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Bren versus BAR

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Martin Bull, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    Not sure the insurgents in Afganistan and Iraq are hunters and woodsmen ;)

    That said, also not sure they are all using WW2 vintage weapons, whilst there are quite a few out there (PPSh 41's, MG42's, Dooshkas and the like, hardly outmoded by any stretch of the imagination) there are also millions of modern firearms, not to mention rockets and some really innovative IED's.
     
  2. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Stefan

    I'd imagine that an AK would be just as cheap as a Lee Enfield over there.

    No really I'm pointing out that the people down there have plenty of experience from combat.

    I feel the insurgents are too often portrayed as complete nitwits.
     
  3. Herr Oberst

    Herr Oberst Member

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    I want to say, I remember the anscestors of those insurgents wipped out an entire English Regiment at or near the Khyber pass.

    Before the recent unpleasantness, A tennis pal of mine showed me a pic of his kin in Afganistahn, all 12 of them were over 6'2 and had Ak-47s, RPDs, RPKs, B-40, RPGs, an Mp-40, an enfield and an older and shorter guy with one of those vintage rifles from Lawrence of Arabia or Khyber Rifles fame. All showing their game face.

    OT saw Letter from Iwo Jima....better than the other Clint movie, What was the rocket thing in the movie? I had never seen that before.
     
  4. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    Good points Jaeger:

    A good shot, often doesn't need a good/new gun. Dead is dead.
    Thinking your enemy is a "dolt" might probably be the best way to get killed.

    Along with Khyber Pass....Spion Kop in the Boer War. Farmers & shopkeepers from the highest portion of the hill, and from the adjacent peaks of Green Hill, Conical Hill, Aloe Knoll and Twin Peaks, picked off Lt. Gen. Sir Charles Warren's men in their trenches. Many with head-shots.

    The Boers did have Mauser rifles, and were excellent shots.

    I like both the Bren & BAR :D (lock, stock & 2 smoking barrels is hilarious)
     
  5. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Skunk

    'it's my Bren gun..' purely belter!!!
     
  6. acker

    acker Member

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    Wait...you think that bullet drop isn't a problem?

    I don't know about you, but most soldiers aren't veterans. A skilled person can predict bullet drop accurately in a firefight, but for normal humans, adding one more value into how to aim your weapons isn't a good thing in terms of accuracy.

    Of course, that skilled person will find aiming to be that much easier with a rifle than an assault rifle at those ranges, bullet drop prediction skills or not.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Bullet drop to normal combat ranges is really not much to learn. For most .30 sized rounds at a muzzle velocity of about 2700 fps the aim point at 400 to 500 yards is the top of the target's head. This will generally result in a chest hit. At about 600 yards the aim point is approxmately one head above the actual target and becomes difficult to manage. But, you rarely have a 600 yard target.
    For the .223 the aim point at 400 to 500 yards is the target's nose for the same effect. Problem here is you have to account for wind. A strong wind will require you to move the aim point into the wind about half way from the nose to the ear. This is so you can account for variations in wind speed and gusts.
    With pistol rounds like the 9mm and 45 cal you cannot accurately take on a target in combat beyond about 75 to 100 yards with automatic fire. The aim point at that distance is similar to the .30 cal system.
    Yes, there are manuals that give exact aiming systems and such but when you are half scared out of your wits, breathing hard from running, and having no more than an instant to aim on an often fleeting target the above works pretty good if you have the presence of mind to use it.
    Its sort of like playing blackjack in Vegas when you are drunk. You need a system of card counting you can do in a stupor not a sophistocated system requiring a calm and clear mental state.
     
  8. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    Any weapon is effective in the hands of trained users. Going around with simulated weapons is not an answer. When I first started combat training, we would spend time learning how to skeet shoot with .22 cal rifles. It was great training to learn how to lead targets. With the volunteer forces today, it is more important that more emphasis be given to actual combat training.

    As for penetration, there are always compromise with weapon choices. IMHO, I would prefer a .22 pistol over a 9mm in some situations. With the light recoil, a person can achieve better accuracy, and if the round is put on target, it achieves the same result. If I am going after a group of insurgents in a concrete building, I want a .50 cal. The .50 is about the best sniper round I know of, but I would not want to carry it in a close combat operation.
     
  9. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Back to topic.

    I'd take the Bren over the BAR.

    Firstly it is able to generate more sustained fire than the BAR. Good both for attack and defence.

    It is a reliable and accurate weapon that fitted the British mobile doctrine very well. However it never matched the sustained fire of the MG34/42's. Mutch was remedied with the addition of an extra Bren per section. I haven't found that practice in any TOE's, so I guess it is one of the 'tricks of the trade' by expeienced units. (anyone with service experience will know what I going on about.)

    The BAR was designed to clear trenches in WWI and it did well. But it is more of an automatic rifle than an MG.
     
  10. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    It depends on how you define "sustained fire". For air-cooled MGs the practical limit is set by barrel heating. For instance, the .50 M2HB has a cyclic rate of around 450 rpm, but its sustained RoF is only 40 rpm; any more than that and the barrel gradually overheats.

    Both the MG 34/42 and the Bren had quick-change barrels, so the practical rate of sustained fire would have been determined by how many spare barrels they had (and, in the case of the Bren, the number of magazines available compared with the speed with which they could be reloaded).
     
  11. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Cheers Tony.

    The MG 34/42 sustained fire statement needs some backing up.

    According to the holy scripture (field manual) you must change barrels every 600 rounds on the German MG. This is in wartime, peacetime regulations allows for half of that.

    I can vouch for these figures since I was officer in charge, when we were seasoning our new barrels for the MG's back in 2001.

    The 'worst case' was an old german barrel that took around 800 rounds turning red and white before giving in. These old barrels were sent back to germany for analysis. (God knows what they made of them)

    Now let's look at some practical issues.

    In combat simply holding down the trigger 'til Doomsday isn't helping anyone bar the owner of the munitons plant. You fire in burst at targets, and places where you think the enemy might be or try to pass.

    Using a german MG you get to fire a large amount of burst before changing belts. For defencive duties linking two or more belts is not uncommon. So before loosing time spent on barrel change or feeding a new belt, the german MG gets to shoot 200-300 rounds.

    The Bren gunner needs to change mags many times during this period, so he is loosing ground from the first shot.

    The other advantage the MG has got is it's higher cyclic rate, meaning that the one second the gunner gets to shoot at it's target he fire more rounds at the enemy.

    WHAT of the Bren then?
    It is mobile, reliable and dead accurate.
    It is a versatile weapon that can be shifted around the battlefield without killing the man carrying it. It is just as effective on the attack as in defence.

    As for my grandad who was a Bren gunner. (in the words of Kevin Keegan)
    He loved it!
     
  12. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    I'll go for the Bren as well, for all the reasons mentioned. It's a fine example of lessons learned and a montage of good ideas put together before others thought to do it. Upon its entrance and far beyond the lifespan of other weapons, it either dominated or held its own.
    As to the comparison with the BAR (also a fine weapon) there is a slight age disparity. One adopted for military use in 1918, and the other in 1937. A significant separation, roughly equal to that of the "Sopwith Camel" & the "Spitfire".
    I also like the Japanese Type 96 (at least in Battlefield 1942), I know nothing about how it held up under constant use/accuracy. :confused:
     
  13. acker

    acker Member

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    For one thing, the Type 96 had to use greased cartridges. That alone damns it to hell as an LMG for obvious reasons.
     
  14. Joe

    Joe Ace

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    Greased Cartridges-the worst thing for any gun, ever, IMO.

    The Italian LMG Who's-name-escapes-me was notorious for it getting sand in the grease well. A devil to clean.
     
  15. Klive

    Klive Member

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    I think most true LMGs in the late 20s/early 30s tended to borrow a bit from each other's design - the tipping-bolt locking system was common to all. (A little-known design was the Anglo-French Vickers-Berthier in the early 20s. Passed over in favour of the Bren, it was retained by the Indian Army with great success.) The Korean War sounded the death-knell for both the Bren and the Vickers tripod-mounted Medium MG. The Bren was too pinpoint-accurate & couldn't deliver the huge volumes of fire needed against massed infantry assault. Vickers MMG was not mobile enough. Hence adoption of the MAG 58 GPMG by the Brits (a philosophy the Germans had embraced nearly 30yrs earlier). As for my personal preference: I've handled both BAR & Bren, but fired only the latter. A beautiful weapon - simple, robust & reliable. The BAR just didn't feel like a LMG.

    Klive
     
  16. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    The Bren was converted to 7.62x51 (designated L4) and remained in front-line British service alongside the GPMG until the late 80s, and in second-line units until at least 1993. It is still missed...
     
  17. Hufflepuff

    Hufflepuff Semi-Frightening Mountain Goat

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    The advantages of the Bren was that it was accurate and had a beter range than the BAR and that every section member would carry a few magazines, becuase in the British field manual it explains that the Bren is the heart of the section.

    As for the BAR, it was not truly an LMG in the fact that it had a slower firing rate than most LMGs of the time and it had only 20 rounds in a box magazine. In this sense it was not a squad-dependent weapon like the Bren or MG 42, but it was an excellent supression weapon and lighter than almost all other squad automatic weapons of the time, not counting submachine guns.
     
  18. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I have fired the BAR when I was still a cadet during weapons training. It's a bitch to carry and I didn't particularly like the recoil. Also too few rounds per mag. Stripping it apart is relatively easy, though. I can't say anything about the Bren because I don't have any first hand experience with it.
     
  19. Canberra Man

    Canberra Man Member

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    Wrong on two points. The Bren bipod was often moved forward to adjust the rate of fire, moving the bipod uncovered an adjuster in which a round was placed and turned clockwise to increase rate and anti clockwise t o decrease rate. I know, I've done it!
    Ken
     

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