Bicycles in War

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Bicycles in War - pas-, belong-ig a BICYCLES IN WAR. A ComlQ...
pas-, belong-ig a BICYCLES IN WAR. A ComlQ Paper Responsible for - Their Introduction. , i. A SUGGESTION MADE IN JEST Organization of Wheelmen Into Fighting Battalions. How Bicyclers Manas a Catling Gun ThS Ambulance Corps j Tnt Pegging. i i ON WHEELS. New York -Sun: There are some people who say that the credit for the introduction of the military bicycle ia due to the comio English paper Punch. It was back in the early 70's, when bh-ycles were not what they are now by a good many pounds. Punch saw in the two-wheeled machine that 'occasionally dumped its rider in an undignified way an opportunity for a rery funny sketch. It should be so absurd in its idea that there could be no possible doubt about its being a caricature. An artist executed this idea and the readers of Punch smiled when they saw a troop of soldier, of the English army mounted on bicycles, bo unreasonable did the sug- l A GATTJjrG OVX gestion seem then that it wss really funny. Less than five years later the bicycle made iu appearance in military service and today tbe military bicycle has almost passed tbe experimental stage in Europe. Its value as an adjunct to tbe equipment of an army operating in civilized countries is admitted. Bicycle corps have been organised in most: of the countries on the Continent and in England, and it is, probable that a bill will be introduced in the Albany Legislature this winter making provision for a bicycle corps to do scout skirmish and signal duty. It was during the field maneuvers in Italy in 1875, when the. cyclists of Somma were called into requisition to carry dis- A KHJTART BICTCXE. patches, that tbe bicycle began to attract tbe attention of military men. It was a tnactuue easily handled and cared for, and on a good road it was more trustworthy for a long run than a horse. The result of repeated testa of the availabuity of wheels in Switzerland is a bill for tbe organization of bicyclists' divisions in the standing army. Tpis bill provides for a bicycle corps that shall act as light cavalry- One officer aud fifteen privates are to be assigned to the general staff of the high-class troops; to each of the staffs of the general army corps are to be assigned one adjutant non-commissioned officer and eight privates; to each of the division staffs, for itself and the bodies under it, one adjutaut non-commissioned officer and fourteen privates, and to every brigade staff of tbe niiliua one non,-conimissioned . ofE-er and three privates. The Swiss bill says that tbe bicyclists must provide themselves with machines, and shall be recruited from those who for special reasons are not adapted to carrying arms. Switzerland proposes to make the bicycle corps useful for scouts and for carrying dispatches, although Switzerland as a country is not well suited to running a bicycle. TO.TXNO AT th xrsa. Germany has not missed the significance of the military bicycle, and a number of recent tests of speed there between cavalrymen on horses ana infantrymen mounted on bicyties have brought this macnine into favorable prominence. Belgium has even gone so far as to attach bicycle schools to most of her garrisons, and to test- the utility of the service the War Minister ordered two companies of wheelmen to maneuver from their garrisons a month' ago. Tbe reports on these maneuvers have not yet been published. The two-wheeled machine has been condemned as a 'toy unfit for warfare" by many men who do not know what has been accomplished with it. England has a goodly body of bicyclists among her regular troops. They have done the work assigned to tbem in a satisfactory way. It is in her volunteer battalions, however, that the bicyclist comes out strong. A recent report shows that nearly every volunteer battalion in the kingdom has attached to it a cyclist section, numbering in all about 5,100 men. Twelve of these military cyclers, under command of a Sergeant, rode not long ago, fully armed, a distance of 102 miles in 16 hours and 55 minutes, including a halt of fire hours. English army men hare not been slow to approve of bicycles In military service. Lord Wolseley said in favor of bicycles in the army: . - . "There are rery few! countries In the world where yon can not use cycles. During the whole time I was in India during the mutiny I do " not remember, except when actually in tbe hills for three or four days fighting I do not remember one day's march or any one fight in which we took part where cyclists could not have been used with the greatest possible advantage." . . i -Loudon has the Twenty-Sixth Middlesex Cyclists Corps, numbering 120 men and divided into two" companies. They hare done a good deal of fancy, work at the military exhibitions in the -t shape of lemon cutting, tent pegging and tilting at the ring. They havs also shown themselves capable of rery useful military service. Our own National Guard has been slow to adopt the military bicycle. There hnve been several small corps organized, but tixt fioorso. their work has attracted very little attention. Lieutenant W. H. Bowen, in his report to the War Department of the results of his inspection of tbe Connecticut National Guard, calls attention to the a)ecial bicycle service organized by a corps of the First Begiment In his opinion the bicycle service will be valuable for messengers and patrol and advance guards. Lieutenant Bowen suggested to the War Department the feasibility of extended experiments in the uses of the military bicycle. There are in the Thirteenth Kegiment of Brooklyn a number of enthusiastic bicyclists who have made experiments with the military wheel. Captain Charles II. Lus-oomb is one of them, and several weeks ago one of the large bicycle manufacturers asked Captain Ltiscouib to suggest such improvements in the machine as had been SlSSS should be' used for dispatch, scout, and sig- DETACHJfEKT. nal service, and to make topographical charts. Therefore he does not think that the cyclists should carry a rifle. The bicycle now in use for military service that has been approved by some of the military authorities weighs about fifty-six pounds, including the rifle and kit. The rifle is carried in grips on the right of the rider, from which it can easily be removed, and it lies along tbe center of the machine. The signaling flag is carried fastened to the front fork of the machine. Every bit of space is utilized. The distance between the back and front wheels is taken up by a leather valise, which is divided into various compartments for cartridges, bicycle instruments, and other necessaries. The valise in which the kit is carried is attached to tbe handle bar. It is argued in favor of the military wheelmen that in case of action they can advance more quickly than infantrymen, and, after dismounting and detaching tbsir. rifles, they would be as ef fective. One bicycle maneuver is the forming of a sheltW for the defense of a road. The machines are stacked aide by side and form a defense for the men who fire from behind tbem. T-hi defense is particularly strong against ravalry. The military cyclist in European countr:""" is an infantryman on wheels, who dismounts" to fight. One of the interesting weapons carried by English cyclists in military service is a ninety-oue-pound Gatling gun. Tbe gun carriage is formed bv coupling four safety machines together. These machines are op- BICXCLIBS HOLDING 1 BO AD. crated by four men, and if the roads are good they can he ridden at the rate of nine miles an hour. When a steep hill is reached or a bad bit of road the cyclists dismount and push their machines. Another unique use of the military bicycle is in ambulance service. Two safety machines can be coupled together in such s way that a stretcher can be swung between tbem, on which a wounded man can be carried at a fair rate of speed, provided the roads are good. That proviso of good roads Is the strongest objection to the introduction of the bicycle in our Nationnl Guard. There is no provision in this State for the establishment of a bicycle corps. Adjutant General Porter says that he has no objection to such an organization. Captain Luscomb. who in one of the most enthusiastic cyclists in the guard, says about tbe scheme: "There is work that a man on a' bicycle can accomplish that would be impossible for a cavalryman. Tbe machines are noiseless, and can be transported by rail much more easily than horses. The cy clist can ride along roads unseen, where a cavalryman would at once be noticed. Then tbe cyclist br bending over bis ma' chine makes himself shorter- than tbe ordinary foot soldier. Moreorer, the cost and staying power of the bicycle make it su Donor to a horse for many kinds of serv ice. I think that it is unnecessary for a military cyclist to carry a rifle. Uis tizht- ing, if any, would be at close quarters. and a pair of revolvers is all he needs. THTI AKBtTXAHCB 0OKFS His principal duties are those of carrying dispatches, skirmishing, snd reconnoitring. The man on the wheel can cover a long distance in a short space of time and ran make himself rery useful in reporting the state of the roads and all the little de tails that are so important in the advance of an army. There will be an effort made this winter to organize a bicycle corps that shall be recognized as a part of our National Guard, and the time is coming when the two-wheeled machine will he an mnortant feature of our militni-w service. The new safety bicycle can b run over almost any kind of a road, and we interest iu wis sum or. wort is in creasing, - ' i' ' ' ' XXLLX0 A2T0 SKJJBTD BT CHTTBCSUI. Fulton Ota.) GtU: Dr. Harmon Jones tons a good story which aotually ocourrsd in the early settlement of this country. Daring those diys the Osage Indians prowled around In these woods, and bears, panthers and wild cats wtrs plentiful. It was the custom to

Clipped from
  1. The Inter Ocean,
  2. 04 Oct 1891, Sun,
  3. Page 31

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  • Bicycles in War

    peter – 05 Dec 2013

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