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Pour le cas où mes traductions laisseraient à désirer, voici ci-dessous les originaux des textes utilisés dans la page controverse



La version de Murray Barnard, dont la La page originale est visible ici, la version traduite est ici :


Urals, Chang Jiang and the military sidecar

by Murray Barnard

Almost everyone you meet reckons that the Russian Ural and sidecar is a wartime copy of a captured BMW R75. Well romantic as the notion maybe the fact is that even if the Russians did capture some German sidecars (and early in the war the Russians lost vastly more men and materiel than they ever captured) they were too busy moving all their factories behind the Ural mountains to tool up for an R75 copy. Besides that, tanks, guns and ammunition were way ahead on the production schedule.

Where did the inspiration come from? Were the Germans the sidecar pioneers we tend to believe? Lets go back a bit to 1937, before the war.
Looking at the military outfits in production it was probably FN that inspired the BMW and Zundapp military outfits. Even Puch tried to build one until the Nazis asked them politely to concentrate on other war essentials. The Belgian FN M12 outfit of 1937 had sidecar wheel drive, high and low ratio and reverse gearbox, additional filtration, interchangeable wheels and cross country tyres. A range of sidecars were produced with or without armoured shields. These outfits were so good that after the Nazi invasion the Wehrmacht kept these machines in production.

The French, always adaptable, were quite taken by the Belgian idea and Gnome-Rhone produced a Boxer twin outfit from 1938-40, the sv AX2 800cc. This outfit also featured a reverse gear and a shaft drive to the sidecar wheel. Again the Wehrmacht was impressed and continued production after conquering France in 1940. It wouldn't surprise me if these machines are at times mistaken for BMWs or Zundapps under their camouflage and Wehrmacht markings. There are suggestions that France built more military outfits for the German war effort than BMW and Zundapp combined. It wasn't until the autumn of 1940 that the BMW R75 and Zundapp KS750 models were introduced with similar features to the Belgian and French models.

The yanks were taken by these machines as well after capturing a few in North Africa. The Harley XA prototype was based on the BMW and Zundapp models but in particular a captured 750cc BMW R12. Wherever possible the XA was kept common to the WLA and a sidecar version the XS was prepared. The Jeep killed off this particular venture after 1000 machines were built. However much we like our outfits when it comes to war...4 wheels are better than 3.

Back to the Russians......where did their sidecar outfit come from? Well in 1938 they were licensed by BMW to produce copies of the BMW R71 as the M-72, a side-valve boxer which received some additional work such as extra finning to cope with Russian conditions. This machine was produced during the war (though niceties such as paying royalties to BMW were no doubt overlooked by then). Production continued after the war as the K750. Unlike the war-time BMWs and Zundapps, the Russian model was not OHV, did not have sidecar wheel drive or inter-connected brakes, but remained in production until 1983. In 1968 Ural produced the ubiquitous 650cc OHV flat twin which is still with us today in various forms.

Interestingly the Swiss also built late in the war their own flat twin sidecar outfits.... the Condor A-750 side-valves.

So only Germany led with OHV in these machines the others all went for side valves and Russia didn't copy the R75 and KS750 during the war as production
limitations were pretty severe but probably did capture a heap and use them in Russian markings, especially in films after the war.

Russian Irbit and Kiev side valve machines were built from the early 50s. A 650cc OHV model based on the BMW was built from 1968 and is more commonly known as the Dnepr, Neval, Phoenix or Cossack in Western markets. Chinese machines are based on the early Russian side-valve model and also the later OHV
650. I imagine they are direct copies of the Russian versions. The Chang Jiang certainly looks like the Russian side-valve motor. The more up-market Chang Dong uses an OHV boxer twin.

Murray Barnard





La version de Stephen Wiggins, issue d'un Courriel adressé au site de l'Amicale, la version traduite est ici :

The versions of the origins of the Soviet "oppozit" motorcycles by both Marcel Reinbold and Murray Barnard are interesting, but show a lack of serious research into the subject. This is to be expected however, as most of the literature is only available in Russian and is therefore very under-researched in the West. Indeed, it has only been since the collapse of the Soviet Union that it has been easy to travel to the locations of the factories and talk to the Russian and Ukrainian historians and begin to gather the full story.

I write this response from Irbit, home to a large part of the "oppozit" story. It was in this little town on the edge of Siberia that the machinery and tooling of the Moscow Motorcycle Factory arrived in the winter of 1941. It was from here at the end of February 1942, the first M-72 motorcycles were loaded onto a train to be sent west to be united with sidecars from the GAZ plant and be sent further west to fight the Nazi invaders.

Marcel works from the basis that the Soviets repatriated the R71 production line and then "invented" the story of obtaining the M-72 in 1940. This however, flies in the face of the Soviet attitude to reparations. The Soviets were NOT coy about admitting to taking entire factories from the defeated Germans. They were in fact PROUD of the fact and trumpeted it loudly. Why "hide" the origins of the M-72 production line if it was reparations? They didn't do that for the R2 production line - set-up at MMZ in 1946. They didn't do that for the DKW RT 125 production line - set up also at MMZ in 1946. They didn't do that for the Wanderer production line, set-up at KMZ in late 1945. They didn't do that for the DKW NZ 350/1 production line set-up at IzhMZ (IZH) in 1946. Why be proud of these reparations and not the R71? Simply because the R-71 production line had already been obtained prior to the German invasion of 1941.

And contrary to popular belief the Soviets didn't move all the BMW facilities in the Soviet zone back to the USSR. Most stayed where they were and churned out reparations for the Soviet Union. The Eisenach plant continued to build R35 BMWs until 1955 (though under the EMW name from 1952).

As to Marcel's comment about legions of Soviet soldiers being mounted on H-D WLAs and Indian 741s. It is indeed true. These two brands were the most numerous in the Red Army. Almost 30,000 H-D and 20-25,000 Indians and tens of thousands of British bikes. Most were fitted with Soviet made sidecars, the same Wehrmacht derived sidecar that was fitted to the M-72 and made at the GAZ plant in Gorkiy (Nizhniy Novgorod). If Marcel is interested he can find the production numbers for M-72s in "Historie der M 72 und ihrer Nachfolger." by
J.Pevsner and R. Rodenkirchen in Motorrad-Classic Issue 2/2000. Whilst the Soviets made about 20,000 motorcycles all up in the war years they paled in to insignificance compared to the Lend Lease units.

His comments about the A-750 being a more primitive bike than the R-71 are certainly true. Given as it was designed six years earlier in 1932 by P.V. Mokharov it may be expected. The equivalent BMW of the time was the R11 and it was much of the inspiration for the NATI-A-750 (later PMZ-A-750). Indeed the Soviets recognised the superiority of the M-72 and ceased production of the A-750 in favour of the M-72.

The other pre-war motorcycle of the Red Army was the TIZ-AM-600, a copy of a 1931 BSA Sloper 600. These were produced from 1935 until 1941 when production was stopped in favour of the M-72 and for a short time the TMZ-53 (a 1000cc side valve copy of the BMW R-75).
(Photos of the TIZ-AM-600 are available at

Now, to the reason that the Germans sold the Russians the R71 and not R12 production lines.- the reason is very simple. The R71 was deemed by the Wehrmacht to be a failure. It was more expensive to produce than the R12 and had no redeeming benefits. The Wehrmacht already had many thousands of R12s in satisfactory service and saw no reason to replace it with a more complicated model that offered no benefits, unlike the Zündapp KS750, and BMW's copy the R75, and would only complicate the supply of spare parts.

While it is true that BMW had developed the R71 with an eye to selling it to the Wehrmacht to replace the R12, Zündapp had been progressing in development of the KS600 via the KS700 to the KS750. This motorcycle so impressed the Wehrmacht that it ordered BMW to produce it under licence and BMW quickly prepared the R75 as a face-saving alternative to building the KS750 under licence from Zündapp.

The Soviets had fairly grand plans for the M-72 in 1940. They intended to set-up three plants to build the bikes. One at LMZ in Leningrad (St Petersburg). One at MMZ in Moscow and a third at KhMZ in Kharkov. Many needed parts were to be built by other companies. With the invasion in 1941 the plants and parts were quickly transferred south and east. The LMZ plant ending up in the surrounds of the GAZ plant at Gorkiy and the MMZ finally ending up in Irbit after stops at Kazan and Sverdlovsk (Yekaterinburg).

The foundry for the Irbit plant was set-up in the grounds of the brewery on the outskirts of town. A building in the old town was turned into the engine/gearbox/final drive machining/assembly plant. An old school opposite was turned into the technical training school. Should Marcel want to come to Irbit, he can see these buildings and see the plaques commemorating their usage during the war. He can see the memorial to the workers from the factory who volunteered for service in the Red Army and died. He can then go to the Irbit State Motorcycle Museum and see the 1940 BMW R71 with Wehrmacht sidecar that was provided along with the tooling and machinery. He can see the photos of workers building both the plant and bikes in the winter of 1941-42. He can read the accounts of the veterans of those times, including the accounts of workers sent to Bavaria in 1940 to learn to use the tooling at the BMW plant.

Or he can dismiss it all as a conspiracy because he hasn't seen photos of Soviet riders on these bikes during the war. The choice is Marcel's. Personally, I find the evidence in Irbit more than convincing.

Now on to Murray Barnard's account. The Belgium FN M12 of 1937 was not the first usage of the driven sidecar wheel. In fact it goes back at least eight years earlier. Either P.V. Mokharov of the Soviet Union or H.P Baughn of Great Britain seem to have to been the first to employ a driven sidecar wheel in 1929. In fact Baughn 2WD outfits were so successful in trials events in the early 1930's that there were attempts to have the ACU to ban them from competition. A great many companies experimented with 2WD in sporting events and indeed many companies employed them in military vehicles prior to the commencement of WWII.

As to the claim that the H-D XA was inspired by the BMW R12, anyone making such a claim should surely see an optometrist. Yes it is clearly BMW inspired but only the R71 had the features found on the XA and they were not used by the Wehrmacht. No the origins of the XA and the frame of the 841 probably came in the form of plans provided by the Soviet Union who wanted a great many items from the Americans under Lend Lease. At the moment this is pure speculation, but it would be interesting why both H-D and Indian copied a plunger framed bike when the Wehrmacht did not use them. Only the Red Army used such a bike.

As to Barnard's claim that BMW licenced the R71 in 1938, this is simply a mistake of dates. The real licencing occurred in 1940 by which time BMW realised that the R71 was a Wehrmacht reject and the German and Soviet governments had signed the necessary economic and political treaties to allow for the technology transfer.

Barnard has again done too little research to state that the M-72 continued after the war as the model K-750. The K-750 wasn't introduced by the KMZ factory until 1958. Seven years after it produced it's first M-72 in 1951. It also ignores the production of the M-72 at Gorkiy until 1949 when production facilities were transferred to KMZ in Kiev. His statement that the 650 OHV motors were first produced in 1968, again shows a lack of research. IMZ had been producing OHV engines since the M-52 of 1957 and the M-61 of 1958. The reference to 1968 is undoubtedly based on a lack of understanding of the various factories caused by the combined marketing of all Soviet motorcycles by Avtoexport. The K-650, first introduced in 1967 was marketed in the West in 1968 and was probably the first OHV machine known in the West.

His claim that the Soviets did not copy the BMW R75 during the war is also false. The TMZ-53 produced from late 1941 to 1943 in Tuemen was apart from it's sidevalve 1000cc motor (based on a M-72 crankcase) very much a copy of the R75. Complete with high and low range gearbox and differential sidecar drive. A visit to the Moscow Polytechnic Museum will allow an inspection of the only known surviving example. (Photos of the TMZ-53 are available at

Once again his comments about the Chinese machines shows inadequate research. The Soviets had been supplying the Chinese with M-72s since the beginning of the Korean War. In 1956 IMZ updated it's model to the M-72M and transferred the older M-72 production line to the Chinese where it was known as the 1957 model. First complete production of Chinese M-72s occurred in 1961. Prior to this, units were assembled from a combination of Soviet and Chinese parts.

The complexity of Chinese production certainly rivals that of Soviet production and deserves it's own complete history.

Stephen Wiggins


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