book_25The Illustrated History

of Military Motorcycles

by David Ansell

Osprey, 1996

208 pages

 by Troy Johnson

The world’s military agencies are never slow to realize the potential any new technology has to aid them in their work of bringing death, destruction, rape and misery to the rest of our doorsteps.

Military Motorcycles have been around for nearly as long as motorcycles. In The Illustrated History of Military Motorcycles, David Ansell brings the reader on a war by war tour through the history of fighting motorcycles.

Ansell’s book is loaded with technical drawings, specifications and photographs of the machines in action. Making this volume a great reference tool for restoring nearly any military motorcycle, as every model ever made for, or used by an army seems to be included.

The Illustrated History of Military Motorcycles would also be an interesting read for anyone with a love for the history of machines in combat. True to it’s title, the book is loaded with hundreds of photos&emdash; both vintage wartime and modern color shots of restored bikes.

Looking through this book we were surprised to find that there were dozens of manufacturers of military motorcycles that were more obscure than William Shatner’s spoken word album.

Every factory that ever turned out a bike was anxious to get a ride on a defense contract gravy train, but the demands placed on a military bike meant that very few of them were able to make a bike well enough to secure a second contract.

The highest compliment we can pay this book is its complete and utter thoroughness. It is not meant as much to be a book read cover to cover but is encyclopedic in nature.

The Illustrated History of Military Motorcycles is available through Whitehorse Press: 603-356-6556 or on the web at


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