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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

Gotha Go 242 and 244

Gotha Go 242 and 244
Gotha Go 242 and 244

Well known as a producer of bomber aircraft for the German Air Service during World War I, Gotha re-entered aircraft production in 1936 and after the outbreak of war devoted its attentions to the design and manufacture of military aircraft. The most successful of its wartime designs was the Go 242, a high-wing twin-boom monoplane with a central nacelle that could accommodate 23 fully equipped troops. Introduced into service in 1942, the Go 242 subsequently became the Luftwaffe’s standard transport glider, with deliveries totalling 1526 Go 242A and Go 242B gliders with skid and wheeled landing gear respectively.

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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

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

Panzer III Ausf N

Panzer III Ausf N
Panzer III Ausf N

The Panzer III Ausf N was an attempt to increase the potency of the tank by arming it with the 75mm KwK L/24 gun. This weapon fired an effective high-explosive round and an excellent shaped-charge that had better penetration than the long-barrelled KwK39 L/60 which it replaced.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Prinz Eugen Feb 1942 Channel dash

Prinz Eugen Feb 1942 Channel dash
Prinz Eugen Feb 1942 Channel dash

During the Channel Dash, Prinz Eugen came under fire from British coastal artillery, from Royal Navy motor torpedo boats, from RAF torpedo planes and finally from British destroyers. The latter were driven off in a short engagement by the heavier guns of Prinz Eugen, and the German cruiser managed to avoid the clusters of torpedoes launched by the Royal Navy vessels. By late February, Prinz Eugen had reached Norway.

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Commanders

Commanders

Josef Goebbels

Josef Goebbels
Josef Goebbels

It is a little-known fact that the Minister of Propaganda was opposed to a European war. He realized that Germany would be taking unnecessary risks and that her position of power would be weakened. Despite the victories of 1940 Goebbels said: “We must not fool ourselves. It will be a long and difficult war. Its outcome will not depend on boisterous victory parties but on a determination to do one’s daily duty.” He was probably the only Nazi leader to correctly judge the length and gravity of the war.

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