Courier motorcycle

Indiana Jones rides through Verdun

Special motorcycles were used by couriers during World War I. Lightweight, speedy motorcycles designed for both road and off-road use were a key component of France's 2nd Army communications network. Written orders were given to couriers, who then sped off from the 2nd Army headquarters in Souilly to the various battlefield sectors around Verdun.

In September 1916, the 2nd Army command had several motorcycles available for use by its couriers, including at least one with a sidecar, for carrying passengers or small cargoes. Belgian couriers were brought in when General Robert Nivelle realized that his previous courier group had been infiltrated by German spies. The new couriers included Rocco, Claude, Alex, and Henri Defense (Indiana Jones).

During the months of battle, motorcycle couriers would occasionally come under fire from German biplanes. Jones himself was target of Hermann Göring. Jones later sabotaged his own motorbike by igniting its gas tank to hide the destruction of the attack orders he was carrying that would have pointlessly killed the men at the front.


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