The Czech vz. 52/57 might have been a more respectable light machine gun system if not for Soviet involvement.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Introduced in the period following World War 2 (1939-1945), the Czechoslovakian vz. 52 series light machine gun saw use in limited numbers. It was intended as a light support weapon for the Czech Army and thusly chambered for the local Czech 7.62x45mm rimless rifle cartridge which produced the vz. 52 designation. However, Soviet pressure - in an effort to have allied armies utilize a single cartridge for logistical reasons - soon forced a change to the more universal Soviet 7.62x39 M43 rifle cartridge instead - giving rise to the vz. 52/57 designator of 1957. The resulting design proved to be a mixed success - sound Czech engineering forced to use an unwanted foreign cartridge.
Firing from either a 25-round detachable box magazine or a 50-round belt feed, the machine gun maintained many features of the original ZB vz. 30 model of the World War 2 period. A specially-designed trigger allowed the operator to achieve single-shot or full-automatic fire rate based on the pressure placed on it. The weapon weighed 17.5lb and featured a length of 41 inches. A carrying handle set atop the barrel aided in transporting the weapon as well as changing an overheated barrel. Rate-of-fire was up to 1,150 rounds-per-minute based on the gas setting. Range was out to 2,800 meters.
The Vz. 52/57 series was in service from 1962 until 1964 with about 8,000 examples being produced out of the Zbrojovka factory of storied Brno. The Czech Army eventually replaced their vz. 52/57 stocks with the "Universal Machine Gun" Model of 1959 - otherwise known as the "vz. 59". This weapon continues in service today (2016) and saw combat exposure during the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
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