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Bicycle Rambo
By Eric Tobey

The following was taken from the Der Meldeweg newsletter & was done so with permission of the publisher.  We would like to thank him for his generosity as well as thank all those who have contributed to this article.  It is with their efforts, we are able to share this valuable research with the rest of you.

During the battle for the Ardennes in December of 1944, the soldiers of the U.S. Third Armored Division encountered a remarkable opponent in the fight around the Belgian town of Manhay.  At first, when the G.I.s watched a figure in fieldgray pedal furiously into the midst of the fighting, their reactions were of barely concealed amusement.  Panthers and Tigers were one thing, but what did they have to fear from a kraut on a bike?

Their amusement soon turned to chagrin as the bicyclist proved himself to be an effective weapon.  He would often pedal to a covered position under the protection of night-time, then wait for the approach of the Amis during the day whereupon he would ambush them.  By the time the G.I.s would reach his position by the flanks, all that was to be found was some shell casings and a furrow of bicycle tracks in the snow.

The German trooper, who was a member of either SS Kampfgruppe Peiper, 2nd SS Panzer or 9th SS Panzer, had four attributes which contributed to his success: One, he had a powerful build that permitted him to pedal rapidly into and out of harm's way; Two, he appeared to be an excellent marksman; Three, he had a very well developed offensive spirit, the nurturing of which the Germans have always been renowned; and Four, he was very lucky.

The agitation increased in the American ranks as they continued to suffer under the assaults of the cyclist: he attacked by day or night, he emerged suddenly from snow squalls, he sprang ambushes from close range, always with the same result.  After inflicting casualties, the sturdy trooper would be seen straining mightily on the pedals of his mount as he zoomed out of range.  Once he pedaled to within small arms range of a patrol, opened fire with a light machine-gun, then pedaled off before the astonished G.I.s could retaliate.

As with most extremely successful individuals of this type, his combat prowess was eventually elevated to a super-soldier level by the rumor mill.  This notoriety proved to be his undoing, for the American Command knew that enemy celebrities could eventually have disastrous effects on morale.  Thus, it was decided that the bicycle phantom had to go, and the order went out to "get 'im".

How they managed to catch him is a mystery for the time being, but what is known is that on December 23, 1944 this man was taken prisoner.  It seems that his luck held out even in this, because the odds of being taken alive in his case were pretty slim, especially when one considers that his score by that time was 22 Americans.  If he had held out for a while longer his chances would have been poorer still, for by that time the events that transpired at the crossroads near Malmedy became general knowledge throughout the U.S. Army with dire consequences for any captured SS men.

I guess its a good thing that George Patton was unaware of this little campaign, because Georgies was rather easily influenced when it came to implementing effective offensive methods.  Somehow the mental picture of 3rd Army G.I.s pedaling away from gassless vehicles to go through the Siegfried line "like shit through a goose" seems a little un-American to me!  



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