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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

Dornier Do 18

Dornier Do 18
Dornier Do 18

The Do 18 was originally produced as a trans-Atlantic mail carrier to supersede the Dornier Wal 33 (from 1934 Do 15) in service with Deutsche Lufthansa on its South Atlantic routes, and later used as a medium-range maritime reconnaissance type by the Luftwaffe. The first of four prototypes made its maiden flight in March 1935, one of them being used for an experimental crossing of the North Atlantic. The twin-Junkers Jumo 205 diesels were mounted in tandem above the wing centre section, itself carried on a semi-circular hull with characteristic Dornier under-surface and lateral sponsons, and strengthened for catapulting (most German warships were equipped with catapults for mounting aircraft – vital for long-range reconnaissance).

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Artillery

Stug III 10.5cm

Stug III 10.5cm
Stug III 10.5cm

Introduced to service in August 1942 and otherwise known as the Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf F, the five-man 10.5cm Feldhaubitze 42 was basically identical to the Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf F (SdKfz 142/1) in all major essentials except its armament, which was the powerful 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42, an L/18 weapon based on the 10.5cm leichte Feldhaubitze 18. This was installed in an armoured mounting in the front of the raised superstructure of welded steel armour that replaced the turret (as above).

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Ships

Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein
Schleswig-Holstein

The Schleswig-Holstein was one of a class of five pre-dreadnought battleships, laid down in 1902–04. She was launched in December 1906, completed in July 1908 and subsequently served with the German High Seas Fleet, seeing action in the Battle of Jutland. In the last two years of the war she served in turn as a depot ship at Bremerhaven and an accommodation ship at Kiel, and was one of the small force of warships that Germany was permitted to retain by the Versailles Treaty for coastal defence in the post-war years.

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Small Arms

Gewehr 43

Gewehr 43
Gewehr 43

When they evaluated the Tokarev semi-automatic rifle, of which they captured numerous examples in 1941 and 1942, the Germans quickly appreciated that the Soviet gas-operated system offered several advantages over the modified Bang system used in their Gewehr 41 weapons. It was seen that the Russian gas-operated mechanism had many advantages over the system used on the Gew 41. The Gew 41(W) was already in production, but the Germans now modified the action to a system modelled closely on that of the Soviet self-loading rifle to create the Gewehr 43 firing the German Army’s standard 7.92mm cartridge.

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Tracked Vehicles

Panzer V Ausf G

Panzer V Ausf G
Panzer V Ausf G

As a result of recommendations and comments from troops in the field using the Panther Ausf A and D, the Ausf G incorporated a number of design changes. Chief among them was a redesigned hull, which incorporated increased side armour on the upper-hull side and a single-piece side plate. The driver’s vision port was done away with, being replaced by a rotating periscope. In addition, the driver could drive with his head out of the hatch thanks to an adjustable seat and extendible controls.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Infantry combat during Operation Barbarossa

Infantry combat during Operation Barbarossa
Infantry combat during Operation Barbarossa

German infantry fire on a Soviet bunker beside a burning Red Army GAZ AA or AAA armoured scout car during Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. The vehicle resembles a BA-10 armoured car, which was mounted on the AAA three axle chassis but this is clearly not one of these as it has a running board and they did not. The BA-10 also had a 50mm gun in a turret. There are no signs of the type of damage that the blowing off of a turret would cause.

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Commanders

Commanders

Heinz Guderian

Heinz Guderian
Heinz Guderian

Born in Chelmno in 1888, Guderian became a communications specialist in the German Army and then, after World War I, an advocate of mechanized warfare. In 1934, now a colonel, he became Chief of Staff of the Motorized Troops Command Staff, and in October 1935 assumed command of one of the first three panzer divisions, the 2nd. Guderian stayed with his division until February 1938, thereafter heading XVI Corps headquarters and taking part in the takeover of Austria in March 1938. Hitler was impressed by Guderian and made him Chief of Mobile Troops with the rank of General of Panzer Troops.

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