Toussaint-Henry-Joseph Fafchamps

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The 37-barrels Montigny mitrailleuse, completed in 1863, was derived from the invention of Fafschamps.

Toussaint-Henry-Joseph Fafchamps, sometimes spelled Fafschamps, was a Belgian Army Captain. In 1851, with the Belgian gunsmith Joseph Montigny and the Fusnot company,[1] he developed what is sometimes considered the first machine gun in history,[2] 10 years before the advent of the Gatling gun.[3]


Fafchamps made a prototype of his machine, as well as drawings, which were remitted to Montigny.[4] The Fafschamps gun was a manually fired 50-barrels volley gun using needle fire and paper cartridges, and was only intended as a stationary artillery piece for defensive fortifications. Fafchamps named it the "carabine multiple".[5]


Joseph Montigny further improved the weapon, completing the transportable 37-barrels Montigny mitrailleuse (also known as the "Fafschamps-Montigny mitrailleuse") in 1863. From 1859, Joseph Montigny proposed his design to Napoleon III, which led to the development of the French Reffye mitrailleuse, designed by Jean-Baptiste Verchère de Reffye with the collaboration of Montigny, and which was adopted by the French Army in 1865. The invention of Fafschamps thus became the basis of the "mitrailleuse", which was used by the French in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Initially kept under wraps as a secret weapon, it became widely used in battle by French artillery during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hutchison, Graham Seton (1938). Machine Guns: Their History and Tactical Employment (being Also a History of the Machine Gun Corps, 1916–1922). Macmillan. p. 9. Retrieved 2008-12-08. In 1851, some twenty years before the outbreak of the Franco- German War, Captain Fafschamps, a Belgian officer, offered drawings of an invention to a fellow countryman, Monsieur Montigny 
  2. ^ McNeil, Ian (1990). An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology. Taylor & Francis. p. 985. ISBN 0-415-01306-2. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  3. ^ Wahl, Paul; Toppel, Donald R (1965). The Gatling Gun. New York: Arco. p. 43. Retrieved 2008-12-08. Subject of all this secrecy was the twenty-five-year-old Fafschamps-Montigny Mitrailleuse, warmed over by De Reffye. This weapon was invented in 1851. 
  4. ^ Willbanks, James H (2004). Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 35. ISBN 1-85109-480-6. Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  5. ^ Hunt, Robert (1862). Handbook to the Industrial Department of the International Exhibition, 1862. E. Stanford. p. 140. Retrieved 2008-12-08.