Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Harley Davidson And The World War

- The first official US Military Order for Harley-Davidson® Motorcycles dates all the way back to 1916, when the US Mexican Border Conflict pitted Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa and his raiders against General John "Blackjack" Pershing and the US Army.

General John "Blackjack" Pershing

Pancho Villa

- Pershing believed in using modern technology - automobiles, airplanes, telegraphy, and motorcycles - to give the Americans the advantage.
- The initial request for 12 bikes, later expanded to a grand total of 24, included bikes attached to a sidecar gun carriage, invented by none other than co-founder William S. Harley

Sidecar Gun Carriage 

-Approximately one-third of all bikes made in 1917 and 1918 were purchased for use in the war

-The first bikes shipped were adapted civilian until HD developed the FUS and LUS models

1919 FUS Model

- On November 12th 1918, the very first American to set foot in Germany was riding a Harley Davidson Motorcycle

The First Soldier To Set Foot In Germany 

-Only about 1100 XA bikes with opposed cylinders and a shaft drive where built and shipped before the US Government cancelled the contract

XA Model

-The company would also produce a model to the slightly different specifications of the Canadian Army, which would be named the WLC. The WLCs differed from WLAs chiefly in the use of some heavier components, usually Big Twin parts, as well as Canadian blackout lighting.

WLA Model

-For its wartime efforts, Harley-Davidson® was awarded the Army-Navy "E" Award for Excellence in wartime production three straight years.

-Final Military Models were the MT-500 and the lesser known MT-350E

-"It's a history of which the Motor Company is very proud - but not as proud as we are of all the fine military men and women who have served our great country"

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