Saturday, August 20, 2016

heavily loaded down side shifter motorcycle in WW2


https://www.flickr.com/photos/133697406@N05/18337064613/

Check out all the gear, binocs, M1 30 cal with an interesting through stock shoulder strap, a gerry can, ammo can, shovel, two gear bags

9 comments:

  1. The bike is a WLA model Harley of which thousands were supplied to the US military in WW2 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harley-Davidson_WLA - note the familiar picture on the right of the page with an explanation of who it is.

    Harley's first foot shifter came in 1952 and from looking here - http://www.v-twinforum.com/forums/v-twin-forum-general-harley-talk/199695-last-year-side-shifter.html - it would seem that the changeover was quite gradual.

    I think that was the big difference between Indians and Harleys; right hand shift for Indian, left for Harley, along with different throttle and spark control operation. British bikes all had foot shift by WW2.

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  2. Great picture Jesse, The soldier is on a Harley Davidson and yes, that's the shift knob on the left side if the gas tank. That's the way they were set up. Note the steel lower leg guard, or shin guard as it might have been referred as.

    The shot gun is actually an M1 .30 Cal. Carbine. I know this because I own one. And the Ammo can is just that, Ammo.

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    1. Well... huh! I never saw a rifle stock with a big ol hole in it before. I have seen and posted plenty of old Harleys with side shifters though. Take care of that 30 cal, I imagine that is a damn good rifle, and has served well.

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  3. H D had a " toe go, heel whoa". Pivoted in the middle and had a friction assembly so the rider could keep it in the slip zone. Left foot of course. Also, right hand grip could advance or retard the spark. These 45's would idle or roll at practically zero rpm. Im only exaggerating a little bit. Also, some riders would change out the friction mechanism for a 'car clutch' type action. I think Indians had that arrangement except it was on the right hand side. Again, riders changed them up a lot for their preference.

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  4. Early bikes had hand shifters because foot shifter had not been developed yet and many had foot pedals for throttle and clutch.
    not as hard as you would think to ride due to low power and speed compared to modern bike. Plus the greatest generation wasn't raised on video game joysticks and just knew how to use mechanical controls. I have been looking at these posts for a few days and just like jsfury looking for the details you normally wouldn't catch.

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  5. I have one of those I ride off road , mostly . The foot clutch is more of an impediment than the shifter , but not much . Once you get going just lug it around . If things aren't too rutted up you can get it all kinds of sideways .

    Watching the old training films I get the impression that the hardest thing those recruits had to overcome were instructors who had never been off-road at speed and believed one must remain seated at all times to maintain control .

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  6. H-D WLA fun facts:

    The largest recipient of that v-twin was the Soviet Union army.

    By the time the US entered WW2 in Europe, the Jeep had taken over most frontline duties, and thus the WLA's were used for further behind the lines for traffic control, base patrol, military police, messenger duty and other 'lighter' tasks.

    After war's end lots of them were left behind in Europe, where in many places they are still known as 'Liberators'.

    Most WLA's were eventually civilianized, so if one today wants a stock military configuration one, it is best to import it from Russia.

    H-D built a lot of spare WLA engines for the military, which in the end didn't need them. Many of those were used for the three-wheeled 'Servicar' model, produced until 1972.

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  7. Jesse, you struck a nerve with this one. Good job me boy. :) As for my old carbine, I'm not sure the service it saw as it was manufactured in '52 I think. It might have went to Korea, but then it doesn't look that abused. It also has a bad "stove pipping" issue when fired. Very frustrating.

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    1. Damn. There has to be some armory/gun smith guys that know what to do to fix that.

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