La Hitte System - Specifications


Left image: Rifled mountain cannon "Canon de montagne de 4 modèle 1859 Le Pétulant". Caliber: 86 mm. Length: 0.82 m. Weight: 101 kg (208 kg with carriage). Ammunition: 4 kg shell.
Right image: Hexagonal rifling of Le Pétulant (detail).

The new rifled guns were used from 1859 during the Franco-Austrian War in Italy. These guns were a considerable improvement over the previous smooth-bore guns which had been in use. They were able to shoot at 3,000 meters either regular shells, ball-loaded shells or grapeshot. They appear to have been the first case of usage of rifled cannons on a battlefield.

The system was muzzle-loading, and the shells could only be exploded at two set distances. The shell, based on the 1847 invention of Captain Tamisier, were oval-shaped and had small protrusions to follow the grooves of the bore. Previous guns, such as the Canon obusier de 12 were rifled to accommodate the system. The system included newly rifled siege guns of 12, 16 and 24, new field guns of 4 and 12, new siege guns of 12 and 24, and a mountain gun of 4.

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