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Lightweight Vehicles

Discussion in 'Other Weapons' started by Slipdigit, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Von Poop, do you know what this machine is?

    I saw it at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, GA last week while I was at the 30th ID Reunion.

    There were only seven made and six of them found their way to Europe, where they were quickly found to be underpowered and scrapped.

    View attachment 20468
     

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  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    is it a Crosley Pup?
    A few more than 7 made, but that's the first bell ringing.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Oops misread the placard. Only seven known to exist and only six made it to Europe.

    A Pup it is.

    View attachment 20469
     

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  4. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thirteen horsepower engine. I had a motorcycle when I was a boy with more HP than that.
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Looks like a "Junkyard Challenge" entrant...
     
  7. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    That jeep is naked. And it moved me.
     
  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    A mechanaphile Poppy!?
    Go you good thing! : )
     
  9. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Mmmm. Jeeps.
     
  10. DaveBj

    DaveBj Member

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    My lawn mower has more horsepower than that.
     
  11. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I wonder what the advantage was perceived to be over a motorcycle... Surely the need could've been met with MC's?!? Which would've also been vastly more air transportable.

    I'm guessing the difference is the officer's didn't want to be seen hauled around the battlefield on the back of a dispatcher's bike. Too undignified for the self-important.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Motorcycles of the period were not generally as capable off-road as light vehicles sat on four wheels, particularly four driven wheels..
    The original Jeep specification called for a 6-700lb payload. Armies carry a lot of 'stuff' - hard to match that on two wheels, and as the weight goes up, the MC off-road ability plummets - good off-road MCs are light, and carry one person.

    [​IMG]

    There's also cost - those Zundapps & Beemers were surprisingly pricey - I'll dig out some figures.
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Here you go. This really surprised me while reading an old CMV magazine in 2008:

    BMW R75 or Zundapp KS750 Combinations cost 3185 RM each.

    Rough comparison:
    1000 RM for a Beetle.
    1600 RM for a Kubelwagen.
    30,000 RM for a bf109.

    Throw in production complication too, and it starts to become clearer that a relatively simple tub, engine & drivetrain has other advantages.
     
  14. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Yes, but

    1) It must've been possible to build a simpler MC for off-road use by the US of A? Surely? The basic principle of wider, low-pressure tires can't have been completely foreign to them?
    2) the actual cost of something to produce, is not necessarily reflected in the cost to the consumer. If BMW could get away with charging more for MC's,
    3) I'd like to see comparative prices for US motorcycles, compared to the "Pup" as it was the US that had the need.

    And if were trying to look at Air-transportable cross country performance, based on the Russian Mud Season, then there's basically nothing that suffices:

    [​IMG]
    But its Cheaper than the Bike!

    [​IMG]
    That's right, stand there and laugh by your half-track! Wait till I get back to HQ!

    [​IMG]
    Russians, they know better than to fight it, so they have Beauty pageants while they wait for the season to change.

    [​IMG]
    Horses weren't much better off either, but they're pretty good Cross Country vehicles otherwise... But they were never going to get transported in a C-47.
     
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  15. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    Find a contemporary MC that beats Jeep/Bantam or even 2wd Kubel for off-road performance & carrying capacity.
    You might see some early trials stuff, and some cracking film of DRs training in the mud, but rather specialist &/or delicate stuff.
    Off-road tech was still in it's infancy. 4WD was a remarkable thing to put into such a cheap and adaptable vehicle (stand and watch preserved WW2 MVs mud-plugging - even the mass of a Scammell can usually go where MCs fear to tread... but then, Scammell is a remarkable thing - I've watched 'em beat modern-ish tracked stuff (432) in 2 foot of mud - cross-axle-tastic). A niche was filled by Jeep which still exists today. It was useful from front to tail to remotest Civilian HQ of just about every fighting organisation.

    Try this with a two-wheeler, or are these pampered officers? (yes, I know - sometimes done with bikes, but hardly a practical or efficient solution):
    [​IMG]
    BRITISH MEDICAL SERVICES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR. © IWM (NA 10233)IWM Non Commercial Licence

    Or this:
    [​IMG]
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45. © IWM (BU 212)IWM Non Commercial Licence

    Or survive in the middle of nowhere carrying all the water/ammo/supplies necessary for weeks:
    [​IMG]
    THE SPECIAL AIR SERVICE (SAS) IN NORTH AFRICA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. © IWM (NA 676)IWM Non Commercial Licence

    I love bikes, but they will never be the all round useful military vehicle that light 4x4s can be. Recon, Dispatch, Occasional light attack force - yep, two wheels brilliant, but there are a hundred reasons why even modern armies aren't exactly Biker gangs.
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I remember a Parisian's account of the first troops rolling into Paris - Leclerc? Anyway, he must have been a true gearhead because he was far more fascinated by the jeep they were riding in than the fact that they were liberators. He went on at length about the amazing vehicle.
     
  17. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    Recognize that name. Wondering if the Leclerc tank was named after buddy.
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Yes Von Poop, I'm not denying the superior generic usefulness of a 4WD jeep in a normal infantry battalion, or for long range patrols in the desert But the idea of these Pups seems rather twisted, in that they are trying to achieve air-transportability, (the words "air-droppable" was used in your referenced link), without sacrificing anything. No one was ever going to use a Pup, for a long range desert patrol... It didn't have the power to pull anything significant, and there's hardly any room for transporting stretchers without risking limbs. So what I was saying was: as a design it seems a rabid failure, in that it can't achieve what is designed for (a lighter Jeep, that's air-droppable), and yet what it can achieve, I'm not seeing the advantage over a Motorcycle. In fact, you could probably transport at least twice as many motorcycles, as you could Pups.

    They ended up using modified Jeeps, delivered by gliders.

    http://arnhemjim.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-airborne-jeeps-of-1st-airborne.html

    But certain people tried to provide parachutists with the BSA Parabike (a motorised, folding bicycle) 70,000 were apparently produced:

    [​IMG]

    And other assorted pieces of equipment:
    [​IMG]

    Germans even had an air-transportable half-track motorcycle:
    [​IMG]

    But the use of Jeeps was not uncontroversial, as I'm sure I've read of jeeps breaking free from the restraints in the glider and killing troops on board.
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    :lol: You really would try and start an argument in an empty room wouldn't you mate.
    I know the feeling...


    Citing a gurt big conventional 40s bike like the beemer & then changing tack to parabikes & parascooters is quite a shift.
    Welbikes etc., while funky, were intended to do one specific job - get light infantry to the front faster. They probably didn't do that very well, but were then intended to be discarded/heaped up, otherwise we'd see blokes at Arnhem with 'em strapped to their backs. They aren't much cop as any sort of long-term transport for tired men (though to be honest, their actual usage is an interesting question) and their off-road ability on anything other than the firmest going is virtually nil.

    I'd rather have a jeep fall on me than a Kettenkrad - have you seen a Kettenkrad in the flesh? Top vehicle, I'm a bit funny about 'em, but 50% heavier than a jeep, more complex in both manufacture & maintenance, and watching 'em offroad - requiring rather dedicated skill & bravery. Also less carrying capacity, with probably similar towing ability.
    Jeep for airborne - because even airborne require the odd heavy weapon carrier, ambulance etc.

    Nobody's denying these cute little super-lights weren't a bit strange, which is why they were discarded in favour of Airborne jeeps - cut about a bit to make 'em fit.

    A couple of other 'parascooters' from the period:
    'Now available for Civilian use' 'cos the army's decided it doesn't need 'em, it has Jeeps.
    [​IMG]

    The frankly weird Italian Aeromoto:
    http://www.asphm.com/vehicules/aeromoto_volugrafo_125/aeromoto_volugrafo_125.html
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Aha, summat I've been looking for for a while - allegedly a picture of the German prototype considered by Nuremburg Triumph
    http://strangevehicles.greyfalcon.us/ODDITIES.htm
    [​IMG]

    All great - I'd love one, or all of 'em, but they ain't Jeeps.


    (Any chance a mod could change the title here to 'Super-light vehicles' or something? I've never liked username specific headings... they feel exclusive to other bods (hmmm, I think Jeff knows that, the swine.)
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Curses, they're on to me!

    Yes I do find myself arguing with the walls, the floor, and on occasion, even the ceiling can get a little uppity...

    I must say I found this aspect of WW2 very fascinating and am grateful for your insights, but it leaves me wondering about the sanity of the people that proposed and designed some these vehicles.
     
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