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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

Blohm und Voss Bv 141

Blohm und Voss Bv 141
Blohm und Voss Bv 141

In 1937 the Luftfahrtministerium (German Air Ministry) issued a requirement for a single-engined three-seat tactical reconnaissance aeroplane, drawing submissions from Focke Wulf in the form of its Fw 189, and Blohm und Voss’s Bv 141 design. Much emphasis was placed on the need for good visibility, and in response the Bv 141 had a highly unusual asymmetric layout with the fully glazed crew nacelle offset to starboard of the centreline and a boom (carrying the engine at its front and a tail unit at its rear) offset to port.

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Artillery

Jagdpanzer 38(T)

Jagdpanzer 38(T)
Jagdpanzer 38(T)

Manufactured from 1943 to provide the German forces with a dedicated Panzerjäger (tank hunter) capable of defeating the Allied powers’ latest armoured fighting vehicles, the Jagdpanzer 38(t) “Hetzer” (baiter) was based on the redesigned hull of the PzKpfw 38(t) light tank of Czechoslovak origins.

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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

FG 42

FG 42
FG 42

The German paratroop arm was an element of the air force, and many of its weapons were therefore different from those of the army. Thus when the army issued its specification for an assault rifle, the air force decided not to adopt the 7.92mm kurz (short) intermediate-power round and therefore contracted with Rheinmetall-Borsig for an assault rifle suitable for airborne use and chambered for the original 7.92mm high-power round.

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Tracked Vehicles

Panzer 38(t)

Panzer 38(t)
Panzer 38(t)

The Czech LT-38 was one of the most successful products of the pre-war Czech armaments industry. Originating as a design in 1933, it was gradually improved so that by 1938 the latest version, the TNHP, was ordered for the Czech Army. Some 150 were ordered for the Czechs, while foreign orders totalled 200.

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Free Media

Caption Competition

Hitler and Mackenesen
Hitler and Mackenesen

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Photo Galleries

Iron horses

Iron horses
Iron horses

Officers pose with a brand new BMW. In late 1934 motorcycles entered service, with the 11th, 12th and 16th Horse Regiments becoming motorized rifle troops, in effect now riding “iron horses,” principally German-made BMWs and Zundapps.

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Commanders

Commanders

Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel

No discussion of the German Army’s performance in North Africa can exclude an analysis of Erwin Rommel, the “Desert Fox.” The war in North Africa made his reputation. On February 12, 1941, Hitler dispatched Rommel by air to Tripoli in response to the major defeat that the Italian units had just suffered at the hands of British and Commonwealth forces. The new commander had with him just a small mobile force to stiffen Italian resolve and to assist them in reversing the possibility of total defeat at the hands of the British-led forces advancing from Egypt. Hitler did not, however, envisage the Africa Corps making spectacular successes, lest the need to protect these accomplishments from British ripostes led to the diversion of precious German reserves away from the impending Barbarossa invasion of the Soviet Union to the North Africa theater.

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