Land Craft 3, Bren Gun Carrier, Britain’s Universal War Machine

With two very popular series and a highly versatile subject it must have been hard for the publisher to decide which to select for this important subject. The Bren Gun Carrier was used in every theatre of WWII by both Axis and Allied forces. – Very Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Land Craft 3, Bren Gun Carrier, Britain's Universal War Machine 
FILE: R3054
AUTHOR: Robert Jackson
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Land Craft
BINDING: soft back
PRICE: £16.99                                                                
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, German Army, 
Eastern Front, Red Army, armour, armoured warfare, light tank, reliability, artillery 
tractor, amphibious armoured vehicle, personnel carrier, armoured supplies carrier

ISBN: 1-52674-643-3

IMAGE: B3054.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/uhen4o6

LINKS: 
DESCRIPTION: With two very popular series and a highly versatile subject it must 
have been hard for the publisher to decide which to select for this important subject. 
The Bren Gun Carrier was used in every theatre of WWII by both Axis and 
Allied forces. – Very Highly Recommended.

The British spent some effort in working with light armoured vehicles before WWII 
and the Carden-Lloyd Light Tanks inspired designs by other countries, some of whom 
also bought the British-built light tanks and the Bren Gun Carrier.

There has always been some debate as to whether the light armoured vehicle should 
be called the 'Bren Gun Carrier' or the 'Universal Carrier'. Unlike the true Light Tank, 
the Bren Gun Carrier was originally intended as an infantry support weapons vehicle. 
As such, it was expected to carrier a Bren gun, Bren crew and any supplies and heavy 
items the infantry might need on the battlefield. 

The Bren Gun was designed by the Czech Bruno arms production complex and built 
under licence in Britain as the Br(UNO)En(field) gun. Vickers had produced a broadly 
similar weapon for the Indian Army and for use as a flexible defensive gun on aircraft, 
but the Bren captured the Army's attention and it became the standard squad support 
weapon, continuing on in service long after the end of WWII, being re-manufactured 
to fire standard NATO rifle ammunition as the LMG. For anyone who has had the 
pleasure of firing this weapon, there is even now now squad support weapon to beat it. 
It is easy to carry, has dust covers over magazine and ejection ports, a very fast barrel 
change capability, a rotatable gas port, a selection of special mounts and remarkably 
little recoil, although the user has to remember to hose the target or risk all the rounds 
going through the same wound.

It was a highly reliable weapon with a spare barrel that could be quickly changed to 
avoid over heating when used in sustained fire engagements. It achieved high 
accuracy, due to its low recoil force as gas was bled off to work the action. Being able 
to move it around a battlefield quickly was highly desirable and this required a vehicle 
that had a low profile, excellent cross country performance, high reliability away from 
workshops, and armour that was adequate against rifle calibre rounds, heavy machine 
guns and the smaller anti-tank cannon. It was also desirable that the Bren could be 
fired on the move. Bren and Carrier were therefore an ideal match.

Being open-topped, the Carrier did not provide protection for occupants from air burst 
munitions but it did provide good protection from all sides, while the lack of a hard 
top enabled the Bren crew and any other soldiers to exit and rejoin the vehicle in the 
heat of battle. As the British Army had failed to procure a range of battlefield 
armoured vehicles, the Bren was eagerly pressed into service for a wide range of roles, 
truly becoming the Universal Carrier. It became a very important vehicle and 
performed equally well across Europe, on the Eastern front, in the North African 
desert and in the jungles of the Far East. In consequence it was used as a supplies 
vehicle, and observation post, a reconnaissance vehicle, a personnel carrier, and a 
tractor for trailers and towed artillery. It also came to be armed with heavy machine 
guns in place of the Bren, and anti-tank guns fitted by the Germans to captured 
Universal Carriers. There is no record of the machines meeting directly in battle on 
both sides, but the Red Army was very keen to receive the vehicles which often 
carried infantry crammed into the vehicle with one or more heavy machine guns being 
towed behind on sledges. At the same time, the German Army was using Carriers 
captured from the British in France and from the Red Army on the Eastern Front. This 
book includes a photograph of a Carrier modified in the field by Australian troops as 
an amphibious armoured vehicle. The photograph may be very rare but a number of 
Universal Carriers in several theatres are known to have been roughly converted, 
probably in exactly the same way by tying or welding empty 40 gallon oil drums to 
both sides to provide buoyancy, with propulsion provided by the tracks.

This book provides much detail of the Carriers and of available model kits. The only 
mystery is why this vehicle has received little previous coverage by military historians.