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Timelines

Third Reich Day by Day

The rise of the Third Reich as it happened from its beginnings to the start of World War II in September 1939.

Weapons & Technology

Aircraft

Junkers Ju 88

Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88

Probably no other aircraft in history has been developed in so many different forms for so many purposes as the Ju 88, with the possible exception of Britain’s Mosquito. The Ju 88 was flown in 1936 as a civil prototype, and it remained of vital importance to Germany throughout the war. After a frantic design process led by two Americans well versed in modern stressed skin construction, it was transformed into a heavier, slower and more capacious high-speed level- and dive-bomber of the type just then entering service when war broke out. Structurally the aircraft was excellent, combining a large internal fuel capacity with great load-carrying capability, and despite the fact that many of its variants were mere “lash-ups”, the performance of the aircraft was never so degraded as to become seriously vulnerable – as the Dornier and Heinkel bombers were.

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Artillery

Jagdtiger

Jagdtiger
Jagdtiger

Introduced to service during February 1944 and otherwise known as the Panzerjäger Tiger Ausf B für 12.8cm PaK 44, the six-man Jagdtiger (hunting tiger) was the last word in the German Army’s search for a tank hunter/destroyer capable of destroying with a single hit any tank fielded or likely to be fielded by the Allied powers.

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Ships

Köln

Köln
Köln

Completed in May 1928, Köln was one of a class of three light cruisers in the German Navy, the others being the Königsberg and Karlsruhe. Köln was in action from the very first day of World War II, taking part in minelaying operations in the North Sea with Admiral Densch’s Reconnaissance Force.

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Small Arms

MG 42

MG 42
MG 42

Without doubt one of the most far-sighted and influential machine guns created in World War II, the Maschinengewehr 42 was in terms of its design and manufacturing requirements a truly outstanding weapon that has exercised a long-lasting influence over later general-purpose machine guns.

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Tracked Vehicles

sIG33

sIG33
sIG33

In order to give armoured infantry immediate fire support, the 150mm sIG33 L/11 heavy infantry gun was mounted on the chassis of the Panzer I Ausf B. This resulted in a self-propelled infantry gun that could follow the infantry closely into battle. The conversion was carried out by Alkett at Berlin-Spandau. The turret and superstructure of the Panzer I were removed and replaced by a large, box-shaped gun shield which was open at the rear and had an open top. The gun was placed inside the gun shield.

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Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

MG34 in the snow

MG34 in the snow
MG34 in the snow

German infantry man an MG34 position in the snow of February 1943; the gun is mounted on a stationary tripod mount. A standard infantry support weapon, it was one of the most successful German small arms of the war.

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Commanders

Commanders

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

Hitler’s aim in the East was very clear: acquiring Lebensraum in the East up to the Ural Mountains. These lands were occupied by groups that Hitler and Nazism despised: Bolsheviks, Slavs and Jews. Under the New Order, these peoples would either become slaves under German overlords or would be exterminated. He was to state in 1942: “If we do not complete the conquest of the East utterly and irrevocably, each successive generation will have war on its hands”. For him the war in Russia was a racial conflict, in which the racially superior German Aryan race was locked in a struggle with the “sub-human” Slavs. This made retreat in the face of “inferior” peoples unimaginable, for the Führer could not conceive of the racially inferior Slavs being able to defeat a superior race. As he stated on the eve of Kursk: “Germany needs the conquered territories or she will not exist for long. She will win hegemony over the rest of Europe. Where we are - we stay.”

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