Description: The Flying Flea resulted from a request by the former Dutch DKW importer for a replica of Holland's then best selling motorcycle, the 98cc DKW RT following the withdrawal of the DKW concession. German authorities stopped the Dutch franchisee of the DKW motorcycle from receiving any more cycles or spares in 1938, preferring a non-Jewish company. Royal Enfield was contacted by the displaced importer about producing a similar motorcycle, close to the DKW design. So Royal Enfield did, although they increased capacity to 125cc. In early 1942, the War Office ordered twenty RE motorcycles from Royal Enfield for testing, based on their 1939 civilian pre-war design. The RE (Flying Flea) also known as the Airborne could be dropped by parachute along with airborne troops. Complete with its own parachute and packing cage, the Flying Flea could be dropped from an aircraft along with the troops provided a means of motorized battlefield transport not previously available. The Flea was fitted into a steel tubular cage called the ‘Bird Cage’, which had a parachute attached to it. The first significant orders for the Royal Enfield RE were consequently placed during early 1943, but after all the planning and preparation only a few were actually dropped into the battle zone by parachute, as it was decided to load them into troop carrying gliders four at a time without the protective frames, and secured by a special harness instead. A number of Royal Enfield RE motorcycles were also used for beach landings during 1943 and 1944, and were carried inside landing craft to the beach for communication between the beaches and the nearest front line forces.
Royal Enfield people and Paratroopers are good people.
Cheers from an old Paratrooper and Royal Enfield people,
Picture Stats: Views: 968 Posted by: Bill Harris March 22, 2012, 12:47:00 PM