Combat firing is being stressed in courses at the British Infantry
School. Our observers, in a recent report, point out that the basic
British instruction in this subject is very similar to that taught
at the U.S. Infantry School and training centers, but that the British
are specializing to a higher degree in the more minute phases of the
training. Such specialization is believed to increase all-around
proficiency, and to contribute to good fire discipline.
The British teach combat firing to individual squads (British
sections), and each member thereof must previously have received
thorough training in known-distance firing.
2. FIRE AND MOVEMENT
As in U.S. courses in combat firing, the main British theme is fire
and movement. Since the British squad consists of a Bren-gun group
and a rifle group, teaching the mechanics of fire and movement is
very simple. When a squad leader desires to move his unit forward
under enemy fire, he is taught to get his Bren gun into a new position
under the cover of his rifle fire. After the Bren gun has reached the
forward or flanking position, the riflemen advance, in turn, under cover
of are from the Bren gun. Variations of these methods are also taught
by the British.
3. SPECIAL METHODS
The following special items of interest to squad leaders in combat
firing are also included in the British courses:
a. Signaling with Bren Gun
The use of fire from a Bren gun to give signals is considered especially
useful to a squad leader on the battlefield. If his Bren gun is separated
a considerable distance from the remainder of the squad, and if a particular
action is planned at a given time, the firing of the Bren gun during a lull
in the battle makes an excellent signal. The best type of signal appears to
series of single shots followed by a short burst of fire, or any such simple
combination previously agreed upon.
b. Special Uses of Bren Gun
British Bren gunners are given special instructions to make them proficient
in firing their weapons from elevated positions. The gunner and his assistant
are given detailed training in climbing trees, clambering up the sides of
houses, or getting, up on any other elevated object. The British teach, in
great detail, the theory of covering a reverse slope by what normally would
be plunging fire. In this instruction, both riflemen and Bren gunners are
cautioned about the need for more accurate fire in case the beaten zone is
a level surface.
In this plunging-fire instruction, the types of gun positions most frequently
used are roofs of houses, window sills of upper stories in buildings, trees
with sufficient height and stability to permit operation of the Bren gun at
some distance from the ground, crests of small ridges, and so forth.
c. Stress of Fire Superiority
As in U.S. infantry training, the British stress the importance of fire
superiority. In this the Bren gun plays an important part. For example, the
Bren may be sent to a flank to silence an enemy machine gun which is holding
up an advance. The Bren gunner is also taught methods of neutralizing enemy
fire at a time when the enemy is covered by smokethe British believe that
an enemy, advancing in reasonably close combat without being able to see, will
be demoralized more quickly by automatic fire than by rifle fire.
 The Bren gun is the basic automatic weapon in the British Army. It is
a .303-inch caliber light machine gun, air-cooled and gas-operated, which
for fire power and operational purposes can he compared to the U.S. Browning
automatic rifle. This gun is often mounted on a tracked vehicle (known as
a universal armored carrier) which is popularly called the "Bren gun carrier."