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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

Dornier Do 17

Dornier Do 17
Dornier Do 17

Designed as a fast mailplane (with single-fin tail surfaces) for Deutsche Lufthansa and first flown in 1934, the Do 17 was rejected by the airline and then developed by Dornier as a high-speed bomber with twin vertical tail surfaces. The aircraft entered service in early 1937, gaining the nickname “The Flying Pencil” on account of its slender rear fuselage. The first two military variants were the Do 17E-1 and Do 17F-1 for the high-speed bomber and long-range photo-reconnaissance roles respectively, the latter with additional fuel and the internal bomb bay revised to carry two cameras. The two types offered good performance and adequate all-round capabilities for their day, but by 1939 were obsolescent.

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Artillery

Jagdpanzer IV

Jagdpanzer IV
Jagdpanzer IV

Introduced late in 1943, the Jagdpanzer IV was based on the PzKpfw IV medium tank with the turret removed and the upper hull revised into a fixed superstructure, including 60mm (2.47in) upper and lower frontal plates sloped at 45° and 57° respectively, above the all-welded original hull. The sloping sides of the superstructure extended beyond the vertical hull sides over the tracks to provide additional volume for ammunition stowage (a maximum of 79 rounds). Armour skirts of 5mm (0.2in) thickness were bolted to brackets welded to the vehicle’s sides.

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Ships

Blücher

Blücher
Blücher

Launched in June 1937, the heavy cruiser Blücher was one of five vessels in her class, the others being the Lützow, Seydlitz, Prinz Eugen and Admiral Hipper. On 9 April 1940, flying the flag of Admiral Oskar Kummetz, she took part in the German invasion of Norway, leading a group of warships carrying 2000 troops and bound for the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

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Small Arms

MG 42

MG 42
MG 42

Without doubt one of the most far-sighted and influential machine guns created in World War II, the Maschinengewehr 42 was in terms of its design and manufacturing requirements a truly outstanding weapon that has exercised a long-lasting influence over later general-purpose machine guns.

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Tracked Vehicles

Creating the Panzer Army

A column of Panzer I and II tanks
A column of Panzer I and II tanks

To many, the German War Machine is synonymous with rumbling armored monsters toting enormous guns: the ‘Panzers’ of war films and the popular imagination. Late-war vehicles like the Tiger I, Panther, and King Tiger tanks have gained almost mythological status amongst wargamers and modellers.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

The commander of the Berlin garrison, General Helmuth Weidling, leaving the Reichs Chancellory bunker to sign the formal surrender of the city to the Red Army. The fighting stopped about two days later. Weidling surrendered to Vasiliy Chuikov, who had commanded the Russian 64th and 62nd Armies that hung on grimly in Stalingrad in 1942, and for the Soviets it was fitting that he should take the surrender of the Berlin garrison.

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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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