Dovitis Rifle


#1

Amidst my researches on Cdt Louis D’Audeteau, I am working on an article about the Dovitis Rifle, a Mauser M.1871 which was modified to chamber the uncanny 6,5 mm Daudeteau N°12 cartridge on the behalf of a so-called Sr DOVITIS, who was a Greek tailor having made his fortune in making uniforms for the Army of Uruguay, and who wished to thank his new country, as the story is well-known…

My question, for our South American friends and members is:

Does anybody possess a picture of Mr Dovitis ? His dates of birth and passing away should also be of great interest… I am well aware that it could be difficult…, but…

Thanks a lot, in advance…

Cheers

Phil


#2

Phil, I can’t help you with your requests, but I hope that the following information is useful to you.

His correct full name was Antonio De Dovitiis with a double “i”, and although he was always assumed to be Greek, he was actually born in Picerno, Potenza Province, Italy. His father was also Italian and in 1897 was designated consul of Uruguay in the city of Naples.

De Dovitiis had a military equipment store specialized in tailoring articles and bladed weapons (those made by Felix Bischof in Duisburg are sought after by collectors). It was located at 18 de Julio street no. 130, Montevideo and his trade name was “Res non verba” above two shaking hands.

He is described in one source as a person of trust and personal tailor of Julio Herrera y Obes, president of Uruguay between 1890-1894, and that he was commissioned to Europe with the purpose of purchasing modern armament, but he bought obsolete 11 mm M. 71 rifles. This was considered a big mistake and in circumstances unknown to me the solution was put in hands of Paul Darche, a Parisian noted for the design of a semiautomatic rifle intended for a very short cartridge with a rimless bottlenecked case (coincidentally, one of the patents for this design was filled in 1893 as “Paul Darche in Montevideo”). I don’t know what was his relation with SFAP or why the 6.5 mm D’Audeteau No. 12 was chosen for the conversion of the Mauser rifles.

Regards,

Fede


#3

Thank you so much, Fede!

I thought you would be the ONE to possibly give an answer, even uncomplete, and I do appreciate all the details you sent…
So I will be able to correct all the stupidities which are currently written an copied from other similar stuff…

All the best and thanks a lot!

Phil


#4

Well, now I found, thanks to your answer, a connotation to a Frenchman Mr Paul DARCHE (also written BARCHE) who requested a patent for an automatic rifle…

US Patent 519151

Any idea about it ? Did it stay as a patent only or was it built?

Phil.


#5

Phil, this is the same patent that was filled in Germany with a Montevideo address. I don’t know if any examples were built but the short cartridge looks like a very interesting design for its date.

I researched a little bit more about Paul Darche and learned that he was indeed the reprsentative of SFAP. Furthermore, a French patent for a “système de fusil à répétition automatique avec utilisation de la force de recul”, which I assume it is the same design, was filled on December 5, 1892 by Mr. Darche and assigned to to SFAP (sadly, I don’t have a copy). Also, a British patent was filled using the “Rue Tronchet, 13, Paris” address that belonged to SFAP (no. 11,962 of 1893).

Another interesting fact is that the proposal presented by Paul Darche for the modification to caliber 6,5 mm D’Audeteau No. 12 of the 10 thousand Mauser rifles purchased by Dovitiis was approved on October 25, 1893.

I’ll see if I can find something else.

Regards,

Fede


#6

Phil, I found a “System Darche” rifle mentioned in a brief article about the evolution of the infantry rifle published in the “Schweizerische Militärische Blätter” no. 11 of 1896. The only information is listed under the heading “Firing rate” with 100 rounds per minute (the highest on the list). Sadly, nothing else is mentioned, but there is no doubt that this was an auto-loading rifle.