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 Post subject: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:13 pm 
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Location: South Africa
I'm looking for some information on the use of the ZB26 LMG - also known as the MG26(t) to the Germans post-annexation of Czechslovakia - by German forces during WW2. Who used them, where were they used, how was their operational use different from belt-fed designs, etc. Also, photos would help greatly, as well as an idea of how their ammo pouches looked and worked.

Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:51 pm 
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Location: Essex, UK
I know the Waffen SS used them in the early war period when they had to beg, steal or borrow whatever they could as the OKW weren't too keen on equipping them so pre-war and the early campaigns of Poland, France, the Low Countries etc. I think second line units also had them, supply troops, that kind of thing throughout the war.

The British Bren was developed from the ZB26 and ZB30 design.

The weapon had a top loading magazine which I think held 20 rounds of standard 7.92mm ammunition as used in the K98 and MG34 / MG42 series. The spent rounds ejected from directly below the weapon. It worked by gases from the round being fired being diverted from the barrel downwards to push back the gas piston which pushed the working parts back ejecting the spent cartridge before a sprung piston that compressed into the butt forcing the working parts forward stripping the next round from the magazine, loading it, firing and repeating the process. I think they were capable of selective fire ie single shot or fully automatic.

I have seen photo's of SS soldiers training and fighting with them and also one late war being used by non SS troops. I don't know how the pouches looked as that isn't clear from the photo's.

I was trained on the 7.62 Light Machine Gun during my time in the army which was the post war derivative of the Bren. If the ZB series were as accurate and reliable then they would have been good weapons. The only draw back being the limitation of being magazine fed rather then belt fed.

Hope that helps.

Soest


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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:11 pm 
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Used early war by the waffen ss the pouches are worn on the chest I would post a photo but my I pad don't want to play


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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:44 am 
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Location: South Africa
Thanks, would appreciate the photos of the associated webbing and kit that was issued with the '26.

I recently picked up the airsoft version:

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:47 am 
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Location: Surrey
http://www.ima-usa.com/german-zb26-30-t ... ories.html

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:37 pm 
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Location: Auchterarder, Schottland
askhati, what sort of magazine does it come with? I've been look at it, but different websites give different answers....Hicap or midcap?

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:07 pm 
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Mine is the A&K version, which comes with a high-cap. The ROCK version comes with 3x 160rd midcaps. The ROCK version also has a black gas tube, unlike the A&K and the real deal.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:29 pm 
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Here is the story on the Czech light machine guns used by the Wehrmacht, from what I have been able to gather. The ZB-26 machine gun was developed in Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and used by the Czech military and also exported to other countries. Further development of the ZB-26 resulted in later versions including the ZB-30. A major customer of this latter model was Yugoslavia with 15,500 weapons bought. Romania (a later ally of Germany on the eastern front) also bought 17,131 of these ZB-30 machine guns. When Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939, the ZB-26 and ZB-30 were both incorporated into the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS under the designations MG26(t) and MG30(t), the suffix (t) denominating a captured weapon of Czech ("tschechisch") origin. Altogether, the Germans acquired 31,204 ZB-26 and ZB-30 machine guns at that time, some sources indicate that the majority of the captured guns were the ZB-30 model. 1,500 of these guns were sold to the German ally Bulgaria, the others were issued to the various Wehrmacht branches and also the Polizei and Waffen-SS. Later, when Germany occupied Yugoslavia, they also captured some of the 15,500 ZB-30 machine guns that had been sent there, although it is unknown how many of these exactly were captured. Production of these weapons was continued under German occupation in Czechoslovakia and 10,430 were produced for the Wehrmacht and SS in 1939 and 1940. These examples cannot technically be considered "captured" but were actual German production. In 1941 production was switched over to the MG 34 and production of the MG30(t) / ZB-30 ceased.

Here's a cover of a Wehrmacht manual for the MG26(t) and MG30(t):

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Some photographs of these weapons in Heer use. Some of these are training pictures but there are a couple of field shots in there as well.

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I've been looking in to what kinds of units were issued this weapon and have found some evidence in the form of original Wehrpaesse for soldiers who were trained on these guns. Here is one that I have for a soldier who served in Landesschuetzen and construction units. At one time his job was guarding POW camps. He was trained on the MG26(t).

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Here are scans from a Wehrpass for a soldier who was part of the occupation forces in the Netherlands, performing security duties as part of Sicherungs-Regiment 26. The weapon training entry is simply "le. M.G. (t)," this could have been either a 26 or a 30.

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Here's one for a guy who was a Pak gun crew leader and Panzerjaeger in Grenadier-Regiment 895. The Wehrpass indicates he fought in the East and then was assigned duty securing the coast of the Atlantic and English Channel in France, later he fought in Festung Lorient. He was trained on Czech weapons including the MG26(t) (here listed as l. M.G. 26 (Bruenn), for the place where it was made), a Czech pistol and a Czech Pak cannon.

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This is not the only documentation I found for these weapons being used on the Atlantikwall. German records for the island of Jersey in the English Channel show 4 x MG26(t) as part of the 'pool' of weapons for the 319. Inf. Div. stationed there. There were also 500 x MG34 and 200 x MG42 plus 200 other mixed MG types of mainly French origin.

From all of this I infer that the MG30(t) in the Heer was probably mainly issued to units assigned security functions, either guard troops, occupation garrison units, or coastal defence. I also think that deployment of this weapon might be justifiable at Eastern Front events as this weapon had widespread use in that theater of war, not only by the SS and Wehrmacht and the aforementioned Romanians but also by the Red Army who (I believe) had purchased some of these for use in the Winter War.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:33 pm 
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I recently saw another couple of Wehrpässe for soldiers trained on Czech lMG. The first guy served in Landesschützen-Bataillon 638 and took part in the campaign in Russia from August 1941 until February 1942 when he was grievously wounded. He was awarded the Ostmedaille and the EKII, also the black wound badge which was later upgraded to silver due to the insanely horrifying nature of the wound he suffered: he took a rifle round through his scrotum and perineum and apparently lost his manhood as a result, he at that time was 35 years old and single. The unit he served in was part of Sicherungs-Regiment 285, again a second-line security unit. The second Wehrpass was for a soldier in Infanterie-Regiment 248, part of an Infantry division that apparently was issued with Czech material. He served on the Western Front in May and June, 1940 and trained on the MG26(t). This is the first apparent use I have found of one of these weapons in a regular Infantry role on the Westfront.

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SS use:

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:11 am 
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Thanks Chris, that is some excellent research. Any indication of the ZB seeing use by the DAK? Your comment about its use by coastal units could give credibility to a Kustenartillerie unit perhaps using it?

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Excellent research Chris. I've seen this gun up close some of our guys have original ones (made under occupation) that they use for their SS impressions. One could easily see how the Bren Gun is a direct copy of this gun.

As for the DAK impression, I have never seen photos of them in use. Since most DAK units were converted to Panzergrenadiers, it would be interesting to know of there were any PzGrnd units who made us of this MG.

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:45 pm 
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The coastal units that I found that used these were, generally speaking, occupation troops in an area that at that time was not really a combat zone. I would suspect that DAK units would have been more likely to have been equipped with standard MGs.

Here's me with mine, just a dummy. From a display event.


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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:33 pm 
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The reason I ask about the DAK is that my (admittedly limited) research has shown that the DAK Kustenartillerie units - Kriegsmarine shore units, tasked with defending harbours and supply depots behind friendly lines - were not really that heavily armed or equipped, which prompted the idea that they might perhaps have access to the ZB series. I would love to read more about the matter, but the material has been scarce.

Otherwise, the ZB sounds like a fair bet for a Feldgendarmie or Polizei unit, or an Waffen-SS unit in the East. As for coastal units in non-combat areas, I'm assuming the post-D-Day war-zone would have seen them used in France by garrison/fortress units?

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:01 pm 
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Some pics ive found :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Use of ZB26
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:04 pm 
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A few more

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