The British Army adopted the Bren in 1935 following extensive trials of the Czechoslovak ZB vz.26 light machine gun manufactured in Brno, although the ZB vz. 26 was not actually submitted for the trials; a slightly modified model was submitted, the ZB vz. 27. A licence to manufacture was sought and the Czech design was modified to British requirements. The major changes were in the magazine and barrel. The magazine was curved in order to feed the rimmed .303 British cartridge, a change from the various rimless Mauser-design cartridges used to date, such as the 7.92 mm Mauser round. These modifications were categorized in various numbered designations, ZB vz. 27, ZB vz. 30, ZB vz. 32, and finally the ZB vz. 33, which became the Bren.
Other weapons that were submitted for the trials were: the Madsen, Vickers-Berthier, Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and the Neuhausen KE7. The Vickers-Berthier was later adopted by the Indian Army and also saw extensive service in WWII.A gas-operated weapon, the Bren used the same .303 ammunition as the standard British rifle, the Lee-Enfield, firing at a rate of between 480 and 540 rounds per minute (rpm), depending on model. 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. The Bren was magazine-fed, which slowed its rate of fire and required more frequent reloading than British belt-fed machine guns such as the larger .303 Vickers machine gun. However, the slower rate of fire prevented more rapid overheating of the Bren's air-cooled barrel, and the Bren was several pounds lighter than belt-fed machine guns. Because it was more easily portable, it could be fired on the move and from standing positions. The magazines also prevented the ammunition from getting dirty, which was more of a problem with the Vickers with its 250-round canvas belts.
The Bren is similar to the American BAR and the Axis MP44 in that it serves as the high powered "assault rifle" of the British. It also serves as the light machine gun like the American BAR, but unlike the Americans the British have no heavy machine gun; making the Bren the only British machine gun. In an assault role the Bren is best used as a longer range support due to its high accuracy (almost matching a rifle). The Bren, however does have immense recoil, so single shots at longer ranges is best. Short bursts of three to five is best used in mid to short range combat, so that the recoil does not throw you off target. In a machine gun role the Bren has no recoil when deployed, so larger bursts can be used for greater effect. Reloading the Bren, however, takes a large amount of time, so reload only when you're sure that your safe or your allies have you covered. It's probably best for any aspiring British machine gunner to ditch your Bren for a Axis machine gun that's better in a support type role.
- The model of Bren in Day of Defeat is a Mark 2 (Mk2), due to the flip up rear sight and lack of rear grip.
|Weapons of Day of Defeat|
|Bolt-Action/Sniper Rifles||Kar98k · Springfield · Lee-Enfield|
|Semiautomatic Rifles||M1 Garand · M1 Carbine · K43|
|Submachine Guns||MP40 · M1 Thompson · Sten · M3|
|Light Machine Guns||BAR · MP44 · FG42 · Bren|
|Medium Machine Guns||M1919 · MG34 · MG42|
|Sidearms||M1911 · Luger · Webley|
|Rocket Launchers||Bazooka · Panzerschreck · PIAT|
|Grenades||Mk 2 · Stielhandgranate · Mills Bomb|
|Miscellaneous||Satchel · Spade · Knife|