The enemy intends to take Paris and to annihilate all the forces of Army Group B which are between the Lower Seine, the sea and the area round Argentan. We must reckon with strong pressure on Paris and the West Bank of the Lower Seine northwards … It is the most important Task of C-in-C West to hold a bridgehead W. of Paris, and S. of Paris to prevent a thrust by the enemy through between the Seine and the Loire in the direction of Dijon.
Führer order, OKW Ops. Staff/Ops No. 772956/44, 20 August 1944
… the Führer has ordered:
The defence of the Paris bridgehead is of decisive military and political significance …
Inside the town the sharpest measures must be taken against the first sign of insurrection. For example, blowing up of blocks of houses, public execution of ringleaders, evacuation of the quarter of the city affected, as such measures afford the best means of preventing the trouble from spreading … Never, or at any rate only as a heap of rubble, must Paris fall into the hands of the enemy.
Army Group B, 09.00 hrs. 23 August 1944
Defence ring Paris, no changes. In Paris yesterday there was fighting in the University Quarter, Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. Terrorists in the Louvre, dug in with machine guns. The Grand Palais is on fire. Transport rendered difficult.
Gruppe West, evening 23 August 1944
In an apparent response to the continuing unrest within the French capital, Luftflotte 3 announed on the afternoon of 24 August that a single aircraft from Transportfliegerführer 1 (quite possibly an He 111 of KG 53) would drop leaflets on Paris overnight while the bomber force attacked Évreux and troop assemblies near Mantes.
It was on the evening of the 24th that the first Free French troops entered Paris, securing the surrender of the German commander, Gen. von Choltitz, after fighting the following day. On the 25th Choltitz’s superior, Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model, was apparently unaware of the situation, planning a relieving attack to allow friendly forces to escape the city and join a defence line being established to the east. To support the planned breakout, the bombers were to be sent against roads coming into Paris from the south. The object may have been either to divert attention from the attack in the north or to disrupt the flow of Allied reinforcements into the capital. However slow the news of the surrender had been in reaching him the day before, Model was surely being disingenuous when he issued this declaration on Saturday the 26th:
The enemy is spreading a false order from General von Choltitz [that] resistance in Paris is to be stopped. The order is false. All strong points will be held to the last.
The same afternoon, IX. Fliegerkorps’ Operations Officer set out his intentions for the coming night as:
A) 21.00 hours, bomber and SK [Schnellkampf] units concentrated on city quarter Montrouge, Paris.
B) 0200 hours, same target: harassing operation by part forces of KG 6.
Seventy-five minutes later (at 16.15 GMT) the detailed objectives were given as:
Operations Order No. 125 for the night 26–27.8.44:
1) IX. Flieger Korps attack with all forces and mixed bombload on area of city Sceaux (southern edge of Paris), concentrating on main supply roads on both sides of Sceaux from Châtenay-Malabry to Montrouge (Route Nationale 20) and from the crossroads just east of Villacoublay (southwest of Robinson) to Montrouge (all according to Map 1:80,000 [scale].
2) Avoid city centre under all circumstances. Own troops fighting in Luxembourg.
3) The Army will bring some containers of leaflets to Le Culot for KG 30, which will be taken on the operation and dropped over Paris provided they arrive in Le Culot by 18.00 hours [local time].
4) Navigational aids: none.
continued on next page …
A much-expanded account of the raid mentioned in "Kampfflieger Volume 4".
© Nick Beale 2019