Bring back some good or bad memories


July 8, 2023

During WWII, the British Produced the Welbike, the Smallest Motorcycle to Ever Be Used by Its Military

This mini-motorcycle was a WWII quick escape vehicle. The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) officers parachuted behind enemy lines with the bike in an airdrop container. When they hit the ground and unfolded the bike, they were on the road within 11 seconds.

The Welbike was a British single-seat folding motorcycle produced during World War II at the direction of Station IX — the “Inter Services Research Bureau” — based at Welwyn, UK, for use by Special Operations Executive (SOE). It has the distinction of being the smallest motorcycle ever used by the British Armed Forces.

Between 1942 and 1943, 3,641 units (plus a prototype and some pilot models) were built and, although not much used by the SOE, some were issued to the British 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions and some were used at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

With its small size, the Welbike was perfect for airborne operations. In fact it was so small that one could fit in a standard British parachute airdrop container. It featured a 98 cc (6 cu inch) two stroke engine with a one gallon gas tank, which gave it a range of 90 miles. Fully fueled, it only weighed 71 pounds. 3,641 were produced from 1942 until 1945. After the war most were  sold to civilians or exported to the United States.

The development and use of the Welbike inspired the Americans and Germans to create their own airborne scooters as well. In 1947, the inventor of the Welbike, Lt. Colonel John Dolphin, retired from the military and founded Corgi Motorcycle Co LTD and continued production for the civilian market. Another 27,050 were produced by Corgi Motorcycle Co. between 1947 and 1954.

1 comment:



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10