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William Congreve. Portrait of Sir William Congreve (1772-1828), British soldier and inventor of military rockets. Used in the Napoleonic Wars, Congreve's "service rockets" never realised their full weapons potential, although their effect on enemy morale was notable. The rockets carried solid ball and shrapnel warheads of 2-8kg and, like fireworks, were stabilised by long wooden poles. Whilst not sufficiently accurate for tactical use they were effective against large masses of troops and fortifications. The rockets are remembered in a line of the US national anthem: "and the rocket's red glare".
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