Czechs have a stellar history of small arms production since World
War I. They have developed submachineguns (e.g., the Scorpion SA Vz.
61 and the earlier CZ Models 23, 24, 25 and 26), rifles (e.g., the
Vz. 24 and 33) and assault rifles (e.g., SA Vz. 58).
too, Czechoslovakia has been responsible for a series of light and
general-purpose machine guns. Take the ZB Vz. 26 designed by Czech
brothers Vaclav and Emmanuel Holek and manufactured in Brno from the
late 1920s through World War II.
dramatic world events, Czech small arms production could not be
derailed despite their invasion by the Nazis and conquest by the
ZB Vz. 26 was the light machine gun mainstay for Czech
infantry before WWII.
After its occupation by German forces at the outset of
that war, ZB Vz. 26 was co-opted by the German Army, thanks to Herr
Hitler, and dubbed the MG 26.
ZB Vz. 26 is chambered for the 7.92x57mm Mauser. It is
gas-operated and fed by a top-mounted, 20- or 30-round box magazine.
Vz. 26 has a cyclic rate of about 500 to 600 rounds per minute and a
muzzle velocity of some 2,400 feet per second.
It is 45 inches long, sports a 26.5-inch-barrel and
weighs 22.5 pounds.
Due to Czechoslovakia's Eastern Bloc
affiliation-rather domination by the USSR, ZB Vz. 26 made its
way into the hands of Soviet-friendly North Korea and North Vietnam.
Yet other countries imported Vz. 26, and it saw use by the Chinese
non-communists and the British-the latter with slight
modification-as the famous Bren.
ZB Vz. 26 employs a standard bipod and top-mounted
carrying handle. It was also fielded with a tripod and it has been
mounted on various armored vehicles.
Vz. 26 served alongside contemporary Czech battle rifles
Vz. 24, conveniently chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser and Vz. 33, in
8mm. (The Vz. 24 Czech bolt-action rifle was produced from 1924 to
1942; the Vz. 33 was produced from 1934 to 1945. Both, well designed
infantry rifles, feature a five-round, two-row integral magazine.)
Vz. 26 saw action in World War II, Korea and
That the ZB Vz. 26 was successfully fielded in adverse,
subtropical conditions is testimony to its ruggedness and the
reliability of Czechoslovakian-made small arms.