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Operation Seelöwe

The Fuhrer and CINC of the Wehrmacht
OKW/WFL/L # 33 210/40 G. Kdos 

Führer Headquarters
1 August 1940
Officer Courier only!

Directive No. 17


For the purpose of creating conditions for the final defeat of Britain, I intend continuing air and naval warfare against the English motherland in a more severe form than hitherto. For this purpose I order as follows:

  1. The Luftwaffe will employ all forces available to eliminate the British air force as soon as possible. In the initial stages, attacks will be directed primarily against the hostile air forces and their ground service organization and supply installations, and against air armament industries, including factories producing anti-aircraft equipment.
  2. Once temporary or local air superiority is achieved, operations will continue against ports, particularly against installations for the storage of food, and against food storage installations farther inland. In view of intended future German operations, attacks against ports on the south coast of England will be restricted to a minimum.
  3. Air operations against hostile naval and merchant ships will be considered a secondary mission during this phase unless particularly lucrative fleeting opportunities offer or unless such action will achieve increased effects in the operations prescribed under Item 2, above, or in the case of operations serving to train aircraft crews for the continued conduct of air warfare.
  4. The intensified air offensive will be so conducted that adequately strong air forces can be made available whenever required to support naval operations against favourable fleeting targets. In addition, the Luftwaffe will remain prepared to render effective support for Operation Sealion.
  5. Terrorization attacks as retaliatory measures will be carried out only on orders from me.
  6. Intensified air warfare can commence at any time from 5 August on. The Luftwaffe will itself determine the deadline after completion of its preparations and in accordance with weather conditions.

Adolf Hitler 

Commander in Chief, Luftwaffe First Copy
Commander in Chief, Navy Second Copy
Commander in Chief, Army Third Copy
Wehrmacht High Command, Chief WFA Fourth Copy