Motorcycles & Scooters have been used by the military since they became available early in the 20th century. Light and maneuverable, they displaced horses as mounts for scouts and messengers as well as for military police and other similar duties. They could travel without roads and had minimal requirements for fuel and maintenance. In World War II, they were heavily used by U.S. and Allied forces as well as by German, Russian, British and other armies. They have been largely replaced by jeeps, HMMWVs, or even ATVs in the modern period, although some remain in use by Special Forces, military police and for other special functions.
PFC Rogelio Guerra, vehicle operator with 3rd Bn 3rd Marines, riding an M1030 USMC motorcycle during Exercise Tandem Thrust 2001, Shoalwater Bay, Queensland, Australia, 15 May 2001.
Today in WW II: 23 Jul 1940 American Bantam and Willys-Overland submit the only two bids for the Quartermaster Corps light reconnaissance and command cars, the origin of the military jeep. More↓
In this chart of military motorcycles & scooters, click on the photo link to go to the page of photos and information for the specific vehicle.
1940 Indian Mod. 640 motorcycle, 45 cu. in. engine.
1940 Indian Mod. 741 motorcycle, 30.07 cu. in. engine.
1940 Indian Tricycle
Harley Davidson WLA motorcycle, 45 cu. in. engine.
Harley Davidson MT500 motorcycle. Shown is 1999 model set
up for British MOD with full boxes, weapons case and map case. Photo courtesy Chris Atwell, owner.
Motorcycle, UK War Department 1942
Kawasaki KLR 250 Military Motorcycles
Kawasaki M1030 Military Motorcycles
Honda military 250 cc dirt bike
Cushman 30 Series
Cushman Model 32 or Model 34 Scooter
Cushman Model 53
Cushman Model 53 Airborne Scooter
Military Rokon. Photo: Courtesy of Paul E. Schwartz.
Zundapp KS750 motorcycle, manufactured for the Wehrmacht 1940-44.
Kleines Kettenkraftrad NSU HK101 Sd.Kfz 2 (German)
(Small tracked motorbike) 1940 (Prototypes) - 1944 (army use), 1945 - 1948 (built with permission of the US military government for farm and forest use)
IMZ (later to become "Ural") M72 (about 1944)
Soviet military motorcycle. with DP light machine gun mount.
Molotov Cocktail web site.Photo: Courtesy
of Michael Weaver.
1964 KMZ (Dnepr), model: K750M, Soviet military motorcycle.
750cc flathead boxer twin engine, military 4 speed transmission with reverse.