Browse Our Free Content

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.

Read more …

Artillery

PAK 38

PAK 38
PAK 38

The need for an anti-tank gun with a calibre greater than that of the 3.7cm PaK 35/36 had been anticipated even as the PaK 35/36 was entering service, and the design of a new 5cm weapon began during 1938. The design authority was again Rheinmetall-Borsig, and the new weapon entered service late in 1940 as the 5cm Panzerabwehrkanone 38.

Read more …

Ships

Scharnhorst

Scharnhorst
Scharnhorst

Laid down at Wilhelmshaven in April 1934 and launched in October 1936, the Scharnhorst and her sister ship Gneisenau were modelled on the uncompleted “Mackensen” class battlecruisers of World War I. Up until 1942 the pair operated as a single battle group, but after the “Channel Dash” of February that year – in which Scharnhorst was mined twice while en route from Brest to Kiel – she operated alone.

Read more …

Small Arms

Karabiner 98K

Karabiner 98K
Karabiner 98K

In World War I the German Army decided that its standard rifle, the Gewehr 98, was too long for effective use. There was little that could be done at the time, but by 1924 Mauser had developed a rifle shorter than its Gewehr 98 and based on its “Standard” model for export sales: this was manufactured in Belgium and other countries, but did not enter German production until 1935 as the Karabiner 98k (the letter suffix standing for kurz, or short).

Read more …

Tracked Vehicles

StuG III Ausf B

StuG III Ausf B
StuG III Ausf B

The Sturmgeschütz (assault gun) - an armoured self-propelled gun to support infantry assaults - was first requested in 1936. The chassis of the Panzer III was selected for the assault gun, with the first gun being the 75mm StuK37 L/24. In the quest for a low silhouette an all-round traverse was abandoned. Fitted low in the hull front plate, the gun had a 12-degree traverse to the left and right, and an elevation of 10 degrees and a depression of 10 degrees.

Read more …

Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

You must be logged in to submit a caption. Please login or signup if you don’t have an account yet.

Help required!

We have a large photo collection, many of which are uncaptioned, or for which we have incomplete information or are guessing. If any readers can give us correct captions (or more informed captions than we hold at the moment) we would be very grateful. We will display on the site the best or most accurate captions for the photos that we are putting up. Please make your captions no longer than 150 words - shorter if possible.

View suggested captions

Photo Galleries

Bicycle Soldiers

Bicycle Soldiers
Bicycle Soldiers

The German foot soldier also pedaled to war: the bicycle troops under the control of the Cavalry Brigade (the first formations appearing in 1936). Prior to hostilities, a regular bicycle troop consisted of 195 men, their mounts painted black and manufactured first in Germany, then as the war progressed the bicycles were from suppliers in Holland, Belgium and France.

Read more …

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.

Read more …