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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

Henschel Hs 129

Henschel Hs 129
Henschel Hs 129

Designed by Henschel in response to a requirement in spring 1937 for a twin-engine ground-attack aircraft, to provide close air support for ground forces, that could carry at least two 20mm cannon and extensive protection, the Hs 129 was a cantilever low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction and it first flew in spring 1939 with two 347kW (465hp) Argus As 410 inverted-Vee engines. Poor performance hampered development, which was further hindered when the Luftwaffe pilots who tested the prototypes complained about poor fields of vision and sluggish handling. This forced Henschel to undertake a radical series of improvements that resulted in the Hs 129B-1.

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Artillery

Kanone 39

Kanone 39
Kanone 39

In the 1930s Krupp responded to a requirement of the Turkish Army with the development of a powerful gun in 150mm calibre. Production got under way in the later stages of the decade, but delivery of the first completed weapons was prevented by the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 (notwithstanding its spectacular victories, the German Army entered the war with a shortage of equipment).

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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

FG 42

FG 42
FG 42

The German paratroop arm was an element of the air force, and many of its weapons were therefore different from those of the army. Thus when the army issued its specification for an assault rifle, the air force decided not to adopt the 7.92mm kurz (short) intermediate-power round and therefore contracted with Rheinmetall-Borsig for an assault rifle suitable for airborne use and chambered for the original 7.92mm high-power round.

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Tracked Vehicles

Marder II

Marder II
Marder II

The Marder II antitank vehicle was essentially a 75mm Pak 40/2 gun mated to a Panzer II chassis. By May 1942 the combat effectiveness of the Panzer II (still being produced at a rate of 50 per month) was being questioned - it was certainly obsolete by this date. As a result, early in June it was decided that half the production would be given to mounting the Pak 40 gun on the Panzer II chassis, though assembly was cut short in June 1943 to concentrate on production of the Wespe.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Belgian Blitzkrieg

Belgian Blitzkrieg
Belgian Blitzkrieg

May 1940. An 88mm gun model Flak 18 and crew pass Wehrmacht motorcycles (a BMW R18 and a DKW NZ350) alongside a British Morris C8. The Germans made use of captured vehicles of all kinds, sometimes for jobs they were not designed to do.

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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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