The Bren Gun

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by jimbotosome, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    The British Bren, what is the impression on it. Was it liked, effective, heavy, etc. Anybody?
     
  2. Glider

    Glider Senior Member

    The troops loved it, it was effective and light. The only real problem that some people had with it was that it was too accurate if you were trying to lay down covering fire.
    Not often that is a problem with a weapon.
     
    skimmod likes this.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Once when we were doing a range day we were using our GPMGs in the light role we were getting outshot by a unit using their Brens.(7.62mm version)Not fair ours was an area weapon, the Bren too accurate as Glider says.
     
  4. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    What is a pookie?
     
  5. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    (angie999 @ Dec 29 2005, 07:41 AM) [post=43724]What is a pookie?
    [/b]
    It's a slang word for "details", "opinions", "good points" and "bad points" of something. I guess it must be an American idiom.
     
  6. redcoat

    redcoat Senior Member

    (Glider @ Dec 29 2005, 06:06 AM) [post=43716]The troops loved it, it was effective and light. The only real problem that some people had with it was that it was too accurate if you were trying to lay down covering fire.
    Not often that is a problem with a weapon.
    [/b]
    Why couldn't you just 'waggle it' a little bit, to get the effect needed for covering fire
    images/smilies/default/huh.gif
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Senior Member

    Liked the question. The Bren Gun had a rate of fire of around 500rounds per minute but was equiped with a 30 round box of ammo. Gunners were trained to shoot 3-5 rounds a burst but the problem with suppresive fire is that you tend to fire longer bursts and for that you need more ammo, ideally in a belt. Without it you would be changing ammunition box's almost after every burst.

    For suppresive fire we used the Vickers machine gun.

    There were 100rd magazines for the Bren and tripod mounts so that it could in theory be used in suppresive mode but they were pretty uncommon. Generally we used the Bren for squad work and the Vickers for the Medium role. Tripods and 100rd box's when used tended to be for AA work.

    The Germans were the first to realise that ideally you need one machine gun for both purposes and developed the MG34-42 which had a magazine but also could fire belts of ammo. This was the first General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) which are now standard across the world.

    Hope this helps
     
    Ian roberts likes this.
  8. mattgibbs

    mattgibbs Senior Member

    Not many units were issued with the 100 rd Drums. They were no where near as common as the 30rd box mags. The commandos did use them, I have photos of these in the assaults on Norwegian islands and also on french costal raids etc. In the main they were for AA fire.

    Is it possible for a weapon to be too accurate?

    The Bren was designed to have a special sight for laying down fire but this was deleted VERY early on and in fact not many were produced by 1939 because the Army had already decided not to use the Bren in a role for which the Vickers was perfect, as said by Glider.

    The airborne troops even used the Vickers because they were supplied with a lightweight magnesium tripod for the Vickers.

    The Bren was an excellent weapon for its role, it made the Machine Gun much more widely available in the Infantry and the design that was persued with Czech co-operation from the trials in 1932/33 onwards created this long lived design.
     
  9. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    (Colonel Gubbins @ Dec 30 2005, 10:02 AM) [post=43762]The airborne troops even used the Vickers because they were supplied with a lightweight magnesium tripod for the Vickers.
    [/b]

    I believe these were stripped of their water jackets and, unless there was some way of quick barrel changing as in the MG42, this would have made sustained fire difficult, due to overheating problems.
     
  10. GarandGuy

    GarandGuy Member

    A rifle can't be too accurate but a machine gun certainly can. When a machine gun has a very small cone of fire like the Bren it's very hard to suppress a wide area. This problem is compounded when the weapon only has 30 rounds in the magazine. Overall these weren't big problems as the Bren was a light machine gun and was very effective at engaging point targets at long range. It wasn't too heavy and could be used as a kind of automatic rifle in certain situations. In the attack it was extremely effective and not too shabby defensive role either. In the defense the Vickers would have proved much more effective as it had a wider cone of fire and large supply of ammunition.
     
  11. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    (GarandGuy @ Dec 31 2005, 10:23 PM) [post=43849]A rifle can't be too accurate but a machine gun certainly can. When a machine gun has a very small cone of fire like the Bren it's very hard to suppress a wide area. This problem is compounded when the weapon only has 30 rounds in the magazine. Overall these weren't big problems as the Bren was a light machine gun and was very effective at engaging point targets at long range. It wasn't too heavy and could be used as a kind of automatic rifle in certain situations. In the attack it was extremely effective and not too shabby defensive role either. In the defense the Vickers would have proved much more effective as it had a wider cone of fire and large supply of ammunition.
    [/b]
    What do you mean by a "wider cone of fire"?
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Senior Member

    The US Army didn't have an LMG in WW2, the BAR was the closest that they had. It was automatic but it had some disadvantages namely

    1) the time taken to change the magazine 6-8 seconds which is along time under combat conditions
    2) the magazine only held 20 rounds which means it has a lot of changing to do
    3) the barrel would overheat and it couldn't be changed
    4) the bipod was clumsy in use which obviously impacted accuracy.
     
  13. GarandGuy

    GarandGuy Member

    Nicely explained Owen D, but I think he's still missing the point, so I'm going to show a diagram I've just done on paint to clear things up and also to let you all laugh at my deplorable artistic skills. Jimbo, the cone of fire and beaten zone refers to the dispersion of the bullets on full auto, very similar to the spread of a shotgun. The Bren's cone of fire is much like a shotgun with a full choke, in other words a very tight pattern. On another note the B.A.R. doesn't take 6-8 seconds to change the magazine. It's actually much quicker which If I could upload videos I'd show myself loading my semi-auto only ohio ordnance M1918 B.A.R. The bipod didn't limit accuracy as it does hold the weapon quite steady on the ground. When it is described as clumsy it means that it throws off the balance of the weapon and adds weight to a weapon that is already quite heavy. It gives excellent accuracy from the prone position. Most soldiers took the bipod off however, because they preferred to use the B.A.R. in an assault type role rather than an LMG. The average sized man can a prolonged burst on target because the weight of the weapon prevents it from recoiling harshly. While today's historians down the B.A.R. it is almost always described as a wonderful weapon by the infantrymen who used it. Now back to the diagram. As you can see at the beaten zone the Bren is covering a very small field, which is very useful in hitting point targets, but not at suppressing a large group. The MG42 on the other hand is covering a very large beaten zone and at 1200 rpm you can see why it would be easier to suppress a target. Either way the Bren is still a very fine weapon.
     
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

  15. Lt. Winters

    Lt. Winters Member

    Hi all,
    The other day I was wondering how the bren gun got its name so I did some reaserch and this is what I found. The name comes from "Brno" and Enfield" so the first two letters of each personally I think that the bren was a great LMG of the war but id love to hear peoples opionions and views of the gun.
    Regards,
    Jack
     
  16. colinhotham

    colinhotham Senior Member

    Hello Jack,

    My experience of using the Bren is post WW2. From joining the Royal Air force in 1955 over the next 25 years it became part of my training. The only time I used it in anger was at RAF Salalah in 1970/71 during the insurgency. I found it reliable and easy to use but remember this is an 'erks' opinion, an Army view may be different.

    Colin.
     
  17. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In early training back in 1943 we were told it was made in Czechoslovakia, and that it is named after the place where it was made. I carried one from Normandy to the German Border (Stunted me growth) Fine gun accurate, though a slow rate of fire.
     
  18. Lt. Winters

    Lt. Winters Member

    Thanks its great to hear some peoples real life experience. Are you sure it was named after Czechoslovakia ill try and dig up some info thanks guys.
    Jack
     
  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    BRNO is the capital of Moravia in the east of The Czech Republic as it is now.
    By the way we alreay have a thread started by jimbotosome about the Bren.
     
  20. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    *Moderation Topics merged*
     

Share This Page