Browse Our Free Content

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

Heinkel He 111

Heinkel He 111
Heinkel He 111

The Heinkel He 111 was the natural twin-engined outgrowth of the Heinkel 70 bomber used to such great effect in Spain. Although revealed to the world as a civil airliner, it was designed for bombing. Powered by twin BMW VI engines, it could carry 1000kg (2205lb) of bombs stowed nose-up in eight cells in the centre section. In 1937 some similar machines flew secret reconnaissance missions over Britain, France and the Soviet Union in the guise of airliners, and in the same year the He 111B-1 entered service with the Luftwaffe. In February 1937 operations began with the Condor Legion in Spain, where its seeming invincibility led many to become complacent.

Read more …

Artillery

Gebirgsgeschütz 36

Gebirgsgeschütz 36
Gebirgsgeschütz 36

It was in 1935 that Rheinmetall-Borsig, working on the basis of a requirement issued by the German Army, embarked on the process of developing a new piece of thoroughly modern light artillery for service with Germany’s mountain infantry formations. The new gun/howitzer was to become the standard gun of the artillery batteries supporting such infantry and was, of course, to be of the pack type so that the entire weapon could be broken down into loads which could each be carried by a draft animal, most typically a mule. The resulting weapon entered service in 1938 as the 7.5cm Gebirgsgeschütz 36, whose unusual features included variable recoil facility and a large muzzle brake of the pepperpot type.

Read more …

Ships

Graf Spee

Graf Spee
Graf Spee

Officially classed as a Panzerschiff (Armoured Ship), but more popularly known as a “pocket battleship”, the Admiral Graf Spee and her two sisters, the Admiral Scheer and Deutschland, were designed as commerce raiders with a large radius of action and complied with the restrictions imposed on Germany by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (which was detested by the Nazi Party). The “pocket battleship” nickname derived from the fact that, although they were too small to be classed as battleships, they were more powerful and faster than most other warships then afloat. Their hulls were electrically welded, and armour protection was sacrificed to produce a higher speed.

Read more …

Small Arms

MP 28

MP 28
MP 28

The Maschinenpistole 28/II sub-machine was in essence a 1928 development of the MP 18/I, which entered service in 1918 as the German Army’s first such weapon, by Hugo Schmeisser for production by Haenel (interestingly, his name would be internationally associated with the later MP 38 and 40, though in fact he had very little to do with these weapons - the association is largely the result of Hollywood fantasy).

Read more …

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.

Read more …

Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

You must be logged in to submit a caption. Please login or signup if you don’t have an account yet.

Help required!

We have a large photo collection, many of which are uncaptioned, or for which we have incomplete information or are guessing. If any readers can give us correct captions (or more informed captions than we hold at the moment) we would be very grateful. We will display on the site the best or most accurate captions for the photos that we are putting up. Please make your captions no longer than 150 words - shorter if possible.

View suggested captions

Photo Galleries

Attaching an ammunition belt to the MG34

Attaching an ammunition belt to the MG34
Attaching an ammunition belt to the MG34

German infantry attaching a new belt of ammunition to the MG34. It is unclear whether this is a training photograph or taken during real action. Belts were supplied in a fixed length of 50 rounds, but could be linked up to make longer belts for sustained firing. A 250 round belt was also issued to machine guns installed in fixed emplacements such as bunkers. Ammunition boxes contained 250 rounds in five belts that were linked to make one continuous 100 round belt and one 150 round belt.

Read more …

Commanders

Commanders

Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel

No discussion of the German Army’s performance in North Africa can exclude an analysis of Erwin Rommel, the “Desert Fox.” The war in North Africa made his reputation. On February 12, 1941, Hitler dispatched Rommel by air to Tripoli in response to the major defeat that the Italian units had just suffered at the hands of British and Commonwealth forces. The new commander had with him just a small mobile force to stiffen Italian resolve and to assist them in reversing the possibility of total defeat at the hands of the British-led forces advancing from Egypt. Hitler did not, however, envisage the Africa Corps making spectacular successes, lest the need to protect these accomplishments from British ripostes led to the diversion of precious German reserves away from the impending Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union to the North Africa theater.

Read more …