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Tanks. Armored troop carriers. Humvees. These are the standard bearers for military vehicles on the battlefield. Motorcycles? Not so much these days. But the early motor bike made the first significant impact by a gasoline-powered machine in modern warfare. And the role of the military motorcycle continues more than a century later.
==Possibility of a “Motorized Infantry” Recognized==
It was the military that foresaw the importance of the motorcycle in warfare even before the bike manufacturers. With the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 the British office of the Ministry of Defence sought out William and Edwin Douglas, brothers in Bristol who had been manufacturing a 2.75 horsepower Barter Fairy Motorcycle since 1907. <ref>''The London Douglas Motorcycle Club'', 2015.</ref> The Douglas brothers initially assumed the order was for 300 of their pedal-assisted machines, total. In fact the War Office was looking for 300 motorbikes each month and the company would eventually provide 70,000 machines for the war effort. <ref>McCrystal,Hayley, ”The Motorbikes of World War One,” ''Motorbike Times'', August 4, 2014</ref>