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 Wehrmacht had 11 divisions equipped with the rifle at the start of war, though vast majority of its life as a military service rifles was during peacetime with the Czechoslovak Army. Production continued for the German Army, which designated it Gewehr 24(t). About 762,000 rifles of this pattern were produced in Czechoslovakia for the Czechoslovak army and some other 330,050 for the German armed forces.
The vz. 24 rifle was designed in Czechoslovakia shortly after WWI. "vz." is an abbreviation for vzor, which translates to model, "24" represents the year of the design, 1924 and 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:
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 known as "Berno kootah" (short Brno) under a licence from CZ.
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 (he apparently used a sword).