Volume 3, Chapter 9
Hitler went on to say, “Today’s meeting is very important. We will be discussing the next steps to be taken on the Western front.”
Then he turned to Himmler and Schirach. “Normally there is no need for you to attend these meetings. However, I wish for you to know how the German army conquers its enemies. May it inspire you also.”
The two people gave a bit of a flattered look and expressed gratitude. Xu Jun after some thought understood the basic idea. Hitler was purposely showing them Reinhardt’s military talent and his loyalty to the cause Allowing for easier communication and to help pave the way for future projects.
Then Hitler spoke to General Jodl: “Jodl, give the report of the front lines.”
Jodl stood up and went to the front of the map. Pointing with a long stick at the various strategic points on the map and started to detail the front’s current situation.
Xu Jun had no intent on listening meaningfully, he had already studied the current battle situation very well. He was now concerned on how Hitler would deal with Rundstedt and Göring’s disastrous plan.
Xu Jun then gave a brief wave to one of Hitler’s military adjutants. The adjutant immediately came over and asked what he needed.
Xu Jun whispered softly, “Go over to my adjutant, Hans. Grab my briefcase and bring it to me.”
“Yes, General.” The adjutant nodded his head, opened the door and went out.
Hitler was listening to Jodl’s report seriously and did not pay attention to this exchange. After some time, the officer returned with the briefcase. Xu Jun expressed gratitude and then slid the briefcase beside his feet.
At that time Jodl had finished the report and returned to his seat. Hitler rolled out a map of Europe on the table in front of him and frowned. Then he lifted his head and spoke to Rundstedt, “I’ve seen your and Manstein’s report. He’s currently commanding the offensive, so I called you over instead. Now, tell me your views on the next stage of the war.”
Rundstedt stood up and took out a report from his folder.
“My Fuhrer, from the current battlefield situation, our attack has been smooth and cohesive. Our forces have breached the initial French defensive lines. This is in accordance with our plans to advance to the French coast. In fact, General Guderian and the XIX (19th) Panzer Corps arrived at the English Channel several days ago. Then attacks were commenced on the ports of Boulogne and Calais. We have the majority of the British Expeditionary force and French 1st army completely cut off. It is only a matter of time before the army is eliminated.
However, we are now experiencing a bigger problem. We have been using our valuable Panzer Divisions to advance. During the initial attack, the forces moved very quickly. However, this leads to the fact that our tanks were moving too quickly. Our follow-up forces are having trouble moving at that speed. So now, these armored forces are at risk of a pincer attack. The soldiers of the Panzer Divisions are also very tired, only relying on their loyalty to the Reich to continue fighting. The tanks are also continuing to wear down from the rapid movement, constant repairs are needed.
Because the enemy is backed into a corner, their resistance is much stronger than before. If we continue to throw troops at them then the enemy will surely put up a stubborn resistance. Besides, the terrain is not suitable for tanks. If we rushed in with the tanks then they will have unnecessary losses. Besides, these valuable tanks are needed for the second stage of our battle plan, to fight the main force of the French army. They cannot be allowed to be destroyed so early, it is an unnecessary sacrifice.
I suggest we stop our forward movement. Allow the units to get some rest. Here, we form a defensive encirclement and wait for the infantry to arrive. Defensive positions should be set at these areas to prevent the enemy forces from counter-attacking. The infantry should be pulled to the enemy’s eastern defensive lines. Although it may take some time, the losses when engaging the enemy would be reduced. This is my advice.”
And so, Hitler gave a nod of satisfaction.
Seeing that Hitler gave a nod to Rundstedt’s report, it confirmed that Hitler had long since had the same idea. However, it also gave himself an opportunity. But as he was ready to speak, Hitler unexpectedly continued.
“I agree with Rundstedt’s views. We cannot place our elite Panzer units in unnecessary trouble. The enemy is already trapped, there is no need for their continued advance. I think it would be best for the infantry to complete this task.”
Upon hearing these words Jodl and Keitel gave complicated looks. While Göring stood up, ready to raise objections.
“My Fuhrer, please let my Luftwaffe complete this task. We do not have to wait for the slow infantry to catch up. My planes will be unperturbed picking them off on the beaches. I promise, three days. I will bomb them into oblivion in three days.
Listening to Göring, all the generals were shocked. Keitel and Jodl’s faces were both flushed. Contemplating on whether to confront Göring or not. But before that, a voice rang out.
This sentence was so unexpected that everyone had to take a moment to register what actually happened.
The Deputy Fuhrer was still sitting with a leisurely expression on his face. His hand still raised the cup of coffee, about to take a sip.
This caused a stir in the room. The Army generals looked at Xu Jun with increased admiration and joy. The two generals and two marshals have never seen anyone have the audacity to face Göring so directly. They had prepared to use a more tactful tone, even then, there was the danger of being reprimanded by Hitler. Never would they have dared refute this blatantly.
Now the face on Keitel’s face reddened again. But this time out of excitement. Originally, the generals always viewed the Deputy Fuhrer as being lacking in all military matters besides budget consolidation. Perhaps it was just the high command giving him something to do.
But after the Battle of Arras, he and his colleagues began to notice that the Deputy Fuhrer’s military talent began to change for the better. The incredible organization, multi-tasking, and detailed battle arrangements. It was not something even a mere paperwork-general could accomplish. Perhaps Reinhardt deliberately hid his abilities. However, would there be any benefit for that? Anyhow, it this not something that should be overthought.
And so, Reinhardt currently has enough authority and recognition to speak on the Army’s behalf.
In a previous military meeting regarding the invasion of Poland, the Deputy Fuhrer did not even attend. Even if he did, relying on his bad military skills, he would not have been able to provide any solid advice. Furthermore, this time not only was he well-received by the generals, he also had the status of Deputy Fuhrer. With Göring’s subtle backing from Hitler, he was allowed to run amok and oppress the Army generals.
But how could they forget that there was someone else that could compete with him?
With the prestige and military knowledge of General Reinhardt, he surely can refute Göring’s stupid idea. Finally repaying the disgrace that they had to withstand. Keitel looked with an excited gaze at Xu Jun.
Jodl and Brauchitsch were both a bit warier.
Jodl thinks that Reinhardt must have had to work very hard in the Army. However, he was still only a brigadier general. He was obviously ill-treated and it would be unlikely for that animosity to be unpaid.
Field Marshal Brauchitsch had only one thought. Finally, someone that can fight against that arrogant Göring. Granted, he may have ignored the young Deputy Fuhrer but that could be discussed at a later date. The pride of the Army rested on Reinhardt’s shoulders. If he failed then Göring would cause even more pressure to befall on the generals. They could no longer lift their heads when facing him.
Thinking of this, the field marshal glared directly at Rundstedt.
His gaze saying: “Look at what your damn advice did!”