View Full Version : Mother of all Bren Accessories
12-11-2011, 01:35 AM
I found this for sale on Canadian Gunnutz. Now this is something you don't see often.
12-11-2011, 07:11 AM
I would love to get my mitts on some of those!
12-11-2011, 01:48 PM
Well Brit plumber, for the nominal fee of $2600 you can have them!
This same gentleman has a very nice Canadian issued WW2 3 inch mortar, complete with sight, inert mortars, carrying tubes and transit chest in another area of that sight.
12-11-2011, 02:21 PM
Well Brit plumber, for the nominal fee of $2600 you can have them!
Now there lies the problem I think most of us have!! I've never got $2600 when I want it!
12-11-2011, 02:55 PM
Not 10 years ago these kits - ex Indian Army, complete with the Ordnance stores numbers etc etc, virtually unused and still in deep shipping/transit grease were on sale in the UK for the princely sum of £75. I always listen to the wise old John Sookey of this forum. EVERYTHING was cheap - yesterday. Wise words there John!
The most useless bit of kit ever designed for a Bren
12-11-2011, 03:04 PM
You say the mags were useless, is this because they jammed, were hard and slow to load or all the above? Were they common in the UK during the war do you know?
My war bride Aunt claimed she used to be an A/A gunner on the rooftops of London during the war and used a Bren gun on some sort of tripod. If she was still around I would ask her if she used them.
12-11-2011, 05:42 PM
They were useless and deleted from the training manuals very early on in the war and the AA legs followed shortly afterwards. This was because while the Bren gunners could hose down aircraft, non too accurately, out to the range of his tracer bullets (because that's the extent of his sights with this kit don't forget.....) by definition, the enemy aircraft were up there just loooking for trouble and they were itching for a scrap and gave him one. But not at 700 yards with .303" but at 1 mile or so with cannon fire. That included the truck or wall he was holed up behind too. Yes, the instructors soon got wind of this from the men in the front line in France and AA instruction ceased. There's probably more to it than that but thereafter, aircraft up there looking for a scrap were to be regarded as sleeping dogs or to be left to the AA guns
12-11-2011, 11:51 PM
I have attached a photo of a packing slip from one of the Canadian drum chests. Apparently they were still being shipped out from Kalvinator Canada in October of 1943.
As an aside, Kalvinator Canada's initials (KC) are to be found on the majority of Canadian Sten gun mags.
I have one of the drum mags from this very chest which I traded for several years ago. They don't show up often here in Canada, and are exempt from the magazine cartridge limits imposed on most of the magazines here in Canada.
12-12-2011, 10:15 AM
Peter, have you heard of extended sights for the Bren? I found a LOC that mentiones extended sights for AA use. Probably somthing that never materialised into anything.
12-12-2011, 02:44 PM
12-12-2011, 04:21 PM
Yes, the extended sights were on the twin bren vehicle mount and seat mount too
12-12-2011, 09:32 PM
Kalvinator in London Ontario made 106,954 of the 100 round drums
12-13-2011, 09:58 AM
Excellent info Peter. My RSM in the training school in Wainwright AB used them when he first joined. '56? He had no such stories, more to the point he had almost no stories about them at all. Just that he had used them.
12-13-2011, 10:52 AM
And here I thought this was the ultimate Bren accessory:
12-13-2011, 05:16 PM
Is it yours Bob?
12-14-2011, 08:31 AM
Ach, noooo... It was one of me dry jokes. ;)
12-15-2011, 09:13 AM
The contract for the 100 round drums Bren from Kalvinator was terminated on October 31, 1943. The reason stated by official sources was the 20mm Polsun took over the roll of a more viable AA gun.
12-15-2011, 08:59 PM
How about that....my packing slip is from the last 10 days of production.
01-26-2012, 05:03 AM
There is a twin Brengun AA mount . On display at the Imperial War Musem at Duxford Airfield Cambridgeshire. The guns are DP Dovetail brens. The mount is fitted with a spider site.
I think for non AA mount Brenguns the theory was to walk the fire on to the attacking aircraft by loading more tracer rounds. The drum mags obscured the iron site on the MK1 Bren.
01-30-2012, 01:24 PM
Have one drum and the adapter to fit it. Can't afford the set, BUT I do have the magazine transit case. A friend got it for me at a gun show, the dealer was selling bayonets out of it! It's just a nice display piece. Two tripods, one with the AA leg and one without. Also a couple of leather cases for Bren mags and the assault jacket that carried Bren magazines.
02-16-2012, 02:42 AM
id like to see about makeing some reproductions for thoes of us who cant afford real ones
02-16-2012, 02:42 PM
Reproductions of what? Or have I missed something?
02-16-2012, 04:09 PM
100 round bren mags
02-17-2012, 06:28 AM
I've seen 'lookalike' repros made from a resin casting of the drum coupled to the lower half of a standard magazine with which to attach it to a gun. (No mounting bracket required) I'll leave the more technically able to consider the practicalities of making an exact functional copy, although I assume the costs would be pretty daunting.
02-17-2012, 07:22 AM
Thousands of pounds for press tooling alone (I'm not a production engineer just a mechanical engineer who's just looked at a drum so it's just a good estimate based on experience....) for a look-a-like non runner. As for reproducing the real McCoy, well...................
02-19-2012, 02:36 AM
I make replica guns and could do Bren 100rd drum replicas (external details only) and the mounting brackets but they would be about US$250-350 each because of the relatively low numbers involved. Any takers? These would be the Mk II version with the attached winding handle. I have both types in my collection for accurate measurement.
02-22-2012, 02:34 AM
Had one of these chests a few years ago, sans internals sadly. Who bought them all at £75. a box Peter??
Regarding your comments on their use, here is an eyewitness report from Crete, 1941:
The next day the Stuka came back and this time one of our lads had got a Bren gun mounted on a tripod. We were sitting under an olive tree enjoying the shade when we heard the Stuka a long time before he got to us. I stayed put under the tree with the others but one of our blokes dashed out to where the bren was mounted and was shouting "come on you b----d have a taste of this" and pulling back on the cocking handle he swivelled round to get a bead on the now approaching Stuka. Because he was not under cover, the Stuka pilot spotted the movement changed course and began his dive at the same time. He opened up with machine guns. We got round the other side of the tree while screaming to the bloke to leave it and take cover. But he was so obsessed with the Stuka and he ripped off the used magazine. While he was putting the new magazine on, it looked like a huge blast of wind and big hail slammed him to the ground and he stayed there still, and the Stuka climbed up and away. I didn’t know his name, I wished I did but I think that bloke should have got the highest award. Some one did get his dog tags and I heard him say,” you will always be remembered mate, no question, and ah’ll see to it yu git a medal”.
Of course the moral of the story could be: don't shoot unless the pilot can't see you.
On the other hand, there was a case apparently satisfactorily documented of a crackshot digger downing an ME109 on a strafing run in the desert with one well placed round in the engine. Stranger things have happened.
03-03-2012, 12:20 AM
since we are talking about rare accessories, I have the magazine loading tool that fits on the magazine metal carrying case and loads Bren mags from 5 round chargers/ stripper clips
03-03-2012, 05:15 AM
Those magazine loading tools fell by the wayside because they soon learned that you could load a magazine quicker by hand than using the loading tools.
There were two types of loader. One type for charger loaded ammo and another with a hopper for loose boxed ammo. If you had the loose boxed hopper type issued, then you could bet with near certainty that your ammo would come in charger clips. And if you had the charger clip type loaders............, yep, got it in one! An absolute waste of space but now quite rare
03-03-2012, 11:35 PM
The nice thing about the 100 round drums is that they worked well with the L10z Blanks.
04-02-2012, 03:08 AM
Being involved with WW2 living history as well I have to say the Bren tripod is the most useless piece of kit issued for the bren. They are plentiful on the surplus market and most groups have one. Having been an air defence gunner in a previous life I found them unstable and a menace when trying to track an aircraft with. As to fixed line firing the bren isn't in the same league as things like the GPMG or MG42
04-02-2012, 11:22 AM
As to fixed line firing the bren isn't in the same league as things like the GPMG or MG42
Thats a bit harsh comparing a light machine gun to two medium machine guns,which I believe also have buffered tripods........apples and oranges ? ;)
04-02-2012, 12:58 PM
Another point KG and DPyper is that pretty well as soon as it got into service the ant-aircraft facility in the tripod was declared obsolescent. I forget the date but it was in 1940 sometime. So it's pretty well academic criticising the facility now.
The Bren did what it did best as the section machine gun. Light, portable, well respected, hard hitting, reasonably accurate, simple, reliable..... and on and on. Mere words don't do it justice
04-02-2012, 03:26 PM
Peter couln't agree morepity they didn't convert them to 5.56 instead of the LSW
My dad was with the AIF 9th Div in Tobruk and told a story about a guy (Pte Maurice JENKINS) who was awarded an MM by manning a tripod mounted Bren who took on attacking Stukas. Dad was his loader and when the digger fired at the approaching planes they honed in on them. Like everybody else dad went for cover but the gunner stood his ground and kept firing with rounds bouncing all around him. The gunner survived, got his medal and much abuse from his fellow diggers for attracting the attention of attacking aircraft.
04-03-2012, 02:24 AM
Picked up a Russian DT machine gun drum. Going to attempt to convert it for use on a Bren. It does load, and function with .303.....similar enough in shape and length to the original 7.62x54r..... if it doesn't work, only out about 30 bucks. Nice winter project.
04-03-2012, 01:33 PM
DPyper. Comparison with the MG42 is not fair. The MG42 needed the huge Lafiette mount plus optics. For AA use the separate Drayfuss mount was used. Large tool kit ,spare barrel cases and cleaning gear. Plus a huge ammount of ammo. Each gun needed a team of eight to serve it. The Brengun only needs one or two soldiers to serve it!
One of the many reasons the Brengun did not remain in service in 5.56mm was the RSAF could not supply parts after 1986. The decision had already been made by Bae and the Tory government to finish mass produced gun making in the UK. RSAF in Nottingham only worked for about five years producing the POS SA80 and LSW. Bae also owned H&K. H&K had a managemaent buy out. The SA80 is now repaired in Germany. In the trials for a new LMG ,the FN Minimi was better than the LSW.The trails were fixed so the LSW won. Several years later the Minimi is now the standard issue LMG! The requirement for the SA80 and LSW was to pierce the then standard issue Bundeswere steel helmet at 300m. Not a proper design requirement. Most retired soldiers prefer the large calibre rounds .303,7.62mm,30-06 or 7.92mm depending on which army paid the wages!
04-03-2012, 03:46 PM
SA80 repaired in Germany............... where did you get that from Lester? You'd better not tell me and Skippy that. We're knee deep in them! It had a major half-life mechanical upgrade in Germany I agree but it's repaired here in the UK. And while it's not my favourite bit of kit but it's only fair to mention that about 90% of the modifications that made the gun A2 were designed and developed at Shrivenham. H&K just put the whole package together.
The Bren didn't remain in service in 5.56 because the gas reserves required to operate the system were just inadequate. IT probably wouldn't even re-cock for the second round!
You have simplified the LSW rather, but it's not an LMG nor was it ever one. You can put a different butt on a rifle and it's still a rifle. You can put a bipod on a rifle and it's still a rifle......, same as a bigger magazine. You can put a heavy barrel on a rifle and all you've got now is a HEAVY rifle. As an accurate rifle, is was good. But as a machine gun, it was shi.......... er........, rubbish.
Next time you are passing, come and see us and all of the guns on the trial. The real winner might suprise you..........
04-03-2012, 04:31 PM
I think Peter maybe getting excited about the AK and PK again.
Didn't DHH make a 5.56x45 conversion. I'm sure Kev posted an advert for one.
04-04-2012, 01:59 PM
As a British tax payer and owner of a copy of "The Last Enfield" and "The Guns of Dagenham". The British Government absolutely "did for" mass produced gun manufacturing in the UK. It is a national scandle! The RSAF trained a lot of skilled people. Their skills were welcomed in local factories and boosted the British economy. £400 odd pounds to get the SA80 modified was a waste of money. We could have bought a better gun from another manufacturer! I take it from your comment the Lewis gun in 7.62mm is the contender?
I am down to do a firearms and explosives course at Shrivenham. Will PM you for a formal invitation for a look see. Many thanks. Lester
04-05-2012, 04:29 AM
I hear exactly what you are saying of course, but I asked about where you learned that the SA80 was being repaired in Germany.
While the SA80 was upgraded to A2 spec in much the same way as many other weapons have an incorporated upgrade - take the GPMG L7A2 and Bedford trucks for example - it was also a HALF-LIFE upgrade and that made it an economic proposition. And while many outside the service might STILL deride the L85/SA80, I can tell you, straight from the horses mouth, that there are very, very few complaints about its performance now. In fact, I can't remember offhand the last one we looked at! ..................Oh yes, the vortex flash eliminator that does nothing of the sort that the previous, original (also designed at Shrivenham in the 50's) didn't do cheaper and better!
Lewis gun contender (your 1st para)! I'll reserve my comments. Maybe I'm just not in a humourous mood today
04-05-2012, 04:15 PM
Peter some info in The Last Enfield book. Weapon development section. L85A2 and L86A2 to New (H&K) specification, IW, issued beginning in 2002. Quantity 200,000(?).
If the books correct, about two thirds of the issued SA80s to be rebuilt/repaired or modified.
My comment was about the Lewis Ind. 7.62mm rifle and not the Lewis machinegun!
Very sorry for spoiling your sense of humour today. Have a nice Easter. KRs Lester
04-24-2012, 07:05 PM
I do find it amusing that it only took the MOD 10 years to find out there was a problem with the SA80 and take "immediate action" to fix it by giving it to the Germans, who Jacked up the front sight and ran a rifle under it! Remember Gulf War 1? Forward troops were given SA80's while rear echelon support was given L1A1's. In short order the situation was reversed! Seems the SA80 didn't work in the sand but the L1A1's DID. One stoppage was rather odd, a cartridge BEHIND the bolt!. Oh yeah, the magazines were a POS as well.
I actualy got to shoot one with the .22 adapter on a indoor range of a Territorial unit. It also jammed!
At least now the rifle works properly, but they should have done some serious testing before issuing it the first time around.
The Bren was declared obsolete in that war, but wiser folks stuffed APC's with Brens and issued them when they arrived in the sand box.
As for those Bren tripods, they may not have been used much in service, but they are a very nice accessory for collectors to have now.:D
04-25-2012, 04:26 AM
My dear well respected friend John......, please, please.......I will just answer your factually incorrect comments about the SA80 once more by saying this John. And I'm not just singing the party line, but the rifle did have problems but 90% of the problems were sorted out HERE. It was up to H&K to put the whole lot into a one-hit half life upgrade package. Just like we did with the GPMG A2 version.
Additionally, and I've said this before, but your experience of the rifle, except for the sub calibre kit - of which I'll say no more eccept the sub cal unit was made by......, guess who? Yep, you got it in one. H&K. But you conveniently failed to mention that. - are at best, marginal. You are there reading about it and I am here dealing with it.
Now to the nitty gritty. I am sat here with an L85A1 on my lap (and I hope by now that BritPlumber and Skippy are too.......) and let me tell you that it is mechanically impossible for a live or empty cartridge case to end up behind the breech block carrier. IT CANNOT HAPPEN. Just try to physically replicate such an event on your SAA80 A1 or 2, whichever you possess or have access to. IT CANNOT HAPPEN and a case will not fit through the cocking handle slide opening. Additionally, no such a feat has never been officially documented. PLEASE DO NOT REPEAT THIS FICTICIOUS HORSE MANURE.
I made you and offer several years ago. Get on a plane and I will personally take you onto a range with any L85A5 you select from the thousand we have and you can shoot it until its red hot. But please, please let's not hear any more ,er....... sh.......er....... heresay about the A2 rifle.
I almost forgot to say, but the actual bullets are not far reaching enough for the terrain of Afghanistan but you go to war with what you've got.
04-25-2012, 07:32 PM
Peter, I am just repeating what was posted on British sites many years ago. Now as for that stoppage of a round behind the bolt, it was traced to a faulty magazine not retaining a cartridge and releasing it behind the bolt.
As for my getting on a plane to visit you, that is financialy impossible. When I was still working, that might have happened but NOT now.
Please note that I was NOT criticising the weapon in it's present form but rather when it was originaly issued without proper testing.
In any case I will stick to my L1A1 with the "sand cuts" in the bolt carrier when I go to the range.
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