CMH Pub 104-4

THE GERMAN CAMPAIGNS IN THE BALKANS
(SPRING 1941)


This publication replaces DA Pam 20-260, November 1953.

Facsimile Edition, 1984, 1986

CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
UNITED STATES ARMY
WASHINGTON, D.C.


FOREWORD

The purpose of this study is to describe the German campaigns in the Balkans and the seizure of Crete within the framework of Hitler's military policy during the second year of World War II. The study is the first of a series dealing with large-scale German military operations in Eastern Europe; other historical studies such as Germany and Finland--Allies and Enemies in World War II, The Axis Campaign in Russia, 1941-45: A Strategic Survey, and German Army Group Operations in Russia will follow.

"The German Campaigns in the Balkans" is written from the German point of view and is based mainly on original German records and postwar military writings by Dr. Helmut Greiner, General Burkharth. Mueller-Hillebrand, and the late General Hans von Greiffenberg. The lessons and conclusions following each narrative have been drawn from the same German sources. (These records and manuscripts are listed in appendix III.) Material taken from U.S. and Allied sources has been integrated into the text, but specific cross references have been made only in those instances where these sources deviate from the German documents.

The work of preparing this study in English, which consisted of translating basic German records and manuscripts, performing additional research, expanding and then rewriting the narratives with an eye for continuity and factual data, was done chiefly by Mr. George E.Blau of the Foreign Studies Branch, Special Studies Division, Office of the Chief of Military History. In the process of presenting the material, every effort has been made to give a balanced account of German strategy and operations in the Balkans during the spring of 1941.

A. C. SMITH
Major General, USA
Chief, Military History


CONTENTS

PART ONE. THE MILITARY-POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE BALKANS (October 1940-March 1941)

Chapter 1. The Great Powers

Chapter 2. Germany'. Satellites in the Balkans

Chapter 3. The Other Balkan Countries

PART TWO. THE YUGOSLAV CAMPAIGN (Operation 25)

Chapter 4. Political and Strategic Planning

Chapter 5. The Plan of Attack

Chapter 6. The Defense Forces

Chapter 7. The Attack Forces

Chapter 8. Logistical Planning and Assembly of Second Army Page

Chapter 9. Operations

Chapter 10. Lessons

Chapter 11. Conclusions

PART THREE. THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN GREECE (Operation MARITA)

Chapter 12. General

Chapter 13. The Defense Forces

Chapter 14. The Attack Forces

15. The Plan of Attack

16. The Assembly Logistical Problems

1 7. Operations

Chapter 18. Losses

Chapter 19. Conclusions

PART FOUR. THE SEIZURE OF CRETE (Operation MERKUR)

Chapter 20. General

Chapter 21. Operations

Chapter 22. Lessons

Chapter 23. Conclusions

PART FIVE. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CAMPAIGNS IN THE
BALKANS AND THE INVASION OF RUSSIA

Chapter 24. Influence of the Plans for Operation BARBAROSSA on the Campaigns in the Balkans

Chapter 25. Effect of the Balkan Campaigns on Operation BARBAROSSA

Chapter 26. Conclusions

APPENDICES

MAPS