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Opal Blitz

Discussion in 'German Military vehicles used during WWII' started by Jim, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    The Opal Blitz

    By the late 1930s the German military Inventory presented an enormous logistic problem with over 100 different vehicle types in service. A desperate programme to rationalise this situation was put in hand under the leadership of General van Schell who was then director of mechanisation his aim was to cut down the vast number of types and bring in a degree of standardisation which when plans were finalised allowed Just 30 vehicle types. In the 3-ton medium category Opals design was the most successful The Opel Blitz 4x2 was of a conventional layout and featured a pressed steel commercial type cab with wooden body. Under the so called Schell programme all 4 x 2 vehicles were designated Typ S.

    Opel Blitzes 0f the Afrika Korps are seen on a busy road in Libya, 1941. For all his panache as a tank commander, Rommel consistently neglected the logistics of the Afrika Korps and imposed an impossible burden on his transport columns.

    [​IMG]

    The 4x2 was produced in many different variants, for example general service, fuel tankers, house body etc. As the need for better cross-country performance became a premium it was decided by Opel to produce a four-wheel-drive 3-ton truck with the designation Typ A and based on the same basic vehicle design as the Typ S. The addition of a driven front axle gave tremendous advantages over the normal 4x2 truck, and the wheelbase for the 4x4 was shortened by 15 cm (59 in). A two-speed transfer box gave the vehicle a choice of 10 forward gears During the production span from 1937 to 1944 some 70,000 Opel Blitz trucks were built, as well as over 25,000 'Allrad' (four wheel drive) models By late 1944, however, manufacture was totally disrupted by Allied bombing and the Allied advance across Europe, making plans to produce vehicles in 1945 fruitless. The variations of body design were numerous, the most popular model being the house body The Blitz’s Possibilities were endless, and the vehicles were used as field ambulances, mobile laboratories, laundries, mobile command posts, field caravans, radio vans, cipher offices and mobile workshops to name Just a few The body was made of timber and compressed card to save valuable steel.

    An Opel Blitz Kfz 31 ambulance model. The Germans also used heavy car chassis ambulances and captured some, like the Austin K2.1t was also used to carry mobile operating theatres.

    [​IMG]


    Later during the war when raw materials were desperately short, the cabs were produced from wood and pressed card and termed Ersatz cabs. During the winter campaigns on the Eastern Front even the four wheel drive vehicles were almost brought to a standstill, and the Waffen-SS developed a unique three-quarter track vehicle from an Opel Typ A and obsolete PzKpfw I tank track assemblies: the rear shaft was shortened and the driven axle was moved forward to line up with the sprockets, and because of Its performance the Maultier, as the vehicle became known, was accepted for standard production. Similar conversions to Ford and Daimler-Benz vehicles were also carried out, but were not so numerous




    Specification Opel Blitz [​IMG]

    Engine: one 54.8-kW (73.5-bhp) Opel 6-cylinder petrol engine.
    Dimensions: length6.02m (19ft 9in)
    Width: 2 26m (7ft 5in)
    Height: 2.75m (7ft 1.6in)
    Weights: chassis 2100 kg (4,630Ib)
    Payload: 3290 kg (7,253lb)
    Performance: maximum speed 80 km/h (50 mph); range 410 km (255 miles)
     

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