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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

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch

Fieseler Fi 156 Storch
Fieseler Fi 156 Storch

The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (Stork) was designed in response to a 1935 requirement issued by the Luftfahrtministerium for an army cooperation, casualty evacuation and liaison aeroplane. In prototype form it first flew in the spring of 1936 and entered service the following year. The ungainly but highly effective “Stork” was one of the most remarkable aircraft produced by the German aero industry during the Nazi regime. By incorporating innovative high-lift devices that he pioneered on pre-war acrobatic types, Gerhard Fieseler produced an aircraft with outstanding capability. This is borne out by some remarkable statistics: the Fi 156 Storch could take-off in 65m (213ft), land in 20m (66ft) and virtually hover in a 40km/h (25mph) wind without any loss of control.

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Artillery

Flak 36/37

Flak 36/37
Flak 36/37

Production of Germany’s first modern light anti-aircraft gun, the FlaK 18, ended in 1936 to allow manufacture of an improved model, the 3.7cm FlaK 36, that was the FlaK 18 gun on a new mounting carried on a two-wheeled carriage and served by an eight-man detachment.

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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

MP 40

MP 40
MP 40

The MP 38 was a technical and tactical success, but was also expensive to manufacture in terms of materials and time. The MP 38 was therefore re-designed as the Maschinenpistole 40 that was generally similar to the MP 38 but far easier to manufacture, as machining was reduced to a minimum and the use of welding and pressed components was maximized. As well as speeding production, these changes also made it possible for the MP 40 to be made by a larger number of companies drawing on the efforts of a pool of subcontractors delivering subassemblies. The MP 40 thus inaugurated the era of the swift and cheap manufacture of basic small arms, and was one of the most important submachine guns of World War II.

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Tracked Vehicles

StuG (F1)

StuG (F1)
StuG (F1)

During World War II flamethrower tanks were popular with infantry units for a number of reasons, such as their ability to deal with enemy bunkers and strongpoints (thus saving infantry formations having to get close to such locations, which would have resulted in heavy casualties), and thus demoralise the enemy in general. It was therefore logical that the Germans would convert a number of StuGs, their prime assault gun, to flamethrowers.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Heydrich assassination reconstruction

Heydrich assassination reconstruction
Heydrich assassination reconstruction

A reconstruction of the key moment of the assassination, on May 27 1942. As the car slowed at the bend, Gabcik attempted to shoot Heydrich with his Sten Gun, but the weapon jammed. Heydrich then pulled out his Luger pistol and tried to shoot Gabcik, but Kubis threw a bomb constructed from an anti-tank grenade that exploded near the back of the car. Although wounded, Heydrich continued to try to shoot the assassins, and ordered his driver to pursue them. The driver was shot and badly wounded by the two agents.

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Commanders

Commanders

Hans von Seeckt

Hans von Seeckt
Hans von Seeckt

Infantry General Hans von Seeckt (left) was the commander in chief of the German Army from 1920 to 1926. As such he played a pivotal role in shaping the evolution of the interwar German military. Confronted with the reduction of German military capabilities imposed by the draconian Versailles settlement of 1919, Seeckt utilized his experience of mobile warfare on the Eastern Front during World War I to pursue his belief that an aggressive defense conducted by mobile forces could defeat a numerically and materially superior enemy. It was Seeckt, therefore, who initially pushed motorization in the interwar German Army as he sought to inculcate offensive spirit in German troops.

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