Opel Blitz (Daimler built, L701 Einheitsfahrerhaus)RODEN #719 / 1:72 Vehicles
In 1943, while the positions of Germany in the war against the USSR were fairly even, and the possibility of defeat was not even considered, the German leadership gave great consideration to the possibility of reducing the cost of production of military equipment, and the unification of a huge diversity of types of product, as Germany's industrial capacity was being significantly undermined by continuous bombing of the powerful industrial centers of the country. The Allied air raids on the German cities didn't let up even for a single day, and although they did not greatly damage overall output, the situation gradually began to approach the critical. Continuous reduction of the means of producing heavy and complex engineering necessitated simplification of many designs of equipment urgently needed by the military. The Opel company, which was one of the suppliers of trucks for the Wehrmacht, could not avoid this fate too.Most of the plants were destroyed by bombing, and restoration of production could only be carried out if the design of the vehicle was simplified. At first alterations only concerned the back wall of the cabin, being changed from metal to wood. Some time later the production of 3600mm wheel base trucks transferred under license agreement to Daimler Benz, and Opel received a single payment of compensation, while it had to provide additional resources for all the licensed trucks.Daimler Benz had already developed the single unified wooden cabin (Einheitsfahrerhaus) for its own trucks and after its installation on the Opel chassis it became clear that no major changes to the design were necessary.
In 1944 it was planned to make more than 3,000 L701 trucks (the name given to this ersatz-version). But the constant Allied bombing from the air led to the actual production of these machines in 944 being a small fraction of that, and they managed to build 750 more in 1945. However even from this quantity only a certain number reached the front. The situation with rubber in Germany in the last few months of the war was supercritical, and a large number of vehicles remained idle at the factories; fully prepared, but without wheels. The small number of trucks delivered to the army were used mainly on the Western Front.
The end of war was not the end of the history of this vehicle. Post-war Germany was devastated by bombing and shelling, it was in a state of complete ruin and needed rebuilding. It was simple to restore the L701 to production, and about 10,000 of these machines were built until 1948, when they were replaced on the assembly line by more modern trucks with diesel engines. Thus the history of one of the best known vehicles of World War II, the three-tonne Opel Blitz, came to an end.