Portrait of Sir William Congreve

Portrait of Sir William Congreve

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Portrait in oils of Sir William Congreve (1772- 1828), British military scientist. Congreve's main contribution to military science was the invention of his 'service rockets'. Used in the Napoleonic Wars, the rockets never achieved their potential as a military weapon although their effect on enemy morale was notable. Designed to carry solid ball and shrapnel warheads of 6lb, 12lb and 18lb sizes, the rockets were stabilised by long wooden poles (like fireworks). Whilst not accurate enough for tactical use, they were reasonably effective against large bodies of troops and fortifications. The rockets are remembered in the US National Anthem (in the line "and the rocket's red glare").

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Keywords: congreve, inventor, military, military rockets, portraits, rockets, sir william, surname c

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