Congreve Rockets

Congreve rockets were visually spectacular and wildly inaccurate. They inspired a line in the United States National Anthem after the British used them during the 1814 bombardment of Fort McHenry: “… and the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”

Two rocket-launchers were used at Ruapekapeka, positioned at the main camp quite a long distance away from the . The British had used Congreve Rockets before during the Northern Wars campaign. Twelve rockets were fired during the Battle of Puketutu but only one actually hit Te Kahika pā, prompting Heke’s derisive question, “what prize can be won by such a gun?”1

R. Johnson. 2006:249