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Battlegraphics last won the day on April 12 2020

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  1. There is an air bleed button on the filler cap! Well, that would seem to answer the mystery of why the motorcycle might have started and run for awhile and then halted, certainly very frustrating if you didn't know about the button. I think that first photo is of the airborne operation associated with crossing the Rhine, Operation Varsity. I can't tell if that is a Flea in the photo but it certainly could be. Anyone able to tell? The other motorcycle is heavier. Perhaps that there is a mix of motorcycles in the photo suggests they are doing separate duties, perhaps directing traffic in one case and carrying messages in the other? Thank you for the photos. All best, David in Fort Lauderdale
  2. Greetings. Hope someone can tell me what the actual intended use of a Royal Enfield Flying Flea motorcycle (WD/RE) would be in a combat zone. In this regard does anyone know of an account describing their actual use? It probably seems obvious. But consider: there are pictures of them being loaded into gliders, but not many photos (if any) of them in use after landing, except in what appear to be posed photos at practice or publicity events. It is often said that they were delivered (mostly by glider rather than parachute, apparently) with the British airborne. One view seems to be that there were to be used by, essentially, a commando-style force. I'd visualize this as soldiers, hurriedly mounted on these motorcycles, rushing to an objective such as a bridge, tossing the motorcycles into a hedge and taking up positions. (For instance, there was an attempt, at Arnhem, to use glider-delivered Jeeps armed with machine guns to reach the bridge, but they were ambushed en route). But when I look at the Flying Flea I see a motorcycle with full fenders, sprung seat, toolkit, tire pump, headlight with black-out hood, tail lamp and -- for gosh sakes -- a bulb horn! It does not appear to be a use-once, throw-away conveyance. So I always conceived the notion that they were for use carrying dispatches among the airborne. But, if so, why so few, if any photos of this? An explanation I have heard is that the special sealed carburetor filter, meant to prevent spills while in the air, was not understood by troops who would start the motorcycles, run them briefly until the petrol in the carburetor was used up, and then, when they stopped, dump them, considering them non-functional. Thank you all. David in Fort Lauderdale
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