Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Motorcycle Use During Wars ~ Submitted Guest Post From Kiara Wilson

In the past, motorcycles have had big roles in times of war.  In World War II, motorcycles were heavily used to dispatch messages to the front of enemy lines. Harley Davidson and BMW were one of the major motorcycle manufacturers during WWII. They helped create motorcycles specifically designed to be used in times of war.  Although they were both at opposite sides of the war, their motorcycles and machines made a large difference.  Stored inside their saddlebags were important medicines, messages and ammo that needed to make it to the front lines. During these times of war, there had to be other quick methods to transport supplies and people to the front lines. The motorcycles offered little protection (motorcycle safety gear and helmets in the front for the riders with typically just a thin aluminum fairing).  These specialty motorcycles were made to withstand small arms fire, and continue moving through the harsh conditions.

Image Credit: Wikipedia
In 1910, There were only 2 motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Both of them were American companies- Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles. Both of these companies were the first to innovate and start bringing various technologies to the motorcycle. However, by 1940, there was more competition around the world.  BMW had been started in Germany and was quickly catching up, they had perfected their design and technology. During WWI, the armistice called for the ceasefire from all sides.  It was a Harley Davidson that rode up to get the peace treaty signed to end WWI.  During the peak of their operation, Harley created almost 60,000 motorcycles for use on the front lines.  HD even had a special motorcycle mechanic school that they operated to train soldiers on how to maintain the bikes.  To service this special purpose, these rugged motorcycles could be packed and shipped in a crate.  BMW and both Harley Davidson allowed these motorcycles to be parachuted into enemy territory. The engines on the motorcycles were beefed up to allow them to take on larger payloads. On the opposite end of the war, BMW was also creating motorcycles to help the Germans defend Europe. All across Europe there were BMW motorcycles paired with sidecars as their main way to get around.  BMW can be credited with bringing the side car into popularity. There were many different uses for the side car during World War II.  Some instances even allowed for a machine gun to be mounted on it.  Other uses for the side car were storing extra spare tires and saddlebags to store ammo.

By the time the War was over, both Harley Davidson and BMW had created over 100,000 motorcycles and trained tens of thousands of soldiers on how to maintain these bikes. All the motorcycle manufacturers quickly went back to manufacturing motorcycles made for the civilian life.  BMW had revolutionized motorcycle shock technology and Harley Davidson had created a great new engine. With the advancements made here, they forever changed motorcycling. After World War II, many more motorcycle companies started to appear. Due to the way of life, some of these Army Motorcycle riders were used to. Some even credit the end of WWII as the beginning of the ‘all too familiar classic motorcycle jackets’ biker movement.

Submitted by:  Kiara Wilson.  Kiara has been riding for over 6 years; you can also follow her on Twitter at @kiara99699.

**Life's Ride As I See It and/or it's blog's owner, is not responsible for any materials/products or otherwise, mentioned/linked to in any Guest Post(s) submitted by Guest Post Writers.  Photographs which are submitted along with guest posts will, and do, assume the same responsibilities to the Guest Writer for photographic credit mentions.  

8 comments:

  1. Kathy,

    Kiara highlighted an interesting piece of history...sometimes I wish I had a machine gun mounted on my bike. :-)

    Cheers,
    Curt

    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

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  2. Ha! Yes, it is a good read. I remember when I bought my Ural (now sold) I asked the sales guy if I could hook up a machine gun. He said "yes right here" and showed me a place that was there specifically to mount a gun. I had fun on that hack.

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  3. Kathy:

    I often wonder how nice it would have been to be growing up around this new technology at the turn of the century

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    Replies
    1. Oh I know. Phones, electricity, cameras running water and so on. Except that women still had no place to vote. Not a good one for me...

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  4. Kathy:

    You don't know what is missing if you never had it in the first place. As for voting, many don't vote now so nothing has changed. They had cameras back then, you just had to keep still for up to 5 minutes and wait for the flash powder to ignite

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast





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  5. Kathy:

    You're back !! I couldn't get in a couple of days ago

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Bob! I was a little hacked and figured out that saving the blog is the ticket. Got it back. Glad to see you here too!

      Delete

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