German Motorcycles of WW2, part 1

...a visual history in Vintage Photos and Restored Examples


Title:  German Motorcycles of WW2, part 1...

Author: David Doyle

Publisher:  Ampersand

ISBN:  978-1-944367-00-8

...a Visual History in Vintage photos and Restored Examples


Yet another of the excellent series of landscape format soft-cover books by David Doyle and Ampersand Publishing. The German Army made excellent use of the motorcycle to provide mobility for their reconnaissance units in particular, and their motorcycle combinations were well engineered machines.  My own father, while serving with the 8th Army in North Africa, told me that he kept hold of one in the back of his truck in the later stages of the war in North Africa.  His was a BMW combinations while his unit Sgt Major kept hold of a Zundapp combination.  Both well engineered bikes, not only with all three wheels driven, but reverse gear as well.  The one thing he found to be a problem were the ersatz rubber tyres, which were easily prone to punctures apparently.

This is part 1 so we can expect more to come in the series, and covers the BMW R4, BMW R12, BMW R35, BMW R71, BMW R75 and the Zundapp KS750.  The introduction provides some useful background on the early formation of the Kradschutzen, first established amidst civilian motorcycle clubs as a way of bypassing the restrictions imposed by the Versailles treaty.  The R4 is a solo machine, and this section os made up mostly from detailed pictures all round a superb preserved example.  The section on the R12 features a useful section of good, clear archive photos, then  detailed coverage of preserved solo and combination examples.  That's then followed by a section on the R31 solo machine, with just one archive picture and the rest all modern details covering a preserved example.  The following R71 is again covered with detailed photos of a preserved example of this combination.  For the R75 combination, we go back to having a selection of archive wartime photos, and then more detailed coverage of preserved machines, which are a regular site on the show circuit these days.  The final section looks at the Zundapp KS750, of which over 18,000 were built.  Only a couple of archive pictures, the rest are modern colour shots of a preserved machine.

The detail in here is ideal for modellers and good references for anyone who has a preserved example of their own.  With large scale kits such as the 1/9 models from Italeri (originally by ESCI) these are very handy for helping add any final extra details to a model.