Archive/File: imt/nca/nca-06/nca-06-3786-ps.01 Last-Modified: 1999/11/26 TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 3786-PS Stenographic transcription in the Headquarters of the Fuehrer. Discussion on the Situation of January 27, 1945 First copy of second transcription No 24/25 Situation at noon of January 27, 1945 in Berlin Present: The Fuehrer Rear Admiral v. Puttkamer Reich Marshal Goering Colonel v. Below Field Marshal Keitel Colonel v. Brauchitsch Col. General Jodl Captain (naval) Assmann Col. General Guderian Hauptbereichsleiter Zander General Burgdorf Direktor Dr. Schuster General Buhle Lt. Colonel Waizenegger Ambassador Hewel Major Buechs Lt. General Winter Major v. Freytagh-Loringhoven General Koller Major John v. Freyend Vice Admiral Voss SS Major Goehler SS Maj. General Fegelein SS Major Guensche Maj. General Scherff Beginning 16.20 hours [Page 656] Dr. Schuster: As far as the weather conditions are concerned, my Fuehrer, I have to report, the weather conditions are characterized by incoming depressions over the Atlantic all the way to France. They continue over Germany with snow and remain in the east, caused by a strata of cold air, which lies over Russia and which penetrates in the area of the province of East Prussia caused by strong winds from the east and south. An offshoot of this depression spreads all over Italy and this causes a considerable increase in difficulties in parachuting for the enemy. A major change in the weather conditions cannot yet be expected. These depressions with some areas of precipitations will as before continue from the west; it is going to spread from west to east and stay longer here in this area, because a further advance to the cast is barred. For England that means, that the conditions for parachuting are deteriorating with these east winds, which blow here towards England. In the last 3 days the whole of the eastern counties and the Midlands, there were low-lying clouds with continuous falls of snow, accompanied by poor visibility and heavy icing in these clouds. But the weather in England is not so bad as to prevent all flying, because conditions over the west of England are better, when the wind is blowing off the land. There the clouds are sparse and visibility is good, i.e. better weather. Hence the complete lull in flying over England is not caused solely by the weather. The Fuehrer: By what else? Goering: Here there are no airfields; the latter lie in this direction. Dr. Schustet.(to the Reichsmarschall): We have further ascertained, that in December similar conditions existed over England and during 4 weeks the British flew under similar circumstances. They were compelled, within one month, to move 2800 aircraft to airfields in the North and the West of England. [Page 657] Goering: They have also lost a lot in recent weeks through these changes. Schuster: The fact remains, that the major part of the British airfields, approx. 90%, are located in a territory of bad weather. England is reporting considerable snow fall and low temperatures. New precipitations are c oming over France and western front. The whole territory from the Eifel to the south is covered today by snow with heavy clouds and very bad visibility. The weather conditions over the Reich are very much different. Snow covered territories alternate with belts of fog, especially in the northern part of the Reich. Conditions improved somewhat in the territory south of Stettin as far as Breslau including the large territory of Posen. The clouds are dense, but at a height of 800-1200 m and below these clouds visibility is about 5-10 kin, with the result that flying is possible today. This is the first day for some time past, which shows somewhat more favorable conditions. Therefore the area of Pomerania and the Vistula, as far south as Cracow has very poor visibility the whole day owing to the snowfall. Here the units are grounded. In East Prussia the clouds are dense at a height of 300-500m with temperatures of 15 degrees. Yesterday there was a strong easterly wind with a velocity of about 40 kin p.h. This strong east wind makes icing in the whole of this area worse. As far as Hungary conditions make for good flying over the whole Hungarian area with its heavy clouds at a height of about a 1000m. Budapest lies within the region of snowfalls. At nighttime: clouds at 400 m very heavy icing was recorded. As regards to ice, I have to report that the Oder, throughout the whole area, is completely covered with ice except in a few places. The ice is so thick, that people can walk over it and vehicles even drive across it. The ice is about 50cm thick. From 60 cm upwards armored vehicles can cross it. With regard to the Danube. there is ice in the neighborhood of Budapest. [Page 658] Regarding Baltic ports I have further to report, that Pillau, even with these strong easterly winds and low temperatures, remains open the whole winter whereas Koenigsberg, at such low temperatures, has great difficulty to contend with as regards ice. The channel from Koenigsberg to the sea has to be kept open by ice-breakers. The Stettiner Haff(lagune) all freezes very hard, but Swinernuende is comparatively free from ice. The remaining Baltic ports, to the west of Swinemuende as far as the Meeklenburger Big already have heavy ice, particularly in the region of' Ruegen and south eastwards. As regards to Neisse I have to report, that it is frozen to the sourth of Ottmachau. The Neisse is only open in the town of Neisse itself. The situation is this: if we want to open the Oder by changing the water level, then very large quantities of water must be at our disposal. The Fuehrer: Small quaintities are not sufficient? Schuster: The waves subside very strongly on this long course down to the Oder and exceedingly strong thrust of water is required; the ice breaks up, the blocks of ice push over the cover of ice, but freeze very fast again. The temperature has to be close to zero, so that the structure of ice can change and that the ice can break up easier. Guderian: My Fuehrer, the situation changed somewhat at the army groups. The Fuehrer: This has to be stopped at once! There is no sense in it anymore, they have to fight their way back; a defense line has to be built here and they have to repel that. Guderian: The enemy has attacked here. Up till now he was repelled everywhere. However, it can be easily seen, that the XVIIIth panzer division is reinforced by the VIIth and there is a possibility Plijew will be placed here or down there. The Fuehrer: It is obvious that position cannot be held with the forces at our disposal at this place. Guderian: This is clear by now -- The enemy achieved a dent up till here, and was repulsed at the center. He is further being repelled now. 10 tanks have been [Page 659] destroyed. The bridgehead is annihilated. Very strong attacks here. Strong attacks being made here from four directions, a total of 15 tanks were destroyed here. A counter attack is made against the attack of the 23rd tank division. The 356th division is arriving, the first transports are here already. The Fuehrer: We cannot count upon it yet. Guderian: The 23rd. tank division is being taken out in order to build up replacements here. The advance of the 6th tank division came up till the red circle. An enemy attack was repulsed here. Fuehrer: This has to be discontinued. We have to change here to the defense, we have to retake that, the Werfercorps and the people's army artillery have to go on defense. The units have to be put in the line here in order to retake that. Guderian: The situation in Budapest became more acute, because the enemy transferred his main effort in the center of the west section and penetrated up to the so-called "BIutwiese" (bloody field), on which up till now most of the parachuting took place. A counter-attack is in the making. Whether we will succeed with the available forces in improving the situation is questionable because our heavy losses increased considerably. He is at tempting to build a bridge across the Margaretenwiese. The situation becomes more acute day by day. On the rest of the front there are up here individual attacks: they were repulsed here, a small dent here, without any importance. An attack was repulsed here. Regrouping, replacement of Russian troops with Rumanian troops in this corner here. The Plijew corps is being withdrawn in this direction. The Fuehrer: Here. Guderian: Either he replaces the 6th guard tank army.... The Fuehrer: No, he will succeed. Guderian: Either he will succeed, or he goes over here. [Page 660] The Fuehrer: No, he will succeed, in order to break through here. He knows, that the 20th is gone. Where is the 6th tank army now? Guderian: It departed in the direction of Vienna. I don't know exactly, where the transports stand at this time. Keitel: 6 trains have departed. Winter:The forward elements of the 12th SS tank division are already in the train. The conditions are somewhat better and eased, because there enough fuel on hand; the road conditions became better, because it did not snow; even the activities of the planes decreased in the afternoon. In spite of that the progress for which we hoped generally and which was ordered, could not be achieved. It can be assumed, that the rate of speed is slightly improving now. The Fuehrer: I at once said: there is no sense in hypnotizing yourself and then saying: I need it here, consequently it must happen. After all, I must face facts as they are. The deployment of sufficient forces from the West is not feasible for another to 8 weeks, because it just could not be done. Any one who says the contrary is dreaming and live in a state of wishful thinking, but not in reality This is exactly the same, as when units were recalled from Greece. But that takes time; we can't help that. I shall be glad, if the 1st and 2nd corps get here, say in fourteen days, if they are able to come at all from so far away. If that can be done, it will be extraordinary. However, I believe, that at the most, combat units [Kampfstaffeln] will be here. But, there again, one cannot merely say, I entrain the Karnpfstaffeln, whatever happens. And I cannot wait long, but I must see, that I get it done, otherwise everything that stays will also be destroyed. Winter: There is a strict order that no consideration can be given to that, but they have to leave. The Fuehrer: It is quite clear, there is no other possibility; they rnust leave, otherwise everything will come to a standstill. All will be destroyed and afterwards riothing will get away. As far as can be foretold, [Page 661] the units which at least can be used here, will get away; those that have been farthest in the rear will arrive first. Goering: How can he get out in such strength? The Fuehrer: He assembled everything. Guderian: He scraped everything together. The Fuehrer: I believe he will start his next attack here. Now, I am not sure, whether the 44th division can stand up under it. Guderian: There is still the 46th division which through its withdrawal moves the front farther back and shortens the lines. The Fuebrer: Then they must be brought close to this position here, and not any farther back. We can't waste anymore time. Whatever breaks in front, cannot be repaired in the rear. Things must be tightened up. The attacks will most likely be in the direction of Kormon. That is quite clear. Then he also blocks the railroad. Guderian: This is occupied by the 357th, which is going into position. The 271st is not so far advanced. Eventually it would be at our disposal for that. Now we have to consider, whether we should bring the 356th here. In any case, the 46th Division must then come here. The Fuehrer: What does the 46th division look like? Guderian: It is a good division. The Fuehrer: We must do it that way for the reason, that we come to a standstill here, so that I don't have to use the corps or the army here, but I have to use it in the south. But one sees how dangerous this is. Things must be cleared up. It is not quite clear to me, whether we can do it from here, because we have to expect frontal assaults, or whether we should come around from below. Because, once we are involved in long frontal assaults, this would not work. But with the strength of this army it can't be done. For that reason he must go into defensive positions as quickly as possible, before it is too late. He must build up a front between the Valances Lake and the Danube. and must cut his way through to the south. [Page 662] Guderian: In the opinion of General Woehler and Balek, some bungling has occurred here. Turning to the west has been done too slowly. Certain complications in the passing of commands and communications have caiised the delays. The Fuehrer: I also think, it is too narrow again. The other one stood firm. Things are like this: if one pushes into an enemy, who is massed, then the meaning of a panzer division is of no value. A panzer division is then practically nothing else but an inferior infantry division with assault artillery support and panzer support. It is armored support artillery, nothing else. Here we have to learn from the British and the Americans. Now we must pay more attention to that. The panzers also, will then become more artillery support. For a break-through they are no longer useful, because of minefields, etc. Guderian: Everywhere very close teamwork has been established between armored infantry, pioneers, and the armored forces. The Fuehrer: I believe the training in firing of the armored forces at the present time is still limited to very short distances. Thus the panzers will be destroyed. Guderian: No, my Fuehrer, I as Inspector General personally increased it to the highest possible range of our optical instruments. The Fuehrer: The optical instruments must still be improved: for it is quite clear, if I advance them so far, they will then destroy the tanks and that through artillery fire. Thus the tanks will be destroyed. Our tanks, especially the old ones, with armored sideplates of 30- to 40-mm are hardly safe against heavy shrapnel. This must be decided upon today. Guderian: This will be decided. The Fuehrer: The pushing through has no sense any more. That doesn't help. How he stops it, doesn't make any difference. The right thing is for him to settle down here, go on the defensive, and try, through bringing up a unit, if necessary with the most combatable parts of both SS divisions and the 1st [Page 663] armored division, to take a good grip of the whole thing, and then sweep upwards, so that no space is lost any more.
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