The Hotchkiss gun can refer to different products of the Hotchkiss arms company starting in the late 1800s. It usually refers to the 1.65-inch (42 mm) light mountain gun; there was also a 3-inch (76 mm) Hotchkiss gun. They were intended to be mounted on a light carriage or packed on mules to accompany a troop of cavalry or an army travelling in rough country.
The gun and accessories could be packed on two mules. The gun was introduced as a modern replacement for the aging twelve pound mountain Howitzer. The first gun purchased by the U.S. military from the French arms firm of Hotchkiss was employed against the Nez Percés in 1877. Over the next twenty years the U.S would purchase fifty more. They were used in Cuba for the attack on San Juan Hill and in the Philippine-American War. It was also used at the Wounded Knee Massacre.
The term "Hotchkiss gun" also refers to the Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon, a revolving barrel machine gun invented in 1872 by Benjamin B. Hotchkiss (1826-1885), founder of Hotchkiss et Cie. It was a built-up, rifled, rapid-fire gun of oil-tempered steel, having a rectangular breechblock which moved in a mortise cut completely through the jacket. It was designed to be light enough to travel with cavalry, and had an effective range beyond that of rifled small-arms.
The revolving Hotchkiss cannon had five 37 mm barrels, and was capable of firing 43 rounds per minute with an accuracy range of . Each feed magazine held 10 rounds and weighed approximately 18 pounds (8 kg). The cannon was accompanied by a horse-drawn ammunition limber, which held 110 rounds plus six loaded magazines, totaling 170 rounds.
Hotchkiss also produced a range of light naval guns and, in the 1930s, anti-tank guns. The naval guns which originated in the 1880s were mostly 3pdr and 6pdr and originally were widely taken up (by Britain and Russia amongst others) for close-in defence of major warships against small craft armed with the newly invented locomotive torpedo. When improvements in torpedo range made them obsolete in this role, they continued in use as small-craft armament up to and including WW2. In WW1 the British motor gunboats which won naval supremacy from the Germans on Lake Tanganyika were armed with the Hotchkiss 3pdr and the Hotchkiss 6pdr was adopted by the British army for the first tanks. In WW2 the 6pdr was the main weapon of the early units of the numerous and successful Fairmile 'D' Class motor gunboats of the Royal Navy, not being entirely replaced by more modern weapons until 1945.
There is a Hotchkiss Cannon near the entrance of Disneyland, California