Bren gun

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Bren Mk1 - .303 British. This example is missing the folding metal butt strap on top of the stock: note the dovetail mount and screw hole on the side of the receiver under the magazine, which was for attaching a dial sight which does not seem to have ever been issued, and is only present on this version.
Bren Mk1 (M) - .303 British. Simplified version with no grip or butt strap on the stock and with dovetail mount on the left side of the receiver deleted, and a slightly different flash hider
Bren Mk2 - .303 British. Even more simplified wartime production variant: note the lack of the Mk1's expensive stainless steel flash hider, differently-shaped carry handle, non-adjustable bipod legs, and the simplified rear sight without the adjustment drum of the Mk1. The Mk2 also has a distinctive lightening hole drilled in the middle of the magazine release catch
Bren L4A4 - 7.62x51mm NATO. Note the almost straight magazine (due to the rimless 7.62 NATO rounds) of the same type used by the Canadian C2A1 heavy-barrel FAL, and the slotted flash hider.

The Bren Gun was the main light machine gun used by British Commonwealth forces throughout the Second World War. A derivative of the Czech ZB26 Machine Gun (much like the Japanese Type 97 light machine gun) designed by Václav Holek, the name is a hybrid of those of the two manufacturers, Brno and Enfield. During WW2, Brens were also manufactured by John Inglis and Company and Long Branch Arsenal in Canada, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory in Australia, and the Ishapore Rifle Factory in India.

The Bren is a relatively slow-firing gas-operated machine gun (480-540rpm depending on variant) with an overhead-loading magazine, ejecting spent casings downwards. This forces the weapon's sights to be offset to the left side.

The Mk1 Bren is the first production version, with a dovetail mount for a scope that does not seem to have actually been issued, a rear grip and a folding buttstrap. Canadian-produced variants lacked the dovetail mount, grip and buttstrap and had a slightly different flash hider, and were known as Mk1 (M). In 1941 a simplified version, the Mk2, was produced, primarily by Inglis in Canada: this featured extensive changes to reduce the amount of milling required to produce each gun: they also featured some concessions to lightening including a distinctive hole drilled in the magazine release catch, had a simplified rear sight without the large adjustment drum of earlier models, a simplified carry handle, a fixed charging handle rather than the folding one of previous versions, lacked the Mk1's expensive stainless steel barrel, has a sheet metal buttplate instead of a buffer, and deleted the ability to mount the Vickers K-style 100 round pan magazine, which had rarely been used anyway. The Mk3 and Mk4 were light variants for paratroop use developed in 1944, with a slightly shortened barrel and various parts milled down further than a standard Bren to reduce weight: Mk3 was the term for a Mk1 modified in this fashion, while the Mk4 was the same done to a Mk2. After Britain joined NATO in 1954, the Bren was modified to fire standardised 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition using inch-pattern FAL magazines, with this variant becoming known as the L4.

Captured Brens were pressed into use by Nazi Germany under the designation 7.7mm Leichtes MG 138(e).

A belt-fed Bren derivative, the Taden Gun, was produced in 1951 using the .280 British intermediate round, but was axed along with the Enfield EM-2 due to the standardisation of the 7.62x51mm NATO round.

The Bren had an incredibly long service life: while it was partially supplanted by the FN MAG in British use, 7.62mm examples continued to serve and were used in combat by British forces in the Falklands War: they continued to be used to train British cadets until the introduction of the L98A1 Cadet Rifle in 1987. The Irish Reserve Defence Forces did not fully phase out the Bren until 2006, and the Indian Army not until 2012. It is still manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factories as the "Gun, Machine 7.62mm 1B."

Contents

Specifications

(In service 1938 - 2012, still manufactured by third parties)

  • Type: Light machine gun
  • Caliber: .303 British, 8mm Mauser (China), 7.62x39mm (China) .30-06 (Italian police), 7.62x51mm NATO (L4 and later)
  • Weight: 24.8 lbs (11.3 kg) loaded (Mk1 & Mk2), 21.5 lbs (9.8 kg) (Mk3 & Mk4)
  • Length: 45.5 in (115.6 cm) (Mk1 & Mk2), 42.9 in (109 cm) (Mk3 & Mk4)
  • Barrel length: 25 in (63.5 cm) (Mk1 & Mk2), 22.4 in (56.9 cm) (Mk3 & Mk4)
  • Capacity: 30 round box (usually only loaded with 27-28 due to spring issues), 100-round pan (Mk1 only, rare), 20 / 30-round inch-pattern FN FAL magazine (L4)
  • Fire Modes: Semi-Auto / Full-Auto

The Bren gun and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
Dunkirk British soldiers Mk1 2017
The Siege of Jadotville Irish soldiers 2016
Cockneys vs. Zombies 2012
The Flowers of War Nationalist Chinese Soldiers 7.92x57mm Mauser variant 2011
Shaolin Nicholas Tse Cao Man 7.92x57mm Mauser variant 2011
Shaolin Cao Man's soldiers 7.92x57mm Mauser variant 2011
New Kids Turbo Flip van der Kuil Barry 2010
Red and White (Merah Putih) Dutch soldier 2009
Tobruk 2008
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The John Hannah Jonathan 2008
Frontier(s) Samuel Le Bihan Goetz 2007
Black Book 2006
Lakshya Indian and Pakistani soldiers Indian 1B version 2004
LOC Kargil Suniel Shetty Sepoy Sanjay Kumar Indian 1B version 2003
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Huggy Leaver Paul 1998
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Suzy Ratner Gloria 1998
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Ronnie Fox Mickey 1998
An Ungentlemanly Act British and Argentinian soldiers L4A4 Bren 1992
Hell Raiders (1985) Dutch Soldiers 1985
Death Raiders 1984
Les Morfalous Jean-Paul Belmondo Sergeant Pierre Augagneur 1984
The Africain (L'Africain) The poacher L4 1983
Bukit Kepong Bukit Kepong police officers Mk I 1982
Police Jungle Squad
Communist terrorists
The Wild Geese Various mercenaries 1978
A Bridge Too Far British soldiers 1977
Paper Tiger British soldiers 1975
The Last Grenade British soldier On Jeep mounted 1970
Too Late the Hero Sean MacDuff Private Rogers 1970
Kill Rommel! Anton Diffring Captain Richard Howell 1969
Kill Rommel! Carl Parker Lieutenant George Morris 1969
Kill Rommel! Renato Romano Sergeant Atwell 1969
If... Malcolm McDowell Mick Travis 1968
How I Won the War Michael Crawford Lt. Goodbody 1967
How I Won the War Lee Montague Sgt. Transom 1967
How I Won the War Musketeers (British soldiers) Mounted on Dodge M-37, Daimler Dingo, Ford F-60 1967
Cast a Giant Shadow Stathis Giallelis Ram Oren 1966
Judith Peter Finch Aaron Stein 1966
Judith Shraga Friedman Nathan 1966
Judith Haganah fighters 1966
So Darling So Deadly Seen in Golden Dragon's lair 1966
Death is Nimble, Death is Quick Joe Abey Inspector Khamar 1966
The Unvanquished (L'Insoumis) French legionnaires and Algerian insurgents 1964
The Longest Day Sean Connery Private Flanagan 1963
From Russia With Love 1963
Dr. No Crab Key guard 1962
Escape from Zahrain Police 1962
Konga British soldier 1961
The Guns of Navarone James Darren Private Spiros Pappadimos 1961
Gorgo British troops Mounted on Centurion tank 1961
The Giant Behemoth British soldiers 1959
Yesterday's Enemy British soldiers Mk 1 1959
Dunkirk British soldiers Mk 1 1958
The Young Lions British soldiers 1958
Desert Rats, The Australian commandos 1953
Paratrooper British paratroopers 1953
Went the Day Well? German Paratroopers 1942
Somewhere in France 1942

Television

Show Title / Episode Actor Character Note Air Date
The Prisoner Patrick McGoohan No. 6 1968
Sahara (1995) Alan David Lee Bates 1995
Foyle's War - Season 1 British soldiers "The White Feather" (S1E2) 2002
Foyle's War - Season 2 British soldiers "Fifty Ships" (S2E1) 2003
Atonement British soldiers Mk1 2007
Kokoda Australian soldiers 2010
The Promise British paratroopers Mk1 2011
Parer's War Australian Commandos 2014

Videogames

Game Title Modifications Notes Release Date
World War II Online: Battleground Europe Bren Mk2 2001
Battlefield: 1942 Secret Weapons of WWII Expansion pack 2002
Forgotten Hope Man-portable, mounted in machine gun nests and bunkers and on the Universal Carrier and M3A1 Halftrack 2003
Call of Duty 2003
Hidden & Dangerous 2 2003
Call of Duty 2 2005
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 With deployable bipod Mounted on Bren Carrier 2006
Call of Duty 3 2006
Clive Barker's Jericho w/ bayonet unusable 2007
The Royal Marines Commando Bren Mk2 2008
Mare Nostrum 2008
Karma Online 2011
Ghost Recon: Wildlands Veteran Bren Bren Mk2, heavily customized, fitted with a wooden vertical grip 2017

Anime

Film Title Character Note Date
Strike Witches Perrine Clostermann 2008-present
Girl Und Panzer Mounting on a APC 2012

See Also




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