J. C. S. Files

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff
top secret

C. C. S. 772

Planning Date for the End of the War With Germany

We have reviewed the planning date for the end of the war against Germany as follows:—

1. In considering German capacity to resist we have been guided by the latest study by the Joint Intelligence Subcommittee on this subject. Their conclusions are:—

If, as seems just possible, the Russians succeed in overrunning the eastern defences of Germany before the Germans can consolidate there, the effect might be to force the Germans so to denude the West as to make an Allied advance comparatively easy. As the result of such advances in the East and in the West, a German collapse might occur before mid-April, 1945.
On balance, however, we conclude that distance combined with stiffening German resistance is likely to bring the Russians to a halt on approximately the line Landsberg-Giant Mountains. This will involve the loss of industrial Silesia.
As the result of the loss of industrial Silesia, production of finished armaments, mainly land armaments, would fall over a period of about six months by a quarter or more.
If, as now appears improbable, the Germans succeed in stopping the Russian advance forward of Upper Silesia, thus retaining their two main industrial areas, in Silesia and in the Ruhr, we nevertheless consider that the over-all decline in Germany’s capacity to resist will be such that an Allied offensive in the West followed by a further Russian offensive in the summer should lead to the collapse of German resistance before November.
The need for forces to stem the Russian advance may cause a German withdrawal in Italy, at least to the line of the River Adige.
Germany, at any rate until the summer of 1945 when the U-boat campaign is expected to be at its height, is likely to retain sufficient forces to hold at least southern Norway.

2. Based on the above, we have considered three cases:

The best case.
A reasonably favourable case.
An unfavourable case.

the best case

3. It is clear from paragraph 1 a. above that there is a possibility that the result of the present Russian offensive may lead to a German collapse by mid-April. We do not consider, however, that there is sufficient likelihood of this timing being realised to justify its acceptance, for planning purposes, as the earliest date for the defeat of Germany.

the reasonably favourable case

4. Eastern Front. Distance and stiffening German resistance may well bring the Russians to a halt on approximately the line Landsberg–Giant Mountains. Thereafter, the Russians will have to re-establish their communications and prepare for a further major offensive as soon as weather conditions and their logistics allow. This might be in mid-May or early June.

5. Western Front. Preliminary operations to reach the Rhine should be completed before the end of March. An all-out Allied offensive could then be launched in the latter part of April or early May, with the object of isolating the Ruhr and advancing deep into Germany.

6. The result of these two offensives, if successful, should bring the end of organised German resistance by the end of June.

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the unfavourable case

7. Eastern Front. In this case, we assume that the Russian advance is stopped short of Upper Silesia. Thereafter, if all factors are unfavourable, the combination of German resistance and Russian logistic difficulties may prevent a further major Russian offensive from being launched until the late summer.

8. Western Front. The Allied offensive in the spring may fail to achieve any decisive result. This might be caused by too great a dispersion of effort along the whole front, together with the qualitative superiority of the German heavy tanks and jet-propelled aircraft. It would then be necessary to re-group with a view to launching another offensive. This offensive could be launched in the summer, but it might well suffer in weight and momentum as the result of a successful U-boat campaign of which the effects are likely to be felt in the third quarter of the year.

9. In these circumstances we consider that the results of these two offensives, particularly the Russian, should bring about the end of German organised resistance by the beginning of November.


10. There is a possibility that, as a result of the present Russian offensive, Germany may be defeated by the middle of April. This, however, should be regarded as a bonus and should not influence our production or manpower planning.

For planning purposes, we consider that:—

The earliest date on which the war is likely to end is the 30th June, 1945.
The date beyond which the war is unlikely to continue is the 1st November, 1945.