Part 5: Pegasus Bridge
Episode 5: Pegasus Bridge Youtube Polsy
Weapons of the British Army, Part 1
As Coolguye has done for the weapons we have seen so far in the American missions, these are the weapons that have been featured in the campaign so far, either used by the player or by NPCs during the British campaign.
From 1895 to 1957, the .303 calibre Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle, in various models and marks, served as the main service rifle of the British army. Developed from the Lee-Metford rifle used by the British Army in the 1880s, the Long Magazine Lee-Enfield saw use in the Boer war before the need for a rifle that could be used by both Infantry and Cavalry meant that Enfield armoury modified the design to the Short Magazine Lee Enfield famous throughout the twentieth century.
The model most associated with the British and Commonwealth forces in WW2 was the No.4, introduced to mass service in 1941 where it served as the mainstay weapons for all infantry formations, including the Commandos and Airborne troops. The rifle used a manual bolt-action to cycle each round for firing, and while voices with the military establishment called for the replacement of the SMLE with a semi-automatic weapon after viewing the US use of the M1 Garand and German G43 rifles, the cost and logistic difficulties of retooling factories across the globe meant that the SMLE remained in use for the entire war. The bolt-action has not prevented skilled users from attaining frankly ridiculous volumes of fire, with the record being set at 38 aimed shots hitting a 12-inch target in a minute by Sergeant Instructor Snoxhall, Small Arms School Corps; in 1914.
It must be noted though, that with the emphasis in doctrine during WW1 shifting from individual riflemen providing the main body of firepower in the platoon to automatic weapons such as the Lewis Gun and later, the Bren LMG, combined with the relative decrease in 'professionalism' with the loss of the majority of the pre-war BEF at Mons, Le Cateau and Ypres, the British Army has never sought to recreate the extreme standard of marksmanship that was found before 1914, although with the experience in very long-range warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a growing discussion about moving from 5.56 to a larger cartridge and thus an emphasis on individual marksmanship and Skill at Arms.
As well as the No. 4 model featured in the game, there were several other local and specialised version of the SMLE produced during the war, including the shortened Mark.V 'Jungle Carbine' and the Mk.1 (T) Sniper variant, itself featured in CoD2 as well as more esoteric conversions such as the De Lisle silenced carbine and various attempts to turn the rifle into a fully-automatic SAW such as the New Zealand-designed Charlton Automatic Rifle.
After the war, the SMLE continued combat use in Korea, Malaya and Borneo, as well as remaining in the armouries of commonwealth and former commonwealth nations such as Ireland, India, Pakistan and in the specialist Canadian Arctic Ranger units, which use the weapon for self-defence as the manual bolt-action is far more reliable in extreme temperatures than a more modern gas-operated weapon. In British and Commonwealth service, the Lee-Enfield was succeeded by the 7.62mm L1A1 SLR (Known as the FN FAL in non-Commonwealth countries), itself succeeded by the 5.56mm L85 rifle in the 1980s.
Coolguy's notes: While I don't use the Lee-Enfield in the mission it's widely available (Peg Bridge), this is the best bolt-action rifle in the game simply because it holds two 5-round clips instead of one. The damage, accuracy, and operation is almost identical to its brother rifles, the KAR98K and the Mosin-Nagant, but the Lee-Enfield holds two clips and has a variable reload animation for putting either one or both clips back in to the gun. Back during my clanner days, a lot of people would prefer the Mosin for its ironsight, but ironsights are largely personal preference so I refuse to make judgments based on them. However, all that said, you'd still take a Bren or other squad support weapon any day of the week in-game, because weight isn't properly modeled and it ends up being an automatic rifle.
With a service history stretching from WW2 to Desert Storm, the Bren has acted as the go-to British and Commonwealth Light Machine Gun for the latter half of the Twentieth Century with remarkably few changes made to the original design. The Bren was first designed by the Czechs as the ZB vz.26 and then built under license by Royal Ordnance as the Bren Mk.1 in 1837 as a response to the Army's need for a LMG to replace the rapidly aging Lewis Gun of WW1 fame with the name being derived from the location of the two factories involved in developing the weapon (Brno + Enfield = Bren).
In its main SAW role, the Bren was fitted with a 30-round top loaded magazine and quick-change barrel, allowing it to reach a theoretical rate of fire of 500 rounds a minute, assuming the loader could change barrels and magazines quickly enough. The Bren could also be mounted on a tripod for the sustained fire role, however this niche was generally fulfilled by the Vickers medium machine gun, which was belt-fed and thus capable of far longer sustained bursts. Other uses of the Bren included the light anti-aircraft role, where the weapon was fitted with a 100-round magazine and additional backsight, which strangely enough is on the model used in game. Additionally, the Bren leant its name to the Vickers-Armstrong Universal Carrier, which often carried the weapon mounted as a main gun.
In British practice, each section would comprise a 'Rifle group' and '(Bren) Gun Group', with the Bren being employed to provide medium-range suppressive fire as part of section fire-and-movement, with the accuracy and comparatively small magazine meaning that emphasis was placed on using short, accurate bursts rather than sustained fire on enemy positions, a concept which the British kept using after the Bren was replaced by the L86 LSW, which had many of the same characteristics, although since the 2003 Iraq invasion, the LSW has been gradually phased out in favour of the FN Minimi fully-automatic LMG.
After the war, the Bren continued in use, first in Korea, then surviving the change from .303 to 7.62 where it was used very successfully in Malaya, Vietnam and the Falklands by British and Commonwealth troops as the L4 LMG alongside the heavier belt-fed L7 GPMG. Use tailed off after Desert Storm with the move from 7.62 to the lighter 5.56 as the standard cartridge, however several militaries still use them, including the Irish Defence forces and Indian Army.
Coolguy's notes: Like basically all the SAW weapons, if you can get one of these guys, you want to hold onto it. It's accurate, high damage, and brutally efficient. The Bren compares favorably to the BAR in game, since the BAR has to be clicked over to Slow Auto to be used reliably single-shot, while the Bren 'just works'. The Bren's reload animation also comes off moderately faster due to your soldier not needing extra motions to secure the mag.