the most widely used and effective military vehicles
is the bicycle. Swift, silent and inconspicuous,
bikes were first used in 1875 by the Italian army,
but really came into their own in Vietnam.
Needing only a path and using no gas, they were
ideal for jungle transport. The Vietnamese victory
over the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 was made
possible by an uninterrupted flow of supplies from
the north, maintained by a complex system of about
18,000 porters using bicycles modified to carry 500
pounds of rice and ammunition.
History repeated itself during the U.S. involvement
in Vietnam, as thousands of bicycle porters marched
along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to support the Vietcong.
In the end, not even the modern weaponry could stop
the old, reliable bicycle.
French-made North Vietnamese bicycle displayed in
the museum was captured at a base camp at LZ
Phillips, Cambodia. The enemy was routed from the
camp by the 4th Infantry Division in
bike, along with 11 other bikes, were loaded with
dozens of new fatigue uniforms, 250 pair of Ho Chi
Minh sandals, 300 ponchos, 100 pistol belts and
eight 100 pound bags of rice with 40 cooking pots
and 50 aluminum mess kits.