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Harley-Davidson would churn out some 15,000 motorcycles for the American war effort. When the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 the first American to enter vanquished Germany was Corporal Roy Holtz - he rode down the cobbled streets on a Harley-Davidson with a sidecar. Despite the company's impressive output in support of the United States Army, the number of Harley-Davidson motor bikes sent to Europe was only about one-third of the company's total production. It is estimated that the American military ordered over 80,000 motorcycles and many manufacturers smaller than Harley-Davidson, most notably Indian Motorcycle, overhauled their entire facility to produce military bikes and lost their peacetime market in the process. Most of these companies struggled through the 1920s and were ultimately done in by the Great Depression.
175px|G-585 Harley Davidson XA, 751cc, 23hp]]
The upshot was that when the United States military was ready to make the largest deployment of motorcycles in its history during World War II, Harley-Davidson was the prime supplier. Company engineers worked tirelessly to design prototypes that could handle shore patrols in Europe, jungles in the Pacific Theater and desert sands in North Africa. Many of the new designs incorporated engineering gleaned from captured German BMW R71 motorcycles of the Bavarian Motor Works. For three consecutive years Harley Davidson received the prestigious Army/Navy 'E' Award for Excellence in Wartime Production. <ref>”’H-D Supports the Military,” corporate history, Harley Davidson USA, 2015</ref>