Opel Blitz, is number 24 in the “Camera On” series published by MMPBooks/Stratus. The author, Alan Ranger, has written over 20 books in the Camera On Series dealing with German and Japanese armor specializing in soft skin and armored vehicles. With Opel Blitz Camera On # 24 published in 2021, the author presents photographs of various light and mid-weight truck series built by the German Opel automobile manufacturer.
This 11.7 x 8.3 inches A4 format paperback has 84 pages with every page loaded with period b/w photographs from the author’s personal collection acquired via private collections not the propaganda ones generally seen. These photographs include versions of the 1-ton of the Opel Blitz truck up to and including the 3.5-ton military versions. Most are previously unseen and taken by ordinary German soldiers before and during the war. The book begins with a brief forward and a concise introduction of the history of the Opel Company whose beginnings in 1862 was the manufacturer of sewing machines, then the production of bicycles in 1886 before introducing the first passenger car in 1899. In 1930 they entered truck manufacturing market with their 1-ton Opel Blitz.
The author divides this book into five sections:
- Opel Blitz 2.6 Liter 1.5t
- Opel Blitz 3.5-134 & 3.5-157, 2t & 2.5t
- Opel Blitz 2.0-12, 1t
- Opel Blitz 3.5-36 & 3.6-36 3t
- Opel Blitz 2.5-35 1.5t
- Opel Blitz 2.6 Liter 1.5t
Used for many civilian purposes as well as towing the 20 mm Flak guns in military use, this version saw production ending in 1942 with over 82,000 produced by the end of 1939. One of the shortest sections, covering only 2 pages two interesting photographs are seen. An early type with a wooden cab used to transport a military kitchen as seen by the soldiers eating can be seen by the reader on page 8 and the second page also containing a field kitchen in the background.
Opel Blitz 3.5-134 & 3.5-157, 2t & 2.5t
It is interesting to note that many of the trucks sub-assemblies came from Opel’s car production supplies such as the Opel Kapitan and Opel Admiral cars. The author on page 11 shows the Opel Blitz bus built on the extended 2.5-ton chassis and a second picture on the page shows passengers pushing the broken-down bus.
On page 14 an up-close view of the Blitz badge can be seen on the radiator grill and the Nortek night driving light on the bumper. All excellent reference for the model builder. Given the period, the images are quite clear and detailed.
Opel Blitz 2.0-12, 1t
Next up is the 2.0-12, 1 t version of the Opel Blitz truck. For the diorama artist and model builder page 17 shows a view of a German medical unit crossing a prefabricated temporary structure. The author describes what the reader sees particularly the pylons of the previous structure. Most of the 1-ton Opel Blitzes were used by the German military as towing vehicles for light infantry and Flak guns, ambulances, vans and by the Luftwaffe as general-purpose utility vehicles. Most were commandeered by the military from the civilian population.
One page 27 the author includes an interesting photo decorated with foliage to commemorate a soldier’s death. The vehicle is towing a 37 mm anti-tank gun. The bottom image has a group of soldiers waiting beside their Opel Blitz 1-ton trucks. Intriguing as it is, this photograph was taken before the invasion into Poland.
Opel Blitz 3.5-36 & 3.6-36 3t
The largest section in this book concentrates on the 3-ton Opel Blitz trucks representing over half of the pages. As the 3-ton truck was the most numerous versions of the Opel Blitz trucks made, they were given by the German military the designation of Kfz.305. The author on page 6 list the most common versions with their designations. Page 29 shows the reader a good, detailed view of the 3-ton Opel Blitz with recognition numbers as seen on the windscreen and truck wooden bed. This could be used as another good reference for the modeler.
Another good reference image on page 30 details the Opel Blitz command trucks being loaded on a supply flatbed in Ulm, Germany. June 1943.
Several images of extended chassis Opel Blitz 3-ton are seen throughout the book and an interesting one on page 33 showing soldiers taking a break in August 1940.
Opel Blitz 2.5-35 1.5t
Finally, the last section in the book includes images of the 1.5-ton Opel Blitz in various settings. A few having been commandeered by the military and are still wearing the same gloss black paint in civilian use. Images from Operation Barbarossa are included.
The author, as in his previous books, presents a history of military vehicles using images all containing ordinary soldiers in their surroundings. By reading the introduction an understanding of the history of the Opel truck lines and how these were used in the war effort can be utilized while viewing the pages in the book. This undoubtedly is a great resource for the historical buff as well as an excellent reference for the modeler, beginner or skilled. Given the period the photos were taken, most are of high quality with an exorbitant amount of detail which the modeler or historian will enjoy. Even though a few images are a bit grainy, most of the detail is noticeable. The author describes in detail with each image what the reader is seeing.
The various environmental settings will be of particular interest to the modeler giving another avenue of inspiration. As there are several model manufacturers, such as Italeri, Miniart. Roden and Tamiya currently producing various models of the Opel Blitz, this book would undoubtedly be an excellent resource.
Alan Ranger has authored another excellent book making this one well worthwhile to include in the library of the modeler or historical buff. I highly recommend it.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers and MMPBooks/Stratus for this review sample.
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