Jan 1, 2001
Several armies maintained bicycle infantry divisions around the time of the second world war. Bicycles were seen as a low cost, low maintenance, low resource (i.e. not needing petrol) form of troop transport.
In the present day several police forces have adopted the mountain bike as an eco and community friendly vehicle.
For combat applications the military have decided that mountain unicycles are more appropriate than mountain bicycles. There are several reasons for this: -
* The riding position is vastly superior to the bicycle for combat i.e. the position is upright enabling better observation, and, more importantly, the hands are free to operate firearms- E.C.U units are trained to engage in fire fights whilst mounted
* Ease of dismount under fire- it is quick and easy to leave the unicyle from any given angle and immediately go to ground; on a bicycle it is necessary to stop first or to be restricted to a sideways roll
* They are easier to maintain in a battle situation, having fewer parts and no chain etc
* They are lighter which aids in carrying over unridable terrain
* Their lower speed is seen as a plus in ambush situations i.e. a bicycle unit is in danger of being in the midst of the ambush before they are aware it is taking place
There have been found to be psychological factors which adversely effect an enemy unit under attack from combat unicyclists, primarily the well established 'gawp/double take' effect.
It has been observed that a proportion of the enemy soldiers on realizing that they are under attack by soldiers on unicycles will cease their combat activities and stare in disbelief, they are then highly susceptible to return fire.
Indeed, there are some unconfirmed reports of spontaneous 'enemy applause' with the appearance of E.C.U personnel during a firefight.
The unicycles used by E.C.U units are of similar design to the standard Muni i.e. 24" wheel with fat tyre (the thickest civilian tyre is 3", the military ones go up to 5") and brakes. The military models don't have chromed frames; black or disruptive pattern being used instead.
Some models have hub gears enabling high speeds on roads, and suspension with compressed gas units, which enable the rider to clear obstacles up to 2.5 meters high.
E.C.U is an elite unit equivalent to the S.A.S (Special Air Service) of the British military; they engage in the same training as these units i.e. forced marches, 'live round' combat training, escape and evasion; but with the additional difficulty of carrying out these activities whilst on a unicycle.
Although their use in actual combat situations has been limited due to their specialised role, their operational success rate has been very high, usually ending in 100% enemy causalities.
As a bonus there have been none of the incidents of 'friendly fire' that have plagued other combat units, it being easy to identify fellow E.C.U personnel by the fact that they are on a unicycle.
Posted by Stupid at 12:45 AM