The Serbs were a Slavic tribe that settled in the Balkans around A.D. 600, and by the 12th century under their famous king, Stefan Dusan, they had displaced the Byzantines as the dominant power in the region. But the Serbs could not stand against the might of the Ottoman Empire, and at the 1389 Battle of Kosovo the Serbian army was destroyed, resulting in almost 500 years of Turkish domination in the region.
Serbian independence was re-established in 1878, and in keeping with the best traditions of Balkan tribalism and vendetta, Serbia soon found itself at odds with most of its neighbors, especially the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1914, Bosnian-Serb nationalists, who were financed and armed by Serbia, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. These actions led to the First World War. While Serbia ws occupied by the Central Powers, the Serbian army was evacuated by the Allies, reequipped and continued to see service on the Thesalonikii front in northern Greece until 1918, After the defeat of the Central Powers, Serbia formed the core of the new Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, or Yugoslavia. The new kingdom had a mixed population of Serbs, Albanians, Macedonians, Croats, Slovenes, Bosnians and Montenegrins who coexisted in a tense atmosphere acerbated by centuries of tribal and religious distrust.
Having a history so interlaced with warfare, the Serbs attempted to equip their army with the most up-to-date weaponry. In 1880, they adopted the Puška 78/80, a variation of Mauser’s Infanteriegewehr M.71 rifle. This was followed by a series of rifles based on Mauser’s M95 and M98 actions and chambered for the 7x57mm cartridge: the Puška 1899, the Puška 99/07 and the Puška 1910. Supplemented with French, Russian and captured Austrian weapons, these were the rifles the Serbs fought with in the Great War.
After WWI, Yugoslavia received Austrian, German, Turkish and Bulgarian rifles as reparations. In an attempt at standardization, Yugoslavia decided to adopt the 7.9x57mm cartridge, and the most suitable rifles were re-barreled for this round. Beginning in the early 1920s, the Yugoslav army sought new Mauser rifles, but Allied restrictions prevented their traditional suppliers in Germany from providing them. However, Fabrique Nationale (FN) of Herstal, Belgium, and Ceskoslovenska Zbrojovka (CZ) of Brno, Czechoslovakia, were both producing 98-type Mausers and were only too happy to sign contracts with Belgrade. Between 1924 and 1927, the Yugoslavs contracted 100,000 Fusil Ml3 1924 rifles from FN. It was decided that rifle production would being locally, and the necessary machinery was ordered from FN and then installed at he state arsenal at Kraguyevac by 1927. In the meantime, an order for 40,000 vz. 1924 Mausers was placed with CZ. The rifle produced at Kraguyevac, the Pešadisjka Puška M.1924 (Infantry Rifle Model of 1924), was a copy of the FN Fusil Mle 1924.