Huot automatic rifle
The Huot was a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 light machine gun
Light machine gun
A light machine gun is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.-Characteristics:...


Design and development

In 1916, the Canadian Expeditionary Force
Canadian Expeditionary Force
The Canadian Expeditionary Force was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. Units of the C.E.F. were divided into field formation in France, where they were organized first into separate divisions and later joined together into a single...

 was desperately short of light machine guns. Since the Ross rifle
Ross rifle
The Ross rifle was a straight-pull bolt-action 0.303 inch calibre rifle produced in Canada from 1903 until the middle of the First World War....

 had finally been taken out of service, there were large numbers of surplus rifles.

That year, Joseph Huot, an engineer from Richmond, Quebec
Richmond, Quebec
Richmond, population 3,336 , is a town nestled amidst rolling farmlands on the Saint-François River between Sherbrooke and Drummondville, in the heart of Estrie in Quebec, Canada.-Richmond today:...

, adapted the Ross' straight-pull bolt action. His sample model, which shared 33 parts with the Ross Mark III, had a gas piston parallel to the barrel, which moved a sleeve on the bolt backward, operating the action. To absorb excess energy, the bolt was buffered. The entire mechanism was sheathed in sheet metal. Huot copied the cooling system from the Lewis Gun
Lewis Gun
The Lewis Gun is a World War I–era light machine gun of American design that was perfected and widely used by the British Empire. It was first used in combat in World War I, and continued in service with a number of armed forces through to the end of the Korean War...

, then standard in British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 service. It fed from a 25-round drum magazine. He filed Canadian patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s; #193724 on 8 March 1917 (granted 4 November 1919) and #193725 on 13 November 1917.

Early in September 1916, he approached the government to licence-produce the weapon, meeting with a Colonel Matyche on 8 September, and was hired by the Government Small Arms Experimental Department.

The Dominion Rifle Factory (formerly the Ross rifle factory) built a finished version of the design, under the supervision of Assistant Inspector of Small Arms Major Robert Mills
Robert Mills
Robert Mills may refer to:*Robert Mills , American architect*Robert Mills , American physicist*Bob Mills , Canadian politician*Robert P...

 of the Seaforth Highlanders
Seaforth Highlanders
The Seaforth Highlanders was a historic regiment of the British Army associated with large areas of the northern Highlands of Scotland. The Seaforth Highlanders have varied in size from two battalions to seventeen battalions during the Great War...

. It was tested at Quebec City on 12 November 1916, with a second 650-round trial of an improved version on 15 February 1917. The Master-General of Ordnance, Blair, demanded a third test, firing 11,000 rounds (half Dominion Cartridge Company
Canadian Industries Limited
Canadian Industries Limited, also known as C-I-L is a Canadian chemicals manufacturer. Products include paints, fertilizers and pesticides, and explosives. It was formed in 1910 by the merger of five Canadian explosives companies...

, half Dominion Arsenal) on 5-6 March 1917. The Huot was also examined at the Rockcliffe Rifle Range on 22 October 1917, which led S. C. Meuburn to recommend it be adopted by the British Army.

To further this aim, Blair, A.A. Janson, and Huot sailed for Britain, arriving at Sandling
Sandling is a small hamlet north of Saltwood in Kent. It has a railway station connected to Saltwood village by a bus service. It is also the location of Sandling Park, a large estate and house, which stretches around the village of Saltwood and ends at Saltwood's other satellite hamlet, Pedlinge...

, Hythe
Hythe, Kent
Hythe , is a small coastal market town on the edge of Romney Marsh, in the District of Shepway on the south coast of Kent. The word Hythe or Hithe is an Old English word meaning Haven or Landing Place....

 on 10 January 1918, for an extensive British trial at the arms testing establishment at RSAF Enfield
Royal Small Arms Factory
The Royal Small Arms Factory was a UK government-owned rifle factory in the London Borough of Enfield in an area generally known as the Lea Valley. The factory produced British military rifles, muskets and swords from 1816...

. This took place between 19-21 March 1918, and the Huot competed against the Lewis, Hotchkiss
Hotchkiss M1909 Benet-Mercie machine gun
The Hotchkiss M1909 machine gun was a French designed light machine gun of the early 20th century, developed and built by Hotchkiss et Cie. It was also known as the Hotchkiss Mark I and M1909 Benet-Mercie....

, and Farquhar-Hill
Farquhar-Hill Rifle
The British Farquhar-Hill Rifle was one of the first automatic rifles designed in the early 20th century. It was first tested in May 1908, but had many failures. Design was by Major H J Farquhar-Hill, who produced several improved designs none of which completely satisfied the Small Arms Committee...

. The results appeared favorable. "The Huot did better in some tests than the Lewis. It was superior in snapshooting from a trench, in quickness of getting into action..." Even muddy, after firing four or five clearing rounds, it would function again, without the need for stripping and cleaning; Blair noted it was the only weapon on the trial able to suffer immersion and do so.

In firing 10,000 rounds through the Huot, Enfield uncovered fouling of the gas cylinder at 4,000 rounds, and the barrel worn out at 10,000. Since this example had already had some 11,000 rounds fired through it before coming into Enfield's hands, this is understandable. Using all varieties of Mark VII ammunition it would be likely to encounter (including K, KN, J, and US), they found the Huot had no major problems, though there were unexplained stoppages, and it did not require the specially chosen ammunition the Lewis did. Furthermore, the Huot proved able to fire 4,000 rounds without oiling or cleaning; which the Lewis was unable to do.

In a 22 October 1917 letter to the British Minister of Munitions
Minister of Munitions
The Minister of Munitions was a British government position created during the First World War to oversee and co-ordinate the production and distribution of munitions for the war effort...

, Blair said tooling existed in Canada and the Dominion Factory was ready to begin manufacturing the Huot, using parts from Rosses scheduled for scrapping. After exposure to it in France, Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie
Arthur Currie
Sir Arthur William Currie GCMG, KCB , was a Canadian general during World War I. He had the unique distinction of starting his military career on the very bottom rung as a pre-war militia gunner before rising through the ranks to become the first Canadian commander of the four divisions of the...

, commanding the Canadian Corps
Canadian Corps
The Canadian Corps was a World War I corps formed from the Canadian Expeditionary Force in September 1915 after the arrival of the 2nd Canadian Division in France. The corps was expanded by the addition of the 3rd Canadian Division in December 1915 and the 4th Canadian Division in August 1916...

, reported every soldier to come in contact with the Huot liked it, and on 1 October 1918 wrote requesting 5,000 be purchased, arguing casualties required increased firepower for each remaining man, as well as to allow his men to answer the growing number of German light machine guns. It was ugly, but at C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

50, considerably cheaper than the original C$1,000 cost of the Lewis.

One drawback was the Huot was fully automatic only, with no provision for semi-automatic
Semi-automatic rifle
A semi-automatic rifle is a type of rifle that fires a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled, automatically ejects the spent cartridge, chambers a fresh cartridge from its magazine, and is immediately ready to fire another shot...

 fire. The magazine could be emptied in just 3.2 seconds (a drawback shared by the Browning Automatic Rifle
Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle was a family of United States automatic rifles and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed...

), but it could be changed in four seconds, and an empty magazine filled with ammunition in 30 seconds. In addition the Huot functioned just as well upside-down.

Enfield noted 13 flaws, all with simple fixes, remarking "converting the Ross was not a complicated matter." Field trials in France showed "well authenticated" reports of few breakages or stoppages.

Enfield recommended a number of changes: the barrel cover be fitted with a continuous length of tubing and a wooden forend, allowing the weapon to dispense with the rest, which was criticized for its fragility; a corrugated metal cover be fitted to the body, with a dust shield over the bolt handle; the magazine mouth be bevelled to ease feeding; the magazine be made of thinner metal to reduce its excessive weight; the breech cover not extend so far back to prevent injury to the firer; strengthen the extractor to prevent failures to feed with thick-rimmed cases (one of the few feeding problems noted); the hand-cocking lever be deleted, also removing eight new parts; and the barrel casing be made in one piece, to eliminate a minor double failure issue.

The war ended before it entered service, and the idea was dropped. Huot was out of pocket about C$30,000. Hundreds of surplus Ross rifles were provided to Britain early in World War Two
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 which could easily have been converted to Huots.

A similar conversion but with Enfield rifles was the New Zealand designed Charlton Automatic Rifle
Charlton Automatic Rifle
The Charlton Automatic Rifle was a fully automatic conversion of the Lee-Enfield rifle, designed by New Zealander Philip Charlton in 1941 to act as a substitute for the Bren and Lewis gun light machine guns which were in chronically short supply at the time....


See also

  • Kg/1940 Light machine gun
    Kg/1940 Light machine gun
    The Kg m/40 was a light machine gun used by the Swedish Army during the 1940s. A small number were also manufactured in Germany by Knorr-Bremse for the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS, under the name MG35/36A, though they were mostly called just "the Knorr-Bremse".The KG/1940 loaded its magazine from the...

  • Furrer M25
    Furrer M25
    The Furrer M25 is a Swiss recoil operated light machine-gun designed by Colonel Furrer of the Swiss Arsenal in the 1920s and produced since 1925. It takes the 7.5 mm Swiss Service cartridge from a 30-round box magazine and has a cyclic rate of fire of 450 rounds-per-minute...

  • Mendoza RM2
    Mendoza RM2
    The Mendoza RM2 was a light machine gun similar to the M1918 BAR manufactured in Mexico by Productos Mendoza, S.A. It was chambered in .30-06 Calibre and had a 20 round magazine fed from the top....

  • Weibel M/1932
    Weibel M/1932
    The Weibel M/1932 was a light machine gun concept of Danish origin and was considered to supplement the Madsen gun in Danish service. It was fed from a 20 round box magazine chambered in the intermediate 7x44mm round. This calibre was considered underpowered for its day but shares the same...

  • Charlton machine gun
  • Bren gun
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.