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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

Gotha Go 242 and 244

Gotha Go 242 and 244
Gotha Go 242 and 244

Well known as a producer of bomber aircraft for the German Air Service during World War I, Gotha re-entered aircraft production in 1936 and after the outbreak of war devoted its attentions to the design and manufacture of military aircraft. The most successful of its wartime designs was the Go 242, a high-wing twin-boom monoplane with a central nacelle that could accommodate 23 fully equipped troops. Introduced into service in 1942, the Go 242 subsequently became the Luftwaffe’s standard transport glider, with deliveries totalling 1526 Go 242A and Go 242B gliders with skid and wheeled landing gear respectively.

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Artillery

Feldkanone 38

Feldkanone 38
Feldkanone 38

A piece of light field artillery used by the German Army only to a limited degree, the 7.5cm Feldkanone 38 was based on a design created and manufactured by the arms manufacturer Krupp in response to an order from the Brazilian Army, which received 64 such equipments with six-baffle muzzle brakes and large-diameter spoked wooden wheels inside steel tyres (as shown).

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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

MG 08

MG 08
MG 08

The Schwere Maschinengewehr 08 (specification at left) was one of Germany’s most important weapons of World War I, and numbers remained in service up to the outbreak of World War II as there were insufficient MG 34 weapons to replace them. By 1942 the s MG 08 had been retired to second-line duties.

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Tracked Vehicles

Panzer IV Ausf H

Panzer IV Ausf H
Panzer IV Ausf H

Between April 1943 and July 1944, a total of 3774 Panzer IV Ausf Hs were produced. The basic difference between this model and the Ausf G variant was the fitting of the SSG77 transmission. In addition, armour thickness was increased to 80mm (3.14in) from 50mm (1.96in). A host of other minor modifications included external air filters, all-steel rollers, a cupola mount for an antiaircraft machine gun, a new idler, the deletion of side vision ports for the driver and radio operator, and a new cupola with thicker armour.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Hitler inspects Hitler Youth soldiers during the last days of the Third Reich, a still from a newsreel. By this time, old men and young boys comprised a high proportion of Germany’s ground forces as Germany was being invaded from both east and west.

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Commanders

Commanders

Erich von Manstein

Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein

One of the greatest generals of World War II was born in 1887 in Berlin. He fought and was wounded in World War I, and commanded the 18th Division in Silesia after the war. He first came to prominence in early 1940, when his plan for an armoured attack through the Ardennes caught Hitler’s attention. The Führer liked the plan, which he adopted and launched with great success. However, Manstein had upset the General Staff and so he was “banished” to Silesia to help form the new XXXVIII Corps.

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