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Subject: Bicycle Troops-what is their status
macawman    6/11/2003 6:16:37 PM
Thomas: I've seen photos of Danish troops beside bicycles treking thru the hinterland. I know that the Swiss turned in their 90lb early 20th century bikes for lighter weight mountain bikes in the mid 90's. The question is does the European light infantry still use them or is the a Home Guard issue only?
 
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Thomas    RE:Bicycle Troops-macawman   6/12/2003 1:56:33 AM
Home Guard: We are in these years seeing to sorts (I believe after my recommandation - no credit awarded though): A. Rifle companies fighting as companies. Those are the young and eager. Their training is voluntary, unpaid and exceeds the minimum requirement by far. B. Other companies mainly securing the the axis of advance for the heavies. C. Observation can within hours put the entire country under very close surveillance and give special forces a very hard time. The rifle companies are lorry-mounted the other use whatever transportation at hand - main their own cars. I'm aware of no units in the danish forces that are bicyckle mounted. The bicycklist par exellance are the Finns: I don't know if they still are: Their light infantry were bicyckle-mounted in the summer and ski-mounted in the winter. They were drawn by a horse or agricultural tractor on a rope. Their protection was the Finnish forrest - the russians had a rather nasty encounter with during WW2. The exciting thing is wether the Baltic nations will take this idea up - they can afford it and they have the terrain for it.
 
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giblets    RE:Bicycle Troops-macawman   6/12/2003 2:10:56 AM
UK troops are using Bikes in Basra, helps them to be 'closer' to the people, and get round more than on foot.
 
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Shaka of Carthage    RE:Bicycle Troops- Thomas   6/12/2003 9:54:39 AM
Can you expand upon what you mean by the terrain in the Balkans? I thought it was mountainous? I know the Japanese used bikes in the Jungle. You mentioned the Finns and forests. So am I hearing that infantry that operate in difficult terrain can use bikes? Do bikes have some sort of "trailer" that can be attached to haul ammunition and equipment. For that matter, can I "tow" a mortar with a bike? Am I going off the deep end? Cause I am starting to wonder why the US doesn't consider something like this... like in the 10th Mountain Division!
 
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joe6pack    RE:Bicycle Troops- re Shaka   6/12/2003 2:02:45 PM
Hmmm.. wouldn't they then be the 10th mountain bike division? ;-) I don't know - it just seems to lack some dignity - I kinda of laugh at bike cops anyway... I would think if the terrain was favorable to bikes it's be also be favorable to diesel powered wheeled transportation ;-) But if we are talking crazy modes of transportation - whatever happened to the WWII era motorcycle troops? (yeah I know S.F. types use them)... But think of the recruitment bonus - join the army - ride a Harley!
 
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Shaka of Carthage    RE:Bicycle Troops- joe6pack   6/12/2003 2:56:19 PM
The Jeep replaced the motorcycle. The bike isn't such a wild idea... don't have to refuel it do I? I'd rather push a bike hauling my gear, than carry it. And can you imagine the distances you could cover?
 
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joe6pack    RE:Bicycle Troops-what is their status - shaka   6/12/2003 3:11:25 PM
Oh I agree with some of that- One of the many reasons I hated "road marches" that used actual roads or trails. Walking from point A to B just seemed to be an inefficient waste of time. Biking would also probably be easier on the back, knees and ankles too.. Cut down on sick calls. Hmmm.. maybe your on to something here. The Pentagon is getting a cash influx. We just need a catchy name, cool acronym, and an inflated price and we are in the "tactical" bike buisness.. Any suggestions? ;-)
 
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joe6pack    RE:Bicycle Troops- joe6pack re: N.G.I   6/12/2003 3:21:33 PM
Now thats what I'm talking about! :-) Throw your ruck on back. Toss some ammo in the cargo containers and haul.. You could probably add a side car and to lug aroung a med/heavy machine gun or a light mortar system as Shaka mentioned.
 
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macawman    RE:Bicycle Troops-what is their status   6/12/2003 6:14:59 PM
Here is a site for the current history of the military bicycle. Correction: the 1905 Swiss bike weighed 59lbs not 90lbs. http://www.bicyclewire.com/opinion1029_01.html
 
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Thomas    RE:Bicycle Troops-Shaka   6/13/2003 1:30:33 AM
It was the Baltic nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and perhaps Poland, not the Balkans. I'm let to believe there are a great deal of forrests and swamps around there. Before WWI Russia deliberately neglected the infrastructure of that area to make things diffcult for a German invasion - I don't have the complete picture today. Motorcykle troops: The few troops that engaged in combat 9. april 1940 were motorcyckle troop with a 20 mm mashine gun. They did their job - keeping contact with the enemy; but there was nothing to back it up.
 
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AlbanyRifles    RE:Bicycle Troops-Shaka   6/13/2003 6:21:12 AM
I heard on the radio last year that the Swiss had disbanded the last of their bike units. Had moved to motorcycle or some other small motorized equipment.
 
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