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ZB-53 / vz. 37

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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The ZB-53 or vz.37 air-cooled, belt-fed machine-gun was manufactured by the Czechoslovak arms ZB factory. It was a gas operated, automatic-only weapon (with selectable rate of fire), which fires from an open bolt. The ZB-53 uses belt feed, from non-disintegrating steel belts which are fed from the right side only. The ZB-53 was issued with tripods of several designs.

These machine guns were also mounted into tanks by various nations like the Czech LT vz. 35 and LT vz. 38, the German Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) and Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) and most British tank designs of the WW2 period. The British Birmingham Small Arms Company manufactured licensed modification of the tank version of ZB-53 named the Besa Machine Gun. It also served in large quantities in the German Army of WW2 under the designation MG 37(t) (infantry tripod and tank version).

  • ZB-53: The original name of the manufacturer.
  • vz.37: Name adopted by the Czechoslovak Army. It is no different from the original.
  • MG 37(t): Versions taken over by the German Army and deployed to service. It is no different from the original.
  • Besa: British versions of the machine gun. 3 versions were created. (Mk.1/Mk.2/Mk.3). Photos of all versions can be seen on the talk page.

ZB 53 / vz. 37 machine gun - 7.92x57mm Mauser
British Besa Mk.2 tank machine gun - 7.92×57mm Mauser


  • Caliber: 7.92x57mm Mauser
  • Weight: 21 kg (41.9 lb) gun + 17.5 (38.6 lb) tripod
  • Length: 1096 mm (43.1 in)
  • Barrel length: 733 mm (28.9 in)
  • Rate of fire: Selectable, 500 or 700-800 rpm
  • Capacity: 100 or 200 rounds belt

The ZB-53 / vz. 37 and variants can be seen in the following films, television series, video games, and anime used by the following actors:


Title Actor Character Note Date
Ivan Nikulin: Russian Sailor (Ivan Nikulin - Russkiy Matros) German soldiers and Soviet sailors 1944
Little Partisan (Malý partyzán) Czechoslovak soldier 1950
Action B (Akce B) Czechoslovak soldiers 1952
Paratrooper British troops Besa; mounted on Daimler Armoured Car 1953
A Hill in Korea Besa; mounted in Comet tank 1956
The Unconquered (Neporazení) Jirí Sovák Pvt. Jarda Mounted in the bunker loopholes 1958
Gorgo British troops Besa; mounted on Daimler Armoured Car 1961
Hell Is for Heroes German soldiers Stock footage 1962
At Your Threshold (U Tvoyego Poroga) German troops Mounted in Pz.Kpfw.38(t) light tank 1964
Cast a Giant Shadow Haganah troops mounted on Haganah jeeps 1966
Judith Haganah troops 1966
Revenge (Revansa) Seen in the weapon room 1978
Go and Don't Say Goodbye (Chod a nelúc sa) German soldiers 1979
Signum Laudis Vlado Müller Cpl. Hoferik Mocked as Schwarzlose M.07/12 1980
Russian soldiers Mocked as Maxim M1910
Until the End (Až do konce) Vítezslav Jandák SS-Scharführer Otto 1984
Eduard Cupák SS-Hauptsturmführer
Daniel Netušil Sigi
Romeo Must Die Chinese prison guard 2000
Hart's War German soldiers 2002
Deathwatch German soldiers Mocked up as Maxim MG08 2002
Our Own (Svoi) German troops Mounted in Pz.Kpfw.38(t) light tank 2004
The Red Baron German soldiers Mocked up as Maxim MG08 2008
Lieutenant Suvorov German troops Mounted on Pz.Kpfw.38(t) light tank; possibly mockups 2009
Stalingrad German soldiers 2013
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Seen in armory 2019


Title Actor Character Note Date
The Interpreter (Perevodchik) German soldiers 2014
Snow and Ashes (Sneg i pepel) Antonis Shamanidi Aslan Bodoev 2015
A German soldier

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Note Date
Call of Duty 2 Besa Mounted on Crusader tanks 2005
Forgotten Hope 2 MG37(t) Mounted in Marder III 2006
Company of Heroes Besa Mounted on British tanks 2006
Darkest Hour: Europe '44-'45 Besa Mounted on Cromwell Mk IV 2006
Company of Heroes 2 Besa Mounted on British Tanks 2013
Sniper Elite III Besa Mounted on British Matilda Tanks 2014
Heroes & Generals MG37(t) Mounted in Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) Ausf. E 2016
Call of Duty: WWII Besa Mounted on a British Light Tank Mk VI 2017
Post Scriptum "ZB-53"/"Besa" ZB-53 mounted in Panzer 38(t) and Besa used in British armor 2018
Battlefield V Besa and MG37(t) Mounted on British Tanks and German Panzer 38 (T) 2018
Call of Duty: Vanguard Besa Mounted on Crusader tanks 2021
Enlisted MG37(t) Mounted on Pz.38 (t) F tanks 2021
Besa Tank Machine Gun
Call to Arms - Gates of Hell: Ostfront MG37(t) Mounted on Pz.38 (t) F tanks 2021
Besa Tank Machine Gun


Anime Title Character Note Date
Girls und Panzer Panzer 38(t) ZB-53 2012 - 2013
Churchill and Matilda Tanks Besa variant
Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle! Panzer 38(t) ZB-53 2014
Girls und Panzer: der Film Churchill, Crusader and Matilda tanks Besa variant 2015
Witch Craft Works mounted in Churchill Mk IV, "Takamiya-kun and Kagari-san's Wound" (ep.08) 2014
Girls und Panzer das Finale: Part 2 Panzer 38(t) ZB-53 2019
Churchill and Matilda Tanks Besa variant

See Also

  • Zbrojovka Brno - A list of all firearms manufactured by Zbrojovka Brno.

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