Very Rare ZGB33 Trials .303 Bren Gun
Manufactured in 1933. One of 80 in the original 1933 British Army light machine gun trials.
In mid 1930 the British Army commenced light machine gun trials to replace the WW1 Lewis light machine gun.
There were many contenders but it came down to just two, the Vickers Berthier
which had already been adopted by the British Indian Army in 1929 and the new ZB 26 Czechoslovak light machine gun manufactured at the Brno factory.
This was a hard contest as both the main contenders were hard to separate, so in 1931 more trials were held. This time the Vickers lost out the the ZB30 in troop trials.
By Brno had developed the ZB30 with a modified shortened gas tube and was tested again in June 1932, then newly developed ZB-30 was chambered in British .303 round yet again tested in November at troop trial level.
After the November 1932 troop trial more modification level design by January 1933 and these were tested by British Army representatives in Brno in July.
One of the variants was selected and designated ZGB 33 and in October 1933 10 units were sent to England for field testing also R.S.A.F Enfield requested a simple for evaluation.
After additional trials in early 1934, more samples were ordered during the summer of 1934, and on May 24, 1935, the licence for British manufacture was finally acquired, and the design was adopted under the Bren name.
Wrong guns sent !
In late 1936 R.S.A.F Enfield started tooling up for the production of the Mark 1 Bren Gun. As a stop gap the British Government ordered 400 Mark 1 Bren guns from the Brno factory and drawings were sent to the Brno factory for there manufacture to R.S.A.F. Enfield drawings specification.
In March 1937 the first batch 80 light machine guns arrived at the Enfield factory and went for factory inspection. Instead of sending over 80 newly manufactured Mark 1 Bren guns to R.S.A.F Enfield drawings the Czech sent over 80 ZGB33 Trial's light machines instead.
The factory inspectors at R.S.A.F Enfield rejected all 80 ZGB33 as 'not to current specification' and all 80 ZGB33 were put into storage at Enfield.
The Irish Connection
The ZGB33 were left in storage until early 1940 when the British Government
sold 1000 'used' Bren Guns to the Irish Government cheaply and in that shipment were the 80 ZGB33 .
In the early 2000's the Irish sold off all there old .303 rifles and machine guns as there were deemed obsolete by current standards.
It did not take long for someone to notice in there shipment there was ZGB33 trials light machine guns. We think this was 'Ryton Arms' who found them in one of there shipments.
If the Czechs had not sent over these 80 1933 Trials ZGB33 by mistake, the Czechs would have scrapped them long before the war had started . The Nazi would certainly have scrapped them after over running the Czech Brno factory in 1939.
Only by pure chance and chance alone that these survived into today world
This ZGB33 is fully strippable and dry firing
This is an opportunity to own a very rare ZGB33 that was in the original British Army trials of 1933.