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German Balkenkreuz

Germany's Opel Blitz truck

Design

In the 1930s the German Army was starting to realize what a logistical nightmare it was to have over 100 vehicle types and General von Schell, director of mechanization, was tasked to reduce the amount of types and he was able to get it down to 30 types. In the 3 ton medium truck category the Opel Blitz was chosen.

Engine

The engine powered the rear axle.

Construction

The crew cab was made from pressed steel. When materials were harder to come by the cab was made from wood and cardboard and called Ersatz cabs.

The body was made from wood.

The fuel tank was located under the driver.

Production

By 1944 production was severely curtailed by Allied bombing.

  • Opel Blitz Typ S: 70,000
  • Opel Blitz Typ A: 25,000
  • Production: 1937 - 1944, ? - 1944

Variants

  • Opel Blitz Typ S: 4x2.
  • Opel Blitz Type 3.6-36 S: The Chevrolet commercial version.
  • Opel Blitz Type 3.6-36 S (army model): Modified to meet German military requirements.
  • Opel Blitz Type 3.6-47: Chassis was longer.
  • Opel Blitz Typ A, Allrad; Opel Blitz Type 6700 A: 4x4. Wheelbase was shortened by 5.9" / 15 cm. The transfer gear had a selector for road and cross country.

Usage

The uses of the Blitz were wide and varied:

  • Ambulance
  • Clothes Laundry
  • Command Post
  • Fuel tanker
  • Mobile lab
  • Radio
  • Workshop

Reliability

As the Opel Blitz was overly complicated it was harder to maintain.

Specifications

  Opel Blitz
Crew 1
Passengers  
Physical Characteristics  
Weight - Empty 4,630 lb
2,100 kg
Weight - Payload 7,238 lb, 7,253 lb
3,290 kg
Length 19' 9"
6.02 m
Height 7' 1.6"
2.175 m
Width 7' 5.2"
2.265 m
Ground clearance  
Ground pressure  
Armament  
MG  
Side arms  
Quantity  
MG  
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm)  
Engine (Make / Model) Opel, O.H.V.
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water
Cylinders 6, I-6
Capacity 219.6 cubic inches
3.6 liters
Net HP 68, 73.5
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type) 5 forward, 1 reverse
10 forward
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Gasoline
Octane  
Quantity 21.6 gallons
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse  
Speed - Road 50 mph
80 kph
Speed - Cross Country  
Range - Road 255 miles
410 km
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Fording depth 1' 7"
0.5 m
Trench crossing  
Vertical obstacle  
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type)  
Wheels each side 3

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  2. U.S. War Department Handbook on German Military Forces, 1945
  3. Armored Fighting Vehicles, 300 of the World's Greatest Military Vehicles, Philip Trewhitt, 1999
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site