As a kid on a sail training ship we had a one cylinder diesel genny that we always started on a handcrank. It took a little practice but once you got the hang of it it went decompression, three spins, throw back the lever and voila! Perfect every time. To be fair, a one cylinder probably had a very heavy flywheel. Also the learning curve could be painful if you threw the lever at the wrong time and got a backfire. Wrist twist if you didn't let go, a crank in the chin if you did!
My folks also had a Lada car from Russia in the eighties that came with a crank and i tried that with sucess each time although to be fair, gas engines are easy.