Führer and Supreme Commander
'Undertaking Mercury [Merkur]'
1. As a base for air warfare against Great Britain in the Eastern Mediterranean we must prepare to occupy the island of Crete ('Undertaking Mercury'). For the purpose of planning, it will be assumed that the whole Greek mainland including the Péloponnèse is in the hands of the Axis Powers.
2. Command of this operation is entrusted to Commander-in-Chief Air Force who will employ for the purpose, primarily, the airborne forces and the air forces stationed in the Mediterranean area.
The Army, in co-operation with Commander-in-Chief Air Force, will make available in Greece suitable reinforcements for the airborne troops, including a mixed armoured detachment, which can be moved to Crete by sea.
The Navy will take steps to ensure sea communications, which must be secured as soon as the occupation of the island begins. For protection of these communications and, as far as is necessary, for the provision of troopships, Commander-in-Chief Navy will make the necessary arrangements with the Italian Navy.
3. All means will be employed to move the airborne troops and 22nd Division, which is under the command of Commander-in-Chief Air Force, to the assembly area which he will designate. The necessary space for freight lorries will be put at the disposal of the Chief of Armed Forces Transport by the High Commands of the Army and Air Force. These transport movements must not entail any delay in the mounting of 'Undertaking Barbarossa'.
4. For anti-aircraft protection in Greece and Crete, Commander-in-Chief Air Force may bring up anti-aircraft units of 12th Army. Commander-in-Chief Air Force and Commander-in-Chief Army will make the necessary arrangements for their relief and replacement.
5. After the occupation of the island, all or part of the airborne forces must be made ready for new tasks. Arrangements will therefore be made for their replacement by Army units.
In preparing coastal defences Commander-in-Chief Navy may if necessary draw upon guns captured by the Army.
6. I request Commanders-in-Chief to inform me of their plans and Commander-in-Chief Air Force to inform me when his preparations will be completed. The order for the execution of the operation will be given by me only.
signed: ADOLF HITLER