Ford Blitz Trucks
Canadian Military Pattern truck
Royal Air Force Operations in the Middle East and North Africa, 1939-1943. CM5067.jpg
A Ford F15 (4x2) leading a RAF convoy in North Africa
Type 3 ton 4x4 Cargo
Place of origin General Motors of Canada Limited Ford and Chrysler Canada
In service From 1940
Wars World War II
Designer Chevrolet Canada and Ford
Manufacturer Chevrolet in Oshawa and Ford
Number built 500,000+ Service Flag 3298 for Employees of Canada's Armed Forces
Weight 7,875 lb (3,572 kg)
Length 204 in (5.18 m)
Width 84 in (2.13 m)
Height 116 in (2.95 m)
Chevrolet GM 216
216 cu in (3.5 L) gas I6
85 hp (63 kW)
239 cu in (3.9 L) gas V8
95 hp (71 kW)
Suspension Wheel 4x4
Speed 50 mph (80 km/h)
Chevrolet C8 CMP truck with Type 11 cab
The Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) truck was a class of military truck - of various forms - made in large numbers in Canada during World War II to British Army specifications for use in the armies of the British Commonwealth allies. Standard designs were drawn up just before the beginning of the war.
CMP trucks were also sent to the Soviet Union following the Nazi invasion of Russia, as part of Canada's lend-lease program to the Allies. During the War CMP trucks saw service around the world in the North African Campaign, the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Italian Campaign, the Russian Front, the Burma Campaign, the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42), the liberation of Northwest Europe, and the Western Allied invasion of Germany. CMP trucks also saw service in post-war conflicts in Indonesia, French Indochina, and the Portuguese colonies in Africa.
The rise to power in Germany of Hitler and the Nazi party in 1933 led to discussions in the mid-1930s between the British War Office and the Canadian Army concerning the possible production of military vehicles in Canada. During the First World War Canadian land forces had participated as a corps in the British Army. In any future conflict it was assumed that Canadian forces would again be tightly integrated with those of the Mother Country, and so it would be essential that Canadian-manufactured equipment be compatible with British standards and specifications.
Early in 1937, the Ford Motor Company of Canada and R S McLaughlin of General Motors of Canada Ltd were each invited by the Canadian Department of National Defence to produce a Canadian prototype of a 15-hundredweight light infantry truck that had then been recently adopted by the British War Office. By 1938, Canadian military authorities had shifted their interest to heavier 4x4 and 6x4 designs. In that year, Ford and General Motors of Canada Limited were invited to produce prototypes of a 6x4 medium artillery tractor derived from the British 6x4 Scammell Pioneer. By 1939, plans had been prepared for the mass production in Canada of a range of military vehicles based on fairly strict CMP British specifications. These trucks were originally designated "Department of National Defence (DND) Pattern"; however, when production volumes increased and it became clear that the Canadian-built vehicles were to serve widely in the forces of other countries, the class of trucks was redesignated "Canadian Military Pattern (CMP)". At the outbreak of World War II, Canada's largest and modern automobile industry was shifted over to the production of military vehicles outproducing Germany. While the Dunkirk evacuation in the spring of 1940 succeeded in rescuing close to 340,000 Allied soldiers who had been encircled by the invading German army, the British Expeditionary Force had been required to abandon most of its military vehicles in France. It then became an urgent need to replace those losses and to provide new vehicles to equip the rapidly expanding armed forces of the Commonwealth.
Ford CMP chassis with opened windscreen pane on driver side
Canadian military truck production included both modified civilian designs as well as purely military designs based on the CMP specification, in roughly equal numbers. Truck production was focussed on a broad range of medium-capacity vehicles; Jeeps and trucks larger than 3 tons in capacity required by the Canadian Army were purchased suppliers. Most CMP trucks were manufactured by the Chevrolet division of General Motors of Canada Ltd and by the Ford Motor Company of Canada. The vehicle manufacturers were able to rapidly ramp up their production because of an unusual degree of inter-company collaboration in Canada, the use of interchangeable parts, and because of the large amount of idle production capacity that was a lingering result of the Great Depression. A smaller number of CMP trucks were assembled from Canadian-made chassis and parts in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa (2,600), India (9,500) and Egypt. Following British convention, CMP trucks had right-hand drive even though most of them were built in Canada, which primarily used left-hand drive vehicles. The CMP specification proved versatile, and it formed the basis of a wide variety of different truck types and armoured vehicles. In Australian service (almost always with the No. 13 cab) these vehicles were known as the "Chev Blitz" or the "Ford Blitz".