Secret of French Military Prowess: Armed Vespa!

That's a moped armed with a 75 mm recoilless cannon, called the ACMA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56, used by (who else?) the French Military!

Deployed with their airborne forces, this was essentially a militarized Vespa scooter outfitted with a 75mm recoilless rifle. Five parachutes would carry the two-man gun crew, weapon, ammunition, and two scooters safely to earth, and the men would load the weapon on one scooter and the ammo on the other, then ride away. More impressively, the recoilless rifle could be fired effectively on the move by the best of the gun crews. Total cost? About $500 for the scooter and the recoilless rifle was war surplus. Were they successful military machines? Well, the French Army deployed about 800 armed scooters in wars conducted in both Algeria and Indochina.

Dark Roasted Blend has the scoop: Link


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Another early attempt at Airborne mobility and weapons use/delivery. In the '50s-'60s, there were many attempts to advance this concept. Fascinating vehicle. Firing the recoilless rifle on this tiny platform must have been interesting, to say the least.
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CaptJosh: Your correction is slightly incorrect =) Yes, this is a scooter. Scooters may or may not be mopeds. My -96 Vespa PK50XL2 is in fact both a scooter and a moped, but has no pedals. Pedals are not required for a motorbike to be a moped, though the source of the term is "motor-pedal". Nowadays (that is, the last 30 years or so...) the term moped simply implies that the speed is restricted to approximately 50 km/h form an engine of no larger displacement than 50 cubic centimeters. In the European Union that is 45 km/h, and the power output has to be >5hp. Some mopeds are scooters, some look like speedway bikes, others like enduro/cross motorbikes, classic "naked" motorbikes or even choppers. Vespa even made a very small three-wheel cargovan called Ape wich, in the 50cc version, is actually a moped.

This scooter, however, is unlikely to be a moped. It may be a smallframe Vespa, but i gather that, with the load it is meant to carry, it would be based on a 125cc model. It may be a largeframe, I can´t tell from the picture since I am not very familiar with Vespas before 1990, and if so it may have a 125, 150, 160 180 or 200 cc engine. Or, it could have been custom built for the army with any old engine setup.

Either way it is one of the craziest Scooters I´ve seen, and I´d love to do a replica - all though I very much doubt that I could get it road legal here in Norway...
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Gah, when will people get things right? That is NOT a moped. It is a scooter, yes, but a moped actually has pedals, like a bicycle, which, among other things, start the engine.
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