Mysoric missile

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A soldier of Tipu Sultan's army uses his rocket as a flagpole ( Robert Home , 1793/4).

Mysoric missiles were among the first iron-jacketed missiles to be used for military purposes. Already in the battle of Panipat (1761) missiles were a permanent part of the north Indian army of Ahmad Shah Durrani .

Hyder Ali , King of Mysore between 1761 and 1782 , and his son Tipu Sultan successfully used this weapon against the British East India Company in the 1880s and 1890s. Due to the military conflict between the Mysors and the British, this technology was later transferred to Europe, where it led to the development of the Congreve missile in 1805. 

Technology and development

Hayder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan developed a concept in Bangalore that combined the usefulness of swords and blades with the range of missiles in order to stop the advance of the British military with such a weapon. Under Hyder Ali, the Mysore Army set up a specialized unit of up to 1200 soldiers. During the Battle of Pollilur in 1780 ( Second Mysore War ), a British ammunition dump was hit and destroyed by Mysorian missiles, which contributed to the defeat of the British. Also in the battles of Srirangapatam (1792) and Seringapatam (1799) the Mysoric missiles were successfully used against the British armed forces.

Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan also used the missiles against larger British units of the British East India Company during the Mysore Wars . These iron-reinforced missiles, which had a bamboo stick up to three meters long as a tail unit and at the tip of which you could a. had also attached metal blades, flew up to two kilometers through the air after lighting before they fell to the ground and thus became a threat to the enemy. Although they were imprecise and error-prone, they produced a high psychological effect on soldiers who had not previously been confronted with this weapon. Only the massive use of these missiles made them a danger to humans and animals on the battlefield. The British armed forces were very impressed with the idea of ​​using missiles as weapons and continued to develop this technology in the 19th century. Missiles were already known in Europe and there were also considerations to use them as weapons, but their level of development was low. The districts where rockets and fireworks were made were called Taramandal Pet . Tipu Sultan wrote a regulation ( Fathul Mujahidin ) according to which 200 rocket operators were assigned to a Mysorian brigade ( cushoon ). These operators were specially trained to use missiles. The missiles were of different sizes.  

Adaptation of technology in the UK  

After the fall of Srirangapattana , 600 launchers, 700 missiles and 9,000 empty cartridges were found. This arsenal served the British Army as the basis for its own rocket research from 1801. In 1805 there was a first demonstration of solid fuel rockets and was presented in the book A Concise Account of the Origin and Progress of the Rocket System by William Congreve . Congreve missiles were used systematically by the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. They were also used in the Battle of Baltimore in 1814 and were mentioned in the poem The Star Spangled Banner , the later American national anthem ( And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air ). These rockets were also used during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.


  1. "... the rocket men with their magical powers consumed the thread of life of the heroes of the battlefield by firing their hawk-winged arrows ... the only fear of the famous, brave warriors was cannon balls and the approach of a rocket"; Muhammad Jafar Shamlu, eyewitness and chronicler of the battle, cit. after Henry Miers Elliot . John Dowson : The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period . Volviii. London: Trübner 1877 (ND ND Oxford UP 2013), chapter ciii, p. 153 online edition
  2. Roddam Narasimha: Rockets in Mysore and Britain, 1750-1850 AD . National Aerospace Laboratories, India. 1985. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  3. Rocket and missile system . Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 19, 2011.