Between 1871 and 1945, the Germans issued five different bolt action rifles. It started with Mauser's seminal Gew. 71, an 11mm black-powder cartridge breechloader. This rifle was standard issue to the armies of the newly unified Germany for thirteen years, when it was replaced by the Gew. 71/84; essentially the same weapon, but with the addition of a tubular magazine below the barrel. After the shock of the French Lebel, the Germans put the Gewehr Prufungs Kommission (Rifle Testing Commission) at the Spandau Arsenal to work designing a new rifle. The committee-designed weapon, a hodgepodge of Mannlicher, Mauser, and other odds & sods, went into service in 1888 as the Gew. 88, but is better known to us as the "Commission Rifle." Paul Mauser took der Vaterland's acceptance of a non-Mauser rifle as a personal snub and set to work designing a series of rifles that eclipsed it entirely. The culmination of the resulting evolutionary tree was the Gew. 98, which replaced the Commission Rifle after the latter had only been in use for ten years, and is regarded by some (including your humble scribe) to be the pinnacle of the era of the military bolt-action rifle. In 1935, the Germans finally followed the lead of so many other countries and did away with issuing distinct rifles and carbines to infantry and other branches, and went with a shortened 98 called the Kar. 98k as a service-wide standard longarm.
Keeping up with contacts paid off for me again: My 1877 C.G. Haenel Kar. 71, 1888 Spandau Gew. 71/84, 1916 Spandau Gew. 98, and 1943 "byf" (Oberndorf) Kar. 98k are now joined by an 1890 Danzig Gew. 88.
I just love shopping. :)