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WW2 bicycle trivia

Old 06-04-19, 06:50 PM
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woodrupjoe
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WW2 bicycle trivia

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Old 06-04-19, 06:58 PM
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I tried to post a photo above.
Not sure if itís showing up.
Itís the cover illustration from a book Iím reading, ďD-Day GirlsĒ.
Great book, I recommend it.
But the cover seems to picture a resistance fighter riding a 70ís import bike.
Thought some folks here would get a chuckle.
Iíll try to sort out the picture snafu.
Thanks.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:01 PM
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Old 06-04-19, 07:21 PM
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Thatís better.
Iím no historian, but isnít that a classic 70ís import 10-speed sheís riding?
Not what youíd expect to find under a French resistance warrior, I think.


However, with a big anniversary of D-Day just days away, I heartily endorse this book.
The incredible sacrifices made by ordinary people that could have just waited things out is always humbling to be made aware of.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:38 PM
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Yeah, the '70s style bike with safety levers (but unusually straight fork, per the shadows), lever action .30-30 carbine and Fit Bit seem a bit anachronistic.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:24 PM
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Second wave troops of 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade, probably Highland Light Infantry of Canada, disembarking with bicycles from LCI(L)s (Landing Craft Infantry Large) onto 'Nan White' Beach, JUNO Area at BerniŤres-sur-Mer, shortly before midday on 6 June 1944. From the National Archives of Canada. Caption taken from a similar, but grainy, British photo appearing on Wikipedia, "Juno Beach"

After heavy casualties against tenacious defence, the beach has here been secured. The risen tide has forced the LCIs to come in closer to the sea wall to disembark troops and equipment, which obscured the mined beach obstacles from view and the consequent loss of many landing craft. Mortar fire from the retreating German defenders as they manoeuvred for counterattack through the rest of the day delayed linkup with the British Army at Sword Beach until the next day. As at the British and American beaches, air attack and naval bombardment failed to destroy the well-protected German guns and most had to be taken by infantry, supported by the tanks that were eventually able to swim ashore. The first house liberated by the Queen's Own Rifles (now a reserve regiment in Toronto -- 100 of them died within sight of the house) still stands in Bernieres-sur-Mer. It is visible in many photos taken that day and was a pilgrimage for many years while the D-Day vets were still young enough to travel. An entry in the guest book from an 84-year-old ex-QOR apologizes to the owner for having to throw grenades into his cellar (where the Germans were.)

The bicycles proved not very useful in the notorious bocage (hedgerow) country inland and most were abandoned or given away to the local people. I am told that one has survived and is displayed at Juno Beach Centre, our museum of the Second World War in Courseilles-sur-Mer. Fittingly, the museum has laid out what can be a seriously ambitious bicycle tour of "The Maple Leaf Route" taken by the First Canadian Army across France and Holland into Germany. (Yes, the stylized maple leaf on the modern flag dates only from 1965 but maple leaves (and beavers) had appeared on Canadian uniforms and insignia for many years before that.)

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Old 06-04-19, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by woodrupjoe View Post
Thatís better.
Iím no historian, but isnít that a classic 70ís import 10-speed sheís riding?
Not what youíd expect to find under a French resistance warrior, I think.
Yes it is. Safety levers! Actually it could be a Schwinn or something from that era as well. Kind of hilarious. The illustration was probably done by a young person with talent and skills but little experience. Looks to me like an Illustrator graphic traced from a photo. That may have been the oldest bike they could find to 'model'. 1975? Close enough! That is ancient...
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Old 06-05-19, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by woodrupjoe View Post
That’s better.
I’m no historian, but isn’t that a classic 70’s import 10-speed she’s riding?
Not what you’d expect to find under a French resistance warrior, I think.


However, with a big anniversary of D-Day just days away, I heartily endorse this book.
The incredible sacrifices made by ordinary people that could have just waited things out is always humbling to be made aware of.
The French resistance...a mythological creature akin to the Loch Ness monster, and an incredibly offensive myth that dares equate a nation of collaborators to the brave resistance seen from the poles, yugoslavians, greeks, danes...

https://www.historynet.com/french-re...-resistant.htm

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Old 06-05-19, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
The French resistance...a mythological creature akin to the Loch Ness monster, and an incredibly offensive myth that dares equate a nation of collaborators to the brave resistance seen from the poles, yugoslavians, greeks, danes...

https://www.historynet.com/french-re...-resistant.htm
Yeah. While the French Resistance did have it's accomplishments, they were a lot less than what was claimed in, say, September 1944.

And there were a lot more collaborators than those repeated to the dearth pictures of women with their heads shaved in their underwear that invariably comes up when the subject is mentioned. Not too loudly, of course.
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Old 06-05-19, 04:07 PM
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For those interested in the book shown above, itís not about the French resistance. Itís about a British secret ops group that trained French-speaking women (some French nationals, some ex-pats, etc) to parachute into occupied France and prepare for D-Day. Blow stuff up, smuggle out downed airmen, organize safe houses and local support, etc, etc.
Of course theyíre nearly all caught, tortured, some tortured to death, by the Nazis and their collaborationist allies.
Young women in their 20s, one woman a grandmother, some married, one with 3 small children... All of whom had been living safely in Britain but felt compelled to volunteer for the cause.

I only started this thread because I got a chuckle out of the illustration, but there you have the rest.

(Iím aware that Iím the one who referred to French resistance warriors, that was an innacuracy on my part.)

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Old 06-05-19, 05:51 PM
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Being the 75th year post D-Day, it is humbling to note that 90% of the first wave of soldiers to storm the beaches were killed. My dad never, ever talked about the war to us kids, only talked to my mom about it, and that was only once. Mom said the sight of dead bodies blocking the way to the beach was overwhelming and something that he never forgot.
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Old 06-05-19, 06:20 PM
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TiHabanero,
My Dad was in the Pacific. Ditto.
The one or two times I witnessed him open up to his brothers or old war mates were harrowing.
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Old 06-05-19, 06:38 PM
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While French civil society certainly has a lot to answer for about its conduct from 1940 - 1944, following the abject military collapse in the face of the German advance across the Low Countries in 1940, a good word needs to be put in for the soldiers of the French Army and their battlefield-level commanders. Their dogged resistance in a doomed cause helped delay the German advance toward Dunkirk long enough for the British Expeditionary Force to be evacuated (79 years ago last week.) French and colonial troops fought to the end and were killed or captured on the beach after the last of the BEF had embarked for England. Furthermore, some 100,000 French soldiers who were evacuated with their British colleagues returned to the defence of France where they, too, were captured when the government capitulated. The British Tommies, not having an over-all view of what was in some areas a fleeing, demoralized rabble, jumped to denigrate the French for failing to defeat the Germans and were often unaware of the sacrifices French units had made out of their sight to help the English get to safety. This view, aired loudly by the returning troops, perhaps with guilty consciences, coloured public opinion in Britain (and Canada, as my parents remember) about "the French" as allies.


Today, all the generals and politicians are gone and it's only a rapidly dwindling number of common soldiers, sailors, and airmen who are left. Let's make sure, whatever we say about the decisions governments and civilian society made 70-80 years ago, that we give proper credit to the guys who did the fighting and had to decide whether to die or quit.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:10 PM
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I am on a bike tour right now and in Normandy. It is amazing to share in this celebration of freedom. Hundreds of vehicles from WWII are all over the area with 'actors' in uniform driving them. Also current active military. Rangers did a demonstration of climbing the cliffs as one example of active military participation.

There are a few jeeps with bikes attached on rear bike racks. . I expect they are original as was most if not all of the exhibits at the Landing museum we visited yesterday. I did not read anything about their use during the war.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:30 PM
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The Maquis did make significant contributions to D-Day invasion. They befuddled German communications by sabotaging telephone lines, they damaged rail turnouts and signaling equipment and, removed or confused road markings/ directional signage to purposely cause havoc to hamper the Nazi troop movement. While the afore mentioned other partisan and resistant groups were heroically confronting the German troops in guerilla warfare, the French weren't exactly sitting on their hands, either.
According to "The Body Guard of Lies" ( superb history of the secret parts of WW II), the British coordinated most of the resistance movements. They preferred the more "pest like" interference rather than put the Germans on into a more panicked mode, in the run up to D-Day. The British started with more pitched battles in the Balkans and other areas to deliberately encourage the Germans to move troops and assets away from France and the Normandy beaches.
Every occupied nation had its own collaborators and resistance movements. There were plenty of Poles, Ukrainians and others who gleefully availed themselves of opportunities to collaborate with the Nazis- and many who resisted. No one nation should be so judged.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:45 PM
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These two topics have been the subject of threads here before:

The British Paratroopers Who Parachuted Into Enemy Territory with Folding Bicycles

Gino Bartali: Cyclist who helped save Italy's Jews from Nazis honored with new innovative cycling school
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Old 06-05-19, 10:55 PM
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According to "The Body Guard of Lies" ( superb history of the secret parts of WW II), the British coordinated most of the resistance movements. They preferred the more "pest like" interference rather than put the Germans on into a more panicked mode, in the run up to D-Day.
Direct confrontation with the Nazis by civilians was generally met with vicious brutality against even uninvolved civilian populations. In one incident in Kandanos on Crete, several Nazis were found shot dead, so the Nazis rounded up all the men and executed them, then totally razed the town.

In another incident in Oradour-sur-Glane, France, the Nazis ordered reprisals against the townfolk for partisan activity, killing 642 men, women and children.

This was standard operating procedure with the Nazis.
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Old 06-06-19, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by woodrupjoe View Post
For those interested in the book shown above, it’s not about the French resistance. It’s about a British secret ops group that trained French-speaking women (some French nationals, some ex-pats, etc) to parachute into occupied France and prepare for D-Day. Blow stuff up, smuggle out downed airmen, organize safe houses and local support, etc, etc.
Of course they’re nearly all caught, tortured, some tortured to death, by the Nazis and their collaborationist allies.
Young women in their 20s, one woman a grandmother, some married, one with 3 small children... All of whom had been living safely in Britain but felt compelled to volunteer for the cause.

I only started this thread because I got a chuckle out of the illustration, but there you have the rest.

(I’m aware that I’m the one who referred to French resistance warriors, that was an innacuracy on my part.)
The Special Operations Executive(SOE), formed in 1940 and unofficially known as The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. A relative of mine, who flew Lysanders, regularly dropped SOE agents into occupied France.

John.

N.B for the sake of accuracy not all German soldiers were Nazis.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:05 AM
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Edit - not the forum for this.

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Old 06-06-19, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
The French resistance...a mythological creature akin to the Loch Ness monster, and an incredibly offensive myth that dares equate a nation of collaborators to the brave resistance seen from the poles, yugoslavians, greeks, danes...
That's a bit one dimensional. Not every oppressed is a collaborator and not every act of resistance is the same as beeing in the resistance. Not everybody went underground, hiding in the woods to kill a german soldier with a knife. The Eastern Europeans were much more desperate because the Nazi's were much harsher on them because they saw them as inferior people, so they ended up in the woods much easier, and they often had plenty of woods which helps too. The Danes saved a lot of jews but that had a lot more to do with beeing smart and using the circumstance than with sacrifice. In terms of lives lost, the Danes had it easy.
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Old 06-06-19, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
That's a bit one dimensional. Not every oppressed is a collaborator and not every act of resistance is the same as beeing in the resistance. Not everybody went underground, hiding in the woods to kill a german soldier with a knife. The Eastern Europeans were much more desperate because the Nazi's were much harsher on them because they saw them as inferior people, so they ended up in the woods much easier, and they often had plenty of woods which helps too. The Danes saved a lot of jews but that had a lot more to do with beeing smart and using the circumstance than with sacrifice. In terms of lives lost, the Danes had it easy.
This is complete non-sense, but itís not the forum, and I am incapable of discussing it in a way that isnít overtly political.
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Old 06-06-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
This is complete non-sense, but itís not the forum, and I am incapable of discussing it in a way that isnít overtly political.
Don't bring it up then.
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Old 06-06-19, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Don't bring it up then.
Don't rationalize over a thousand years of behavior, and self interest, while discrediting those who shed blood. And that is my last post on the topic, so feel free to have the last word.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:13 PM
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Found this Normandy invasion photo on the internet. The bike in the foreground looks British, but I don't know. Never seen one quite like it.

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Old 06-06-19, 03:23 PM
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The Righteous Among the Nations, yes. Thank you so much for reminding us of that very non-trivial achievement. How many of us can say we helped saved the lives of 800 specifically named people, whose names we carried around on documents hidden in our handlebars?
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