Bicycles in Military

Discussion in 'Land Forces' started by mayankkrishna, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Hi friends!!

    I wish to dedicate this thread to discuss about the evolution of bicycles in military uses around the world, and how it is still practical for armed forces to utilize them as a means in any kind of mobility requirements wheather in wartime tactical, general logistics or general fitness purposes in armed forces?

    The bicycles as we know includes a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other, or for the purposes of our discussions we may also include Light E Mobility vehicles which includes 2 or 4 wheelers which are less than 100 Kgs.

    Today, as per my knowledge, Mahindra and Mahindra is already supplying their E-Verito models to Border Security Force. But Bicycles have always been integral part of all kinds of armed forces since the beginning. However, today as there is a fast transformation from Human powered bicycle to pedelec, we do need to explore the potential so that pedelecs and even conventional bicycles having new technological designs and materials can find their optimum utilization in Armed forces for their effectiveness.

    I invite your valuable views and insights to explore deeper into this subject!
     
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  3. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    A modern Bazooka-carrying Swiss Army bicycle. The Swiss army no longer use bicycles as a mode of transport. 31-modern-swiss-army-bike.jpg
     
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  4. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    A brief comparison..... militarymobilitycomparisonchart.jpg
     
  5. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    MOUNTAINBIKElbi82.jpg Another good article..
     
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  6. garg_bharat

    garg_bharat Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well a 100cc motorbike needs only 2 liters of fuel for 75 miles range. This bike can easily carry 100 pounds luggage. The fuel is easily available everywhere. I guess a small motorbike is far better than bicycle; as ingress and exit is much faster on a bike; plus pillion rider can fire on the move.
     
  7. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Yes true, but looking at the other angle, a foldable bicycle of light weight carbon fibre or titanium alloys may hardly weigh additional 5-7 kgs on individual soldier's backpack. It may greatly enhance their mobility speed and also support their luggage carrying capacity over greater distances even on off road terrains. Further, it might be a better tactical vehicle for infantry who might quick movements without exposing much of their camouflage.
     
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  8. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    A good video of how US Paratroopers use folding Military Bikes. The development of such bikes was funded non other than DARPA
     
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  9. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    The below link gives a fair idea how the bikes could give troopers a fair advantage in their deployment
    https://militarybikes.com/
     
  10. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Bicycles for Military ...?? For runners inside a Regiment in peacetime ??

    Where are you my dear fellows ? In Europe or Scandinavia or switzerland ?

    Bicycles in Kargil , Leh and Ladakh ?
    Bicycles is Sikkim or Tawang ?
    Bicycles in Jammu or Kashmir valley ?

    For sight seeing, picnics or eve teasing?

    By cycles in Jaisalmer or Barmer ? Ghar wapas nahi aa paoge.

    Motor cycles are understood. Tractors are understood. Jugad is also understood but bicycles ??????

    Photos, Photos and Photos !!
     
  11. singhboy98

    singhboy98 Regular Member

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    Some people often get bowled over by glamorous photo ops of the Western MIC. While there product may be useful in their regions, most of them are downright impractical in India. For example this cycle. Someone try cycling for 10 kms in Delhi in June (when it touches 50+ ) or just take it up Lal Tibba in Landour to see how utterly useless they are in Indian context.
     
  12. singhboy98

    singhboy98 Regular Member

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    What pray would be the use of bicycles in the Indian Armed Forces outside NDA/IMA?
     
  13. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Innovations might not just be glamorous, they might be one of those rare beauties with the real brains. By 2030 the global light e-vehicles market would be over US$400 Billion. Automobiles running on Fossil fuels may become history by 2050.

    Now tell me, which category of the mobility does the Armed forces does not use today? So the point is that there has been so much innovation in light weight materials, Batteries, E Vehicles technologies etc recently.

    Bicycles of yesteryear has become Pedelec today, and they have improved its utility for its range, speed as well as human efforts required on pedalling. With pedelecs available today in market, and given the traffic conditions in Delhi, 10 kms is quiet convenient, no matter it gets 50 degree.

    I am also trying to say that with pedelec technologies the load bearing capacities of bicycles have improved and also with their further technological enhancements, travelling 30 kms will be quiet convenient on them in near future. Well as I know there are certain regulations in restricting the motor powers of e bicycles,for civilian uses. Therefore, why not the military grade batteries and motors can add more power for their mobility requirements.

    So its all about how best can Armed forces Innovate and use them for their advantages..
     
  14. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Ca
    Can you please throw some light upon how the Bicycles are used at IMA or NDA.
     
  15. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    India has one of the largest bicycle making industry. You need to go to Ludhiana how a township has come up around cycle factory Hero If we need bicycles we will buy from them.. they make very good sports bicycles too.

    Sada Hero .... Jinda Bagh ...
     
  16. singhboy98

    singhboy98 Regular Member

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    Don't shift goalposts now. When I say bicycles, I mean pedal powered 2 wheeled transportation. If you want powered transportation, there are a plethora of products available in the market. Most are fossil fuel powered for now but will shift to electric in the next decade. You are trying to solve a problem which DOES NOT exist. What advantages in capability would your aforementioned pedelec/electric scooter provide over current transportation solutions? If you want to send a message, do it electronically. If you want to send a secure package, send it in an armoured Safari Storme or a MPV or a heptr if the terrain is particularly rough. Talking about Special Ops.. Where will our operators use cycles? In the dense jungles of the North-East? Or in the mountain ranges of J&K where average elevation often reaches over 15000ft? Perhaps you intend these toys to be used in the desert then? But we already got Polaris for that...
     
  17. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Yes, Ludhiana is famous and Hero is the largest manufacturers of bicycles in India. However, there are some limitations even with Hero Cycles such as they don't use Hydroforming Technology even after decades. India is a largest manufacturer of Steel frame bicycles. There has been no significant increase in any exports over the last decades, whereas the imports are increasing. Majority of parts and components are supplied by MSMEs.

    Technology wise India has long way to go to catch up with even Taiwan, Korea, Germany, US or Dutch companies leave aside China.

    I really doubt if Armed forces ever express their need before industry in Future, which I presume would be high quality, considering the lag in current technology levels and its scalability as of now, Industry may not be capable to fulfill such demands.
     
  18. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    Where is the market for a fiber glass bicycle or Titanium moulded bicycle ? If someone has 70000 Rs he would buy a second generation motorcycle rather than a bike.

    In Taiwan I can run through the length and breadth of the country on a bicycle not in India.

    And there is no utility for military use bicycle in India
     
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  19. mayankkrishna

    mayankkrishna Regular Member

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    Bicycles at War

    All is fair in love and war, they say, so it’s no surprise that it did not take long for bicycles to be used in armed conflict, especially after they were fitted with pneumatic tyres and sturdy frames. Their earliest use, in the late 19th century, was by messengers and scouts, as they could travel faster than men on foot. Of course, it was essential to have a network of good roads, which Europe did.

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    In 1886, the French army set up several units that developed folding bikes which could be slung over the back and carried over rough terrain. By the turn of the century, every French infantry and so-called chasseur, or hunter, battalion had its own detachment of cyclists that, in addition to scouting and carrying dispatches, were also used for skirmishes with the enemy. They soon replaced horse-mounted troops because they were cheaper, needed no special training and did not whinny or neigh when they were hungry.

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    © akg-images / AKG / Profimedia
    Before World War I, bicycles were already in use by armed forces in Britain, France, Italy, Belgium and Russia. The first known use of bicycles in actual combat took place during the Jameson Raid – a failed raid against the South African Republic in late 1895 by a British colonial statesman and his troops – in which cyclists were used as messengers. In the Second Boer War (1899-1902), military cyclists were primarily used as messengers and scouts. But cycle-mounted infantry units from both sides also carried out raids, with the Boer Theron Reconnaissance Corps described by the British commander Lord Roberts as “the hardest thorn in the flesh of the British advance.”

    In World War I, every combatant army used cycle-mounted infantry, scouts, messengers and ambulance carriers. The German Jäger light infantry battalions each had a bicycle company at the start of the war, and they proved so useful that additional cycle-mounted units were formed during the conflict. Eventually, a number of these were formed into bicycle battalions. The British army created two entire divisions, the 1st and 2nd Bicycle Divisions, from its cyclist companies and dismounted horse brigades.

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    The Japanese Invasion of French Indochina in September 1940. © Pictures From History / AKG / Profimedia
    The bicycle became a major weapon of conflict in 1937, when Japan used some 50,000 bicycle troops in its invasion of China. Then, early in World War II, cycle-mounted soldiers were instrumental in the Japanese march through Malaya on their way to capturing Singapore. The bikes provided quiet and flexible transport of thousands of soldiers who then surprised the defending units. Also, using cycle-mounted troops saved petroleum for the Japanese because they did not require trucks or ships to transport the soldiers. Finally, the Japanese knew from intelligence reports that bikes were plentiful in Malaya and so did not have to bring their own; they simply confiscated them from civilians and shops.

    Using bicycles, the Japanese were also able to move more rapidly than withdrawing Allied troops and so, travelling over plantation roads, native paths and improvised bridges, often caught them by surprise, cutting off their retreat or attacking them from behind.

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    Swedish m/42 bicycle
    The Finnish, Swedish, Polish and German armies also made extensive use of bicycles during the war. The six Swedish bicycle infantry divisions were equipped with domestically manufactured military bicycles, the most important of which was the m/42, a one-speed roadster. After the war, these bikes continued to be used in the army, until 1970, when they were sold off. They quickly became very popular with Swedish students, prompting a new company, Kronan, to produce modern versions of the m/42 in 1997.

    The US army made scarce use of bikes during the war, except to supply folding bicycles to paratroopers and messengers. However, they also dropped bicycles out of planes to their troops behind enemy lines, giving rise to the term “bomber bikes”.

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    Viet Cong supply train. © Pictures From History / AKG / Profimedia
    Although bicycles were eventually replaced by motorized transport after World War II, they were very important to the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army, who used them to transport supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the War in Vietnam. However, because they often carried up to 180 kg of rice, they could not be ridden but were pushed instead. These Vietnamese “cargo bikes” were often reinforced in jungle workshops to enable them to carry heavy loads over all kinds of terrain.

    Today, bicycles are no longer used in anger, unless you count their use by cycle-mounted police to deal with social protest and crime.
     
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