In Sweden, like other developing nations, we had our soldiers cycling with their anti tank weapons (first picture):
Not only developing nations, Japan used bicycle infantry in their invasion of Indochina and Malaya to devastating effect - motorised vehicles were hard to use in the jungle terrain, but bicycles were fine while being drastically faster than the foot infantry used by British and other Allied troops.
Germany did that with Panzerfausts in the last days of the war. The riders were children.
Which is much better for the environment. (Y) Kudos
Versatile mobility while keep the troops fit. Nice!
This must have inspired the Tuk-Tuk Boom Boom in Just Cause 2 and 4
I'd rename it to Tuk-Tuk Boom, because from the looks of the (non-recoilless) cannon it could obviously only go "boom" once, after which the flimsy vehicle would be utterly destroyed...
Probably that came from this: https://www.reddit.com/r/shittytechnicals/comments/n7vjmg/da...
Finally a two wheeled vehicle that will command some respect in Amsterdam traffic. I'll take it.
I can recommend the "Bad Teeth No Bar" book for more ideas
The glass wind shield mounted on a Vespa, commonly referred to as a 'Holleedertje', has a similar effect and it keeps you dry in the rain as well.
Still a thing.
A big improvement. A vespa is loud. A electric motorbike/bicycle is silent and way better offroad so greatly improves survival rates of teams using these in real combat.
> enough speed to ram any vehicles if needed in an emergency
That was a surprising statement! A 37mph crash on a scooter isn't going to leave you in particularly good shape for fighting.
Not to mention the small mass you have on your side. A vespa is going to lose in a ramming fight against most any vehicle. The cited source doesn't say anything about ramming.
All of you criticizing the mismatch of power between a Vespa and a tank simply do not understand the desperation felt by those living in countries occupied by the Germans during the war. In the 1950s Europe was poor, extremely traumatized, and people lived in fear of another war. This is a vehicle of desperation.
It is not a "vehicle of desperation", it's just a cheap para-friendly way to move a 47kg gun around. The contemporary equivalent is bigger but still not that big: https://www.defense.gouv.fr/dga/actualites/qualification-du-...
This reminds me of the contemporary use of e-bikes in Ukraine, which I understand is one of the many reasons that this war was not the curbstomp Russia seems to have expected.
> ...in an emergency it could be fired while in the frame, and while the scooter was moving.
You'd have to have balls of steel to fire that thing while riding the scooter. It's recoilless, but you are sitting right on top of it.
Not to mention the blast from the missile after it leaves the tube, and the aerodynamic effects. I've fired a 9mm pistol from a moving motorcycle, and it's already tricky to maintain balance. Can't imagine this wouldn't end with the rider on the ground many feet away from the bike.
Yes, we want you to take a motorcycle up against a tank. It's cheaper, you're expendable, and we will win with the budget we have.
You joined the Legion to die, and we are sending you where you can do that.
No, we do not cover you with life insurance.
The scooter is just a light, air-droppable vehicle for schlepping the gun around the battlefield to a location where it can be set up and ideally dug in. It's no different than moving a light artillery-piece with a jeep, a truck, a tractor, or a mule (except that a mule is going to object rather vehemently to being booted out of a plane).
>Yes, we want you to take a motorcycle up against a tank.
Fast forward to today. In a video from Gaza a Hamas fighter runs toward Merkava and manually puts a blast-fragmentation warhead onto its armor (not for the lack of weapons as he shoots a tandem warhead from an RPG half a minute later). I have a hypothesis what is going on in that video - the Trophy active defense system would shoot down an incoming warhead, yet it wouldn't react to a person running toward it (like in Dune and similar where cold blade weapons is used because defense systems deal with the fast incoming threats), and the tanks don't have infantry right by the tank because system like Trophy damages the accompanying infantry, and the Trophy really performs a lot of tank defensive tasks that the accompanying infantry would otherwise be tasked with. So, the first warhead - the one manually placed on armor (and that warhead wasn't shaped charge) - explodes and takes out the Trophy, and after that the Hamas guy shoots the tandem warhead which would penetrate the reactive armor and the main armor.
You can’t put everybody in tanks, as tanks are fairly helpless without infantry support. Even if they wouldn’t be, tanks need support personnel nearby on the ground for refueling, maintenance, and repairs.
So, an army needs infantry. Infantry will, at times, encounter enemy tanks without sufficient friendly tank support.
When that happens, things like these can be very helpful to bring antitank weapons to where they’re needed.
The existence of such weapons also can act as a deterrence.
The Panzerfaust served a similar role and was effective at it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerfaust#Germany: “However, the threat from the Panzerfaust forced Allied tank forces to wait for infantry support before advancing. The portion of British tanks taken out of action by Panzerfäuste later rose to 34%, a rise probably explained by the lack of German anti-tank guns late in the war and the increased numbers of Panzerfäuste that were available to defending German troops”
> a tank
Imprecise terminology often causes bad thinking. A “tank” could be a MBT, or it could be an armored personel carrier with very limited offensive capabilities.
Comrade, here is top of line RKG-3 anti-tank grenade. Pop out of fox hole and throw over tank! Who needs fancy top-attack Javalin when you have grenade with parachute eh?
I'd take the Vespa option any day of the week.
No one assembles hunter-killer squads to specifically take out enemy tanks with such a crappy weapon. Instead, you provide them because its "better than nothing" if you happen to run up against an enemy tank.
Furthermore: there are lesser vehicles, such as Humvees and IFVs that have thinner armor where these anti-tank guns would work better against.
Actual anti-tank hunter-killer groups used guided missiles even as early as the 1960s (with Nazi designs from the 1940s!!!), and today use automated fire-and-forget homing missiles.
Guided missiles have far more range and reliability. Early guided weapons were just a radio (or even a wire attached to the rocket in the earliest designs).
There are too many replies for me to answer them all one at a time, so I will answer them here.
I was trying to be funny.
Of course infantry anti-armor weapons have their place.
Of course motorcycles can be effective means of transport.
I just found the mental image of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) a teenage kid would experience when he is given a motorcycle with an anti-tank weapon on it...I foud that funny.
I think I've just seen the perfect vehicle for commuting in Boston.
When I read the title I thought this might be some new programming fork, but was secretly hoping for ... an Anti Tank Vespa! And it is!
I was seeing these Napoleonic depictions of artillery piece being transported on a donkey's back and never stopped wondering if they ever tried to fire directly from that poor donkey's back.
I think this is a good time to mention the elephant-mounted machine gun: https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/elephant-mounted-machine-gu...
That's a real WW1 thing, not an Age of Empires 2 cheat code.
I've never had any interest in driving a scooter until now, but there's something tantalizing when I picture driving a big bazooka down my street.
Sadly nothing about how it fared in combat.
Seeing as it was developed in the 1950s, it likely never saw combat.
be sure to bring your spade mortar as well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/37mm_spade_mortar
Where is the state of the art at with self-driving two wheeled vehicles?
Not ready to mount weapons on, if that's what you're asking.
Sadly nothing about how these fared in combat, anyone have any insight?
The TIE fighter of its day
Sounds like the centrepiece of a fun combat game.
> The riders were children
Kids today are living the good life.
I mean... Ok. But they definitely aren't going quickly to protect from tanks. I'm not educated in the right ways to work out if shelling is worse than some bikes that'll probably outlast the war, if they don't get destroyed.
Depends on the tank and the situation - a bicycle from short range can be faster than the turret can be rotated to expose the bicycle to the machine gun of the tank. Not to mention the ambush opportunities in forests and the like, where the bicycle and the operators can lie down, be covered in netting, and spring up after the tank has passed them to hit it on the sides/back, and run away quickly after the attack.
But then does a tuk-tuk go "tuk" twice?
That's why dutch people have front bike seats for children. You can hide behind them when it's raining really bad.
Don't forget IR. The night vision is very widely used in the Ukraine war, and ICE engine is much better/farther/brighter visible in IR.
night vision is not IR
It's just claimed that it has enough speed for ramming, not that the ramming would actually be effective...
What does it means to have enough speed for non-effective ramming? That it is not stationary? It seems a very low bar...
> I've fired a 9mm pistol from a moving motorcycle...
I am curious, why would you do that?
Shits and giggles. I was careful and in a safe place, but most people shouldn't try that at home.
IIRC, similar techniques were used as fighter pilot training in WWI.
It’s a recoilless rifle, the exhaust gases go out the back so the net force on the rider and bike would be pretty low. It’s also designed for transport, with the rifle statically deployed on a tripod rather than firing in motion.
Yes, but the rocket is still being a rocket, and after it leaves the tube, it'll still toss a ton of exhaust at the bike. I know it's designed to be fired stationary, but this discussion is about the feature allowing it to be fired in motion in emergencies, which hopefully nobody ever did.
A APC isn't a tank, it's an APC.
If it's got say an autocannon, and/or ATGM it would be called an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)
Both those and tanks would all be considered Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV).
Even the lightest APC will have enough firepower to take out a Vespa. I don't think 120mm APDS is going to make a big difference.
And the lightest Panzerfaust tandem charge antitank rocket can kill the heaviest tank.
You can also equip like 30 people with that weapon and scatter then around forests, taking advantage of the tanks relatively poor visibility. (Tanks have cameras, periscopes and other optics, but usually are pretty bad at overall awareness unless the commander sticks their head out the top to look around)
According to the article, it wasn't a real thing, but only a publicity photo:
> It’s probably a publicity picture, not something the army would actually try to employ. The elephant would not respond well to the sound of that machine gun a few inches from his ears.
France had plenty of combat at the time but the other side rarely, if ever, had tanks.
The weapon in question, the M20 recoilless rifle, turned out to be ineffective against tanks (even against T-34s which by the 1950s were obsolete), but effective as close infantry support against stationary targets. So it could still have been used effectively against e.g. Vietnamese or Algerian positions.
There are various photos online that claim to show it in the field in Algeria during their war of independence. Given that it was used by French paras who were deployed there during that time, I have no particular reason to doubt those captions.
passive night vision (thermal vision) sensors typically used by military are sensitive around 10 micrometer wavelength, which is IR.
Fast enough that when you jump off it will stay on line and reach your target tank and then explode, taking out a track or something.
ie. Will reach the tank but not ram it at high speed, so timed grenades or something will do the job.
It didn't fire rockets. It's a recoilless rifle, IOW a cannon with an exhaust, not a bazooka-like rocket launcher.
And even things like the RPG-7 use a recoilless design to launch the projectile before the rocket ignites and you don’t see the user being impacted much at all by the rocket exhaust.
Exactly. Nothing is invulnerable. And tanks in forests without infantry support are generally a bad idea.
The kind of armored vehicle you've got mostly matters in duels with other armored vehicles.
Well, a tank does consistently fire from 3km ranges. As a support vehicle, its essential in the long-range combat of today.
At 3km+ out, no Panzerfaust or AT4 can hit the tank. Only a guided Javelin, but those are heavy (heavy for an infantry to carry at least) and expensive.
But yes, the whole plan of today's combat is combined arms. Tanks doing what tanks do best: long range sniping and sometimes taking advantage of armor to say... get rid of anti-personel land-mines and other lesser explosives.
Looks like it was used in Algeria, actually, according to this source:
"La Vespa 150 TAP o "Vespa Bazooka" como la llamaban algunos tuvo su bautismo de fuego durante la guerra de Argelia (1954-62), en que varios cientos de estas motos fueron desplegadas y utilizadas por las TAP y la Legión Extranjera." 
"The Vespa 150 TAP or "Vespa Bazooka" as some called it had its baptism of fire during the Algerian war (1954-62), in which several hundred of these motorcycles were deployed and used by the TAP and the Foreign Legion."
I haven't found other sources, though.
Curiously the Wikipedia page in French mentions Algeria as well, but has no sources, and the official military archives have zero relevant mentions of Vespa, M20, scooter, bazooka, ACMA.
Backblast is still a problem
Err, yeah that comes out of the back of the recoilless rifle so only an issue for the people behind you not the person firing it unless they are too close to a wall or similar. With something like the RPG-7 the backblast is from the recoilless stage not the rocket.
> Backblast is still a problem
Correction, I should have wrote:
I wonder if backblast could be a problem? I suck at physics. Does Randall Monroe read hacker news?
> Err, yeah that comes out of the back of the recoilless rifle so only an issue for the people behind you not the person firing it unless they are too close to a wall or similar. With something like the RPG-7 the backblast is from the recoilless stage not the rocket.
(Read on for needlessly aggressive semi-amusing rest of the reply)
While I have only personally fired one M72 rocket, and one round from a Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, neither of which was in combat nor on a vehicle, I am still vaguely familiar with the concept of 'backblast'.
I was concerned that the effects of said backblast against things like the terrain, and possibly things on the terrain, might negatively effect the continued ability of the Vespa and it's occupant to conduct a last ditch suicide attack towards an enemy tank at high speed.
When aiming from the Vespa it’s probably more prudent to rely on the backblast as the weapon of choice before commencing scratching the tanks paintwork. :D
Another comedy invention had the counter-mass of recoilless designs come from a second projectile that would fire out backwards which was abandoned for obvious reasons!