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Fathul Mujahidin is a military manual that was written by Tippu Sultan, a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, considered the father of rocket artillery in battle for his use of iron-cased rocket artillery in defeating the British Army in the 1792 battle at Srirangapatna[1], one of the battles of the Third Anglo-Mysore War, which is considered a technological evolution in military history.

Tipu distributed copies of his military manual to all of his officers.[2] In the manual he defined 200 men to handle rockets within each of the Mysore cushoons, with 16 to 24 cushoons of infantry. The personnel handling the rockets were trained to define the launch angle to properly affect the curve at which the rocket would land. Tipu also defined in the manual a multiple rocket launcher (much like a musical organ) that would launch up to 10 rockets. Some of the rockets had blades in the front of the bamboo guiding rods, while others were designed as incendiary rockets.

Although the British Army had already been attacked with rockets in previous battles, it was in 1792 when they lost the battle, mainly due to the rocket artillery of about 2,000 rockets fired simultaneously at them, that the use of rocket artillery in battle was improved to the point that it affected the battle outcome.[3]

According to Stephen Oliver Fought and John F. Guilmartin, Jr. in Encyclopedia Britannica (2008):

Hyder Ali, prince of Mysore, developed war rockets with an important change: the use of metal cylinders to contain the combustion powder. Although the hammered soft iron he used was crude, the bursting strength of the container of black powder was much higher than the earlier paper construction. Thus a greater internal pressure was possible, with a resultant greater thrust of the propulsive jet. The rocket body was lashed with leather thongs to a long bamboo stick. Range was perhaps up to three-quarters of a mile (more than a kilometre). Although individually these rockets were not accurate, dispersion error became less important when large numbers were fired rapidly in mass attacks. They were particularly effective against cavalry and were hurled into the air, after lighting, or skimmed along the hard dry ground. Hyder Ali's son, Tippu Sultan, continued to develop and expand the use of rocket weapons, reportedly increasing the number of rocket troops from 1,200 to a corps of 5,000. In battles at Seringapatam in 1792 and 1799 these rockets were used with considerable effect against the British.[4]

References

  1. ^ Henty, G. A. (George Alfred) (1902). The Tiger of Mysore - A Story of the War with Tippoo Saib.  
  2. ^ Husine, Prof. M (1986). "Fathul Mujahidin in Sultan". Journal of the Tipu Sultan Research Institute and Museum 3.  
  3. ^ Beatson, Alexander (1800). A View of the Origin and Conduct of the War with Tippoo Sultaun.  
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica (2008), "rocket and missile"

External links

"Indian Troops Rout British". NASA. http://history.msfc.nasa.gov/rocketry/11.html. "The English confrontation with Indian rockets came in 1780 at the Battle of Guntur."  

"The Tiger and The Thistle". http://www.tigerandthistle.net.  , focussing on Tipu Sultan and the Scots in India, 1760-1800

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