Whilst the Bren Gun is usually seen as an infantry section support weapon, it was also used in other roles including being mounted on vehicles as a support weapon. When mounted on a vehicle, it needed to be ready at a moments notice, but was vulnerable to dust and the weather as the vehicle moved. The Australian Army used the Bren extensively in the immediate post war period and their solution was to issue a cover that completely protected the action, barrel and magazine of the weapon, but that could be quickly removed if the need arose and today we are looking at an example of one of these covers:
It is made of a waterproofed green canvas and the wear marks on the exterior show that this example was used with a Bren gun that had been fitted with a drum sight, most likely one of those manufactured by Lithgow as this is Australian in origin. Note also the small flap at the front of the weapon to allow the sling to be attached with the cover fitted. The cover is fitted from the top, the carry handle being moved to the vertical position, and secured along the underside of the weapon:
These fastenings are a set of webbing quick release pull tabs that allow the cover to be very quickly detached:
To help prevent water build up within the cover, and to allow it to be drained if the cover were to be saturated, a small brass gromet is fitted to the end of the cover where it goes over the muzzle of the Bren:
The cover is stamped on the interior in white with the D/|\D mark of the Australian Defence Department, a stores code, manufacturers initials and a date of 1955:
The problem of dust or water contaminating a weapon seems to have been one the Australians in particular took very seriously, understandable considering the climate of Australia itself, and we have seen muzzle covers for Lee Enfield rifles produced in the same material, by the same company again in the early to mid-1950s. As a soldier’s weapon is usually the very reason for his existence, anything that helps keep it working at peak efficiency, regardless of the climatic conditions could only be a positive.