Opel Blitz (German for "Lightning") was the name given to various light and middle-weight trucks built by German Opel automobile manufacturer between 1930 and 1975. During the years preceding World War 2 Opel, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM) since 1929, was Germany's largest truck producer. The name Blitz was applied in 1930 after a competition.
By 1934 there were four base versions of the truck a 1-tonne version, a basic model along with fourteen versions of the larger 2 and 2 1/2 tonne trucks. Under the terms of Nazi economy and the German Rearmament, Authority was given for the construction of the Opelwerk Brandenburg facilities in 1935. It was at this plant that more than 130,000 Blitz trucks and chassis were produced. From 1939, the reliable 3.6 three-ton was used in large numbers by the Wehrmacht armed forces throughout World War 2. Variants included a four-wheeled drive version, but to cope with the bad winter road conditions and the rasputitsa mud seasons of the Eastern Front a Half-Tracked maultier (Mule) SdKfz 3 version was built. After the war, the facilities in Brandenburg were completely dismantled at the behest of the Soviet Military Administration. Daimler-Benz in Mannheim resumed building the Blitz 3.6 under the designation L 701 until 1941. The last 467 medium trucks were again assembled By Opel in Russelsheim until production finally ceased in 1954 without a successor.
Opel-Blitz - The Wehrmacht's Most Famous Truck.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks of the First Model - Troop Carrier
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks of the Second Model - Cargo
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks of the Third Model - Simplified Cargo Bay
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks - Late Version
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Series - Production Box-Type Bodies
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Specialised Bodies
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Impressed Civilian Vehicles
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Allrad - All-Wheel Drive
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Buses
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Three-Axle Truck
Opel Blitz - The Wehrmacht's most famous truck is a section of writing telling you all about the history and how it came about. I did a search on Wehrmacht history as it mentions in the book and they are quite right when you do the search most pictures have an Opel Blitz in it. The military career of the Opel Blitz began only a few years before the start of World War Two when a large batch was purchased for the Wehrmacht. This Section goes into some detail on production, different types and finishing with a conclusion of just how important the Opel Blitz 3 tonne truck.
Opel Blitz 3-tonne Trucks of the First Model - Troop Carrier
This section sees the start of the photo heavy parts of the book, this has to be the part that most modellers really love when it comes to model making. The troop carrier became the main work horse for moving the troops about at the start of World War Two, the first two pictures show a side on view of an Opel Blitz troop carrier which is a terrific picture showing the sign writing on the driver's door which includes details of weight. The second picture shows several Opel Blitz in a field great picture showing the interior of the back of the truck and the bench seats in detail. For the diorama modeller, these pictures truly are invaluable, with the scope and detail of a picture of a troop carrier being doubled up as a cargo carrier with soldiers sitting on top of crates that are on the bench seats? Some great photos follow this, like the Blitz with tree branches on top used as camo two riders on the front mudguards with a Nazi flag on the roof. One of the last photos in this section is an amazing shot of the Blitz in an ice-covered river/lake showing its winter camo scheme.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne trucks of the second model - cargo is a self-explanatory section, picture heavy with the cargo version. Within three sections of this fantastic book, I can really see why the Opel blitz is a real winner for the modeller. One picture in particular sticks out to me of an Opel Blitz precariously purchased on a wooden bridge probably somewhere on the eastern front. The rear wheels have broken through the wooden bridge belonging to 12 Panzer Division. Another picture shows an Opel Blitz on a muddy road with a great picture of the mud splattering up the side. Again for a modeller, this type of picture can be of such great use. Other pictures show various Opel Blitz in different scenarios including one being repaired at the side of a road.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks of the third model - simplified cargo bay. This was the most numerous military version of the Opel Blitz and could be used as a troop carrier or cargo carrier. In fact, it was used in just about every job possible such was the versatility of this truck. Plenty of pictures follow on showing the simplified bay truck in action, one of the trucks in the Afrika Korp probably belonging to the 5th Panzer Regiment. More action pictures from the Eastern Front showing just how harsh the winter gets and one unfortunate Blitz that has slipped off the road into a ditch full of snow. Another one of those fantastic pictures is one Opel Blitz in the mud up to its axles and is being dragged out presumably by a tracked vehicle. Some great diorama ideas can gleam from such great photos one of a Blitz as a mobile kitchen for instance with various soldiers awaiting their food. A great picture of one loaded on top of a carriage flatbed for transportation to one of the many fronts in which this fantastic reliable truck served. Field converted trucks finish of this fascinating topic.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Trucks - late version sees Opel blitz trucks that were produced in 1944 some of these were under licence by Mercedes-Benz some of these came with a unified wooden cab and look more like the Mercedes trucks. This is a very small section with just four pictures but again the pictures are very useful for building an accurate version of this truck.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Series - Production box-type bodies. This section of the book shows again some great photos the first one is a radio truck with its field aerials raised of one of the Wehrmacht signals units. The two photos of the radio truck are very useful for accuracy in scratch building a radio box on the back of a Blitz. The various types of boxed Blitz's follow in the photos in this small sections including Ambulance, command version and one that is a signals unit but has not been used for a radio truck but could have been an engineering section of the signals may be for repair?
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Specialised bodies cover the use of a Luftwaffe version of the Opel Blitz with a crane on the back of it a great photo of a bf 109 being lifted by the crane on the back of a Blitz. Another great photo one I have not ever seen the likes of before shows a Luftwaffe version removing the Daimler-Benz engine out of a 109. Great again for dioramas with various soldiers, engineers all working together to remove the engine, the said 109 is in the picture too with what looks like a Ju52 behind. A panzer jager is having its turret replaced with a Soviet 7.62mm gun. Fuel versions and mechanic versions are also present in picture form.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Impressed civilian vehicles This chapter is also picture heavy and tells of former civilian Opel Blitz's that were pressed into military service the first of which went to the Luftwaffe. Some of these vehicles still show their civilian colours and registration plates. Some fantastic photo's follow on the preceding pages with yet again plenty of pictures giving inspiration for dioramas. Another civilian version which was now in military use had an improvised cab with rear opening doors the crew nicknamed this "suicide doors". A couple of pictures that really impressed me were one of the Opel Blitz which is towing two different sized trailers, the other has to be one of my favourite pictures has to be a former Opel Blitz from a German brewery now carrying a Klemm 35 trainer aircraft on the back. One other really rare Opel Blitz tractor unit with a trailer the tractor unit had a crew type cab. A specialised hospital truck was made out of an Opel Blitz removal truck?
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne Allrad - All-wheel drive this is the all-wheel drive version of the Opel Blitz and one that was favoured greatly by the Wehrmacht especially by those in some of the harder terrain to traverse. These particular vehicles really seem to be in just about every theatre of war with trucks in North Africa, Italy, Greece, winter camouflage in the Eastern Front. These were in different types and units throughout the war. Some great looking Opel Blitz trucks with anti-aircraft guns on top of them with some of these being armoured with metal plates on the front and side of the cab. This is one of the bigger chapters and is full of pictures.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Buses various civil and military versions were used for different jobs, some of these were turned into ambulances and control vehicles.
Opel-Blitz 3-tonne - Three-axle truck, unfortunately, there is only one picture of this vehicle which did not do so well on the Ostfront Opel were keen to increase the off road.
It is very clear to see just why this particular truck was so well liked by its crew and is a clear favourite with modellers. I have learnt so much about the Opel Blitz from this Tankograd special book it is written in their usual way with plenty of pictures the text is short around the pictures but it is informative. This book is useful for any modeller and I would highly recommend it if you are a diorama modeller or are about to build one of the many different models of Opel Blitz's that are available on the market this really is a great source for pictures showing detail and weathering. I have read this book front to back and back to front it really is so useful and well done.
Highs: Another great book from Tankograd and one that should be useful to any modeller, it is full of fantastic pictures showing detail and ideas for dioramas. Lows: I have to think hard about this, I can only come up with the end.Verdict: Excellent book with excellent content, I will try my hardest to find more of the Tankograd books that I have missed, such is the way the content is written.