Some Assembly Required
Chances are if you served in any part of the US Military’s supply chain during WWII, you saw a lot of wooden crates being shipped in from Milwaukee. During the war, Harley-Davidson built more than 60,000 WLA’s, so the sight of a Harley-Davidson being unpacked would have been fairly common at US and Allied bases across Europe. Harley built so many WLA’s, that even 10 years after the end of WWII, bikes like these were still being unpacked for the first time. Makes you wonder how many might still be waiting in the back of a warehouse wrapped in cosmoline.
The WLA was the ubiquitous Allied motorcycle of WWII. Even the Brits started using them after their Triumph motorcycle factory was destroyed during the Blitz. Through Lend Lease program, WLAs were shipped to Russia, China, France and other Allied nations. Although they did not serve a combat role, they were nicknamed “Liberators” since they were often the first Allied vehicle to cross into newly liberated territories leading convoys of troops and vehicles.