Czech ZB Vz. series of light machine guns arrived on the scene at the
conclusion of World War I, and some remained in service well after
World War II.
Vz. 30 (and others in the series) was manufactured by Zbrojovka Brno.
ZB Vz. 30 and its variants represent a continuation of
the ZB Vz. 26 light machine gun designed by Czech brothers Vaclav and
Emmanuel Holek, chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser (ZGB Vz. 30 was later
modified for the British .303 cartridge).
Put the ZB Vz. 26 beside the ZB Vz. 30 and you would
think they are the same weapon. However, the Vz. 30 features a new
bolt design and enhanced cyclic rate of fire to 600 rounds per
minute, and the Vz. 30 is somewhat lighter than its predecessor.
Co-opted by Hitler's Germany after Czechoslovakia
fell to the Wehrmacht, Vz. 30 was exported to a handful of foreign
militaries to include those of China and Spain.
The British Bren gun owes its existence to Brothers
Holek and the Vz. 30.
The Bren (a.k.a., ZGB-39) is identical to the ZB Vz. 30,
only chambered in .303.
ZB Vz. 30 is an air-cooled, gas-operated, select-fire
machine gun that uses a top-mounted, 20- or 30-round box magazine.
Standard features include a wooden stock and pistol grip, carrying
handle, folding bipod and ribbed barrel. Vz. 26 weighs about 19.5
pounds and measures 46 inches. Vz. 30 weighs 20 pounds and measures
The ZB Vz. 26 and 30 have a muzzle velocity approaching
2,500 feet per second.
ZB Vz. 52 is a post-WWII version of the Holek design,
chambered in 7.62x45 mm Vz. 52. It is a gas-operated, tilting bolt
light machine gun with an integral bipod.
Rate of fire of the Vz. 52 is somewhere between 900 and
1150 rounds per minute.
ZB Vz. 52 has a muzzle velocity slightly greater than
that of Vz. 26 and 30.
To conform to the mandate of their Soviet handlers, the
Czech military rechambered the ZB Vz. 52 to the Warsaw
Pact-compatible 7.62x39mm in the mid-'50s.
ZB Vz. 52 has an interchangeable barrel and accommodates
a curved 25-round box magazine (Vz. 30 has a straight box magazine)
and metal-belt feed.
General Purpose Machine Gun Model 1959 replaced the ZB
Vz. 30 and 52 as the primary machinegun of Czechoslovakia's
military, chambered in 7.62x54mmR.