French military blogs are reporting that General Paul Tellié, the lead engineer of the FAMAS assault rifle, has passed away. The General began working on what would become the FAMAS in the late 1960s. It would take more than a decade before the French military finally decided to replace their aging sub machine guns and MAS-49 battle rifles. I understand Tellié also designed the FR F1 which served as the French Army sniper rifle during 1966 – 1980.
TFB reader Amael provided this translation of this obituary from French news blog Opex360.com …
He was an officer cadet in 1940 at Saint Cyr ( French equivalent of West Point) and fled to North Africa where he met his spouse after the Fall of France. Upon his return to France he decided to resume his education and obtained a engineering degree at the age of 30. He then later integrated the Manufacture D’arme de St Etienne ( the MAS in FAMAS) and began work on the Famas prototype in 1967. He retired after obtaining the rank of brigadier general and lived a state pension and received only a small bonus from his work on the FAMAS. His widowed wife also mentions that he was a man of strong personal conviction, often clashing with his superiors. On one such occasion, Paul Tellié outright refused orders to work on a new flamethrower design, considering the weapon type to be “too cruel”.
Sadly, Tellié was one of the last living post-WWII 20th century gun designers. May he rest in peace.