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3F, H I S BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT

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RJL159) 30. WAR CABINET. NAVAL, MILITARY AND AIR SITUATION. APPRECIATION BY THE CHIEFS OF STAFF COMMITTEE". (Previous Paper Mo, W.P.(59) 15). COPY NO. 6 O

Note by the Secretary.

By direction of the Prime Minister, I circulate herewith, for consideration oy the War Cabinet, the attached Weekly Res\ime (No, 2) by the Chiefs of Staff Committee dealing with the Naval, Military and Air Situation up to 12 noon, 14th September, 1939. No. C C S . (39) 3 2 ) o (Paper

(Signed)

E.E. BRIDGES. Secretary.

*S RIchmond Terrace, S.W.1. 15th September, 1939.

THIS D O C U M E N T IS T H E P R O P E R T Y OF H I S B R I T A N N I C MAJESTY*S G O V E R N M E N T

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It is requested that special care may be taken to ensure the seoreoy of this document.

COPY WO. WAR CABINET. CHIEFS OP STAPP COMMITTEE. WEEKLY RESUME (NO, 2) OF THE NAVAL. MILITARY AND AIR SITUATION FROM 12.0 NOON. 7 TH" SEPTEMBER TO 12.-Q NOON 14TH SEPTEMBER^1959,
e

REPORT.

The accompanying Joint Naval. Military and Air Force Appreciation of the situation as at 12.0 nooa on the 14th September, is circulated in accordance with the recommendation contained in Paper Wo. WoPo(G )(39) 3, and approved by the War Cabinet on 7th September? ( W.M. (39) 7th Conclusions, Minute 17 )o

(Signed)

C.L.N. NEWALL. DUDLEY POUND. E. IRONSIDE.

entral War Soom, 13th September 1939,


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WTi!TTTfT,Y RESUME (NO.2) OF THE NAVAL, MILITARY AND AIR SITUATION JgjflTlTOON 7th SEPTEMBER to 12-NOON ll&h SEPTEMBER, 1959,

NAVAL SITUATION. ' General Notes. 1


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During the week one group of the Home Fleet has "been

at sea operating to the north eastv/ard of the Orkneys. A second group has been on patrol between Faroes and Iceland. 2
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The Humber force of cruisers and Destroyers swept

eastward to attempt to intercept off Terechilling a reported German merchant convoy from Rotterdam. No convoy was seen.

Since then.the Humber Force has been operating from the More to cover the laying of the Dover Barrage. The first lay of The second

Dover Barrage was completed on llth September. lay has been delayed by bad weather.

The 19th T.B.D. Flotilla is. operating from Dover. Movements? of German Fleet, At 13,00 on 7th September,1939. the main units of the

German Fleet were distributed as follows:Baltic, Certain Probable Hipper Blucher SchleswigHolstein (Danzig)
1
O

N. S. Ports.

Scheer Leipzig Nurnberg Schlesien (Wilhelmshaven) Destroyers (Majority). Gneisenau Scharhhorst Graf Spec Deutschland Emden Konigsberg Kohn )or at ) sea )

Jj S

Possible

Submarines -1-

Skaggerack British Isles East or Atlantic,

- i S3

During the past few days no definite information as The

to the movements of the above ships has been available.

HIPPER appeared to be in the vicinity of Kiel on the 7th and was apparently still there on the 8th. On that day several

German warships were reported near Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven. These included one large unit, several destroyers and possibly some cruisers. On the 10th, 4 unidentified German units were

located, 5 in the Heligoland Bight and one at approximately 54 4


0 0

0' W SO E

in the southern half of the German declared mined area,.

The old battleship SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN which had been reported in the neighbourhood of Gydnia on the 7th was reported as having passed through the Kiel Canal from the Baltic on the 9th September. She had "been damaged by shell fire.

A German cruiser of the KONIGSBERG class, one destroyer and 2 submarines are repoted to have passed the Little Belt Northward at 0001 on 9th September. It seems reasonable to conclude that there have been no considerable movements of the main units of the German Fleet during the period under review. U.Boats - Pis-position and General. 5. felt; In the North Sea two submarines have made their presence the steamers GOODWOOD and MAGDAPUR having been sunk by

mine or torpedo on 10th September off Flamborough Head and Aldeburgh re sp ectively. 6. There is no reliable report of a submarine either in the

Channel or in t ,e Irish Sea. 7. It was estimated that 7 submarines were operating in Two more may have

the eastern Atlantic on 8th September. arrived there since. achieved some success. " on 7th September.

They displayed considerable activity and Five steamers were sunk and four chased

On 8th September 2 steamers were sunk and

two chased. escaped.

On 9th September four were shelled but On 11th September three were sunk. Since then

no more ships have been sunk. 8. A submarine with a tanker was reported by an

American flying boat half way between the Azores and Bermuda on 10th September and may be proceeding to the West Indies. 9.
o

The

submarine which sank the "Pirby" in 59 40' N,


0

13 50'W on 11th September, may, it is thought, be proceeding to Canadian . waters. U Boats 10. Attacks on British Merchant Shipping.
m

Since war commenced seventeen ships have been sunk Two of these

of a total tonnage of approximately 95,000. ships

contained between them 21,000 tons of motor spirit,

fuel oil and diesol oil. Return of Mercantile Losses by Enemy Action 1600 Tons gross Under 1600 j Total Percentage and over Tons gross. [All Sizes.Comparison with . ! i ueak period 1917 i . N O . Tonnage. j No. Toimage. INc. j Ton. No. Tonnage. i Srd-14th I I ; j Sept. 1939. L6 94,776 j 1
1 1
t :
i '
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Period. Period ..

...

... .

10 days in peak period April 1917 U Boats.


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283

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117 b 5 , 0 5 9 30

52

Attacks on U Boats.

i i 156 181,760 100

100

11.

During the period under review some 60 attacks on

submarines have been reported by destroyers and aircraft, and there is reason to hope that in seven of these the But no Confirmation is

objective may have been damaged. obtainable as yet.

12.

Since the outhrealt of war a great many German

merchantment have taken refuge in neutral ports and by 10th September the following gatherings were reported, In the Azores 35,000 tons; Curacoa 59,000 tons; ports 180,000 tons; Canaries 61,000 tons,
y

Vera Cruz 55 OOO tons;

Brazilian

River Plate Ports 68,000 tons; Japanese ports

Portuguese East African ports 60,000 tons; 112,000 tons; Convoys. 13o

Reykjavik 17,000 tons and Vigo 150 ,000 tons.

Convoys have "been organised as shipping is collected. The following have commenced sailings,, (a) Coastal Convoys up and down-"Kcet coast each way every second day. (b). 1 Outward Convoy dovn Channel - c /ei*y second day,, ;
:

(c) 1 Outward Convoy down Liverpool every second day, (d) 1 Military convoy from Glasgow to Mediterranean. (e) East and West bound Convoys in Mediterranean and S. Atlantic. In future it is expected that convoys will be too . numerous to enumerate in this report. East bound N. Atlantic convoys will start shortly. Enemy Mines. 1h. The German Declared Area in the Worth Sea is a

rectangle stretching northward from Dutch waters for a distance of approximately 180 miles long and 60 v;ide. The British Declared Area in North Sea is bounded to the Eastward by'territorial waters of neutrals and to the Westward by lat. 5 6
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0' long 5

0' E. '

!!!!! I
Italian Navy. 15. On 7th September most of the 1st Squadron was at Taranto the 6" cruisers Abruzzl and Garibaldi being at sea. These returned the next day to TaP.anto. The

whole squadron is believed to be still at that port. 16, On 7th September the 2nd Squadron was between On the 8th its disposition

Naples, Messina and Palmero. was as follows.

At Messina 8" cruisers Trieste, Trento, Bolzano and one destroyer division. At Naples 6 cruisers Da Barbiano, Di Guissano, Diaz and one destroyer division.
,f

Possibily at Palmero 6 " cruisers Savoia,D Aosta, Attendolo, Montecuccoli and one destroyer division.
!

The disposition of this squadron appears to be still unchanged. Par East. 17. 6" cruiser Colleoni and minelayer Le Panto repor-

ted at Dairen on 6th September. Submarines. 18. Sicily. Submarines are based on the Dodecanese, Sardinia and There appears to have been no change so far

from the normal dispositions. Convoy. 19. Five merchant vessels escorted by two destroyers

were sighted off Malta at 1100 on 10th September. Japanese Navy. 18. The combined 1st and 2nd Fleets (Main Fleet) are The 3rd Fleet is in the neighbour-

in Japanese waters.

hood of Shanghai and Yangtse, the hth Fleet in North China and the 5th Fleet in South China.

MILITARY SITUATION. FRANCS. 21. . . . . . . French forces are jh -touch with the Germans on the

front from Lauterbourg on the Rhine to the frontier of Luxembourg. There has been fighting in the vicinity

of Gersheim nor-th-ea^-t---of^arreguemines and in the forest of Warndt. Local enemy attacks on the left wing

near the Luxembourg frontier have been beaten off. GERMANY. Western Front. 22. On 6th September, 23 divisions had been identified This number has now risen to at

on the Western Front. least 36.

The increase has been due principally to the

formation of new reserve divisions in "Western Germany. Three or four divisions are also believed to have been moved to this front -from Eastern Germany but not from the area of operations against Poland. Troops previously

holding the line opposite the Belgian and Dutch frontiers are reported to have been moved southwards to the Luxemburg and French frontiers. It is believed that the main concentrations on the German Western frontier are about Trier, in the SaarPalatinate and in the Lorrach Area (North of Basle). Eastern Front. 23. On 6th September, it was believed that a total of

52 divisions organized into five groups were, being employed on the Eastern Front for the attack against Poland.

New identifications indicate that the number of divisions now employed in the operations against Poland has increased to 58; it should be noted, however, that

this increase is not necessarily due to transfer of formations from Central Germany to the Polish frontier but more probably to the identification of reserve divisions newly formed in Eastern Germany. The German

Armies have advanced rapidly since 6th September. Mechanized forces have been used boldly to surround and cut off groups of Polish forces. 24. (a) The following operations are now taking place:The attack from East Prussia is developing still

further to the East where two armoured divisions and one motorised division have been identified at WysokieLitewski and Hajnowka and are believed to be moving southwards towards the Brest Litovsk and Miedzyrzec railway. It is possible that these forces may be

reinforced in the near future, as additional troops are reported to be arriving at Lyck in East Prussia.. (b) Warsaw, though still in Polish hands, appears to

have been surrounded on the North, West and South and the Germans now claim that their forces are also at Kaluszyn to the East of the City. It is reported

that German armoured forces have also crossed the River Vistula south of Warsaw, at Deblin and are approaching Lublin. Annopol. They may also have crossed at

(c)

On the South Front German troops, including

mechanised, formations, have been reported at Rzeszow and at Lemberg where they threaten the southern flank of the Polish forces. This latter town is only about

100 miles from the Roumanian frontier. 25. It seems that the German forces advancing

southwards towards Brest Litovsk area and those which have crossed the Vistula South of Warsaw may endeavour to effect a junction with the object of cutting off the Poles fighting in the Y/arsaw area. The object of the

German force advancing Eastwards, which has reached the Lemberg area would appear to be to sever the Polish armies from communication with Roumania. POLAND. 26. On the 6th September, the following Polish

forces were opposing the German advance : Northern Group. Ostroleka - Plonsk - Pultusk, i.e. some 40 to 50 miles north of Warsaw. Western Group. There had been heavy fighting around Bydcoszcz, but further south there had been little fighting. South Western Group. Was in contact with the enemy of the general line Sleradz - Piotrkow - Kirlce, i. e. 90 to 100 miles 3.W. of Warsaw. Southern Group. Was in contact with German troops in the neighbourhood of Cracow and in the Carpathians.

27.

Owing to overwhelming German air superiority and

the very dry weather which gave the German armoured and mechanized forces full scope, the Poles were forced to continue their retreat rapidly. By the morning of the

8th September, the Polish Northern Army Group had fallen back to the line of the R. Bug; in.the Southwestern

secStor German armoured and mechanized, forces had penetrated from the S.W. through the Polish lines and were within 40 miles of Warsaw, and the line of the retreat of the Polish Western Army group of eight divisions was seriously threatened. The Polish Southern

Army of seven divisions had suffered severely and was in serious danger of being outflanked by German forces advancing from Slovakia. 28. In view of this critical situation the Polish

High Command decided to try to stabilise the battle along the line of the Rivers Bug - Vistula and San, resting their right flank on the Prypet marshes. The isolated

Western Army group was ordered to fight its way through to Warsaw. The bridges over the Vistula had been

heavily bombed and their position was precarious. 29. By the evening of the 9th September, the Polish

Northern Army Group was holding the line of the Bug, but street fighting was going on in the outskirts of Warsaw. Some very confused fighting took place on the 10th and 11th September, all along the front, but by the evening of the 11th the Poles appeared to have succeeded in temporarily stabilising the front on the line of Rivers Bug - Vistula and San, and to have forced the Germans temporarily to withdraw from Warsaw.

30

The Polifh Armies were re-grouped on this line

and the position on 12th September appears to have been: The Northern Arm,y
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Of ten to twelve divs. was holding the line of the Rivers Bug - Narew and Vistula from the right flank to the R, Pilicaj a front of about 130 miles
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The Central Army

Of six or aeven divs

was holding the line of. the R

Vistula from the Pilica to Josefow, a front of about


75 mileSo

The Southern ArmVc which was holding the 160 mile line Josefow - Przemysl Lwow with some eight divisions The Western Army Group
0 D

Which had been isolated west of Warsaw was said to be attacking in a S.E. direction through Sochaczew about 30 miles west of Warsaw. It is possible that this
n

Army had also recaptured Lodz 31


0

. The General indications are that the Poles have

for the moment succeeded in stabilising on this line and that, except for the Western Army Group most of their forces have succeeded i n crossing the Vistula,, The position of these Armies is still very serious however as both flanks are -threatened by enemy mechanised forces and formations are holding very wide frontages. The Poles are believed to be collecting a reserve of 12 divisions East of the Vistula, and if they succeed in doing this and in extricating their Western Army Group they will have enough troops to organize a reasonably solid defensive system, always provided that they are able to stop the further advance of the German mobile format ions a .

32

Poland has,, however, lost practically all her war,

industry and a large proportion of her reserves of war materials Her continued resistance is, therefore, depen-

dent on imports of large quantities of war material in the near future. There are some signs of a break in the

weather which would be of incalculable advantage to the Poles


0

SOVIET RUSSIA. 33o It is estimated, that of approx, 4,000,000 men now


0

with the Red Army approx

1-g--million are concentrated on or It is reported that transport

near the Polish frontier,,

and material are being requisitioned and the railways leading to the Polish frontier have been closed to normal traffis
c

One report states that these measures appear

to have been taken with the knoweldge of the German Government, but this cannot yet be accepted as definite^ Propaganda has been chiefly directed, against Poland and Great Britain, though the tone of the press has not been particularly favourable to Germany. ITALY. 34s While there is still apparently little anxiety

to complete mobilisation or other military preparations with any haste, it seems that Italian military measures are being put in hand according to a pre-arranged plan
0

As a

result, Italy is gradually increasing her preparedness for war, although in some respects notably A. R.P. - defensive There are no military

measures continue to be neglected.

indications of any immediate offensive intentions, and concentration on the Italian frontiers is still far from complete.

LIBYA. 35. It was officially notified by the Italian

Government that Libya would be reinforced as from 9th September by two artillery regiments and four infantry regiments, i.e.. the equivalent of about two divisions. The previous garrison of two corps now appears in process of completion to three corps (i.e. to a total of six divisions). 36. The fact that the main concentration of these

formations is in western Libya, however,indicates a defensive rather than an offensive attitude. There are

still no indications of exceptional activity towards the Egyptian frontier. ITALIAN EAST AFRICA. 37. There have been no increases in the garrison of Italian troops from some frontier

Italian East Africa.

posts, notably on the Sudan and Kenya frontiers, have been withdrawn perhaps on account of supply difficulties during the rainy season, but possibly in order to avoid frontier incidents. In this connexion, it is of interest

that the Italian authorities asked on 8th September for British frontier detachments to return to Moyale and Mandera (Kenya frontier) so that the maintenance of order would not devolve on Italian troops. There are

no indications of any Italian offensive intentions.

-IS-

ALBANIA. 38. In spite of troop concentrations at Italian

ports, there is no reliable evidence indicating that the Italian garrison of Albania has been appreciably increased. No undue activity has been reported at

Albanian ports. MIDDLE EAST. 39. Irau and Egypt have made no formal declaration

of war but have co-operated fully in implementing necessary defence measures. The populations of Iraq and Syria view our dropping of leaflets over Germany as a sign that we shall be agreeable to make a quick peace with Germany once the latter has obtained her objects in Poland and are therefore unenthusiastic in the Allied cause. 40. Palestine situation is deteriorating.

Indications point to this being due to the efforts of the Mufti to revive rebellion. 41. Afghanistan. An Afridi raid on a considerable

scale from the Tirah (tribal territory on the British side of the Durand Line) into Afghanistan was broken up by prompt action of Afghan regulars. probably sponsored by foreign agents. are not yet available. 42. There can be no doubt but that Germany is busy The raid was Full details

in the Middle East with propaganda.

FAR EAST. 43. Calling up of reservists has been going on

unobtrusively, during the past two weeks, in two divisional areas in Japan. A high percentage, if not

all, of these reinforcements are being sent to Manchuria. 44.. Following the recent formation of a new Cabinet

in Japan certain changes in the Japanese High Command are now announced. The objects of these changes appear to be (i) (ii) 45. to consolidate Japan's position in China, and to prepare for any eventuality in Manchuria.

Notwithstanding the serious flood conditions at

Tientsin, Japanese barrier restrictions against the British Concession remain unabated. 46. The Japanese authorities at Shanghai are calling The

a conference of commanders of these forces.

nominal subject for discussion is the international defence scheme at Shanghai. The British commander

anticipates that in actual fact he will be asked to withdraw his troops and that a similar request will be made to the French. He has been authorized to attend.

Efforts are being made to postpone the conference from 14th September to the following day in order that the American Naval Commander-in-Chief may be present. It is not believed that the Japanese Government mean to employ force to achieve their ends: there is

however the possible danger that the local Japanese commanders may e x c e e d their instructions.

AIR SITUATION,' O-nerations in Poland.,, i+7. A study of such information as is available

indicates that up to the present the role of the German Air Forces engaged- in operations in Poland has been as follows:(a) At the outset, the German Air Force, in

accordance with their known doctrines, attacked the Polish Air Force with the object of destroying it. were successful. In this they

Their early attacks included

aerodromes, aircraft factories and Flying Training Schools,, There were two instances of training aircraft being

caught In hangars and destroyed by fire. (b) As soon as they were assured of a

sufficient measure of superiority the- main attack was turned On to coKmuniQations. Although the immediate results were disappointing, the cumulative effect of the attack on rail communications seriously hampered the mobilisation and subsequent movement of formations of the Polish Army. (c) The German Air Force also took part in the

land battle, in locating and attacking Polish forces which were preparing for the counter attack. Germans used the D , 0 . The

1 7 and possibly the D.O. 2 1 5 fb.r

this purpose, flying very low.

lj.3.

It is generally agreed that the action of the

German bombers contributed, greatly to the confusion and disorganisation of the Polish land forces, k9
0

Up to the 11th September the objectives selected

for attack by the German Air Force were within the draft rules drawn up at the Hague in 1923. Numerous casual-

ties to civilians were reported but with one or two exceptions they were due either to bombs which had missed their objectives, or to the attack of aircraft
-

factories employing civilians.

After this date reports .

of civilian casualties in towns and villages outside the zone of armies began to multiply. On the 13th September

instructions were issued from German Headquarters which as far as can be ascertained have led to the attack of any town or village which could be accused of offering resistance to the advance of the German armies. some shreds of legality still remain, provided the attacks are in the zone of the armies, the area covered by the attacks appears to be far greater than is
. 1 r :

Although

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justified by any reasonable interpretation of the rule,.


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It has been impossible to assess the full losses The Polish staff

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sustained by the German Air Force.

claim that in the first three days they destroyed 67 aircraft, but this figure has not been confirmed. It is

believed that the losses on the first two days were heavy owing to the low height of all attacks, and it is significant that on subsequent days the attacks were carried out from greater heights. " 51 :
e

Si'

Polish anti-aircraft fire in the Warsaw district


xucxug UQiguo i^uik;2ilj

was ineffective, but this was largely due to the tactics


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vicinity of their targets.

52.

It is under stood that the Polish, fighters

although much outclassed in speed shot down tv/o M.E.t10s and two M.E .109s on the first day. Both these

successes were gained by surprise attacks from below. It is also reported that a force of 38 Polish bomber and bomber reconnaissance aircraft attacked a German mechanised column some twenty miles in length and caused heavy casualties. This column was unable to move

for twenty hours.,. This attack took place on the second day of the war.

British Air Operations. 53. There are no major air operations to record Bomber aircraft

during the period under review.

have carried out some further propaganda and reconnaissance flights. Enemy opposition has been- slight Ono aircraft
(

and only one aircraft is' missings

landed in Belgium and the crow has been interned. Propaganda flights have now boon temporarily suspended,, 5hm The first ten squadrons of the A.A.S.F. and

the h Fighter Squadrons accompanying the Field Force are now ready to operate from their bases in France, though they will not be complete in all respects until 20th September. 55. Aircraft from Coastal Command have attacked a There

total of 16 submarines during the past week.

is some reason to hope that 5 of these attacks have been successful. In addition they have carried out

a large number of reconnaissances, and escort flights for convoys.

& t l0

French Air\Operations* 560 French aircraft have been, mainly engaged in At first little or no

reconnaissance flights.

opposition was experienced but in the last few days they are r e p o r t e d to-have 4 . 0 s t
1 0

air or aft.