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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

Arado Ar 234 Blitz

Arado Ar 234
Arado Ar 234

The Blitz (Lightning) was the only turbojet-powered bomber to achieve operational status in World War II and is a milestone in military aviation’s development. Its evolution dates from a 1940 requirement issued by the German Air Ministry (Luftfahrtministerium) for a fast reconnaissance aeroplane. An intensive programme of design and development resulted in no fewer than 18 prototypes, featuring a powerplant of two Junkers 004 or four BMW 003 turbojets, provision for rocket-assisted take-off units, a cabin with or without pressurization and an ejection seat, and a clumsy combination of a drop-away trolley for take-off and extendible skids for landing. A ­­­few of these prototypes were used from July 1944 by the reconnaissance units (Aufklärungsgruppe).

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Artillery

Flakvierling 38

Flakvierling 38
Flakvierling 38

The 2cm Flakvierling 38 quadruple 20mm mounting was highly respected by Allied airmen operating at low level. Designed by Mauser for German naval use, the Flakvierling 38 entered production for the army and air force during 1940. The Flakvierling 38 combined four FlaK 38 barrels on an adapted version of the FlaK 38’s carriage, and while the standard sight was the Flakvisier 40 or improved Flakvisier 40A, provision was being made for radar direction by the end of World War II.

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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

Walther PP

Walther PP
Walther PP

A semi-automatic pistol that was first delivered in 1929, the Walther Model PP had been designed for police use as indicated by its full designation, Polizei Pistole (police pistol). The pistol used the Walther double-action trigger mechanism that was also used on the later P 38, and other features included a lightweight receiver and, next to the hammer, a signal button that protruded when the weapon was loaded. In overall terms the design was light and slim.

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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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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

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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