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Directive No. 18

Führer's Directive

FÜHRER'S HEADQUARTERS November 12, 1940.


The Führer and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht WFSt/Abt. L(I) No. 33 356/40 g. K. Chefs

By officer only


The measures of the High Commands which are being prepared for the conduct of the war in the near future are to be in accordance with the following guiding principles:

1. Relations with France

The aim of my policy toward France is to cooperate with this country in the most effective way for the future prosecution of the war against England. For the time being France will have the role of a "nonbelligerent power" which will have to tolerate German military measures on her territory, in the African colonies especially, and to give support, as far as possible, even by using her own means of defense. The most pressing task of the French is the defensive and offensive protection of their African possessions (West and Equatorial Africa) against England and the de Gaulle movement. From this task the participation of France in the war against England can develop in full force.

Except for the current work of the Armistice Commission, the discussions with France which tie in with my meeting with Marshal Petain will initially be conducted exclusively by the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the High Command of the Wehrmacht.

More detailed directives will follow after the conclusion of these discussions.

2. Spain and Portugal

Political measures to induce the prompt entry of Spain into the war have been initiated. The aim of German intervention in the Iberian Peninsula (code name Felix) will be to drive the English out of the Western Mediterranean.

For this purpose:

a) Gibraltar should be taken and the Straits closed;

6) The English should be prevented from gaining a foothold at another point of the Iberian Peninsula or of the Atlantic islands.

For the preparation and execution of the undertaking the following is intended:

Section I:

a) Reconnaissance parties (officers in civilian clothes) will conclude the requisite preparations for the operation against Gibraltar and for the taking over of airfields. As regards camouflage and cooperation with the Spaniards they are bound by the security measures of the Chief of the Foreign Intelligence Department.

b) Special units of the Foreign Intelligence Department in disguised cooperation with the Spaniards are to take over the protection of the Gibraltar area against English attempts to extend the outpost area or prematurely to discover and disturb the preparations.

c) The units designated for the action will assemble in readiness far back of the Franco-Spanish border and without premature explanation being given to the troops. A. preliminary alert for beginning the operation will be issued 3 weeks before the troops cross the Franco-Spanish border (but only after conclusion of the preparations regarding the Atlantic islands).

In view of the limited capacity of the Spanish railroads the Army will mainly designate motorized units for the operation so that the railways remain available for supply.

Section II:

a) Directed by observation near Algeciras, Luftwaffe units at a favorable moment will conduct an aerial attack from French soil against the units of the English fleet lying in the harbor of Gibraltar and after the attack they will land on Spanish airports.

b) Shortly thereafter the units designated for commitment in Spain will cross the Franco-Spanish border by land or by air.

Section III:

a) The attack for the seizure of Gibraltar is to be by German troops.

b) Troops are to be assembled to march into Portugal in case the English should gain a foothold there. The units designated for this will march into Spain immediately after the forces designated for Gibraltar.

Section IV:

Support of the Spaniards in closing the Strait after seizure of the Rock, if necessary, from the Spanish-Moroccan side as well.

The following will apply regarding the strength of the units to be committed for Operation Felix:


The units designated for Gibraltar must be strong enough to take the Rock even without Spanish help. Along with this a smaller group must be available to support the Spaniards in the unlikely event of an English attempt at a landing on another part of the coast.

For the possible march into Portugal mobile units are mainly to be designated.


For the aerial attack on the harbor of Gibraltar forces are to be designated which will guarantee abundant success.

For the subsequent operations against naval objectives and for support of the attack on tlie Rock mainly dive bomber units are to be transferred to Spain.

Sufficient anti-aircraft artillery is to be allocated to the army units including its use against ground targets.


U-boats are to be provided for combating the English Gibraltar squadron, and particularly in its evacuation of the harbor which is to be expected after the aerial attack.

For support of the Spaniards in closing the Strait the transfer of individual coastal batteries is to be prepared in cooperation with the Army.

Italian participation is not envisaged.

The Atlantic islands (particularly the Canaries and the Cape Verde Islands) will, as a result of the Gibraltar operation, gain increased importance for tho English conduct of the war at sea as well as for our own naval operations. The Commanders in Chief of the Navy and of the Luftwaffe are to study how the Spanish defense of the Canaries can be supported and how the Cape Verde Islands can be occupied.

I likewise request examination of the question of occupation of Madeira and of the Azores as well as of the question of the advantages and disadvantages which would ensue for the naval and for the aerial conduct of the war.

The results of this examination are to be presented to me as soon as possible.


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