Führer Directive 19

10 Dec 1940

ww2dbase
The Führer and Supreme Commander
of the Armed Forces
Führer Headquarters,
10th December 1940.
12 copies

Directive No. 19
'Operation Attila'


  1. In case those parts of the French Colonial Empire now controlled by General Weygand should show signs of revolt, preparations will be made for the: rapid occupation of the still unoccupied territory of continental France ('Operation Attila'). At the same time it will be necessary to lay hands on the French home fleet and on those parts of the French Air Force in home bases, or at least to prevent their going over to the enemy.

    For military as well as political reasons, preparations for this operation will be camouflaged so as to avoid alarming the French.
  2. The occupation, if necessary, will be carried out as follows :
    1. Strong motorised forces with adequate air cover will thrust rapidly along the valleys of the Garonne and Rhone to the Mediterranean, will occupy ports as quickly as possible (especially the important Toulon naval base), and will seal off France from the sea.
    2. Formations stationed on the demarcation line will move forward along the whole front.
    The time which will elapse between the receipt of orders for the operation and the forward movement of troops will be kept as short as possible. Individual formations and units may be moved up now, so long as the purpose of this movement is not obvious.

    Organised resistance by French forces is unlikely. Should resistance be offered locally it will be ruthlessly suppressed. Bomber formations of the Air Force, especially dive-bombers, will be employed for this purpose and against possible centres of disturbance.
  3. In order to take steps to prevent the sailing of the French fleet and its going over to the enemy, all possible information will be obtained of the position, state of readiness, possibility of capture, etc., of each ship. Commander-in-Chief Navy will issue the appropriate orders, in collaboration with the Armed Forces Intelligence Division, using the opportunities afforded by the Armistice Commission.

    Commanders-in-Chief Navy and Air Force will consider, in conjunction with the occupying forces of the Army, how the French fleet can best be captured. Particular attention will be paid to-Blocking exits of ports (especially Toulon).
    Airborne landings.
    Sabotage.
    Submarine and air attacks on ships putting to sea.


    Commander-in-Chief Navy will decide whether, and if so to what extent, units of the French fleet are to be excluded from the concessions granted to them under the Armistice Agreement.

    I reserve to myself the right to decide how this operation will be carried out. Offensive action will be authorised only if French Armed Forces offer resistance or parts of the Fleet put to sea in spite of German orders.
  4. Measures to seize French airports and the aircraft on them will be concerted direct between the Air Force and Army. Other possibilities (e.g. airborne operations) are to be exploited.
  5. Commanders-in-Chief will inform me (in writing through the High Command of the Armed Forces) of their plans for 'Operation Attila.'. In the case of the Army this has already been done. The time needed between the receipt of orders and the beginning of the operation is to be indicated.
  6. Preparations for 'Operation Attila' must be kept the closest secret.


The Italians will be given no information about our preparations and intentions.

[signed] ADOLF HITLER

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Added By: C. Peter Chen





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Associated Event(s):
» Scuttling of the French Fleet



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