Military sidecar era

Military sidecar era

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Which is the documented first military (officially issued) sidecar?

Which is the last service sidecar?

In 1916 the U.S. Army ordered up some Harleys with sidecars to help track down Pancho Villa in the deserts along the Mexican border, and Bill Harley developed machine-gun mounts for the sidecars. Rider magazine

According to that article the first sidecar was invented between 1893 and 1903; 1916 seems like a plausible date for the first military motorcycle.

"plausible" just means that someone else may find an earlier date…

Military sidecar era - History

By G. Paul Garson

After September 1, 1939, and Germany’s invasion of Poland, a trickle of so-called “death cards” began appearing in homes across the Third Reich. Each of the 2- by-4.5-inch paper rectangles bore the image of a soldier killed in action and was posted to friends and relatives by the deceased’s family. The trickle increased in 1940 as the blitzkrieg swept through France. It became a torrent after June 22, 1941, and Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany’s doomed effort to conquer the Soviet Union. One such death card was issued in the name of Josef Hamperl, the resident of Kolenzdorf having fallen on August 23, 1944, in the south of France two days after U.S. forces had reached the Seine River north and south of Paris as the Allies pushed toward the borders of Germany. The grenadier was 19. He was also a motorcyclist, his military life spent, literally, on two wheels. His death card photo shows him wearing his riding goggles, the young soldier one of thousands who rode to war on two or three-wheeled German motorcycles.

These military vehicles have been going to war for as long as they’ve been around: American Harley-Davidson and Indian British Triumph, BSA Matchless, and Norton Italian Motor Guzzi and Gilera French Terot and Gnome Rhone Belgian FN and Gillet. More manufacturers were producing them by World War II. If you had a war to go to, motorcycles would get you there, often faster and through terrain inaccessible to other vehicles.

The German military was the largest employer of motorcycles during World War II. In addition, as German forces swept across conquered lands they acquired a wide array of British, French, and Belgian machines, painted them Wehrmacht gray, and sent them into battle. German military motorcyclists played an important role either as solo couriers or as scouts, as teams of tank hunters, or in divisions of rifle troops.

What did the German soldiers think of their warhorses? One rider of a motorcycle manufactured by NSU wrote back to the company the following words of praise, often echoed by his comrades. “On September 21, it has been five years since I bought it new at your Stuttgart branch, where I worked as a mechanic since August 1939. Since the end of August, I have been in Wehrmacht service with the motorcycle, which I myself have always driven since then. During the four years of my private driving, the machine always functioned to my complete satisfaction, as it has now, since I have been drafted. In this year I have driven it 20,000 km, at first in the Polish campaign, then during service in the operational area of the western front and on duty in France. During the campaign in France I drove about 7,000 km…. If possible, I want to buy back the machine after the end of the war we have been compelled to wage.”

This letter was penned in the early part of the war when Germany seemed invincible. There is no word if the satisfied customer was ever able to claim his beloved motorcycle.

During the campaigns that spread across Europe and into the Soviet Union, motorcycle troopers served a variety of functions including chauffeuring officers, delivering dispatches and even hot meals, and scouting on patrol. Motorcycles also were point vehicles taking the brunt of battle, sometimes as specially equipped tank destroyers. As with all motorcyclists, there was a kinship among these soldiers who called themselves “kradfahrer.” They rode exposed without the armor plating of the Panzers, without the safety of hundreds of foot soldiers beside them—moving targets, as it were, or sniper magnets. And then there were minefields, artillery fire, and strafing aircraft to contend with. (Learn about these and other legendary military vehicles used during the war inside the pages of WWII History magazine.)

Classical and medieval eras.

Evidence of the work of the earliest military engineers can be found in the hill forts constructed in Europe during the late Iron Age, and later in the massive fortresses built by the Persians. One epic feat of ancient military engineering was the pontoon bridge built by the engineers of the Persian king Xerxes across the Hellespont (modern Dardanelles), which, according to Herodotus, was accomplished by a mile-long chain of boats, 676 in all, arranged in two parallel rows. The greatest ancient defensive work ever built is the Great Wall of China, which was begun in the 3rd century bc to defend China’s northern frontier from its barbarian neighbours. Counting its tributary branches, the Great Wall is about 6,400 km (4,000 miles) long and dwarfs any other set of fortifications ever built.

The Romans were the preeminent military engineers of the ancient Western world, and examples of their works can still be seen throughout Europe and the Middle East. The Romans’ castra, or military garrison towns, were protected by ramparts and ditches and interconnected by straight military roads along which their legions could speedily march. Like the Chinese, the Romans also built walls to protect their empire, the most famous of these being Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, which is 73 miles (117 km) long and was built to protect the northern frontier from Picts and Scots. The troops and engineers of the legions built many of the greatest works of the Roman Empire, including its extensive network of roads the watchtowers, forts, and garrison towns manned by its troops the aqueducts that brought water to cities and towns and various bridges, harbours, naval bases, and lighthouses. The Romans were also masters of siegecraft who used such devices as battering rams, catapults, and ballistae (giant crossbows) to take enemy fortifications.

The Byzantine Empire, India, and China continued to fortify their cities with walls and towers, while in Europe urban civilization collapsed with the fall of the Roman Empire and the ensuing Middle Ages. One sign of its revival was the motte-and-bailey forts that sprang up on the continent in the 10th and 11th centuries ad . These basically consisted of a high mound of earth (motte) encircled by wooden palisades, ditches and embankments (the bailey), with a wooden tower occupying the central mound. They were replaced from the 11th century by stone-built castles that served as both military strongholds and centres of administration. (See castle.) Medieval engineers became proficient at mining operations, by which tunnels were driven under the walls of castles and their timbering set afire, causing the masonry overhead to collapse.

The History of the Sidecar

As most cocktail origins go, there are a few stories about who mixed up the first sidecar. One common story is found in "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" (1948) by David Embury. It says the drink was developed in a Parisian bistro during World War I by a friend who rode up to a favorite bar in a motorcycle's sidecar. While there is speculation, it is popularly believed that the establishment was Harry's New York Bar.

Another claim attributes Frank Meier who worked at the Paris Ritz Hotel. As Gary "Gaz" Regan pointed out in "The Joy of Mixology," this was later disputed by a man named Bertin who worked at the Ritz after Meier.

The next story moves to Buck's Club in London, the supposed home of the French 75. In his 1922 book, "Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails," Harry MacElhone credits the drink to Pat MacGarry, one of the great bartenders of the day. This was backed up in Robert Vermeire's 1922 "Cocktails and How to Mix Them."

It is important to note that MacElhone owned Harry's New York Bar and that he also credits Buck's Club for the French 75 in his book. While he was a popular bartender of the day, he was also (apparently) honest and did not take credit for many of the drinks that are often attributed to him.

Which story is correct will remain a matter of debate and opinion: the sidecar is a classic sour drink and that's not in question. Sours were popular during the golden age of cocktails in the early 1900s. Other great sour drinks were created at the same time, including the brandy daisy, whiskey sour, and margarita.

How Strong is the Sidecar?

Short drinks like the sidecar are served at such low volumes because they are heavy on the liquor and rather potent. With an 80-proof base liquor, the average sidecar weighs in around 26 percent ABV (52 proof). This is in line with similar cocktails like the martini and Manhattan.

What Cognac Is Best for a Sidecar?

Choose a cognac with a balanced flavor for a sidecar. Try Hennessy, Pierre Ferrand, Camus, H By Hine, or Rémy Martin.

Why did the Equal Rights Amendment of 1972 fail?

In passing the Equal Rights Amendment, Congress had set a seven-year deadline for ratification. At first, ratification seemed to be a given, with states quickly approving the amendment, but those ratifications slowed to a trickle. Crucially, the amendment&rsquos passage had had a major consequence: mobilizing anti-feminists, including its arch-opponent Phyllis Schlafly, to defeat it.

In many ways, Schlafly was deeply contradictory. Although she praised stay-at-home mothers, Schlafly &mdash a mother of six &mdash dedicated much of her life to political organizing and traveled the country giving lectures. She believed that the ERA would do away with much of the special status granted to women, including the right to be supported by their husbands, and would damage the traditional American family. Schlafly founded the organization “STOP ERA” (an acronym for “stop taking away our privileges”) to oppose the Equal Rights Amendment.

&ldquoWhat I am defending is the real rights of women,&rdquo Schlafly once said. &ldquoA woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother.&rdquo

Telling her audiences that the ERA would eventually lead to a future of gender-neutral bathrooms and women being drafted into the military, she successfully made many people think twice about what Constitutionally mandated equality of the sexes would mean. Deirdre Condit, an associate professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University, notes that in fact Schlafly was right that the future would include such things &mdash but they came to pass even without the amendment.

&ldquoWell, if you fast forward to 2019, without the Equal Rights Amendment having passed, we&rsquore trying to figure out how to deal with bathrooms in a multi-gendered universe. And we&rsquore trying to figure out, should in fact women be drafted if men are drafted?&rdquo says Condit. &rdquoAnd while we were are unsettled as a culture about these new questions, they did not fail to emerge because we didn&rsquot have an Equal Rights Amendment.&rdquo

The deadline for ratification was extended by three years from 1979 to 1982. Still, when that deadline arrived, only 35 states had passed the amendment &mdash three states short of the three-quarters majority required by the Constitution.

Condit notes that many of the states that failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment had few women in their state legislatures, and historically had poor records of protecting the rights of both women and people of color.

Political Background to American Advisors in Vietnam

In September 1954, right after the Geneva Accords were signed on 20 July 1954, dividing Vietnam into north and south at the 17th parallel, President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to the new Prime Minister of the Bao Dai government, Ngo Dinh Diem, promising United States support to ensure a noncommunist Vietnam. Following through on that commitment, direct United States aid to South Vietnam began in January 1955, and American advisors began arriving in February to train the South Vietnamese army.

By early 1955, Diem had consolidated his control by suppressing the religious sects in the Mekong Delta and brutally suppressing unrest in Saigon. He also launched a campaign against Communists in South Vietnam, in which 25,000 Communist sympathizers were arrested and more than 1,000 killed according to claims by the Communists. In August 1955, Diem issued a statement formally refusing to participate with the North Vietnamese in consultations to prepare for national elections as called for by the Geneva Agreement. In October, he easily defeated Bao Dai in a seriously tainted referendum and became President of the new Republic of Vietnam.

Partly in response to Diem's anti-Communist campaign, the Vietnamese Communists stepped up terrorist activities in the South, assassinating several hundred officials of the Diem government. In 1957, Diem' Saigon government arrested another 65,000 suspected Communists and killed more than 2,000. Repression by the Diem regime led to the rise of self-defense units in various parts of South Vietnam, units often operating on their own without any Communist party direction, in armed opposition to Diem.

During 1955-1956, North Vietnam concentrated on political struggle, still recovering from the war with the French and influenced by the Soviet Union, then in a period of peaceful coexistence with the West under General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. However, by 1957, with the reunification elections called for by the Geneva Accords overdue, observing that a potential revolutionary situation had been created by popular resentment of the Diem government, and fearing that the government's anti-Communist policy would destroy or weaken party organization in South Vietnam, the Communist leadership determined that the time had come to resort to violent struggle.

Military sidecar era - History


Born in the heat of battle, the Go Anywhere. Do Anything.® Jeep® Brand 4x4 emerged a hero to thousands of Allied soldiers around the world. The equally heroic civilian Jeep vehicles of the 1940s firmly established the Jeep Brand as the undisputed leader in 4x4 technology.


The iconic Jeep® Brand is recognized the world over—forever tied to freedom, capability and adventure. Every Jeep Brand vehicle has a unique story to tell, with a rich heritage that links back to the original Willys MB. Our story is your story. Jeep vehicle owners have long known that Go Anywhere. Do Anything. ® is a way of life—not just a campaign slogan. Explore our legendary lineup, then create your own timeless story in a Jeep Brand 4x4.












In June 1940, with World War II on the horizon, the U.S. Army solicited bids from 135 automakers for a 1/4 ton "light reconnaissance vehicle" tailored to Army specifications. Only three companies responded — Bantam, Willys, and Ford — but, within a year's time they collectively produced the template for the vehicle known worldwide as the "jeep".

Willys-Overland delivered the prototype "Quad" (named for the 4x4 system it featured), to the U.S. Army on Armistice Day (Veteran's Day), November of 1940. The design was completed in a remarkable 75 days.

Only two prototypes were made.



The Willys MA featured a gearshift on the steering column, low side body cutouts, two circular instrument clusters on the dashboard, and a hand brake on the left side. Willys struggled to reduce the weight to the new Army specification of 2,160 pounds. Nuts and bolts were shortened along with lighter panels in order to produce a lighter version of the Quad. Items removed in order for the MA to reach that goal were reinstalled on the next-generation MB resulting in a final weight of approximately just 400 pounds above the specifications.

After arduous testing, Willys-Overland was awarded the contract in July of 1941 calling for the production of 16,000 revised MB models at a unit price of $738.74. Most of the MA's were sent to the United States Allies in Russia and England under the Lend-Lease program. Today, the MA is the rarest of all pre-production Willys, with only about thirty models known to exist.

Improvements to the Willys MA over the Quad included: a handbrake single piece wheels rounded door cutouts two circular-mounted instrument clusters and a steering column-mounted gear shift.

1941-1945 WILLYS MB


It's the stuff of legend the U.S. Army requested a vehicle—and drove off in a hero. The Willys MB, its spirit forged by the fire of combat and honed in the heat of battle, seared its way into the hearts of warriors fighting for freedom. Fierce emotional bonds often developed between a soldier and his "jeep" 4x4. The faithful MB earned a place in every GI's heart, in every area of combat, in every conceivable role.

The tough, simple, Jeep® Brand 4x4 became the GI's best friend—second only to his rifle. One MB was even awarded a Purple Heart and sent home. General George C. Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff during World War II, and later U.S. Secretary of State, described the Jeep® Brand 4x4 as "America's greatest contribution to modern warfare". Scripps Howard WWII Reporter Ernie Pyle once said, "It did everything. It went everywhere. Was a faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat. It constantly carried twice what it was designed for and still kept going."

The MB started a revolution in the use of small military motor vehicles in the U.S. Army. Horses along with motorcycles, solo and side car, were rendered obsolete almost immediately. The all-purpose MB was amazingly versatile. They could be fitted with .30 or .50 caliber machine guns for combat. They were also widely modified for long-range desert patrol, snow plowing, telephone cable laying, saw milling, as fire-fighting pumpers, field ambulances, tractors and, with suitable wheels, would even run on railway tracks.

MBs could be loaded into transport aircraft for rapid deployment and were also small enough to fit into the large gliders used in the D-day invasion of Europe. Over the course of the war, customized field kits were developed for winter and desert conditions, deep-water fording and other combat needs.

Although the Willys MB was not the first four-wheel-drive vehicle, the Go Anywhere. Do Anything.® Jeep® Brand vehicle influenced every 4x4 built in its wake. The New York Museum of Modern Art includes a military Jeep Brand 4x4 in its display of eight automobiles and regarded it as “one of the very few genuine expressions of machine art.”

1945-1949 JEEP® CJ-2A


The mighty Willys MB emerged out of the cauldron of war ready for peace time service. The legendary G.I. workhorse of World War II was converted by Willys-Overland into a CJ with the aim of putting farm workhorses out to pasture.

According to Willys-Overland, there were 5.5 million farmers in the U.S., and of these, more than 4 million had neither a truck nor a tractor. The rugged and versatile CJ-2A was marketed by Willys-Overland as "The All-Around Farm Work-Horse". It could do the job of two heavy draft horses, operating at a speed of four miles per hour, 10 hours a day, without overheating the engine. The CJ-2A "Universal" was to serve agriculture and industry all over the world in a thousand different ways.

Willys-Overland also advertised the CJ-2A as "A Powerhouse on Wheels", pitching it as a work vehicle and mobile power to the masses. A variety of farm implements and industrial tools were devised for use in conjunction with an onboard power take-off unit. A belt-driven governor was controlled from the instrument panel, allowing regulation of engine speeds from 1,000 to 2,600 rpm. Sales were brisk despite the glut of MBs on the war surplus market.

Cash awards were offered by Popular Science magazine for "Ideas on Peacetime Jobs for Jeeps". The contest stimulated America’s ingenuity and innovative nature. Soon, Jeep® Brand vehicles were used as the platform for hundreds of applications. Of particular note: from 1949-1964, either a complete Jeep Brand vehicle or chassis was used on all Zamboni® ice resurfacing machines. In 1949, the Model A took 10 minutes to do a job that used to take over an hour-and-a-half.

A much-modified version of the MB, the 1945 CJ-2A (MSRP: $1,090) had "Willys" embossed on the hood sides and windshield frame. It was offered to the public with better shock absorbers, springs and more comfortable seats for added comfort, revised transmission and transfer case gear ratios allowing low-speed hauling and highway speeds as high as 60 mph, beefier clutch, better cooling, a tailgate, side-mounted spare tire, larger 7-inch headlights, an external fuel cap, a reinforced frame for greater rigidity, and an automatic windshield wiper on the driver's side.

1946-1965 WILLYS WAGON


America's first all-steel station wagon debuted in July 1946 as the model 463 Jeep® Station Wagon and featured a three-tone paintwork that simulated the "woodie" look. The no-maintenance all-steel utility vehicle was not prone to weathering, peeling or squeaks like the old style "woodies". The Wagon's fold-down tailgate hatch was ahead of its time and can be credited with the origin of the "tailgate party".

Military History

Military history is a vast topic since warfare has been a constant aspect of the general flow of history. Military history also has great depth. You can make a lifelong study of just one battle or item of military equipment. Many people find military history to be fascinating with a lot of satisfaction derived from understanding what happened and why. military history is organized into these sections:

  • World War II: Huge section with narrative of the war, description of campaigns and battles, leaders, maps, and links to web resources.
  • Unit Histories: History, unit associations, reunions, locators, current events.
  • General Military History Web Resources: Compilations, repositories, links, directories.
  • Ships and Naval History: Web sites for ships and the history of sea warfare.
  • Korean War Web Resources: Resources specific to the Korean War.
  • Vietnam War History: Large section with a narrative of the Vietnam War's battles and campaigns, the political backdrop, covering all aspects of the longest U.S. war.
  • Recent Conflicts: Gulf War and other recent conflicts.
  • Museums: Pages describing military museums and their collections.
  • Sites and Tours: Actual battlefields and ways to get there.
  • Reenactment: Groups who keep the history alive.
  • Magazines, Journals, Periodicals: History available by subscription.
  • Military Books: Every military subject area.

Click on the list item to go there directly.

Within there are many other areas with historical information and there is a lot of overlap with other topics. For an example, check out Origin of the Military Jeep in the Military Vehicles section. So make sure you review the Military Organizations page and the Military Books page along with this page and the other major pages on Also try Search to look for other references to your topic. Search is available at the top right of every page or on the Directory.

The Society for Military History is devoted to stimulating and advancing the study of military history. Its membership (today about 2000) has included many of the nation's most prominent scholars, soldiers, and citizens interested in military history.

Another resource you should look at is the compilation of sources for military photographs. History comes alive when you can see it and lists the best places on the web to find historical photos as well as recent material. Here is one example:

L-R: Joseph H. Eastman, James A. Meissner, Edward "Eddie" Vernon Rickenbacker, Reed Chambers, and Thorne C. Taylor stand beside the plane of famed American "Ace of Aces" and Medal of Honor winner Captain Rickenbacker. The SPAD XIII.C.1 was powered by a 220 hp Hispano-Suiza engine capable of a top speed in level flight of 131 mph. At the 94th Pursuit Squadron ("Hat in the Ring") of the American Expeditionary Force, France 1917-1918.

4 Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow March 9, 1891 &ndash August 5, 1952

378 Confirmed kills
300+ Captures

Three times awarded amilitary medal and twice seriously wounded, Pegahmagabow was an expert marksman and scout, credited with 378 German kills and capturing 300+ more. He was an Ojibwa warrior with the Canadians in battles like those at Mount Sorrel. As if killing nearly 400 Germans wasn&rsquot enough, he was also awarded medals for running messages through very heavy enemy fire, for directing a crucial relief efforts when his commanding officer was incapacitated, and for running through enemy fire to get more ammo when his unit was running low.

Though a hero among his fellow soldiers, he was virtually forgotten once he returned home to Canada. Regardless, he was one of the most effective snipers of World War I.

Iraq's Scud Missiles Were Meant to Split the Coalition

Hussein realized he couldn't defeat the military forces and international political will represented by the coalition, so his only option was to try to divide it. In retaliation for Secret Squirrel, Iraq launched Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Hussein's hope was that Israel would retaliate, as it historically had, with military force -- a move that would have transformed the fight into yet another Arab-Israeli conflict. But Israel resisted as the U.S. promised to help protect it.

The MIM-104C Patriot missile detects, targets and detonates near incoming ballistic missiles to disable or destroy them. It had been under development since the 1960s, but its first successful use in combat was during Desert Storm.

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