Why, after Stalingrad, the Germans removed the motorcycles from the Eastern front

History 04/02/20 Why, after Stalingrad, the Germans removed the motorcycles from the Eastern front

under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First world war, Germany was restricted in design and manufacture many types of weapons and equipment. Motorcycles in this list was not what attracted the attention of the armed forces.

Motorized infantry

the German army was called the motorcycle Kraftrad (the”power wheel”), which resulted in indexes of motorcycles of the letters “K” or “R”. In the twenties and thirties, the army was satisfied with the adapted civilian motorcycles companies Zundapp and BMW. Light Kraftradы of these firms was used in the exploration, the unit, for fast movement of connected. In 1940, the time has come for reform, and the Wehrmacht demanded that the producers release a new class of motorcycles — heavy motorcycles with sidecars. It was used for transporting the wounded or the installation machine gun MG-34 or MG-42 . For airborne and mountain Jaeger divisions were needed half-track motorcycle.

To the beginning of the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Wehrmacht had tens of thousands of motorcycles of different classes by engine capacity of 125 cm3 and 800 cm3. Popular half-track machine became the SdKfz 2 denoting as Kettenkrad HK 101. He became more tractor for light artillery, than the motorcycle.

the Motorcycle was not used as an independent branch, and to enhance the other. The infantry battalion had three companies of riders, equipped with a dozen heavy machine guns, 61 hand machine guns, 15 mortars, 3 antitank guns and 4 mortars. The riders were armed with carbines. By 1941, the Wehrmacht had 16 of these battalions. The beginning of the great Patriotic war, the battalions came to tank divisions, and the SS motorized infantry. Motorcyclists in multiple frames captured in photos and newsreels. Motorcyclists took part in the battles of the summer and autumn of 1941and, has proven successful, including in pursuit of the retreating units of the red army. And it was actually the first combat use of the motorcycle: Austria, Belgium, Poland,France, Czechoslovakia was conquered almost without bloodshed, only motorcyclists rode for a good European roads.

Stalingrad puts an end to bikes

the Battle for Stalingrad became a turning point not only in the war as a whole, but the fate of the motorcycles in the Wehrmacht. The lack of a unified front line, many pockets of resistance and urban combat negated the benefits of motorcycle technology. Movement speed in Stalingrad was irrelevant, as support for infantry or tanks — riders were too easy prey not only for snipers but for normal infantry fire, especially hiding in the ruins of buildings. And when the case enters the grenades and firebombs — motorcycles were destroyed along with the crew one hundred percent of the time. Details can be found on the Search history forum Smollbattle.

In particular, from the troops fighting on the Eastern front, began to withdraw, BMW R75, supplying it, mainly in Africa, Rommel, leading to the appearance of this bike the nickname “Sugar”. R75 cost as two of VW, making it losses in battles with the red army or Russian off-road quite sensitive and expensive. In Africa “Sahara” came in handy.

in fairness, the light motorcycles continued to be used in exploration and for communication both on the Eastern and Western front. Heavy motorcycles were used in the anti-guerrilla struggle, but not as massively as in the battles with the red army in 1941-1942. Motorcycle companies and platoons in the battalions and divisions after Stalingrad was disbanded.

Konstantin Baranovsky

© Russian Seven

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