BMW R75 Motorcycle
Let's find some Amerikaners!
|Role||Light reconnaissance vehicle|
|Upkeep per Minute||-2.688|
|Produced By||Wehrmacht Quarters|
|Primary armament||1x MG42 light machine gun|
|Max. Speed||7.2 m/s|
Overview[edit | edit source]
The BMW R75 Motorcycle is a small motorbike with an MG42 machine gun-bearing sidecar attached. Due to a lack of any sort of armor or even substantial added weight, the Motorcycle is among the fastest vehicles in the entire game, also having great acceleration. This comes at the cost of being highly vulnerable to enemy fire, even for its class.
The Motorcycle is the earliest available vehicle for the Wehrmacht, available in the Wehrmacht Quarters with a build time of only 30 seconds. With a unit cost of only 180 manpower, it is the cheapest armed vehicle in the game, though its upkeep and population cost match other early-game vehicles. With its high speed and low price, the Motorcycle will be a common sight early-game, especially on larger maps.
Like the other Recon vehicles, the Motorcycle's sight range is quite long, which is complimented by good detection of camouflaged units- though, with very few American or Commonwealth units possessing that ability, in effect it is less useful than its Allied counterparts in that ability. Despite that, the long view range pairs well with a variety of Wehrmacht or allied Panzer Elite units.
The Motorcycle has a few unique traits compared to most vehicles in the game. It has the profile of an Infantry squad, allowing it to cross small bridges and fit into tight gaps that most other vehicles are unable to cross, allowing it to occasionally reach the battle faster or take an unexpected flank. However, one of its unique traits is a major downside: It is unable to reverse, and will have to face any direction it moves directly.
Finally, Wehrmacht commanders that own Tales of Valor will be able to select the Schwimmwagen Type 166 as a reward unit, replacing the Motorcycle.
Weapon[edit | edit source]
Maschinengewehr 42 Light Machine Gun[edit | edit source]
The Motorcycle's only weapon is a front-facing MG42. While it has an aim time, in practice, very rarely does this come into effect itself (more often the vehicle will simply turn to face the target directly). The weapon fires in bursts averaging 2.12 seconds, firing 12 rounds a second, with a 3 second pause between bursts. After 8 or 9 consecutive bursts, the MG42 must be reloaded, a process that takes 6 seconds- the Motorcycle should be retreated from combat if it is forced to reload in a scenario where enemies are firing back on it.
Each round does 5 damage, though most enemy units (with the exception of Snipers and Weapon Team crew members) will take reduced damage. Accuracy is rather good for an automatic weapon, with 55% of shots landing at point blank gradually lowering to 25% at its max range of 35 meters, which should be noted, is also the range of most Allied rifles, and longer-range than most Allied SMGs. Accuracy is halved when moving, however.
Unlike most weapons in the game, the Motorbike has a negative Accuracy Incremental, meaning the more enemy targets within its range of fire, the less accurate the gun will be, despite logic dictating otherwise. The reason for this is unknown, though the Jeep does share this trait. In addition, the gun's accuracy penalty against units in even basic cover is quite dramatic, though it does get accuracy and damage boosts to infantry in negative cover, notable given the gun's solid accuracy already.
Finally, the MG42 has no armor penetrating power whatsoever, nor does it have a substantial amount of suppression on its own.
Veterancy[edit | edit source]
The BMW R75 Motorcycle is classified as a vehicle and is the earliest unit effect by the vehicle veterancy upgrades available at the Kampfkraft Center. All Motorcycles, be they existing or newly built, receive these upgrades, which are cumulative to each other:
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
Despite a compliment of defensively-oriented upgrades, a Veterancy 3 motorcycle still remains easy to kill by any serious resistance. In practice, very rarely will a Vet 3 motorcycle be able to survive a fight that a Motorcycle without any sort of veterancy wouldn't, outside of potentially being able to survive a few more shots while retreating. As a result, vehicle veterancy should not be seriously considered if Motorcycles are the only vehicle currently being fielded, and can be seen as a small survivability boost for motorbikes that make it to the later part of the game.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
The Motorcycle's niche in the Wehrmacht arsenal is that of a flexible, early-game supporting unit. Despite all of its upsides, its most critical flaw, the total lack of survivability, makes it ill-suited to fight without support, outside of situations where it won't have to deal with enemy threats, such as harassing (known) lone enemy support weapons or building Engineers. However, the survivability element becomes less important if the Motorcycle is put into situations where it isn't the most important element on the field.
However, In the earliest part of the game, the Motorcycle can take full advantage of its abilities, with limited enemy presence on the field. Harassing enemy Engineers or Lieutenants that aren't currently being protected by combat infantry can delay the Allied ability to expand early game. Alternatively, if you suspect an enemy player may be attempting to do the same to you, Motorcycles can effectively support your Pioneers. Enemy Jeeps or Bren Carriers will be forced to choose between focusing the Motorcycle, potentially allowing a point to be captured or a retreat, or focusing the infantry and risking the unit entirely.
Once infantry and weapon teams start to flood the field, and such operations become dangerous, a Motorcycle should fall into support roles. The most obvious role is spotting. The long sight range can monitor enemy movements effectively, even from behind cover, giving you better ability to plan attacks (to flank or avoid enemy defenses) or defenses (by monitoring where the attacks will be coming from and what the unit composition will be). This is also great for early game support weapons, as the MG42 Team, Mortar Team, and Sniper all have one trait in common: effective ranges far longer than their sight lines.
The Motorcycle can also effectively be a 6th man for Volksgrenadier Squads. With its decent accuracy, the MG42 can still participate in firefights at the long range the Volks excel at, while discouraging Riflemen or Flamethrower-equipped Engineers from closing the gap. As an offensive force, a 4-unit group of a Volksgrenadier, Pioneer, Sniper, and Motorcycle is very difficult to counter early-game, with all units compensating for another's weakness in some way. The addition of support weapons to this lineup further adds to its effectiveness.
As long as it stays somewhat near supporting units and doesn't dive too far into the enemy line to do so, the Motorcycle is a great weapon in particular against enemy support units. MG teams must be flanked, but Mortars and Snipers are defenseless against Motorcycles, which have a damage bonus against them. A quick break of an engagement with the defending Infantry to dispatch these units and quickly return to supporting units can allow your infantry to quickly overrun an otherwise strong enemy position. If your infantry can successfully dispatch or consume the attention of British infantry, the same principle works for officers.
Using the same strategy, the MG is also great against both underway construction and the Engineers, Sections, and Sappers (or Riflemen with the Infantry Company ability) that will be building them. Note, however, that if a Section, Rifle squad, or Sapper stops building to fire back, a Motorcycle should usually be retreated, especially if a nearby officer is present, as even if the bike is able to beat the infantry, it will be reduced nearly to scrap in the process.
After upgrading to the Skirmish phase and constructing the Krieg Barracks, new Motorcycles should only be built when long sight range specifically is needed, as after the Allies construct a Motor Pool or Field Support Truck, or after BARs and Brens become commonplace, the Motorcycle will no longer be an effective combat unit, as most units constructed that point will be able to destroy the vehicle while taking very little damage from the bike itself, if any. At this point, prefer Halftracks or Armored Cars in the same roles instead, with remaining Bikes just avoiding combat and spotting for friendly units.
Note that Motorcycles should not be used to fight enemy Jeeps or Bren Carriers without support. Even if a Motorcycle is faster, both enemy Recon vehicles have better maneuverability due to being able to reverse, allowing them to easily retreat behind enemy lines if threatened. In addition, while unable to beat a Motorcycle driving in a straight line, they can easily close the gap and punish a bike attempting to turn around and retreat. Bren Carriers with the Vickers upgrade or carrying Infantry Sections will shred the Motorcycle in mere seconds, and should be avoided at all costs.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
The Motorcycle's raw speed is unparalleled by anything the Allies have to offer, and only matched by some of the Panzer Elite's vehicles. When performing recon, it can quickly find an obscure position, and easily escape if approached. When fighting, it can flank, and use its powerful (for its class) gun to bully weaker units or throw support into a fight other early-game units are fighting in. Fighting engagements where a Motorcycle flanks its enemies, does its part, and then retreats to safety can quickly frustrate an enemy player with little recourse.
Though Motorcycles will statistically end up wrecked even in the most ideal circumstances, especially later on in the game, their reward comes at very little risk. With a very low cost and such a short production time, they can be treated as disposable, though losing them as if they were is not particularly ideal. This low production time also allows them to be out earlier than any other vehicle, and allows them to operate in larger numbers if the situation arises.
Weapon teams and Snipers in particular fear the Motorcycle, and as long as the Bike is able to finish the job, even if it dies taking them out, it's statistically in the Wehrmacht's favor to have done so, especially with Snipers or Anti-Tank Guns, given their higher cost and deployment times. In the rare circumstance an Anti-Tank gun is unprotected, a Bike can neutralize it quickly and easily, without any significant ability to fight back.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
Every advantage the Motorcycle has is tied to a massive disadvantage that it cannot outrun. It has no armor to speak of, and the lowest durability of any armed vehicle. In most scenarios, an enemy unit of combat infantry of any kind can easily defeat a motorcycle, especially in cover. A lone sticky bomb will often outright kill a Motorcycle (at least without veterancy), and if not, the incoming fire at the vehicle which will invariably have engine damage will do the trick.
Enemy vehicles in particular will be easily able to destroy the Motorcycle in open combat, and the time the bike will grant a Stuart, Greyhound, or even upgraded Bren Carrier will be more than enough to finish the job. Staghounds can use their WP ability to stop a Motorcycle from being able to get away, which will almost always spell a dead motorcycle. Also, like most vehicles, mines will have a devastating effect on motorcycles, often instantly killing a non-veteran bike.
With the emergence of bigger and better infantry at Tier 2, the Motorcycle has easily the earliest cut-off point of any of the faction recon vehicles. Jeeps can take a hit better and get utility from Airborne and Armor companies. Bren Carriers have transport utility, or upgrade to an MG carrier and be effectively a mobile HMG. The Panzer Elite's unarmed vehicles have doctrine abilities, while the Scout Car can secure territory. Overall, while Motorcycles are cheap and low-risk, they are certainly a short-term investment, even compared to the Schwimmwagen.
Finally, in multiplayer matches where there is a Panzer Elite player present and decent coordination between players, Motorcycles are entirely redundant, as Scout Cars will assuredly be present in good quantities and make Motorcycles completely redundant.
Tips[edit | edit source]
- While Motorcycles will do little to a Jeep or Bren Carrier in a fair fight, they work wonders in an unfair fight. Follow up a Panzerfaust shot or some MG42 fire with the Bike to ensure the enemy vehicle doesn't get away.
- Stop a Motorcycle when it starts firing on an enemy Sniper or Weapon Team, even if the Sniper is running away. The bonus accuracy against Snipers coupled with the good accuracy-at-range from the gun means even at longer ranges, nearly every shot will connect. Close the gap during the breaks.
- Motorcycles pair well with Snipers and Anti-Tank guns, being able to spot for them, and keep enemy Snipers and infantry away. However, by the point you acquire Anti-Tank guns, be aware that they're sacrificial lambs, and will almost certainly die to save the units.
- Motorcycles are great bait. If you can get an enemy Jeep or Bren Carrier to chase them, you can often lure your foe into a prepared defense to deal with them.
- Keep your Motorcycles near Pioneers. With such a small HP pool as it stands, being in prime condition as often as possible is important.
Compared to the Schwimmwagen Type 166[edit | edit source]
- Cheaper (180 mp vs 240 mp)
- Produced quicker (30 seconds vs. 60)
- Can fit through small gaps, bridges, etc.
- Same gun
- Same upkeep
- Same sight range
- Weaker defensively (125hp vs. 175hp)
- Worse Veterancy (Same benefits but the Schwimmwagen statistically uses them better)
- Cannot reverse
- Slower in water
History[edit | edit source]
The BMW R75 was a successor to the R71, a civilian-grade motorcycle which had been pressed into military service and used in Germany's earliest campaigns during the Second World War. Unlike most nations, which preferred the use of cars (often civilian-grade at the start of the war) for duties like light reconnaissance, towing, and transportation for select personnel such as medics and officers, the Wehrmacht had a preference for motorcycles, favoring their off-road capabilities, lower cost and profile, though at the expense of horsepower and crew survivability.
While the R71 was able to mount a sidecar, it wasn't optimal, and the engine was found to have issues in more strenuous situations, such as long and constant use. As a result, the R75 was designed from the ground up to include a sidecar, to be used as a storage compartment when not in use, and the engine was replaced with a more reliable and easily maintained OHV 750cc engine, which was successful and popular enough to continue in production after the war.
Though the replacement was ordered in 1938, it took until 1941 to arrive on the field. Upon its arrival, it found competition in the form of Zündapp's KS 750, which boasted superior performance, though at a higher price point. The R75 was still well liked, however, especially for its sidecar (which was seen as superior to anything on Zündapp's machine) and stayed in production until the end of the war. By the time of Company of Heroes, both motorcycles have mostly standardized parts.
Historically, as the game depicts, the R75 was used much in the same way as its predecessor, or as its Allied contemporary in the Jeep, as a light utility vehicle suitable for recon or transporting priority personnel. The storage space in the sidecar was great enough that many unarmed Medic bikes were created, stocked with first-aid supplies, that could be sent to deal with smaller-scale injuries or situations than would require a much-in-demand ambulance.
Some, especially earlier in the war, were outfitted to create full-scale motorcycle cavalry regiments, which would be tasked with flanking enemy infantry squads and providing support fire to the infantry, much as horse-mounted cavalry had in the past. Some had towing equipment, and would be used to move the lighter support weapons in the German arsenal (though once the Kettenkrad was available in good supply, it mostly was retired in this role).
However, most were fitted with reconnaissance equipment and used in support of Infantry divisions, with Halftracks performing the role for Motorisierte (or Motorized) and Panzergrenadier, or Mechanized, divisions, and Armored Cars or Panzer II tanks performing the role for Armored divisions, with the occasional crossover between vehicles, especially different types on the same battlefield. The main idea, a light recon vehicle for supporting Infantry, is the main role of this unit in Company of Heroes.
Quotes[edit | edit source]
Gallery[edit | edit source]