Difference between revisions of "BESA (7.92 mm)"

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{{Navigation-First-Line|'''Light tanks'''}}{{Specs-Link|uk_armored_car_aec_mk_2|short}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_crusader_mk_2|short}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_crusader_mk_3|short}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_daimler_mk_2|short}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_a17_mk_1_tetrarch|short}}
{{Navigation-First-Line|'''Light tanks'''}}{{Specs-Link|uk_armored_car_aec_mk_2}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_crusader_mk_2}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_crusader_mk_3}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_daimler_mk_2}}{{-}}{{Specs-Link|uk_a17_mk_1_tetrarch}}
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{{Navigation-First-Line|'''Tank destroyers'''}}{{Specs-Link|uk_a39_tortoise}}

Latest revision as of 12:52, 30 January 2020


The BESA machine gun is a British 7.92 mm machine gun, it is a license-built variant of the Czechoslovakian ZB-53 machine gun. The BESA was the British Army's standard tank-mounted machine gun from the start of WW2 until the 1950s, being withdrawn from service in the late 1960s. As such in the game it is by far the most ubiquitous machine gun in the British ground forces tree, featuring as the co-axial or commander weapon for most tanks from rank I to rank IV. Being only a 7.92 mm machine gun, it is largely ineffective against all but the most weakly armoured, or open cabin, vehicles.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

The BESA machine gun is fitted as the co-axial (and sometimes commander's) weapon on nearly every British tank from rank I to rank IV.

The Mk.VIA AA is the only British tank to use the weapon as its primary armament.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon
Light tanks  AEC Mk.II · Crusader Mk II · Crusader Mk III · Daimler AC Mk.II · Tetrarch Mk I
Medium tanks 
Centurion  Centurion Mk 1 · Centurion Mk 3 · Strv 81 (RB 52)
Comet  Comet I · Iron Duke IV
Cromwell  Cromwell I · Cromwell Mk.V (RP-3) · Cromwell V
Valentine  Valentine Mk I · Valentine Mk XI
Heavy tanks 
Caernarvon  Caernarvon
Churchill  Churchill Mk I · Churchill Mk III · ▀Pz.Kpfw. Churchill · Churchill Mk VII · Black Prince
Excelsior  Excelsior
Matilda  Matilda III
Tank destroyers  Tortoise

General info

The BESA machine gun performs slightly better than other British co-axial machine guns, with the same rate of fire as guns like the L3A1 (7.62 mm) and L8A1 (7.62 mm), but marginally better penetration.

Available ammunition

When fitted as a secondary machine gun (usually co-axially) the BESA can only be equipped with one ammo belt consisting of two Armour-Piercing Incendiary (AP-I) bullets, followed by one Armour-Piercing Tracer (AP-T) bullet. Neither bullet has much penetration (10 mm - 13 mm). However, the AP-T bullet performs slightly better than the AP-I bullet.

When fitted as the primary armament on the Mk.VIA AA the BESA gains several different belts. These are:

  • Default: Ball - Tracer (T) - Incendiary Tracer (IT)
  • Universal: Armour Piercing (AP) - Tracer (T) - Incendiary Tracer (IT) - Ball
  • API-T: Incendiary Tracer (IT) - Incendiary Tracer (IT) - Armour Piercing (AP) - Tracer (T)
  • AP-T: Armour Piercing (AP) - Armour Piercing (AP) - Incendiary Tracer (IT) - Tracer (T)
Penetration statistics
Ammunition Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)
10 m 100 m 500 m 1,000 m 1,500 m 2,000 m
AP 13 11 9 7 4 2
AP-I 10 9 7 4 0 0
AP-T 13 12 7 2 1 1
Ball 8 7 5 3 2 2
IT 3 3 3 3 3 3
T 8 7 5 3 2 2
Shell details
Ammunition Velocity
Mass (kg)
Fuse delay
Fuse sensitivity
Explosive Mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
Normalisation at 30°
from horizontal
0% 50% 100%
AP 783 0.011 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
AP-I 880 0.0102 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
AP-T 905 0.01 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
Ball 847 0.012 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
IT 771 0.011 N/A 3.0 N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°
T 847 0.01 N/A N/A N/A +2.0° 47° 60° 65°

Comparison with analogues

The BESA performs favourably to the L3A1, L8A1, and L8A2 found on later British tanks. It has the same rate of fire as these weapons but better penetration. It has slightly lower rate of fire than the L37A1 and L37A2, but slightly higher penetration.

Usage in battles

Due to the low penetration this weapon it is largely ineffective against enemy armour (although you may be able to penetrate some vehicles with extremely thing armour). The gun is primarily useful for killing exposed crew members in open-topped vehicles and SPAA, which can be fairly common at some places in the wide range of battle ratings this gun is found at. Another function for this gun is rangefinding, as well as marking enemy vehicles and obscuring the view of enemy players (shooting at their gun sight). You can use the gun against aircraft however it does minimal damage and is usually co-axially mounted, making hitting aircraft difficult.

Pros and cons


  • Better penetration than other co-axial machine guns found on British tanks
  • Decent rate of fire
  • No particularity weak shells in ammo belt unlike other co-axial machine guns


  • Low penetration
  • Low damage
  • Lower rate of fire than L37A1 and L37A2


The BESA machine gun it is a license-built variant of the Czechoslovakian ZB-53 machine gun. The British War Office ordered the weapon in 1938, and production began in 1939. In the UK the gun was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, the initialism of which (BSA) gave the gun its name. The ZB-53 had been designed to use the German 7.92 × 57 mm Mauser round, and the British originally intended to modify it in order to use the same .303 (7.7 mm) ammunition as other British rifles and machine guns; however it was later decided that converting the gun would take more time and effort than maintaining the original calibre and procuring the 7.92 mm ammunition. A side effect of this was that the British were able to utilise captured German 7.92 mm ammunition.

From 1939 the BESA machine gun became the standard British machine gun for tanks and other armoured vehicles (hence the widespread presence in the British tank tree), replacing the Vickers machine gun. In June 1940 the improved BESA Mk II became available, featuring a selector to allow the operator to choose between a higher rate of fire for close combat or focused targets and a lower rate of fire for long-range combat or area targets. Several further versions of the BESA were produced up until 1966. The early models of the BESA were deemed obsolete in 1951, with later model guns remaining in service until the late 1960s.


An excellent addition to the article would be a video guide, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the article about the variant of the cannon/machine gun;
  • references to approximate analogues by other nations and research trees.

External links

Britain and USA anti-aircraft guns
7.92 mm  BESA
12.7 mm  Browning M2HB
20 mm  Oerlikon Mk.II · M168
30 mm  HSS-831L
35 mm  Oerlikon KDA
37 mm  M1A2
40 mm  Bofors

Tank machine guns
7.62 mm  M37 · M60D · M73 · M240 · M1919A4
12.7 mm  M2HB · M80 · M85
7.62 mm  MG3A1
7.92 mm  MG13 Dreyse · MG34 · MG37(t) · MG42
7.62 mm  DT · PKT · RP-46 · SGMT
12.7 mm  DK · DShK · NSVT
14.5 mm  KPVT
7.62 mm  L3A1 · L8A1 · L8A2 · L37A1 · L37A2 · L94A1 · Browning MG4
7.7 mm  Vickers
7.92 mm  BESA
12.7 mm  L21A1
6.5 mm  Type 91
7.62 mm  Type 74
7.7 mm  Type 97
12.7 mm  Type 60 (B)
7.62 mm  Type 86
12.7 mm  QJC88A
7.62 mm  Beretta MG42/59 · FN MAG 60-40
8 mm  Breda Mod. 38
7.5 mm  AAT-52 · MAC 31
7.62 mm  AAN-F1
7.62 mm  Ksp 58