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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces an appendix to
The Man Who Never Was

by Ewen Montagu

published by J. B. Lippincott Company
Philadelphia and New York,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p152  Appendix I

Copy of 1st Naval War Staff 1 Ops. 1942/43,a1 Most Secret, S. O. Only, of May 20.43

From a teleprinted signal (outgoing) to:

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces /Operations Staff of the Armed Forces.

Copy to: Naval Group Command South, C.‑in‑C. G. A. F., Operations Staff of the G. A. F. 1a (Naval), Captain Mossel, Supreme Command of the Army/Army General Staff Naval Liaison Officer, Captain Weygoldt.

Cleared as Single Address Message.

Most Secret for S. O. Only.

The Naval War Staff has examined exhaustively the possibilities of enemy landing operation in the South-Eastern Area and has come to the following conclusions:

(1) (i) The possibility of enemy landings in the Eastern as well as the Western Mediterranean must be reckoned with although reliable evidence about the preparation of a large number of landing craft is so far available in the W. Med. only.

p153 (ii) Possible starting-points for landing operations:

(a) Arta-Pyrgos area: Gulf of Arta, Gulf of Patras, the coast South of Cape Araxos and on both sides of Pyrgos and also islands off these areas, especially Corfu and Cephalonia.

(b) The South coast of the Peloponnese: Navarino, Gulf of Corone (Kalamata) and Gulf of Marathon.

(c) Crete: Probably the North coast, on the South coast Mesara Bay and Hierapetra, but only with limited forces.

(d) Rhodes.

(e) Islands in the Aegean: Leros, Milos, Chios, Mytilene and Lemnos.

(f) The East coast of the Peloponnese and Central Greece: Gulf of Nauplia, Gulf of Petali (East coast of Attica).

(g) Salonica: Gulf of Salonica, Gulf of Orphani.

(h) Thrace: Gulf of Cavalla and the coast to the East of Thasos.

(iii) It can be assumed that the enemy will probably make an initial landing where he believes there will be the least resistance and where he expects the greatest results in the shortest time. Therefore an initial landing on Crete can be ruled out for the moment; in view of the advanced state of the development and equipment of the Fortress of Crete a very considerable expenditure of strengthen would be required and a prerequisite  p154 would be subsidiary operations to obtain airfields in the Dodecanese and Peloponnese close to the scene of operations. Further, the capture of Crete would only replicate partial accomplishment of his aims. A thrust past Crete into the Aegean, the occupation of the most important islands and a landing attempt on the East coast of the Peloponnese and Central Greece is likewise improbable. An attempt at an immediate thrust into the area of Salonica and Thrace need not be reckoned with. For such operations the enemy would require very large forces to protect his supply-routes. Considerable losses would be unavoidable as long as German air and light Naval forces (S‑boats) can be operated from Crete.

(iv) In the opinion of the Naval War Staff landing attempts are most likely to be made in the Greek West coast area where the Corfu-Arta-Pyrgos region offers the greatest prospects of success.

Possibilities: a thrust from the North towards Larissa-Volos, cutting off Central Greece with the Peloponnese: in the centre an advance towards Central Greece and Attica. In the South a drive for the Corinth Isthmus. The islands off this coast (especially Corfu and Cephalonia) would become very valuable bases in enemy hands. Special attention is drawn to the exceptional importance of these islands.

Simultaneous subsidiary landings are probable at Navarino (a good harbour for Naval forces operating  p155 for the protection of landings and supplies), Kalamata (airfield) and perhaps also the Gulf of Marathon. A subsidiary thrust through Tripolis to Corinth. Simultaneously or shortly beforehand a diversionary operation against the Dodecanese (Rhodes) is to be expected.

(2) The defensive power of the areas in the greatest danger is still weak. Nevertheless in the opinion of the Naval War Staff it should be possible to throw back attempted enemy landings if he attacks with only limited forces. According to evidence from the Army General Staff available to Naval War Staff the enemy has at present only a few divisions available in the E. Med. Also the available transport space is sufficient for these forces only.

All measures must therefore be taken to reinforce rapidly the defensive strength of the areas which are specially threatened. The construction of a secondary line of defence in the rear (roughly in the N. Greece-Salonica area) is only to be considered when the other has been accomplished.

(3) The following immediate steps are envisaged or have already been taken by the Naval War Staff:

(i) Laying of German minefields: off Kalamata in the process of completion, Cerigo Strait complete, Cerigotto Strait in preparation. Group Command South (Admiral Aegean) to exercise his influence for the laying of mines by the Italians on the West coast of Greece.

(ii) The installation of coastal batteries, also in the  p156 Italian-occupied area (the decision of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces has been requested).

(iii) Piraeus and Salonica are intended as the principal bases for Naval forces and are or will be appropriately supplied. Melos, Leros and Lemnos as auxiliary bases will receive only limited supplies for Naval forces.

(iv) The possibility of installing operational bases for S‑boats on the Peloponnese and Crete is being explored.

(v) Preliminary discussion with C.‑and‑C. G. A. F. South East concerning reconnaissance and offensive action by the G. A. F. after the approach of enemy operations has been established (air attacks on the landing fleet where possible while it is still in its port of departure and mining these harbours from the air).

(vi) Preparation of a patrol-service with coastal defence vessels to the West, South and East of Crete.

(vii) Preparation of a Command Station for Admiral Aegean at Salonica to ensure uninterrupted control in the event of it proving necessary to move the headquarters.

Naval War Staff Reg. No. 1st Naval War Staff 1 Op. 1492/43.a2 Most Secret. S. O. only.

Thayer's Note:

a1 a2 Sic. 1942/43 seems more likely than 1492/43.

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Page updated: 27 May 19