In the time of the Reichswehr mainly commercial vehicles which were adapted to the military use were procured. Similar to the passenger cars, special cross-country lorries with three axles and payload classes of 1.5 and 3 tons were developed at the end of the 1920s. They were manufactured to limited extend. Many of them worked satisfactory until the end of war. In mid 1930s, one developed a series of Einheits-Fahrgestelle – literally translated standard-chassis – to dam the type variety. Lorries with two, three and four axles were developed but only the model with three-axles went into production. Contrary to the Einheits-Pkws – literally translated: standard-passenger cars – the Einheits-Lkw – which literally translated means standard-lorry - was manufactured absolutely identically constructed by all involved manufacturers. Because it was powered by a diesel engine it was called Einheits-Diesel – which literally translated means standard-diesel - by the soldiers. Because of to small payload compared to the dead weight and too complex construction, production was ceased in 1940.
At that time, supply of troops was ensured by commercial types again. Briefly before the beginning of war, the Schell-Plan was still partly carried out. It planned the reduction of the lorry types of approx. 100 to 14 dominant modes. It covered lorries of the 1.5 tons, 3 tons, 4.5 tons and 6 tons payload classes. From the beginning one, the new lorries of the Schell-Plan had a better ration between dead weight and payload. In addition, these vehicles were partly cross-country able. Some of these lorry types were manufactured with rear-wheel drive as S-type and with all-wheel drive as A-type. The production of the 1.5 tons lorries and the 6 tons lorries was completely adjusted at about mid war, latter because sufficient auxiliary vehicles were available, first because of too small payload. But the chassis of the 1.5 tons lorries were used for the production of roomy personnel carriers.
Beside the lorries of the Schell-Plan, some other types remained in production. With the beginning of war, thousands of lorries of the most diverse brands, types and payload classes were drawn in - with all problems caused by this.
Lorries of foreign manufacturers played a subordinated role in the German Reich. But the Wehrmacht had a large amount of lorries from all over the world. After the integration of Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia into the German Reich, the Wehrmacht took over larger numbers of Czech and Austrian lorries. Above all, Austrian and Czech manufacturers were quickly integrated into Germany’s armaments programme and delivered larger quantities of motor vehicle to the Wehrmacht.
During the later campaigns thousands of motor vehicles were captured. The largest number of lorries of foreign companies was captured during the west campaign in 1940 and the Russia campaign in 1941. During the west campaign mainly French, British and American lorries were captured. In Russia GAZ and ZIS lorries were captured in large numbers. Usually they were taken over by the units who captured them. The technology of the Russian lorries had become outdated, but under Russian road conditions they were extremely reliable. The German Africa Corps used many captured lorries, usually British and Canadian ones. Occasionally, more than German lorries...
Some types proved completely well but some French types were criticized because of their bad processing. For military use lorries are still more important than passenger cars. The military service depends on a considerable degree of the availability and the transport possibilities of the most diverse supplies. In the motorized units this was guaranteed by lorries of the most diverse types and payload classes. Beyond that, there were independent transportation units, which were assigned to armies at the main areas of operation. Not motorized units had lorries for the most diverse purposes, too.
Lorries were used for many tasks including the use as transporters’ for supplies and soldiers, as field kitchen vehicle, as towing vehicle for guns, as workshop vehicle, as radio vehicle etc.






Lorries of German manufacturers






Cross-country lorries - special construction



Commercial lorries (drawn in and partly militarized) Part 1 (Adler - Daimler-Benz)



Commercial lorries (drawn in and partly militarized) Part 2 (Dürkopp - Henschel)



Commercial lorries (drawn in and partly militarized) Part 3 (Komnick - VOMAG)






Captured lorries and production in the occupied territories
















Great Britain






Soviet Union












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