Page 1814


Office of Chief of Naval Operations

Office of Naval Intelligence


CONFIDENTIAL                                                       Copy No. 83                                                                            Serial No. 23                                                                         November 1, 1941 



(Information concerning Anti-Axis Belligerents

is omitted from this publication due to

its wide dissemination by mail.)

Because of the CONFIDENTIAL nature of the sources from which some of the information embodied in the text of this publication issues, and because of the CONFIDENTIAL channels through which it is transmitted to the Division of Naval Intelligence, it is appropriate to invite particular attention to the CONFIDENTIAL character of this publication.

T. S. WilkinsonCaptain, U. S. NavyDirectory of Naval Intelligence 


Page 1815


                                                                                    Serial No. 23                                                                            November 1, 1941

Fortnightly Summary of Current National Situations

A. The Diplomatic Situation

1. Japan

Prince Konoye's Cabinet resigned on October 16. Lieutenant-General Tojo, Konoye's Minister of War, formed a new cabinet in which he holds the posts of Premier, Minister of War, and Minister of Home Affairs. He also reshuffled the membership of the powerful Cabinet Advisory Council to ensure that this body would cooperate with the government. Tojo has thus concentrated enormous powers in his own hands, far more than any Premier of modern times. He is jingoistic and anti-foreign, particularly anti-Russian. He has strong pro-Axis leanings.

Tojo stated that Japan would seek settlement of the China incident, strengthen her ties with the Axis, and continue her policy of building the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity sphere. An early Japanese attack upon Siberia is predicted by many observers, a drive against Thailand by others. Still others think an advance into Yunnan to cut the Burma Road is imminent. However, General Tojo announced that Japan-United States conversations will continue. This, together with the fact that a special five-day session of the Diet has been called for November 15, makes it appear probable that Japan will not launch any new attacks at least until after mid-November.


2. Germany

Since the beginning of the Russian Campaign, there have been indications of growing unrest among the civilian population in Germany - particularly along the Baltic littoral. At Danzig, military forces had to be called upon to assist the police in restoring order. Workmen are reported to have thrown pieces of iron at the soldiers, who thereupon fired into the crowd. It must not be assumed, however, that unrest has reached serious proportions. Blind faith in Hitler is still widespread, and signs of internal dissensions are, as yet, only slight. Incidents like the Danzig affair are isolated and should not be considered indicative of a general trend.



Page 1816


Coincident with the fall of the Japanese Cabinet of Premier Prince Konoye, Germany announced three important assignments in the Far East. Heinrich von Stahmer, specialist in Far Eastern and Asiatic affairs, was appointed Minister to the "Government in China" in Nanking, on October 15, 1941. Fritz Wiedemann, former German Consul at San Francisco, was appointed Consul General at Tsingtao on October 16, 1941. Tsingtao is the former German colony of Kiao-chau. Dr. Ernst Wendler, former German minister to Bolivia, whose removal from this office was requested by the Bolivian authorities in July, 1941, was appointed Minister in Thailand on October 16, 1941.

The Russian Campaign has created an oil situation in Germany more serious that any which has existed since September, 1939. Industrial plants have had their quotas cut sixty per cent in many instances. Many individual consumers have been cut off entirely.

Since the beginning of the Russian Campaign, Germany has had to investigate the possibility of another route if she is to continue to receive rubber from the Far East. It is reported that arrangements with the French authorities have been made for rubber shipments from Saigon to Valparaiso, thence by land to Buenos Aires, and from there to Portugal or Casablanca.

Because of the inadequacy of leather supplies from other sources, Germany has been attempting to run the blockade from Brazilian ports with German and Italian ships loaded with heavy hides.

Germany and Spain have signed a labor agreement whereby Spain will send 100,000 workers to Germany, but will accept no German workers in return. Germany had asked for an "exchange" of some 200,000 men.

The majority of Russian prisoners are employed by the Todt Organization on reconstruction in German-occupied Russia. About 20,000 Russian prisoners are employed in agriculture.

Dr. Karl Clodius, after concluding the German-Turkish trade agreement, went almost immediately to Rome, where he conferred with the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. Walther Funk, and the Italian Minister of Exchange.



Page 1817


3. Italy

A series of important conversations began in Rome on October 19 between Dr. Walther Funk, Germany's Minister of Economics and Raffaelo Riccardi, the Italian Minister of Exchange. The outcome of these conversations was that Germany not only made important concessions to Italy on the price and delivery of coal, but Dr. Funk took the occasion to paint a glowing picture of Italy's place in the post-war order. Italy is to have undisputed control of the Mediterranean - provided, of course, she furnished in advance the men and labor Germany is demanding. Another one of the aims of the discussion was to provide a rearrangement of clearings to embrace not only Italy's trade with Germany, but that between Italy and the Balkans, as well as southern European countries.

Shortly after the discussions with the German delegation, Riccardi left for Bucharest to negotiate a new Italo-Rumanian commercial accord. A large Italian delegation is soon to follow, in order to complete the details.

Also, discussions are being carried on at the Nazi headquarters in Russia between Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italy's Foreign Minister, and Hitler and the German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop. The purpose of this meeting is somewhat obscure, but it is believed that plans are being made for a new diplomatic move aimed at Turkey.

A treaty fixing the borders between Croatia and Montenegro was signed in Zagreb October 27 by the Italian and Croat officials. The new border starts from the zone of Dobricevo, northern limit of the border, and follows roughly the ancient borders of 1914 between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Montenegro and Serbia, reaching Mount Kliunack-Glava, which is the point where the borders between Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia meet.

The exiled Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el Husseimi, has arrived in Rome, after escaping the British in Iran. As a result, Italy is provided with a great propaganda weapon, which may be used to turn the Moslem world against the British and Jews. The Grand Mufti fled from Palestine to Syria in 1937, when the British attempted to arrest him for Arab terrorist activities.



Page 1818


From Syria, the Mufti went to Iraq when the French were about to seize him, and in Baghdad he directed the Iraqi revolt, which the British had to put down last May. After the British occupation of Iraq, the Grand Mufti sought shelter in Iran, from where he mysteriously disappeared when the British and Russians entered Teheran.


4. France

The termination of one year since the Montoire meeting of Adolph Hitler and Marshal Petain, at which the foundation for Franco-German collaboration was laid, finds France moving slowly into the Axis orbit. Economic collaboration is well under way, and political collaboration is expected to follow under renewed Nazi pressure. With a slowing up of German military operations in Russia during the winter, new developments are expected in the negotiations between France and Germany which may determine whether this policy is to survive. A strong effort is being made to return Pierre Laval to a position in the French government, in order to remove existing obstacles to collaboration.

While a state of war exists between France and Germany, normal diplomatic relations cannot be restored. However, an agreement has been reached for establishing, on a reciprocal basis, Nazi consulates in the French unoccupied zone and French consulates in the Reich. Vichy and George Scapini, present Vichy negotiator concerning war prisoners, is expected to be the French envoy to Berlin.

In reprisal for the assassination of two German military authorities in France, 100 French hostages have been executed, bringing to 188 the total to date. The execution of an additional 100 hostages, sentenced to be shot unless the assassins of the German officers were found, has been postponed indefinitely.

Contrary to rumor, Gaston Henri-Haye will remain as French Ambassador to Washington, his appointment having been extended in July for another six months. The renewals for six months of the missions of Ambassadors Francois Pietri to Madrid and Leon Berard to the Vatican have been announced also.

General Gamelin, ex-Premier Daladier, Blum and Reynaud and former Minister Mandel have been ordered



Page 1819


confined in the Pyrenees fortress of Pourtalet by Marshal Petain under the charge of having failed in official duties and engaged France in the war unprepared. This sentence is independent of the proceedings of the Supreme Court at Rion, which is attempting to fix responsibility for the French defeat.

French Fleet

No recent movements have been reported among units of the Vichy fleet. The dispositions of the vessels is as follows:-

Toulon BB STRASBOURG, OBB PROVENCE, CVS COMMANDAT TESTE, 4 CA's, 3 CL's, 18 DL's, 17 DD's, 23 SS's, and 14 PG's.North Africa            BB DUNKERQUE (damaged) 1 DL, 4 DD's, and 10 SS's.Casablanca            BB JEAN BART (77% completed), 2 CL's, 2 DL's, 6 DD's,  12 SS's, and 6 PG's.Dakar   BB RICHELIEU (Damaged) 2 CL's, 4 DL's, 1 DD, 10 SS's and 4 PG's.Madagascar            3 SS's and 1 PG.West Indies    CV BEARN, 2 CL's, 1 PG, and 1 XCL.Indo-China          1 CL, 12 PG's and PR's.Unreported     1 SS and 1 PG.

French Colonies

North Africa

Germany is bringing strong pressure upon the Vichy Government for the ouster of General Weygand as French pro-Consul for Africa and his replacement by General Henri Donitz, who directed the French defense of Syria. Weygand, upon his recent return from Vichy, declared that the government of France had made no decision on changing the present status of France's African possessions and that no conces-



Page 1820


sions have been granted the Axis for the use of air and naval bases in Africa. In accordance with the agreement between Vichy and Berlin, German consulates will be established in Algiers and Morocco, and an agreement between Darlan and Germany authorizes two Nazi "cultural missions," each consisting of about ten members, to Morocco and Algeria.

French Somaliland

According to a Vichy announcement of October 24, two "Anglo-de Gaullist" light columns of 300 men invaded French Somaliland, crossing the border from Eritrea. Two days later it was announced that the troops had been withdrawn. No British or Free French comment has been made.


It was announced in London on October 28 that Great Britain formally recognized the independence of the Syrian Republic.



Page 1821


5. Latin America


Relations have been renewed between Mexico and Great Britain. The British Minister to Mexico will be Charles Harold Bateman, Chancellor of the British Embassy at Cairo since 1937. The Mexican Minister to London will be Alfonso de Rosenzweig Diaz, now Minister to Venezuela.

Mexico and Columbia raised their respective legations to embassies "through the desire to tighten and make more cordial the relations between the two countries."



On Monday, October 20, a report emanating from Berlin, but first heard in Guatemala over station KGEI of San Francisco, stated the United States had delivered an ultimatum to Guatemala as follows: Withdrawal of German Minister Reinebeck; rupture of diplomatic relations with Germany; insistence that the United States would not purchase a single grain of produced coffee; and a demand that the firms on the United States proclaimed blacklist be forced out of business. The news was widely re-broadcast throughout Central American with many variations as to the terms of the alleged ultimatum.

A variation heard from a Costa Rican station was that German coffee was banned from the United States markets, and the United States demanded that German banking firms in Guatemala be closed. On Tuesday, October 21, the Guatemalan Government officially denied that it had received any ultimatum from the United States Government. Reliable informants in Guatemala reported that the ultimatum news originated in Guatemala and that Foreign Minster Carlos Salazar and the President's German valet, Ibarguen, had collaborated with the German Legation on the subject. The German Legation has ordered certain prominent firms to discharge their employees by the end of November, indicating pressure being exerted by the United States Government as reason for this action.



Page 1822



Messages intercepted in Honduras indicate that Liberal revolutionary plots still are being hatched, but the plans discovered appear so impracticable that little serious effort is expected if attempts are made in the near future to put them into effect.



The new Government of Panama has revoked the decree of the former Arnulfo Aria Administration, which forbade the arming of Panamanian merchant vessels. Although the tension has not subsided entirely, the new Government is clarifying and improving its position daily. Ex-President Arias still is at Managua in Nicaragua, from whence his departure is made difficult by the Nicaraguan Government's requirement that he have a valid passport, visaed by Panama and by the country of destination, before he is allowed to leave. Thus far he has no passport whatever.



The Congressional debates concerning former War Minister Castro Martini's sale of a Colombian transport, believed worth $200,000, for a mere $50,000, subsided, although the opposition press continued a campaign against the Foreign Minister. The House is now presided over by an anti-Lopez Liberal, but election of Senate leaders has been delayed as a protest against coalition between anti-Lopez Liberals and Conservatives.



Rumors are current in Peru that that country will seek Japanese help if the United States, Argentina, or Brazil attempts to restrain Peru in her struggle with Ecuador. Peru purchased Japanese munitions during her Letitia dispute with Colombia, as no other country would sell them to her, and Japanese munitions were sent to Peru in small quantities in the spring of this year.



Chilean Foreign Minister Rossetti, who was previously somewhat lukewarm towards Pan American cooperation, on October 22, made a strong speech in favor of continental defense and opposition to the Nazis. On October 24 he stated that the war situation makes common defense






Page 1823




absolutely necessary, and that Chile could cooperate by a military alliance between Chile and the United States and by participation in the general continental defense plan. He also stated that an attempt will be made to work out an agreement between Chile and Argentina regarding fortification and defense of the Magellan area.



Responsible government leaders state that Argentina is seeking to work out details with Brazil for defense in the Atlantic, and with Chile for defense of the Magellan area.



Two Paraguayan minesweepers recently joined the Argentine fleet maneuvers, the first time in the history of South America in which the war ships of two countries have engaged in joint maneuvers.



The Brazilian Army has taken over the inactive AIR FRANCE facilities in northern Brazil, notably at Recife, which will prevent any possibility that the Italian LATI or German CONDOR lines might use them.

President Vargas and the Brazilian Minister of War, General Dutra, apparently have decided to throw in their lot with the democracies. They have issued instructions that various groups of younger military officers be impressed with the urgent need for the closed Brazilian-American cooperation. Apparently a marked turn for the better is in progress among Brazilian Army leaders in their feeling toward the United States, although many continue to express their disappointment at the delay encountered in accruing much needed military materiel ordered from the U. S.



Two important treaties have been completed between Colombia and Venezuela. One settles an old boundary dispute, and the other provides for a non-aggression, conciliation and arbitration pact between the two countries.






Page 1824





The Cuba House of Representatives has enacted a resolution to send a note of protest to Hitler against the killing of hostages in France and is considering requesting all the Latin American countries to take similar action.




Military and Naval

Argentina is reported to be contemplating sending a Military and Naval Mission to the United States to discuss her part in the hemisphere defense and acquisition of needed materiel.


Efforts are being exerted by Germans in Guatemala and Costa Rica with some success through their sympathies in those governments, to avoid the full effect of the application of the United States Blacklist to German economic interests in the countries concerned.

Federal Loan Administrator Jesse Jones has announced that the Export-Import Bank has agreed to lend Mexico $30,000,000 for national highway developments, at the rate of $10,000,000 per year.

A free commerce treaty has been signed between Guatemala and El Salvador which should be of mutual advantage to those countries, as each imports certain products which the other exports.

Totalitarian Penetration

The situation, as far as can be estimated by surface indications, continues to improve through Latin America. This is particularly gratifying in view of the continued success of the Nazis in Russia. Hitherto such outstanding German successes have been visible throughout Latin America, in the shape of immediate softening of the local Government's attitudes toward Nazi activities. It is felt that the different nations of Latin America now may consider themselves committed to such an extent against Axis activities that any further appeasement would be extremely awkward. When and if such a position is reached,




Page 1823




it is believed that the Latin American nations will proceed in a much more efficacious and expeditious manner to rid themselves of Axis activities than anything that they have manifested hitherto. Apparently Brazil already definitely considers herself in that position. It is believed that the majority of the other countries do, with the possible exceptions of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Peru. Mexico still continues a delicate balancing act on the fence, while she distributes favors equally both to the Democracies and the Nazi-Fascist sides, despite her lip service to democracy. Guatemala and Costa Rica, in view of their acknowledged weaknesses, may feel constrained not to offend the Axis too deeply thus far. Peru, while continuing to conduct her relations with Ecuador in the best totalitarian manner, has her Vice President in the Unite States stirring up a smoke-screen of democracy.


B. The Japanese Military Situation


The Japanese forces in Manchukuo, Korea and Inner Mongolia, disposed for attack upon Russia, are reliably reported to have been increased from 684,000. At the same time reinforcements are arriving in Indo-China and it is believed that the garrison in that colony is to be increased from 50,000 to approximately 100,000 men. A large new air base is being established in northern Indo-China. The Japanese force at Canton is also being strengthened. The small Japanese garrison at Sharps Peak near Foochow has been withdrawn. A minor clash near the Siberian-Manchukuo border, in which both sides suffered casualties, was reported by the Russians by denied by the Japanese.


C. The Japanese Naval Situation


The Japanese Navy now, according to the Navy Department's spokesman, is ready for any immediate eventuality. Mobilization plans have been carried out including not only changes in commands but the increase of ships' crews to full war complements.

The Combined Fleet has remained in home waters on normal stations except that a few units possibly including one capital ship have moved over to stations on the Japan Sea. Fleet aircraft units, however, in considerable strength have moved down to Southern Formosa. The Third Fleet, normally stationed on the China Coast, continues to remain in home waters. Other fleets are on normal stations. Although troop transports and cargo ships have been taking troops and supplies to ports in Indo-China, these vessels have not been accompanied by naval escorts.






Page 1826




D. The Chinese Military Situation

On October 13, after three days of indecisive street fighting, the Chinese attackers withdrew from Ichang. Since that time nothing but sporadic skirmishing has been reported in this area. Skirmishing also occurred in southern Shansi, in north Honan and near Canton.

Russia has notified Chungking that she is unable to continue shipments of war supplies to China.






Page 1827




E. The German Military, Naval and Air Situations


1. Military



No new information regarding the strength of the German Army has been received since the last Fortnightly Summary.



According to a reliable source, the distribution of the German Army on October 8, 1941, was estimated to be as follows:



Total Number



of Divisions







Northern Group




Central Group




Southern Group








Poland/East Prussia
























Germany and Austria (exclusive of E. Prussia)





The Tank Army, commanded by Colonel-General Hoeppner, has been transferred from the Northern to the Central Group of German Armies on the Russian Front.




Eastern Front - The second half of October saw the large German offensive slowed down by strong local






Page 1828




Russian opposition and inclement weather.


Finnish Sector - Following the capture of Petrozavodsk, on Lake Onega, Finnish forces have been advancing northward along the Leningrad-Murmansk Railway. A Finnish Column operating eastward out of Central Finland has joined forces with the column pushing north from Petrozavodsk at a point near the northwest tip of Lake Onega. The Finns are waiting for full winter weather, prior to resuming a vigorous offensive.

The Finns are reported contemplating cessation of offensive operations upon reaching and securing the following line:

White Sea to Lake OnegaLake Onega - Svir River - Lake LadogaLake Ladoga - Karelian Isthmus - Gulf of Finland


A partial demobilization of the Finnish Army is to be carried out, as dwindling Russian resistance releases more and more Finnish military man power.

The Finns have apparently assumed a defensive attitude on the Karelian Isthmus facing Leningrad, at the Soviet-held island fortress of Koivisto and at Hangoe.


North-Central Sector - Dagoe, last Russian stronghold in the Baltic Islands, was taken by the Germans a week ago. Siege operations continued at Leningrad, with no apparent change in the local situation. The beleaguered Russians still obtain some supplies and reenforcements by water via Lake Ladoga. The Germans are reported to have established and enlarged a bridgehead across the Volkhov River, while a German division, farther east, crossed the Svir River and advanced some 20 miles to the southward. These German operations may be designed to eliminate the remaining Russian-held shore line on Lake Ladoga. Strong Russian positions still exist in the Valdai Hills sector. It now appears that the Germans have made no progress eastward from the line: Lake Ilmen - Seliger Lake.


Central Sector - The Germans officially claimed to have eliminated the bulk of Marshal Timoshenko's Group of Field Armies in the double-encirclement battles of Vyazma and Bryansk. The Soviets denied






Page 1829




these claims and maintained that the main strength of these armies fell back to new positions closer to Moscow. The northern flank of the German forces advancing along the Moscow-Smolensk highway branched north from Vyazma, took Rzhev, and drove on to Kalinin, where it was apparently stopped by Russian counterattacks. Near Mozhaisk, west of Moscow, the principal German advance was halted, fighting spread northward to Volokolamsk and southward to Laloyaroslavetz. German forces, coming by way of Bryansk, capture Orel and Kaluga, and pushed up towards Moscow as far as Maro-Fominsk. Severe Russian resistance and inclement weather, which bogged down mechanized equipment and supply trains, slowed down and stopped the Germans. With freezing weather hardening the ground, however, the Germans may regain a great deal of their mobility.


Southern Sector - The German advance into the Donetz industrial area has been relatively slow. Severe local Russian opposition and inclement weather are believed large responsible. During the past two weeks, the Germans took Kursk, Belgorod, Kharkov, Kramatorsk, Stalino and Taganrog. Rostov is threatened; severe fighting is reported 20 miles west of the town.

In a battle beginning October 18, the Germans officially declare to have broken through two Soviet defense lines just south of the Perekop Isthmus, taking 15,000 prisoners. Farther west, Odessa fell to a siege by German and Rumanian forces. The Russians claimed to have successfully evacuated the garrison and most industrial equipment.


Troop Units

German SS Panzer troops in tropical uniforms were recently seen for the first time in the streets of Berlin. Inasmuch as these militarized Nazi Party troops are selected carefully and trained as special assault units, these new SS formations may be an indication of contemplated offensive operations somewhere in the lower latitudes - either North Africa, the Near East, or perhaps West Africa.


Army Personalities

General of Aviators Danckelmann, successor to General von Schroeder as Military Commander in Serbia,






Page 1830




is reported to be in command of three German Divisions in Yugoslavia. These forces are being employed to put down the rebellion.

2. Naval










September 29

Danzig Bay



October 13




October 13




Prior Oct. 17

Departed Kiel



October 7

Central Baltic



October 12




Prior Oct. 24

Departed Hamburg



October 17




October 12




October 13




October 17




September 29




October 20

Off coast N. of Kiel



September 29




October 20


4 Units


September 24

Northern Norway

1 Unit


September 24


5-7 Units


September 24

In the Baltic

3 Units


September 24

North Sea ports

2 Units


October 24


Remaining Units




150 Units (estimated)



Operating out of German, Norwegian and French Atlantic ports.






Page 1831





A German official communiqué on October 21, 1941, announced the conclusion of operations in the Baltic and along the Estonian littoral. Sea forces under the command of General Admiral Carls are credited with contributing decisively to the conquest of the Baltic Islands. Units of the fleet transported troops and broke up mine fields, and naval personnel participated in operations on land.

Grand Admiral Raeder has not given whole-hearted approval to the all-out submarine campaign advocated by Vice Admiral Doenitz, Commander of German U-boats. Admiral Raeder is believed to have recommended that Germany concentrate her naval efforts in the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean and reduce her scale of operations in the Atlantic.

Approximately 20 submarines have been operating recently west of longitude 30 and between latitude 50 and 56. Some submarines have been operating as far west as longitude 53. Five or six submarines continue to patrol the water in the vicinity of the Azores and the Canary Islands. One submarine is known to have been operating recently in the approaches to the White Sea.



The presence of Lieutenant-Commanders "under instruction" on German U-boats indicates that the German Navy is reaching out into the older brackets for U-boat officer material. At the same time it appears that younger officers, even from classes as recent as those of 1935 and 1936, are also filling command positions in the U-boat service. At the beginning of the war, the most successful U-boat commanders came from the 1930 and 1931 classes. Many of these have been lost to the service through death, capture or physical disability. There is evidence that there is also a lack of trained U-boat ratings.



General Admiral Carls is the third ranking officer in the German Navy. While the BISMARCK was on her last






Page 1832




cruise, Admiral Carls, as Commander-in-Chief "Gruppe West", direct the course of the BISMARCK from shore.


3. Air


Strength and Disposition


German air forces were reliably reported disposed as follows on October 1:

Western Fr.      Russian Fr.       Mediterranean  Central Ger.     Total    1032    2545    380      583      4540


More than half of all Nazi planes in Russia are said to be concentrated in the drive to Moscow.

Estimated total air strength and monthly plane production remains as shown in the last Fortnightly Summary - 2900 planes of all types and 220 monthly production.




West - There has been no substantial change as regards German air operations over the British Isles and in the Western approaches since the last Fortnightly Summary.


Eastern Front - German reports make the following claims regarding air activity during the last fortnight:

(1) hits on Murmansk railway;

(2) troops short of supplies Kalinin are provisioned by air;

(3) much of Colonel General Keller's air fleet, formerly employed in the Latvia-Estonia-Lake Peipus section, liberated for action elsewhere;

(4) sank 30,000 tones of Russian shipping in the evacuation of Odessa.


[18 ]




Page 1833




Mediterranean - Until recently General Geissler maintained air headquarters in Sicily for operations in the vicinity of Lalta. The bulk of his planes have now been transferred to Greece, where he will direct Nazi air activity throughout the Mediterranean.

German air forces have been relieved of the air defense of Bardia by the Italians.



The former German Air Attaché in London, General of Aviation Wenninger, is now on the staff of Field Marshal von Sperrle, Commander of Air Fleet No. 3, which is operating against the British Isles and shipping in the Atlantic.






Page 1834




F. Italian Military, Naval and Air Situations



Recently the Germans augmented their forces in the Western Desert by one armored and one infantry division, which brings their total strength to:

2 Armored Division (15th and 21st)1 Motorized (5th)1 Infantry

The Italian forces in Libya total 11 full divisions, plus 4 divisions which are being reconstituted from four division destroyed by the British last winter.


East Africa

The Italians still are continuing the fight in the Gondar area of Ethiopia, where their strength is now estimated to be: 15,000 men; 12,000 rifles; 57 guns.


Eastern Front

The German High Command gave Italian troops a shore of the credit for the capture of Stalino in the Donetz Basin. The Italian forces are now operating about forty miles west of Rostov on Don.


Occupied Territory

There is every indication that a real war is underway in Serbia. Nearly all railroad operations have ceased because of the activities of saboteurs and a number of trains have been derailed or blown up. Between forty and fifty thousand armed soldiers are conducting guerrilla activities against Italian and German occupation forces. Those guerrilla bands are receiving the cooperation of the rural population to the extent that almost the entire occupied territory is in a state of insurgency. To control the situation, the Italians have been forced to send a total of at least 25 divisions and possibly as many as 30 divisions to this theater. However, there are reports to the effect that Italian soldiers are selling their weapons and military supplies, deserting and entering into conspiracies with the inhabitants of this area.






Page 1835




In the occupied territory, the Italian forces are distributed as follows:

Croatia and Lubiana     3 DivisionsAlbania and Montenegro     8 DivisionsDalmatia     4 DivisionsGreece and Aegean Islands  10 Divisions


2. Naval

Several losses have been sustained by the Italian Navy during the past fortnight. On October 5 an Italian submarine was sunk by a British destroyer when two or three Italian submarines attempted an attack on an English convoy in the Atlantic. Two small destroyers were sunk by mines in the Central Mediterranean about the middle of October and an auxiliary merchant cruiser, the CITTA de GENOA was sunk off Naples by a British submarine.

The present estimated strength of the Italian Navy is as follows:

Battleships:        2 LITTORIOS                           

                     3 CAVOURS

Cruisers            4 8" gun cruisers (1 badly damaged)   

                    11 6" gun cruisers

                     2 light cruisers (old, efficiency very low)

Destroyers:          91

Submarines:          72


At the start of the war Italy had 121 submarines and her war plans were based on the fact that the striking effort of this large submarine force would assist here surface forces in rapidly gaining control of the entire Mediterranean. This was the biggest submarine force in Europe and was made up of mostly of new types. Immediately after Italy joined the war her submarine losses grew to considerable and disastrous proportions. To date Italy has lost approximately forty-nine submarines. However, Italy is constructing undersurface craft (believed to be a small type) at the rate of two per month and it is possible that about twenty of these have been built since the war began. Some reports state that building equals losses but that the personnel problem hinders effective additions to the submarine force.






Page 1836




2. Air


Contrary to the general belief, there is no evidence that the morale and fighting spirit of the Italian pilots is poor. On the other hand, there is ample proof that in actual combat the Italians are outclassed frequently by the superiority of British pilots and aircraft. The Italian Air Force has been hampered by inadequate training and outmoded planes.

The estimated strength and disposition of the Italian Air Force is as follows:



Central & East Sector              302

Western Sector                        159

Saharan Sector                        50

Balkans                                    188

Aegean                                    104

Sardinia                                   130


Italy suffered its worst air raid of the war on October 21 when the British attacked Naples for 5 1/2 hours. Extensive damage was inflicted on the electric power center which has paralyzed train service. Entire streets of buildings were destroyed by fire, the industrial section around the suburb of San Gionavvi a Teduccio was razed and fuel oil tanks near Granali were hit. In spite of the tremendous damage there were very few civilian casualties as the raid was confined entirely to military objectives.