Opel Maultier (x2)
Opel Blitz Opel 3.6-36S/SSM Gleisketten-Lastkraftwagen
Once the German invasion of the Soviet Union got into full swing in 1941 it was quickly realised that many of its wheeled vehicle were not going to be good enough in the poor roads of Russia. By 1942 the poor, or often no, roads of the Soviet Union were taking their toll on the German armies' wheeled transport. During this period half-tracked tractors such as the Sd Kfz 10, Sd Kfz 11, and armoured transports like the Sd Kfz 251 were able to handle the conditions better. In the spring of 1942, it was decided to construct special half-tracked versions of the standard models of truck. The basic track suspension design was taken from the British Carden Lloyd carrier design. The new vehicle was named “Maultier” (donkey). The official name Opel Blitz Opel 3.6-36S/SSM Gleisketten-Lastkraftwagen. In comparison with Ford Maultier machines, the Opels were produced more slowly, but this did not affect the overall quantity of the completed machines (in total 4,000 units were delivered). The normal 3-ton Opel Blitz truck could be converted to a Maultier in field conditions.
The Opel Maultier was widely employed in all theatres of operations on the Eastern Front. By 1944 the German armies were forced back from the borders of the USSR and the role of the Maultiers was considerably reduced. In the territories of Europe there were generally good road conditions during the war years. The numbers of Opel Maultiers substantially declined - new machines were not built, and during repair many Maultiers were converted back to conventionally wheeled vehicles.