UPDATED 22 April 2011

1st Tactical Studies Group

Operation: Dark Claw

Photo by award-winning military photographer, Hans Halberstadt

"When the hour of crisis comes, remember that 40 selected men can shake the world."

-- Yasotay (Mongol warlord)

British Soldiers on Mountain Bike Patrols in Basra, Iraq: 2007

Airborne Light Bicycle Infantry (LBI)

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain I Folding Mountain Bike (FMTB)

During the opening moves of a nation-state war in a rural setting, Airborne Light Bicycle Infantry (LBI) and mobile infantry with all-terrain cart/sleds, M113 Gavins, and other light tanks can execute decisive 3 dimensional (3D) maneuver after aircraft insertion by airdrop or airland. Optimal fire & maneuver would be a combination of both 3D and 2D maneuvers to put the enemy into an impossible situation with which to recover. Cross-country mobile because of their extremely low ground pressures, dispersed LBI and light tanks can fan out and block the escape routes of fleeing enemy regime leaders as well as sub-national terrorists. LBI dismounts to fight with portable cover using gunshields. LBI can insert/extract by aircraft, ground and sea craft to include vertical hovering extractions by SPIE rig/FRIES by folding the ATB and clipping its Cashwell airdrop carry bag to the Soldier wearing a special enhanced tactical load bearing vest (ETLBV) with life-support leg straps and center-of-the-back "donkey tail" to snaplink into the VTOL aircraft's extraction line(s).

Possible Solar Panel Placement on a MTB...

Electric hub motor and Lithium-Ion (Li-On) battery technologies are improving rapidly to where its conceivable to have an electric-drive Mountain Bike (eMTB) for 30 miles of up to 30 mph speeds that folds for parachute jumping and STOL fixed-wing and VTOL helicopter insertions/extractions yet can recharge itself as the Soldier pedals or from flexible solar panels and/or when attached to the mother Gavin light tank.

One of the best synergisms is for LBI to be task-organized with Delta Weapons Companies with M113 Gavin tracks and assigned Combat Engineer "Sappers" to provide long-distance, armored amphibious and cross-country mobility, heavy firepower and carry long-endurance supplies of food, water and ammo. LBI apart from its "mother" light tracked armored fighting vehicles would be self-reliant via water purifiers, battery rechargers, LightWeight Sleeping Bags, tents in quick-detachable (QD) buttpacks and SERE skills. The entire force in a Non-Linear Maneuver Brigade (NLMB) would constitute a force with all-teeth and no-tail; "Everybody Fights and Everybody Works" fulfilling Heinlein's ideal stated in Starship Troopers and most closely matched by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and British armies. By consciously choosing SIMPLE but robust and superior weapons systems, the fighters can resupply themselves and in a pinch "live-off-the-land", to include using the enemy's own weapons, fuel and ammunition against them. The entire LBI force, its M113 Gavin light tanks and themselves can rapidly deploy by land, sea or air in ISO shipping container "BATTLEBOXes". All the LBI force needs is food--it collects its own water, powers its vehicles by muscles and captured fuels and gains strength as it defeats the enemy by using its own ammo against them!

Cyberjump with the 1st TSG (A)! Click on the exclusive still photo VIDEO CLIPS or actual motion video BELOW:

PHASE I: The Airborne Insertion



PHASE II: The Ground Assault

To Be Posted

PHASE III: the After-Action-Review

To be Posted

PHASE IV: the 25+ miles Exfiltration back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina

To be Posted

Or click on the thumbnails to view larger image of still pictures and experience the sounds:

C-212 STOL turbo prop aircraft

Chamberlain I Folding Mountain Bike (ATB) in airdrop bag

Non-folding ATBs and ATAC as ramp drop bundle

Dark Claw team members LT Jeff Schram and SFC Ernest Hoppe rigged and ready to jump

Team Leader LT Mike Sparks ready to jump combat equipment and the Chamberlain I Folding Mountain Bike in airdrop bag

ATB bag rigged under chest reserve

Folded ATB in bag with quick release straps

Paratrooper good exit from rear ramp with ATB bag

ATB in bag still connected to Paratrooper

ATB lowered on line prior to landing

Bag opened to recover ATB

Unfolding the ATB in under one minute

Paratrooper cycles at 10 - 25 mph across battlefield wearing mesh cooling enhanced tactical load bearing vest and buttpack with all gear he needs to survive & fight

Return to 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

Return to Airborne Equipment Shop

Folding ATB + Paratrooper, Folding ATB + M113 Gavin Light Tank Interfaces


The video above shows a Special Atomic Demolition Munition (SADM) being jumped by a parachutist/swimmer. Its common practice for special forces personnel to jump very heavy and/or bulky equipment like 170 pound SADMs or TACSATs from high-performance military aircraft. Paratroopers in Airborne units routinely jump large equipment in covered bags like Stinger MANPADS missiles and long-range communications gear. The beauty of retired MSG Lee Cashwell's folding ATB airdrop bag is that its multi-functional for air/ground/sea use; it attaches to either the LBI Paratrooper or the outside of the M113 Gavin light tank "Mother Ship" by simple quick-release assemblies (QRAs), which are snaphooks that have levers to detach the metal buckle on the end of an adjustable-length nylon strap.

Paratrooper + ATB

M113 Gavin Light Tank + ATB

5 x folded ATBs each in a Cashwell airdrop bag--could be strapped to the left and another 5 on the right side of the M113 hull for a total of 10 x ATBs for the dismount paras/infantry/special operators/scouts to have individual mobility.

ATB + MH-6, OH-58D, UH-60, CH-47 VTOL or fixed-wing aircraft STOL Airland

The folding ATB can be carried in its bag and when your aircraft lands, you exit quickly with it in your arms and unfold and ride as depicted above. If space is not critical, the ATB can be transported inside the air/land or sea craft folded or unfolded WITHOUT the Cashwell airdrop bag for cycling off the rear ramp as soon as the delivery point is reached.

Unfolding the ATB from the Cashwell Airdrop Bag

Upon landing after a parachute jump from a C-212, C-27J Spartan, C-130 Hercules or C-17 Globemaster III or exiting the M113 Gavin light tank, the ATB bag is either lowered on a hook, pile tape lowering line or released from the side of the Gavin's hull by pulling down on the QRA's levers (or the red nylon 550 pull cords) to release the buckles on the end of the nylon attaching straps sewn into the carry bag.


Click here to e-mail the 1st TSG (A) to obtain details for obtaining your own folding ATBs

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Chamberlain I Folding Mountain Bike Tool Kits


Powered ATVs, Dirt Bikes Socially Acceptable to U.S. Military but Flawed

PROBLEM: unarmored wheeled vehicles vulnerable lacking protection, return fire-while moving and cannot ground mobilize enough troops

Foot-slogging with 100 pounds of "lightweight" equipment at 1 mph is not "maneuver" that gets the Saddams and Bin Ladens of this world. Landing close to or on top of the objective and then rolling out a few wheeled trucks, 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and 2-wheel motorcycles with no armor, not much stealth or cross-country mobility and zero amphibious mobility looks sexy like the old TV show "Rat Patrol" emulating the British SAS/LRDG in WW2, but has been a constant failure in actions today.

TV's Rat Patrol: Is this where we get our Tactics From?


To see this wheeled technonarcissism in action, watch the recruiting video for the top of the militarism pyramid of ego; 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta AKA "Delta Force":


Its common knowledge that America's "special" types drive around in gasoline-powered 4x4 ATVs for cross-country mobility via lightweight and high tire floatation.

Firing while Moving?


This painting of Chinese peasants firing SKS carbines from 2-man bicycle teams is instructive....imagine if they were in camouflaged uniforms, too... LBI units should conduct such live-fire exercises against stationary, pop-up and moving targets using live ammunition.

Italian motorcyclist in WW2 with weapon slung across front of torso to return fire

Obviously, the men riding have no armor protection except what is worn on the body and cannot easily fire while moving to defend themselves if attacked. If your weapon is short in length, you can carry it slung across your torso and if you need to fire, a 3-step process is required:

LBI Mounted Return Fire TTP with shoulder slung weapon (3 second response time)

1.) remove one hand from the handlebar (1 second)
2.) grab pistol grip of weapon and point it towards general direction of threat (1 second)
3.) squeeze the trigger to fire (1 second)

At this point, you should push the bike out from under you and hit-the-deck into the prone position--wearing elbow and knee pads is a given. Add another 2 seconds for this.

A handlebar mount for the M4 5.56mm carbine should be utilized like the South African and Rhodesian motorcycle scouts used since it would already be in a ready-to-fire condition requiring only 2 seconds to respond to a threat:

LBI Mounted Return Fire TTP with handlebar-mounted weapon (2 second response time)

1.) remove one hand from handlebar (1 second)
2.) grab pistol grip and with other hand steer towards threat and squeeze trigger to fire (1 second)

At this point, you should push the bike out from under you and hit-the-deck into the prone position--wearing elbow and knee pads is a given. Add another 2 seconds for this.

Another idea would be a 9mm or 5.7mm pistol attached to the helmet that can fire at a press of a button from the handlebar reducing reaction time to one second:

LBI Mounted Return Fire TTP with helmet-mounted or handlebar-mounted pistol weapon with handlebar firing button (1 second response time)

1.) turn head towards threat with helmet sight, squeeze remote firing trigger on handlebar or button on gloves etc. (1 second)

At this point, you should push the bike out from under you and hit-the-deck into the prone position--wearing elbow and knee pads is a given. Add another 2 seconds for this.

Beretta 93R: Machine Pistol in your Holster when you Need it

Type: Single Action automatic (machine) pistol
Calibers: 9x19mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO
Weight unloaded: 1170 g
Length: 240 mm
Barrel length: 156 mm (with compensator)
Magazine capacity: 20 rounds standard

Beretta 93R automatic (or machine) pistol has been in development during the second half of the 1970s, and first appeared circa 1977. The index 93 stands for "9mm, 3rd model", and the suffix "R" means "Raffica" - burst[-firing] in Italian language. This special purpose sidearm was intended for police and military forces who may require improved firepower in compact weapon during the close-quarter combat, such as room-to-room search or VIP protection. Because the compact size and relatively powerful 9mm Parabellum ammunition necessary resulted in high cyclic rate of fire, Beretta designers decided do limit the practical rate of fire by introducing a burst limiter, which allowed only for three shot bursts, in addition to the standard semi-automatic fire. To further improve the control during the burst fire, the pistol was fitted with folding forward grip, and the detachable folding shoulder stock. Early production pistols also featured a ported barrel to decrease barrel climb, but later this feature was dropped. The Beretta 93R is no longer listed in Beretta military & law enforcement catalogs, but it is used by some Italian police and anti-terrorist forces, such as Carabineri's GIS and NOCS, and by some other paramilitary forces. The burs fire mode is of dubious value for anybody but the most professional shooters, who need the improved effectiveness at very short to short ranges; the folding shoulder stock probably can help for long range single shot accuracy.

The basic design of the Beretta 93R machine pistol is based on the famous Beretta 92 pistol; The 93R uses the same short recoil operated, locked breech system with vertically cammed lock. The slide retains typical Beretta-style open-top design. The trigger mechanism, however, is somewhat different from Beretta 92, as it is a single action only, with non-ambidextrous frame mounted safety and additional fire mode selector (both mounted on the same axis, with the selector lever pointing forward and safety lever pointing backward). The mechanism which controls the length of the bursts is located behind the right grip panel. Beretta 93R pistol is supplied with proprietary 20-rounds magazines but also can use standard Beretta 92 type magazines.

A fully-automatic pistol like the 9mm Beretta 93R could be attached to the right or left handlebar grip of a bike so the rider can grip it and the handlebar at the same time so he only has to swerve the handlebar towards the threat and squeeze the trigger to loose off 17 rounds in that general direction.

Beretta 92FS Full Auto and Semi-Auto Firing: Under Control


Yeah, we know that's "really crazy!"

Wellll...riding on exposed ATV gasoline tanks without anyone riding as a passenger "shotgun" ready to initiate or return fire---even with muffled engines is pretty foolish, too. Hopefully soon, Polaris' new diesel/JP-8 ATVs will replace the current gas-powered ones.

Thailand's Army motorcycles have a seat in the back for a Soldier with an assault rifle ready-to-fire to ride "shotgun".

Why 4-wheel ATVs can or cannot have someone riding on back "shotgun" remains unclear. We hear two conflicting stories saying it can or cannot be done. We know for a fact that Israeli ATVs make provision for a passenger to be able to initiate or return fire.

The oldest technique is the motorcycle sidecar which is almost as bad in the eyes of Hollywood as the helicopter which MUST EXPLODE IN A BALL OF FIRE after crash or shoot-down, and its sidecar & passenger (victim) constantly breaking off from like a Keystone cop comedy scene with passenger careening towards a manure pile. The German sidecar passenger manned a medium machine gun for protective fires while moving.

The Dutch went so far as to use a 20mm autocannon.

As early as WW1, motorcycles were used to mount anti-aircraft machine guns!

The problem with fossil fuel powered bikes is they are noisy and give off an infared signature which American 3rd Infantry Division tankers used to destroy Iraqi motorcycles some of which had SPG-9 73mm recoilless rifles attached--during the march to Baghdad during their epic "Thunder Run". Electric and pedal-powered LBI with men wearing "thellie" camouflage suits wouldn't be detectable by FLIR sensors.

Movement TTP

One way to mitigate ambush is by having one ATV Soldier to stop and point his weapon in the possible threat directions, ready-to-fire as the other ATV Soldier "bounds" forward. This "bounding overwatch" can continue until they arrive at their destination etc. What we don't want to hear is any of this hypocritical shit criticizing Light Bicycle Infantry on pedal and electric-powered mountain bikes that is in the same predicament as non-stealthy, gas-tank fireball creating ATVs with Soldiers holding handlebars that its "dangerous and we shouldn't do it" when those same lying motherfukers in the same breath will tell you Soldiers on much noisier ATVs are suddenly "AOK" just because "Delta does it". Stupid is what stupid does--if you don't like this, be consistant. Smart is what smart does if you are willing to take the risks to get mobility and positional advantage. What is good for the goose is good for the gander--regardless of WHO is doing it and what military narcissistic SOCIAL CLASS they belong to.

Third World Bike Use: Logistics Kings (mouseclick power point show)


There are a hell of a lot of people riding bicycles in the third world giving one a better chance of blending in un-noticed wearing civilian clothes and a beard than looking like a poster child for the ATV section of a sports & hunting catalog in military camouflage instead of blaze orange.

Parachute Airdrop--BAD: ATV from a CASA 212 twin turboprop plane

The stills above taken from the Delta recruiting video show an ATV without platform connected to just parachute(s) being pushed off the rear ramp of a CASA 212 over North Carlina--perhaps the exact same C-212 we used in our Operation DARK CLAW operation?

When you airdrop by cargo parachute there is going to be a 15 feet-per-second impact and about a 1G of force applied to whatever it is your dropping. Human legs can act as shock absorbers if a parachute landing fall (PLF) can be done well enough. Inanimate objects don't have this option and the ram-air parachute has a nasty landing at half-breaks at a minimum of 10 mph forward speed in addition to the 15 FPS sink rate. Only Canadian company, MMIST has figured out how to point a ram-air parachute into the wind and flare just before landing to lessen impact. Whether this "guided parafoil" was used in the above test or if a round cargo chute cannot be determined from the video we have. It looks like the ATV without a piece of plywood with honeycomb stacked underneath it to cushion its landing was wrecked on impact. Its understandable why one would not want a bunch of honeycomb and a chunk of plywood to have to bury/hide etc. Perhaps an airbag is a way to get cushioning that can be collapsed and taken with or buried easily? The Russian Airborne has experimented with airbags under their BMD-3/4 light tank/IFVs instead of retro-rockets--if there is a will, there is a way, if there is unlimited funds....well, what are you waiting for?

However, this is the techno-narcissism embraced by our so-called "special" people and its in need of drastic reform.

They are dishonest in their WW2 specops re-enactment lust; in WW2 we had commandos jump with folding bikes and were not afraid to use light tracked armor. We won that war, I might add. Other countries today without the "BULLSHIT FACTOR" of the ego club U.S. military air-mech light tracked AFVs to get effective 3D maneuver.

What's our excuse?


Mini-Light Tanks + LBI en masse

Photos of actual 1st TSG (A) LBI integration tests from a CH-47 Chinook rear ramp using a folding ATB proves the technique, great photos by the great military photographer and author, Hans Halberstadt who was a Ch-47 crew chief when he was in the Army!

THE THREAT KNOWS HOW TO USE BIKES: Iranian 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun & RPG Teams Deploys from CH-47s

ATBs, ATVs & Dirt Bikes + Armored M113 Gavin Light Tank "Mother Ships"

A remarkable 1st TSG (A) discovery is that not only can folded and unfolded ATBs fit INSIDE M113 Gavin light tanks, so can motor dirt bikes and a 4x4 ATV. The idea came from pictures of the Australian Army during the Vietnam war placing 105mm light howitzers inside their M113 Gavins to effect greater cross-country mobility than trying to tow them on their wheels through the soft, muddy terrain there as well as concealing to the enemy what capabilities they were delivering.


CAPTION: Bien Hoa, South Vietnam, 1965-08-18. Gunners of 161 Field Battery Royal New Zealand Artillery, manhandle a 105mm L5 pack howitzer into a M113 of 1 APC troop, Prince of Wales Light Horse, as the battery prepares to move to a temporary firing position six kilometres north of Bien Hoa airbase. The guns of 161 Fd Bty were carried to the firing site inside APC's to conceal the nature of the operation. This was the first occasion that the L5's of 161 Fd Bty were carried inside APC's. (donor H M. Lander)

Hunnicutt's book on American infantry fighting vehicles shows a jeep rolling off from inside a humongous M59 armored personnel carrier as well as photos of British General Percy Hobart's 79th Armoured Division in WW2 transporting jeeps and Bren gun APCs inside LVT-4 Buffalo amtracks across rivers under enemy fire in WW2. This gave us the idea to experiment with an ATV and dirt bike with a M113 Gavin. This capability is not possible in Stryker (an ATV can't fit and they don't swim) or Pandur (an ATV can't fit) wheeled trucks. Removing the track commander's (TC) stand from inside the M113 frees up enough space for a 4x4 ATV like the new safe diesel-powered military model made by Polaris or 3 military dirt bikes--on top of the up to 10 x folding ATBs that can be carried on the outside in Cashwell airdrop bags.

Light Tracked AFV Mobility = Protected Unpredictable Maneuver


The Gavin's armored hull and amphibious, tracked mobility then protects these scout vehicles from enemy fires and land mines (The Battle Against Man-TBAM) while conveying them over terrain and water they cannot traverse (The Battle Against The Earth-TBATE) to the desired area of operations.

Loading an 4x4 ATV into a M113 Gavin Light Tank









After the ATV is inside, the TC can sit or stand on its front or rear (depending on how you load it) to operate the 360 degree spinning cupola with mount for a light, medium, heavy machine gun or autocannon like the ASP-30mm.

M113 Gavin + ASP-30mm Autocannon-in-action VIDEO


Dirt Bike Loading into a M113 Gavin Light Tank

LBI Electric AeroBike Scouts

A Canadian Csaba Lemak has created an electric-powered ram-air parachute to fly one man in winds up to 15 mph. Such devices could be easily carried inside or strapped outside in bags of M113 Gavins and LBI "AeroBike" Scouts could fly them to perform air recon just as unmanned UAVs could be operated. Powered parachutes and ultralights powered by gasoline fossil fuels are easily possible in conjunction with mother M113 Gavin tanks, but these fuel are dangerous and would have to be stored in 5 gallon cans. An excellent ATV that FLIES and could fit inside a M113 Gavin is the new Chimera air/ground vehicle!


Key Features of the Chimera:

Air-droppable from a C-17, C-130, or other platform using an integrated parachute system

Ground-launchable using the largest elliptical paraglider ever constructed-100 ft wing span

Ducted fan propulsion

3-Cylinder, 110 Hp, liquid-cooled engine

Hybrid-electric drive

80 Peak Hp electric wheels motors

Max takeoff weight: 2200 lbs

Dry weight: 970 lbs

Ground speed: 60 mph

Air speed: 30 kts

The new Polaris ATV and dirt bikes powered by diesel/JP-8 can use the same fuel as the Gavin uses. If the ATB and/or the fan unit were ELECTRICAL motor driven then the Gavin could charge both their lithium-ion batteries when its engine is operating. Pedal/electric ATBs and powered paragliders (PPGs) would be silent and very mobile in both 2D/3D forms of movement to be able to spot the enemy first and develop the situation from there. If while flying the electric PPG, the pedal/electric ATB is underneath ready-to-ride, it becomes an air/ground vehicle system. Perhaps by integrating the electrical motor/fan and batteries INTO THE ATB, the Li-on batteries can power the fan unit in the air and a rear hub motor on the ground with the AeroScout's pedaling helping recharge the batteries whenever possible.




What's a watt?

The watt (W) is a measure of power. Power is the ability to produce force at some speed or RPM. Although the more familiar unit of power used for engines is horsepower (hp), electric motors measure their power in watts.

Don't confuse torque with power. Torque is a force, like how much pressure you must exert to get a screw out. Power is twisting against some torque through some number of revolutions per minute.

746 watts is the same as one hp. Some interesting comparisons of watts:

• A human being climbing a flight of stairs is doing work at the rate of about 200 watts.

• A trained athlete can work at up to 900 watts for short periods.

• A car engine produces work at a rate of around 100,000 watts.

An incandescent light bulb uses 40 - 100 watts.

Assuming a sky-camouflage colored parachute, power unit and jumpsuit worn by the LBI Aeroscout....

a. Is it feasible eventually to generate enough electrical power to add a 30 pound pedal mountain bike to its payload?

b. Would it be then feasible to attach the electric rear fan unit to the rear of the mountain bike and have the motor that spins the prop to also spin the rear wheel without excessive weight?

c. If not, at least give the whole unit ground mobility by pedal power....

During a 1-hour flight at 25 mph can the LBI AeroScout pedal and generate with his 1/2 a horsepower meaningful recharging of the batteries to keep him aloft?

If not, how much pedaling on the ground ostensibly doing ground movement would it take to rejuvenate his batteries for flight?

Say his parachute was 20 feet wide and 5 feet wide for a total of 100 square feet, could meaningful battery charging take place during his 1 hour flight if solar photovoltaic cells covered the top of his parachute?

How long would it take to recharge his batteries if the parachute was laid on top of the ground and staked into position there?

How long would it take to recharge the AeroBike's batteries if it was strapped to the outside of a M113 Gavin light tracked AFV that had as it ran an AC converter?

Flying APCs: Making the M113 Gavin FLY--by ITSELF = Do-It-Yourself Air-Mech (DIY-AMS)

Russian KT-40 Flying Light Tank Glider

The technology already exists to make the "mother" ship M113 Gavins--a "Flying APC" aka troop-carrying, light tanks that fly--by attaching fixed-wings and a powerful prop or jet engine as legendary armored vehicle designer Walter Christie wanted to do in the 1930s with a TURRETLESS tank with hull-mounted 75mm cannon--a STUG before the Germans came up with it. The Russians flew a light tank with wings towed as a glider before WW2.

Christie's Flying Light Tank

To make the AeroGavin fly as a short take-off and landing (STOL) air/ground vehicle by parachute or fixed-wing means is just a matter of adequate funding to pay for the R&D. To make an AeroGavin take-off and land vertically would take more effort to create an autogyro system but is feasible if we have the courage and imagination to do so. AeroGavins with air/ground maneuver capabilities would fulfil British Brigadier Richard Simpkin's Race to the Swift dream as well as well as give General Gavin's KIWI concept wings--literally.




1. Defense Planning Guidance Element: This required capability is covered in Section B, "Key Trends: The Need for Enhanced Flexibility", Section C, "Elements of U.S. Defense Policy", and Section E, "Military Strategy" of Defense Planning Guidance, F 1992-1997.

U.S. Army TRADOC Fort Monroe; http://tradoc.monroe.army.mil/tpubs/pams/p525-66.htm

Department of the Army TRADOC Pamphlet 525-66, Headquarters, United States Army, Training and Doctrine Command Fort Monroe, Virginia 23651-1047, 1 July 2005; "Military Operations: FORCE OPERATING CAPABILITIES", reference; Section III - Mounted/Dismounted Maneuver, Desired Mounted/Dismounted Maneuver Capabilities, page 4-18, FOC-03-01: Mobility page 4-19; FOC-03-02: Operations in Urban and Complex Terrain 4-20, Section V - Line of Sight/Beyond Line of Sight (LOS/BLOS), Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) Lethality for Mounted/Dismounted Operations, Desired Capabilities, page 4-29; FOC-05-01: LOS/BLOS Lethality page 4-30, Section VI - Maneuver Support page 4-32, Desired Maneuver Support Capabilities, page 4-33; FOC-06-01: Provide Assured Mobility 4-34; FOC-06-02: Deny Enemy Freedom of Action page 4-35; FOC-06-03: Engage and Control Populations, page 4-36; FOC-06-04: Employ Nonlethal Effects page 4-37; FOC-06-05: Neutralize Hazards and Restore the Environment 4-38; FOC-06-06: Understand the Battlespace Environment, page 4-39; Section VII - Protection; Desired Protection Capabilities, page 4-41; FOC-07-01: Protect Personnel page, 4-42; FOC-07-02: Protect Physical Assets, page 4-43; FOC-07-03: Protect Information, page 4-44; Section VIII - Strategic Responsiveness and Deployability; Desired Capabilities, page 4-46; FOC-08-01: Airlift and Sealift Assets and Enablers, page 4-47; FOC-08-02: Enable Theater Access, page 4-48; Section XI - Human Engineering Desired Capabilities, page 4-72; FOC-11-02: Man-Machine Interface, page 4-74

2. Mission and Threat Analysis:

a. Threat Analysis: The threat to the Special operations Paratrooper occurs across the entire operational continuum in peacetime, conflict, and war. The threat systems encountered will vary from the most advanced produced in modern manufacturing facilities. to the most primitive improvised devices. Hostile forces win employ a number of systems to detect Special Operations personnel such as radar, infared (thermal), day/night image intensification, electronic sensors, active patrols and increased security at critical interdiction points, industrial and military locations. The proliferation of shoulder-launched SA-16 surface-to-air missiles comparable in capability to our own Stinger SAMs that cannot be completely suppressed or destroyed by pre-emptive SEAD attacks makes the close air delivery of SOF units using motorized air, sea and land craft an increasingly untenable tactic..

b. Mission Analysis: During combat employment of Airborne/SF units, the major emphasis is placed on interdiction operations using forced--entry means (parachuting from fixed-wing aircraft, "fast roping" from hovering rotary-wing aircraft) to arrive at the objective with surprise and superior combat power via surgical, high impact weapons and/or overwhelming local mass. Traditionally, force planners select drop zones close to or on top of mission objectives to compensate for possible miss-delivery and to mass superior local combat power. Operations range from the destruction of a single vehicle to strategic strikes against industrial or military sites, The attacking force ranges from a single saboteur to a large strike force. The target location can range from being in the midst of a highly developed, densely populated urban area to an isolated rural area in an undeveloped country: Often the landing points to reach these targets are covered with buildings and in between areas covered with asphalt or concrete. The current sociological trend towards increased urbanization makes it likely that ever increasing areas of the earth will be covered with hard surfaces. Drop Zones located in rural/agricultural areas away tram urban areas will require Airborne forces to have high mobility to close on the centers of enemy cohesion, where enemy leaders are likely to hide behind the populace, buildings and well-trained/equipped foreign mercenaries acting as "praetorian guards" ...often highly mobile with armored fighting vehicles standing ready to repel coup de etat attempts. These are hard targets that will require surprise and shock action to defeat.

Missions are normally of short duration beyond conventional logistics support. The operational element must transport all of its equipment by foot usually in rucksacks. Space inside transport aircraft is limited for SOPs and often precludes motor vehicles for transport roles, the usual mission is to have a few motor vehicles act as weapons carriers for shock weapons such as 106mm Recoilless Rifles, ankle injuries during forced-entry operations can deny the SOF the foot mobility needed to reach assault objectives. Critical for Airborne forces is the need to move rapidly to secure blocking positions distant enough from the Airhead to deny the enemy potential firing positions that could interrupt their "air bridge" of reinforcing men/equipment flying into their drop or STOL assault zones. Critical for Special Operations forces is the ability to rapidly break contact with the enemy and return to friendly-held areas by rapid exfiltratlon.

Resupply actions are critical for both type forces and risky throughout the spectrum of conflict operations; Airborne/Special operations personnel are often in non-linear war environments with potential enemies all around, and need the mobility to concentrate and move directly onto assault objectives without distraction..

The Soldier's load must be made lighter, smaller, and more efficient in order to increase mobility to levels superior to the lightly equipped enemy combatant likely to be encountered; who often has the advantages load reduction made possible by indigenous populace support and cached supplies. Most importantly, the load that is carried by the Airborne/Special operations Paratrooper requires mechanical advantage implements; human powered vehicles (HPVs) that will provide ground mobility superior to foot-mobile enemies, that provide the operational mobility and flexibility to land in distant drop zones away from enemy air defenses/sensors to preserve the element of surprise yet be speedy enough to achieve surprise/shock action on the objective. Often Soldiers that are injured can cycle that would otherwise be left on the drop zone. HPVs coupled with infared (thermal) imager defeating "Thellie" camouflage uniforms on Airborne/SOF personnel can give high mobility while retaining high levels of stealth..

As the importance of the target increases both the inner and outer security forces increase in size and ability. As the complexity and size of the target areas increase so do the critical attack points. In order to overcome a lack of heavy weapons, Airborne/Special operations forces utilize surprise and shock action to devastate targets from multiple, unexpected directions, avoiding heavily defended routes whenever possible. For situations of local battle supremacy to be created, mobility is critical. The recently cancelled combat jump of 6,000 Airborne/Special Operations Paratroopers onto the concrete runway of Haiti International Airport against an opponent welt-equipped with modem Israeli-made weaponry (GaliI Assault Rifles., Uzi sub-machine guns, B-300 83mm assault rocket launchers and Ephod Tactical Load Bearing Vests) with a force numerical advantage of just 1-to-1 highlights the need to steer away from the tactic of dropping paratroop forces directly on the objective towards indirect vertical assault tactics using compact-able human powered mobility devices easily carried within current airlift constraints..

3. Nonmaterial Alternatives: There are no nonmaterial alternatives.

4. Potential Material Alternatives: Currently in use motor vehicles like the HMMWV, RSOV and better M113A3 Gavin tracked Armored Personnel Carriers for mobility from the drop zones to assault objectives can and should be used to provide enhanced transport and shock weapon carrier capabilities. Airlift and time constraints make it impractical to make the entire Airbome/SOF motor-vehicle mobile; however, a human powered vehicle that can enhance large numbers of Paratroopers of selective units can meet this critical mission need. Tactically, motorizing the entire Airborne/SO force in wheeled trucks that are restricted to predictable roads/trails eliminates the positive aspects of light infantry forces; stealth, simplicity and closed terrain mobility. Tracked AFVs like the Gavin should be the "mother" vehicles for Airborne/SO forces because of their cross-country terrain agility facilitates unexpected movement routes and these vehicles can be made stealthy by way of band tracks and hybrid-electric drives. Paratroopers can dismount and fan out from them as required to increase weaponry and maneuver effects. HPVs on the other hand, compared to wheeled trucks can retain these desirable tactics while providing high mobility (20 mph/100 miles a day) and significant stealth for surprise to be achieved against the enemy.

5. Constraints:

a. When attached to the outside of the T-1OD/MC-1D in a padded parachutist's A/ETB airdrop bag, the A/ETB will be jumped by the Airborne/SOF paratrooper from the rear ramp of standard military aircraft, then lowered on a standard issue hook, pile tape lowering line (HPT LL) for landing. The HPV will unfold and be ready for action in under 1 minute without tools. As a Container Deliver System (CDS) bundle, the A/ETB would be compact-able to exit as a standard rigged door bundle no larger than 66" high by 30" wide and 48" deep. 3-4 A/ETBs per A-21 CDS is the standard.

b. The HPV will be lightweight, low cost and fit inside the parachutists's padded A/ETB airdrop bag with the other normally stowed air items after a jump. It will require no other special containers for storage.

c. HPVs will each weigh less than 40 pounds each and be rugged enough to withstand military operations to include riding over glass, wire and rubble without puncture. Mobility must be superior to the average running Soldier in all terrains to include soft sand and snow. In restricted terrains, the HPV should be an equipment conveyance to move the Soldier's load with less exertion than if it were carried on the body. As few moving parts as possible should be utilized in the HPV to increase simplicity/ruggedness.

d. Prototypes of the HPV have already been tested by operational units of the 82nd Airborne Division and the 1st COSCOM Assault CP at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and parachute drop tested twice by the 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne). The 1st TAG (A) has been performing A/ETB field trials continuously since 1990, to include actual airdrop tests with folding/non-folding ATBs as both a lowering line load attached to Paratroopers and as door bundle/platform airdrops.

e. The HPV is based on men's sizes and comes in one basic model that adjusts to Soldiers of differing sizes. The HPV should be painted in a rust-resistant universal BROWN camouflage finish with radar absorbent properties. Personnel using the HPV should be wearing IR thermal imager resistant "Thellie" camouflage uniforms to deter enemy detection.

f. The HPV will withstand the rigors of parachutist rigging, door or ramp exiting, canopy opening and landing for Airborne operations up to 35,000 feet above sea level.

g. The HPV requires no special power sources.

h. The HPV will require no maintenance by the user beyond routine care and cleaning that can be accomplished without the use of special tools. Repairs or damage beyond the user's or a local bike shop's capability will require the HPV to be returned to the manufacturer to be exchanged for a new HPV. Standard Mountain Bike components available world-wide can maintain/repair most if not all damages incurred.

i. The HPV will be capable of being safely and efficiently used by Airborne/Special operations personnel during day/night operations, in all operational Airborne environments while wearing required clothing and equipment to include nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protective garments/gear.

j. When used in an operational mission, the HPV will not have to be decontaminated and could be discarded after contact with NBC agents on the landing area. The current HPV could be decontaminated with issue agents if re-use is desired. The HPV will not be adversely affected by electronic signals, power lines or other emitters.

k. The environmental range for storage is -25 degrees to + 140 degrees Fahrenheit or the same as for any other Soldier TA-50 gear.

1. There will be no increase in the number of personnel, skills, MOS, training or maintenance hours imposed by the fielding of the HPV.

m. The HPV will not require standardization or inter-operablity with NATO and other allies or other DOD equipment now in development.

n. HPVs can be carried onboard almost all existing air, land, sea craft without modifications..

o. HPVs can open the insertion point radius from the dangerously close 20 miles in a day from the target to up to 100 miles in any direction, to include from the enemy's thought-to. be "safe" rear. Close air-deliver of Airborne/SOFs makes it easy for our enemies to focus sensors/defenses to cover likely insertion points; HPV s expand the area that has to be covered, thinning out the enemy's defenses and creating gaps that can be exploited.

p. The HPV is a significant step towards eliminating the "10% parachute jump injury factor" which unjustly causes reluctance by contingency force planners to use our most rapidly-deployable forced entry means, by giving another mobility option beyond foot travel.

q. If funds for organizational purchase are unavailable, since this is a critical need item, the HPV should be authorized for Airborne/Special operations use and stocked in military clothing sales stores (MCSS) on posts for Soldiers/small units to obtain through private purchase initiative (PPI).


For complete bicycle combat history: www.combatreform.org/atb.htm

WW2 Mystery: U.S. Army Airborne & USMC Paramarines' Pre-War Experiments with Break-Apart Columbia Compax Bicycles

The question is DID U.S. Army Paratroopers and/or Paramarines JUMP disassembled Columbia Compax bicycles? If so, HOW? We know the British jumped BSA folding bicycles uncovered in their hands which is very dangerous as its a snag risk to your parachute deployment. So far, all we have are these blow-ups from a poster hanging in a museum where a Columbia Compax is displayed. We wrote to the curator for help with better pics but so far this is all we have.

As if we need yet more proof that ad hocery results in good ideas that could gain us a tactical advantage falling by the wayside; consider the U.S. military's failure to exploit bicycles for military mobility advantages in WW2--and thereafter....

The U.S. Army lead the world in military bicycle use but then got fat and lazy and disastrously road-bound with motorized trucks and forgot how to use them when it really counted in war.

While the Germans were moving around entire rifle battalions by bicycle to achieve decisive effects like repelling the British at Arnhem, at best we used bicycles tactically en masse only if they were captured. The point of this is that military bikes must be ORGANIC to U.S. military units so they are used aggressively in war practice so when the fear of life/death settles in during a war their utility and usefulness to FAN OUT INFANTRY QUICKLY to get decisive kill/capture positions or to control ground to deny the enemy its use (prevent land mines from being laid) will be established and not be ignored.


Johan Willaert from Belgium writes:

Although the U.S. Army had used bicycles for many years before WW2, none were 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 October 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 toolbag attached to the Persons saddle. A tire pump was clamped to the frame.

These bikes were manufactured by both Westfield Columbia and Huffman 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. Late in WW2 Columbia produced a Women's model. Folding "Compax" models were tested by [U.S. Army] Airborne Troops and the U.S. Marine Corps but saw no action in Europe in WW2.

Westfield Columbia MG138969 (± Late 1943)

The Westfield Serial Number files do not contain any reference to specific Military contracts, so it's become very hard to determine how many bikes were manufactured and when....

Huffman frames were dated, but there too there's no reference to how many were made...

I am trying to put together a database with Models and Serial Numbers and their location, so I invite you to post that info here with a picture of the bike if possible....

For more info and wartime images, feel free to visit the Bicycles pages of my site: www.theliberator.be



Willaert's U.S. Military WW2 Bicycle Research Page


Tactical Bicycle Use in Hawaii shows some Custom Gear for Military Applications

U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo via Jerry Cleveland

Members of the Intelligence Platoon, HQ Company, 34th Infantry Regiment on patrol in Hawaii. Rifles are carried in leather scabbards on the front forks. Note the Willys MA Jeep in the background...

Another WW2 Bicycle Mystery: By Parachute or Glider?

One of the few surviving Columbia's in Europe is displayed in the Airborne Museum of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, Normandy, France where it sits under the wings of a C-47 aircraft. MG145375 was left behind during WW2 and ended up with a local farmer who used it well into the 1970's before donating it to the local museum where it underwent complete restoration...

WATCH THE CLASSIC MOVIE, "The Longest Day" based on Cornelius Ryan's Book

Click on the picture to view the 2-hour movie

Movie details: www.imdb.com/rg/video/browser/title/tt0056197

PROOF! U.S. Airborne Glider-Airlanding Bicycle Use in Combat in WW2

Although many have claimed to see a Compax "Paratrooper" bicycle in the back of the Jeep on the right, the springer type front forks clearly indicate it is not a Columbia Compax.

It actually is a Simplex Servicycle. There seems to be another Servicycle in the Jeep on the left where the passenger seat has been tilted forward to make room for the cycle's rear wheel. All vehicles belong to Service Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and are being loaded into WACO Gliders for the Operation Market-Garden Airborne insertion into Holland in September 1944. During WW2, Servicycles were used by Medical units of Airborne Divisions. Compare the front forks of the Servicycle above to the one shown below.

Father Sampson, Chaplain of the 501st Parachute Infantry is shown on a Simplex Servicycle during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

Tricycle Resupply in Combat

Al Krochka Photo from Mark Bando's The 101st AIRBORNE-From Holland to Hitler's Eagle's Nest

This image shows Technical Sergeant 5 Mendoza from "B" Company 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division using a captured/borrowed Dutch Tricycle to transport equipment to a Supply Dump in Veghel, Holland during Operation MARKET-GARDEN in September 1944. The tricycle is loaded with two A4 Supply Bundles. Note the Parachute First Aid Packet tied to his M1 steel pot helmet.

Overland: German Bicycle-Infantry during the Invasion of Russia

Operation SEYDLITZ: German Bicycle-Cavalry Saves the Day in Russia


Military Improvisations During The Russian Campaign *CMH Pub 104-1

*This publication replaces DA Pam 20-201, August 1951. Facsimile Edition, 1983, 1986

Center of Military History, United States Army, Washington, D.C.

5. Cavalry Brigade Model in Operation SEYDLITZ (Map 3)

The Russian elements that had broken through the German lines during the winter of 1941-42 and threatened the German supply lines during the spring, succeeded in gaining a foothold in the extensive, impassable, primeval forest swamps between Rzhev and Bely. Constantly receiving reinforcements of infantry, cavalry, and armored units, the Russians assembled a force of


60,000 men in the rear of Ninth Army and forced the Germans to fight on two fronts. They tied down strong forces and increasingly menaced the army rear. Russian supply arrived by a road leading via Poselok Nelidovo toward Bely.

In order to eliminate this danger and regain full freedom of action, General Model, commanding the Ninth Army, planned Operation SEYDLITZ, a concentric counterattack which started on 2 July 1942. During the first stage of the operation the Germans, in difficult forest fighting, dislodged the Soviet forces from their deeply-echeloned positions and hemmed them into a narrow area. A quick German thrust into the Obsha valley anticipated the apparent enemy intention of breaking through the newly-formed German switch position northeast of Bely. The Russians attacked simultaneously from the inside and the outside and attempted to escape through the breach thus made. The enemy units were split along the Obsha River and encircled in two pockets. All Russian attempts to break out were frustrated. Russian forces northeast of Bely directed relief attacks from the outside toward the pockets. These attacks were also repulsed. Strong tactical reserves, which the enemy brought in by forced marches via Poselok Nelidovo, arrived too late. After a battle lasting eleven days Operation SEYDLITZ ended with a complete German victory.

An improvised cavalry brigade, the formation of which General Model had ordered when Operation SEYDLITZ was still in the planning stage, played a major role in this success. Its organization was unique in many ways. Since most of the terrain was very swampy or covered with extensive marshy forests, the brigade was to be organized in such a manner that it would be able to fight in any terrain and under any weather conditions. It was even to be mobile in mud.

The first organizational problem was the procurement of men and equipment. Obviously only officers and enlisted men with combat experience in the East could be selected for such a specialized unit. Moreover they had to be trained cavalrymen? None but tough, healthy, brave men who were in no way pampered and who felt a close kinship with nature could be used. Replacements from the western theater or the zone of the interior were therefore out of the question because the troops from the West were softened by the easy ways of occupation life, and the recruits from the training camps at home lacked combat experience. Even though the latter had received a certain amount of specialized training for the eastern front, these recently inducted Soldiers were incapable of enduring the physical hardships which the Russian theater imposed on the

individual. There was not a commander in the field who was not aware that the difference between war in the East and war in the West was the difference between day and night.

General Model therefore decided to pull out the reconnaissance battalion from each of the eight divisions under his command and place them at the disposal of the newly appointed brigade commander. This was a very favorable solution for the brigade--but hard on the infantry divisions, for the reconnaissance battalions were valuable combat units and were greatly missed by their parent divisions.

a. Organization and equipment of the brigade

The organization and equipment of the brigade was as follows:

(1) A headquarters staff with one signal communication troop.
(2) Three cavalry regiments, each consisting of one or two mounted troops and three to four bicycle troops, with a total of five troops per regiment. Within a few hours all mounted troops of the regiments could be assembled and a complete cavalry regiment formed for an emergency. Each troop had twelve sections and each section was equipped with two light machine guns. Thus each troop had twenty-four light machine guns and two heavies. In addition, officers and enlisted men were equipped with submachine guns when possible.

(3) Each bicycle troop was issued two horse-drawn wagons, which carried ammunition, baggage, and rations. Of course, these wagons were drawn by small native Panje horses because only they could master the terrain. The mounted troops had German military mounts. Mobility in mud was achieved because the Panje horses and wagons could pull through practically anywhere.

(4) In addition, the brigade included an engineer company, a medical company, and one motorized and one horse-drawn supply column.

(5) Tanks and antitank units were to assist the brigade whenever terrain conditions permitted. Each regiment had only six organic light infantry howitzers. Additional artillery support was also to be provided when necessary. The assistance of infantry and additional artillery units for flank protection was promised in case of a deep penetration or a break-through.

b. Training and commitment of the brigade

After about four to six weeks of combined-arms training, the brigade was committed south of Olenino along the Luchesa River. A so-called Rollbahn led from Olenino southward which, although it was supposed to be a fairly good highway, was really no more than an unimproved country road. Short stretches of corduroy road covered particularly wet, swampy sections. Only the Luchesa valley was clear of woods to approximately one to three miles in width. Large, swampy forests extended on both sides of the valley with but a few clearings of varying sizes. Small, swampy creeks flowed through the woods. Maps and interrogation of local inhabitants provided the Germans with exact information on the terrain behind the enemy lines. Once the brigade had broken through the Russian positions at the edge of the woods, it would have to contend with swampy forests ten miles in depth where scarcely a path was to be found.

A panzer division was committed to the right of the brigade with the mission of attacking along the Rollbahn to the south. Since the Russians rightly expected the main effort of the attack along this axis of advance, the division was faced by a very difficult task. From aerial photographs and the interrogation of deserters it was known that strong enemy fortifications such as road blocks and fortified antitank positions were situated along the Rollbahn. The positions farther east and west from this road were not as strongly fortified but were secured by mine fields in which there were only a few gaps. The Russians thought it most improbable that a major attack could be launched east of the Luchesa River because the Germans would be unable to move [medium-to-heavy] tanks up to the line of departure through the swampy forests. They also felt certain that a tank attack across the open terrain, the Luchesa River, and through the mine fields would hardly be hazarded.

Approximately ten days before the attack the brigade moved up to the line-of-departure. Intensive reconnaissance of the intermediate terrain began immediately with the assistance of veteran tankers. [Cavalrymen: know what's GO and what's NO-GO for the vehicles on hand] Within a short time a complete picture of the enemy positions and the intervening terrain was available. From this picture, it was obvious that, after the necessary preparations, an attack with armored support was definitely feasible.

For Operation SEYDLITZ the cavalry brigade was attached to its right neighbor, the panzer division which was to advance along the Rollbahn. The brigade was to thrust through the ten mile-deep forest in one sweep and, if possible, cut the Russian supply line on the north-south highway if the main body of the panzer division was unable to make any progress. Six artillery


batteries and one tank company with fourteen [light] tanks were attached to the brigade for the execution of this mission.

The unit adjacent to the left, an infantry division, was not to jump off until the next day after the initial attack had been successful. For the first day the left flank would therefore be exposed. In the marshy forest terrain this was not a matter of particular concern because a small covering force would surely prove sufficient.

The first difficulties arose when the fourteen tanks had to be moved up to the line-of-departure through the swampy forests. Forty-eight hours before the beginning of the attack a company of engineers with power saws started to cut trees at intervals of about one yard along the edge of the forest so that the trees fell on open ground along a stretch leading through the assembly area. In a very short time and with relatively little effort a tank path was built which in effect was a corduroy road with about one-yard-wide gaps. Few branches had to be cut off the trees. For obvious reasons this road could only be used by a limited number of tanks and tracked vehicles. [EDITOR: not even feasible with wheeled trucks]

A few hours after the engineers had gone to work, the tanks started to move into their assembly area in daylight. This was possible because the wooded terrain afforded sufficient cover. The noise of the tanks was drowned by harassing fire and low-flying reconnaissance planes. All tanks arrived at their destination without incident. Experienced mine-clearing squads were assigned to each tank and ordered to ride on the tanks.

The attack started at 0300. During the artillery preparation the tanks started out together with the cavalry troops. Their movements were favored by a heavy fog which covered the river valley. They crossed most of the intervening terrain without encountering resistance. A ford across the Luchesa River which had been reconnoitered in advance was found to be adequate for the fourteen tanks. Enemy mine fields were immediately recognized by the experienced tankers and engineers and the lanes through the fields were found and widened. Suffering no losses, the tanks and cavalry suddenly rose in front of a completely surprised enemy. In one sweep the first and second lines were overrun and great confusion seized the Russians. The tanks had accomplished their mission. They could not penetrate any farther into the enemy-held forest without sufficient reconnaissance and additional preparation, and were therefore ordered to halt and stay in reserve. By then the cavalry had penetrated the enemy lines three to four miles.

The situation on the right was entirely different. Here the panzer division was to advance along the Rollbahn. The Russians


were prepared for an attack. The German tanks ran into deeply echeloned antitank positions which were camouflaged with the usual Russian skill. The infantry also could not make headway and suffered heavy casualties in the forest fighting. The entire operation seemed in danger of bogging down.

At noon the brigade received orders to pivot toward the west with all available forces and to attack the Rollbahn from the east. One regiment turned to the right and thrust toward the Rollbahn through primeval forest swamps. At times the men sank in up to their knees. Direction had to be maintained by compass. The troops performed seemingly impossible feats and the surprise attack was a full success. By nightfall the regiment controlled a stretch of the Rollbahn, the pressure on the panzer division subsided, and the enemy was in an untenable position. The Panje supply wagons were able to move through the swamps and bring rations and ammunition to the completely exhausted troops.

On the following morning the continuation of the attack met hardly any resistance. On the other hand the physical requirements were extraordinarily high since the men had to traverse six miles of wooded swamps. Before noon the brigade emerged from the forest and a few hours later the first heavy equipment arrived. The terrain ahead extended over a wide area and Russian columns, single vehicles, and individuals could be seen moving about in wild disorder. It was obvious that the enemy command had lost control over its troops. The Russian defense lines had collapsed and the German divisions were advancing everywhere.

c. Conclusions

Even though Operation SEYDLITZ would probably have been successful without the cavalry brigade, it would have involved a much greater loss of men and equipment. During the eleven days of the operation 50,000 prisoners, 230 tanks, 760 artillery pieces, and thousands of small arms were captured. The situation of Ninth Army had been improved by the elimination of these Russian forces in its rear. The army rear area was safe except for partisan activities.

The composition of the brigade proved to be effective. The proper training for such a special mission requires from six to eight weeks with troops already experienced in Russian warfare. Before the attack the units must be in their jump-off positions for at least two weeks in order to become well-acquainted with terrain conditions through intensive reconnaissance. All intelligence and reconnaissance information must be carefully

Page 16

rechecked because the slightest inaccuracy can result in failure in that type of terrain.

Preliminary training in teamwork between armor and cavalry is of definite advantage. In an attack over this kind of terrain it may occasionally happen that the cavalry advances too fast. In that case the tanks must radio the cavalry to slow down because terrain difficulties prevent them from keeping up. Portable radio sets are not always reliable because of the density of the forest, and telephone communications therefore have to be used extensively. For that reason each regiment must carry more than the customary quantity of wire.

If possible every officer and enlisted man should be equipped with a submachine gun.

[EDITOR: we have this now with the M16/M4 assault rifle-carbine]

Rations should be concentrated; the lighter they are, the better. The American combat ration (K ration) would be well suited, particularly since it is also protected against moisture.

[EDITOR: we should issue dehydrated LRP rations and carry more water instead of crap MREs]

It would be advantageous to equip troops with rubber boots and impregnated raincoats, camouflage jackets and windbreakers, because dew causes a high degree of moisture in the underbrush.

[EDITOR: we have Gore-Tex jackets/trousers--need them in Multi-Cam]

Camouflage covers for steel helmets are essential and camouflage in general is of utmost importance.

[EDITOR: we need to rag-top camouflage our helmets]

The commissioned and noncommissioned officers must be versatile and able to make quick decisions and improvise. Every officer must be able to act independently and ready to assume responsibility. Detailed inquiries addressed to higher echelons cause delays and unfavorable developments which can usually be avoided. Leaders with good common sense and a portion of recklessness are best suited for such special assignments.

[EDITOR: then get rid of the bureaucracy. Make units self-reliant and self-contained NOW. Use the BATTLEBOX system: combatreform.org/battleboxconcept.htm]

The scholarly-type of officer who relies chiefly on maps is completely out of place.

[EDITOR: if you have maps, use 'em. If not or even if you have them, personal reconnaissance is vital. combatreform.org/maptruths.htm]

In general, it may be said that the composition and equipment of the cavalry brigade proved effective for the special mission of advancing and attacking through marshy forests and along muddy paths.

Notice the interface with STUG turretless assault gun light tanks

British Paras: the Saga of the Red Berets


History of the British Paras and Commandos (Over-View)

Part 1

Right after Dunkirk, Churchill calls for 5, 000 volunteers to raid the coast, called "Commandos" after the mobile Boers who in South Africa stymied the Brits, 10 commandos or regiments of 500 men, no royal marines allowed to join since they had to help man guns on RN ships, Admiral Keys hero of WW1 Zebrugge block ship raid in WW1 put in charge, Churchill knew talent and placed such men (like himself) in power, special ferries delivered shallow-draft landing craft, 2nd Commando trained to be paratroopers using Whitley bombers, renamed 11th SAS, everyone self-reliant, initiative-taking, knew how to use enemy weapons, Norwegian fish oil raids bagged hundreds of Germans, captured an Enigma machine cipher wheel and one commando telegraphed Hitler asking him where his Soldiers were? Dumbass Hitler then placed 250, 000 troops in Norway for rest of the war!


Part 2

LayForce wiped out covering British withdrawal from Crete taken by German Paras, Keys resigns in protest over Army interference, Mountbatten a competent destroyer captain, takes over, Vaagso raids, Mad Jack plays bagpipes, use of smokescreen munitions from RAF bombers to mask landings, Commandos take back Norwegian volunteers to join their force! 16th SAS becomes Parachute Regiment, raids Bruneval readar station, USS Campbeltown converted to look like a German destroyer packed full of explosives to ram dry docks


Part 3

Montgomery's demo team destroy pump house but cannot get back to motor launches to exfiltrate back to England, captured the Campbeltown skipper is lectured by German interrogator about how foolish to ram the docks with a flimsy ship when BANG!!!!! it blew up killing over 300 Germans who were souvenir hunting! Disastrous Dieppe raid, Commandos under Peter Young and Lord Lovat take out shore batteries to protect the ships


Part 4

Leader of bayonet assault wins the VC, American Rangers' first action of WW2, Laycock takes over from Mountbatten who went to southeast asia to replace incompetent Auchinleck, Commandos spearhead role for conventional forces in North Africa, Italy, Major Howard asked his glider pilot to slide through the wire which it did and his men overcame the defenders quickly, interesting men linking arms and raising legs on bench seats before crash landing--smart technque to avoid men flying loosely, Lord Lovat's commandos race 10 miles on foot and bikes to reinforce Howard's men, Operation Market-Garden fiasco begins


Part 5

Jeeps in gliders don't make it, Frost takes Bridge but only has a battalion, Frost is shown after the war describing battle at the bridge to current Paras, couldn't get his exposed foot sloggers across to seize south end of it, a mere armored car's machine gun fire thwarted them, Walcheren island raided to clear Germans so ships could reach port of Antwerp, Rhine river crossings, Red berets of the Paras and Green berets of the RM commandos kick ass today, as seen in the Flalklands war


Bicycle-Infantry and Cycle-Commandos at Bruneval and on D-Day

By Air--Glider & Parachute:

Martin Caidin and Jay Barbree's masterpiece book, Bicycles in War has the most detailed account of the British Parachute raid on Bruneval radar station in 1942 on pages 111-123, Chapter 9, "The Great Bicycle Commando Raid":

Throughout this book we have referred to the many occasions when the bicycle was adopted as the favorite mobile weapon for guerrilla fighters, special forces, members of the underground, and other special organizations that moved and fought with stealth as their ally.

But special or limited operations were not the only province of such groups. There were occasions, and we have seen some of them, when the bicycle became a primary weapon for a daring and critical operation on what must be considered a major scale.

Among such actions, the one that stands out from all the others took place in February 1942. It demonstrates about as perfect a use of the bicycle as was ever planned.

Our story begins at night, high over the French coast along the English Channel. At midnight the world was a silent clash between deep darkness and the sporadic brilliance provided by the light of a silvery moon that rode high along the tumbling rims of snow clouds. The clouds themselves formed a line of battlements towering over the coastline of France along the English Channel. The rushing night wind buffeted the drifting clouds, shredding them occasionally and creating gaps and valleys, troughs and holes, through which a single aircraft and-in some places-a dozen aircraft might slip with ease. This is precisely what happened at midnight: through the gap of one great cloud ravine, gliding like silvery metallic minnows against the mile-high towets of clouds, flew a long formation of Whitleys.

The Whitley was, by contemporary standards, an ancient machine, a bomber that had seen its best days in years past, a combat machine that dared not venture into skies filled with new German fighters. But while it could no longer perform adequately in the thick of aerial conflict, it flew well, and it had a capacious fuselage into which men, instead of bombs, might fit. And if a special effort needed to be made, the lumbering Whitley could carry both men and bombs.

So it was this night. The bomb bays carried their bulging cases of death, and the bellies of the airplanes were crowded with men. British commandos, clumsy in fighting gear and parachutes. Cold, jammed together, uncomfortable, waiting to plunge into action.

The British formation of bombers was detected by the enemy. German radar, German acoustic detectors, German ears saw and heard the line of aircraft and plotted their probable target. Those targets ahead of the bomber formation were alerted about the chances of a raid. Antiaircraft installations rumbled into action and at remote airfields Luftwaffe pilots hurried with sleep-heavy eyes to their machines.

There was no immediate rush to meet the bombers. They were swinging inland along a course that would take them to an industrial target some distance away. So the Nazis paid little attention, except for tracking, as the old bombers droned over the coastline. And no one on the ground saw the dark shapes tumble from the bellies of the Whitleys. Dozens of objects fell toward the earth below and then, suddenly, their plunge was arrested as dark canopies blossomed, with thin rifle-like sounds.


An entire commando force had left the old Whitleys, which continued on with a diversionary bombing strike.

The men floated easily and silently through the cold air.

They had selected their landing area well, in open fields far from any community. The commandos assembled quickly. It had been a good drop. They were eight miles from their objective. If they continued to move as planned, maintaining silence, there was every chance they would burst with complete surprise upon the Germans.

As guards searched the area, the other men unfolded strange contraptions of metal bars, wheels, spokes, pedals, and handles. Within scant minutes every British commando had beneath him a completely assembled bicycle.

Quickly the paratroopers loaded their gear-grenades, ammunition, machine guns, iron rations, explosive charges.

Using hand signals instead of voice commands they pedaled away, following a narrow trail covered with a thin layer of fresh snow.

The men rode steadily through the night along the French coastline. Eight miles ahead of them lay a huge and secret radar installation, the most advanced system of its kind. It was a powerful weapon in the hands of the Germans, used fqr tracking aircraft flying to Europe from Britain. Knocking out the radar would effectively poke a stick in the electronic vision of the Nazis. Leading the commando force was Maj. John D. Sheffield. [EDITOR: then Lieutenant John Frost was a subordinate leader of this raid]

The major crossed his fingers. If events kept unfolding the way they had so far, they could do their job and get out without suffering heavy casualties. Knocking out the radar installation might turn out to be a bigger bite than they could handle. The radar system was critical to German air defense on the (Continent and the Nazis were sure to have set up bristling defenses on the ground. Sheffield shrugged to himself. They'd know soon enough.

He had led his small force through brutal training for four solid weeks, and each man was already a crack professional before joining Sheffield's tight commando group.

Every man knew as well as did Sheffield the layout of their objective. The vital radar site lay near the village of Bruneval in northern France, about twelve miles north-northeast of Le Havre.

As well-defended as was the radar installation, British army officials were gambling everything on the fact that the enemy would never dream an attack would be launched against the well-defended site by bicycle. It seemed too incongruous, this concept of trained killers pedaling their way into the mouths of German guns.

Well, now they were for it. Sheffield and his commandos maintained a steady pace on their bicycles, on the way to their moment of destiny. The Royal Air Force had flown them in. If they did their job and survived to get away, the Royal Navy would be waiting for them on the beach to bring them out.

There was only one small hitch about that. First, the commandos had to wrest control of the beach away from the Germans.

Intelligence advised Sheffield and his men that the radar installation itself appeared to be housed within a cabin, standing deep inside a pit. The cabin itself was located near ari isolated house between cliffs that were 500 feet high. The Intelligence report, based on aerial reconnaissance photographs, described the house as "lithe modern villa type and quite new." Undoubtedly taken over for the convenience of the Germans, judged Sheffield. Yet the information had presented a serious problem.

The towering cliffs eliminated any hope of making an assault from the sea. Long before a small striking force could work its way to the radar site it would come under a withering crossfire. The answer was the parachute and the bicycle.

Even as the commandos rode toward their objective, the old Whitleys were dumping their bombs on a distant target, and hoping the Germans would see nothing unusual in their flight pattern.

Sheffield thought of one beach area in particular. It lay about a quarter of a mile south of the radar installation, a small steeply sloping beach of pebbles and sand lying at the foot of high chalk and flint formations. He hoped to see that pebbly stretch of sand on schedule, for it was there the Navy would pick them up for the dash home across the Channel. Sheffield concentrated his thoughts again on the defenses of the radar site. Most of the work crew, he had been told, would be German specialists attending to the radar equipment itself. They might or might not be armed. That situation would have to be handled as events developed.

Immediately adjacent to the radar installation, the Nazis had prepared an extensive trench with regularly spaced dugouts, where the commandos might encounter heavy machine-gun fire. A short distance from the site was a powerful pillbox covered by a machine-gun detail and situated right on the edge of a cliff, so that it looked down on the radar installation. Just south of Bruneval was another pillbox. Both pillboxes were so located that they could cover the cove in a devastating crossfire.

Four hundred yards inland from the radar site was a farmhouse with a German garrison of unspecified strength, but believed to be strong in numbers. A small wooded area embraced the farmhouse, which was designated on Sheffield's map by the name of le Presbytere.

In all, the radar site was defended by fifteen separate posts, most of which covered approaches to the beach. The others were pointed seaward. Intelligence guessed that the German force in the immediate vicinity of the radar installation-the guard force-numbered about 100 men. Perhaps a mile or two away, the Germans had garrisoned a full regiment of infantry, and a few miles beyond that was quartered an entire battalion equipped with armored cars. Any assault force that moved in daylight would also face attack from German fighters based on fields in the area.

The strike, therefore, had to be executed with speed and precision or the commandos would be cut to pieces.

The commandos bore down steadily on their target.

Luck had been with them in several ways. A bright moon reflected ideally along the snow-covered path before them, providing the men with more than adequate visibility without risking lights. And the light snow cover softened the inevitable small noises such a group might make. They reached their first planned stop point, only 200 yards from the bulking radar installation, without any alarm being sounded. Everything was going with clockwork precision.

Staying low, muffling their movements, the men looked to their commander for final orders. Immediately, Sheffield divided his attack force into four units. He would take the first group of commandos in a wide-open assault against the house nearby. The major believed the reserve troops and a good number of the permanent guards would be in the house. If he could catch them unawares--in fact asleep--he could wipe out a dangerous part of the resistance that could be mounted against them.

The second commando unit was ordered to move against the radar installation proper. Group three would cover this move, taking up a position between the le Presbytere farm and the edge of the cliffs. The fourth and last unit was assigned to work its way around the cliffs to reach the beach. If any opposition was encountered there, it was to be ruthlessly cut down. At all costs the beach must be secured by the remainder of the commando force for the purpose of embarkation.

Everything was set. The men remounted their bicycles and Major Sheffield passed the word to commit. The first and second groups pedaled furiously toward the isolated house and the radar post. Still no alarm! As quickly as they reached their objectives the men leaped off the bicycles and rushed to attack position. Sheffield headed straight for the farmhouse door. A heavy boot smashed it open and the major dashed inside, weapon at the ready. No one in sight. Sheffield blew a loud blast on his whistle and other commandos rushed in on his heels, moving swiftly to break into the four rooms on the ground floor. They were all empty. At once Sheffield pounded up the stairs, four men with him, to the second landing.

"Hiinde hoch!" he called, shouting an order to surrender. A single thunderstruck German Soldier brought his the radar site. But that accounted only for enemy personnel in the immediate area. Sheffield realized that reinforcements would soon be rushing to the scene.

As things turned out, the troops assigned to permanent garrison duty were already on the move. The first sign that all was not well came with a long burst of probing machine-gun fire from the nearby farm of le Presbytere. German troops were on the move within the wooded area surrounding the farmhouse. First things first, reasoned Sheffield. Return to the house and get his men out. Firing on the run in short bursts, the first group with Sheffield raced back to the house where the twelve men were standing fast. Now the men ran outside again, crouching low and weaving from side to side. The German troops were completely over their initial surprise and laying down a heavy fire. Miraculously, only one man was hit. Despite his wounds, he kept up with the rest of the men.

Sheffield's group, joining up with the third-or covering-unit, scrambled to set up a heavy defensive fire in the vicinity of the radar post. The demolition team needed time to set their explosive charges.

"Well," murmured Sheffield when told he would have to hold off the Germans for awhile, "we'll jolly well give you the time you need. Get to it, lads." The Germans moving in from the farm worked their way steadily toward Sheffield's force. The commandos held their fire until the last moment, then cut loose with a withering blast at the advancing enemy. As Sheffield had figured, the return fire from the British force was so heavy, and caught the Germans with such surprise, that they held back on further advances and resorted instead to heavy firepower. Two German machine guns, well protected from return fire, hammered at the British in the radar post. Bullets slammed into the house in a steady rain of death.

Sheffield was more than content with the standoff. So long as the Germans kept their distance his demolition team could complete their work. Then the situation began to change swiftly. The lights of three vehicles were seen in the distance, coming toward the radar site.

Sheffield looked about him. It was going to get very sticky in a hell of a hurry.

"Let's get cracking!" he shouted to the demolition squad. "Move it, lads! Reinforcements are coming in and we bloody well can't hold them off for long!" His words were almost drowned out in another burst of machine gun fire.

"Sir!" a commando shouted back. "We're done! Charges all set!" "All right!" Sheffield bellowed to his men, sensing that there was no time to waste. "Everybody start moving out! Get to the beach!"

They began moving from the house, crouching low, the men situated in the rear cutting loose with bursts of machine-gun fire to cover the withdrawal. For the first time since they had left England, they abandoned their bicycles. The remainder of their travels would be across six hundred yards of open, rough country, south of their position, toward the village of Bruneval.

But now they had a pack. of hellhounds at their heels. German reinforcements had rolled to the scene and German firepower seemed to increase with every moment. It was to their advantage that the enemy seemed to overestimate the strength of the commando force. They moved toward the British in careful stages, covering every move with heavy blasts of machine-gun fire. The commandos were forced to retreat in stages, running twenty or thirty yards, then turning and digging in to fire furiously at their pursuers.

The going was getting uncomfortable even for Sheffield when the sky split wide apart with a terrifying mushroom of red flames. Instantly there followed an ear-shattering crash of thunder. The commandos answered the blast of their demolition charges with shouted cheers, and an enthusiastic burst of fire in the direction of the Nazis. No matter what happened now, their mission was fully successful. Another blast ripped through the radar site and an angry red fireball licked upward, churning within itself like a thing alive. Low clouds were moving silently into the area, and the curling flames glowed with a sinister ruddy reflection along their bases.

Sheffield saw his men staring with fascination at the blood-red flames. "All right!" he shouted. "The sightseeing is done with. Let's move it!" Retreat, fire in short, massed bursts, then run like hell and flop down in the thin snow for another ripping fire at the Germans. They were at the cliffs and a voice called hoarsely. "The boats are here. It's all right, fellows. Come on down, and hurry it up, will you?" Sudden elation became shock when German machine-gun posts on each cliff opened up with stuttering bursts. The troops in the pillbox had waited out the retreat in silence, knowing the commandos must venture into their crossfire when they tried to work their way down to the beach. Now Sheffield and his men were being cut up by fire from their front and rear.

"Dig in!" he roared to the commandos.

They had taken immediate hits. One man died instantly as he took the full effect of a long burst. A second commando tumbled wildly through the air, collapsing with several bullets in his legs and a third fell with three rounds in his abdomen. His stunned friends found him alive and cursing his luck. No one believed it then, but the man would be carried to safety and would survive the raid.

Sheffield was trying to figure a way out of the mess when a voice called up to him from the beach. "Don't come down, whatever you do! The beach isn't secured yet!" Sheffield recognized the voice of Lieutenant Frost, commanding the fourth unit of commandos. It wasn't difficult to figure what had happened. Frost's group had run into stiff German resistance. All they could do was hold on until more commandos arrived.

Sheffield ordered one group of his men to concentrate their fire on the machine guns atop the cliffs. With those weapons pinned down, he led a force of commandos through the narrow pass and down onto the beach to link up with Frost's men. The unit firing at the cliff top Germans then withdrew hastily and joined Sheffield.

With full strength at hand, the major began the rush against German outposts along the beach. The biggest problem was a pillbox bristling with machine guns. Sheffield and several men with him went in low, against the pillbox walls, and hurled grenades through the gun slit. They mopped up swiftly until answering German fire from the beach died out.

Further along the beach, the commandos discovered a small house that had remained unknown to them. Within the house a single German orderly clung to his telephone, trying to explain to a major from the nearby garrison that the explosions along the beach were from grenades thrown by British Commandos. Unable to understand the words because of the noise of gunfire and exploding grenades, the German officer was reduced to cursing and shouting. He never had the chance to finish. The commandos burst into the house and the German signalman threw up his hands. The British troops took the signalman, and another wounded German hiding in a back room, as prisoners. These two men, along with one soldier captured along the edge of the cliff, were the only prisoners taken during the raid.

Sheffield peered at his watch. It was two-thirty in the morning. The commandos had been on French soil twoand-a-half hours. Off the coast, the Navy rescue force had been watching, spellbound, as the night lit up with explosions and the glowing fireballs of tracer bullets. Finally they received the pickup signal and started in. Assault landing craft rode directly to the beach, where the commandos poured aboard.

Heavy German fire from machine guns swept the beach. Further out to sea, supporting ships opened fire with heavy weapons. British guns raked the cliff tops with thundering blasts that killed many enemy defenders and tore huge chunks from the nearly vertical walls.

The German fire died abruptly, and the assault ships pulled away from the beaches. Of the commando force that rode its bicycles along the French coastline, eight men were left behind. One had been killed. The other seven never made it to the beach, but Sheffield could no longer wait for them. The boats had to break from the beaches. As they headed back for England he counted his casualties. One dead, seven wounded, seven missing. They were fifteen miles from the French coast when dawn broke. Spitfires flew protection cover. But Sheffield and his men were looking at the beach fading in the distance, where the ruins of the shattered radar installation were still smoking.

Keith Flint in Airborne Armour pages 120-121 describe how the 6th Airborne Armored Reconnaissance Regiment used not only tracked Tetrarch light tanks but tracked Bren gun carriers and folding bicycles for reconnaissance as well:

As far as the recce function went, Go To It! summarises the regiment's activities in the following fashion:

Initially it had been deployed with 8th Parachute Battalion in the Bois de Bavent where it had set up O.P.s watching the area bordered by Troarn, Caen, Ranville and Escoville. It had provided valuable information for the divisional commander, acting as his eyes and ears in the forward areas. As well as using "B" Squadron's Bren carriers and Dingo scout cars, the regiment deployed patrols mounted on bicycles deep into enemy held areas. These obtained information on enemy dispositions, including vehicle parks and armour FUPs, which resulted in successful air strikes and bombardments by the cruiser HMS Mauritius.

By Sea--Landing Craft

Notice the British Soldier carrying a Cushman motor scooter on his shoulder!

Interesting how the folding bike minimizes itself for troop transport in air, land, sea vehicles!

The Battle for the Cross-Roads Town of Caen

Operation Market-Garden: by Parachute & Glider, Overland: Not En Masse like the D-Day Success


The video above is Part 3 of a new, thought-provoking Series on the Battle for Arnhem in 1944 asks the question, WHERE WERE THE FOLDING BIKES? when the British Army needed them to reinforce LTC John Frost's 2nd Battalion of the 1st Brigade of the 1st British Airborne Division holding the north end of Arnhem bridge over the Rhine river? Details of this research can be found on the constantly updated web pages below:


Airborne forces are essentially CAVALRY as explained by LTG James M. Gavin in his influential 1954 Harper's magazine article; "Cavalry and I Don't Mean Horses"


Early Airborne forces once they left their aircraft going 100-300 mph lost the MOBILITY DIFFERENTIAL of Cavalry and became walking 1-4 mph infantry--a condition folding bikes for 10-25 mph speeds can solve. The time of the greatest opportunity to surprise the enemy and an Airborne force's greatest vulnerability is right after the drop--had the British who used folding bikes en masse on D-Day used them in quantity on the flat terrain west of Arnhem they could have swarmed upon Arnhem bridge before Germans on foot could have gotten into blocking positions or switched to Frost's open "Lion" route if opposed at "Leopard" and "Tiger" routes. Mobility and time is of the essence in a coup de main.


Wikipedia reports:

Two of the three battalions of the 1st Parachute Brigade found themselves slowed down by small German units of a training battalion which had quickly established a thin blocking line covering the obvious routes to Arnhem. Lieutenant Colonel John Frost's 2nd Battalion was advancing far south of this position and so found their route largely undefended. They arrived at the bridge in the evening and set up defensive positions at the north end. Of the other battalions, the 3rd had only covered half the distance to the bridge when they came to a halt for the night, the rear of their column being under attack and needing time to catch up. The 1st Battalion was similarly fragmented, yet they pushed on around the flank of the German line throughout the night, but frequent skirmishes resulted in their making little more progress. Two attempts to take the bridge span including the south end were unsuccessful.

British General Montgomery tried to cross several major rivers by 3D Airborne maneuver coup de mains, yet on the most vital bridge over the Rhine no such direct action was taken to ostensibly avoid anti-aircraft flak. If you are going to do an INDIRECT VERTICAL ASSAULT you must close the distance quickly with GROUND MOBILITY.

The British are great deep thinkers about war and their innovations like the tracked tank, the landing craft for amphibious warfare, light tanks in gliders are just a few of their thinking ahead and doing TANGIBLE THINGS to get ahead. What they lacked in WW2 was the flexibility to take what they had and improvise on the spot ruthlessly for decisive effects, no doubt they were very war-weary having began fighting the Germans in 1939. Since the British were tired and the 1st Airborne Staff not very competent, its clear now they should have "stacked-the-deck" in their favor with lots of folding bikes to speed to Arnhem bridge ASAP hopefully without a fight--to conserve their fighting ranks. Simple bike transportation doesn't cost a fortune nor demand all the maintenance that "mechanization" with powered tanks invokes cold sweats in the mind of the light infantry narcissist. So why wouldn't a light infantryman want to travel at 10-25 mph instead of 1 or at best 4 mph on foot? The British at times asked this question in WW2 and used bikes, at others they didn't and disasters followed. It has something to do with the flexibility of mind--those that can decentralize and delegate control to trusted subordinates can use mobile, dispersed bike troops like Yamashita did to take Malaya/Singapore; if one's mind is weak and inflexible, a slower walking pace is chosen and the alleged safety of caution turns into bloody head-long charges into enemy strength. The bike is a tool for maneuver warfare of a Cavalry force.

One of the sad truths of war is that even the pressures of survival in combat and as a nation-state are NOT A GUARANTEE that what's best is going to over-ride prejudice and malpractice of racketeers. The British people had to demand Winston Churchill be their leader and it was he who brought back Hobart to active-duty to save the day on D-Day. With the Germans on the run after the Normandy break-out, the British generals thought they could "pull a fast one" and not even have fast-moving detachments of bicycle troops to reinforce an Airborne unit if stranded on the far side of one of the rivers. German Paratroop General Kurt Student knew right away to attack landing paratroops and had his men converge by bicycles and STUG turretless assault guns on Arnhem--and we all know how that action resulted.

Just a few hundred bikes at Arnhem's drop and landing zones would have have ended WW2 sooner by 6-8 months with us reaching Berlin before the Soviets--and would have saved MILLIONS of lives and prevented there being a "Berlin Wall" and "Iron Curtain".

TechnoTactical Errors in our force structure and equipment can have STRATEGIC CONSEQUENCES. Let's hope we can realize this before its too late and its more than a bridge at stake.

By Glider

By Parachute

In 1942, British Airborne "Cycle Commandos" struck at Bruneval Radar station using folding bicycles. Flying in Whitworth bombers which also dropped bombs to confuse the Germans, the Cycle-Commandos were paradropped 8 miles away from their objective for secrecy. Using their bikes for ground mobility, the Paratroopers closed on their target silently and captured the necessary radar components and prisoners to bring vital intelligence back to England by sea landing craft.



Details & Photos:

Airborne re-enactor equipment page
BSA Airborne Bicycles
BSA Airborne Bike Page
David Gordon's BSA bike page

Type G Apparatus - Folding Bicycle

In WW2 bicycles, were a cheap and lightweight method of giving mobility to infantry. This was particularly true for Airborne troops, who were obviously much more limited in the size and number of vehicles that could accompany them. The British Airborne forces had a unique bicycle designed to be folded in half and parachuted down. While somewhat bulky by today's standards, the bike is remarkably light. The bike could either be dropped separately or strapped to the parachutist. A member of the [6th Airborne re-enactors] unit has acquired and restored one of these interesting pieces.

BSA Folding Airborne Bike rigged to be dropped separately

Following are several more photos of this particular bike along with several wartime photos. All of the following text is taken from the war-time military manual for the "Type G Apparatus", the folding bicycle.

General Notes

Stores Ref. Number: The Stores Ref. Number of the parachute is 15C/84 Weight of folding bicycle: The weight of the folding bicycle and parachute is 32 1/2 lb.

It is necessary to throw the bicycle vertically downwards through the door of the aircraft to prevent the parachute fouling the tail. Tests were made by A.F.E.E. from a C-47 with satisfactory results.

Airborne Bicycle General

The frame of the bicycle is elliptical and is hinged at two points. The slackening of two wing-nuts enables the frame to be folded so that the two wheels lie side by side. The wheels are lashed to the frame to prevent their turning and a type Q parachute with 12 ft. Canopy, as described in A.P. 1180A, Vol. I, Part 2, Sect. 2 Chap. 4, is attached to their circumference. Any partial bending of the handlebars on landing can usually be corrected by hand.

Parachuting with the Airborne bicycle from either Dakota or Stirling Aircraft is simple and requires little equipment. The bicycle is suspended from the parachutist´s body by a quick-release strap when jumping and is always released and lowered to the full extent of a 20 ft suspension line during descent.

Preparation of Bicycle

Fold the bicycle and push the pedals through into the stowed position. Lower the handlebars and raise the saddle so that the latter will receive most of the landing shock.

Strap both wheels together, securing them to the rear chain stays to prevent them from rotating (An Army-issue valise strap is most suitable for this.). Tie one end of the 20ft. suspension line to both the wheels in such a position that when the cycle is suspended by the line the saddle is lowermost. This is important to prevent damage to the handlebars.

Method of Attaching Bicycle to Parachutist

Commencing from the free end, plait the suspension line to ensure that it will pay out quickly and easily without forming loose coils likely to foul the cycle. Take the free end and tie it to the lower left leg strap of the parachute harness. Finally, suspend the bicycle from a quick-release strap passing round the back of the parachutist´s neck.

Method of Jumping with Airborne Bicycle

When making an exit from [C-47] Dakota aircraft, hold the bicycle slightly forward and to the right-hand side, as shown in fig. 2. Take care to avoid fouling the forward edge of the door and catching the brake cable of the bicycle on the door jettison handle. Step well out to avoid being brushed along the side of the aircraft. As soon as the canopy has developed, release the bicycle by pulling the loose end of the quick-release strap.

When jumping from Stirling aircraft, hold the bicycle slightly forward and to the right-hand side, as shown in fig. 3. It is important to stand slightly to the starboard side of the aircraft centre-line to prevent the cycle from fouling the exit. As soon as the canopy has developed, release the bicycle by pulling the loose end of the quick-release strap. No anti-sear sleeve is required.

British Para en route to Arnhem bridge walking his folding bicycle

By Tank

German Radhfahrtruppes (Bicycle-Infantry) converge on Arnhem

As Elite Panzerjager (tank hunter) Anti-Tank Forces

The German Army in WW2 had several light bicycle infantry cavalry companies in every infantry division's reconnaissance battalion. The reason was to have an unit MORE MOBILE THAN THE MAIN BODY THAT WAS WALKING. The German infantry also had light tank assault guns embedded with them to work together just like the M113 Gavins we need today.

Dr. Leo Niehorster's excellent organizational web pages document these facts.



World War II Armed Forces - Orders of Battle and Organizations Last Updated 01.05.04
German Army
Infantry Division (1st Wave)
Infanteriedivision (1. Welle)

22 June 1941
Diagram of German Infantry Division in WW2
1941 - 1942 Organizational Symbols
1. Welle Infantry Divisions
  (Commander on 22.06.1941)
W.K. Infantry Other
1. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Kleffel
I 1 Regiment
22 Regiment
43 Regiment
5. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Allmendinger
V 14 Regiment
56 Regiment
75 Regiment
6. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Auleb
VI 18 Regiment
37 Regiment
58 Regiment
7. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Frhr. v. Gablenz
VII 19 Regiment
61 Regiment
62 Regiment
7 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot)
8. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Höhne
VIII 28 Regiment
38 Regiment
84 Regiment
8 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot)
9. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Frhr. v. Schleinitz
IX 36 Regiment
57 Regiment
116 Regiment
11. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. v. Böckmann
I 2 Regiment
23 Regiment
44 Regiment
12. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. v. Seydlitz-Kurzbach
II 27 Regiment
48 Regiment
89 Regiment
15. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Hell
IX 81 Regiment
88 Regiment
106 Regiment
17. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Loch
XIII 21 Regiment
55 Regiment
95 Regiment
17 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot)
21. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Sponheimer
I 3 Regiment
24 Regiment
45 Regiment
21 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot)
22. Infanterie-Division (Luftlande)
  Gen.Lt. Graf v. Sponek
X 16 Regiment
47 Regiment
65 Regiment
22 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot); no heavy artillery battalion; all antitank companies had 3x sPzBü + 9x 37mm Pak; 3 supply columns, 6 supply columns (mot), 2 P.O.L. columns (mot); 1 division park.
Airlanding equipment was in depots back in Germany.
23. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Hellmich
III 9 Regiment
67 Regiment
68 Regiment
24. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. v. Tettau
IV 31 Regiment
32 Regiment
102 Regiment
26. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Weiss
VI 39 Regiment
77 Regiment
78 Regiment
28. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Sinnhuber
VIII 7 Regiment
49 Regiment
83 Regiment
30. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen-Lt-v. Tippelskirch
X 6 Regiment
26 Regiment
46 Regiment
31. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Kalmükoff
XI 12 Regiment
17 Regiment
32. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Bohnstedt
II 4 Regiment
94 Regiment
96 Regiment
32 Pionier Bataillon 2
34. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Behlendorff
XII 80 Regiment
107 Regiment
253 Regiment
35. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Fischer v. Weikersthall
V 34 Regiment
109 Regiment
111 Regiment
44. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Siebert
XVII 131 Regiment
132 Regiment
134 Regiment
44 Art.Rgt. 96; Pzjg.Abt. 46; Pion.Btl. 80; Nachr.Abt. 64.;
recon battalion without armored car platoon.
45. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Maj. Schliepper
XVII 130 Regiment
133 Regiment
135 Regiment
45 Art.Rgt. 98; Pion.Btl. 81; Nachr.Abt. 65;
recon battalion without armored car platoon.
46. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Ktiebel
XIII 42 Regiment
72 Regiment
97 Regiment
46 Art.Rgt. 144; Pzjg.Abt. 52; Pion.Btl. 88; Nachr.Abt. 76;
recon battalion without heavy company, but with armored car platoon.
50. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Hollidt
III 121 Regiment
122 Regiment
123 Regiment
50 recon battalion: 2 bicycle companies, no heavy company, but 1 lt IG platoon (mot), 1 AT platoon (mot); the infantry regiment antitank companies had 12x 37mm Pak; the antitank battalion companies had 9x 37mm Pak + 2x 50mm Pak.
72. Infanterie-Division.
  Gen.Lt. Mattenklott
XII 105 Regiment
124 Regiment
266 Regiment
72 Art.Rgt. 172; Radf.Schw. 172; no Field Replacement Battalion; the infantry regiment antitank companies had 12x 37mm Pak; the antitank battalion companies had 9x 37mm Pak + 2x 50mm Pak.


World War II Armed Forces - Orders of Battle and Organizations Last Updated 31.12.00
German Army
Cavalry Bicycle Company
1 September 1939
KStN 353 dated 01.09.1939
1 Officer (K) as Company Commander (Pistol)
Company Headquarters
    Headquarters Section
        1 NCO as Headquarters Section Leader (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Messenger / Bugler (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Messenger / Blinker Signaler (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Messenger (Rifle)(bicycle)
        3 Messengers (Rifles)(on motorcycles)
        1 Motor Vehicle Driver (Rifle)
        1 car, light, cross-country (Kfz. 1)
        3 motorcycles
    Medic Section
        1 Medic NCO (Pistol)(on bicycle)
        4 Stretcher Bearers(on bicycles)
    Combat Trains
        1 Senior NCO as First Sergeant / Trains Leader (Pistol)
        1 NCO as Armorer (Pistol)
        1 NCO for Equipment (Rifle)(on motorcycle)
        1 Assistant Armorer (Pistol)(on motorcycle)
        1 Assistant Armorer (Pistol)
        5 Motor Vehicle Drivers (Rifles)
        1 Motorcyclist (Rifle)(on motorcycle with sidecar)
        3 Bicycle Mechanics & truck escort (Rifle)
        1 Clerk (Rifle)
        1 Cook (Rifle)
        1 Cook & truck escort (Rifle)
        2 motorcycles
        1 motorcycle with side car
        1 car, medium, cross-country (Kfz. 18)
        1 truck, light, open, cross-country for field kitchen
        3 trucks, light, open, cross-country for equipment and ammo
        9 light machine guns (as equipment reserve)
    Baggage Trains
        1 Enlisted in charge of baggage / clerk (Rifle)(on motorcycle)
        1 Tailor (Rifle)
        1 Cobbler (Rifle)
        1 Driver (Rifle)
        1 truck, light, open, for baggage and equipment
3 Rifle Platoons, each with
    1 Officer (Z) as Platoon Leader (Pistol)(on bicycle)
    Platoon Headquarters
        1 Messenger / Bugler (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Messenger / Blinker Signaler (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Messenger (Rifle)(bicycle)
    3 Rifle Squads, each with
        1 NCO Squad Leader (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 Assistant Squad Leader (Rifle)(on bicycle)
        1 MG Gunner (Pistol)(on bicycle)
        2 Assistant MG Gunners (Pistols)(on bicycles)
        7 Riflemen (Rifles)(on bicycles)
        1 light machine gun
Light Mortar Section
    1 NCO as Mortar Section Leader (Rifle)(on motorcycle)
    3 Gunners / (Pistols)
    6 Assistant Gunners (Rifles)
    6 Motorcycle Drivers (Rifles)(on motorcycles with sidecars)
    1 motorcycle
    6 motorcycles with sidecars
    3 light mortars (50mm)
4 Officers, 24 NCO, 152 Enlisted;
134 Rifles, 46 Pistols, 18 LMG, 3 Light Mortars;
7 motor vehicles, 7 motorcycles, 7 motorcycles with side cars, 138 bicycles.



"Hi Mike,

Funny you should send me that site. I have looked in there a number of times, now and again. Saw the whole thing about the bikes some time ago when I was tricking out my own mtn bike...which when I get home I'll send you a picture of it.

The concept of bike mounted light infantry is one I do believe we'll see again in the future. As petroleum becomes harder and more expensive to come by, it would be a natural choice for any force that doesn't want to get mixed up with the logistical and humane aspects of utilizing horses. Limited and precious petrol will have to be reserved for logistics.

As a sell to the mech army these days, I doubt you'll see widespread acceptence. But just like mule trains in Italy, you'll see scenarios where the usefulness and speed of bikes will not go unnoticed.

It has certainly not gone unnoticed by AAFES who sells scads of them for getting around bases like Camp Vic, where not everyone gets to have a car...

As promised, a snap of my improv war bike. Saddle bags are surplus French patrol bags and the handlebar and rack bags are surplus current German Flektar.

I keep a full first aid kit in there, tons of road munchies, maps, rain gear and whathave you for longer rides. Camelback is the stuff for hydration.

This was a $70 'Roadmaster' from Wal-Mart and some black spray paint. Bags were roughly $5-6 bucks from my local surplus guy. My 'Procurement Policy' is pretty streamlined! Go figure.

The best of all, however, is that the little Mtn Bike people in 'Spandex Hornet' outfits get the Fk out of our way... ;-)

I'm sure we're all on someones list by now.

Oh yea, the gat is a CZ-83."


"...So the real problem is not that gasoline prices are too high, or that they are too low, it's that we think the price of gasoline is the real problem, and that changing that price will solve it."

---Dave Pollard, How to Save the World.