The Bren was a Czech design which was adopted by the British Army in 1938. It’s name comes from combining the name of the Czech town it was developed in (Brno) with the name of the British arms manufacturing facility in Enfield. This originally .303 British chambered light machine gun was the workhorse of the Commonwealth infantries throughout World War Two and Korea. It was modified to chamber the NATO standard 7.62×51 in the late 1950’s, and continued to serve up until 1992.
It had several advanced features for it’s day, a 30 round box magazine, a quick-detach barrel, a carry-handle, and quick-folding bipod. The somewhat awkward looking magazine arrangement on top of the rifle was actually a huge advantage over other light machine guns, such as the American BAR. It allowed the use of a larger 30 round magazine while still maintaining a low profile. It’s barrel could be readily changed by pressing a button while pulling up on the barrel change handle and then pushing it forward and out. This was another vast improvement over the BAR’s fixed (threaded) barrel. Additionally, it was designed with a unique carry handle which could be set in two different position, one for carrying and one for firing from the hip. Lastly, it’s quick-folding bipod was yet another improvement over the BAR’s cumbersome wing-nutted legs which had to be tightened down either deployed or stowed. Their position could be easily changed from stowed to deployed and back again, and had an internal mechanism which kept them from collapsing while firing.