Bicycles: Infantry and More

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 28 Comments
The Colonel of the 1st Cycle Infantry by Frederic Remington Photo oldbike.eu

by Yankee Papa

 

The SOG team was in Laos, awaiting extraction.  NVA “headhunter” units were narrowing down their search… It was only a matter of time…and it was running out for the team.

 They had requested extraction, but FAC pilot was radioing information to them… asking odd questions… and the general drift seemed to be that somehow the team had become the focus of not just SOG command, but far higher up.

 No confirmation yet on extraction and it seemed that command was less concerned about them than obsessing over a captured NVA bicycle…

…………………

 It was a dark night in February 1942 when British paras were dropped eight miles from their target.  At Arnhem in 1944 this would prove a disaster to the 1st British Para Division… but tonight it was necessary.

 The Germans had a radar installation on a high plateau near the coast and the British needed to capture it, inspect it, take parts with them and destroy the rest.

 Commando raids at the foot of the bluff ruled out as both costly and unlikely to succeed… and a para drop on the site would likely provoke a massive and too timely influx of the many German units in the area.

 A bomber raid elsewhere provided a distraction while the paras were dropped unnoticed.  Eight miles… as much as three hours on foot. But they jumped with folding bicycles.

WW2 British Para  Photo tubulocity.com

WW2 British Para Photo tubulocity.com

 In a relatively short time they had quietly pedaled to the site and launched their assault on the radar site and the nearby estate.  They completed their mission and fought a rear guard action down to the beaches where they were extracted by the Royal Navy.

………………

 Bicycle troops are often viewed by American military historians as a “flash in the pan”, a “gimmick” or a brief phenomenon that quickly became outmoded.

 Say it is 1914 and you have an infantry battalion that is needed 50 miles away.  You have the brief use of two trucks… You can truck maybe a platoon in a couple of hours with little room for supplies. 

 You can load the trucks with ammunition and other supplies and have the troops march to their destination.  Assuming a reasonable road… maybe arrive in something under 48 hours…and hope that supplies are still there. 

 But since your battalion is bicycle infantry, they will be there (assuming reasonable road) in well under 5 hours… and in condition to fight.  The two trucks arrive shortly after and offload enough supplies to give your unit staying power.

 In 1914 an average infantry battalion could make 20 miles a day… maybe five more if pressed.  Bicycle infantry could routinely make 60 to 80 using only a fraction of the energy.

 There were obvious limits to the use of these troops.  With a few odd exceptions, they could not play “cavalry” and charge mounted into heavy action.  They were more like light mounted infantry. 

 As with paras, barring resupply, their staying power was limited.  But within those limitations they could accomplish a lot. 

……………..

 Serious interest in bicycle infantry goes back to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, but the bicycle was simply not up to the demands.  Too heavy, too unreliable, hard to maneuver and damaging to the spines of troops when used over extended periods… and almost impossible to move any distance over rough terrain.

 Italian Bersaglieri experimented with bikes, initially for dispatch riders.  Later bicycle troops were used in large scale maneuvers to good effect. In 1888 a giant advance was made with the invention of pneumatic tires.

 The United States Army got involved in serious research in the early 1890s. The Connecticut National Guard issued bicycles to some of its troops.

 But it was the 25th Infantry (Black enlisted) in Montana that really gave the bicycles their first hard testing.  In July 1896 Lt. James A. Moss and the “Infantry Bicycle Corps” (less than a platoon) traveled from Fort Missoula to St. Louis Missouri in 34 days… most of it overland.  The terrain was often nasty, but only one bicycle was knocked out of action.

25th Infantry Bicycle Corps. Photo armyhistoryjournal.com

25th Infantry Bicycle Corps. Photo armyhistoryjournal.com

 

American and European armies experimented with “ambulance bikes” (see photo…)  Later experiments in laying and recovering telegraph and before long, telephone lines.

Bike ambulance early 1900s. Photo everymedic.com

Bike ambulance early 1900s. Photo everymedic.com

 The Austrians and French both developed folding bikes that could be packed over gnarly terrain and then ridden on better ground. The Americans experimented with a Colt Machine Gun on one model.

 The 25th Infantry made it to Cuba… but after the fighting over.  But they still were able to prove their bike units.  Riots in the cities resulted in bike units being deployed.  They could make it through the narrowest alleys at great speed.  High command was most impressed.

 But the real test would come in the Boer War in South Africa.  British and Commonwealth infantry deployed some units on bicycles.  These were largely new and lighter models.  Much of their use was cross country.

Boer War 'warcycle'  Photo Africana Museum

Boer War ‘warcycle’ Photo Africana Museum

 The results were good. Across roadless terrain on the veldt bike troops could make between 40 and 60 miles per day. 

 By the eve of WWI, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy and Britain all had some infantry assigned to bicycle units. 

WWI recruiting poster.  Photo Imperial War Museum

WWI recruiting poster. Photo Imperial War Museum

 In WWI the British supplied 100,000 bicycles, the French and Belgians 150,000, and Germany 250,000.  The American Expeditionary Force used 29,000… but had no designated bicycle troops.

British Indian bike infantry WWI.  Photo Imperial War Museum

British Indian bike infantry WWI. Photo Imperial War Museum

 In the early days there were many successes by bicycle troops, but the Belgian raids on German support facilities behind the lines were most effective. The Germans also used a bicycle brigade that was successfully used to invade an island in the Baltic.

 Few people are aware of the brilliant guerrilla warfare waged in East Africa by General Lettow Vorbeck in WWI that ran the British ragged until the end of the war. Vehicles soon broke down but bicycles gave yeoman service.

 After WWI, the bike got a workout in Ireland.  The rebels against the British found that they could quietly approach in darkness… hit… and be gone… quickly to paths that vehicles could not use.  In daylight the frames proved useful for all types of smuggling.

 As WWII approached it seemed that only the Americans had no interest in bicycle troops.  Part of that the American love of the combustion engine… We had the most, so why bother with bicycles?

 Another strike against the bicycle in America was that while you can overload a soldier, there is a limit beyond where a bike will simply fail to move.  Perhaps, subconsciously commanders resented this limit on their ability to load infantry like mules.

 In Europe, automatic weapons and explosives had gotten lighter…opening up new possibilities for bicycle troops.  Even chemical weapon bike troops raised… with chemical detection kits built into the frames. 

 Many people these days imagine the Germans in WWII with many armored divisions.  In fact the vast majority of their artillery and supplies were horse drawn outside of the relative handful of armored and motorized divisions.

 Just on the Russian front the Germans lost over a million and a half horses.  From the beginning there was a place for bicycle troops.

German bike infantry WW2  Photo ipernity.com

German bike infantry WW2 Photo ipernity.com

 In Norway it was a close run thing for the invaders.  Bicycle troops proved to be a key to dealing with roadblocks… going around on mere paths to hit the enemy from the rear. 

  The British trained their paras to use folding bicycles.  The Americans trained one Army para unit to use folding bikes, but it was never sent overseas.

 The Russians had special bicycle units. Their bicycles had wider tires more like a modern mountain bike. Uniquely, each rider had an attached attack dog.  They could maintain the same rate of speed… patrol large areas… and at night the rider could sleep knowing that the dog would wake at the slightest noise.

 The Chinese had many guerrilla units equipped with bicycles.  So too the French resistance.  They took it up a notch from the Irish rebels.  They had bikes rigged up as bombs to park among the Germans.

 The Japanese had the prize entry when it came to using bicycle troops.  Outnumbered, they fought down the length of Malaya and ultimately took Singapore. 

Japanese bike infantry WW2  Photo velocompare.com

Japanese bike infantry WW2 Photo velocompare.com

 

  Yamashita’s bike troops would hit a British or Indian roadblock… send a handful of riders through the jungle around behind British lines… throw firecrackers… convince the Brits that they were under attack from the rear.  A new retreat would begin. 

  The cyclists would hit a small stream, maybe shoulder deep to the Japanese.  Some of their men would get in the water and support boards while the troops took their bikes across.

 The Japanese did not have it all their own way.  Robert Leckie in “Strong Men Armed” explains why there was no counterattack the first night at Tarawa.  The largely inadequate shelling had somehow managed to knock out the Japanese comm lines. The Japanese commander was hamstrung…

 

“…runners would be picked off. There were, of course, dozens of bicycles at his disposal, but bike-riding messengers (across open coral sand) would only provide these uncouth Marines with jokes as well as targets.”

WW2 American ParaMarine  Photo vintagecolumbiabikes.com

WW2 American ParaMarine Photo vintagecolumbiabikes.com

 

  The Marines had a para battalion and even had folding bikes.  The Marines made it to the Pacific, the bikes did not.

  Any account of bicycles in war needs to mention their use by the Viet Minh in the First Indo-China War and of the NVA in the later war with the Americans.

 While romantic tales might cause one to believe that bikes loaded with supplies kept the Vietnamese war effort going, the truth was a bit more complicated.

 Actual roads were built in both wars… In the later war ships were unloaded in Cambodia and supplies sent close to the Vietnam border by truck.  But as you got closer to the war zones, bicycles took up much of the load.

 At Dien Bien Phu the French Commander, General Navarre seriously underestimated the amount of supplies that the Viet Minh could move on a single bike.  He estimated 2.5 times the individual’s weight.  Figure 100 lb Vietnamese… so 250 lbs of supplies.

Viet Minh transport bike as used at Dien Bien Phu  Photo clemson.edu

Viet Minh transport bike as used at Dien Bien Phu Photo clemson.edu

 The Vietnamese reinforced the bikes and attached a long bamboo steering/brake rod. Maximum weight of cargo… 500 lbs (see photo).  So 1000 men could transport 250 tons.. 10,000 could transport 2,500.  If supplies needed urgently, the load was lightened.

 As the wars went on a team of riders would only go so far on the trails.  They would then ride their empty bikes back up the trail…and hope for no grief from the air. Half million dollar aircraft would try to knock out $20. bicycles. But with little more than 18″ wide ground trail needed, the bikes were usually under cover.

Ho Chi Minh trail.  Photo clemson.edu

Ho Chi Minh trail. Photo clemson.edu

 The riders would rest briefly and do it all again. The VC also used bicycle bombs in Saigon and elsewhere.

 But bicycle troop were on the decline. The Swiss kept their bicycle infantry until 2003.

Swiss Army infantryman Photo armchairgeneral.com

Swiss Army infantryman Photo armchairgeneral.com

……………………….

 And the SOG team in Laos?  Ah yes.  That story has been told many times, each more embellished than the last… to where it has become a legend (one version even including black helicopters!)  I have the authoritative version here.

 In the book “SOG, The Secret Wars Of America’s Commandos In Vietnam” the story is told by John Plaster, an Army Major who was a staff NCO in those days.

 The team was led by a man called “Cooper” by the author. He was a good soldier and a good leader, but he learned a lesson about the ease of being misunderstood in radio comms that day.

 The team’s only contact had been one NVA with an old bike.  They meant to kidnap him, but one of the Nung tribesmen who was part of the team accidentally shot him. 

 It was time to extract the team. Cooper got on the radio.  He encrypted his report and sent it.  He was disgusted that his mission a bust and decided to take the bike with him as a souvenir.

 He mentioned it in the message (“Have captured bicycle…”) but of course did not bother to encrypt the word “bicycle…”  Message sent to FAC who relayed it to Ban Me Thuot where it was decrypted.

 Fellow there did not know that Cooper meant an actual bicycle.  Tried to look it up in code book…nothing.  Tried older code book… Bingo.  Bicycle was code word for a “General”.

 The decrypter knew that he had to pass that up the line… even as it went higher, one command level insisted that he have FAC confirm with Cooper that he had North Vietnamese “bicycle…” 

 FAC sent inquiry.  Cooper replied “Probably North Vietnamese… *might* be Chinese…”  Command got excited and each level wanted repeats.  “Cooper” was in a bad spot if extraction did not come soon.  Severely annoyed by repeated questions about a stupid bicycle. 

 He advised FAC that if no extraction soon he would “destroy bicycle” and his team would move to evade hunter groups.  Immediate order came down categorically forbidding him to destroy bicycle unless imminent danger of it falling into enemy hands.

 Before the choppers arrived, Cooper was notified that the first chopper was for the bicyle only.  The first chopper arrived, ready to take on the “bicycle…” When bike was produced doubtless a cascade effect took place up the chain of command. 

 The bicycle spent the rest of the war at the compound at Ban Me Thuot…

-YP-

Recommended Reading

 

 

The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History (Revised Edition) by Jim Fitzpatrick

The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History (Revised Edition) by Jim Fitzpatrick

The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History (Revised Edition) by Jim Fitzpatrick

Bicycles in War by Martin Caidi

Bicycles in War by Martin Caidi

 

Bicycles in War by Martin Caidi

Bicycle Troops by R.S. Kohn

Bicycle Troops by R.S. Kohn

 

Bicycle Troops by R.S. Kohn

 

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • Recon6

    YP
    Fascinating Intel !!  Sad the Americans failed to see the utility of bikes in warfare, especially since ‘enemies’ were well aware of what could be accomplished!

    Several instances I found ‘tread tracks’ on trails back in VN being used for transport.  You probably experienced same same….6

  • ArcticWarrior

    You can ride them, load them like a pack mule and walk with them. Very utilitarian. Mountain bikes fill a niche in a recce setting as they are mostly quiet and can in the right circumstance increase mobility.

    Anyone remember the folding frame jumpable all terrain bikes (ATB) from the late 90s early 2000’s??? I think they were only a test but you could mount your laz illuminator on the handlebars and use with NODS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkRaE3UEags

  • ArcticWarrior

    Recon6 Definitely underutilized. You could carry more and go further faster, and anything alternative to humping on a road march – rubber on wheel beats rubber on heel!!

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior Recon6
    RR  AW

    I can only think of the times I Wish I could have utilized a bike to hump my ruck!  I know you and YP have similar thoughts.  Mother and the Corps would Never have allowed such as it makes too much sense, lol.

    “rubber on wheel beats rubber on heel” most definitely Applies !!  Though we couldn’t use them in the Highlands I am sure there were AO’s down south where they could have been used to great effect in quickly moving from place to place, especially when Hueys weren’t available for transport.

    Glad YP posed this as it is something I had never contemplated, great stuff….6

  • ArcticWarrior

    Recon6 ArcticWarrior I love these quirky bites YP lays up also.

    I remember seeing pictures of VC, like army ants, pushing kitted up bikes through the jungle loaded up with RPGs, MGs and broken down arty pieces and thinking to myself how simple and effective.

    Maybe us Americans, or rather the people in the funny shaped building have too big a fetish for high tech and dismiss low tech.

    In the early 2000s they were telling us you could jump and fast rope with the bike, I don’t think it ever really hit other than with the SOF types. But being predisposed to the reverse PLF kind of glad I never jumped with a bike on my lowering line!

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior
    Sure took him a Long time to get his weapon into play!!
    I would Love to have one of the bikes tho, not that I’m going to toss it out of a plane, like being able to minimize the space required.  I saw something a while back about folding bikes etc.  gotta look into it.

    Thanks for posting the vid, you Always come up with good stuff.  btw….I watched ‘Platoon’ again yesterday  🙂
    always think of you as Elias bro, and even as Barnes we would have come home together lol….6

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior Recon6
    “Predisposed”, copy that!!

    Yeah, the little people were really into moving mass amounts over long distances, even in the Highlands where I could only imagine the agony of pushing one up those hellacious mountains, they did it !!  And then Down the other side would not have been any better.  It was a bitch just moving quietly.  I always had the utmost Respect for them and what they could accomplish.

    RR on jumping with a bike, not gonna happen.  Besides, today y’all carry so damned much gear I don’t see how you do it, Much Respect bro…6

  • ArcticWarrior

    Recon6 ArcticWarrior That’s life in the Infantry…we save some weight with the new helmet and IOTV…but all that molle just meant you were going to hang more than the weight savings…I am sure the Roman Legionnaires would agree…. 

    Next YP needs to hit up the Army Camel Corps and Hi Jolly. Hear old wives tales that descendants of those Army camels are still wondering the desert….

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior Recon6
    Copy that, all the kit y’all carried was the initial reason I quickly left being a line company Grunt!  And it was Far less back then, now days you look like pack mules.

    RR on YP and further Intel on those subjects, I’m sure he will comply and amaze us with More awesome Intel, guy is a veritable font of wonderful ‘stuff’ …6

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior ,
    .
    …Yes, and you also could have mentioned the fact that wolves will not attack your bike while you are asleep (unlike horse or mule…)  It will not “shy” away from you if you are bleeding and urgently trying to get the hell out of Dodge…  
    .
    …It doesn’t require vast amounts of forage… it consumes none of your water.  It doesn’t get sick and die just to spite you… Unlike motorcycles, it makes almost no noise, leaves no smell, does not run out of gas… and can usually be fixed with a few simple tools by a rider with fairly common technical skills.  
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior Mobility is a weapon….All of your points are correct and tactical as well as practical. Now why isn’t this used more often?, certainly it is cost efficient. But I have seen units do PT on bikes, maybe being a beast of burden on a bike is best left for grunts and other cro-mags.

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior Recon6,
    .
    “…Next YP needs to hit up the Army Camel Corps and…”
    .
    …Well, actually I have.  A review on Amazon.com of a truly amazing book that came out some time back on the subject.  
    .
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Camel-Charge-Experiment/dp/B009JVLPS2

    7 of 8 people found the following review helpful

    4.0 out of 5 stars
    AMAZING BIT OF HISTORY, June 23, 2012

    By http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A1Y3XDYV4CRRK/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp (Pacific NW, USA) – http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1Y3XDYV4CRRK/ref=cm_cr_pr_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview

    This review is from: http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Camel-Charge-Experiment/dp/0425245691/ref=cm_cr_pr_orig_subj


    .
    “…This reads like an “alternate history”
    novel… with connections to all kinds of important people and events
    of the day. As one reviewer here said… I too was very sorry to reach
    the end of the book.
    .
    …Turns out that much of what I thought
    that I knew about the “failed” experiment was false. The camels *could*
    be managed. While horses and mules first exposed to camels often
    panicked… in short order the strangeness (especially the odor) and
    size (seemed like maybe giant predators) wore off. After a brief period
    the animals could all be kept together without the slightest problem
    and they could be pastured together as “friends” (except for male camels
    with other male camels during the “rut…”)
    .
    …Camels could carry two
    to four times the load of a mule (males being larger). Camels not prone
    to “bad nerves or hysteria” unlike horses and mules. In the entire
    Southwest there was only one plant that the camels would not eat…
    otherwise the nastiest, thorniest bushes were not only consumed… but
    much preferred to tall green grass.
    .
    …Contrary to previous
    accounts, camels could manage stones on the terrain… A leather “shoe”
    handled the problem. Camels did very well on snow… (though on severe
    ice on a slope they might travel the worst of it on their knees) Where
    previous accounts did not get it wrong was the smell… (The camels in
    Lawrence of Arabia might look a touch strange to a Bedouin because they
    had been washed by the production crew…)
    .
    …American Naval
    officers came up with a way to safely transport camels on sailing ships,
    even in the worst storms. Other American officers came up with much
    better packs and saddles.
    .
    …The Arabs say that the camel was
    specifically designed by Allah… A study of their biology and abilities
    certainly reinforces the notion… Their bodies squeeze almost every
    last drop out of their food… little is wasted as urine… it is normal
    for camel urine to have the consistency of syrup… Their red blood
    cells survive happily in conditions that would kill other mammals.
    .
    …Camels
    can travel at speeds up to 40 mph… and run at 30 for hours… Unlike
    horses they are not “fragile.” In mixed commands the horses died, the
    mules sickened, and the camels prospered. Very little seemed to phase
    them (including, in one documented incident, a rattlesnake bite…) When
    the first team arrived at the Colorado river, nobody knew if the camels
    could swim… not even their imported chief handler. Turns out that
    they are powerful swimmers.
    .
    …Camels are not stupid. They often
    “pause for a second” to consider something. They are certainly not
    “unmanageable” if treated with respect by well trained handlers. But
    (like elephants) they never forget being badly treated by a specific
    handler.
    .
    …One virtue came to light in the very nastiest desert
    terrain… If the handlers allowed the camels their “head…” the camels
    could always locate quality water within 20 miles… this saved the
    lives of a couple of expeditions. Most handlers (military and civilian)
    came to be quite fond of their camels.
    .
    …Camels had little role
    to play in the American Civil War (though one was killed by a Union
    sniper at Vicksburg…) By the time that the war was over the railroad
    took over the role of conquering distance…
    .
    …It was thought
    that the last of the feral descendents of the Camel Corps died out in the
    early 1900s but the last confirmed sighting was in some gawd-awful
    remote desert area by a railroad repair crew in 2003 who took photos….
    .
    …More
    than half the experiment was done by civilians who had the camels on
    loan… or by a mostly civilian survey expedition headed up by a Navy
    officer… As to the truly amazing charge of the title… Well, I won’t
    give that away…
    .
    …The human actors in this story are larger
    than life… and there is a follow-up on their lives as well. Buy this
    book… Buy this book…”
    .
    …As a side note the number of feral camels in Australia far in excess of a million… causing problems… but that is a story for somebody else on another site…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarriorRecon6 I have seen the Hi Jolly monument in the desert and around Quartzite you see remnants and reminders. Did not know Camel Corp was even involved in the Civil War. That’s some odd stuff…..

    Camels are shady, often like the handlers. They will rob the food right out of your hand if not paying attention, they smell…bad but they are genetic marvels in the Arabian deserts. In the mountains the Llama and Alpaca is the way to go…better dispositions as well!

    YP, the book collection has grown thanks to you, however my range and ammo money has decreased by the same amount that my library has increased ( I prefer to hold a book in my hands even though I have a tablet that downloads books for far less coin)

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapa,
    .
    “… I have seen units do PT on bikes…”
    .
    …In Africa I went through a former British Army riding school (horses) that the Rhodesians running (very long story for another time…)  All of our unit wound up doing PT “on” horses…
    .
    …This involved all sorts of highly improbable moves including vaulting and (most nerve-wracking) repeatedly moving under the animals.  These were not well trained and good natured cow ponies or trail horses… but stupid and often evil brutes that could smell newly issued work uniforms… and knew that they could get away with mayhem… 

    .

    …Bad enough that during training only snaffle bits issued to us (hinged… more of a suggestion to the horse than a command…) but moving underneath them repeatedly was just asking for trouble…
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …For more on military bicycles including everything from folding bikes to the history of the bicycle with the Swiss Army:  
    .
    http://www.combatreform.org/atb.htm
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior ,
    .
    …When the 101st Airborne dropped on Normandy, a lot of the men used weapons cases.  Caused massive problems when hostiles on top of LZ… Many paratroopers refused to use them on drop on Holland.
    .
    …Germans had it worse on Crete.  Only weapons on paras… knives and pistols… Running under heavy enemy fire to weapons pods last thing that a lot of those men ever did. 
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior I really wasn’t a fan of the 1950 case, would rather just go sans with the Qtip approach.

  • ArcticWarrior

    YankeePapa That link is awesome! Great photos and articles. Going to have to take some time and read thoroughly….

  • Recon6

    YankeePapa ArcticWarrior
    Such valid points become exactly the Reason Mother never seems to do anything that seem common sense in the least.  Often the dumber it was the more apt to be applied to ‘tactics’.

    This bike idea would hold great opportunity under the right scenario, thus a no go for the most part.

    But YP as always presents a unique insight into something seldom ever thought about….6

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior YankeePapaRecon6
    Uh Oh another book alert!

    Copy AW, every time I am ‘forced’ to purchase a book suggested by YP or SOFREP I see my ‘ammo money’ depleted !!

    I am learning so much, as I certainly Never Knew about camels in the CW and I’ve read countless books of that era.

    Thank goodness I’ve never had to deal with camels, only heard they ‘smell’ terrible.
    But then I’ve never been to the Box and this is simply another reason I Admire you Troops so much….6

  • YankeePapa

    Recon6 ArcticWarriorYankeePapa,
    .
    …Price on this one is very reasonable.  The copy that I read was from the public library…
    .
    -YP-

  • ArcticWarrior

    Recon6 YankeePapaArcticWarrior I think that could be said for DoD as a whole. Building robot donkeys and other stuff (which I understand the R&D might pay off down the road, but….) seems to be the way we are stuck in with procurement. If its costlier, promises to do everything and comes in over budget its a go. Common sense gets you a no-go in most cases it seems.

    I saw an F-35A just recently, both static and in the air. Very slick. Flying next to F16s they seemed small and quiet. Its chubby looking, not like the F22 which looks sexy and badass. On the static display crowds gathered up. The whole push the 35A was on full tilt, what it can do, what in the future it will do, what it replaces…..ahhhh off to the side a little ways was a Hog. Very much used, its flat grey flatter then the 35A scheme, sitting nearly alone with no crowd. Looking at it- simple, cheap, tough battle hardened and looking at the plane I was standing next to which was shiny, high tech and costly I was reminded of “If the Army got the funds that a few of these costs do you know what they could buy for the Infantry???”   …  my kids didn’t want to hear it. I had to drag them over to the Hog explaining that the 35 will never replace the Hog. Kids kept glancing looks at the 22 and 35. I gave up, patted the lonely A10 on its cannon, told it thanks and we went over to the Osprey…

  • Recon6

    ArcticWarrior Recon6YankeePapa
    Sex sells doesn’t it??

    To mothball the Hog is simply unacceptable!!  Mother should be screaming to high hell and Never allow this to happen.  Hell trade anything off to keep the A-10.  I am so frkn disgusted with this whole concept.

    I understand the Air Force, but when a CAS bird like the Hog is Here, cheap, extremely capable, and Loved by Grunts, something needs to happen for retention.
    I only Imagine what it would have done for us!!  We loved Hueys but there is no comparison.

    LOL, at your kids!!  I can easily catch a visual of that happening, along with all the other folks.  Most have no idea of the Hog, but by gosh AW you did!!
    Great story bro, and I’m sure you educated your children  🙂  …6

  • ArcticWarrior

    Recon6 ArcticWarriorYankeePapa LOl..no I think the kids think Im an old guy not wanting to go to the future….

    We had 22’s at JBER so I had the pleasure of seeing them working…very sexy…give you goose bumps when they light up. Im an aviation geek so I love the Raptor. Even the Russians have some sexy ones, like the female tennis players they grow..

    As a grunt I love the Hog. Longbow Apaches are great but even they lack things the Hog brings to the grunts. Like you say, the Hog is here, its a proven killer and the Russian mech and armor breath a sigh of relief knowing if they roll no Hogs in the sky.

    As a side, everyone here, and I think everyone at SOFREP has used the M16 family at some point ……

    “Cycle for the King” …  “Bad teeth no bar”    …. I just noticed that…funny stuff…

  • YankeePapa

    ArcticWarrior Recon6YankeePapa,
    .
    …Back around late 1890s  some ammunition in tins.  In extreme circumstances an infantryman might have to open with his teeth.  U.S. requirement was eight serviceable teeth in each arch… 
    .
    …Boise has Air Guard A-10s.  The Air Force should be forced by Congress to hand over to Army along with any pilots and ground crew that choose to transfer.  Probably never happen though…
    .
    -YP-

  • Camo_Steve

    Interesting history on the bikes, I never heard of bikes being used that much, yet alone at all in history. I guess that kind of stuff seems to disappear from mainstream history, because it looks and sounds so lame. 

    That picture of the NVA bike is just wow, that shows dedication for a cause. 

    Btw, the story about SOG and the captured bike was hilarious. I can just imagine the faces on those officers when they found out it was an actual bike. lol

  • YankeePapa

    .
    …Found this rather massive bit of info re LBI (Light Bicycle Infantry…)
    .
    http://www.combatreform.org/atb.htm
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    FLASH:  The Swiss have reinstated the bicycle in the Swiss Army:
    http://www.thelocal.ch/20150401/swiss-army-revives-bike-infantry-to-boost-fitness

    -Yankee Papa-