When the British were confoundedby Tippu's rockets

When the British were confoundedby Tippu's rockets

Four wars transpired between the British and Mysore kings between the years 1767 and 1799.

The British were defeated in the first three wars. The primary cause for their defeat were the Mysore rockets developed by Hyder Ali.

The rockets were subsequently improved by Tippu Sultan. In Hyder’s time, the Mysorean Army had as many as 1,200 Rocket Corps and Tippu Sultan increased it to around 5,600 Corps.

The Mysorean Rocket developed by them had a high quality iron casing (better than the one available in Europe) for the combustion chamber, enabling the use of higher powdered explosive charges.

It was this technology that was further developed in Britain by William Congreve, by using rocket cases collected from Mysore.

It was known as ‘Congreve Rocket’ in the early 19th Century. A P J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India in his ‘Tippu Sultan Shaheed memorial lecture’ in Bangalore (Nov 30, 1991), called Tippu Sultan the “innovator of the World’s first war rocket.”

During the 1780 battle of Pollilur, Colonel William Baillie’s ammunition stores are believed to have been detonated by a hit from one of Hyder’s Rockets, contributing to the British defeat.

The areas of the town where rocket fireworks were manufactured were known as the ‘Taramandal Pet’ Galaxy market.

The entire road alongside Jamma Masjid market near City Market Bangalore and Taramandal Pet, was the hub of Tippu’s rocket, where he had set up a laboratory.

This came to light when canons were unearthed while underground work was going on for the construction of Namma Metro near Vani Vilas Hospital in November 2012.

The rockets are presently displayed at the Venkatappa Art Gallery. Remarkably, two of the rockets fired by India Troops in 1792 are on display at the Royal Artillery Museum in London.

After the fall of Seringapatam during the fourth Anglo–Mysore war during May 1979, 600 launchers, 700 serviceable rockets and 9,000 empty rockets were found.

Dr Roddam Narasimha, NAL and IISc, in his report “Rockets in Mysore and Britain 1730-1850 AD” has given a detailed account of Mysore rockets developed by Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan in the second half of the 18th Century.

Rockets of this period were much more advanced than what the British had seen or known.

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