JUST ORDINARY MEN. HQ Troop, 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, 1st British Airborne Division (WW2) - HQ Trp. 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Sqn
' Just Ordinary Men '
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6 Pounder & PIAT
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Bren & Vickers K
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Gliders and Aircraft

Bren & Vickers K

The Machine Gun's


Light Machine Gun

Calibre : .303

Ammunition : .303 SSA Ball Mk VII

Unloaded Weight 22.3 Pounds

Length : 42.25 Inches

Magazine : 30 Round Box

Operation : Gas Recoil

Muzzle Velocity : 2400 Feet per Second

Since the First World War; the Lewis Gun had been the mainstay of the British Army that was until the early 1930's when an enthusiastic military attache in Prague reported the discovery of a new light machine, produced by the State Armament Works in Brno, was being used by the Czech's.

Surprisingly the War Office sat up and took note.  Dispatching a commission to review this new weapon.  Following two years of exhaustive tests which required the calibre being changed from a 7.92 to a .303 enabling use of the .303 rimmed cartridge, alteration to the butt, removal of the cooling fins and a change to the gas block; a manufacturing license was agreed between the two nations and in 1937 the first prototype rolled off the production line at the Enfield Small Arms Factory and by July 1938, production was in full flow with 300 a month rolling out of the factory.  This was increased to 400 a month upon outbreak of war and remained at this level for the duration.

Entering military service as the BREN Mk I in August 1938 it immediately was hailed a great success resulting in the Mk II being introduced in 1941.  The Mk II was produced as a more simple design with the telescopic bi-pod legs of the Mk I being changed to a rigid design, the drum rear sight was changed to a ladder type.  The butt strap and lower pistol grip were also discarded.  This considerably reduced the BRENS unloaded weight, with the weight being further reduced in 1943/44 with the reduction in length of the barrel.

The name BREN was derived from a combination of the two armament's factory's at Brno and Enfield.  Enfield was the only factory tooled for production of the BREN until 1943 when Inglis in Canada commenced it's manufacture.  This was fortuitous for one successful bombing raid in 1940/41 could have been potentially disastrous.

An ' Ode to a Bren '

Bren.  Bren.  I know not when my chance will come to use thee;

But fear ye not Bren.  For until then i shall let no man abuse thee.

Thy barrel shall be cleaned daily with flannel and rod;

Not dust nor rust shall thee encrust.

I swear mars, god of war for whom you were created;

Thy piston shall be greased and thy breach block lubricated;

No carbon shall besmirch thee.

Now, dear Bren, Good Night.

                                                                                         © 2006 KJ Lowden

Vickers  ' K '

Light Machine Gun

Calibre : .303

Ammunition : .303 SSA Ball Mk VII

Unloaded Weight : 26 Pounds

Length : 40 Inches

Magazine : 60 and 100 Round Drum

Rate of Fire : 800 to 1200 Rounds per Minute

Muzzle Velocity : 2400 Feet per second

There were two common names for this gun which was the Vickers K and the Vickers VGO.  The latter, being the official designated name by the Small Arms Factory at Enfield, standing for 'Vickers Gas Operated'.

Originally designed as an aircraft observers weapon.  It had a high rate of fire which made it suitable for shooting at high speed planes whilst getting as many bullets into it within a short space of time all the while it was within range.

It had two variants of drum magazines.  The 60 and 100 round drums with the latter being commonly known as the 96 round version as this was the maximum number of rounds recommended to be loaded so as not to weaken the spring.  The Vickers became redundant as aircraft armourment in 1943 when the Browning Machine Gun replaced it.

Following David Sterling's formation of the SAS.  The Vickers redundancy was short lived and it was re-designated as a ground weapon.  It's high rate of fire and accuracy made it ideal for the role in which it was now intended.  It was further adopted y the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron as the main armourment for it's jeep's being mounted on the upper dash board of the passengers side.

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