The Bren Gun Carrier is one of the best known British vehicles of the Second World War, serving on just about every front in a wide range of roles. However I didn’t actually know that much about it as a vehicle, so this history of the various Carriers was very welcome.
The Bren Gun Carrier evolved from the earlier Tankettes, a series of very light two man tanks, but unlike those vehicles it wasn’t actually meant to act as a fighting vehicle in its own right, but instead (and as the name would imply) was designed to carry bren guns and their ammo around the battlefield, giving them more mobility than could be achieved by men on foot, as well as allowing for far more ammo to accompany the gun. This helps explain why they were open topped, with very limited protection for the crew! Over time a number of other variants were produced, before production focused on the Universal Carrier, which was designed to carry out all of the earlier functions. I didn’t realise quite how many of these vehicles were produced – the total comes to well over 100,000, with just over half built in Britain, large numbers produced in Canada and the United States and smaller numbers in Australia and New Zealand. This makes it the most numerous armoured fighting vehicle in history!
This book combines a history of the Carrier with a guide to modelling the vehicle. This section is split into a model showcase, with includes a series of very impressive models of a wide range of variants, and a chapter filled with reviews of the impressively wide range of models available. I was rather surprised by how extensive the range was, with several of the companies producing several variants (Riich Models winds, with eight kits illustrated here!).
The more conventional history part of the book gives a good account of the development and production of the Carrier, the many variants that were produced, and how it was used in action. This section is supported by an impressive array of wartime photographs, which show just widespready use of the Carrier was, and how many varied roles it carried out.
Design & Development
The Universal Carrier in Service
In Service and in Action
Camouflage and Markings
Contemporary Light Tracked Vehicles
Author: Robert Jackson
Publisher: Pen & Sword