This article is about the bolt-action rifle. For the semi-automatic pistol, see Pistole vz. 24.
|Place of origin||Czechoslovakia|
|Used by||See Users|
|Manufacturer||Československá zbrojovka Brno, a.s.|
|Weight||4.2 kg (9.3 lb)|
|Length||1,100 mm (43 in)|
|Barrel length||590 mm (23 in)|
|Cartridge||8×57mm IS, 7×57mm Mauser, 7.65×53mm Argentine|
|Muzzle velocity||760 m/s (2,493 ft/s)|
|Feed system||5-round internal magazine, two-row, integral box, with quickly detachable floorplate|
The vz. 24 rifle is a rifle designed and produced in Czechoslovakia from 1924 to 1942. It was developed from the Mauser Gewehr 98 line, though is not a clone of any specific Mauser model. The fit and finish are of the highest quality.
The vz. 24 rifle was designed in Czechoslovakia shortly after WWI. It was a new design, featuring a 600 mm (23.6") barrel which was shorter and more handy than the 150 mm (5.9") -longer Gewehr 98. FN and Mauser Oberndorf produced similar-length Model 98 variants, the latter designating it the "Standard-Modell'. The thinking was, as with the British SMLE and US Springfield, that a short rifle gave away little in ballistic efficiency at combat ranges, but was easier to handle on account of its shorter length.
"vz." is an abbreviation for vzor, which translates as model; "24" represents the year of the design, 1924, and the rifle replaced the 98/22 Mauser that was in production before it. The vz. 24 was produced in Brno and Považská Bystrica (from 1938–1942). The only way to identify the production location is by the serial number pattern and the VTLU code. A Brno manufactured rifle would have a serial number as such: 1234 T3. A Považská manufactured rifle would follow this pattern: A5 2345. The VTLU code (Czech acronym VTLU stands for Vojenský technický a letecký ústav - Military technical and aviation institute, which was responsible for acceptance of Czechoslovak army weapons) was an inspection and acceptance stamp. A code observed would be E4-lion-38. The E4 would denote where the acceptance took place (in this case it would be Považská Bystrica), the lion would be the national symbol of Czechoslovakia and the 38 represents the year, 1938. Here is a breakdown of VTLU codes:
- E1 - Pilsen (Plzeň)
- E2 - Adamov
- E3 - Brno
- E4 - Považská Bystrica
- E5 - Vlašim
- E6 - Semtin
- E7 - Strakonice
- E8 - Prague (Praha)
The vz. 24 rifle was widely used the world over, by Romania, Iran, Guatemala, China and others. Many of the contract rifles made for South American countries were chambered in 7mm Mauser or 7.65×53mm Argentine.
Pre World War II export and combat employmentEdit
The vz. 24 next saw action in the Spanish Civil War by the Catalan Republican troops. About 40,000 vz. 24 were bought by Soviet Union to Czechoslovakia to be sent to Spanish Civil War. The vz. 24s were shipped from Murmansk on 1 March 1938, along with other material (T-26 tanks and 76mm French field artillery). The French freighter Gravelines, which carried all the material, managed to get the weapons to Bordeaux from where was sent by land across the border, to Catalunya. Despite arriving late in the war, the vz. 24 was used in Catalunya and the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula and saw action in the Battle of the Ebro, where vz. 24 showed good results despite the fascist victory. After the defeat of the Second Spanish Republic the dictator Francisco Franco kept the rifles that survived the battle until 1959, when were sold to Interarms.
World War IIEdit
After the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, the Germans took existing stocks of the vz.24 into service and continued production. The vz. 24 was easily incorporated into the German forces due to its similarity to the Kar 98k enabling the same training and maintenance procedures and use of the same 7.92 x 57mm Mauser ammunition. By the start of the war the Wehrmacht had equipped 11 divisions with the rifle. The Germans designated it Gewehr 24(t) ('t' being the national origin designator tschechoslowakisch, the German word for 'Czechoslovak'; such national origin designators were German practice for all foreign weapons taken into service). About 762,000 rifles of this pattern were produced in Czechoslovakia for the Czechoslovak army and some 330,050 for the German armed forces.
After the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, production of the vz. 24 and the shortened, lightened version, the vz. 33, continued. The vz. 24 differed only in detail from the German Kar 98k. The action was identical except for markings, and the overall and barrel lengths were very similar. The main differences were superficial; the vz. 24's straight bolt handle, different sling attachments, a solid walnut stock in place of the laminated stock of most Kar 98ks, a full length upper handguard instead of the Kar 98k's shorter item, and a minimum rear sight setting of 300 meters instead of 100 meters. The G24(t) produced under German control progressively gained some Kar98k features, but the Považská Bystrica plant (receiver code 'dou') switched entirely to Kar98k production in 1942. The Brno plant (receiver code 'dot') followed suit in 1943 after ceasing production of the G 33/40 (t) carbine.
Romanian vz. 24sEdit
The Czechoslovakian Armaments Factory started making specially designated vz. 24s in 1938 after the German invasion. Romania was part of the Axis during World War II. "Romanian" vz. 24s have a letter followed by an "R" in the serial number; for example SR 1XXX. Romanian vz. 24s "AR", "BR", "CR"... all the way through "YR" represent different periods of manufacturing, no rifle with "ZR" has been found. The Czechs made 25,000 rifles for each period roughly totaling 625,000 Romanian vz. 24s. Romanian vz. 24's saw action in Ukraine, Bessarabia, and Stalingrad in the hands of Romanian Soldiers fighting for the Axis. It was not until 1944 that Romania joined the Allies.
As post-script to the vz. 24 story, the production of the Czech Kar 98k-type Mauser continued after the end of the war. Under Czechoslovak Army designation vz. 98N, it served until around 1952 as the service rifle for the post-war Czechoslovak forces, and was extensively exported. Early post-war specimens were identical with wartime versions, and the use of existing stocks of wartime parts continued until exhausted. The receiver marking reverted to a pre-war style Czech rampant lion symbol, although a specimen using a German style receiver code of 'tgf' and the date '1950' has been observed. The left side of the receiver was marked 'CESKOSLOVENSKA ZBROJOVKA, AS, BRNO'. The standard settled on was distinguished by a new magazine assembly made from steel stampings, with an over-sized trigger guard for use with thick winter gloves. The new stamping, unlike late-war German stamped trigger guard/magazine assemblies, did not have a detachable magazine floorplate, meaning whole trigger guard/magazine must be unscrewed and removed entirely to clean the magazine. The locking screws, which stopped movement of the bolts securing the action and trigger guard to the stock, were deleted. Stocks were mostly solid (not laminated) beech with the German Kar 98k side sling attachments but no cleaning rod recess, and a German 'Kriegsmodell' type late-war buttplate with firing pin dismantling hole in the side. Examples produced after the Communist takeover in 1948 were marked 'Narodni Podnik'.
The most famous employment of these rifles was being purchased by Haganah arms buyers and smuggled into Palestine before the British Mandate expired on 14 May 1948, and their use in the Israeli independence war of 1948. Shipments to Israel continued after independence of both new-production Czechoslovak rifles, and German-era Kar 98ks, as Czechoslovak arms dealers sold a variety of German-pattern equipment to Israel. With Israel's adoption of the FN FAL rifle in 1955, the Czechoslovak rifles were among the Israeli Mauser rifles converted to 7.62×51mm NATO for use as reserve weapons, utilizing Mauser factory equipment provided by Czechoslovakia.
In common with elsewhere in Europe, Brno also refurbished large numbers of German Kar 98ks in the immediate post-war period. These are distinguishable by a larger serial number stamped on the underside of the stock behind the pistol grip adjacent to the original German number. Czechoslovak-refurbished Kar 98ks were sold to other Communist states in Europe, and were used by military and paramilitary forces into the 1960s, and were retained for some years afterward as reserve weapons.
The rifle found its way into Iran very quickly where it became known as the 'Berno', following the name of the city of Brno, Czechoslovakia, where the rifles were originally manufactured. The Mauser rifle was selected for the Iranian Army during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, however Iran never ordered any from Germany instead preferring the Czechoslovak variant. CZ produced two versions for Iran, a long rifle (comparable to the German Gewehr 98) designated vz. 98/29, and a carbine designated vz. 30. Both were known in Iran as the Model of 1930 (or 1309, by the Iranian calendar), and the carbine was nicknamed "Berno kootah" (short Brno).
The Iranian version had a Pahlavi crown and lion and sun crest atop the receiver ring, as well as an inscription in Persian (in Nasta'liq script) on the side of its receiver giving the model and the factory name.
In the late 1940s Iran's Taslihat-e Artesh (Arms Factories of the Army), popularly known as Mosalsal-sazi (the machine-gun factory), in Tehran started production of these Brno rifles. The required machinery and manufacturing knowledge was provided to Iran through the industrial firm Škoda, which had a long history of cooperation with Iran. Iran produced two models: the vz. 24 as "Berno" and a short version under a licence from CZ. Initially this was a copy of the Model of 1930 carbine, which was soon replaced by a slightly modified Model of 1949 (1328 by the Iranian calendar), also known as "Berno kootah".
The only difference between the local Iranian version and the Czech version was the markings on the side of the receiver: instead of naming Brno as the maker, it was written "sakht-e aslah-e sazi-e artesh" (made by the Army Arms factory).
The Brno remained as the standard Iranian infantry weapon until it was replaced by the more modern, semi-automatic, American M1 Garand rifle in 1960. Following the change, the Brno was confined to the gendarmerie and the game wardens for a while, before it was decommissioned from active use. In the 1970s it was used mainly in ceremonial occasions
The Iranian Brno rifles saw action in a number of places from tribal uprisings in Kurdistan to the coup removing Mohammad Mossadegh from power. During the 1979 revolution, the gun re-appeared in the hands of the revolutionaries and tribesmen, who had never abandoned their Brnos. Besides the rebels, the Islamic government too had a use for Brno. It was, and is, used in official Friday prayer ceremonies. The speaker is required to have 'the weapon of the day' by his side, according to the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, who carried a sword in this capacity.
- People's Republic of China
- Republic of China
- El Salvador
- Israel
- Empire of Japan
- Nazi Germany
- ^ Reine Smith. "brazilpage". Carbinesforcollectors.com. http://www.carbinesforcollectors.com/brazilpage.html. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- ^ Reine Smith. "peru". Carbinesforcollectors.com. http://www.carbinesforcollectors.com/peru.html. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- ^ Československé ruční palné zbraně a kulomety, Miroslav Šáda, Praha, Naše vojsko 1971
- ^ "Mgr. Jan Tetřev-Informační server přátel zbraní - Stručná historie čs. pušky vz. 24 (4)". Guns-info.cz. http://www.guns-info.cz/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1338. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- ^ Reine Smith (1933-12-11). "granchaco". Carbinesforcollectors.com. http://www.carbinesforcollectors.com/granchaco.htm. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- ^ "Mauser Military Rifles of the World - Robert W.D. Ball - Google Llibres". Books.google.es. http://books.google.es/books?id=p40IsLJv80AC&pg=PA116&lpg=PA116&dq=vz24+rifle+spanish+civil+war&source=bl&ots=30zt5QwnZ1&sig=XmKKNE0ZYvSo8UzEtv-ZAf9dWiI&hl=ca&sa=X&ei=NsvlT-TUMZKHhQez4enMCQ&ved=0CFwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=vz24%20rifle%20spanish%20civil%20war&f=true. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- ^ R. Law, Backbone of the Wehrmacht, Collector Grade Publications, Ontario, Canada, 1993 p 179