As you can imagine, the logistics of sourcing, shipping, and making spare parts available when and where needed during a war can be challenging. Equipment failures are dangerous while in theatre, and efforts going into maintenance and repairs detract resources from the broader mission. So, getting the most out of every piece of equipment is of paramount concern.
During the Second World War Canada’s National Defence Headquarters attempted to reduce maintenance costs and increase equipment life by publishing a monthly preventive maintenance magazine, CAM. It provided helpful suggestions on proper equipment usage as well as detailed maintenance tips and techniques.
As a motor mechanic with the RCAF’s No. 1 Fighter Squadron, my father was a recipient of these monthlies, a few of which found their way home with him and which I now have in my possession.
I just recently dug them out again and re-read some of the articles, particularly those related to the wartime care and feeding (as it were) of motorcycles. While clearly dated, both in style and content, they offer a sense of the challenges faced by those tasked with keeping these machines on the road under difficult circumstances.
Here’s one such article on the proper use of “auxiliary foot rests”. Seems pretty obvious to those of us with extensive riding experience, but probably not so much to the novice rider assigned to two wheels for the very first time.