Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Discussions on the small arms used by the Axis forces.
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Old_Fossil
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Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Old_Fossil » 08 Jul 2014 22:10

The Germans captured a large number of BREN guns in 1940. Since these guns were nearly identical to the ZB 26 did they attempt to convert them to 7.92 Mauser?
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Sarge
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Sarge » 10 Jul 2014 21:11

Not that I remember hearing about. Why should they, they had lots of captured 303 ammo.
However the Brits made the Bren in 8mm for shipment to the Chinese Nationalists. The magazines were straight rather than curved.
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Old_Fossil
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Old_Fossil » 10 Jul 2014 21:24

If you want to simplify your logistics you convert the guns to 8mm. Post-war the British did convert some of their remaining BREN guns to 7.62 NATO by replacing the barrel and bolt. The Germans could easily done the same if a large enough number of captured BREN guns made the investment worthwhile. Any idea how many BREN guns were captured in June 1940?
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kerryboo
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by kerryboo » 11 Sep 2017 15:09

Hello all,
To open up an old thread, here are some thoughts. The German forces readily adopted the Czech ZB vz 26 and 30, as the MG26(t) and MG30(t). These were "cousins" of the BREN, as the original design from which it was developed. The same gun was used by Czech, Jugoslavian and Lithuanian forces amongst others and was utilised by the Germans after capture. Therefore they also had magazines for the weapons, which were chambered for the 7.92 round. However, in order to use the BREN in modified form they would have needed to produce increased numbers of the "straight" magazine for these and discarded any captured curved BREN mags. I think that this would have been just too complicated, so the captured BRENs remained in store, in .303, until some were later issued to Volkssturm formations. These, along with a huge variety of other impounded weapons from subdued nations, were issued in the knowledge that the ammunition supplies would be difficult and limited. A logistical nightmare, but not one which would stretch the already strained manufacturing capacity of German and German controlled arms factories. I think, pragmatically, the decision would have been made not to convert, but this is based on reason not on any deep knowledge of the mindset prevalent at the time.
Kerry.

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Barrett
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Barrett » 02 Nov 2017 00:05

Late to this discussion, but Old Fossil is correct. My family's Bren was standard .303 (came with a bunch of Iraqi ammo!) but had a 7.62mm barrel and some adaptive parts. We never shot the 7.62 option although we certainly had a sufficiency of fodder...

I was fortunate to have a fair bit of comparative trigger time with the BAR and MG.42 (very little with the M1919 though I'm a hewge fan of the M1917), drawing the same conclusions as everyone else.

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audrew
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by audrew » 10 Jan 2018 13:13

7,92 mm Bren in Warsaw Poland (PDF)
clk.policja.pl/download.php?s=4&id=79990

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 10 Jan 2018 18:47

You might as well just make a new gun. While this can be done, the modification is so extensive (new head space on the breech, new bolt, new magazines, new barrel, etc.) you might as well just make a new firearm from scratch. Today there are kits to do this sort of conversion to allow owners of a BREN to fire .308 or other semi-rimmed cartridges, but that's a bit different.

For the Germans, these were captured equipment and best left as is using up available stocks of ammunition and then taken out of the inventory. It doesn't make a lot of sense for them to spend the time and effort for conversion when they could eventually replace the weapons with standard issue ones.

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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by sturmkapitan89 » 02 Aug 2018 00:01

how many brens did the germans capture overall

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Barrett
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Barrett » 02 Aug 2018 06:20

I'd be astonished if that info was ever recorded. Am unaware of similar stats for other allied smallarms.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Aug 2018 18:02

Hi Guys,

As the the bulk of British weapons were captured at Dunkirk, as weapons establishment of British divisions was standard and is known, as is the number of divisions who left the equipment behind at Dunkirk, it should be quite easy to arrive at a reasonable estimate of how many Brens fell into German hands. Presumably the low tens of thousands.

However, the Bren was actually a Czech weapon by origin, which used the standard German Mauser round. The Germans had not only taken some 40 divisions-worth of Czech weaponry in early 1939 and distributed much of it to lower Welle divisions in 1939-40, but the ZB factory continued making them in standard German calibre into 1942 for the Waffen-SS (especially 7th and 8th W-SS Divisions). Thus the British Brens were probably only a small proportion of this weapon available to the Germans.

As reboring the Bren barrel would also presumably require a new breach block, chamber, extractor, magazine aperture and magazine, it was probably not worth the effort.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by LineDoggie » 03 Aug 2018 02:52

Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2018 18:02
Hi Guys,

As the the bulk of British weapons were captured at Dunkirk, as weapons establishment of British divisions was standard and is known, as is the number of divisions who left the equipment behind at Dunkirk, it should be quite easy to arrive at a reasonable estimate of how many Brens fell into German hands. Presumably the low tens of thousands.

However, the Bren was actually a Czech weapon by origin, which used the standard German Mauser round. The Germans had not only taken some 40 divisions-worth of Czech weaponry in early 1939 and distributed much of it to lower Welle divisions in 1939-40, but the ZB factory continued making them in standard German calibre into 1942 for the Waffen-SS (especially 7th and 8th W-SS Divisions). Thus the British Brens were probably only a small proportion of this weapon available to the Germans.

As reboring the Bren barrel would also presumably require a new breach block, chamber, extractor, magazine aperture and magazine, it was probably not worth the effort.

Cheers,

Sid.
Why bother? large stores of .303 were also captured. Easier to just group such material into a few units. They kept the various French Small Arms in their chamberings
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magicdragon
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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by magicdragon » 03 Aug 2018 23:26

Or alternatively sell them to the Italians for use in Western Desert a) were .303 rounds would have been much easier to come by b) they could manufactured their own .303 rounds if the Italian Army have thought it was useful c) anything was better the Breda 30 LMG?

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Re: Did the Germans convert captured BREN guns to 8mm?

Post by Knouterer » 04 Aug 2018 13:39

Sid Guttridge wrote:
02 Aug 2018 18:02

As the the bulk of British weapons were captured at Dunkirk, as weapons establishment of British divisions was standard and is known, as is the number of divisions who left the equipment behind at Dunkirk, it should be quite easy to arrive at a reasonable estimate of how many Brens fell into German hands. Presumably the low tens of thousands.
The number of Brens lost in France in 1940 is usually given as 8,200. That's equivalent (almost) to the full equipment of 14 infantry divisions (at 590 each). Of course, many of those were destroyed in battle or thrown in canals by retreating troops, so the Germans got only a fraction of that number.
A report to the War Cabinet of 6 June, just after Dunkirk, claimed that there were still 2,340 Brens with troops or in depots in France, and 14,440 in the UK. I can't vouch for the accuracy of those numbers.

Canada (Inglis) produced Brens in 7.92 mm for China, where it was the standard calibre, and I believe some of those ended up with Yugoslav partisans.
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