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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

Heinkel He 112

Heinkel He 112
Heinkel He 112

One of the first requirements issued under the Nazis by the rapidly expanded Reichsluftfahrtministerium was a specification for a monoplane fighter to replace the Arado 68 and Heinkel 51. Designed by a Heinkel team under Walter Günthers (who was also responsible for the He 70), the He 112 was Heinkel’s entry to the competition.

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Artillery

LE IG 18

LE IG 18
LE IG 18

One of the pieces of light field artillery used in the largest numbers by the German Army in World War II was the 7.5cm leichte Infanteriegeschütz 18. The need for such a weapon was perceived in the first half of the 1920s, and the task of designing and developing such a gun was entrusted to Rheinmetall during 1927. Field trials of the new equipment proved very successful, and a major manufacturing programme was initiated so that the le IG 18 could be adopted as the standard artillery weapon of the support companies of infantry regiments and also of some mountain units.

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Ships

Tirpitz

Tirpitz
Tirpitz

The mighty battleship Tirpitz was laid down in October 1936 and was originally known as Schlachtschiff G or Ersatz Schleswig-Holstein (Replacement Schleswig-Holstein). She was launched on 1 April 1939 and completed in February 1941. From early 1942 she was based at various locations in Norway, and on 8 September 1943 she sailed from Altenfjord to bombard shore installations on Spitzbergen – the only time she fired her guns in anger against a surface target. On 22 September she was damaged in an attack by British midget submarines, and on 3 April 1944 she was further damaged in an attack by carrier aircraft of the British Fleet Air Arm, sustaining 14 bomb hits and suffering 122 dead. She was subjected to further attacks by the Fleet Air Arm in August 1944, but sustained only minor bomb hits.

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Small Arms

Gewehr 41

Gewehr 41
Gewehr 41

In 1940 the Germany Army, currently equipped with bolt-action weapons so far as rifles and carbines were concerned, issued a requirement for a semi-automatic (or self-loading) rifle to succeeded the various Mauser weapons of the Gewehr 98 series. The requirement elicited very similar designs from Mauser and Walther, and the German authorities ordered prototypes of each type for competitive evaluation before any major production contracts were placed.

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Tracked Vehicles

Grille

Grille
Grille

The Grille was first ordered for construction on the new self-propelled gun chassis that BMM was developing, the resultant vehicle being designated Sf 38(t) Ausf K. However, wartime demands resulted in Panzer 38(t)s being used instead, being converted by BMM as they returned from the front for refits. The standard chassis was fitted with a new fighting compartment superstructure, which had to be extended over the engine compartment in order to accommodate the sIG33/1 L/12 heavy gun and its 15 rounds of ammunition.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

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

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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