J.C.S. Files

Note by the Secretaries of the Combined Chiefs of Staff

C.C.S. 303/3

Strategic Concept for the Defeat of the Axis in Europe

The Combined Chiefs of Staff have approved1 the following strategic concept of operations for the defeat of the Axis power in Europe, 1943–44.2
Operation “ Pointblank
The progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, the disruption of vital elements of lines of communication, and the material reduction of German air combat strength by the successful prosecution of the Combined Bomber Offensive is a prerequisite to Overlord (barring an independent and complete Russian victory before Overlord can be mounted). This operation must therefore continue to have highest strategic priority.
Operation “ Overlord
This operation will be the primary U.S.-British ground and air effort against the Axis in Europe. (Target date 1 May 1944) After securing adequate Channel ports, exploitation will be directed toward securing areas that will facilitate both ground and air operations against the enemy. Following the establishment of strong Allied forces in France, operations designed to strike at the heart of Germany and to destroy her military forces will be undertaken.
Balanced ground and air force build-up for Overlord , and continuous planning for and maintenance of those forces available in the [Page 1025] United Kingdom in readiness to take advantage of any situation permitting an opportunistic cross-Channel move into France.
As between operation Overlord and operations in the Mediterranean, where there is a shortage of resources, available resources will be distributed and employed with the main object of insuring the success of Overlord . Operations in the Mediterranean Theater will be carried out with the forces allotted at Trident except insofar as these may be varied by decision of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Operations in Italy
First Phase. The elimination of Italy as a belligerent and establishment of air bases in the Rome area, and, if feasible, farther north.
Second Phase. Seizure of Sardinia and Corsica.
Third Phase. The maintenance of unremitting pressure on German forces in Northern Italy, and the creation of the conditions required for Overlord and of a situation favorable for the eventual entry of our forces, including the bulk of the reequipped French Army and Air Force into Southern France.
Operations in Southern France
Offensive operations against Southern France (to include the use of trained and equipped French forces), should be undertaken to establish a lodgment in the Toulon-Marseilles area and exploit northward in order to create a diversion in connection with Overlord .
Air Operations
Strategic bombing operations from Italian and central Mediterranean bases, complementing Pointblank .
Support for ground operations with land and carrier-based air forces.
Development of an air ferry route through the Azores.
Air supply of Balkan guerrillas (see paragraph 8 below).
Operations at Sea
Intensified anti-submarine warfare, including operations from the Azores.
Security of our sea communications.
Continued disruption of Axis sea communications.
Support of amphibious operations.
Operations in the Balkans
Operations in the Balkan area will be limited to supply of Balkan guerrillas by air and sea transport, arid to the bombing of Ploeşti and other strategic objectives from Italian bases.
Garrison Requirements and Security of Lines of Communication in the Mediterranean
Defensive garrison commitments (Appendix “A” to C.C.S. 3033) in the Mediterranean area will be reviewed from time to time, with a view to effecting economy of force. The security of our lines of communication through the Strait of Gibraltar will be assured by appropriate dispositions of our forces in Northwest Africa, so long as there remains even a remote possibility of the Germans invading the Iberian Peninsula.
H. Redman
J. R. Deane

Combined Secretariat
  1. At their 110th Meeting, August 17, 1943. See ante, p. 875.
  2. The paragraphs which follow are derived from C.C.S. 303, paragraph 4 (see ante, p. 474), as amended in accordance with the proposals of the British Chiefs of Staff contained in the enclosure to C.C.S. 303/2 (not printed), circulated August 16, 1943.
  3. Ante, p. 481.