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Thread: The utility of motorcycle reconnaissance troops

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    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    The utility of motorcycle reconnaissance troops

    This is something that has bugged me for a long time. I can't concieve how, riding a road-bound vehicle on the look out for concealed enemy, highly visible and totally vulnerable to every weapon on the battlefield,would be a good idea. Why did the Germans do it so much?
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    Field mechanik Senior Contributor omon's Avatar
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    they did it 60 years ago, back than things weren.t like they are now.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" B. Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    This is something that has bugged me for a long time. I can't concieve how, riding a road-bound vehicle on the look out for concealed enemy, highly visible and totally vulnerable to every weapon on the battlefield,would be a good idea. Why did the Germans do it so much?
    For the major part the motorbike troops were and are generally dispatch riders - operating between the front-lines and rear HQs. As such they were and are cheaper to operate by unit-price, maintainence and fuel costs than jeeps or something similar. In the recon (or recce, if you prefer) role, motorbikes have the virtue of being able to pass through narrow paths in mountains and deserts, light bridges in forests that four-wheeled vehicles cannot manage... but can give significantly longer range than a foot patrol deployed there.

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    Motorcycle Battalions

    German Army used motorcycle battalions in at least some of their divisions up through 1942. S.S. Das Reich did until disbanded upon return to France in early summer 1942.

    Very vulnerable.
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    Military Professional BadKharma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omon View Post
    they did it 60 years ago, back than things weren.t like they are now.
    Thats for sure
    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
    For the major part the motorbike troops were and are generally dispatch riders - operating between the front-lines and rear HQs. As such they were and are cheaper to operate by unit-price, maintainence and fuel costs than jeeps or something similar. In the recon (or recce, if you prefer) role, motorbikes have the virtue of being able to pass through narrow paths in mountains and deserts, light bridges in forests that four-wheeled vehicles cannot manage... but can give significantly longer range than a foot patrol deployed there.
    That is the heart of the matter I believe. The US also used Harley's in WWII.

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    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    No doubt the rider was faster than he would be on foot. But he was also on the back of a tiny open vehicle that was terribly loud. Sepp Dietrich or some other SS General started out as a recon battalion commander in Russia and used his motorcycle company as infantry; in the Desert War Rommel apparently used them to spot for his artillery.To me this seems like wearing a "Shoot Me" tag. How were motorcycle units used in the recon role? I guess they had to be spread out to make smaller targets, or they would be dropped like flies by machine gun and artillery fire... just imagine seeing a squad of those moving down a road covered by crew-served weapon.
    Last edited by Triple C; 24 Jan 08, at 06:07.
    All those who are merciful with the cruel will come to be cruel to the merciful.
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    FreeGeneral Senior Contributor Big K's Avatar
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    very fast moving infantry...low cost...more payload for additional ammo and other equipment...not more vulnerable than regular infantry...it does not sounds bad to me?

    instead of paratroopers we may use them?

    am i wrong?
    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    "Unveiled in May 2001, the M1030M1 is claimed to be the world's first diesel-powered motorcycle designed specifically for military use. It is derived from a stock Kawasaki KLR650, and has been developed jointly by Californian firm Hayes Diversified Technologies and Britain's Royal Military College of Science. It is intended for the British and US military and for NATO. The 580cc diesel engine boasts a 50% improvement in fuel consumption over petrol-engined equivalents, lower emissions, and better cross-country utility. It gets 120 miles per gallon, the engine develops 33ft/lb of torque and the bike has a top speed of 85 mph."

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    Defense Professional RustyBattleship's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave lukins View Post
    "Unveiled in May 2001, the M1030M1 is claimed to be the world's first diesel-powered motorcycle designed specifically for military use. It is derived from a stock Kawasaki KLR650, and has been developed jointly by Californian firm Hayes Diversified Technologies and Britain's Royal Military College of Science. It is intended for the British and US military and for NATO. The 580cc diesel engine boasts a 50% improvement in fuel consumption over petrol-engined equivalents, lower emissions, and better cross-country utility. It gets 120 miles per gallon, the engine develops 33ft/lb of torque and the bike has a top speed of 85 mph."
    All well and good. BUT, they have to be as quiet as Police motorcycles at the speed traps. Otherwise mortars could triangulate on the rap of the "mufflers" without even seeing them.
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    FreeGeneral Senior Contributor Big K's Avatar
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    i bet the "M1030M1" will be Arnold's next choice and another Hummer case
    Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none; be able for thine enemy rather in power than use; and keep thy friend under thine own life's key; be checked for silence, but never taxed for speech.

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big K View Post
    i bet the "M1030M1" will be Arnold's next choice and another Hummer case
    At least Arnie can fit into a Hummer, not to sure about the M10 ..he'd squash it. Best he stick to his Harley, provided he passes his test and manages to stay on it this time

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    Banned tankie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave lukins View Post
    It gets 120 miles per gallon, the engine develops 33ft/lb of torque and the bike has a top speed of 85 mph."
    It is not gonna outrun any ordnance that i know of tho . What will be its role , ??????????? We have perfectly good recce veh equipped with excellent sights in the scimitar ?
    Last edited by tankie; 05 Feb 08, at 10:57.

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    I know that the 101st had motorcylse recon troops up until the 80s. I tried to read (tryied the operative word) an old book I found in used book store about a mech battaltion's NTC rotation back in the early 80s and the authoer, who was battalion ops officer, mentioned having the motorcycle troops attached for the rotation.

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    In Memoriam Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith601 View Post
    I know that the 101st had motorcylse recon troops up until the 80s. I tried to read (tryied the operative word) an old book I found in used book store about a mech battaltion's NTC rotation back in the early 80s and the authoer, who was battalion ops officer, mentioned having the motorcycle troops attached for the rotation.
    just found this little snippet which may explain the lack of enthusiasm for Military use:

    "One of the other problems with military motorcycles is the fact that they are one of the few military vehicles in most modern armies which do not run on diesel fuel. This has been a supply inconvenience for a long time and has limited the acceptability and role of motorcycles in many armies. This fuel type problem has been studied for many years, (there was a diesel Norton ES2 in the 1950s) but I understand that the Canadian army has been looking at a diesel version of their current bike. I wouldn't doubt that the British Army and NATO have been doing the same".

    Amazing how fuel can hold back development for the armies of the World

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    I remember a senior medical consultant say that he was overjoyed the British forces ceased to use motorcycles as he no longer had to spend so much time on spinal injury cases. The injuries were because the personal arm for the riders was the rifle slung over their shoulders and this caused many backs to be broken.
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