The ZB-53 was a Czechoslovak machine gun. A versatile weapon, it was used both as a squad support weapon, as a mounted machine gun for tanks and other armoured vehicles, and on fixed positions inside Czechoslovak border fortifications. Adopted before the World War II by the armies of Czechoslovakia (as TK vz. 37) and Romania, it was also license-built in the United Kingdom as the Besa machine gun. Following the Munich Agreement the German Wehrmacht captured large quantities of the weapon and used it during the war under the designation of MG 37(t).

Class Manportable
Type Machine Guns
Manufacturer Zbrojovka Brno
Production Period 1935 - 1950
Origin Czechoslovakia
Country Name Origin Year
Czechoslovakia 1935
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Burma 1937 1945 View
Czechoslovakia 1939 1945 View
Lebanon 1947 1949 View
Vietnam 1955 1975 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Zbrojovka Brno 1935 1950 View

The weapon was a gas-operated, belt-fed, air-cooled machine gun that served both the infantry support and vehicle weapons roles. The machine gun was delivered in three variants: infantry machine gun (on heavy tripod), heavy bunker machine gun (with heavier barrel, marked "O") and for armoured vehicles (marked "ÚV"). It was designed to withstand five minutes of constant fire, after which time the barrel had to be changed due to wear. Although modern, the weapon was prone to jamming due to complicated rate of fire selection mechanism.

Type Medium machine gun
Place of origin Czechoslovakia
Service history
In service 1935-1960s (Czechoslovakia)
Used by Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Chile, Nazi Germany, Iran, Republic of China, Israel, United Kingdom, Romania, SFR Yugoslavia
Wars Second World War

Second Sino-Japanese War

Vietnam War

Israeli War of Independence
Production history
Designer Václav Holek
Designed 1930
Manufacturer Zbrojovka Brno
Produced 1935-early 1950s
Weight 21 kg (46 lb) empty
Length 1.105 m (43.5 in)
Barrel length 0.736 m (29.0 in)
Cartridge 7.92×57mm Mauser
Calibre 7.9 mm
Action Gas-operated
Rate of fire 500–800 round/min
Feed system 225-round metal link belt

End notes