Czechoslovakia proved itself a most capable arms developer during the interwar years between World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 2 (1939-1945). One resultant design of the period became the Vz. 26 model light machine gun of 1924 which saw use in the grand second global conflict and inspired the famous British BREN LMG of the war as well. From this design came forth the vz. 30 model of 1930 which brought about some improvements to the CZ vz. 26's internals to make for a more robust and generally reliable system. Beyond its internal modifications, the CZ vz. 30 was also granted an improved manufacturing process though it proved no less expensive than the preceding vz. 26 product.
By and large, both guns proved similar in form and function to the casual observer. Tolerances were strong due to the exacting machining processes involved which made for a very good light machine gun. Such quality was what impressed the British to adopted the weapon as the BREN through the ZGB-33 prototype (in British .303 caliber). The vz. 30 was chambered for the 7.9mm Mauser rifle cartridge which gave good penetrative capabilities at range and feeding was by way of a top-mounted 20-round count detachable box magazine. A folding bipod supported the frontal weight of the unit with the operator typically set in a prone position behind the rear sight. The trigger was integrated with the pistol grip which gave good support of the aft section of the weapon coupled to the buttstock at the shoulder. A carrying handle was standard as was finning along the barrel for basic cooling. The gas tube ran under the barrel in a conventional arrangement. Dimensions included an overall length of 1,180mm and a weight of 9 kilograms. Rate-of-fire was 550 to 650 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 750 meters per second. All values were comparable to the earlier vz. 26 offering.
A later model, the vz. 30J brought about an overall length of 1,204mm with an increased weight of 9.58 kilograms. Its rate-of-fire was reduced to 500 to 600 rounds per minute.
Like many powers in Central and Western Europe during World War 2, Czechoslovakia fell to the belligerent Germans under the direction of Adolf Hitler. As such, its arms-producing factories now also fell to the victors and this included stocks of vz. 30 machine guns. The Germans reinforced second-line units with the weapon and assigned it the designation of MG30(t), comparable in battlefield role to their existing MG34 machine guns. Production of the weapon continued throughout the entirety of the war into 1945 and was locally manufactured in Romanian factories as well.
From this, the weapon was also locally produced in China, Iran and Spain, the latter under the Fabrica de Armas de Oviedo (FAO). By the time of the NATO adoption of the 7.62mm cartridge, FAO attempted a belt-fed version of the weapon which did not prove a quantitative success.
The vz. 30 continued in use well after World War 2 into the Cold War years where it made its own solid history apart from the fabled British BREN.
Manufacturing Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka, Brno - Czechoslovakia
China; Czechoslovakia; Iran; Nazi Germany; Romania; Spain
vz.30 - Chambered for 7.92mm cartridge; 1180mm length; 20-round magazine.
vz.30J - Evolved model; 1204mm length; increased weight.
MG30(t) - German Wehrmacht Designation
FAO - Spanish local production version by Fabrica de Armas de Oviedo; belt-fed version in 7.62mm NATO also realized.
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