Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Solution for Crowded Roads

Today's ride is actually a 150cc scooter, so it shouldn't be here at all, but I didn't do anything special on April 1st, so think of this as a belated April Fool's Day posting.

But the scooter shown here is real- a Vespa 150 modified by the French armed forces to carry a US-made M20 mm recoilless rifle, making this the only tank-killing scooter ever made. They were intended to be deployed in pairs, with one carrying the gun and the other, several rounds of ammunition. The two riders would work together as a team, one loading and spotting, and the other firing.

Between 600 and 800 were air-dropped with French airborne forces to Algeria, where they proved less useful than the inventors thought. The guns were stripped from the scooters and used in more conventional service, and the scooters themselves proved useful for messenger duties.

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