Operation Braun (i)

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This was a German contingency plan for an offensive into north central France by Generaloberst Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb’s Heeresgruppe ‘C’, which was otherwise tasked only with pinning the French forces holding the Maginot Line defences (14/26 June 1940).

To be brought into operation only in the event that the primary ‘Gelb’ offensive, in its ‘Sichelschnitt’ form, encountered major difficulties such as the checking of Generaloberst Fedor von Bock’s Heeresgruppe ‘B’ and/or Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt’s Heeresgruppe ‘A’, the plan was for the 19 infantry divisions of Heeresgruppe ‘C’ to attack between Luxembourg and the French/Swiss border near the western Swiss city of Basle to draw French strength from the primary operational area farther to the north.

An alternative concept, agreed between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the German and Italian dictators, at a meeting in the Brenner Pass on 18 March 1940, was for a combined German and Italian undertaking to break through from southern Germany into the valley of the Rhône river after 20 Italian divisions had been redeployed to southern Germany, a process which, it was estimated, would take between 20 and 25 days.

In the event, given France’s swift defeat in ‘Rot’ (iii), ‘Braun’ (i) proved unnecessary.