Rockets were invented in medieval China (Circa 1044 AD) but it's first practical use for serious purpose other then entertainment took place in 1232
AD by the Chinese against the Mongols at the siege of Kai-Feng-Fue.
Thereafter from 1750 AD to 1799 AD Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan(Sultan of Mysore, in south India) perfected the rocket's use for military purposes,
very effectively using it in war against British colonial armies. Tipu Sultan had 27 brigades (called Kushoons) and each brigade had a company of
rocket men called Jourks. In the Second Anglo-Mysore war, at the Battle of Pollilur (10 September 1780), Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan achieved a grand
victory, whereby the whole British detachment lead by Colonel Baillie was destroyed and 3820 soldiers were taken prisoner (including Colonel Bailli).
the contributory cause being that one of the British ammunition tambrils was set on fire by Mysorean rockets.
At the Battle of Seringapatam in 1792, Indian soldiers launched a huge barrage of rockets against British troops, followed by an assault of 36,000
men. Although the Indian rockets were primitive by modern standards, their sheer numbers, noise and brilliance were said to have been quite effective
at disorienting British soldiers. During the night, the rockets were often seen as blue lights bursting in the air. Since Indian forces were able to
launch these bursting rockets from in front of and behind British lines, they were a tremendous tool for throwing the British off guard. The bursting
rockets were usually followed by a deadly shower of rockets aimed directly at the soldiers. Some of these rockets passed from the front of the British
columns to the rear, inflicting injury and death as they passed. Sharp bamboo was typically affixed to the rockets, which were designed to bounce
along the ground to produce maximum damage. Two of the rockets fired by Indian troops in 1792 war are on display at the Royal Artillery Museum in
Portrait of Tipu Sultan ,Sultan of Mysore, present day Karnataka, India
Present Mysore is 80 km from the city of Bangalore, capital of Karnataka.
Later at the battle of Srirangapattana (4th Anglo-Mysore war) in April 1799, British forces lead by Colonel Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington) ran
away from the battlefield when attacked by rockets and musket fire of Tipu Sultan's army. Unlike contemporary rockets whose combustion chamber was
made of wood (bamboo), Tipu's rockets (weighing between 2.2 to 5.5 kg) used iron cylinder casings that allowed greater pressure, thrust and range
(1.5 to 2.5 Km). The British were greatly impressed by the Mysorean rockets using iron tubes. At the end of war more then 700 rockets and sub systems
of 900 rockets were captured and sent to England.
William Congreve thoroughly examined the Indian specimens to reverse engineer and making its copies that were later used successfully in naval
attack on Boulogne (1806), siege of Copenhagen (1807) and also against Fort Washington (New York) during the American Independence War, that is
recounted as, rockets' red glare in the U.S. National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner."
On 13 & 14 September 1814, a 25-hour barrage of Congreve rockets (derived from the Mysorean rocket) was fired from the British ship Erebus against
Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Each of the rockets fired against Fort McHenry weighed about 30 pounds, and carried an incendiary charge. A number of
American ships were destroyed by Congreve rockets during the War of 1812 during the siege. The battle was witnessed by a young lawyer named Francis
Scott Key, who mentioned the Congreve rockets' red glare in his song "The Star Spangled Banner". The song later became the U.S. National Anthem,
paying tribute to the tenacity of the American forces under siege. Congreve rockets launched by British ground troops reportedly terrified the
American soldiers. These rockets typically weighed 3 to 12 pounds each, and carried case-shot carbine balls that flew out like shrapnel when a charge
of gunpowder exploded. The rockets surprised a rifle battalion led by U.S. Attorney General William Pinkney at the Battle of Bladensburg on 24 August
1814. After his victory at this battle, British Commander Lt. George R. Gleig wrote of the American soldiers, "Never did men with arms in their hands
make better use of their legs."
Francis Scott Key coined the phrase the "rocket's red glare after the British fired Congreve rockets against the United States in the War of 1812.
Congreve had used a 16-foot guidestick to help stabilize his rocket. William Hale, another British inventor, invented the stickless rocket in 1846.
The U.S. army used the Hale rocket more than 100 years ago in the war with Mexico. Rockets were also used to a limited extent in the Civil War.
(Reproduced from a painting by Charles Hubbell and presented here courtesy of TRW Inc. and Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio).
image and caption from history.msfc.nasa.gov...
Indian troops rout the British. The English confrontation with Indian rockets came in 1780 at the Battle of Guntur. The closely massed, normally
unflinching British troops broke and ran when the Indian Army laid down a rocket barrage in their midst.
After the defeat of Tipu Sultan (04 May 1799) after he was betrayed by his own commander who was bribed by the british and other Indian kingdoms,
major parts of India either fell to British colonialist or accepted British hegemony. Indian independence was largely compromised and the country was
systematically exploited and suppressed by the British colonialism.
More than 2000 derived versions of Mysorean rockets were fired against the city of Boulonge. These rockets reportedly so stunned the French that not
one shot was returned. ( www.spaceline.org...
In 1807, Copenhagen was severely damaged by fires caused by the launching of 25,000 Mysorean-derived versions of rockets
images : history.msfc.nasa.gov...
[edit on 8-4-2005 by Stealth Spy]