Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bicycle warfare: an Impetus to Ride

The Japanese are geniuses. They just gave me an impetus to hate all my time doing route marches back in BMT, and they just gave you, an impetus to ride.

I went to the National Museum today, and while I just browsed the exhibits were real interesting. I saw a whole wall full of bikes, and I knew that was where I was supposed to be. I realised that it's not about how bicycles were a big deal in the colonial era, rather, it was about how the Japanese used it for their Malayan Campaign. Apparently, the reason why the Japanese decided to adopt bicycles was because,

"[influenced] by the intense heat and impassable jungle, Japanese planners decided from the beginning to use bicycles rather than horses as a means of troop and light material transportation. This decision allowed the foot soldiers to travel farther, faster, and with less fatigue. Due to the vast number of rivers on the Malay peninsula, and the British propensity to destroy the more than 250 bridges they crossed during their retreat, bicycles allowed

the infantry (to continue) their advance, wading across the rivers carrying their bicycles on their shoulders,or crossing on log bridges held up on the shoulders of engineers standing in the stream.13

The British could not escape the troops on bicycles. They were overtaken, driven off the paved roads into the jungle, and forced to surrender. The constant pressure and relentless pursuit was psychologically devastating to the defenders; a true blitzkrieg -- Japanese-style."

The Japanese are truly innovators. Of course, bicycles as a tool of war is not only used in Asia, the Europeans have bicycle troops too. The bicycle is a real dynamic tool, as it is proven here. Not always do you have access to a car, especially overseas or when you suddenly went broke, but you'll know that there's a time tested solution to all your transportation woes: the bicycle. I wonder, does our Army have any plans of using the bicycle? A bicycle never goes out of date: it always multiplies the ability of a human to traverse distances on the same legs that can go only at 4km/h without this wondrous tool.


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