Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Bicycle Equipment


Subdeacon Joe

Recommended Posts

I can see a Lt telling a bunch of American GIs to ride bicycles into the battle zone in WW2. I am not too sure that would go over well. :lol:

 

Now Joe’s going to find a photo of the Army Bicycle Corp no one ever knew about. :lol::lol::lol:

Edited by Pat Riot
  • Like 1
  • Haha 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Pat Riot said:

I can see a Lt telling a bunch of American GIs to ride bicycles into the battle zone in WW2. I am not too sure that would go over well. :lol:

 

Now Joe’s going to find a photo of the Army Bicycle Corp no one ever knew about. :lol::lol::lol:

 

 

Sir!  You wound me, sir!  Would I do something like that?

Darned straight I would!  Although it wasn't WWII

 

 

 

 

https://fortmissoulamuseum.org/exhibit/25th-infantry-bicycle-corps/

 

Quote

 

The trip to St. Louis was an ordeal from the very beginning. In describing the 41-day journey, Moss reported that: “The bicycle, as a machine for military purposes, was most thoroughly tested under all possible conditions, except that of being under actual fire. The Corps went through a veritable campaign, suffering from thirst, hunger, and the ill effects of alkali water, cold, heat and loss of sleep. A number of times we went into camp wet, muddy, hungry and tired …. Much of the time the roads were so bad that the Corps had to dismount and push their wheels along railroad tracks.”

 

Despite the hardships, the 25th Infantry Bicycle corps was greeted triumphantly at each town along the route and upon its arrival in St. Louis on July 24. Moss intended to ride from St. Louis to Minneapolis to test the Bicycle Corps on more improved roads before traveling by train back to Missoula. However, permission was denied. On August 19, 1897, the men of the Bicycle Corps returned to Missoula by rail and the bicycles were shipped back to the Spalding Company.

 

Lieutenant Moss requested permission on February 7, 1898, to organize another Bicycle Corps for the purpose of making a trip from Fort Missoula to San Francisco. Moss’ commanding officer, Colonel Andrew S. Burt, endorsed the proposal and suggested that the trip would call favorable attention to “colored soldiers” as they passed through the country. By this time, however, war with Spain was imminent and further bicycle tests were deemed unnecessary. The trip to San Francisco was not approved.

 

 

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-black-buffalo-soldiers-who-biked-across-the-american-west-180980246/

 

Quote

Moss began drilling his troops almost immediately, leading them on daily rides in increasingly challenging conditions. In August 1896, the bicycle corps embarked on a round-trip expedition to Yellowstone National Park, about 275 miles southeast of Fort Missoula.

The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps in Yellowstone National Park The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps in Yellowstone National Park Montana Historical Society

Including Moss, nine men participated in the Yellowstone trial. Among them were Black soldiers Sergeant Dalbert P. Green and Corporal John G. Williams; musician William W. Brown; and privates Frank L. Johnson, William Proctor, William Haynes, Elwood Forman and John Findley, who had previously been employed at the Imperial Bicycle Works in Chicago and knew how to repair bicycles.

The Buffalo Soldiers often had to carry their bikes over swift-running rivers and streams.

 

Map of the Buffalo Soldiers' route

 

Members of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps pose on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park in 1896 Members of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps pose on Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park in 1896. Montana Historical Society

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 5
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2024/04/photos-bicycles-world-war-ii/678086/

 

https://tifosioptics.com/blogs/blog/the-lesser-known-history-of-military-bicycles?al_pg_id=5c60e6a2-3aa2-41ce-aacf-387ad526d525

Quote

During WWII bicycles were introduced to paratroopers as a way for them to have transportation upon landing. These folding bicycles were designed to fold into a compact form so that they could easily be carried into buildings or boats. The term “bomber bikes” came into use during this period, as the US forces would drop these bicycles out of planes to reach troops behind enemy lines. However, bicycles were used limitedly during World War II due to rubber shortages because of the war.

 

https://www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

Quote

US Army Bicycles

3xG519.jpg

Iconic US Army bicycles of WW2: 1943 Women's and Men's Westfield Columbia and 1942 Huffman Model
 

Genuine WW2 US Army bicycles are amongst the rarest of vintage military vehicles around. Sure, you will see a lot of them at shows but when you have a closer look, hardly any of those are real, complete military production bikes. So few of them are left, especially in Europe, that a bicycle with provable World War 2 US Army use and in any condition is truly a very rare and expensive vehicle.

MGGustaaf.jpg

Gustaaf Desmet's very original and desirable Westfield Columbia Serial N° MG99828.
Note the USAAF sign attached to the upper frame tubes....

Although the US Army had used bicycles for many years before WW2, none were really standardized for procurement before 1942. The Army's official use for these bicycles was: 'To provide Transportation for Personnel engaged in Dispatch or Messenger Service'. Of course they were used for many other purposes. They proved a fast and economical way to get around Depots, Camps and Airfields.

The 'Bicycle, Military, Universal' was adopted in 1942 by the Ordnance Department. It was a military version of the Westfield 'Columbia' and was equipped with heavy duty rims and spokes. It came with a D-Cell powered headlight on the front fender and basic tools were carried in a tool bag attached to the Persons saddle. A tire pump was clamped to the frame.

These bikes were manufactured by both Westfield Columbia (Series MF and MG) and Huffman (Model 81) with only minor differences in parts. Huffman fenders were rounded as opposed to gothic ones on the Columbia, chain guards varied and Huffman front sprockets had a unique whirlwind design.... All parts were interchangeable. Early rubber pedal blocks were replaced with wooden ones later in the war. Early frames had a curved front tube but these were replaced with straight tubes on later models. The front fork truss rods were supported by a bracket fixed to the front forks on early Huffmans while Columbias and later Huffmans used a separate support attached between the forks and lower framehead bearing cup.

Huffman.JPG

 

 

https://www.militarytrader.com/military-vehicles/spotlight-g519

 

G-519 Bicycle, Military, Men’s

A version of the Westfield Columbia bike, the military G-519 was equipped with heavy duty rims, spokes and a battery-powered headlight on the front fender

restored by Al Berger

Net Weight: 55 lbs.
Payload: 200 lbs.
Tires: 26 x 1.25 2-ply
Tire Pressure: 22 psi
Drive: Chain

Historical Note: G-519 Bicycle

Though the US Army had used bicycles during WWI and for the years leading up to WWII, it did not standardize procurements for the two-wheelers until 1942. According to military records, the Army's official use for bicycles was: “To provide transportation for personnel engaged in dispatch or messenger Service.”

Giving the bicycles the designation G-519 (or M305) the Ordnance Department adopted the “Bicycle, Military, Universal in October 1942. A version of the Westfield Columbia bike, it was equipped with heavy duty rims, spokes, a battery-powered headlight on the front fender, a tool bag attached to the saddle for basic tools. In addition and basic tools were carried in a tool bag attached to the Persons saddle.

Westfield Columbia manufactured the bike as the Series MF and MG. Huffman did likewise, as the Model 81, though with minor differences. Westfield Columbia also made bicycles for the US Marine Corps. These have frame numbers preceded by “MC.” The main differences between the MC and Army MG bicycles is that the former does not have holes in the front fender for a headlight, and the rims are flat, bead-lock types fitted with special US Rubber tires.

1943 Huffman, 1942 Columbia MG, and 1941 Columbia MC

1943 Huffman, 1942 Columbia MG, and 1941 Columbia MC

Restored by Al Berger

Throughout the course of the bicycle's service life, which stayed in inventory until 1953 as “limited standard,” the G-519/M305 bicycle remained mostly unchanged.  

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Pat Riot said:

Holy Cow! There were a lot more bicycling troopers than I could have imagined. Thanks Joe. 

 

If you can keep to paved, or well packed dirt, roads and paths, you can move fairly quickly and with less effort than on foot.  No fuel needed, reasonably easy to repair unless you bend the rim.  Lots of limitations, though.  Sand, soft ground, mud and you have to carry it.  Doesn't offer cover or concealment.  But that 25th Infantry did show what could be done with them.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

 

If you can keep to paved, or well packed dirt, roads and paths, you can move fairly quickly and with less effort than on foot.  No fuel needed, reasonably easy to repair unless you bend the rim.  Lots of limitations, though.  Sand, soft ground, mud and you have to carry it.  Doesn't offer cover or concealment.  But that 25th Infantry did show what could be done with them.

 

BK7965-01_2000x.jpg?v=1653592040

Just need one of these for mud or sand.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen bikes built for sand/ mud/snow that had dualies, a pair of side by side wheels with fat tires front and back. That’d make a footprint maybe 3-4” wide. Obviously it would mean custom forks and everything.

 

by that time the army would be considering a different mode of transport.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that WW2 Germany was not fully mechanized as we think of army's today. 

 

Did the German army use horses in WWII?

Infantry and horse-drawn artillery formed the bulk of the German Army throughout the war; only one fifth of the Army belonged to mobile panzer and mechanized divisions. Each German infantry division employed thousands of horses and thousands of men taking care of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

Except for maybe the freewheel and derailleur getting mucked up. Mil-spec would cut back on that somewhat maybe even entirely.

 

Bikes haven't had freewheels for about 40 years now.

 

There are some pretty durable solutions if the $$$ wasn't a price.  There are rear gear hubs with multiple gears so a single cog could be used in the rear.  The gearboxes of those hubs have a few ounces of oil in them that needs to be changed every few years but that's it.  There is also new bike transmission that goes on the crank end in the frame (frame has to be totally redesigned), obviously that gets all the gearing into a sealed case as well.  There are also dry belts, which although less efficient than a chain, might be more durable/lower maintenance in the long run.

 

Give soldiers any of this stuff and they'd figure out how to break them, I'm sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, El Chapo said:

 

BK7965-01_2000x.jpg?v=1653592040

Just need one of these for mud or sand.

 

If you don't have strong legs, think athlete legs, you're not going to be riding that bike for very long...even on the street.

 

What do they call that thing?  Bull Tits would be a good name for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, El Chapo said:

 

Bikes haven't had freewheels for about 40 years now.

 

There are some pretty durable solutions if the $$$ wasn't a price.  There are rear gear hubs with multiple gears so a single cog could be used in the rear.  The gearboxes of those hubs have a few ounces of oil in them that needs to be changed every few years but that's it.  There is also new bike transmission that goes on the crank end in the frame (frame has to be totally redesigned), obviously that gets all the gearing into a sealed case as well.  There are also dry belts, which although less efficient than a chain, might be more durable/lower maintenance in the long run.

 

Give soldiers any of this stuff and they'd figure out how to break them, I'm sure.

 

Back in the late 60's / early 70's I had a bike with 3 speed gearbox inside the rear hub. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.