The welbike- a British motorcycle fitted in an air drop canister for use during WWII. pic.twitter.com/pDukGVIhrJ
— Lost in history (@lostinhist0ry) August 1, 2022
During World War II, Britan wanted to ensure that its special forces troops who parachuted behind enemy lines had the ability to travel quickly away from the drop zones and to their mission destinations. In The Famous James Military Lightweight, motorcycle historian Peter Miller explains that the folded-up Welbike motorcycle had to fit inside a 15-inch wide drop container and weigh only 70 pounds. A trained soldier could get it working within 11 seconds.
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was eventually dissatisifed with the utility of the Welbike, but it soon became popular with airborne troops and saw use during Operation Market Garden in 1944. Various British firms produced 3,853 Welbikes. One is on display at the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
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