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CYCLING AND MOTORING, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914
CYCLING AND MOTORING
MOTORS AND BICYCLES IN WAR TIME. From time to time mention is made in tho cabled war news of the good work being credited to the motor car. In this direction interesting details of some of tho uses to which cars arc being put in Franco and Belgium are supplied to tho ‘ Autocar ’ by N. Fellow, of Antwerp, the leading designer of the Minerva (tho premier Belgian car). From the motorist’s point of view undoubtedly tho most striking thing in connection with the war is tho great use that has been made of the ordinary fivo ; seated touring car and limousine. Hero in Belgium, at tha commencement of tho war, cars were requisitioned wholesale throughout the country. These oars have been employed chiefly in the capacity pi light vans or lorries for military transport of all kinds—tho supply of delivery vans proper was far too small for the necessities of the moment. There was no time to alter these private tonring cars in any way, so they wore used, just as they were, for carrying ammunition, fodder, food, or any other military requisite. This was at the beginning; now there has been time to improve things, tho bodies of tho requisitioned cars of 18 h.p. upwards havo been exchanged for a light type of open lorry. Those bodies are really shallow boxes in which almost anything can be conveniently carried, or in which a number of men can bo taken on occasion, if not with comfort, at least with expedition. Jn connection with the Belgian aeroplane service, tho fast twoseater car seems to havo been the most useful. For ambulance work, rather than the solidly-constructed van, i think tho most practical is tho 15-20 h.p. private chassis, fitted with a light canvas ton with four stretchers pivoted on a revolving frame. This type of ambulance seems to bo peculiar to Belgium and France. It is more or less like a squirrel cage. It is loaded from cither side, and when the wounded man is placed on the stretcher, that particular stretcher sinks down to tho bottom, an empty stretcher replacing it at the side. When the four stretchers are filled they adjust themselves, and, of course, the heaviest man goes to tho bottom, though they can be held fast in any desired position, if necessary. Altogether there seem a good many practical points in favor of tho revolving frame arrangement, rri> for as the fighting motor car is concerned, 1 think there is no doubt that the ordinary motor chassis of 26 h.p. and upward, armored with smm. compressed steel and mounted with a light quick-firing gnu, ia one of tho most deadly weapons, and one of which wo cannot have too many. Its speed and easy manipulation enables this fighting car to make rushes, short, sharp attacks, and to retire quickly. These qualities of extreme mobility more than make up for the fact that the thin,..light armor is not bullet-proof at short range. I am personally unaware of the employment of tho heavily-armored motor gun carriage, such as the Italians seem to favor—a machine which may be roughly described as a heavily-plated high-speed lorry, but I doubt if ite effectiveness is anything like thrt of the ordinary light touring chassis. At tho present time the Minerva Company are making as many as they aro able of those light armored cars. Some of these were tried with heavy armor, jin thick, but they were found too heavy to be of tho same practical use as the more lightly armored chassis of the same power. Tho Germans are very well equipped with those lightly-armored cars, and also with motor transport waggons, so that they have not. had to make shift, as tho Belgians had, with the light tonring cars for heavy transport work, but Belgium being a small country, the military had to make use of what was to hand, and they have mado a wider and more varied use of the ordinary private car than either tho Allies or the enemy. It is, of course, understood that this statement is made with a due sense of proportion; that is to say, any one of tho Allies may employ a great many more cars than tho Belgians, but my point is that tho Belgians havo made tho ordinary touring car do for practically everything. The Germans made very good use of the ordinary touring car in transporting troops, and their equipment of specially-constructed motor vehicles shows that they havo realised the use of the motor oven more fully than the Allies have done. Reference is also made to the way in which the motor car scores as a reconnoitring auxiliary. German motor cars, either under the a-gis of the Red Cress or with the occupant,-, dressed in Belgian uniform, havo been invaluable to the Germans; indeed, a German car, with its occupants ia Belgian uniform, actually penetrated into Antwerp itself, and, what is more, got away again, doubtless with much useful information. Unouestiorrablv
somo of the moat daring acts of tho Germans have, been in connection with motorcar raids and reconnaissances. 1 was at Venders, south of Liege and almost on the frontier with my own car when war was declared. With every other available oar in the district, 1 was at one 1 commandeered to transport heavy cases of ammunition to 111--- summit .of a siren hji l !. After th.-.t I carried two fcJ. (tiers in my nr to a point near tho frontier, where the soldiers proceeded to blow up the principal railway tunnel. This was my first taste of military motoring, and although it was as nothing m what followed, it showed the ('(.edibilities of the ordinary every-day touring car lor military work. Quito apart frrvn what 1 have since scon at a di-itaiic.*, 1 have been able to examine closely f.otnc ol the arm we ! care, captured from the Germans and brought into Antwerp, and 1 was particularly struck with a lar-.o Mercoo-.-s w! ;- - h came in the ether day. one, of ‘he late;-*. with pointed radio:or, and cf the .-porting type. It inu.-t !:;ive got into a hot iornor. as tho armor plating was nerfonuod wun a large it umber oi' neat little boles—a proec;,.- <•; di-'.iilng v.-hicn must hja l , c consideral.lv did orbed the occupants not verv long be lore, as the cav had only ju.tt been brought in after capture when I examine-I it. A high tribute to the bicycle come* from the war correspondent <>t t be ’ Morning Post’ (Englandl ):.-(• •!;'■'■ ing to horse or mi tor tor t ’ i ■ servo “’a me and inccnspiivou.s hby.de. hj? journeyed along tiro front for long intervals, passing unchallenged where a n’cn in :: mo* or would have been stopped and _ questioned. As tho now, of the successive engagements can*c in lV‘ con'e.spon lcnt. i;i;;<i 1 quid; da dies f. the .-cone of -liviiy cn Jus liK’-elc. being .-.topped only e.m e. as ho relates. “ win-re the road wm mined.” He room.; to have been n devotee of the bicycle, ter he used il alto in Uic Balkan War a year ,-.r ,--o ;;a-o. lie .dates that “ after three week*’ expertem-e v. lih the Belgian army, an experience interrunted by the ncees.dty of getting out of' Brussels a head ot the Germans, I give a reliable bicycle the palm over horses or motor cars as an aid to getting about country in war time. ft <an go wh<-v----.-■vor there ia n. vc.sti’gc of a road or tree];. It is not difficult to carry over fences and through fields to pet into the actual line. Tt r.sks for no fo-d except a little, oil every few hundred xmlcs. It excites tho least aitcufi-.n from friend and enemy. I have Iw-u quite close to th« Uhlans repeatedly on a bicycle, p.nd havo hirer, accented cvldemly as a civilian inhabitant of the country without challenge. Here in Belgium, where flm p.v.rde .he cool habit of running the railways along almost to the battle front in places, the r-.-cio has been of noble valn-">. Tt. was nil I took nut with mo in tho retreat from Brussels, and if going out I had been offered a seat in tho motor, I. would have refused unloss the. bicycle could have < me too. It was the one absolutely sure means of quick transport. Experience with a motor showed that it was stopped long before it was near to the actual operations. The bicycle pot only one firm refusal to pass, and that was over a section of road which had bran mined. As. too, it was a palpably English bicycle, a massive ’drag#en ’ type #f machine, it served almost everywhere as a passport. Soldiers would recognise it as * Anglais#,’ and those who know 9, little English would call out ‘Good-day,’ 'Good luck,’ ‘What cheer.’ The little groups would give cheers for England. For helping the operations, as well as for seeing operations, _ tho bicycle has proved of great value ‘ in the wax.
In scouting the carabineer cyclists have been able to out-manceuvre the Gorman cavalry patrols. A Belgian cavalry officer, Lieutenant Raoul Daufresno, 3rd Regiment Lancers, confessed to me reluctantly that for scouting work tho bicycle had proved better than tho horse. He is a very distinguished horseman, well known in London, who has been complimented by the King on his riding at the horse show, and loves a horse as much as he loathes a bicycle. But experience has taught him tho cycle’s value, and in proof of his faith he came out with me mounted, not on a horse, but on a cycle.”
CYCLING AND MOTORING, Issue 15668, 5 December 1914
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