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Military motorcycle

Article about: Thank you very much. When the Nimbus served in the Army of Denmark, it was armed with the excellent 8mm Madsen MG or even the 20mm Madsen on a sidecar (not to be fired on the move!!). The Ni

  1. #11

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    Thank you very much.

    When the Nimbus served in the Army of Denmark, it was armed with the excellent 8mm Madsen MG or even the 20mm Madsen on a sidecar (not to be fired on the move!!).

    The Nimbus was used for 'Shoot 'n' Scoot' fighting.

    Soldiers on Nimbus bikes and armed wiith Madsen guns put up a brave, but in the end futile fight, at the Danish-German border when German troops invaded in 1940. They managed to destroy some German lightly armoured vehicles. The motorcycle troops were some of the few, who actually put up a fight (and paid a heavy price) on April 9. 1940.
    There are also pics of chrushed bikes and dead troops from that day, which I will not post here.

    Here some further pics and info from this site:


    8mm Madsen MG on sidecar

    20mm Madsen

    The Nimbus was an aircooled, four cylinder motorbike of 750 ccm with 21 hp.The four cylinders were in a row parallel with the bikes length, and it had shaft drive. It was, alongside with BMW, the first motorbike with telescopic forks. The framework wasn't tube, but flat steel bars, riveted together. Topspeed was around 85 km/t with sidecar. The 20mm Madsen machinegun was a scaled up 8mm Madsen machine gun. The 8mm Madsen was developed in the 1890s, and adopted by the Danish army in 1903. It was one of the very first light machineguns, and at the same time very reliable. No one has ever used the same system as in the Madsen. The Madsen had a unique firing system and was rather expensive to make. Like the Nimbus, there were some national pride connected to it.

    The gun was attached to the bike, it was in place of the sidecar. It wasn't possible to shoot while driving, so the Danes adopted a hit and run tactic. It was possible to take of the gun, and use it directly from the ground. On the 9th of April most shooting was from the motorbike while stationary beside the road.

    The Danish army fought German armored cars and PzKpfw 1 from motorbikes armed with a 20 mm Madsen machinegun on the morning of the 9th of April 1940. The fighting began at 4 o'clock in the morning that day, and at around 8am it was over. The Danes lost 13 men in the fighting, the Germans lost a total of 13 armored cars and two PzKpfw 1 tanks. German Messerschmitt 110s attacked the Danish airforce, which was concentrated on a single airfield. Only one Fokker CV became airborne, and immediately shot down, the rest of the proud Danish airforce was destroyed on the ground.

    The Nimbus isn't that well known outside Denmark, even though it was produced from 1932 to 1960.

    Photos 1, 2, 3, and 5 show the heavy 20mm Madsen and the Nimbus Motorcycle. Picture 4 shows the Nimbus armed with the 8mm Madsen light MG.

    Kim Scholer, editor of Nimbus Tidende [Nimbus Times] writes:

    "The Nimbus model C was in production from 1934 to 1960, with a fair number going to the military. In the late 1930's some attempts vere made to sell military versions abroad. One with a regular sidecar and the 8 mm Madsen machine gun was demonstrated to Chiang Kai-Check of China, while the other version with the 20 mm cannon was demonstrated for the military in Brazil. Nothing came of it, though.

    The Nimbus factory was also asked to come up with an offer for 70 bikes to the Turkish Army (of which nothing came), while the export order of a sale of roughly 100 Nimbus motorcycles to the Yugoslav Army did materialize. The bikes were not delivered before the German Army had conquered Yugoslavia, but upon finding the relevant documents in a bank vault in Zagreb, the German Army in Denmark requested that the machines be handed over. The ex-Yugoslav Nimbuses were presumably all used in Norway, but it is very possible other Nimbuses saw active duty in the eastern campaign, where Danish volunteers presumably were provided with vehicles - cars, trucks & motorcycles - from the Danish Army. The number of the latter remains unclear.

    As the editor of Nimbus Tidende [Nimbus Times] I often get new material about the military Nimbuses. A friend of mine interviewed one of the soldiers who had seen active fighting when the Germans invaded Denmark. The old guy said that they had tried to fire the cannon while still mounted on the sidecar, and breaking all glass (front light, speedo, ammeter) in the process. The outfit's handling with the cannon was none too impressive, not suprising, considering the weight.

    Another old soldier, German, handed over a wartime picture of himself and some fellow Wehrmacht soldiers astride a Nimbus outfit. He claimed to have seen, from the saddle of this Nimbus, the onion-shaped tops of the churches in The Kremlin.

    Finally the Nimbus has been used as Red Cross escort when bringing home KZ-camp survivors, and the military police under UN command used them in Cyprus."

  2. #12

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    And going back one generation ..

    My father on a Matchless in Germany whilst serving in the BAOR, 1946-47.

    Gary J.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #13

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    NICE! Great pic.

    Matchless bikes are great. I'd have been tempted to pull it apart and stowing it in (several) duffle bags (might be complicated with the frame though, LOL) after the tour of duty!

    A friend of mine has a perfectly restoreded MIL NIMBUS with sidecar from exactly that time priod ('47):

    Note MIL rear light, cylindrical tool box placed near the rear light array and MIL kickstand for soft ground.

    Kickstand in the out position. Stand retained on bike, as the sidecar can easily be detached.

    Exposed valves. A quirky detail.

  4. #14

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    And !!!!!!
    The Polish Parachute Brigade - MP Company - Motorcycle Display team.
    Circa 1946-1947.
    (My father is in all of the photo's as part of the team)

    (Note in the pyramid shot, there's the use of dispatch rider/ leather strap paratrooper/ web strap paratrooper helmets)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #15

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    Great pics. The helmet on the bike of my friend is a dedicated bike helmet (dispatch rider). It has leather on the bottom half and a visor.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    I simply love bike's, couldn't imagine my live with out any!
    However driving a bike in belgium is very restricted since last year...
    Gloves, boots, trousers (i mean no shorts (lol!), and a blouse are obligatory now.
    I have had my first fine's all ready...

    Here is my actual bike next to a (well)transformed Vulcan!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!

  7. #17

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    Nice. Thanks for sharing.
    But you need the roaring power of a Nimbus...!
    I mean, we are talking 22bhp here!!!


  8. #18

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    I didn't know the the Nimbus!
    So don't know what i am missing.
    Let me hear the rearing sound (on you tube or so...!!).
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!

  9. #19

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    How a Nimbus sounds when at idle
    1961 Bösch Mahagony Boat - Sound - YouTube


    How a Nimbus really sounds when idling
    1949 Nimbus Motorcycle - YouTube

    Nimbus burn-out. Not something you see every day.
    It accelerates away at the end.
    Nimbus - YouTube

    Nimbus going by and close-ups of engine/valves.
    Nimbus motorcycle - YouTube

    Reunion. Plenty of 'Nimbi'
    Loads of sound & vision
    Nimbus motorcycle reunion 2007 - YouTube

    I cant post a youtube vid of mine. There is nothing inside the exhaust - just the bare pipe. So its sounds like an Airbus going by.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Military motorcycle

    Loud pipes saves lives!!
    ps thanks for the links!!
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!

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