If you’ll recall my article The Irish Guns Of ‘The Siege Of Jadotville’ Movie , I questioned a curious Bren sniper scene in which an Irish sniper makes a decisive move from his No 4. Lee Enfield scoped sniper rifle to the Bren light machine gun in order to make a precise shot on a man directing the opposing force. The Bren gun does have the reputation of being one of the most accurate machine guns but was not issued as a sniper variant. Thus, the scene, visually appealing as it was, drew scepticism from readers and authors alike. One of TFB’s Managing Editors, Matt Moss, who also runs The Armourer’s Bench blog and YouTube channel, set out to test the plausibility of this choice of weaponry. Let’s take a look at what Matt and friends discovered.
Matt was joined by Rich Fisher from Vickers MG Collection And Research Association in order to test this on-screen myth. Matt and Rich had access to four different versions of the Bren gun for their test, but they focused on the Mk 3 as that appeared to be the version used by the Irish unit, then compared those numbers to that of the Lee Enfield No. 4(T) sniper rifle with the No.32 3.5 power scope. The ammunition used for all of the rifles (minus the 7.62×51 NATO Bren) was PPU 174 grain .303 British to maintain the same conditions on that front.
One of the methods the duo used to calculate the plausibility of this myth was to use a “Figure of Merit,” which was a way the British Army used to quantify if rifles had acceptable accuracy. When looking at The Armourer’s Bench’s raw data, the Figure of Merit maps the X and Y axis of each shot, which is then averaged at the bottom to bring up the Figure of Merit. Also included in the data is the group size per weapon and shooter for readers who would prefer to see it that way. Matt mentions that some of the data was incomplete due to misses off target, which is shown in red.
Another aspect to this Bren sniper scene in Siege at Jadotville that Matt and company questioned was the feasibility of loading a single round into the chamber of the Bren. Since the Bren gun ejects its spent casings downward from the action, there’s a large opening through the receiver, actually finding the chamber with the nose of the bullet may prove difficult under stress. You can see the TAB video below.
Despite some of the misses and lack of time to make up for them, you can see that the experiment shows that switching to a Bren, from a dedicated sniper rifle was a bit too creative for reality. Make sure you check out Matt’s full article over on The Armourer’s Bench as well. What do you think about the scene, and the subsequent test from The Armourer’s Bench?