The Leader And Supreme Commander Of The Armed Forces.
Headquarters. 24th May, 1940. 7 copies
Directive No. 13
1. The next object of our operations is to annihilate the French, English, and Belgian forces which are surrounded in Artois and Flanders, by a concentric attack by our northern flank and by the swift seizure of the Channel coast in this area.
The task of the Air Force will be to break all enemy resistance on the part of the surrounded forces, to prevent the escape of the English forces across the Channel, and to protect the southern flank of Army Group A.
The enemy airforce will be engaged whenever opportunity offers.
2. The Army will then prepare to destroy in the shortest possible time the remaining enemy forces in France. This operation will be undertaken in three phases:
Phase 1: A thrust between the sea and the Oise as far as the lower Seine below Paris, with the intention of supporting and securing with weak forces the later main operations on the right flank.
Should the position and reserves available permit, every effort will be made, even before the conclusion of hostilities in Artois and Flanders, to occupy the area between the Somme and the Oise by a concentric attack in the direction of Montdidier, and thereby to prepare and facilitate the later thrust against the lower Seine.
Phase 2: An attack by the main body of the Army, including strong armoured forces, southeastwards on either side of Reims, with the intention of defeating the main body of the French Army in the Paris-Metz-Belfort triangle and of bringing about the collapse of the Maginot Line.
Phase 3: In support of this main operation, a well timed subsidiary attack on the Maginot Line with the aim of breaking through the Line with weaker forces at its most vulnerable point between St Avold and Sarreguemines in the direction of Nancy-LunÚville.
Should the situation allow, an attack on the upper Rhine may be envisaged, with the limitation that not more than eight to ten divisions are to be committed.
3. Tasks Of The Air Force.
(a) Apart from operations in France, the Air Force is authorised to attack the English homeland in the fullest manner, as soon as sufficient forces are available. This attack will be opened by an annihilating reprisal for English attacks on the Ruhr Basin.
Commander In Chief Air Force will designate targets in accordance with the principles laid down in Directive No. 9 and further orders to be issued by the High Command Of The Armed Forces. The time and plan for this attack are to be reported to me.
The struggle against the English homeland will be continued after the commencement of land operations. With the opening of the main operations of the Army in the direction of Reims, it will be the task of the Air Force, apart from maintaining our air supremacy, to give direct support to the attack, to break up any enemy reinforcements which may appear, to hamper the regrouping of enemy forces, and in particular to protect the western flank of the attack.
The breakthrough of the Maginot Line will also be supported as far as necessary.
(c) Commander In Chief Air Force will also consider how far the air defence of the areas upon which the enemy is now concentrating his attacks can be strengthened by the employment of forces from less threatened areas.
In so far as the Navy is involved in any changes of this kind, Commander In Chief Navy is to participate.
4. Tasks Of The Navy.
All restrictions on naval action in English and French waters are hereby cancelled, and Commanders are free to employ their forces to the fullest extent.
Commander In Chief Navy will submit a proposal for the delimitation of the areas in which the measures authorised for the coming siege may be carried out.
I reserve to myself the decision whether, and if so in what form, the blockade will be made public.
5. I request the Commanders In Chief to inform me, in person or in writing, of their intentions based on this directive.