Congreve rocket
Overview
 
The Congreve Rocket was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 designed and developed by Sir William Congreve
William Congreve (inventor)
Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet was an English inventor and rocket artillery pioneer distinguished for his development and deployment of Congreve rockets.-Biography:...

 in 1804.

The rocket was developed by the British Royal Arsenal
Royal Arsenal
The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, originally known as the Woolwich Warren, carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing and explosives research for the British armed forces. It was sited on the south bank of the River Thames in Woolwich in south-east London, England.-Early history:The Warren...

 following the experiences of the Second
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

, Third and Fourth Mysore Wars. The wars fought between the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 and the kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 in India made use of rockets as a weapon. After the wars, several Mysore rockets
Mysorean rockets
Mysorean rockets were the first iron-cased rockets that were successfully deployed for military use. Hyder Ali, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, and his son and successor, Tipu Sultan used them effectively against the British East India Company...

 were sent to England, and from 1801, William Congreve set on a research and development programme at the Arsenal's laboratory.
Encyclopedia
The Congreve Rocket was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 designed and developed by Sir William Congreve
William Congreve (inventor)
Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet was an English inventor and rocket artillery pioneer distinguished for his development and deployment of Congreve rockets.-Biography:...

 in 1804.

The rocket was developed by the British Royal Arsenal
Royal Arsenal
The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, originally known as the Woolwich Warren, carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing and explosives research for the British armed forces. It was sited on the south bank of the River Thames in Woolwich in south-east London, England.-Early history:The Warren...

 following the experiences of the Second
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

, Third and Fourth Mysore Wars. The wars fought between the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 and the kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 in India made use of rockets as a weapon. After the wars, several Mysore rockets
Mysorean rockets
Mysorean rockets were the first iron-cased rockets that were successfully deployed for military use. Hyder Ali, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, and his son and successor, Tipu Sultan used them effectively against the British East India Company...

 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
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 and the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

.

Early Indian rockets

A military tactic developed by Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

 and his father, Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

, was the use of mass attacks with rocket artillery brigades on infantry formations. Tipu Sultan wrote a military manual called Fathul Mujahidin
Fathul Mujahidin
Fathul Mujahidin is a military manual that was written by Tippu Sultan, a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He used rockets in battle with the British Army in the 1792 Siege of Srirangapatna, a battle at the end of the Third Anglo-Mysore War.Tipu...

in which 200 rocket men were prescribed to each Mysorean rocket artillery brigade known as Cushoon. 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. Rockets could be of various sizes, but usually consisted of a tube of soft hammered iron about 8 inch long and 1.5 inch 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 1000 yard. 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.

Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

's father, the Naik or chief constable at Budikote
Budikote
Budikote or the "Fort of Ash" is a small village situated in Bangarpet Taluk of Kolar District in Karnataka state of India. It is about 15 miles from Kolar Gold Fields the nearest city. It has an old fort, hence the name. It is also the birth place of Hyder Ali, father of Tipu Sultan-the Tiger of...

, commanded 50 rocketmen for the Nawab of Arcot. There was a regular Rocket Corps in the Mysore Army, beginning with about 1200 men in Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

's time. Hyder Ali introduced the first iron cased rockets in warfare.

Second Anglo-Mysore War

At the Battle of Pollilur
Battle of Pollilur
The Battle of Pollilur, also known as the Battle of Polilore or Battle of Perambakam, took place on 10 September 1780 at Pollilur near the city of Kanchipuram in present-day Tamil Nadu state, India as part of the Second Anglo-Mysore War...

 (1780), during the Second Anglo-Mysore War
Second Anglo-Mysore War
The Second Anglo-Mysore War was a conflict in Mughal India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the Franco-British conflict raging on account of the American Revolutionary War helped spark Anglo-Mysorean...

, Colonel William Braille's ammunition stores are thought to have been detonated by a hit from one of Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

's Mysore rockets, which contributed to a British defeat.

Third Anglo-Mysore War

In the Third Anglo-Mysore War
Third Anglo-Mysore War
The Third Anglo-Mysore War was a war in South India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company and its allies, including the Mahratta Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad...

 of 1792, there is mention of two rocket units fielded by Tipu Sultan, 120 men and 131 men respectively. Lt. Col. Knox was attacked by rockets near Srirangapatna on the night of 6 February 1792, while advancing towards the Kaveri river from the north. The Rocket Corps ultimately reached a strength of about 5000 in Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

's army. Mysore rockets were also used for ceremonial purposes. When the Jacobin Club
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

 of Mysore sent a delegation to Tipu Sultan, 500 rockets were launched as part of the gun salute.

Fourth Anglo-Mysore War

During the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
Fourth Anglo-Mysore War
The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War was a war in South India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company under the Earl of Mornington....

, rockets were again used on several occasions. One of these involved Colonel Arthur Wellesley
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, later famous as the First Duke of Wellington and the hero of the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

. Quoting Forrest,
"At this point (near the village of Sultanpet, Figure 5) there was a large tope, or grove, which gave shelter to Tipu's rocketmen and had obviously to be cleaned out before the siege could be pressed closer to Seringapatam island. The commander chosen for this operation was Col. Wellesley, but advancing towards the tope after dark on 5 April 1799, he was set upon with rockets and musket-fires, lost his way and, as Beatson politely puts it, had to "postpone the attack" until a more favourable opportunity should offer. Wellesley's failure was glossed over by Beatson and other chroniclers, but the next morning he failed to report when a force was being paraded to renew the attack.

"On 22 April [1799], twelve days before the main battle, rocketeers worked their way around to the rear of the British encampment, then 'threw a great number of rockets at the same instant' to signal the beginning of an assault by 6,000 Indian infantry and a corps of Frenchmen, all directed by Mir Golam Hussain and Mohomed Hulleen Mir Mirans. The rockets had a range of about 1,000 yards. Some burst in the air like shells. Others called ground rockets, on striking the ground, would rise again and bound along in a serpentine motion until their force was spent.
According to one British observer, a young English officer named Bayly:

"So pestered were we with the rocket boys that there was no moving without danger from the destructive missiles ...". He continued: "The rockets and musketry from 20,000 of the enemy were incessant. No hail could be thicker. Every illumination of blue lights was accompanied by a shower of rockets, some of which entered the head of the column, passing through to the rear, causing death, wounds, and dreadful lacerations from the long bamboos of twenty or thirty feet, which are invariably attached to them'."

During the conclusive British attack on Seringapatam on 2 May 1799, a British shot struck a magazine of rockets within the Tipu Sultan's fort causing it to explode and send a towering cloud of black smoke, with cascades of exploding white light, rising up from the battlements. On the afternoon of 4 May when the final attack on the fort was led by Baird, he was again met by "furious musket and rocket fire", but this did not help much; in about an hour's time the Fort was taken; perhaps in another hour Tipu had been shot (the precise time of his death is not known), and the war was effectively over.

After the fall of Seringapatam, 600 launchers, 700 serviceable rockets and 9,000 empty rockets were found. Some of the rockets had pierced cylinders, to allow them to act like incendiaries, while some had iron points or steel blades bound to the bamboo. By attaching these blades to rockets they became very unstable towards the end of their flight causing the blades to spin around like flying scythes, cutting down all in their path.

William Congreve

The Indian rocket experiences, including Munro's book of 1789, eventually led to the Royal Arsenal
Royal Arsenal
The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, originally known as the Woolwich Warren, carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing and explosives research for the British armed forces. It was sited on the south bank of the River Thames in Woolwich in south-east London, England.-Early history:The Warren...

 beginning a military rocket R&D program in 1801. Several rocket cases were collected from Mysore and sent to Britain for analysis. The development was chiefly the work of Col. (later Sir) William Congreve
William Congreve (inventor)
Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet was an English inventor and rocket artillery pioneer distinguished for his development and deployment of Congreve rockets.-Biography:...

, son of the Comptroller of the Royal Arsenal
Royal Arsenal
The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, originally known as the Woolwich Warren, carried out armaments manufacture, ammunition proofing and explosives research for the British armed forces. It was sited on the south bank of the River Thames in Woolwich in south-east London, England.-Early history:The Warren...

, Woolwich
Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

, London, who set on a vigorous research and development programme at the Arsenal's laboratory; after development work was complete, the rockets were manufactured in quantity further north, near Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills
The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, , set in of parkland and containing 21 buildings of major historical importance, mixes history, science, and attractive surroundings...

. He was told that "the British at Seringapatam had suffered more from the rockets than from the shells or any other weapon used by the enemy". "In at least one instance", an eye-witness told Congreve, "a single rocket had killed three men and badly wounded others".

Congreve prepared a new propellant mixture, and developed a rocket motor with a strong iron tube with conical nose, weighing about 32 pounds (14.5 kg).

Congreve published three books on rocketry.

Design

The rocket was made up of an iron case containing black powder for propulsion and a "cylindro-conoidal" warhead. The warheads were attached to wooden guide poles and were launched in pairs from half troughs on simple metal A-frame
A-Frame
An A-frame is a basic structure designed to bear a load in a lightweight economical manner. The simplest form of an A-frame is two similarly sized beams, arranged in a 45-degree or greater angle, attached at the top...

s. The original rocket design had the guide pole side-mounted on the warhead, this was improved in 1815 with a base plate with a threaded
Screw thread
A screw thread, often shortened to thread, is a helical structure used to convert between rotational and linear movement or force. A screw thread is a ridge wrapped around a cylinder or cone in the form of a helix, with the former being called a straight thread and the latter called a tapered thread...

 hole. They could be fired up to two miles, the range being set by the degree of elevation of the launching frame, although at any range they were fairly inaccurate and had a tendency for premature explosion. They were as much a psychological weapon as a physical one, and they were rarely or never used except alongside other types of artillery. Congreve designed several different warhead sizes from 3 to 24 lb (1.4 to 10.9 ). The 24 pounds (10.9 kg) type with a 15 feet (4.6 m) guide pole was the most widely used variant. Different warheads were used, including explosive, shrapnel
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

 and incendiary.

The rockets were launched using a flintlock mechanism
Flintlock mechanism
The flintlock mechanism was a firing mechanism used on muskets and rifles in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. It is commonly referred to as a "flintlock" , though that term is also commonly used for the weapons themselves as a whole, and not just the lock mechanism.The flintlock was developed in...

, triggered by pulling a long cord. They were manufactured at a special facility near the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills
Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills
The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, an Anchor Point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, , set in of parkland and containing 21 buildings of major historical importance, mixes history, science, and attractive surroundings...

 beside the River Lea in Essex
Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

.

Use of Congreve rockets

The weapon remained in use until the 1850s, when it was superseded by the improved spinning design of William Hale
William Hale (British inventor)
William Hale , was a British inventor and rocket pioneer.- Biography :Hale was born in Colchester, England in 1797. He was self-taught although his grandfather, the educator William Cole, is believed to have tutored him...

. In the 1870s the rockets were adopted to carry rescue lines to vessels
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

 in distress superseding the mortar of Captain Manby and rockets that had been in use since the 1830s.

Napoleonic Wars

The British used Congreve rockets on several occasions during the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, first from boats and then on land. The Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 equipped a number of vessels to fire them, and the Army established a Rocket Troop of the Royal Artillery.
On 8–9 October 1806 Commodore Edward Owen
Edward Owen (Royal Navy officer)
Admiral Sir Edward William Campbell Rich Owen GCB GCH was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. He was the son of Captain William Owen and elder brother of Vice-Admiral William Fitzwilliam Owen....

 attacked the French flotilla at Boulogne
Boulogne-sur-Mer
-Road:* Metropolitan bus services are operated by the TCRB* Coach services to Calais and Dunkerque* A16 motorway-Rail:* The main railway station is Gare de Boulogne-Ville and located in the south of the city....

. Captain William Jackson of Musquito
HMS Musquito (1804)
HMS Musquito was a Royal Navy Cruizer-class brig-sloop built by John Preston at Great Yarmouth and launched in 1804. She was commissioned in October 1804 under Commander Samuel Jackson. She served in the North Sea and the Baltic, and Jackson supervised the first successful rocket attack in Europe...

 directed the boats firing 32 pounds (14.5 kg) Congreve rockets. As night drew in on the Channel, 24 cutters fitted with rocket frames formed a line and fired some 2,000 rockets at Boulogne. The barrage took only 30 minutes. Apparently the attack set a number of fires but otherwise had limited effect. Still, the effect was enough to lead the British to employ rockets on a number of further occasions.

In 1807 Copenhagen
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
The Second Battle of Copenhagen was a British preemptive attack on Copenhagen, targeting the civilian population in order to seize the Dano-Norwegian fleet and in turn originate the term to Copenhagenize.-Background:Despite the defeat and loss of many ships in the first Battle of Copenhagen in...

, Denmark was burnt by a British attack with more than 14,000 various missiles in the form of grenades, bombs and rockets of which about 300 were Congreve rockets. In 1813 Danzig
Free City of Danzig (Napoleonic)
The Free City of Danzig, sometimes referred to as the Republic of Danzig, was a semi-independent state established by Napoleon on September 9, 1807, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars following the capture of the city in the siege of Danzig in May...

, Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, was similarly attacked, setting the city's food stores on fire and resulting in surrender.

The only British unit at the "Battle of the Nations" (Leipzig October 1813) was a detachment of Royal Horse Artillery armed with Congreve rockets. Captain Mercer described the use of Congreve rockets on 17 June 1815 during the retreat from Quatre Bras
Battle of Quatre Bras
The Battle of Quatre Bras, between Wellington's Anglo-Dutch army and the left wing of the Armée du Nord under Marshal Michel Ney, was fought near the strategic crossroads of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815.- Prelude :...

 as follows:
"The rocketeers had placed a little iron triangle in the road with a rocket lying on it. The order to fire is given - port-fire applied - the fidgety missile begins to sputter out sparks and wriggle its tail for a second or so, and then darts forth straight up the chaussée. A gun stands right in its way, between the wheels of which the shell in the head of the rocket bursts, the gunners fall right and left… our rocketeers kept shooting off rockets, none of which ever followed the course of the first; most of them, on arriving about the middle of the ascent, took a vertical direction, whilst some actually turned back upon ourselves - and one of these, following me like a squib until its shell exploded, actually put me in more danger than all the fire of the enemy throughout the day."


Ironically, the technology of metal-cylinder missiles developed by Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

 contributed to the defeat of his ally Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.

War of 1812

During their confrontation with the US during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, the British used rockets at the Battle of Bladensburg
Battle of Bladensburg
The Battle of Bladensburg took place during the War of 1812. The defeat of the American forces there allowed the British to capture and burn the public buildings of Washington, D.C...

, which led to the burning and surrender of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....



It was the use of Congreve rockets by the British in the bombardment of Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry
Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, Maryland, is a star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy in Chesapeake Bay...

 in the US in 1814 that inspired the fifth line of the first verse of the United States National Anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

, "The Star-Spangled Banner
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from "Defence of Fort McHenry", a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships...

": "And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air".

New Zealand Wars

During the period of the New Zealand Wars the British army used Congreve rockets to attack Māori fortifications—along with cannon-fire—and found that simple trench-warfare practices were sufficient to blunt their effectiveness so much that, like cannon, they were virtually useless.

Surviving rockets

A wide variety of Congreve rockets, ranging in size from 3 to 300 lb (1.4 to 136.1 ), are displayed at Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum
Firepower: The Royal Artillery Museum is a military museum in Woolwich in south-east London, England, which tells the story of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and of the Royal Arsenal.-History:...

 in South-East London.
The Science Museum
Science museum
A science museum or a science centre is a museum devoted primarily to science. Older science museums tended to concentrate on static displays of objects related to natural history, paleontology, geology, industry and industrial machinery, etc. Modern trends in museology have broadened the range of...

 has two 18th century Indian war rockets in its collection. The Musée national de la Marine
Musée national de la Marine
The Musée national de la Marine is a maritime museum located in the Palais de Chaillot, Trocadéro, in the XVIe arrondissement of Paris. It has annexes at Brest, Port-Louis, Rochefort , Toulon and Saint-Tropez...

 in Paris also features one rocket.

Published descriptions

  • In the 1790s the Fathul Mujahidin
    Fathul Mujahidin
    Fathul Mujahidin is a military manual that was written by Tippu Sultan, a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He used rockets in battle with the British Army in the 1792 Siege of Srirangapatna, a battle at the end of the Third Anglo-Mysore War.Tipu...

     was published. It is a military manual that was written by Tipu Sultan
    Tipu Sultan
    Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

    , a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore
    Kingdom of Mysore
    The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

    , who was considered to be the father of rocket
    Rocket
    A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

     artillery
    Artillery
    Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

     in battle
    Battle
    Generally, a battle is a conceptual component in the hierarchy of combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. In a battle, each combatant will seek to defeat the others, with defeat determined by the conditions of a military campaign...

     for his use of iron-cased rocket artillery in defeating the 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...

     in the 1792 battle at Srirangapatna
    Srirangapatna
    Srirangapatna is a town in Mandya district of the Indian state of Karnataka...

    , one of the battles of the Third Anglo-Mysore War
    Third Anglo-Mysore War
    The Third Anglo-Mysore War was a war in South India between the Sultanate of Mysore and the British East India Company and its allies, including the Mahratta Empire and the Nizam of Hyderabad...

    , which is considered a technological evolution in military history
    Military history
    Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships....

    .
  • In 1804, Congreve published: A concise account of the origin and progress of the rocket system.
  • A Concise Account of the Origin and Progress of the Rocket System, by William Congreve, son of the arsenal's commandant, was published in 1807.
  • In 1814, Congreve published: The details of the rocket system.
  • Congreve, William, Sir. (1827) A Treatise on the General Principles, Powers, and Facility of Application of the Congreve Rocket System. (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green).
  • The First Golden Age of Rocketry: Congreve and Hale Rockets of the Nineteenth Century, Frank H. Winter, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990.
  • In Timothy Mo
    Timothy Mo
    Timothy Peter Mo is an Anglo-Chinese novelist. Born to a Welsh-Yorkshire mother and a Hong Kong Chinese father, Mo lived in Hong Kong until the age of 10 before he moved to Britain, studying at St John's College, Oxford.He self-publishes his books under the label "Paddleless Press".- Novels :*The...

    's novel about the foundation of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

    , An Insular Possession, Congreve rockets are used by Captain Elliot from the steamer Nemesis against Chinese forts on the Pearl River
    Pearl River (China)
    The Pearl River or less commonly, the "Guangdong River" or "Canton River" etc., , is an extensive river system in southern China. The name Pearl River is usually used as a catchment term to refer to the watersheds of the Xi Jiang , the Bei Jiang , and the Dong Jiang...

    .
  • Werrett, Simon. ‘William Congreve’s Rational Rockets.’ Notes & Records of the Royal Society 63 (2009): 35-56.
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