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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

Junkers Ju 87

Junkers Ju 87
Junkers Ju 87

Newsreels of Ju 87 Stuka dive-bombers peeling off to begin their near vertical attacks are some of the most familiar images of the war. The Ju 87 was planned as a Stuka (short for Sturzkampfluzeug, or “dive-bomber”) a name that became synonymous with the type, to provide ‘flying artillery’ to support the armoured forces that would spearhead Germany’s Blitzkrieg (lightning war) tactics, and is forever associated with the success of that strategy early in the war. The aircraft first flew in 1935 with twin vertical tail surfaces and a British Rolls-Royce (RR) Kestrel engine, but was then developed into the Ju 87A initial production model (200 aircraft) with a single vertical surface, the 507kW (680hp) Junkers Jumo 210 inverted-Vee engine, trousered landing gear (to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the no-retracting undercarriage) and a crutch to swing the bomb away from the fuselage before release.

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Artillery

Stug III 10.5cm

Stug III 10.5cm
Stug III 10.5cm

Introduced to service in August 1942 and otherwise known as the Sturmhaubitze 42 Ausf F, the five-man 10.5cm Feldhaubitze 42 was basically identical to the Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf F (SdKfz 142/1) in all major essentials except its armament, which was the powerful 10.5cm Sturmhaubitze 42, an L/18 weapon based on the 10.5cm leichte Feldhaubitze 18. This was installed in an armoured mounting in the front of the raised superstructure of welded steel armour that replaced the turret (as above).

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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

Walther P38

Walther P38
Walther P38

The Pistole 38, another semi-automatic weapon from the Walther stable, entered service with the German armed forces in 1938 as successor to the P 08. It embodied a double-action trigger mechanism developed from the earlier Models PP and PPK, and also featured the signal pin which extended beside the hammer when there was a round in the chamber.

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Tracked Vehicles

Nashorn

Nashorn
Nashorn

The Nashorn (Rhinoceros), later called Hornisse (Hornet), was designed to accommodate the 88mm Pak 43/1 L/71 gun - the most powerful tank armament produced by the Germans in World War II, and the most effective anti-armour gun built by either side. With a muzzle velocity of 1018m/sec (3340ft/sec), it could destroy any Allied tank in service up to the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Paratrooper

Paratrooper
Paratrooper

The postcard shows a parachutist at the moment his ‘chute will unfold. On the reverse a caption states: “Jumping into Nothingness.” With their first jumps executed in 1936, the Parachute Troops (Fallschirmtruppen) took part in the occupation of the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia, and later were initially very successful in special airborne missions, including the dramatic takeover by a small force of the seemingly impenetrable Belgian fortress of Eben Emael.

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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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