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The Bren in Irish Service.

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  • The Bren in Irish Service.

    It seems from the following extract from a Dail Debate in March 1947, that the Irish army adopted the Bren Gun before the British Army.

    Mr. Traynor: It is complete balderdash from the point of view of the suggestion which the Deputy tried to convey to the House-that it was done out of pique or something of that sort. We purchased in Czecho-Slovakia a number of Bren guns and I think it is to the credit of the Army authorities that they were the first to see the value of this type of gun. They went to Czecho-Slovakia and purchased quite a large quantity, as much as it was possible to purchase, but not as much as they would have liked to have got. They were very pleased with themselves and at a later stage England was so satisfied with the value of this gun that I understand the authorities there purchased the right to manufacture this particular weapon in England.
    This suggests that the initial order would have been for the MkI model. Anyone know when the MkIIIs were purchased? (Presumably post WWII)

    Is this the longest serving weapon in Irish service?
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    With 50,000 men getting killed a week, who's going to miss a pigeon?

    Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.

  • #2
    Well I doubt the validity of this as the Cz36 which later became the bren under british manufacture was not known as the Bren at this stage.The Bren Gun entered service with the British army in 1938 and only became available to the Irish army in 1940 when the standard light machine gun was still the Lewis gun!
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    • #3
      The Bren in Irish service

      Well I can tell you that I know a man who is the most knowledgeable in the matter of weapons that I have ever met. He served with the 14th Army and soldiered with the Ghurkas in Burma for most of WW2.

      Prior to WW2, i.e. prior to 1939, he was in the Trinity (?) OTC. Whilst serving there he had the opportunity to test fire the Bren. He says "The Army wanted to find a mob that were most likely to damage a weapon they were testing, and brought us to the range. "They reckoned that a combination of students and part-time soldiers would be the most destructive!"
      I was asked what I thought of it and I declared that I was well satisfied with the weapon. It was subsequently purchased and in Irish service before the British bought it!"
      This former Major is back living in the West of Ireland since 1945.
      I rest my case.

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      • #4
        Ok so the story so far seems to be that Ireland selected the Brno ZB26 but received very few of them. Were they ordered in 303 or some other calibre?

        (This one is in 7.92, hence the straight mag.)

        There Are both MkI and MkIII Brens in FCA stocks currently. When were these obtained respectively?


        (MkI)


        (MkIII, incidentally why was a conversion to 7.62 NATO never undertaken?)


        Were any Mk2s issued?

        (Mk2)


        Good general info: http://www.weapons.org.uk/bren/
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        .
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        With 50,000 men getting killed a week, who's going to miss a pigeon?

        Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.

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        • #5
          MkIII, incidentally why was a conversion to 7.62 NATO never undertaken?

          Shortsightedness on the part of the military but it isnn't too late to reintroduce the finest LMG ever built. Haven't fired her since 1985. God I miss it.

          Ireland may have wanted to buy the ZB 36 but that wasn't the Bren gun.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by hptmurphy
            Well I doubt the validity of this as the Cz36 which later became the bren under british manufacture was not known as the Bren at this stage.The Bren Gun entered service with the British army in 1938 and only became available to the Irish army in 1940 when the standard light machine gun was still the Lewis gun!
            The dail quote used was from 1947 at which time the weapon would have been known as the Bren.

            I don't know when the Bren came into service but our ones are stamped 1957.

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            • #7
              An uncle of mine, now sadly departed, who was a sargeant in the DF during the Energency, use to tell a story, which I have never had independently confirmed, about how he was on a convoy sent to the border, shortly after the fall of Dunkirk, that handed over Bren Guns to the British as they had lost a lot of their equipment in the evacuation.

              I always thought this strange, but if we did use Czech built models then maybe his memory was not so bad.

              As an aside, in researching Irish Armour for my site (still not finished...) I read a story about how the British were very interested in our Landsverks when they saw them at the Border during regular re-supply missions, in a further part of the above story he relates how the British told them when they saw the Irish approach (remember this was the first such convoy) they were not sure if they were Germans or Irish (helmets, Landsverks etc.) and would have opened fire only for one officer keeping a cool head.

              Take the above as you find it, as I say no independent verification, however a facinating story I think and possibly part of the "as yet untold" war.

              IAS

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              • #8
                bren mkIII were puchased in 1957
                that is the year stamped on them.
                and yes they are the longest weapon in service in the irish army
                1940-present (in use with reserves):flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave: :flagwave:

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                • #9
                  As I pointed out to a bunch of air defence people who thought it would be better than the GPMG,designed after the first world war,modified for the second world war, and we still use them today...

                  And then earhart interrupted me....


                  Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                  • #10
                    cant make any comparison
                    havent fired GPMG yet

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                    • #11
                      The FN MAG uses the same locking system (adapted for belt feed) as the Browning Automatic Rifle - which first saw the light of day in 1918.
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                      With 50,000 men getting killed a week, who's going to miss a pigeon?

                      Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Of course one could say the BAP and HMG were also designed during the first world war...


                        Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                        • #13
                          he relates how the British told them when they saw the Irish approach (remember this was the first such convoy) they were not sure if they were Germans or Irish (helmets, Landsverks etc.) and would have opened fire only for one officer keeping a cool head.
                          Yes I think the old german type helmets in use at the time could cause problems.In the book "Landfall Ireland" it describes how some German aircrews prefaring a stay in the Curragh to serving the Fatherland navigated their way to Ireland.However when they landed they found to their consternation what they took to be German troops approaching.Apparently more than one navigator had to be rescued from a beating by his furious comrades.

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                          • #14
                            Funnily enough those "german-style" helmets were actually British helmets, made by Vickers. Though it was a direct copy of a German pattern helmet.

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                            • #15
                              Funnily enough those "german-style" helmets were actually British helmets, made by Vickers. Though it was a direct copy of a German pattern helmet.
                              If what I've heard is true, the machines Vickers used to produce the helmets were confiscated from the Germans as part of the reparations following WW1.
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