Congreve rocket

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The Congreve Rocket was a British military weapon designed by Sir William Congreve in 1804.

The rocket was developed by the British Royal Arsenal following the experiences of the Second, Third and Fourth Mysore Wars. The wars fought between the British East India Company and the kingdom of Mysore in India made use of rockets as a weapon. After the wars, several Mysore rockets were sent to England, and from 1801, William Congreve set on a research and development programme at the Arsenal's laboratory. The Royal Arsenal's first demonstration of solid fuel rockets was in 1805. The rockets were used effectively during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812.


Early Indian rockets

A military tactic developed by Tippu Sultan and his father, Haidar Ali, was the use of mass attacks with rocket artillery brigades on infantry formations. Tippu Sultan wrote a military manual called Fathul Mujahidin in which 200 rocket men were prescribed to each Mysorean "cushoon" (brigade). Mysore had 16 to 24 cushoons of infantry. The areas of town where rockets and fireworks were manufactured were known as Taramandal Pet ("Galaxy Market").

The rocket men were trained to launch their rockets at an angle calculated from the diameter of the cylinder and the distance of the target. In addition, wheeled rocket launchers capable of launching five to ten rockets almost simultaneously were used in war, similar to the Korean hwacha. Rockets could be of various sizes, but usually consisted of a tube of soft hammered iron about 8 inches long and 1.5 to 3 inches diameter, closed at one end and strapped to a shaft of bamboo about 4 ft long. The iron tube acted as a combustion chamber and contained well packed black powder propellant. A rocket carrying about one pound of powder could travel almost 1,000 yards. In contrast, rockets in Europe, not being iron cased, could not take large chamber pressures and as a consequence were not capable of reaching distances anywhere near as great.[1]

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