th. After successful defensive battles near Litzmannstadt the division fought its way toward the west according to orders.
(Reads:) 5 Panthers achieved 25 hits.
The Fuehrer: An American or English newspaper man got his temper up, he said he would not be stopped from telling the truth. The truth was that the Germans were far superior with their tanks.
v. Below: He cites a lot of examples.
The Fuehrer: He cites examples, how he was forced to lie.
Hewel: For instance, they had lost as many tanks as the enemy; he was forced to write they had only lost a few.
The Fuehrer: He says the German tanks are superior, that is undeniable.
Guderian: The main problem with us at the present time is gasoline supply.
The Fuehrer: That's why I am worried, Guderian, that something is going to happen down there. That would be the end. That is the most dangerous point. You can still improvise everywhere but not down there. You cannot improvise gasoline. I cannot make a tank into a wood burner; in garrison that's possible. I have seen tanks with wood generators for training purposes.
Guderian: Yes indeed, we had them months ago.
The Fuehrer: There was something else: Buhle, news has come that they have a giant tank, the Boxer ... gun L48....
Buhle: The note which I gave you, yes.
The Fuehrer: They fight the tank from a distance from 200 to 300 meters. Should we not make a new type of shell perhaps with a bigger charge. I don't know whether the Hohlladung principle is applicable. Or, perhaps, under certain circumstances, one could fire a grenade with a handle attached to it; a grenade with a handle. Of course one would have to load the piece from the front, but all one has to do is to approach the target sufficiently. It is certain that such a grenade can be fired.
Buhle: I believe a HL 70 is necessary at first.
Guderian: 38 T might also be possible.
The Fuehrer: But it is not quite certain whether it will penetrate the new tank.
Goering: Does the heavy Panzerfaust penetrate? That has not been tried out.
Buhle: It is to be assumed. A charge of a 150-mm penetrates also.
The Fuehrer: If one fires a shell or bomb with a handle it is sure to destroy the tank. Of course, one can only fire once.
Buhle: One must move with the piece charged, in order to be ready.
The Fuehrer: If its approach is observed.
Guderian: Then he must hit with the first shot.
The Fuehrer: They have approached up to 150 to 200 meters.
Goering: Does the 88-mm penetrate also?
The Fuehrer: It has not been proven. One has been unable to find out. The Koenigstiger with his long-barrelled gun could penetrate, perhaps.
Buhle: On the side it seems to have a flat roof.
The Fuehrer: Anyway it seems to be a new thing.
Buhle: I spoke about it with Sauer yesterday.
Goering: Has a Jagdtiger ever been hit?
Keitel: Thus far none of the Jagdtigers have ever been hit effectively. He was hit from behind, not yet from the front. It is different with the Jagdpanther. The Jagdtiger is the toughest nut to crack.
The Fuehrer: Thus far it has blown up every pill box with one shot.
Buhle: We will bring out the new 250-mm on the 5th.
The Fuehrer: It is very slow, only 12- to 15-km per hour.
v. Below: Reich Minister Lammers says that Quisling could come tomorrow. One day more or less did not matter.
The Fuehrer: He will be glad to be able to stay here. But I would like the Foreign Minister to hold himself in readiness so that he can report on the situation.
v. Below: Yes indeed.
The Fuehrer: Is there anything else?
Hewel: Only one thing. In connection with this story the Swedish newspapers publish also sensational articles according to which the inventor and constructor of the V-weapons has arrived there. They are publishing interviews with a certain Professor Hartmann. I have already spoken with the Luftwaffe and General Buhle; they don't even know him.
The Fuehrer: They have not found a V-man but an S-man, a swindler.
Hewel: They do that regularly. They suddenly discover something tremendously sensational.
Goering: They are used to tremendous sensations.
The Fuehrer: They must know everything if they believe they have got the inventor.
Hewel: They even got the man now who worked on the V-4. He was ready to give detailed reports.
Assmann: In the Polar Sea there are movements of British and Russian naval forces. U-292 has carried out supply missions for metereological troops on Bear Island. Three of our destroyers from the 4th destroyer flotilla are now being transferred from Narvik to home base because they will be urgently needed in the Baltic during spring. We unfortunately lost an ore boat of 2900, too, during an aerial attack on a southbound convoy. She was hit thrice by bombs, was still afloat, but when being towed into port she sank anyway. In the waters round Haugesund several mines have been cleared. We are laying a mine field near Stavanger for coastal protection. Traffic between Oslo and Aarhus suffered yesterday again from the weather. We have extraordinary bad weather. The convoys can make their runs, but are 7 to 10 hours late. One troop transport ship with 776 men of the 163rd infantry division! 328 horses and 191 vehicles arrived at Aarhus. Another 5,500 men of the 163rd division are waiting for shipment in Oslo. Reports come in from the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, saying that transports are still
running according to schedule. 3 ships arrived, 4 ships will arrive today. These 4 ships will probably leave today again loaded. In Libau are no more boats at present, because traffic from Gotenhafen and Danzig had to be stopped yesterday on account of the stormy weather.
Yesterday's transport record: 3,294 men from Courland, further 1,122 horses, 713 vehicles, 115 tons of ammunition and some prisoners of war.
The traffic from Memel also ran according to schedule. 211 men, 40 vehicles and 2000 tons have left for Pillau. The ferry "Deutschland" is enroute to Swinemuende with 1500 wounded men. The evacuation of East Prussia has further progressed with 34 vessels. 25000 refugees have been sent to the western part of the Baltic Sea. Including them, 45360 refugees have started from East Prussia to the Reich. A small steamer with 150 vehicles has run aground near the peninsula of Hela. Salvage attempts are being made. Yesterday, in loading mines at Pillau a deplorable explosion. 207 mines did explode. They were aerial mines with time fuses. Probably, the accident happened by a mine that was dropped, whereby the fuse was set off. The result was heavy damage, 19 men were lost.
The cruiser "Prinz Eugen" has been scheduled for action north of Elbing. It could not be done today, however, on account of the very bad weather situation. There was a blizzard with very poor visibility. The necessary preparations have been made. The cruiser can go into action at any time, as soon as the weather situation improves.
The Fuehrer: Is it not possible to use here the old canoes "Schleswig Holstein" and "Schlesien"?
Assmann: They are no longer very seaworthy. They are being used only for training purposes and are lying stationary at Gotenhafen.
v. Puttkamer: One has been sunk.
Assmann: Yes, "Schleswig Holstein" is no longer seaworthy
The Fuehrer: If she has been sunk, she cannot fire.
v. Puttkamer: The 15 centimeter are no longer on board, only the worn out 28.
The Fuehrer: Why can't you rebore them?
v. Puttkamer: I don't know about that.
The Fuehrer: So that you don't run the danger of putting them into action suddenly.
v. Puttkamer: Probably there is other work which has priority now.
The Fuehrer: Since the days of the Westernplatte, the reboring of the 8 barrels could have been done.
Assmann: In the Pomeranian Bight a minesweeper hit a mine. The boat is being towed in. In the North Sea blizzard, wind velocity up to 7. In front of the peninsula some of our mines blocking the beach have been exploded by ice stoppage. It was not possible to commit our speed boats and small U-boats on account of bad weather. No special reports from the Mediterranean.
Buechs: Only local fighting in Hungary yesterday southwest of Ipolysag. Provisioning with 19 airplanes has been attempted. Only 7 succeeded, have dropped 6 tons of ammunition, 16 tons of food. The fighting in Silesia was concentrated between Oppeln and Steinau, 103 airplanes, also partly around Bentschen, Gleiwitz and for the first time somewhat more at Marienburg with 114 airplanes. 391 fighters mostly for low level attacks, destroyed 5 tanks, about 178 vehicles, many of them horse drawn. Besides, 2 bridges, which were put up between Oppeln and Breslau, were hit. In the west only fighter bombers [JABO] concentrating upon the Ruhr district and a weak two-engine unit. Last night London brought a radio report which answered the question, why they did not fly. It said, that they have had bad weather over England for 4 days, that they would use this time to bring their machines into top fighting trim. Apparently, they have recruited and used once more 70000 men and women. Apparently, due to our offensive, they have used many men and the technical ground staff have decreased very much, or it is an excuse upon questions. It was announced publicly over the radio. During the night only 20 Mosquitoes flew in and dropped bombs upon Recklinghausen. Bad weather in Italy. From the west and south no flights of fighting units today.
The Fuehrer: The meeting seems to take place again in Teheran.
Hewel: If it will take place at all now. I am sure it will be postponed.
Burgdorf: Here is an excerpt of measures taken by Frederic the Great and Frederic William I. I can give it to you to read.
The Fuehrer: If people think that I am so brutal. I would recommend all dignified gentlemen to read this. It has always been that way. These things ought to be read by our officers. They have absorbed only the spirit of Schlieffen, not the spirit of Moltke, Frederic the Great, Frederic William I, Bluecher, etc. That was also a good spirit. That can be seen by the 73 year old Courbiere.
Goering: That shows, age does not mean anything.
The Fuehrer: No, on the contrary, if they get old, they become "bucks". I have seen that too.
Burgdorf: (Presents text) Schoerner has heavily interfered with your authority which only belonged to you, my Fuehrer, dismissals, etc. But I am in favor of not disavowing it afterwards. Otherwise, we don't get anywhere. He also writes here, that he almost feels like hanging the commander if he does not bring order into it. Then the matter of the officers, which I presented, has been brought up again by the Reichsmarshal. The Reichsmarshal holds the view that it is better to leave the men in their ranks and that they should be used in subordinate positions according to their aptitude.
Goering: For instance, I have a commanding general leading a company in a parachute regiment. Up to now degradation was part of the punishment, if somebody had committed a crime. If now somebody has been dismissed honorably, and he is called back, only you give him a smaller position because he cannot lead anything else, we cannot draft him as a sergeant. That is a degradation. I do not know who would still want to become an officer. Even if the work is done honorably there would be no protection any longer.
The Fuehrer: It is very difficult, if today a general should lead a company under a battalion commander who is perhaps only a first lieutenant.
Goering: In this case it will work all right. But he must not be degraded.
Burgdorf: If I may point out the development as it is in the army very often. We have now several thousand officers who have never served with a fighting unit, or the last time, at the end of the world war. Since that time they were either used in office positions, administrative positions or as railroad commanders, patrolling trains, while the front was far away and these spaces had to be protected. Now they are at our disposal. Reichsminister Goebbels has now justifiably demanded that these men shall not be dismissed because we could not use them as officers, while all men back to the class of 86 have been drafted. Because, if we would discharge them from the active Wehrmacht, even younger men might be dismissed who could still be IA, while old men are still being drafted. That they remain on active service has not been disputed by the Reichsmarshal. That they have to be used, is evident. The only question is how can they be used.
Goering: In the World War the men have done their duty as officers and have been retired.
Burgdorf: But they have not been trained with arms at all. We have an officer's training regiment at Wildflecken. There, the men have been divided into three parts: those who have to be dismissed because they can't do their job any more, and would be of better use in business -- that will be thoroughly examined -- those who could be used advantageously in any capacity within the units and those who have systematically shirked their duty during the whole war. We have found people who have been with 15 different units during one year from which it can be seen that they have been sent away everywhere.
Goering: If you have a shirker, you courtmartial and decommission him. I am only of the opinion that it is impossible in a profession -- this can't be found in the whole world that somebody, with a clean record, who has served honorably, shall be degraded because he is being used in a subordinate position.
The Fuehrer: It is so with us, not in England.
Goering: He always remains an officer.
Burgdorf: A retired officer can only start again. Hewel told me of a colonel, who entered the service again and was killed as an airgunner.
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Goering: Ask, why he has been dismissed.
Burgdorf: He thinks, he has been quite a decent fellow.
The Fuehrer: In England rank goes with the position.
Goering: I have examined it thoroughly. If a man is a captain and is in line to become major in 10 years, and tomorrow he fills a post which carries the rank of major, he will be made major out of his turn, and if he returns to a position which carries the rank of captain, he becomes a captain again. But, if due to his length of service, he is up for major after 10 years, he will become major, no matter which position he holds. That applies only for those who advanced outside of their turn.
The Fuehrer: Now I want to have an exact report how it is in England. Who can give it?
Fegelein: General Christian knows it well, I have talked to him, he was in America.
Burgdorf: It will then have to be decided, whether we should form officer units, whereby should be added that in the officer units a first lieutenant may lead perhaps a squad and a captain a platoon, where ranks are nonsense. But I warn you, since I have seen the men. The last prestige of the officer corps will be lost by the run of an entire battalion of officers. Because the men I have seen, will run away.
Goering: That is correct. But how do you intend to make an officer of a man who knows that he may be degraded any time without him doing anything wrong?
Burgdorf: As soon as the Fuehrer started to promote men without regard in what rank he happened to be only according to their qualification, at that moment, it was logical that we aid to the people who could not fulfill it: I am sorry but you are not capable to fill that post.
Keitel: But these men are completely different men. They would not have come if they had been told that, they would have taken up another profession.
Burgdorf: In this war there is no officer, who has not been promoted three grades during this war.
Goering: Naturally he has been promoted; if an officer has gotten his discharge because of age or temporary illness, illness does not enter into the question
The Fuehrer: I believe, the point is briefly as follows, Goering. This whole bureaucratic apparatus is going to be cleaned out now. It has indeed become so inflated that in comparison the civilian bureaucracy, appears like a rabbit against a saurian, and that comes from the fact that the military at the beginning of the war automatically calls back into the ranks every man who has ever seen military service and appears on some file. They have been called up on the basis of their former ranks. They have been promoted again now. The men have grown old and
can lead only in a limited way. For those are world-war-officers, they have the rank of a general today, and are not capable of commanding a battalion. Thus the situation would arise that I would call out all the men in the whole nation who are only fit for limited war service, and have them serve in the army, regardless of the positions they occupy in civilian life, while at the same time I am dismissing and sending home others, who occupy superfluous posts, because I cannot use them. To the general I cannot give a division or a regiment, because he can't handle it. To a colonel I cannot give a battalion, because he cannot handle that at all. He has been currently promoted and cannot even command a company. This is the problem. It has nothing to do with his claims for a pension. But the moment I am calling up the Volkssturm and drafting, God only knows what kind of people by lowering the age limit, I up and send people home who are absolutely fit for front line duty, because they occupy a post, which apparently needs not to be occupied at all, and they do not fill this post, because the post is superfluous, because they sit in a bureaucracy, which we want to air out. Thus I am sending home people, who are fit for front line duty, are really soldiers, and others, who are only fit for limited service, and are not soldiers, I am drafting.
Goering: Exactly -- that must not happen. He shall go to a post where he can work but in his rank.
The Fuehrer: Yes, I can not use him in his rank.
Goering: Not in his official position. He has done his duty during the world war, has become a regular army officer.
The Fuehrer: I admit all of that. But take it, the man is now a colonel, and to give him command over a regiment would mean assassinating 3000 men.
Goering: He is not to get a regiment, either.
The Fuehrer: Under certain circumstances he may not even be able to command a squad, then it will be difficult.
Goering: Then he can stand guard. I have made that proposition to generals of mine. I have said. I cannot give them anything else.
The Fuehrer: Have the generals accepted that?
Goering: Some yes; some no.
The Fuehrer: And these?
Goering: These I will call in now under the more stringent regulations. Up until now, I have given them their choice, and have not drafted them.
The Fuehrer: What is he going to do then?
Goering: If there is nothing else, he will stand guard.
The Fuehrer: As a general?
Goering: As a general.
The Fuehrer: Do you think that the cause will be served better in this way?
Goering: During World War I this general proved himself as a valiant battalion commander, was discharged as a colonel, and has now been called in again because he is needed.
The Fuehrer: In the world war no battalion commander was discharged as a colonel.
Goering: As lieutenant colonel.
The Fuehrer: My regimental commander was a major, then later he was given an acting rank, and only I made him a colonel. In the world war people were not promoted at all. That was the poorest promotion possible.
Goering: Some were promoted. But this one was given the rank of an acting lieutenant colonel, and was drafted as a lieutenant colonel, because he was needed in some bureaucratic affair, and received further promotions. Hitherto demotion has been considered the greatest disgrace imaginable among officers -- there is no doubt about it -- and this is not being understood among us.
I too, am of the opinion; on principle that must be done differently. It will have to be done 90 that rank and appointment will be basically identical.
Goering: That is right. Here I am entirely of your opinion. For three years I have tried to go after this.
With the British this is basically so. If one commands a division, he is division general, if he commands a regiment, he is colonel, and if he commands a battalion, he is a major. If he has for a time, been commander of a regiment, he afterwards goes back again.
Goering: Only a "Schweinehund" would take a demotion. If he was not that, he would have shot and killed himself.
The Fuehrer: That is no demotion.
Goering: If one has been a colonel, and is called up to serve as sergeant, that is a demotion. If he is put into that rank, he can
The Fuehrer: This is not to affect his emoluments.
Goering: I would simply throw the emoluments at his feet and say: You are taking away my honor, and you well know, that so far this has been considered the greatest disgrace among officers.
The Fuehrer: In reality it is not so. That is your conception. It was also considered a disgrace when I promoted a man like lightning. It was considered a disgrace among the officers when I promoted one Major Remer immediately to colonel.
Goering: Certainly not for him.
Burgdorf: If I, a general, should have to serve as a major, I would prefer to do it in a major's uniform, otherwise it would be a constant public defamation, and everybody would know it.
Goering: You say that, because it does not apply to you. Then do it. It would be a shining example.
Burgdorf: I am confident that I can still be used in the capacity of my rank.
Goering: Then complete reconstruction will be necessary. In this case it would be demotion without judicial sentence.
The Fuehrer: It is no demotion. The man is not demoted, he is only given a position which he really can fill, which he had outgrown, without being able to measure up to the new rank. Then it would be a demotion also, if I draft the president of some concern today, and he has to serve as a private.
Goering: No, he is not a professional officer, he did not choose the profession of a soldier.
The Fuehrer: But the other one has chosen his profession, and must be able to meet its requirements. If he cannot do that, that is no demotion.
Goering: If he does not meet the requirements of a president, he will be discharged.
The Fuehrer: Then he can no longer be president, but perhaps be only plant manager.
Goering: Or somewhere else a travelling salesman.
Fegelein: It has always been like that with the political leaders.
The Fuehrer: Fundamentally I am of the opinion, that the British system is healthier. It says: Anyone who commands a division is a division general, and if he does not, he is not, and if a division general should some day again command a regiment, then he is regimental commander.
Keitel: In the "Reichswehr" we were, at the time, of the opinion, the generals there were never to command regiments and battalions, and therefore we took off the old army insignia as unsuited. We simply said, we will not wear uniforms, just stars, so that a general at that time could also command a battalion. We could not have done it any other way.
Goering: With me a general had command of a group.
The Fuehrer: Then what kind of insignia did these wear?
The Fuehrer: Goering: The Fuehrer: Goering: Keitel: Goering: Keitel:
Keitel: In the Reichswehr only stars.
Fegelein: Hausser was discharged as a major general and then was a colonel with us.
The Fuehrer: Here is an example. I want to tell you something right now. How many were discharged from the army as generals, entered the Waffen-SS and occupied subordinate positions.
Goering: They were not forced to do it.
The Fuehrer: What do you mean "not forced"? We stand in a time of emergency today. The question is this: I must think myself in the place of a company commander. Such an officer is a lieutenant and able to lead a company, but he has a colonel, who himself is absolutely incapable to lead a company, because it has been 25 years since he knew how. But he is now in that company as a platoon leader, maybe not even that, he is in it in his uniform. What sort of a mottled affair are we going to have then? Does the officer in charge of the company then salute his colonel?
Goering: It is a fundamental matter, which upsets and overturns everything that has been existing hitherto, an idea, which was inconceivable until now. To this alone I call attention.
The Fuehrer: Anyhow, it is this way in the rest of the world.
Goering: Not in the rest of the world. It's never so in England. Therefore I made the suggestion, to differentiate between rank and position.
Keitel: In the Volkssturm there have been no difficulties so far.
Goering: No, not there. You said, in the Reichswehr. Then you mean to say, that it had been introduced by the Reichswehr, that some general, who commanded a battalion, was only a major.
Keitel: Exactly. He did not wear a General's uniform and the man was called battalion commander, and no longer major, lieutenant colonel or general.
Goering: How long was that?
Keitel: It had been carried through in the Reichswehr. Then it disappeared again, because it was said, how can you do such a thing, this is madness. I was the one who said we have no rank, no lieutenant, no captain, major, lieutenant colonel, but we have platoon leaders, company leaders, battalion leaders, regimental leaders.
Goering: When for instance was a general, a platoon leader ?
Keitel: I must know that. I have been organizational chief of the Army General Staff.
Goering: What years are you speaking of ?
Keitel: The years 1925-30. The mobilization orders which were applicable to the entire Armed Forces, had been officially introduced and recognized. There was no longer any rank, only the rating connected with the appointment.
Goering: That is just what I have been requesting for 2 years. But it has not been the case, that a general, who was a general, suddenly becomes sergeant.
Jodl: I would do it this way: Lt. Colonel X would be ordered to report for active duty as a platoon leader.
The Fuehrer: He will not be demoted. That is a definition which suddenly was dropped in here. But his rank in itself is dormant.
Goering: If one has been a general, and is ordered to report for active duty as a sergeant, then according to the prevailing conception, he is demoted.
The Fuehrer: I cannot call him in as a general.
Goering: If he is ordered to report as platoon leader or squad leader, that is something different.
Keitel: At that time an emergency existed and with the giant officers corps of the world war we could not have done otherwise.
Jodl: Such extreme cases surely would never occur. To be squad leader, one does not need to have any leadership-personality at all.
Goering: How do you intend to change the rank? You said yourself, as technical sergeant or sergeant.
Burgdorf: It is the numerous captains and majors, with whom I am stuck.
Goering: You spoke of generals. But even with a colonel it is not easy either.
Burgdorf:Even a colonel I could always use as an officer. But the majority of them have never been soldiers.
Goering: Right, I agree with your definition, if the rank is taken into account.
The Fuehrer: But even then he can't run around in a general's Jodl: uniform. What kind of a company would you have, if each company commander wears the uniform of a lieutenant and the platoon leader the uniform of a general, to speak in extremes. I don't know which one is the greater degradation. On the other hand, I can't give a unit to the general that corresponds to his rank, when he is not capable of it. How can I give a young volunteer division to the general, when it is going to be destroyed through it? Maybe he was a poor company commander in World War I, where it was generally known, that in normal peace times he would not have been in the position to lead a company. Then he would have had to attend courses, just like nowadays. We promote many and know, that under normal peace time conditions, they couldn't make it.
Jodl: Can't one say: Colonel X will be given the command as a chief of a Volkssturm company [Volkssturmkompaniechef], even though he is transferred elsewhere?
Burgdorf: There he is subject to a different classification.
The Fuehrer: I had people in the SA and the SS who advanced by hard work. In the army this is impossible. Just visualize this company in reality, led by a capable lieutenant, who became a lieutenant; who is able to lead it and must lead it, and under his command he has a couple of lieutenant colonels or generals in their respective uniforms. During that time the service rank must not count, the way I see it. There is no other way.
Goering: Off duty he will keep his rank, on duty he will not.
The Fuehrer: One thing must be avoided: that those men who are fit for active service now don't fight at all, because they can't hold their jobs, but the one who is fit for limited combat duty must fight. Nowadays I must keep in mind the psychological moment not only in the case of officer but also of the German people. After all this is no disgrace.
Goering: But that must be made clear.
Jodl: There must not be the feeling of a degradation without guilt.
Burgdorf: Six weeks of training will be given to them, in order to show whether they are capable or not. I have seen the men and you yourself would say instantly, Reichsmarshall, that fellow shouldn't be in uniform at all. If I had to carry out thousands of judicially interwoven degradations, I wouldn't have even enough men, to do the work.
Goering: Then I would say immediately, out of the armed forces and into
the Home Guard [Volkssturm].
Burgdorf: There are old people in the Volkssturm. Then a 46 year old man comes up who is fit for combat, and who has been shirking successfully and who has been in the West before.
Goering: You could degrade a man like that.
The Fuehrer: He also cannot command a unit. He has never held such positions. I can't trust him with the smallest unit.
Goering: Then in the unit itself, a number of men has also to be taken out.
Burgdorf: In a fighting unit one can see that pretty quickly.
Fegelein: The Reichsfuehrer did it the same way. He only said to the 19th army, I am of that opinion, and that did it.
The Fuehrer: After all, the profession of a soldier is a fighting profession. That must be the aim.
Goering: That must be made clear basically. Because this is an entirely different point of view.
The Fuehrer: It is no degradation, but the rank drops during the time of operations. If the man is capable, then he will be reinstated into his rank within a short time. He has a much easier time than anyone else. But some solution must be found. One thing must be avoided: that a military purge takes place, with the result of a change from the military bureaucracy into civilian idleness. I can't even use them in the labor-pool, because in a way we have a surplus of workers. Apart from that, people are justified in saying: This one is fit for combat and not the other one who is sent to the front.
Burgdorf: The sending of a mortar platoon to the Reichsfuehrer in the Black Forest worked miracles in the O.C.S. regiment. However, it didn't look so good to the lower ranks, when a lieutenant colonel and three lieutenants carried mortars around.
The Fuehrer: This to me is much more degrading than the other method. The other method consists in giving a position to a man which corresponds to his ability and with which I can trust him fully. Otherwise I let him run around in his uniform and perform work, that can be done by a common private or N.C.O.
Goering: Then one must act consequently and quick by freezing promotions, etc.
Burgdorf: To promote unit commanders only.
Goering: Then none will stay on the staff.
Burgdorf: Privileged positions are to be had.
Keitel: We have duties, which have to be performed by men who are really close to the front. We can't do anything with idiots.
Burgdorf: It is much worse to take away the men who are fit for combat.
Keitel: Would you read my order concerning the withdrawal of men, who are fit for combat. This is gradually becoming unbearable.
Goering: I also can't let anyone remain with the staff, when he says: I can't be promoted while on the staff, I must prove myself as commanding officer of troops, I won't stay here, that you can't ask of me. Today I can lead a company, you suspended me for one year, now I am not able anymore to lead a unit, this is not my fault. That is what he will say.
Burgdorf: We promote them. We take paymasters as C.O.'s of companies and battalions, as soon as they can do that.
The Fuehrer: I deem it worse, to assemble so called officer's battalions these days. Because if they fail, they leave a very bad impression. That will be talked about in another unit. Then they are looked upon as disciplinary battalions. In my opinion it would be better to place them into other units. For this would be a definite defamation.
Guderian: In the mortar battalion mentioned, there is as lieutenant colonel one who was my supply leader in Poland, France, and Russia, he was decorated, I myself decorated him with the Iron Cross, first class. This man was reported by one of his countrymen from Oberdonau because of alleged remarks which he never made, but which were said to be made before the Anschluss; therefore he was dismissed from his position, was placed into this mortar battalion at Wildflecken, and as a decent, splendid lieutenant colonel who in his case has been an outspokenly capable and especially splendid man, he is carrying mortars around. and he wrote me the most awful letters that were just heartbreaking. He says: I have been defamed without being guilty, without a logical investigation and verification, only because of a dirty fellow who reported me, and I don't know how to help myself. I believe, he has not been rehabilitated yet.
The Fuehrer: Those are cases in which at the present we have to discharge 5/6 of our administration. It is not a question of defamations. The administration must be discharged, and one cannot decide that those 5/6 don't have to be soldiers anymore for the reason, that they can't get a military command corresponding their rank.
Guderian: Then we must use them some place else. If a colonel can only be used as a leader of a battalion or company, he is going to get that rank and for the duration of this duty he takes off his shoulderpieces.
The Fuehrer: That is it.
Goering: But he does not become a N.C.O.
Guderian: No, he remains a colonel or general with full pay and all privileges.
Goering: Never mind the pay.
Fegelein: With the escort detachment there are a great many captains [Hauptsturmfuehrer] who served with the Leibstandarte in the rank of sergeants. There were never any difficulties.
Goering: The Waffen-SS is an active formation. The other ones are inactive. When they are serving there, they are on reserve duty. One can be Oberpraesident and also can be corporal. This is something else. Not a single one will remain now in a command, because he says, I am running this risk.
The Fuehrer: Under no circumstances would I release these men to go home in the first place. At a time, when I draft men up to almost 56 years, who are fit for limited combat service, I discharge 45-year-old ones, although they have been soldiers all the time. That doesn't work. In the second place, it is not plausible that I give a man, who is not able to lead a unit, a command of a unit in spite of it. And in the third place, I cannot say to the man, after I-have taken them on the staff and who were able to lead a unit: Because you have been on the staff, you won't get a unit.
The Fuehrer: If they are able to lead a unit, then they will get it.
Goering: No, they were capable.
The Fuehrer: Then they will be there again within the shortest time. That they must learn. This is no disgrace. I myself had to learn it too, to be Reichschancellor. I used to be party leader, my own boss, and as Reichschancellor I was a subordinate of the Reichspresident. For a period of time I was Regierungsrat in Braunschweig.
Goering: But not an acting one.
The Fuehrer: Don't say that. I have been very useful to the country.
Burgdorf: We will put them all into training courses, to continue their training. In addition to that we constantly have a request to higher army authorities to release the ones concerned to us for two months, so that the man in question returns again. This way he won't become a stranger.
The Fuehrer: Nowadays I can bring the born commanding officer on any staff, when I return him, I cannot say, that he will skip all that. That is an impossibility. Because they must learn an awful lot. Anyone who is leading out there now, will confirm that. In a few months, however, he will naturally again prove his qualities as a leader. He will then again have the position corresponding to his rank, if he is the born commanding officer at all. That is quite clear; it shouldn't be difficult. Now, take the born commanding officer, he'll be that corresponding to his rank, in no time at all.
Fulltext: Fegelein: The 10000 officers and non-coms, the British and Americans in Sagan, will march in two hours and in formation. Besides that, there are also 1500 men marching toward Sagan who were somewhere near the Government General. They were offered to remain with the
Russians, because they couldn't be transported; they declined that and offered to fight on our side....
Hewel: They want guns.
Jodl: Should we succeed in persuading the British and Americans to fight against the Russians, this will be a sensation.
Hewel: But this is not confirmed yet.
The Fuehrer: Perhaps somebody said something like that, and then it is immediately generalized. I am suspicious to the utmost.
Fegelein: If it works, O.K., we may do so.
The Fuehrer: But not, because someone said so.
Fegelein: The 1,500 marched on foot, they did not want to ride trucks, because they were afraid, they would be driven to the Russians. Therefore they marched, because they saw, that the Russians drove into a German civilian formation. This impressed them in such a way, that they left on foot.
Hewel: One should really let a few English officers go over.
Jodl: They may be airplane specialists.
End: 18:50 o'clock.
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I just reread "Hitler Directs His War" which included many of these surviving transcripts. Unfortunately most had been edited.
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