Jean-Baptiste Verchère de Reffye

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Jean Baptiste Auguste Verchère de Reffye.

Jean-Baptiste Verchère de Reffye (30 July 1821 – 6 December 1880) was a French artillery general of the 19th century, and superintendent of the works at Meudon.[1] He was a former ordnance officer for Napoleon III. He also established the gun manufacture in Tarbes.

Reffye mitrailleuse[edit]

Front view of Reffye model mitrailleuse, 1866.
The 1870 Reffye cannon.
Reffye Mle 1870 85mm breech system.

De Reffye developed in 1866 the Reffye mitrailleuse (named "Canon à balles"), one of the best early machine guns,[2] which was used during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.[3] It was based on the earlier Belgian Montigny mitrailleuse of 1863.

Breech-loading cannons[edit]

Jean-Baptiste Verchère de Reffye took a key role in introducing rifled breech loading cannons, a marked improvement over the previous La Hitte system which had been in place since 1858. The La Hitte system used rifled weapons, but they were muzzle-loading, which had the advantage of structural strength, but the disadvantage of slowness in loading.

In 1870, de Reffye developed the Reffye 85mm cannon, an 85 mm (3.35-inch) rifled breech-loading cannon, equipped with a breech screw, initially made of bronze. The cannon used shell cartridges for ammunition.[4]

De Reffye also developed the Reffye 75mm cannon in 1873. His cannons would be soon superseded by the Lahitolle 95mm cannon and especially the De Bange 90mm cannon.


  1. ^ The United Service Magazine - Page 11 1872
  2. ^ Warfare and Armed Conflicts Page 3 by Micheal Clodfelter
  3. ^ The New Cambridge Modern History by G. N. Clark p.307
  4. ^ Age of Great Guns: Cannon Kings and Cannoneers page 30 by Frank E. Comparato [1]