Sunday, 30 November 2008

The case of the misleading source

The following text is an extract of a long and hepful e-mail from Rod MacArthur, of the Napoleon-Series Forum, about the British Rocket designs:

"... I can see that you have faithfully copied the illustrations in the Osprey "Artillery Equipments of the Napoleonic Wars" by Terence Wise. I believe however that these illustrations are not completely accurate when one compares them to the original description and pictures in Congreve's own book ... The Osprey does not make the construction of the rocket car clear, but the original description does. You have shown it as an open cart, whereas it was in fact a standard Desaguliers frame with two long boxes, one down each side (to carry rocket sticks) joined together by small additional boxes in the centre (where two gunners sat when mobile) to make an "H" shape. Each rocket car had two launcher troughs, one carried on top of each side box, which could be fired simultaneously as a volley. "

"...The launcher troughs have been portrayed in the Osprey as tubes, with a thickened middle, which is what you have modelled. I think this is however wrong. The description in Congreve's book is of open troughs (like a half pipe) and what Osprey have interpreted as a thickenened middle section on the original drawings is in fact the rocket head itself resting half way up the open trough, not sticking out of the end as in the Osprey illustration..."

A more accurate representation of the Congreve rockets I have found in Internet, seems to be the following picture (taken from a Total War mod). The shape of the carriage is clearly seen, although the way in which is used to aim the rocket is nor correct.

The funny thing here is that my first designs were based upon the Congreve original drawings, but after I discovered the Wise Osprey book and I changed my accurate design for the wrong one! ... so the moral of this history is:

Do not trust seconday sources however beautiful it looks

I'll try to make a correct design in time to re-fight Göhrde so, watch this thread!

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