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Bicycle-Mounted Troops
Revised by Jonathan Bocek

Most of the following was taken from the March 1945 issue of The Intelligence Bulletin.  This publication was issued by the U.S. War Department to military personnel with the intention of providing helpful information concerning the enemy.

Newly created Volksgrenadier divisions not only have a bicycle-mounted reconnaissance battalion or company, but also have an entire battalion of infantry mounted on bicycles.  This battalion was employed on either reconnaissance missions or as a crack divisional reserve unit.  In addition, the two engineer companies of the Division Engineer Battalion are bicycle-mounted.  It may be assumed that some of the tactics employed by the bicycle-mounted company in the reconnaissance unit (Füsilier Battaillon) of the infantry division may also be used by the bicycle-mounted elements of the Volksgrenadier divisions.  Here are several prisoner-of-war comments on this subject.

A German prisoner remarks that when a bicycle-mounted squad is moving along a road as a point, anticipating contact with a hostile force, the squad leader and a runner are followed at a distance of about 50 yards by three machine gunners with light machine gun, supported by a sniper, a semiautomatic rifleman, and two riflemen, one of whom is armed with a cup grenade discharger.  When the squad is fired on, the machine gun detachment immediately deploys, while the remaining men drop their bicycles under the nearest available cover and take up firing positions.

The leading squad of a platoon is said to move with a rifleman, a semiautomatic rifleman, a machine gunner with light machine gun, a sniper, the squad leader and a runner, two machine gunners, and a rifleman armed with a cup grenade discharger -- moving in that order. Fifty yards behind, the platoon commander and a runner, the platoon sergeant and a runner, a telegraph operator and a medical aid man, and an antitank rifleman follow -- in the order named.

A German prisoner from another unit comments that in his outfit, it was common practice to send two bicycle-mounted scouts ahead of the point squad.

German prisoners remark that bicycle-mounted companies are expected to be able to cover up to 75 miles a day, but that, in actual operations, the figure seldom exceeds 50 or 60 miles.

German prisoners from certain bicycle-mounted companies say that they have been trained mainly in infantry tactics, and not primarily for reconnaissance missions.  One unit was trained to move forward on its bicycles, leave them in farm buildings, and then go forward on foot to fight as infantry.

In Russia a company was detached from an infantry regiment, equipped with bicycles, and formed into a reconnaissance company.  These men were given the mission of protecting the regimental flank upon contact with a hostile force.



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