By Rob Arndt

The 500cc Moto Guzzi Alce (Elk) was introduced in 1938 for military use in areas such as reconnaissance and convoy escort. It was a 4-gear motorcycle with a top speed of 90 km/h.

Surviving Moto Guzzi Alce military motorcycle

It was replaced in 1943 with the Super Alce, which had much success with new features.

The introduction of a handle bar mounted Breda M30 light machine gun was one of these features. This was adopted by the Bersaglieri motorcyclist in 1940. Obviously, this machine gun could only be operated when the motorcycle was idle, but proved more effective than a simple scout pistol, SMG, or rifle which would have required the rider to fully dismount to fire.


Bersaglieri Motorcycle Troops

The Super Alce was also used to transport land mines, small arms, and attempts were made to mount a 9mm Beretta M38A sub machine gun on the handle bars for firing on the move.


Unlike the Germans which used DKW and BMW motorcycles with side car mounted MGs operated by a second soldier, the Italian Bersaglieri became highly adept at handling the single M30 as a combat scout rider.

9mm Beretta M38A sub machine gun

This motorcycle/LMG combination was so popular that it remained in service until 1955, when it was replaced by the legendary Moto Guzzi Falcone.

1950s Moto Guzzi Falcone (civilian version)



Breda 30 LMG in action

Breda M30 in use in the desert


A couple interesting facts about the Italian

Very few remain in existence today.


1. The magazine is not removable, it is hinged to allow access for reloading with charger clips.


2. The box structure over the receiver houses an internal oil pump that oils each round as it is loaded. This was not the best feature for a desert war.




Caliber: 6.5mm

Length: 123 cm

Weight: 10.2 kg

Barrel: 51 cm long, 4 grooves, right hand twist

Feed System: 20 round attached box magazine

System of operation: delayed blowback

Rate of Fire: 475 rpm


Italian Strange Vehicles


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