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So.... Bren Carriers, what's the point?


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Please forgive the slightly provocative title, but seriously, what is the point of Bren/Universal carriers?

They're not:

  • Small enough to hide
  • Big enough to carry a useful quantity of troops
  • Tough enough to leave in the open
  • Quiet enough to remain undetected
  • Hard hitting enough to be a base of fire

I'm struggling to find a use for them that doesn't involve them sitting at the back with the trucks and mortars or performing "recon by death".

How are other people employing them? They built over 100k of them in real life so they must have a use, but for the life of me I can't seem to make them work for me in CM....

Thoughts?

Jamie

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Historically the Carrier platoon in an Infantry Bn were used for flank protection and scouting. They should have a Bren\LMG team in each carrier and each section (3 carriers) can be used independently to secure objectives, scout ahead or protect key points. I like using them to scout along roads ahead of the infantry main body where their mobility is extremely useful. If you are defending use them to protect roads and junctions that are too far away for your infantry command and control. Deploy the LMG teams into cover and hide the carrier. The LMG team should not be used to fight from the vehicle and as you say they are useless as tanks.

Will.

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Transport, battle taxi, an alternative Jeep, maybe long range fire support.

Probably much of the same arguments as in the German Halftrack discussions.

From my memory of the battle reports of the Canadian Battle of Groningen in 1945 they were not used much in combat, except in one case fighting in a park where they did an overrun after most of the defences were destroyed by flamethrowers.

But many photographs show them transporting men (overcrowded) and guns and stuff.

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Well, they're a source of ammo like all transport.

And despite "They're not: •Big enough to carry a useful quantity of troops"

They can still get your guys across large chunks of terrain ( preferably clear of enemy fire of course ), even if you do have to split the squads to get them in.

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Nippy little things with better gunner protection than a HT - I love them. Brilliant against infantry - zippy enough to avoid tanks, and they often come with a PIAT.

They make brilliant battle taxis too, despite their size. 6 passengers is plenty for a lot of missions.

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Please forgive the slightly provocative title, but seriously, what is the point of Bren/Universal carriers?

I like them.

They're not:

* Small enough to hide...

They're a lot easier to hide than an M3. "M" stands for "Moose"... :)

* Big enough to carry a useful quantity of troops

They're bigger than a kubel. Bigger than a jeep. Or the same size as a jeep, but have built-in driver and gunner.

* Tough enough to leave in the open

IME they're as tough as any infantry transport.

Quiet enough to remain undetected

Is an M3? Or a Hanomag?

Hard hitting enough to be a base of fire

They hit hard enough and there are enough of them to maintain the suppression that the infantry they carry has initialised. And they're tough enough to withstand the odd "leaking" return fire (unlike an M3).

I'm struggling to find a use for them that doesn't involve them sitting at the back with the trucks and mortars or performing "recon by death".

Try using them to enhance your suppression escalator. It starts with the 2" mortars making the ATGs keep their heads down (or dropping smoke to remove them from the equation).

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In one mission, I used them for a 'drive by' shooting of Germans I had surprised. I was also surprised, but my instinct said GO and I drove them right in, two of the men on board had Bren guns and there was a Sten in there too. The volume of fire those boys put down at close range was a sight to behold, and the Germans didn't even have time to get a 'nade off. Granted, this doesn't happen all the time, even some of the time, but it was really fun to watch! :)

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I think they were often loved for the same reason jeeps and trucks were loved: they beat walking.

I was just about to say that as well as the fact they were great "pack mules". 90% of the time was just boredom and surviving and anything that could transport the necessities of survival as well as anything you could scrounge up was seen as valuable.

The reason they kept them out of harms way was probably just as much to not see their prized possessions get trashed as it was to the fact they were vulnerable.

References have been made the most prized possession on M3's was the Coleman burner.

Lost of the pack mule had serious morale repercussions.

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Im baffled by the "better protection for gunner" part.

Seems like he was pretty exposed in some variants. ...

I've lost far fewer carrier gunners than HT gunners. They can fire unbuttoned. I find them a much more capable aggressive light AFV than HTs, which are only good at a distance.

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Also they are far more useful on certain maps than others. I'm thinking of some of the Hill 112 scenarios, where the map is large and not densely filled with units. As said before you can scout, set up ambushes, even conduct quick raids. They're a lot faster and more nimble than half-tracks, so you can use them more spontaneously.

In a current game I'm going to try to use them to quickly withdraw small picket/ LP/OP teams from hedgerow lines, which otherwise would get steamrolled.

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Flying Penguin,

Bren/Universal Carriers are the proverbial maids of all work,being used for all manner of devilry, epitomized in the not yet in the game Wasp flamethrower. A nasty thing if ever there was one. These carriers offer fair protection to the occupants, are fast, nimble and because of small overall size and very low vertical profile, are both hard to hit and able to make excellent use of terrain in which larger vehicles are far more vulnerable. This is neatly illustrated in this great piece of footage, in which you can see and hear for yourself the attributes I describe. Note particularly the height relationship to the US-built halftrack and the intimidating effect of firing on the move. Now, imagine a bunch of them coming at you, with guns blazing. Not my idea of fun. Note how quiet it is when not firing. 83 bhp to run the wee beastie.

Recently, I learned that one version, the Vickers MG carrier (Vickers is an HMG in our game) was altogether nastier than is commonly thought. Turns out the Vickers crews were not only skilled in standard MG firing procedures, but had all the training, and kit, including rangefinders, necessary to deliver effective fire out to 4000 meters! The Vickers could be fired from the carrier, or be dismounted and fought that way.UC's also a great way to move a 3-inch mortar around the battlefield. And what a slick inconspicuous tow vehicle for a 6-pounder ATG.

I like this little precis of the carrier, especially the Rat Patrol configuration!

Now, contrast the quiet UC with the roaring, snorting M2 halftrack. 147bhp makes quite a racket.

Especially under load. I've seen Shermans slide down steep icy cobblestoned Belgian roads during the Battle of the Bulge, but I've never seen a US halftrack do that on a not all that muddy slope.

On balance, the UC is a highly versatile tiny AFV which can, when properly employed, do all sorts of wonderful things on your CMBN,CMFI and maybe CMRT battlefields.

Regards,

John Kettler

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One use that hasn't been mentioned yet is that in the ETO (and probably Italy as well) one was assigned to each FOO team. Apparently the radio they used was a big massive thing with its batteries and whatnot and not readily man portable. So all that was mounted in the carrier and left parked in a safe location a bit to the rear with a driver/operator to keep it happy and working. The FOO and his assistant then moved forward to a location from which the desired observation could be obtained, carrying with them a handset on about a hundred yards of cable connected to the radio. Apparently this setup worked very nicely. I doubt that this is explicitly modeled in the game yet, but if it ever makes it in, it should prove very handy. The extra mobility of the UC would make it easier for the observer team to keep up with advancing troops. Also easier to make a hasty retreat in case things go pear shaped and a bug out is called for.

Michael

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UC + 6pdr = lots of lovely ME deviltry :D

I've had a recent large-map engagement where I pushed a squadron of UCs with 6pdrs into patches of woods and introduced FUD into my oppos Panthers, meaning I could engage my AFVs as a schwerpunkt without having to worry about getting flanked.

In game - cheap, fast & stealthy with a good enough load to swing a game

IRL - invaluable for resupply, repositioning & recon.

TBH, together with the squad level mortar I'm really not sure why we don't have a modern equivalent. We'd be a better fighting force with both.

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TBH, together with the squad level mortar...

Would the 40mm GL be the system that's taken over that role? Maybe eventually to be joined by airburst 20mm minigrenades...

...I'm really not sure why we don't have a modern equivalent. We'd be a better fighting force with both.

Given the efforts being made to develop a modern mechanical mule to help out our overburdened PBI, it seems the military futurologists might agree with you, at least for the loadbearing aspects of the carrier.

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Nippy little things with better gunner protection than a HT - I love them. Brilliant against infantry - zippy enough to avoid tanks, and they often come with a PIAT.

I couldn't agree more.

I like to use them in a quick flanking of infantry.

They seem nearly impervious to small arms.

I'm a big fan.

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