German military technology during World War II

German military technology during World War II

German military technology during World War II increased greatly in terms of sophistication. Nazi Germany put much effort into developing weapons, particularly aircraft and tanks, during the war, which initially give it's armed forces an advantage over other countries, especially at the beginning of the war. New German military technology often placed allied commanders in a position of being unable to respond effectively.

Land systems

Infantry weapons

Germany developed numerous new weapons during the war, including the first assault rifle in the world.

In 1940, Germany developed the Gewehr 43, a semi-automatic rifle to replace bolt-action rifles for better performance in infantry.

In 1944, Germany developed the first assault rifle, the Sturmgewehr 44 which proved to be widely successful against the allies. However, the late production and usage of the gun was not enough to turn the allies near the end of the war.

German soldiers used the more common MP40, which was an easy to operate submachine gun, designed with almost no recoil, and easier to manage compared to other submachine guns during the war.

Armoured vehicles

Germany recognized the importance of tanks at the beginning of the war. Heinz Guderian, one of Germany's best commanders during World War II largely helped the development of Panzer forces and the organization of tanks into divisions. Hitler at first developed tanks to be used as a propaganda tool, since many thought them to be impressive. However, the effectiveness and power that tanks held caused further development for more powerful tanks.

German tanks often outclassed all allied tanks, except the Russian T-34, and proved very hard to destroy. German tanks had the most armor and often had larger and stronger guns than allied tanks.

The largest and strongest German tank was the Tiger II and its size, armor, and gun size gave Germany the advantage over almost all allied tanks, especially on the western front where the US and British had no equally matched tanks. Because Tiger II tanks were developed late into the war, they were sent directly to combat without much testing. The Tiger II had many problems including engine overheating, steering difficulty, and a high fuel consumption rate. In addition, the detail and the intricate parts of the tank made production inefficient.

Despite its technical problems, the Tiger II was considered to be the most powerful tank and technologically was more than 10 years ahead of its time.


German aircraft was superior to allied aircraft and the dominance in the air gave them the ability to crush almost all opposition at the beginning of the war. Germany developed numerous new planes.

The Junkers Ju 87 was an extremely successful dive-bomber that could accurately destroy enemy positions. Germany added a siren to the Junkers Ju 87 as an early form of psychological warfare.

German technicians also developed the first jet in the world, the Messerschmitt Me 262 in 1944. Too late to make an impact against the allied air force, its development led to postwar development of jets.


Germany also developed the first cruise missiles (V-1) and rocket-powered ballistic missiles (V-2). Though their impact on the course of the war was primarily psychological, after the war, Allied powers, especially the Americans, profited immensely from captured German technology and expertise in the development of rocket vehicles capable of space travel.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.