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The Mediterranean War – Part 1 – Hitler’s Directive no. 18

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Auth. rmk.: With other words, everything going his way, Hitler had decisively decided on assaulting Gibraltar. As things developed he used much more energy on “Felix” than he ever did on “Sea Lion” which, after all, being a success would have had much larger consequences than the mere conquest of a British foothold in the Mediterranean approaches.

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Gibraltar 1941

The preparation and execution of this operation is planned as follows :

PHASE I

(a) Reconnaissance parties (officers in plain clothes) will draw up the necessary plans for action against Gibraltar and for the capture of airfields. With regard to cover and collaboration with the Spaniards they will conform with the security measures of the Chief, Armed Forces Intelligence Division [Ausland Abwehr].

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Auth. rmk.: At this time several German intelligence-gathering missions had already been in the Gibraltar area. Canaris had been in Spain several times.

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(b) Special detachments of the Armed Forces Intelligence Division, in secret collaboration with the Spaniards, will undertake to secure the Gibraltar area against any attempts by the English to enlarge the area they control or to discover and interfere prematurely with our preparations.

(c) Formations detailed for the operation will be concentrated at a considerable distance from the Franco-Spanish frontier and without previous briefing of troops. Three weeks before troops are timed to cross the Spanish-French frontier (and after the conclusion of preparations for the occupation of the Atlantic Islands) a warning order will be issued.

In view of the low capacity of Spanish railways the Army will detail chiefly motorized formations for this operation, so that the railways are available for supplies.

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Auth. rmk.: German army and air force units had already been earmarked for “Felix”. Even their training areas in France had been decided upon.

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PHASE II

(a) Units of the Air Force, summoned through observation in the Algeciras area, will set out from French bases and make a well-timed air attack on English naval forces in Gibraltar harbour. After the attack they will land in Spanish airports.

(b) Shortly after this attack units detailed for operations in Spain will cross or fly over the Franco-Spanish frontier.

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Auth. rmk.: Since Franco was not coming along this particular point could not be adhered to. But, what if French bases had been used instead.

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Comments

  1. Interesting stuff. Thanks.

  2. petergarforth@btinternet.com says:

    Great article about a document I didn’t know existed.

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