High Command Of The Armed Forces. 3rd September, 1944.
Directive For Further Operations By Commander In Chief West
1. Our own heavily tried forces, and the impossibility of bringing up adequate reinforcements quickly, do not allow us at the present moment to determine a line which must be held, and which certainly can be held.
Therefore it is important to gain as much time as possible for raising and bringing up new formations, and for the development of the western defences, and to destroy enemy forces by local attacks.
2. I therefore issue the following orders for the conduct of operations:
The right flank and centre of the Army in the west (including 1st Army) will dispute every inch of ground with the enemy by stubborn delaying action. The likelihood of local penetrations must be accepted, but these must not lead to the encirclement of large German formations.
The protection of the western position and of the West Wall from Roermond to the Swiss frontier is the immediate responsibility of the Chief Of Army Equipment And The Replacement Army, with the forces at his disposal.
In the area forward of the western position north of the Rhine-Marne Canal, command is transferred to 1st Army. The employment of forces and order of battle of this Army will be drawn up accordingly. Commander In Chief West will propose the time at which 1st Army will assume command of the western position. On the left flank, Army Group G will assemble a mobile force forward of the Vosges Mountains, to attack the deep eastern flank of the enemy. The first task of this force will be to protect the withdrawal of 19th Army and LXIV Army Corps, as well as the construction work in progress on the western defences, by mobile operations against the southern flank of XII American Army Corps. Later, its main task will be to deliver a concentrated attack against the deep eastern flank and rear positions of the Americans. For the present XLVII Armoured Corps will take over command of this mobile force. After 7th Army again becomes capable of undertaking operations, 5th Armoured Army will be withdrawn and employed in this task.
The following will be assembled under command of XLVII Armoured Corps, and later of 5th Armoured Army:
In addition, three further Armoured Brigades will be moved from the Home theatre of war, beginning 5th September.
- 3rd and 15th Armoured Grenadier Divisions.
- 17th SS Armoured Grenadier Division and, if possible, Armoured Training Divisions.
- 106th, 107th, and 108th Armoured Brigades, and 11th and 21st Armoured Divisions.
To relieve the Armoured Division of 1st Army, 19th Infantry Division, which will start arriving in Trier on 4th September, will be available. In forming the group, care must be taken to ensure that newly arrived formations, and those resting and reforming, are not prematurely committed and used up.
In order to render the battle group available for its main task at the earliest possible moment, I require Army Group G to move with the utmost speed.
3. The fortress troops allocated to Commander In Chief West, by order dated 26th August, 1944, will be employed first in the western defences, in order to free 559th and 36th Grenadier Divisions, which are temporarily stationed there for employment in front of the western defences. Sufficient fortress troops for this purpose should have arrived by the middle of September.
Owing to delays in the raising of formations, only the following Divisions of those promised for September will be ready for action:
These Divisions will take up positions behind the right flank.
- 564th Grenadier Division by 15th September.
- 565th Grenadier Division by 20th September.
- 566th Grenadier Division by 25th September.
- 570th Grenadier Division by 25th September.
Commander In Chief West will notify their arrival points in good time.
4. The urgent need for resting formations, particularly armoured forces and artillery, will be met as quickly as possible by withdrawing formations which have suffered heavy casualties behind the West Wall. This should be done on the largest possible scale. Plans and timetables will be reported to me.
During the withdrawal and after it, Army Group G will bring its formations up to full establishment by drawing upon all human material capable of fighting, from every branch of the Armed Forces. Commander In Chief West will ascertain the weapons and equipment required to bring Army Group G up to full strength.
An Organisation Staff, which will include representatives of the Navy and Airforce, will be set up by the Chief Of Army Equipment And The Replacement Army, and posted to Army Group G. I will issue orders respecting its tasks.