July 11. Wolfschanze, Rastenburg, East Prussia
*Jold is back from Berlin, he and Keitel have called some of the important people from the Eastern front in order for them to report the situation directly to the Fuhrer. The generals, air commanders and admirals have taken their seats in the conference room, they are waiting for the Fuhrer to arrive*
Jodl: The Fuhrer will be arriving shortly, I want each of you to give him an idea of what we are dealing with here.
Von Leeb: Well my Northern attack is going well, we are on the verge of taking Riga, however, our armored troops have had to crack some hard nuts.
Göring: What do you mean by that?
Von Leeb: We have encountered some difficulties, I will tell you more when the Fuhrer arrives.
Erich Reader: Well I have good news from the west! That should cheer up the Fuhrer.
Halder: I fear for my life at this moment gentlemen, the Soviets have pushed hard against my front, and they have broken the back of my army.
Von Bock: I am glad I am not in your shoes General Halder!
*There is a long silence after this, it is finally broken when the door opens and the Fuhrer enters the room, everyone does a "Hitler salute" followed by
"Heil Mein Fuhrer"*
Hitler: Guten abent meine herren. I am curious on our Eastern situation, General Keitel promised me great deeds, I wonder whether you have managed to do anything of value.
*As Hitler speak he looks particularly at General Halder*
Hitler: Ah, Von Leeb, I long for victories, how is your Armegruppe Nord doing?
*Von Leeb stands up and as he is about to speak he oozes of self-confidence.*
Von Leeb: I know that Jodl told you that Von Obstfelder's XXXXI. Armeekorps (mot) was attacking Saldus, well I am proud to inform you that it is ours!
Hitler: excellent! Are you pushing further Von Leeb?
Von Leeb: As soon as the province was secured I ordered the 1. and 6. Panzer-divisions to attack the Soviets in Tukums, The soviets are constantly reinforcing when we attack them but still we are rolling up their positions, and Von Langermann und Erlendkamp has assured me that they can achieve victory!
Hitler: This sounds very good, how far is it from Tukums to Riga?
Von Leeb: It is about 20 miles of open plains, we should be able to secure Riga within a week, unless the Soviets bring up huge amounts of troops.
Hitler: Sehr Güt! When Riga is ours you will be greatly rewarded! Do you have further good news?
*Von Leeb puts up a huge smile and continues*
Von Leeb: General Jänecke has used his I. Armeekorps in a wonderful fashion and he has, after a few brilliant maneuvers managed to encircle General Kreizer's 48. Rifle-Division on the Kurland peninsula, the Soviets insists on holding on and they are making a final stand in Ventspils. Jänecke has ensured me that his 21. Infanterie-Division under majorgeneral Von Lützov can force the Soviets to surrender within a few days.
Hitler: You see gentlemen, this is how true Germans fight! I congratulate you Von Leeb, and you can pass on to General Jänecke that as soon there becomes a vacant armee, he will be promoted and given command!
Von Leeb: Danke shön Mein Fuhrer! Von Jänecke will be very honored by your praise. However i still have more to share with you Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: Please continue Von Leeb.
Von Leeb: The Luftwaffe have been very usefull to support my troops in their attack's and Herman's stukas are responsible for the huge enemy tank losses, but there are a few problems. We don't have any fighter cover and enemy bombers are striking at my troops quite frequently, they are causing heavy losses.
Hitler: I hope Herman can do something about this.
Göring: We are still waiting for our new interceptors to roll of the production line, so for the time being you have rely on you anti-air defenses Von Leeb.
Hitler: I will order Schacht to hurry the production. Was that the only problem you have Von Leeb?
Von Leeb: Well, the Soviets have a wonder weapon, a tank which we can't
beat, it is called T34. Our PAK 36/37 does not even scratch it's armor. The troops have started referring to the PAK 36/37 as "The doorknocker" and I do not blame them. Herman's stukas have destroyed some of them but we really need those new Marder tanks!
One of Armegruppe Nord's Doorknocker's in action
Hitler: This can't be, I was told that our Panzer III F model was unbeatable! Have any other commanders met similar problems?!
Von Bock: Yes, my Armegruppe Mitte and Von Rundstedt's Armegruppe Süd have also come into contact with these new tanks, I spoke to General Reichenau, he is always inspecting the tanks which his men encounter and I heard him say that "If the Russians ever produce this tank on an assembly line, we will have lost the war." So the problem is quite serious Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: Well our engineers will have to design some new tanks for us then, those untermenschen can't have better tanks then my Panzer-Divisions!
Göring: My Luftwaffe will handle them in the meantime Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: Güt, güt, güt. Did you have something more for us Von Leeb.
Von Leeb: Yes actually I do, yesterday myself and Admiral Raeder had a little chat, he told me that we have total naval supremacy in the Östsee!
Raeder: That is correct, the Soviet fleet is trapped inside Leningrad!
The Tirpitz, the pride of the Kriegsmarine.
Hitler: Excellent, and how do you plan to exploit this?
Von Leeb: We considered to land in Talinn, thereby we could draw Soviet troops away from Riga, and if we are lucky we can expand that bridgehead southwards and unite it with Von Obstfelder's troops. I spoke with Jodl, and he told me that we have several reserve-Divisions which he could release for this operation. What do you think Mein Fuhrer?
Hitler: I think it is a most excellent proposition, you may launch it whenever you are ready Von Leeb, the forces are to be called Befehlsstelle Estland, and I want General Dietl to assume command, the operation itself will be called Unternehmen Ritterbüder after the Teutonic knights!
Von Leeb: Very good Mein Fuhrer, I will see to it.
Hitler: If that was all Von Leeb then you may take a seat.
Von Leeb: Jawohl Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: General Halder, has operation Silberfüchs started yet? when do you think Murmansk will be in our hands?
*General Halder looks as if he is about to fall dead on the spot, and slowly rises. He starts to speak very silently and with a thin voice.*
Halder: The Soviet's have taken Petsamo, and they have pushed me back from every defense position which I have assembled. There will not be any "Operation Silberfüchs" for some time.
Troops of the 3. Gebirgs-Division protecting the German retreat with a leichte Infanteriegeschütz 18.
*Hitler blows into an extreme rage and accuses Halder of incompetence along with a lot of other things which are completely out of the context.
Hitler is finally convinced by Jodl to listen to the rest of Halder's report before he does anything further.*
Halder: The soviets first took, Petsamo, then they managed to force Dittmar's 169. Infaterie-Division out of Nautsi. Then myself and Von Falkenhorst tried to organize a line from Kirkenes to Ovre Pasvik, but within a few days the Soviets forced their way through my lines. I have a plan which might save the situation for us Mein Fuhrer. Further south Majorgeneral Zu Reuss'es 6. Division is winning the battle thanks to the intervention of the 6. SS Divison "Nord", when the battle is over I want to draw these two divisions north in order to cut the Soviet supply lines. I have spoken with general Von Leeb and he considers it to be quite possible. Here is a map of our current situation and my plan for stopping the Soviet avalanche.
Halder: As you can see the blue line marks where we are holding at the moment, i have also marked how the 6. SS is going to strike.
*Hitler views the map for a short time then speaks up*
Hitler: Your incompetence might have given us a golden situation General Halder, also gut, I will give you one more chance to sharpen up, you are allowed to give up ground in Finland if you are forced to do so, but the Norwegian soil are to be defended. Do I make myself clear?!
Halder: Yes Mein Fuhrer.
*Halder takes his seat an looks relieved that he is (at least for the moment) alive. *
Hitler: Who wants to go next?
*Admiral Raeder rises and starts to talk while appearing to be quite content.*
Raeder: During the last week I have been trying to find some ways to get the British back for their bombing of our cities. Therefore I got together with Göring and Dönitz and we began striking at the British convoys outside the Celtic coast.
Raeder: We combined the naval bombers of Coeler with the 23. Unterseebootsflotille of Rear Admiral Sobe, and after 5 days we had sunk 5 transports and 2 escorts with little damage to our forces. After this success I have ordered more U-boats out into the Atlantic.
Hitler: Sehr Güt!
Raeder: The British have tried to strike back by bombing Die Atlantische Flotte which was based in Brest, We reacted quickly and Sharnhorst and Gneisenau are safe in Wilhelmshaven by now. When they have undergone minor repairs they will be ordered to raid British shipping in the Atlantic.
Hitler: I am very impressed with the Kriegsmarine, cooperation with the Luftwaffe is also important and I am glad to hear that it is existent. Was that all Raeder?
Raeder: Jawohl Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: I long to hear from Armegruppe Süd, Von Rundstedt what has happened lately?
Von Rundstedt: We have finally managed to secure Chsinau, The Soviets had prepared strong defences and the cassoulties have been heavy, however most of our losses have been taken by the Romanian Divisions.
Von Rundstedt: Von Weichs has reached Chisinau and after a brief counterattack the Soviets realized that the city was lost, I have ordered Von Weichs to attack the Soviets in Rezina, which is North of Chisinau, he is attacking over 100 000 Soviets and have managed to pull off a small encirclement even though he is outnumbered by almost two to one.
Hitler: Excellent news, I am sure Antonescu was very pleased with it as well, he is very keen on taking back Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina from the Soviets after they forced the Romanians to give it up in 1940. But the casualties in this operation have been very high indeed, I hope the next battles will be cheaper!
Von Rundstedt: Indeed Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: What is happening with the other part of the Southern pincer?
Von Rundstedt: There have been some developments, here is a map of the front Mein Fuhrer:
Von Rundstedt: The areas which are marked in green have been taken by our Panzer-Divisions , we have now concentrated our attack on the Soviet stronghold of Iwanicze, we are attacking it from three directions and General Dehner have told me that we have good chances of winning the battle within the week. There are also some bad news, the Soviets have broken trough at Jaroslav, this has presented us with a new opportunity. We can use Model's forces in the South to attack the Southern part and as soon as our Panzers are rested I will order General Dietrich and Höpner to attack the northern salient. If we are successful we can destroy the entire Soviet force!
Hitler: I was a bit concerned at first but I think this a huge opportunity rather than a setback, thank you Von Rundstedt, you may launch your attack as soon as your men are rested. Then I suppose it is your turn Von Bock.
Von Bock: Heil Mein Fuhrer: Armeegruppe Mitte has only launched two attacks, one of which has secured almost two provinces and the other has become a bit bogged down, I have ordered fresh troops to the location and I am sure of victory in both sectors. Here is the map:
Von Bock: I have done as Von Rundstedt, the area marked in green has been occupied by our Panzer's. As you can see Mein Fuhrer the southern pincer headed for Lida is well underway. The northern one has run into some trouble, but I am confident that as soon as Lida is ours we can use it as a springboard to support the northern pincer. I do not have very much more for you Mein Fuhrer, except that I can't stress enough the need to get something which can knock out diese verflucte T34's.
Hitler: This sounds very god, I will see what can be done against diese wunderwaffen! Was that all meine herren?
Von Rundstedt: Actually we got a report from Rommel today. Das Deutsche Afrika korps has expirienced several victories in the last days, they have wrestled Tobruk from the British and are moving into Egypt at full speed. The Italian troops have also performed surprisingly well, and the Italian general Messe have shown great competence, however, he is not in Rommel's league!
Hitler: Have we got a map, I want to know how far DAK has advanced.
*Von Rundstedt hands over a map sent by Rommel*
Hitler: Most interesting, I am very impressed by the Italians, but also with General Rommel! In fact, I want him to be promoted, he will from now on be known as Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel!
Erwin Rommel, the victor of Tobruk.
Von Bock: A most excellent decision Mein Fuhrer.
Hitler: Well meine herren, this have been a long day, I think I will retire. From now on I want us to meet weekly in conference, however, if something important happens then I trust Jodl will bring it to me before that.
Jodl: Aber naturlich Mein Fuhrer!
Hitler: Then I will see you in a week, gütem abent meine herren.
*As Hitler leaves the others stand up and does a "Hitler salute" before getting back to their respective headquarters.*