British heavy rocket launcher in action

british rocket corps

British rocket battery

The solid-propellant rocket was invented by the Chinese in the early 13th century, and were still used at India, in the late XVIII century, by the Indian princes. In 1792, the rockets were successfully used against the British forces in the battles of Seringapatam. The first Bristish studies failed to produce a working weapon until the project was taken up by Colonel William Congreve (1772–1828), at the Royal Laboratory (Woolwich). By 1805 the British had introduced the first reasonably effective military rocket to European warfare.
The first rockets were incendiary devices and were used against Boulogne (1806), Copennhagen (1807), Dantzig (1813) and in the War of 1812 in America. Those used by the field artillery came in 6, 9, 12 and 18 lbs, and were assigned to the Royal Horse Artillery, due to their deployment speed, in 1813. From the two troops serving initially, the 2nd troop of Rocket Artillery was sent to Germany and saw action at the Battle of Gordhe in 1813.
In that battle, the rockets contributed to the success of the small British contingent: "... The square of French infantry on the left,…..were still firm; but there happened to be two or three of the Rocket Brigade in the field, and the first rocket fired, fell directly in the square, putting them in the greatest confusion; and while they were so, the German Hussars, who had been previously repulsed, charged them again, and influenced by feelings of revenge, cut among them, right and left, giving no quarter ...”

The British Rocket Troops (8003) set was one of the first launched by HäT.  The set has four sprues with 5 enlisted men, one officier, one launcher and one carriage each. The uniforms were identical to British Horse Artillery.
I have decided to build two Napoleon's Battles bases. The first has one HäT launcher and two men and the second, one rocket being fired from soil level with two men.
I have also built a composite base: One half (with identical dimensions than the first two bases) has a home-made heavy launcher (see the enclosed diagram) and two men. The other half is a detachable base, consisting of a carriage and a mounted Rocketer. The mounted man is a conversion made with the torso of one HäT rocketer and the legs of an old Esci 217 Scots Greys set, which also provided the horse.
I am very grateful to the members of the Napoleon-Series and ALKAID Forums (specially to Kevin F. Kiley, Rod MacArthur and Ximo) by their helping pictures and suggestions.

Important.. Please note that my home-made heavy launcher, as rightly pointed out by Rod MacArthur, is not historically accurate. The original designs and descriptions of Congreve hinmself, show it as a half-pipe (i.e. not a closed tube) with the rocket lying in the middle.
The last picture of the series below is a new home-made launcher


British Rocket Corps HäT 8003 British Rocket Troops

Esci 217 - 'Scots Greys' British Cavalry
Ximo's courtesy

Links of interest:
History of the Rocket 1804-1815
Congreve Rocket
British Royal Horse Artillery
Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars, (Men-At-Arms Series, 96), Terence Wise and Richard Hook,  Osprey-Publishing 1979