Harleys Exported to the Netherlands
Due to the Lend Lease Act, Harley-Davidson supplied many of our Allies with motorcycles during WWII. This was by far the largest export of Harley’s overseas for military use, but it certainly was not the first time the Motor Company had dealings with military forces outside the US. In the 1930’s, Harley exported a number of V-series models for use by the Dutch military. The motorcycles in these pictures are 1936 models (easy to spot due to the one year only horn bracket) and it is likely that they were the VLH version which featured a more powerful 80ci motor.
It is interesting to note that the Dutch military assigned two soldiers to each motorcycle, which made for a comical appearance (especially when the passenger was also blowing a bugle). Besides looking ridiculous with two grown men riding together, maneuverability was severally compromised as evident in the photos taken during offroad training.
The Dutch military continued their relationship with Harley-Davidson throughout WWII and received many WLAs and WLCs via the Lend Lease Act. Hopefully they decided to let each mounted soldier ride solo by the time war broke out.