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To Improve Motorcycles, BMW Sent Their Designers to the War Front

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

War Park 2022-07-16 15:13 Posted in Shanghai

In 1940, the German Ministry of Defense announced a tender for the development of a heavy motorcycle with sidecar, with a 3 × 2 axle configuration, capable of towing light artillery or ammunition trailers. By the end of the year, arrived the best military motorcycle of World War II, developed by the Bayerische Motoren Werke, the “BMW R75”.

In battlefields throughout Western Europe, North Africa, and the Soviet Union, motorcyclists performed a variety of functions, including serving as drivers for officers, logistics tasks such as food delivery, and patrolling and reconnaissance.  Small and fast, they allow for quick maneuvers and stealth ambushes, and were the preferred choice for tank hunting teams.

However, the harsh environment is also the biggest enemy of motorcycles. During autumn in the Eastern Front, the roads become almost impassable marshes.  During winter, the low temperatures can freeze exposed engine oil. In North Africa, they faced the all-pervasive sand and constant heat exposure.  In order to improve the motorcycle, BMW sent their designers to the front line, to follow the troops and gather first-hand information to feedback to their headquarters, and at the same time acting as logistics repair.

One designer reported the following: “We followed the movements of the battle lines every day, often spending the night in tents on the grasslands...We crossed the Don and then headed towards Stalingrad, looking directly behind the front line for a field repair shop that could operate in the most primitive conditions.   Motorcycles were inspected there and the experience of the unit was reported back to headquarters.  The motorcycle had fell into the mud. Countless mud flows through the motor, gets sucked into the air cleaner, and destroyed it - the mud gets into the motor. The oil pan is usually no longer filled with oil, only sand... “

Throughout the production process, the motorcycle R75 was modified several times. For example, engines are no longer painted the color of motorcycles, and ribs are added to better cool the cylinders. In order to take care of the needs of riding in cold areas, a heating system using engine exhaust gas recycling is set up, which can heat the driver, handlebars and feet, while being introduced into the sidecar.  So that the rider and crew do not have to endure the pain of frozen hands and feet. Two plastic knee pads are mounted on the side of the fuel tank to avoid a collision between the driver's knee and the metal tank.

The exhaust system was also been improved. A silencer was added near the exhaust pipe. This part of the silencer is covered with perforated iron sheets to protect the rear passenger's leg from being burned.

In the first version of the R75, the filter element was located below the tank. The sand of the North African desert and the mud of the eastern route can easily clog air filters. So the BMW designer moved the filter to the top of the fuel tank, replacing the original glove box, and covering it with a lid, that looks very similar to the German helmet.  Air filter design and layout changes solve the problem of clogging.

In addition, the German motorcycle soldiers were equipped with special goggles and windbreaker. The kind of windbreaker is very applicable, in addition to being made of waterproof fabric, the windbreaker can also be buttoned on the leg with buttons, just like a closed "pants".  In a muddy environment and in rainy weather, these can ensure the comfort of motorcycle soldiers.

This month, War Park introduced two single rider motorcycles. The motorcycle is made of tin alloy + resin + copper handle.  The rider is removable.  However, the wheel are fixed and non movable.

Original Chinese text as released on Weibo follows


战争公园 2022-07-16 15:13 Posted on 上海

       1940年德国国防部宣布要招标开发一款带边车的重型摩托车,采用 3×2 轴配置,能够牵引轻型火炮或弹药拖车。年底,二战时期最好的军用摩托车——由巴伐利亚发动机制造厂(宝马全称)开发的”BMW R75“应运而生。       在遍及西欧、北非和苏联的战场上,摩托车兵承担着各种职能,包括为军官充当司机、运送任务比如热食,以及巡逻和侦察。摩托车目标小速度快,便于快速机动和隐蔽伏击,同时是携带铁拳的坦克猎杀小队的首选。       而恶劣环境是摩托车最大的敌人。东线,秋天的道路变成了几乎无法通行的沼泽;冬天的低温能将暴露在外的发动机油冻住。北非,则有着无孔不入的飞沙与高温暴晒。为了改进摩托车,宝马将设计师派往前线,跟随部队收集第一手信息并反馈总部,同时充当后勤维修。       一位设计师报告如下:“我们每天都在跟随着战线的动向,经常在草原上的帐篷里过夜……。我们越过顿河,然后朝斯大林格勒的方向前进,我们在前线的正后方寻找能在最原始条件下运营的野战修理厂。在那里对摩托车进行检查,并对部队的经验向总部进行了报告。摩托车掉进了泥浆里,无数泥浆流过电机,被吸入空气滤清器,并毁坏了它——泥浆进入电机,油底壳通常不再装油,只有沙子……“       在整个生产过程中,摩托车 R75 进行了多次修改。比如,发动机不再被涂成摩托车的颜色,同时增加肋条以更好地冷却气缸。为了照顾寒区驾乘的需要,设置了一套利用发动机废气进行加热的系统,可以加热驾驶员车把和脚部,同时引入到挎斗内。这样驾驶员和乘员就不用忍受冻手冻脚之苦。油箱的侧面安装了两块塑料护膝,避免了驾驶员膝盖和金属油箱的碰撞。      排气系统也有改进。排气管附近增加了消音器。消音器的这一部分覆盖有穿孔的铁片,以保护后排乘客的腿不被烧伤。       在 R75 的第一个版本中,过滤元件位于油箱下方。北非沙漠的沙子和东线道路的泥泞很容易就堵塞了空气过滤器。因此宝马设计师将过滤器移动到油箱顶部,取代了原来的手套箱,并用盖子盖住,形状与德国头盔非常相似。空气过滤器设计和布局的改变,解决了堵塞的问题。





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