D-Tactical Southern Africa Firearms Series PVC Patch #002 – Bren MKII 7.62×51
Velcro Backed PVC Patch
Numbered Art Card
Limited run Sticker
Limited run of only 100 patches, once they are sold out – they will not be made again.
At the close of the First World War in 1918, the British Army was equipped with two main automatic weapons; the Vickers medium machine gun (MMG) and the Lewis light machine gun (LMG). The Vickers was heavy and required a supply of water to keep it in operation, which tended to relegate it to static defence and indirect fire support. The Lewis, although lighter, was still heavy and was prone to frequent stoppages; its barrel could not be changed in the field, which meant that sustained firing resulted in overheating until it stopped altogether. In 1922, to find a replacement for the Lewis, the Small Arms Committee of the British Army ran competitive trials between the Madsen, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), the Hotchkiss, the Beardmore-Farquhar, and the Lewis itself. Although the BAR was recommended, the sheer number of Lewis guns available and the difficult financial conditions meant that nothing was done. Various new models of light machine gun were tested as they became available, and in 1930, a further set of extensive trials commenced, overseen by Frederick Hubert Vinden. This time the weapons tested included the SIG Neuhausen KE7, the Vickers-Berthier and the Czechoslovak ZB vz.26. The Vickers-Berthier was later adopted by the Indian Army because it could be manufactured at once, rather than wait for the British Lewis production run to finish; it too saw extensive service in World War II.
Following these trials, the British Army adopted the Czechoslovak ZB vz.26 light machine gun manufactured in Brno in 1935, although a slightly modified model, the ZB vz. 27, rather than the ZB vz. 26 which had been submitted for the trials. The design was modified to British requirements under new designation ZGB 33, which was then licensed for British manufacture under the Bren name. The major changes were in the magazine and barrel and the lower pistol grip assembly which went from a swivelling grip frame pivoted on the front of the trigger guard to a sliding grip frame which included the forward tripod mount and sliding ejection port cover. The magazine was curved in order to feed the rimmed .303 SAA (“Small Arms Ammunition”) cartridge, a change from the various rimless Mauser-design cartridges such as the 8mm Mauser round previously used by Czech designs. These modifications were categorised in various numbered designations, ZB vz. 27, ZB vz. 30, ZB vz. 32, and finally the ZGB 33, which was licensed for manufacture under the Bren name.
The Bren was a gas-operated weapon, which used the same .303 ammunition as the standard British bolt-action rifle, the Lee–Enfield, firing at a rate of between 480 and 540 rounds per minute (rpm), depending on the model. Propellant gases vented from a port towards the muzzle end of the barrel through a regulator (visible in the photo, just in front of the bipod) with four quick-adjustment apertures of different sizes, intended to tailor the gas volume to different ambient temperatures (smallest flow at high temperature, e.g. summer desert, largest at low temperature, e.g. winter Arctic). The vented gas drove a piston which in turn actuated the breech block. Each gun came with a spare barrel that could be quickly changed when the barrel became hot during sustained fire, though later guns featured a chrome-lined barrel, which reduced the need for a spare. To change barrels, the release catch in front of the magazine was rotated to unlock the barrel. The carrying handle above the barrel was used to grip and remove the hot barrel without burning the hands.
Bren Mark 2
Introduced 1941. A simplified version of the Mk1 more suited to wartime production with original design features subsequently found to be unnecessary deleted.[ii] Produced by Inglis of Canada and the Monotype Group through a number of component manufacturing factories. Sometimes known as the “Garage hands” model. Overall length 45.5 inches, 25 inch barrel length. Weight 23 lb, 3 oz.
- Folding-leaf rear sight
- Buttstrap deleted
- Rear grip deleted
- Fixed height bipod
- Fixed cocking handle
The Bren Mk2 was much simplified in the body, which although still being milled from a solid billet of steel, required significantly fewer milling operations than the Mk1, resulting in a much cleaner appearance. The bipod was simplified in design as well as not having extending legs. Most Mk2 bipods resembled a simple A-frame and were more ‘soldier proof’. The Mk2 also featured a slightly higher rate of fire than the Mk1.
The woodwork on the Mk2 was simplified by being less ornate and ergonomic, which sped up the manufacturing process. The barrel was also simplified by means of a non-stepped removable flash hider and, in some cases, a barrel fore-end that was matte instead of highly polished. The buffered buttplate of the Mk1 was omitted and replaced with a sheet metal buttplate.
A small number of Inglis-made .303 Bren Mk 2 were converted post-war to fire the .280 7 mm Mk 1Z round used by the EM-2 rifle.
The Inglis version of the Bren Mk 2 chambered for the 30-06 cartridge and known as the M41 was also manufactured in Formosa in 1952.