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Armoured Triumph WO 3SW

Original machine 1940 for more original photos see sub page link
 at bottom.

Triumph W.O.3-SW 
Armoured Bren gun carrier Replica.

During the invasion scare which followed the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, the officer commanding one of the Reconnaissance Battalions stationed in the Hastings/Pevensey sector thought it would be helpful to have some faster way of moving a Bren gun plus ammunition over short distances than was possible by an infantry section on foot. This was normally a job done by a Bren gun carrier but they were not available.
What he visualised was a solo motorcycle which could nip in and out of hedgerows , whereas a sidecar outfit would tend to be more confined to roads.
Using the HQ Triumph 3SW, as it was available, the machine shown in the photographs was produced by the workshop company in less than a week. The gun and ammo was removed from the motorcycle on arrival and fired from natural cover. The machine was fitted with an armoured shield for protection to form a temporary pillbox in the open.
To offset the weight of the side armour, the tool box was repositioned to the opposite side of the motorcycle
and filled with lead, about 50lbs.
The original machine then was sent to Thursley to join a 3 day exercise where it performed without any major problems.
Now the project passed into the military system where it slowly bogged down due to lack of motorcycles to convert and other more urgent projects. In October 1940, with the threat of invasion dwindling, the project was quietly dropped.
The converted motorcycle was probably stripped and returned to general use.

In 2005 we acquired a Triumph 3HW from a batch repatriated from Greece and, as this shares many of the same parts as a 3SW model, the second Bren carrier was born.
Our machine is still a work in progress.

Triumph 3SW  Weighing approximately 317 lbs with a  350cc side valve engine driving through a 4-speed gearbox producing about 10 bhp giving a top speed of 55 mph.
With armour, gun, ammo, gun spares box and counterbalance weight, now the machine weighs over 600 lbs, top speed now ? mph.

The completion of this machine would not have been possible without the help of Steve Madden,Paul Fevyer and 
Jason Webb . Thanks guys for getting us into such trouble.

As the bike arrived with us fresh from Greece 2005

We gave up on the rim, reused the hub and sprocket.

Coming together using an F15 Ford as a bench

                 Tool box counterweight, approx                                   Rear carrier fabrication from 
                             50lbs of lead.                                                  unknown donor carrier.

                                       Templates for armour first made in plywood with hinges for the folds

Steel plate of 1/4" .
We first tried to cut round our wooden templates with Roger's plasma cutter. All that happened was that the ply caught fire.
So out came the Bosch jigsaw and, when that got too hot, the backup Dewalt. Two long evenings and 12 blades later, it's done.
 Thanks Jason for the help. Now they are sent off to a man with a 60 ton press.

Fitting up of armour.

                Gearbox protection shield.

Photograph copyright John Blackman
Photograph showing how the petrol tank throat was cut back to 
allow the gun mount to fix onto the top frame rail. Also the petrol
filler cap was moved to the left side otherwise it would be under 
the gun mount. You can tell there was a war on as these days 
health and safety would have a fit if you suggested firing a light 
machine gun while resting on a 3 gallon petrol tank.

War and Peace Show Kent 2010
Winner Best Motorcycle 
Photos copyright John Blackman

July 2011
While the motorcycle was at the War and Peace Show problems occurred with the starting and running of our machine .
On investigation it was found that the ethanol they now put in the petrol had attacked 
the petrol tank sealer causing it to block and jam up the carburettor.
So for 2011 the bike will remain a static display and hopefully over the winter the problem can be tackled.

 March 2012
Update bike was taken as a static display to the Goodwood Revival in September
 and is still a non runner due to the petrol tank problem, 
Can not see the tank being repaired till next winter due to 
other jobs and life getting in the way .