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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 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

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

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).

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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

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.

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Commanders

Commanders

Walther Model

Walther Model
Walther Model

Model, born in 1891, fought in the German Army in World War I and won the Iron Cross (both classes), ending the war a lieutenant. During the inter-war years he became a believer in mechanized warfare, and after Hitler came to power in 1933 he made a favourable impression on the Führer and the Nazi hierarchy.

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