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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

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.

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Artillery

PAK 41

PAK 41
PAK 41

Built in competition with the Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.5cm PaK 40 as a means of providing the German Army with the best possible weapon to succeed the 5cm PaK 35/36, the 7.5cm Panzerabwehrkanone 41 was designed by Krupp, the other main creator of larger-calibre weapons for the German Army.

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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

Pistole 08

Pistole 08
Pistole 08

Generally known as the “Luger”, the Pistole 08 is amongst the most celebrated pistols ever placed in production. The first Luger pistols for military service were manufactured in 1900 to meet a Swiss order, and the type was also adopted by the German navy during 1904 and then by the German Army in 1908. It was this last order that led to the designation P 08, which became the most important of some 35 or more Luger pistol variants.

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Tracked Vehicles

Panzer III Ausf F

Panzer III Ausf F
Panzer III Ausf F

During the 1930s, it was envisaged that the core of the German panzer divisions would be a medium tank armed with a 37mm or 50mm armour-piercing gun. A number of prototype vehicles were built by Daimler-Benz, Rheinmetall, MAN and Krupp in response to this requirement. Tested in 1936-37, the Daimler-Benz model was chosen for further development.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

In French fields

In French fields
In French fields

The 4th Panzer Division on the move: soft-skinned vehicles lead Panzer IIIs through the French countryside, 17 May 1940. Here can be seen some of the variation in vehicular transport used by the German Army in World War II. Identifiable are types from Stoewer, Horch, Phanomen and Opel.

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Commanders

Commanders

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich

He was born in Halle, Saxony, on March 7, 1904, the son of the founder of the Halle Conservatory. He was a rounded individual, possessing exceptional intellectual ability, as well as being an accomplished sportsman. In 1922 he joined the navy as a cadet and was under the orders and tutelage of Canaris, but in April 1931, due to allegations of dishonourable conduct towards a young lady who declared that he had impregnated her, he was brought before an honour court, presided over by Canaris, which found him guilty and dismissed him from the service. He became engaged to Lina von Osten and it was she who was to convert him to Nazism, and he joined the NSDAP in 1931. Lina enlisted the help of Frederich Karl von Eberstein to bring him to Himmler’s notice, which he did on the June 14, 1931. Himmler found him appealing; the interview was short and he came straight to the point: “I want to set up a security and information service within the SS and I need a specialist. If you think you can do this management job, will you please write down on paper how you think you would tackle it, I’ll give you 20 minutes.”

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