Skip to main content


See other formats

^ , -, ! NASA 


I c.l 






AFWL (WlJL-2£^ 5 


! ^^ in 


Published for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S.A. 

and the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. 

by the Israel Program for Scientific Translations 





Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Institute of the History of Science and Engineering 



(Rakety na tverdom toplive v Rossii) 

Edited by S. G. Kozlov 

Izdatel'srvo Akademii Nauk SSSR 
Moskva 1963 

Translated from Russian 

Israel Program for Scientific Translations 
Jerusalem 1967 

NASA TT F-415 
TT 66-51152 

Published Pursuant to an Agreement with 


Copyright © 1967 

Israel Program for Scientific Translations Ltd. 

IPSTCat. No. 1707 

Translated and Edited by H. Needier 

Rrinted in Jerusalem by S. Monson 

Available from the 
Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information 
Springfield, Va. 22151 

VII/ 14 

Illllll I 







Russian military rockets of the 1850 's and 

1860 's 40 

Means for stabilization of rockets 53 

First attempts to lay the theoretical foundations for 

rocketry 60 

Improvement of military rocket production at the 

Petersburg Rocket Institute 70 

Rocket production at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant • . . . . 77 

The withdrawal of rocket weapons 81 



Pyrotechnic and signal rockets 91 

Rescue rockets 91 

Rocket flares 94 





Rocket flares at the beginning ot the 20th century. 

Rocket production at the Nikolaev Plant 109 

Experimental rocket research at the beginning of 

the 20th century 113 

Rocket production at the Shostka Gunpowder 

Plant. Use of rockets in the First World War .... 148 



1. Description of the fireworks of 1686 168 

2. Rockets 169 

3. Description of the manufacture of incendiary and 
rebounding rockets of various types, made according to the 
dimensions and rules of Kartmazov, member, 5th class, 

of the Military Scientific Committee 170 

4. On incendiary and rebounding rockets 173 

5. Program of experiments with a rocket ballistic pendulum 

for the improvement of 2-inch rockets 178 

6. Tailless signal and military rockets 182 

7. The introduction and use of military rockets in the 

Navy 185 

8. A short note on measures for the improvement of 

Russian military rockets 186 

9. Termination of the manufacture of 2" military rockets . . 190 

10. Compressed air rockets with special guides in place 

of tails 193 

11. From the report on a mission to the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant to participate in Major-General Pomortsev's 
experiments on the development of a new type of 

rocket flare 195 

12. Calculation for gas turbines with a gyroscope 198 

13. Results of tests of rocket flares with guides designed 
by Major-General Pomortsev, conducted by the 

Nikolaev Rocket Plant during the years 1908-1909 . . . 202 

14. Gerasimov's gyroscopic rocket 208 

15. The rotating rocket design of retired Lieutenant Volovskii . 212 

16. Report on the experiments with Major-General 

Sazanov's rockets 214 




■ ■■■■I ■mil I 

Chapter I 


The beginnings of Russian rocketry have not been sufficiently studied, 
and there are still no accurate data on when rockets were first used in 
Russia. A number of recently published works on the history of rocketry 
attempt to date them to the 12th^, or even the lOth^ century, but the 
evidence is unreliable and requires confirmation. In fact, N. G. Chernyshev, 
who was the first to mention the use of rockets in Russia in the 10th century, 
wrote in 1949: "It goes without saying that my dating the first use of 
rockets in Russia to the year 946 is only an initial guess which will require 
subsequent confirmation by analysis and documentation, especially by 
materials with which until now nobody has bothered. ' However, in spite 
of the fact that more than 10 years have passed since the publication of 
Chernyshev's work, his guess is slill lacking both analytic and documentary 

The mention in the Ipat'ev Chronicle of the "living fire" used by the 
Cumans in 1184, which is cited by a number of authors, can also hardly 
be regarded as proof that rockets were in use in Russia by the 12th century: 
"The impious and godless and thrice-accursed Konchakhad come to Russia 
with a large party of Polovtsy, intending to capture the Russian towns and 
burn them with fire for he had found a certain man of Besurmania who shot 
living fire. Indeed they had taut cross-bows which fifty men could scarcely 
bend. "^ 

Aside from the fact that the chronicle mentions the use of "living fire" 
notby the Russians, but by their adversaries, one can hardly regard the fact 
that "living fire" was shot as confirmation of the use of military or 
incendiary rockets. Most likely what is meant is not rockets, but flame - 
throwing devices (fiery arrows or missiles with an incendiary mixture) 
which at that time were widely used in the East and are described in a 
number of sources. ^ 

It seems more likely that the first use of rockets in Russia occurred 
at a much later period, and was connected with the appearance of gun- 
powder. The history of rocketry in other countries substantiates this 

Although many works on the history of rocketry imply that rockets were 
known long before our time,^ none of their claims can be regarded as 
reliable, the more so in that none of the authors chooses to reveal the 
sources of his information. 

A serious deficiency of these works is that they consider the use of 
rockets as a subject apart from the general history of engineering and 
do not connect it with the knowledge of explosives at a given period. 

More worthy of attention are the works based on the study of primary 
sources, which see a connection between the building of rockets and other 
pyrotechnic devices and the invention of gunpowder. 

In Russia powder was first used for military purposes in the second half 
of the 14th century. There is a wide and rather controversial literature on 
the date when firearms were first used.'"^^ However, while disagreeing 
about the precise date, almost all the researchers have concluded that 
Russian troops becanne familiar with firearms in the 13 70's, and them- 
selves began to use them in the 1380's. Subsequently (in the 15th and 
16th centuries) the production and use of powder in Russia steadily 
increased, as frequent citations of chronicles and other literary sources 

There is therefore a basis for supposing that pyrotechnic rockets might 
have been used in Russia as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, especially 
since they achieved comparatively widespread use in western European 
countries at that time, and were described in a number of printed works. ^° 
However, no documentary evidence of any kind for the production of fire- 
works in Russia at this period has yet been found. ^^ Some historians simply 
remark that rockets were not used at all in Russia before the time of Peter 
the Great. ^^ 

This is surprising, since it is hard to understand why pyrotechnic devices 
would not have been built in Russia between the 15th and 17th centuries, 
when all the necessary prerequisites existed. The restraining influence of 
religion, and fear of causing fires, which were a terrible source of 
catastrophe in Russia before the time of Peter the Great, are not to be 
excluded. In any case, the use of rockets in this period rennains unclear 
and requires further study. 

The first reliable information on the use of rockets in Russia is from 
the second half of the 17th century. In 1675 a "firework" display 
held in the town of Ustyuga made a great impression on all who witnessed 
it. "Several rockets and firecrackers were set off, and in addition a 
hundred tarred barrels were set on fire whole before a vast concourse who 
gathered for this rare spectacle. Even peasants from the neighboring 
villages gathered on the river bank, but they took the rockets to be a fiery 
dragon, and fled with fright. " ^^ 

When and by whom these rockets were made can be learned from the 
book describing the embassy of Klenk in Russia, ^^ whose author 
Balthasar Koiet was in the ambassador's suite. 

"On the morning of Thursday, 14 November, " Koiet wrote, "after fully 
two weeks had been spent on the preparation of joyous celebrations of His 
Highness' birth, in the building where the Russians who had worked on the 
rockets and already delivered most of them were keeping the remainder 
in readiness, a spark from the fire — instead of candles, they used certain 
torches for illumination while working — fell into the powder. A tremendous 
flame shot forth, and nearly burned the whole building down, injuring five 
people, one, who received three extensive burns on the neck, seriously. 
The Russians kept this occurrence secret; if the governor had found out 
about it, it would have gone badly for them. " ^^ 

Koiet's description clearly shows that Russian experts participated in 
the preparation of the fireworks. It may thus be regarded as firmly 
established that at least by the 70's of the 17th century Russian 
technicians knew the secret of producing pyrotechnic rockets. 


In the 1680's a special plant for the manufacture of pyrotechnic rockets 
was established in Moscow. The exact date of its foundation is still 
unknown, and although most writers date the beginning of its operations 
to 1680,^^ there is still absolutely no documentary supporting evidence. 


'-^,i«M! Voj, 

iU<./Z...-rz teLl'^u ■fct/:..rc. *« 




«<.m7^ ii lA"* JjifilA<r'"-< 

//i^i/>:^ 'fe^^^^^uT iS^'-tM-'^: 


FIGURE 1. Photocopy of the description of the fireworks of 1686 (published for the first time). 


In January 1686 Peter I ordered a group of explosives experts to arrange 
a fireworks display, or, as it was then called, a "fiery entertainment, " 
in the palace.^ Figure 1 shows the beginning of the decree, which is 
evidently the first detailed description of a fireworks display arranged by 
Russian pyrotechnic experts to have come down to us. 

In August of the sam.e year, Grigorii Prokof 'ev, Andrei Onufriev, and 
Maksim Klimov, all explosives experts, were ordered to make 2000 eighth- 
sized rockets, also for a fireworks display. ^^ 

At the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries the development 
of rocketry in Russia was fostered by Peter I, who encouraged fireworks 
displays and personally took part in the preparation of several of them. In 
February, 1690, for example, in the village of Voskresensk on the Presna, 
near Moscow, two such displays were held consecutively. General Patrick 
Gordon, one of Peter's closest associates, testifies that the Tsar himself 
participated in the preparation of the second display, which lasted three 
hours and was a great success. ^^ According to Gordon, fireworks were 
held annually near Moscow, over the four years 1690 — 1693.^° Other fire- 
works displays are known to have occurred in 1696, 1697, and 1699, but the 
most famous are those of the beginning of the 18th century in honor of 
Peter's military victories, which are described in the "Book of Mars. " ^ 

Peter I made the greatest possible efforts to familiarize himself with the 
latest achievements of science and engineering, and with the successes 
attained in the most advanced western European countries. With this object 
he had translated into Russian many foreign books, including a number of 
works on artillery and pyrotechnics. In 1685, for example, a manuscript 
translation was made of Joseph-Boilot Langrini's book, "The Arts of 
Pyrotechnic Weapons and Other Military Ordnance, " ^ which, inter alia, 
contained brief descriptions of rockets. 

In 1694 the book "The Art of Firearms, or Artistic Applications of 
Fire, " which also contained information about pyrotechnic rockets, was 
translated from Dutch. 

Several other manuscript translations of non-Russian military books 
which contained quite detailed information about pyrotechnic rockets 
appeared towards the beginning of the 18th century. 

One should also recall the manuscript translations, kept in Peter I's 
private library, of such books as "A Description of the Art of Artillery, 
Both Military and for Entertainment, "^* "The Well -Known Description, 
Chosen from the Best Authors or Designers, of How to Combine the 
Various Ingredients for Fireworks Both for Military Purposes and for 
Purposes of Entertainment, "** etc. 

Among these translations the most interesting is Georg Andrew 
Bockler' shook, "Manual of Military Architecture, "^^ a manuscript 
translation of which was also to be found in Peter I's private library. 

Of course the sections of Bockler's book dealing with the manufacture 
and application of rockets were not original. The author himself noted 
this in the introduction to the second section of the fourth part of his book, 
where he wrote: "Although various of the older and modern armorers 
have written a great deal about the classification and depiction of rocket 
devices, they do not agree, and here their opinions are deliberately by- 
passed and ignored. Whoever is interested in them should read Schmidlapp, 
Brechtel, Adrian Romon, Wallhausen, Furtenbuch, Fronsperger, 

Schreiber, and many others. Here I wish only to examine, as described above, 
the latest discoveries and sound foundation for the depiction and classification 
of rocket devices given by the highly ingenious and elect Lithuanian Lord 
Casimir Siemienowicz (which 1 have translated from Latin into German 
for the delectation of those delighting in such matters), together with other 
ingenious forms of fire. " ^ 

The above makes it clear that this manuscriot translation was essentially 
the first Russian version of sections of Siemienowicz's book "The Great 
Art of Artillery. "38 

This is of considerable interest, since until now translations of 
Siemienowicz 'sbookwere known only in French (1651), German (1676), Dutch 
(1729), and English (1729), 38 and the fact that the contents of the third 
section, dealing with a different type of rocket, had been made available 
in Russian at the beginning of the 18th century, was unknown. Further- 
more, familiarity with Bockler's book shows that Siemienowicz's views 
on rockets were first made available in German not in 1676, as Subotowicz 
writes, but in 1660, or at the latest in 1672. 

In the fourth part of Bockler's book, entitled "Fiery Projectiles for 
Entertainment, " information of great interest about pyrotechnic rockets 
was given. In particular, a description was given of multistage rockets 
(which in the Russian translation are called "rockets emerging from 
rockets ), rocket clusters, rockets with delta- shaped wings, and a number 
of other exceedingly curious pyrotechnic rockets, illustrated in Figures 2 
and 3. 

All of the translations mentioned above, as indeed the majority of other 
translations of the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, were 
not published and remained accessible only to a small circle of people close 
to Peter I. During the first decade of the 18th century, however, a number 
of translated works on artillery, in which some aspects of the production 
and application of pyrotechnic rockets were also dealtwith, were published. 
Amongthese are E. Brown'sbook "Modern Theory and Practice of Artillery" 
(1709), « and J.Z.Buchner's "Artillery Study and Practice" (1711). «i 

After the beginning of the 18 th century the production of pyrotechnic rockets 
in Russia grew steadily greater. While rocket manufacture continued in 
Moscow, the first steps were taken to begin production in Petersburg, too. 

A special laboratory for the preparation of fireworks, which is 
particularly mentioned in his book by the Danish envoy Just Jull, was 
set up in Petersburg during the first decade of the 18th century. "But 
shortly thereafter, " Jull wrote in 1709, "the laboratory, which was 
opposite the house of Vice- Admiral Kreits, caught fire. They were 
working on some fireworks to be set off that very evening . . . There is no 
doubt that if the fire had lasted a few minutes longer, the laboratory would 
have exploded and the wooden house where accommodation had been secured 
for me would certainly have burned down. " ^^ 

As the documents preserved in the Historical Artillery Museum show, 
the Petersburg laboratory for firework manufacture was first located in 
Kronverk, '^ but it was subsequently decided to build a new "laboratory 
building" (pyrotechnic laboratory) in Moskovskaya district. ^* 

Construction of the laboratory was completed during the first half of the 
1730's.''^ As Bogdanov noted, "an Artillery Laboratory, where pyrotechnic 
devices and other artillery projectiles are made, was built in 1734 in 
Moskovskaya district on Liteinaya Street, not far from the arsenal. " *^ 

FIGUEIE 2— 3. Pyrotechnic rockets described in G. A. Bockler's book "Manual of Military Architecture" 

(the illustrations are from C. Siemienowicz's book "The Great Art of Artillery"). 

Unfortunately we still possess no sketches or descriptions of the rockets 
made in Russia at the end of the 17th and in the first half of the 18th centuries, 
but they can be assumed to have closely resembled those described in the 
manuscript works in Peter I's private library, as well as in the translations 
published in Russia at the beginning of the 18th century. 

The first descriptions of rockets manufactured in Russia which have 
come down to us belong to the second half of the 18th century and are 
given in the books of M. V. Danilov, *'' which were the first original works 
in Russia to give information on the production of pyrotechnic and signal 
rockets (see Appendix 2, pp. 169— 170). 

The rockets manufactured in Russia during these years ranged from 
1 V2 ounces to 24 1b and more.*^ The designations of rockets, however, 
(1 V2-ounce, 6-lb, etc.), did not correspond to their actual weight. For 
example, a 1-lb rocket weighed 12 ounces without tail and 2 lb 2 ■'■/2 ounces 
with tail. *s As E.Kh. Vessel' (1799 — 1853), Professor of Artillery at the 
Mikhailovskii Artillery College, later explained, "Our rockets are named 
for the Artillery Weight of the lead balls equal in diameter to their 
calibers, so that a rocket whose caliber equals the diameter of a one- pound 
Artillery Weight lead ball is called a one- pounder [etc.]. "^^ 

The rockets of this period (Figure 4) were quite primitive from an 
engineering viewpoint, and their quality was very much dependent on the 
experience and skill of their builders. The so-called high-flying rockets. 

FIGURE 4. 18th-century pyrotechnic rcxkets. 

a — general view and cros;- section of a rocker with missible; b — rocket casing with cap. 
c — mold for packing rocket casings (hollow molding). 

designed for fireworks and to give signals, were the most widespread 
type, though "land" and "water" rockets, as well as "Schwarmer, " 
were also in use. 

The rockets of the end of the 18th century consisted of thick-walled 
paper casings into which the powder was stuffed. The pyrotechnic experts 
then working to improve rockets devoted special attention to the rocket 

mixture, since they regarded its composition as to a great extent determining 
the quality of pyrotechnic rockets. A great many different formulas for 
compounding the mixture^' were developed, but basically they all consisted 
of sulfur, nitrates, and carbon in varying proportions (Table 1). 

TABLE 1. Rocket mixture composition 
fend of 18th — beginning of 19th centuries) 

Serial number 





Parts by weight 
According to M.Danilov 





















According to A.Demidov 




















According to A.Markevich 


2 1 8 



— ; 8 




— 4 




1,5 13 



According to F.Cheleev 
















































In spite of the many recipes for rocket compound, however, no attempts 
were made at scientific development of the results obtained. All of the 
formulas were empirically chosen and were unsupported by theory. The 
properties of different explosive mixtures were not even compared, and 
writers proposing one compound or another gave no indication of its 
advantages and deficiencies. Each rocket-builder, therefore, generally 
chose his propellant on the basis of his personal experience. 

The rocket casings were made of high-quality heavy wrapping paper, 
and were equal in length to 7 times the rocket caliber, while the thickness 
of their walls was 1/7 of the rocket caliber. A cord was tied tightly around 
one end of the casing, leaving a hole for the escape of the gases formed by 
combustion of the propellant. The rocket casings were then placed 
vertically in a specially prepared hollow mold for stuffing. Two- thirds of 

the length of the casing were occupied by the propellant intended to provide the 
propulsive force. Since the force depended on the uniformity and density of 
the compound, the casing was stuffed in small installments, so that the number 
and force of the packing blows could be strictly regulated in accord with the 
caliber of the rocket and the place of the particular fill in the series. 

A conical void was left in the propellant at the same end as the 
exhaust hole, to increase the surface of combustion and consequently the 
amount of gases formed in the first moment of combustion. Between the 
ignition channel and the pyrotechnic charge was a layer of propellant of 
thickness equal to 1 or 1.5 times the caliber of the rocket — the so-called 
blind propellant, which took practically no part in creation of the propulsive 
force and served primarily to obstruct the path of the gases formed by 
combustion of the propellant around the ignition channel. 

The remaining third of the rocket casing was filled, depending on the 
purpose for which the rocket was intended, with dross, shot, or another 
pyrotechnic substance. After this the upper part of the casing was tightly 
closed by a cord and glued. The tail designed to stabilize the rocket in 
flight was a wooden pole attached to the lower part of the casing on one side. 
There were two coupling points, one at the lower end of the casing, and the 
other 2/3 of the way towards the other end. The tail was about 7.5 — 8 times 
the circumference of the rocket in length, and its maximum thickness (near 
the casing) was 1/3 of the rocket caliber. The finished rocket is shown in 
Figure 4a. 

During the 18th century pyrotechnic rockets becsme a familiar sight at 
various celebrations and festivities.^^ Fireworks were held in honor of 
military victories, commemorative dates, to celebrate the New Year, etc. 
In addition to the official government fireworks, individuals organized 
their own small private displays. 

Fireworks were produced on an increasingly greater scale, and their 
preparation sometimes involved the employment of hundreds of people for 
an extended period of time. The rockets launched at illuminations were 
numbered in thousands. At the beginning of the 1730's, on Vasil'evskii 
Ostrov [Vasil'evskii Island, a district of Petersburg], opposite the Winter 
Palace, a special "fireworks theater, " ^^ which consisted of extensive 
scaffolding mounted on 1000 piles, was built. 

The fireworks of this period were a bright, colorful sight. The various 
allegorical representations which were an integral part of most of the big 
displays (Figures 5 and 6) in the days of Peter I and his successors were 
especially striking. 

For example, the fireworks display held in Moscow to celebrate the New 
Year 1710 made a great impression on all who witnessed it. The English 
and Danish ambassadors, Charles Whitworth and Just Jull, were 
particularly impressed by an allegory which began with two crowned 
columns picked out in blue, green, and pale yellow light, between which 
stalked a burning lion, representing the Swedish army. The lion first 
touched one of the columns (allegorically, Poland), which thereupon broke 
from its pedestal and tipped over, then passed to the other column (Russia), 
which also shook as if about to fall. Then out of a burning eagle, which 
seemed to soar aloft with outstretched wings (the Russian army), shot a 
rocket which struck the lion and set it afire, after which it flew into pieces 
and disappeared. The column, which represented the Russian government, 
continued to stand unshakeably. S"" 

■ ■■■in ■■ liii^ 11 ■■■■■illll I II I ■ mill I 

FIGURE 5. Fireworks in honor of the victory over the Swedish fleet near Grantham Island, in 1720. 

The fireworks display which ushered in the year 1712 in Petersburg 
was no less interesting, and is described in a printed pamphlet, a copy 
of which is preserved in the Central Government Archive of Ancient 
Deeds, ss 

FIGURE 6. Illuminations and fireworks designed by M. V.Lomonosov, held in Moscow in 1754. 

The fireworks appeared against the background of a triple triumphal 
arch with twisted pillars decorated with olive branches. First there 
appeared on the pediment the image of a laurel- crowned warrior seated 
on a horse. In his right hand he held a sword, and in his left, an olive 
branch. Then two figures, symbolizing the union of Europe and Asia, 


appeared beneath the pediment. At their feet were depicted various 
mathematical instruments and commercial wares, together with a 
serpent coiled around three crowns. 

To the right of the pediment appeared Ceres, the goddess of fertility, 
with a horn of plenty, while on her left was a figure symbolizing truth, 
with a cross in its right hand, and a palm branch in its left. Implements 
of war lay at its feet. 

These scenes then gave way to others. Between stars and a half moon 
a dark cloud ascended. This was soon revealed to be an eagle soaring 
in the sky, and holding in its claws a weapon whose point was aimed at a 
lion beneath it, etc. The fireworks display concluded with an image of 
a naval fort (symbolizing Sankt-Petersburg) and a ship coming into port 
under full sail. 

This display was also highly thought of by foreign diplomats and 
soldiers. As Rasmus Erebo, secretary of the Danish ambassador, noted, 
the Swedish generals and officers "as well as the ambassador JuU had to 
admit that it was far more splendid and magnificent than the much- touted 
splendor of the London fireworks which they had seen, and which had cost 
£70,000. "56 

Peter I's love for magnificent celebrations and entertainments was 
inherited by his successors, under whom various fireworks and 
illuminations were systematically held throughout the second third of 
the 18th century. Among these the display of April 1742, in honor of 
Elizabeth Petrovna's coronation, on which the unusually large sum of 
19,000 roubles was spent, and the fireworks which greeted the New Year 
1756, deserve special mention. 

Fireworks became even more common in the second half of the 
18th century, under Catherine II, when they took place almost every year 
and were always marked by great splendor. Occasionally the number of 
rockets set off during a celebration reached tens of thousands. In 
September 1793, for example, during the fireworks to celebrate the 
signing of peace with Turkey, no fewer than 30,000 rockets were launched 
simultaneously. ^7 

There are records of fireworks held during this period in other cities, 
as well as in Sankt-Petersburg and Moscow, e. g., in Yaroslavl' (May 1767), 
Kazan' (May 1767), Yamburg (July 1770), and Poltava (June 1772). 58 

Several experts in pyrotechnics regard their gracefulness of form and 
line as the predominant characteristic of the fireworks of this period. In 
addition, miniature fireworks, which were held in gardens and parks, and 
even indoors, became quite popular towards the end of the 18th century. 

The expansion of rocket production necessitated a corresponding 
increase in the number of persons familiar with the technology of their 
manufacture. Peter I initiated the establishment of a corps of pyrotechnic 
masters. The explosives experts who participated in the preparation of 
fireworks in the 1680's have already been mentioned. After the end of the 
17th century rocket production became the concern of the officers of the 
company of bombadiers of the Preobrazhenskii Regiment, among whom 
the best known were V. D. Korchmin and G. G. Skornyakov-Pisarev. The 
notes they compiled on rocket production were used by the pyrotechnics 
experts of subsequent generations for many years. 59 

One might name several others involved in the organization of fire- 
works in Russia during the first third of the 18th century, e.g., General of the 
Ordnance Bryus, Corporal Inekhov, Professor Benkenshtein, Colonel 
Garber, etc. 

After the end of the 1730's the programming of fireworks and 
illuminations was taken over by Ya. Ya. Shtelin (1709—1785). In the 
1750's M. V. Lomonosov also took part in their development. ^° 

One should also recall M. Danilov, I. Elagin, V. Klement'ev, M. Martynov, 
P. Melissino, M. Nemov and many other pyrotechnics experts and fire- 
works designers, who, although many of them rennained obscure, all 
contributed in oneway or another to the development of pyrotechnics in Russia.^'- 

At the end of the 18th century, curiously enough, the renowned Russian 
inventor I. P. Kulibin (1735—1818) took an interest in fireworks and 
illuminations, but he devoted most of his attention not to gunpowder rockets, 
but to the luminous effects which could be attained by the use of mechanical 
devices and optical instruments. ^^ 

By the beginning of the 19th century Russian pyrotechnicians had 
accumulated considerable experience in the production and application of 
rockets. Efficient ratios and dimensions for the rocket casing and tail 
had been developed, the components of the rocket mixture and density of 
fill had been determined, and the significance of the dimensions and form 
of the ignition channel were understood. 

This experience was reflected in the works on artillery and pyrotechnics 
published in Russia in the first quarter of the 19th century. The books of 
A. Markevich, "A Guide to the Art of Artillery" (Rukovodstvo k 
artilleriiskomu iskusstvu), 1820, A. P. Demidov "Scaffolding and Firework 
Casings with a Note on the Arrangement of Firework Divertissements" 
(O stellazhakh, feierverochnykh korpusakh i nechto o raspolozhenii 
uveselitel'nykh ognei), 1820, "The Composition of FireworkDivertissements" 
(O sostavakh uveselitel'nykh ognei), 1821, "The Origin of Firework 
Divertissements, the Invention of Powder, and a Schematic Description 
of Rocket Clusters" (O proiskhozhdenii uveselitel'nykh ognei, izobretenii 
porokha i skhematicheskoe opisanie raketnykh pavil'onov), 1820, etc., 
are deserving of mention. 

F. S. Cheleev's book "Full and Detailed Instructions for Creating the 
Entertaining Illuminations Known as Fireworks" (Polnoe i podrobnoe 
nastavlenie o sostavlenii uveselitel'nykh ognei feierverkami imenuemykh), 
1824, is of the greatest interest. This work, written by one of the greatest 
experts on the art of fireworks at the turn of the 19th century, was a sort 
of summary of the many years of experience of the Sankt- Petersburg 
Artillery Laboratory in the preparation of fireworks. 

Cheleev's book is in five parts, the first of which discusses the 
instruments and materials used in pyrotechnics, as well as methods for 
their manufacture. The second presents the technological process of 
producing pyrotechnic rockets and gives a description of various high- 
flying rockets, while the third describes the complicated firework figures 
produced by burning on the earth's surface. The fourth considers water 
rockets and indoor fireworks, while the fifth briefly discusses military 

Cheleev's work contains a number of interesting ideas which show his 
correct understanding of the fundamentals of pyrotechnic rocket design. 


In the introduction to the book, for example, he wrote: 

"it is supposed that all the grace of high-flying rockets (Figure 7a, and b) 
depends on the proportion in which the combustible substances are combined, 
without going into the proportion of the other parts, which in general make 

FIGURE 7. Pyrotechnic rockets at the beginning of the 19th century. 

up the rocket, and which include the casing (a roll of paper), into which 
the propellant is packed; a channel in the propellant, without which the 
rocket cannot rise; and a wooden tail (a long four -sided bar), without which 
it cannot rise along the vertical. These parts also have their subdivisions, 
as follows: the casing can be broken down into the length, thickness, and 
density of its walls, and the air surface it occupies in space; the channel, 
into its length, width, and surface which receives its form from the shape 
of the ramrod; the tail, into its length, thickness, and weight. The 
quality of the rocket depends on the proportion of these parts. 

M 63 


In discussing the composition of the rocket mixture, Cheleev proposed 
the following formula, developed from numerous experiments: 75% 
nitrates, 10% sulfur, and 15% carbonaceous products. He added that an 
increase in the percentage of nitrates decreases the power of the propellant, 
while it is increased by an increase in the percentage of sulfur and carbon.^ 

The book also gives attention to the density of packing of the rocket 
mixture and the dimensions of the ignition channel. Cheleev wrote that with 
increase in the density of packing the power of the propellant is decreased, 
and added: "A further observation must be made about the magnitude of the 
channel inside the propellant, for the longer and larger it is, the more the 
propellant flames up, and the greater the stress forces which must be 
sustained by the walls of the casing. " ^^ 

Cheleev's descriptions of complex and staged rockets are also of interest. 
In the section on "Rockets with rockets issuing from them, " he wrote: 

"After inserting into the rear end of the tail of a one-pound rocket two 
iron brackets, packed in with dross or shot, one an arshin [28 inches] lower 
than the other, al V2 -ounce rocket can be installed on them with its narrow 
part placed on the tail of the larger rocket (Figure 7c, and d). Then, moving 
downwards along the blind propellant a distance equal to 1/8 caliber away 
from the dross of the pounder rocket, a hole should be drilled through the 
thickness of the casing to the propellant itself. Into this hole is inserted 
one end of a small duct used to connect the big rocket with the 1 V2 -ounce 
rocket, into whose channel its other end is inserted. When the pounder 
rocket, ignited upon launching, reaches the appropriate height, its blank 
propellant will have been consumed as far as the hole, and will ignite the 
1 •'/2 -ounce rocket, which will then fly upwards, as if emerging from the 
larger rocket. " '^^ 

This is evidently an exposition of the working principle of a two-stage 
gunpowder rocket. 

Cheleev also gives a description of rocket clusters. "A bundle of six or 
more rockets can be made by wrapping them round with a double layer of 
heavy paper and covering them with a pointed paper cap (Figure 7e). A 
wooden tail 1 V4 times the normal length of a tail for a rocket of this 
caliber, but six times as heavy, and therefore as thick, as normal, is 
attached in the center of the rocket cluster. The rockets rising into the air 
will then make a flaming pillar. " *■ 

Cheleev's book testifies, as remarked above, to the great experience of 
Russian pyrotechnics experts, although all of their successes were obtained 
empirically and based on purely experimental, rather than theoretical 
foundations. By the beginning of the 19th century there were still no theories 
either of explosive compounds, or of rocket design and flight. 

This is to be explained to a great degree by the fact that in Russia, as in 
other European countries, before the end of the 18th century, rockets were 
used only for fireworks displays or signalling. The demands made upon 
rockets for these purposes were not very great. The results obtained 
through the numerous experiments of the pyrotechnicians were adequate, 
and no special need was felt for the development of theoretical foundations 
for rocketry. 

At the end of the 18th century in India, and early in the 19th century in 
Europe, however, rockets began to find military application, and this 
resulted in increased attention to their quality and presented the experts 
who built them with new demands. 



^ Shuvaev.N.A. Istoriko-kriticheskii analiz razvitiya osnov mekhaniki 
peremennoi massy (A Historico-Critical Analysis of the Development 
of the Fundamental Mechanics of a Variable Mass). Dissertation, p.l2.— 
Gorki State University, 1955. 

^ Che rny s he V , N. G. Problema mezhplanetnykh soobshchenii v rabotakh 
K. E. Tsiolkovskogo i drugikh otechestvennykh uchenykh (The Problem 
of Space Travel in the Works of K. E. Tsiolkovskii and Other Russian 
Scientists), p. 17. Moskva. 1953; T ikhonr a v o v , M. K. and 
B. V. Lyapunov. Raketa (Rockets). — BSE, 2nd edition, Vol.35, p. 665. 

^ Che r ny s he v , N. G. Rol' russkoi nauchno-tekhnicheskoi mysli v 
razrabotke osnov reaktivnogo letaniya (The Role of Russian Science 
and Engineering in the Development of the Fundamentals of Jet Flight), 
p.23.— MVTU, 1949. 

* Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei (Complete Collection of Russian 
Chronicles), Vol. II (Ipat'ev Chronicle), p. 128. SPb. 1843. 

^ For more details of flame-throwers, see Fedorov,V.G. K voprosu o 
date poyavleniya artillerii na Rusi (On Dating the Appearance of 
Artillery in Russia), pp. 28 — 66. Moskva, 1949, 

Rynin,N. A. Rakety i dvigateli pryamoi reaktsii (istoriya, teoriya i 
tekhnika) (Rockets and Ram-Jet Engines (History, Theory, and 
Engineering)), p. 10, Leningrad, 1929; Pr im e nk o , A. E. Reaktivnye 
dvigateli, ikh razvitie i primenenie (Jet Engines, Their Development 
and Application), p. 5, Moskva, 1947; Feodo s 'e v, V. I. and 
G. B. Sinyarev, Vvedenie v raketnuyu tekhniku (Introduction to 
Rocketry), p. 7. Moskva, 1960. 

1^ A list of the works devoted to this question is given in the article 
of M a vr o d in , V. V. O poyavlenii artillerii na Rusi (The Appearance 
of Artillery in Russia).— Vestnik Leningradskogo Universiteta, No. 3, 
pp.66 — 75, 1946, and in the book, Fedorov,V. G. K voprosu o 
date poyavlenii artillerii na Rusi (On Dating the Appearance of Artillery 
in Russia), pp.8 — 12. Moskva, 1949. Among more recent works the 
following articles should be mentioned: Vilinbakhov,V. B. and 
A.N.Kirpichnikov, K voprosu o poyavlenii ognestrel'nogo oruzhiya 
na Rusi (On the Appearance of Firearms in Russia). — In: Sbornik 
issledovanii imaterialov Artilleriiskogo istoricheskogo muzeya. No. 3, 
pp.242 — 253, Leningrad, 1958; Vi linba kho v , V. B. K istorii 
ognevogo oruzhiya v drevnei Rusi (On the Early History of Firearms 
In Russia).— In: Sovetskaya Arkheologiya, No. 1, pp.284 — 288, 1960; 
Kuz akov, V. K. K voprosu o poyavlenii ognestrel'nogo oruzhiya na Rusi 
(On the Appearance of Firearms in Russia). Lecture delivered at a 
session of the Department of the History of Mechanical Engineering, 
Institute of the History of Natural Science and Engineering, AN SSSR, 
in October 1962. 


^' For a more detailed treatment of gunpowder production in Russia in 
the 15th and 16th centuries, see Luk'yanov, P.M.Istoriya 
khimicheskikh promyslov i khimicheskoi promyshlennosti Rossii 
do kontsa XIX veka (A History of Chemical Plants and of the Chemical 
Industry in Russia Down to the End of the Nineteenth Century), Vol. V. M., 
pp.119 — 127, 1961. 

^^ Fronsperger.Li. Kriegsbuch, Th. 1. Von Kayser lichen Kriegs - 
rechten Malefitz und Schuldhandeln, Ordnung und Regiment. Frankfurt 
am Main, 1571; S c hm i d lapp , J. Kiinstliche und rechtschaffene 
Feuerwerk. Niirnberg, 1590. 

^' A number of works on the history of Russian rocket artillery claim that 
military, if not flare rockets, were used in Russia as early as the 15th 
and 16th centuries. To substantiate their claims, the authors of these 
works cite the manuscript "A Manual of Matters Related to War, Guns, 
etc. " (Ustav ratnykh, pushechnykh i drugikh del. . . ), compiled by Onisim 
Mikhailov in 1607 — 1621 and printed at Sankt- Petersburg in 1777 — 1781. 
They regard its information on rockets as testimony to their use in the 
period preceding compilation of the manuscript, i.e., before the 
beginning of the 17th century. However, one must remember that 
Mikhailov's manuscript is not an original work, but, as the heading of 
the title page shows, a collection of 663 decrees or articles selected 
from foreign military books. It therefore cannot serve to confirm the 
use of rockets in Russia before the 17th century. Further information 
about Mikhailov's manuscript will be found in Rainov, T. I, Nauka v 
Rossii XI-XVIII vv. (Science inRussia from the llthtothe 18th Century). 
Moskva, 1940. 

22 Bogdanov.A. Istoricheskoe, geograficheskoe i topograficheskoe 
opisanie Sankt -Peterburga ot nachala zavedeniya ego, s 1703 po 1751 
god (A Historical, Geographical, and Topographical Description of 
Sankt -Petersburg from Its Founding in 1703 up to 1751), p. 510. Sankt- 
Peterburg, 1779. 

2^ A. M. L. Gollandets Klenk v Moskovii (The Dutchman Klenk in 
Muscovy). — In: Istoricheskii Vestnik, Vol. L VII, p. 770, 1894. 

^* Historisch Verhael, of Beschriyving van de Voyagie, gedaen onder 

de Suite van den Heere Koenrad van Klenk, Extraordinaris Ambassaudeur 
van haer Hogmog de Heeren Staeten Genera, en sijn Hoogheyt den Heere 
Prince van Orange, aan sijne Majestyt van Moscovjen. Amsterdam, 
1677. The book was translated into Russian at the end of the 19th century. 

^^ Quoted from the Russian translation. See: Posol'stvoKunraadafan-Klenka 
k tsaryam Alekseyu Mikhailovichu i Fedoru Alekseevichu (The Embassy 
of Koenrad van Klenk to Tsars Aleksei Mikhailovich and Fedor 
Alekseevich), pp.342 — 343, Sankt -Peterburg, 1900. 

28 Tsytovich.P. Opyt ratsional'noi pirotekhniki (Expertment in 
Efficient Pyrotechnics), Part 2, p. 659. Sankt -Peterburg, 1894; 
Pr im.enko, A. E. op. cit., p. 12; Sonkin,M.E. Iz istorii 
russkoi raketnoi artillerii XIX veka (A Contribution to the History of 
Russian Rocket Artillery in the 19th Century).— Informatsionnyi 


Listok, No. 24, p. 2, 1949; Sh e s t e r n i ko va , L. Daty istorii 
otechestvennoi aviatsii i vozdukhoplavaniya (Dates in the History 
of Russian Aviation and Aeronautics), p. 9, Moskva, 1953; 
Feodos'ev, V. I. and G.B. Sinyarev. Vvedenie v raketnuyu 
tekhniku (Introduction to Rocketry), p, 9. Moskva, 1960. 

2' See Appendix 1, pp. 168 -169. 

2^ State Historical Museum, Written Sources Division, store 440, file 378, 
sheet 1. 

28 Tagebuchdes Generals Patrick Gordon, Vol.11, p. 297. St. Petersburg, 1851; 
Bogoslovskii,M.M. Petr I. Materialy dlya biograf ii (Peter I. 
Materials for a Biography), Vo. I, p. 99. Leningrad, 1940. 

*» Tagebuch. .., Vol.11, pp.334, 366, 399. 

'^ Kniga Mars ova ili voinskikh del (Book of Mars or of Military Matters). 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1713. 

^2 "Khudozhestva ognennyya i roznye voinskiya orudiya, ko vsyakim 
gorodovym pristupam i ko oborone prilichnyya, izdatelem losifom 
Boilotom Langrini izobretennyya" (The Arts of Pyrotechnic Weapons 
and Other Military Ordnance for All Policing Operations and for the 
Defense of Decency, Invented by the Publisher Joseph-Boilot Langrini). 
Manuscript Division of the Library of the AN SSSR in Leningrad. Peter I 
Gallery, No. 53, 

^^ Manuscript Division of the Library of the AN SSSR in Leningrad. Press- 
mark 17. 15. 2. 

^* Ibid. Principal Collection. Press-mark 16. 6. 32. 

^^ Manuscript Division of the Library of the AN SSSR in Leningrad. 
Peter I Gallery, No. 38. 

^^ B6ckler,G.A. Manuale Architeckturae Militaris oder Hand-biichlein 
iiber die Fortification and Festungsbaukunst. The first edition appeared 
in 1645 — 1647 in three parts. The fourth part, which contained 
information on rockets, was written in 1660 and probably published in 
the same year, but the Russian translation of this part was made and 
published only in 1672. The translation is kept in the Manuscript Division 
of the library of the AN SSSR in Leningrad, Peter I Gallery, No. 5. 

^' Quoted from the Russian translation. See B6ckler,G.A. Kratkaya 
arkhitektura voinskaya. Manuscript Division of the Library of the 
AN SSSR in Leningrad. Peter I Gallery, No. 5. sheets 189 — 189 obverse. 

^* Artis Magnae Artilleriae, Pars Prima; Studio et Opera Casimiri 
Siemienowicz, Equitis Lithuani, olim Artilleriae Regni Poloniae 
Propraefecti. Amsterdam, 1650. 

^8 On this see the article of Sub o tow i c z , M. Kazimierz Siemienowicz 
i ego wklad do nauki o rakietach (Casimir Siemienowicz and His 
Contribution to Rocketry). — Kwartalnik historii nauki i techniki. 
No. 3, pp.491— 492, 511. Warszawa, 1957. 


*" Noveishee osnovanie i praktika artillerii Ernesta Brauna, Kapitana 
artillerii vo Gdanske 1682 goda (Modern Theory and Practice of 
Artillery, by Ernest Braun, Captain of Artillery in Danzig, 1682). 
Moskva, 1709 (a second edition, identical to the first, was published 
in 1710). 

*^ Uchenie i praktika artillerii ili vnyatnoe opisanie v nyneshnem vremeni 
upotreblyashchiesya artillerii, kupno so inymi novymi i vo praktika 
osnovannymi maniry, ko vyashchemu izucheniyu vse predlozhenno 
nadobneishikh chertezhei. Izyasneno porutchikom loannom Zigmuntom 
Bukhnerom (The Theory and Practice of Artillery, or A Clear 
Description of the Artillery Presently in Use, Together with Other New 
Forms, Established by Practical Use, with Most Useful Drawings for 
Fullest Study. Explained by Lieutenant Johann Siegmund Buchner). 
Moskva, 1711. 

*2 Notes of Just JuU.— Russkii Arkhiv, No. 5, p. 36, 1892. 

*^ AIM Archive, Arsenal Store, entry 9, file 112, sheet 3. 

^ Ibid., sheet 42. 

*^ Ibid., sheet 148. 

*^ Bogdanov,A. Istoricheskoe, geograficheskoe ..., p. 71. 

*' Danilov,M. Nachal'noe znanie teorii i praktiki v artillerii s 

priobshcheniem gidrostaticheskikh pravil (Rudiments of Artillery Theory 
and Practice with an Appendix on the Laws of Hydrostatics), pp. 72 — 74. 
Moskva, 1762; and, by the same author, Dovol'noe i yasnoe pokazanie, 
po kotoromu vsyakii sam soboi mozhet prigotovlyat' i delat' vsyakie 
feierverki i illyuminatsii (A Full and Clear Explanation of How to Make 
All Kinds of Fireworks and Artificial Illuminations). Moskva, 1779. 
The latter work was twice reprinted, in 1783 and 1822. 

*^ Danilov. Dovol'noe i yasnoe pokazanie. .. , p. 8. Moskva, 1779. 



Ve s s e 1 ', E. Nachal'nye osnovaniya artilleriiskogo iskusstva 
(Fundamentals of the Art of Artillery), p. 294. Sankt-Peterburg, 1831. 

Ibid., p. 203. 

^' Lieutenant -Colonel F. S. Cheleev, Commanding Officer of the 
Sankt -Petersburg Artillery Laboratory, reported at the beginning of 
the 19th century that he knew over 100 formulas for compounding rocket 
mixture (Cheleev, F, Polnoe i podrobnoe nastavlenie o sostavlenii 
uveselitel'nykh ognei, feierverkami imenuemykh (Full and Detailed 
Instructions for Creating the Entertaining Illuminations Known as Fire- 
works), p. VIII. Sankt-Peterburg, 1824). 

^^ A quite detailed, though insufficiently complete description of fireworks 
displays and illumiinations held between 1675 and 1891 is given in 
R o vin s ki i, D. A. Opisanie feierverkov i illyuminatsii (Description 
of Fireworks and Illuminations). Sankt-Peterburg, 1903. (Rovinskii 
erroneously dates the fireworks display in Ustyuga to 1674 instead of 
1675, however.) At present the most detailed information on Russian 
fireworks in the 18th and 19th centuries is to be found in Luk'yanov, 
P.M. op. cit., pp.82— 114. 



^ Bogdanov.A. op. cit., p. 511; Ro v ins ki i, op. cit., p. 206, 

^ Zapiski Yusta Yulya, datskogo poslannika pri Petre Velikom (1709-^.711) 
(Notebooks of Just Jull, Danish Ambassador to the Court of Peter the 
Great from 1709 to 1711), p. 134. Moskva, 1899; Doneseniya chrezvy- 
chainogo angliiskogo poslannika pri russkom dvore Charl'za Vitvorta 
(Dispatches of Charles Whitworth, Extraordinary English Anabassador 
to the Russian Court).— In: Sbornik Imperatorskogo Russkogo 
Istoricheskogo Obshchestva. Vol.50, p. 299. Sankt-Peterburg, 1886. 

^* TsGADA, store 9, section I, file 55, sheets 13 — 14 (original pagination). 

^ From the autobiography of Rasmus Erebo, in the book "Zapiski Yusta 
Yulya, " p. 447. 

Rovinskii, p. 303. 

58 Ibid., pp. 286 — 293. 

5® These notes have so far not been discovered. The information about the 
work of Korchmin and Skornyakov-Pisarev has been taken from 
Danilov, p. 3. See also Russkii biograficheskii slovar' (Russian 
Biographical Dictionary), Vol.9, p. 295. Sankt-Peterburg, 1903. 

^ For more detailed information about Lomonosov's work on pyrotechnics 
see the article of Pavlova, G.E. Proekty illyuminatsii Lomonosova 
(Illuminations of Lomonosov's Design). — In: Lomonosov, Sbornik 
statei i materialov, part IV, pp. 219 — 237. Moskva- Leningrad, 1960. 

^^ The list of those who participated in the preparation of fireworks has 
been com^piled from examination of the above-mentioned books 
(Danilov, Rovinskii, Tsytovich, etc.). as well as from prints which 
often indicated the of those who designed and executed 
the fireworks, 

62 For more detailed information about Kulibin's work in this area, see 
the book "Manuscripts of I. P. Kulibin in the Archive of the AN SSSR" 
(Rukopisnye materialy I. P, Kulibina v Arkhive Akademii nauk SSSR), 
Papers of the Archive, No. 11, pp.435— 455. Moskva- Leningrad, 1953. 

^ Cheleev, p. VIL 

* Ibid., p. DC, Cheleev's formula evidently corresponds to that of 
Russian military gunpowder, 

^5 Cheleev, p.X. Here, however, Cheleev was in error. As later 
experiments showed, increasing the volume of the ignition channel 
did not increase, but decreased the power of the propellant (see 
p. 68 below). 


Ibid., p. 96. 
Ibid., pp. 97 — 98. 


Chapter II 


Rockets were apparently first used as weapons nearly 1000 years ago in 
the countries of the east. A few cases of the military application of rockets 
were mentioned in the preceding chapter. They were very widely used in the 
13th century, when they were em.ployed as weapons by the Chinese, Arabs, 
Mongols, and other eastern peoples. 

Gradually, however, as artillery improved, rockets began to lose their 
military value. By the 14th and 15th centuries rockets were being used far 
less frequently for military purposes, and by the 16th and 17th centuries 
had almost completely been abandoned in m.ilitary actions. 

The military application of rockets remained a dead letter until its 
revival at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Although, 
as before, rockets were inferior to artillery in accuracy and range, their 
en naasse application was quite effective. 

The first to have experience of them were the English troops who clashed 
with Indian rockets at the end of the 18th century. After this, military 
rockets found application in England and elsewhere in Europe. 

A great role in the development of rocket weapons during the first 
quarter of the 19th century was played by the English military engineer 
W. Congreve (1772 — 1826), after whom military rockets in all the countries 
of Europe were named for a long time afterwards. 

At first Congreve's military rocket designs consisted of cylindrical 
casings of sheet iron, stuffed with rocket propellant. The forward part 
of the casing housed a core with an igniting compound. The rockets were 
stabilized by a lateral tail attached to the main body by a copper ring. 
Later (after 1813) Congreve modified his rocket design, replacing the 
cylindrical body by a conical one, and the lateral tail by a central one, 
attached to the base plate by a special bushing.' 

In 1805 — 1807 English troops first used military rockets in the siege 
of Boulogne, and with particular success, in the siege of Copenhagen. 
Subsequently rockets were used as armament in Austria, Denmark, Prussia, 
France, and other European countries. 

The question of using military rockets also arose in Russia, where a 
Military Study Committee had been considering it for a number of years. 
It was at first assumed that the successes of the English were due to the 
special qualities of the igniting m.ixture used in their rockets. In the first 
years, therefore, all effort was concentrated on determining the chemical 
composition of the igniting substance used in English military rockets. The 
Military Study Committee twice (in 1810 and 1813) performed chemical 
analyses of the igniting compound of the English rockets, but reached the 


conclusion that "there is nothing special in the propellant and that these 
rockets do not possess any new means of ignition with special properties, 
but only an adaptation of the rocket's impulsive force for long-range 
application of a conventional ignition compound without having to employ 
heavy artillery for the purpose. "^ 

The Military Study Committee then concentrated its attention on the 
development of rocket designs. In its report to Main Headquarters the 
Committee noted that it had "pursued research on the mechanical part in 
the conviction that the impulsive force of the rocket depends for the most 
part on the strict observance of perfect accuracy in the dimensions of 
casings and tails, in the proportionality of the ramrod and the exactness 
and finish of the instruments used in packing the rockets, in the correctness 
of mixing and the manufacture of the substances in the outlined . . . 
proportion and most of all in their expert and accurate packing. "^ 

After a number of unsuccessful experiments Kartmazov, a member of the 
Military Study Committee, succeeded, in 1814, in building incendiary and 
explosive rockets. During experiments held with his rockets in July 1814, 
the following results were obtained: high-flying large-caliber incendiary 
rockets (91.44 mm) attained a maximum range of 1260 sagenes (2690m), 
while a small-caliber (50.8 mm) rebounding rockets with explosive reached 
800 sagenes (1710m).* 

TABLE 2. Results of experiments with Kartmazov's rockets 

High-flying incendiary rockers of 3.5" caliber 
No. Angle of climb 

Range in sagenes 
[yds given in brackets] 


1395 [3255] 

1368 [3192] 

1250 [2917] 

1320 [3080] 

1050 [2450] 

Rebounding incendiary rockets of 2.5" caliber 
Range in sagenes 





Angle of climb 


[yds given in brackets] 

650 [1517] 

700 [1633] 
650 [1517] 

Rebounding rockets of 
3 5" caliber 


Angle of climb 





Range m sagencb 
[yds given in brackets] 

1050 [2450J 
1150 [2683] 

Rebounding rockets of 2.5" caliber 
\v iih explosive 

Angle of c 



""'6'- ' 

in bracl 








(From platform) 



(From plat 


* Fell into marsh water and therefore not recovered. 
** Fell into water and not recovered. 
••• After striking the first reference wall broke its tail, after which it went off course and was not 


These results testified to the good quality of Kartmazov's rockets, 
since the maximum range of Congreve's rockets did not exceed 3000 yards 
(2740m). The testing of Kartmazov's rockets was later repeated, and in 
1817 the Russian War Ministry decided to introduce military rockets into 
the arnay. Cheleev, the Commander of the Sankt-Peterburg Artillery 
Laboratory, was instructed to have several such rockets, intended for use 
in maneuvers, manufactured under Kartmazov's direction.* The results of 
the experiments carried out with Kartmazov's rockets in April 1817^ are 
given in Table 2. 

In these same years, independently of the Military Study Committee, 
one of the outstanding Russian scientists working on artillery, A. D. 
Zasyadko (1779 — 1837), was also working on the construction of military 
rockets. He began to experiment with various types of rockets in 1815, 
and rapidly attained success. 

"Always regarding it as a duty entrusted to me and my special happiness 
to be as useful as possible to the service . . . , " Zasyadko wrote in 1817, 
"I sought to discover how rockets might be used for incendiary purposes, 
and although I never had any opportunity to see, much less to obtain 
information as to how the English manage so to use them in war, I nonethe- 
less thought that what they claim as such an extraordinary and important 
discovery is nothing other than a properly adapted conventional rocket. My 
experiments have fully justified this opinion, showing that the rockets used 
in warfare are quite conventional. "' 

TABLE 3. Principal data on rockets designed by A. D. Zasyadko 


444.6 317.5 



Length of casing* 


Thickness of casing walls .... 






Thickness of base plate 






Length of ignition channel .... 






Diameter of exhaust otifice .... 






Diametet of ignition channel 






Thickness of a layer of wrapping 







Length of cylinder at cap 


• * 




Length of external side of cone . 






Length of tail 






Maximum thickness of tail (at point 

of attachment) 






Minimum thickness of tail (at free 







Weight of tail in pounds 






• Dimensions given in millimeters throughout. 
*• n.a. 

By varying the thickness of the casing walls, the power of the 
propellant, and the dimensions of the ignition channel, Zasyadko attempted 
to obtain the optimum relationship between these three quantities, and he 
finally achieved positive results (Table 3). At the beginning of 1817 
Zasyadko demonstrated the performance of his rockets in Petersburg, 


and between July and December of the same year performed a great 
number of experiments with high-flying and rebounding rockets manufactured 
in a pyrotechnic laboratory built specially for the purpose in the town of 
Mogilev. Second Lieutenant V. Vnukov, K. Vaulin, Artillery NCO, and 
A. Vanchinov, a Bombadier, participated in the preparation and performance 
of Zasyadko's experiments. ^ The results obtained are shown in Table 4. ^° 

TABLE 4. Results of experiments with Zasyadko's 

Angle of climb in 

Range in sagenes 
[yds given in brackets] 

4" incendiary rockets 


760-1250 [1773-2917] 
725— 1229 [1692- 2968] 
700—923 [1633-2154] 

2.5" incendiary rockets 



[1400- 1750] 


400— 645 

[933- 1505] 

24- 28 







72— 219 





4" rebounding rockets (inserted into wooden spheres) 

— |225— 330* [525—770] 
2.5" rebounding rockets (inserted into wooden spheres) 

— 125—225* [292-525] 
* For the most part kept to correct direction. 

The maximum range attained during these experiments was thus 
2670 m. This time, however, accuracy, as well as range, was an objective, 
and from this point of view many of the rockets proved unsatisfactory, 
deviating considerably from the given direction. Zasyadko came to the 
conclusion that ". . . although a launching elevation of 55° gives the longest 
range, it produces greater deviations than at smaller elevations. . . " '' 

It is of some interest that although Kartmazov and Zasyadko worked 
independently of each other, their results were almost the same, their 
proposed rocket designs differing only in minor details. Even the 
dimensions of the fundamental components were almost identical (Table 5). 
This was probably to be explained by the fact that Kartmazov and Zasyadko 
both began with the assumption that "a military rocket is a conventional 
rocket, " and in the course of their research relied upon the cumulative 
experience of Russian pyrotechnicians. As a result they used the 
traditional ratios of caliber and casing length (1 : 7), dimensions of the 


ignition channel and rocket tail, and traditional values of a number of 
other structural features characteristic of pyrotechnic rockets. 

TABLF 5. Comparalive data on Russian military rockets at the beginning of the 19th century 

Diameter of casing . 
Length of casing . 
Thickness of casing walls 
Thickness of base plate . 
Length of ignition channel 

Kartmazov's rockets 



.06— .OT' 



Zasyadko's rockets 




The military rockets proposed by Kartmazov and Zasyadko were 
subdivided into high-flying rockets, which had a high launching elevation 
(35— 55°) and produced high angle fire, and rebounding rockets, which 
were launched almost horizontally, or at a low elevation (8 — 12°), and 
were used for target fire. 

The rocket warhead consisted either of a cap with an incendiary 
mixture or of explosive, and the corresponding rockets were termed 
respectively incendiary and explosive (or often simply military). 

The basic difference between the military rockets of the first quarter 
of the 19th century and firework rockets lay in the composition of the 
payload and in the material of which the casing was made. Furthermore, 
in firework rockets the rocket and pyrotechnic propellants were included 
in a single casing and from a manufacturing point of view constituted a 
whole, whereas in military rockets the casing and the warhead were quite 
distinct, being manufactured separately and joined only when the rocket 
was finally assembled. 

Military rockets were manufactured by a process only slightly different 
from that used in the manufacture of firework rockets. A cylinder (the 
casing) equal in length to V — 7.5 times the rocket caliber was prepared 
from 1,3 — 2 mm sheet iron soldered with copper. Heavy paper was pasted 
over the interior of the casing to protect it from rust. A copper base plate 
with a hole in its center was soldered on to one end of the casing, and during 
the packing of the casing with propellant a ramrod was inserted through this 
hole to form the ignition channel (after packing this opening served as an 
exhaust orifice for the gases formed by combustion of the propellant). 

The casing was then seated plumb on the ramrod and, after being fastened 
in an oaken mold, was packed with propellant, which was stuffed in 
installments following a definite sequence, the size of the installments, and 
the number and force of the blows, being strictly regulated in accord with 
the caliber of the rocket. Approximately 70% of the length of the casing was 
occupied by the ignition channel, and between 14% and 21 %, by a layer of 
blind propellant. The remainder was packed with silt, in the middle of which 
a small hole was made to allow the passage of fire from the propellant to the 
incendiary substance. 

After this, depending on the function of the rocket, either a separately 
built head (cap) with incendiary compound, or an explosive was attached to 
the casing (Figures 8 and 9). 


The cap was 5 rocket calibers in length and consisted of two 
approximately equal parts, one cylindrical and the other conical. The 
internal diameter of the cylindrical part was made equal to the external 
diameter of the casing. To ensure a more durable union of cap and casing, 
longitudinal slots were made in the cylindrical part of the cap, and after it 
had been tightly fitted over the casing, glass yarn was wound around over 
their entire length. 





FIGURE 8. High-flying incendiary 
rocket designed by Zasyadko. 

FIGURE 9. Rebounding rocket with 
explosive, designed by Zasyadko. 

The explosive, which also was situated at the forward end of the rocket, 
was attached in a somewhat different fashion. Over it were placed cross- 
wise two bands of sheet iron, 15" long and half an inch wide, which were 
then attached to the rocket like the cap. This method of coupling cap and 
explosive was simple and for the time, quite secure. 

Despite the success of the experiments of Kartmazov and Zasyadko in 
1817, the problem of mass production of military rockets in Russia did not 
find a practical solution for a long time. Experiments continued as before 
for almost 10 years, and Zasyadko was urged to repeat his tests in 1821, i^ 


In 1823 Massingbird-Turner, a British subject, was attracted to the 
manufacture of military rockets in Russia. Under his direction 2", 3", 
and 4" rockets for experimental purposes were built at the Okhtensk 
Gunpowder Works. 

The major difference between the rockets manufactured by Massingbird- 
Turner and those designed by Kartmazov and Zasyadko was in the use of a 
central, rather than a lateral tail. The report of the "Committee for 
Testing of the Congreve Rockets Prepared by the Englishman Turner" 
remarked that his "rocket tails had iron screws at one end, by which they were 
screwed to the iron base plate of the rocket with 5 holes and a thread in the 
center. "'^ 

In June 1824 Turner's rockets were tested on the Volkova field, with the 
following results: 

"1) Three 2" rockets (according to our caliber, 1 V2-pounders) with 
grenades of almost one-pound caliber were launched one after another from 
a portable stand through a brass tube 5 feet long, at an elevation of 
25 degrees, and at a distance of 400 sagenes [933 yards] from the rampart. 
They followed quite a straight course and fell about 80 sagenes [187 yards] 
behind the rampart. 

"2) Fourteen rockets of the same caliber, also launched separately at 
an elevation of 22,5 degrees, rebounded 120 sagenes [280 yards] in front of 
the rampart. Most of them flew over it, others dropped into the water 
before it, and three landed on the rampart itself. One took to the left and 
another continued on course, after breaking its tail. 

"3) To show the extraordinary flight of this caliber, one rocket launched 
at an elevation of 45° covered a distance of 764 sagenes [1783 yards]. 

"4) Two volleys of four rockets were produced by a special stand 
modeled on those used by the English for this purpose. The advantage of 
tails in the center, or attached to the rocket axis, as well as the 
convenience of this type of launching (assuming improvement of the firing 
mechanism) are evident. They were launched at 20° and made three 
rebounds, after which the shells burst, flying as far as the rampart. 

"5) A 3"-rocket (in terms of our calibers, almost an 8 ■'■/4 -pounder) 
with a 4 1/2 -lb shell or a body carrying 8 1b of incendiaries, achieved a range 
of 900 sagenes [2100 yards], but is capable of even more. . . 

"6) A rocket of this type, with body packed with incendiaries, was 
attached to a wooden pole in order to show how fast the incendiary burns 
after the rocket has been completely consumed. The incendiary burned for 
eight minutes. 

"7) The body of a 4" rocket with incendiary (a 13- pounder) was burned 
in the same way in order to show how much fire it can eject. It burned for 
11 minutes, emitting through holes in all directions an extremely fierce 
flame nearly a foot in length, as well as sparks. After it had burned for 
eight minutes, the iron around the holes through which the flames were 
forced out began to melt. " '■* 

These experiments gave the Ministry of War a basis for reconsidering 
the adoption of military rockets as a form of armament. In August 1824 
the chief of the general staff 1. 1. Dibich proposed the use of military 
rockets in military actions to A. P. Ermolov, Conamander of the Caucasus 
Detachment. ^^ 

Ermolov supported this idea and expressed himself as definitely in favor 
of using military rockets in the Caucasus with the comment that "they can 
be of great help to us in the mountains, but even more against enemies whose 

1707 28 

cavalry greatly outnumbers ours. "'^ Subsequently he twice requested 
the general staff to speed up the delivery of rockets to the Caucasus, 
but the War Ministry did not possess a sufficient number of military 
rockets. Furthermore, some of the army staff commanders still doubted 
the performance of rockets and felt that until repeated experiments had 
been performed the question of the troops' using rocket armaments could 
not even be raised. Repeated experiments were made only a year later, 
in August 1825. This time the rockets were launched from iron tubes, and 
from a stand which had eight longitudinal chutes for the simultaneous 
launching of eight rockets. The experiments gave the following results:" 

Caliber of rockets 2" 2.5" 3.25" 

Range in sagenes tyds given in brackets] 45— .iSo 170—800 2j0— 1000 

[105-898] [397-1861] [583-2333] 

Of the 76 rockets launched, 14 kept right on course, and the others showed deviations of from 2 
to 50 sagenes [5 to 117 yards]; a single rocket had a deviation of 77 sagenes [180 yards]. 

The reaction to these experiments was extremely contradictory. The 
committee specially created to examine the quality of the rockets 
manufactured under Turner's direction reached the conclusion that the 
rockets tested did not justify the hopes placed in them. 

"in considering the results of these experiments, " ran the report made 
to the Master of the Ordnance in September 1825, "the Committee found 
that the range of these rockets is inadequate and not constant for the same 
launching elevation, that their momentum is not great enough, so that, as 
far as is known from descriptions, they fail to achieve the effects ascribed 
to Congreve rockets. For these reasons only a few small-caliber rockets, 
launched en masse along the ground, without a stand, can be useful against 
cavalry, or can break its ranks by frightening the horses. Elsewhere, 
they can be of use for the defense of fortifications. The incendiary used to 
stuff the warheads of the large-caliber rockets, however, was found 
satisfactory. " ^^ 

The Master of the Ordnance, however, did not agree with this opinion, 
and found the results of the experiments entirely satisfactory, noting that 
"these projectiles can inflict considerable harm at quite a great distance, 
their use is entirely safe and can therefore be of great value, especially 
in mountainous regions and against uneducated troops. " ^^ 

On the basis of this opinion, and taking into account Ermolov's 
repeated requests for the shipment of rnilitary rockets to the Caucasus, 
the Artillery Department recognized the necessity of getting rocket 
production going in Russia and urged the creation of a special rocket 
establishment" for this purpose. 

A practical solution of the problem of mass producing rockets in Russia 
dates from the second half of the 1820's. In March 1826 it was decided to 
create a permanent rocket establishment in Sankt-Petersburg. ^° Its 
initial location was in the Okhtensk Gunpowder Works. Lieutenant-General 
Kozen was named Manager of the Petersburg Rocket Institute, and 
Massingbird-Turner, Director. ^^ In the same year, 1826, one of the 
three companies of the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade was detached for 
"training in the preparation and operation of rockets, " and in 1827 its name 
was changed to the Permanent Rocket Company. ^^ One of Zasyadko's 
closest assistants. Captain Vnukov, headed this company. 


The first order received by the Petersburg Rocket Institute was the 
manufacture of 3000 rockets for the Caucasus Detachment. The first 
installment of 1000 rockets ready for use (200 12-pounders with balls, 
100 12-pounders with incendiaries, 200 12-pounders with explosives, 
200 6-pounders with balls, and 300 6-pounders with explosives), and 
1770 empty casings (422 12-pounders and 1348 6-pounders) to be filled 
locally, was sent off to Tiflis in February 1827.^3 

In June of the same year the rockets delivered from Petersburg were 
tested in Tiflis under the direction of the military governor Sipyagin. 
The results were completely unsatisfactory (most of the rockets burst 
before launching), which in the opinion of those conducting the experiments 
showed that the rockets could not be transported great distances. 

The experimental rockets manufactured locally gave considerably better 
results. In August 1827 military rockets were twice used against enemy 
troops, and both times with success: in the battle of Ushagan and against 
cavalry near Alagoz. Furthermore, three rockets were successfully 
launched against the Ardebil Fortress. ^* These are apparently the first 
instances of the use of military rockets against an enemy by Russian troops. 

On the basis of the results of tests, as well as of the first experience 
in the use of rockets during military actions. General Paskevich, who 
succeeded Ermolov in the command of the Caucasus Corps, arrived at the 
following conclusion, which he presented in his dispatch to Main Head- 
quarters in April 1828: 

"1. The rockets sent from Sankt- Petersburg were ruined, while those 
assembled here were quite good; however, very calm weather is pre- 
requisite to their use, otherwise the wind always changes their direction. 

"2. It is highly inconvenient to transport them, since this results in 
damage to the rockets. "^^ 

Table 6 gives an idea of what sort of rockets and in what numbers 
issued from the Petersburg Rocket Institute in the years 1828 — 1829, 
and testifies to the large scale on which the work was done. Actually, 
however, only final assembly and stuffing of the rockets was done in the 
Rocket Institute itself, manufacture of the individual parts being taken 
care of in various plants. For example, the rocket casings were supplied 
by the Armaments Workshop of the Sankt- Petersburg Arsenal, ^^ the base 
plates, caps, and explosives, by the Aleksandrov plant, " and the gun- 
powder pulp came from the Okhtensk Gunpowder Works. 

During the Russo- Turkish war of 1828 — 1829 military rockets were 
comparatively widely used by the Russian troops, e. g., in 1828 near 
Shumla and in the siege of Varna, and in 1829, at the siege of Silistria. 
The opinions of scientific historians as to the influence of this first 
Russian experience in the mass use of rockets in military actions are 
completely contradictory. This is to be explained by the two different 
impressions made by military rockets on different military circles. 

On the one hand it must be admitted that this first experience was not 
particularly successful. The rockets manufactured in the Petersburg 
Rocket Institute did not justify the hopes reposed in them: they were of 
extremely poor quality, marked by inaccuracy and unreliability in use, 
and often inflicted damage upon the troops using them. This made a 
negative impression on a considerable part of the army command and led 
to the denial of any serious attention to rocket armament for almost two 


TABLE 6. Production of military rockets in Russia, 1828-1829 

Caliber of rockets 

According to the data for 
12 January 1828' 

According to the data for 
1 February 182y* 

According to the data for 
21 August 1829t 


Pr d 

in experi- 

tion in- 



Number used 


tion in- 




injJ from 
Agamst , ,. 
reviews , the first 

and ex- two 

periments ' 


produc- Manufac- 
tion in- tured 

to be 

36-pounders { " 

I. incendiary 

20-pounders i ■' 

\ incendiary 

12-pounders i . ' 

^ \ incendiary 

Total . 












































• AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 157, sheet 201. 
•• TsGVlA, VUA store, entry 1, file 4790. sheets 33 obverse— 34. 
t Ibid., sheet 74. 

On the other hand, the experience of military actions showed the 
potential of military rockets and increased the interest of military 
engineering circles in this new form of weapon and in broadening its 
military application. 

In other words, military experience showed that rockets could become 
weapons in war, though they had not yet achieved this status in the period 
under consideration. It was clear that without substantial improvement 
of rocket armament there could be no question of its further use in the 
army, and a number of steps were therefore taken to improve and re- 
organize rocket production in Russia. 

In 1832 all of the existing Russian rocket institutes were combined 
into one. The refounded Petersburg Rocket Institute, whose assignment 
was to "improve the performance of Congreve rockets and the means for 
their production, " thus consisted of: 

"a) a rocket laboratory for the preparation of military and incendiary 
rockets and 

"b) a rocket battery to be used in laying siege to and defending 
fortresses, etc. " ^^ 

All work on the production of military rockets in Russia was 
concentrated in this institute, but until the middle of the 1840's it hardly 
fulfilled its goals and contributed little to the development of rocketry in 
Russia. As K. I. Konstantinov, one of the greatest rocketry experts of 
later years, pointed out, "It existed only as a supplement to our technical 
institutes. " ^s 

In the 1830's a number of suggestions were made of various 
possibilities for the military application of rockets. In 1834 the Russian 
military engineer K. A. Shil'der (1785 — 1853), while continuing to improve 
his countermine system, suggested using rockets as a means of destroying 
siege engines in the defense of fortresses. For this purpose he recommended 
demolition rockets of special design, with a large quantity of powder, which 
would treble the range of their effectiveness against siege engines. 

In 1834 — 1835. in Petersburg (on the Semenovskii parade-ground), in 
Krasnoe Selo and in the Novogeorgievskii Fortress Shil'der performed a 
number of experiments which confirmed the correctness of his calculations 
and demonstrated that rockets can successfully be used both in the siege 
and defense of fortresses. Subsequently he returned several times to this 
idea, renewing and broadening his program of experiments. 

The success of Shil'der's scheme for the defense of fortresses depended 
to a great degree on the quality of the rockets, their accuracy, and the 
power of the charge. His first experiments, which demonstrated the 
destructive power of demolition rockets, also showed that it was desirable 
to improve their accuracy. Of the 128 rockets launched during the 
experiments of 19 July 1835, for example, only 57 hit the target, 67 over- 
shot the mark and flew through the trenches, and four burst shortly after 
launching, ^° 

For several years, therefore, the Petersburg Rocket Institute worked 
systematically to improve the rockets intended for Shil'der's experiments. 
Shil'der himself observed that after the experiments of 1835 the Rocket 
Institute "devoted all of its attention to the improvement of rocket flight, " 
and added that the next experiments "would show, I am convinced, that 
rockets can hit their target with the same accuracy as ordnance. " ^^ 


Together with improvement of the quality of military rockets, the 
Petersburg Rocket Institute also worked on means of substantially 
increasing the weight of the charge. One of the means of doing this and 
simultaneously increasing the accuracy of the shot still drew on the 
experience of pyrotechnics and consisted of the use of rocket clusters. 
The artisans of the Petersburg Rocket Institute successfully resolved 
this problem. "After the experiments made last year at Krasnoe Selo 
and the Novogeorgievskii Fortress, " wrote Shil'der in 1836, "demolition 
rockets have been inmproved to the point where they perform as accurately 
in aerial flight as along the surface of the earth. The major result of this 
improvement is that several rockets of unit caliber have been combined 
into a cluster which moves considerable weights with high accuracy and 
speed. It will thus be possible to give the attack new means for the 
elimination of fortifications, for the added reason that, as experiments 
have shown, these rockets can be used to throw 2-, 3-, and 5-pud (i. e., 
72-, 108-, and 180-lb) bombs with high accuracy. "^^ 

K^"^^^/?> ."■^"' 

FIGURE 10. Submarine designed by K . A. Sliil'dcr. 

In these same years (1834 — 1838) Shil'der studied the possibilities of 
using military rockets in the navy. He proposed to launch rockets from 
a sort of submarine (Figure 10) as well as from a raft floating on the 
water or a rocket steamship specially intended for this purpose. •*■' 

In 1834 he designed and built a submarine carrying rocket launching 
equipment. The rocket stands consisted of vertical props with horizontal 
cruciform slats to which the iron tubes in which the rockets were placed 
were attached. Each of these stands could be used for the simultaneous 
launching of three rockets. The launching elevation of the stand could be 
varied by moving the forward prop. To protect the rockets from the water, 
the forward ends of the tubes were stoppered with plugs over which rubber 
caps were fitted. When the rockets were ignited by galvanic conductors, 
they forced out the plugs and continued on course. '* 


The following program of experiments was envisaged, 

"1) Alongside the submarine, " Shil'der wrote, "rockets of very big 
caliber will be launched along the surface of the water. They should have 
a range of 700 sagenes [1633 yards] or more along the directrix. 

"2) Such actions from the submarine will be repeated against distant 

"3) Fougasses ignited between vessels 70 sagenes [163 yards] apart, 
such as ships, will probably burn their rigging by ejecting incendiary 
substances and 

"4) The explosion of underwater mines will probably completely 
destroy these vessels. 

"All these destructive projectiles are fired from the submarine by 
galvanism. At the end of these experiments the submarine surfaces and 
the crew come out on deck. "^^ 

The first submarine experiments were performed in August 1834. ^^ 

Subsequently Shil'der designed a second, barrel-shaped submarine 
distinguished from the first by a number of technical improvements. 
Experimental launching of rockets from submarines continued until the 
beginning of the 1840's, but failed to give positive results. 

Independently of Shil'der's experiments the Petersburg Rocket Institute 
was working on the improvement of military rockets. In 1837 Lieutenant- 
General Kozen, manager of the Institute, proposed to parallel Shil'der's 
experiments with the testing of "complex rockets, " or rocket clusters, 
manufactured by it. The clusters varied from 5 to 6 small-caliber rockets 
to 12 large-caliber rockets. Large-Caliber rocket clusters contained as much 
as 1.5 pud [541b] of powder and were designed to throw 13- and 18-pud 
[468- and 648-lb] bombs." 

The Petersburg Rocket Institute also continued work on the improvement 
of conventional military rockets (2", 2.5", and 3.5"), but no notable 
successes were attained. 

Examination of the state of rocket armament in Russia during the first 
half of the 19th century shows that Shil'der's evaluation of the PRZ rockets 
was greatly exaggerated. The military rockets of the 1830's and 1840's 
had a number of serious deficiencies, including comparatively short range, 
inaccuracy, and most important, unreliability. 

Experiments on the intensification of fortress defense, carried out in 
1839 in Novogeorgievsk, showed that high-angle firing of rockets gave 
satisfactory results only when the target was about 100 m distant. In other 
cases the rockets were widely dispersed. According to the report of the 
results, "the flight of rockets fired at a high angle over a longer range of 
from 50 to 450 sagenes [117 to 1050 yards] was completely untrue, with 
the result that of rockets with the same direction and launching elevation, 
some did not reach the target, others overshot it, and still others landed 
as far as 100 sagenes [233 yards] to left or right of it. "^^ 

The low quality of the rockets was to be explained to a large extent by 
imperfect manufacturing techniques. This was very well understood by 
those concerned with the production of military rockets in Russia. In 
November 1839 Lieutenant- General Kozen of PRZ noted that "most of the 
work is done by hand and is therefore to a great extent inaccurate. As a 
result, flight of the assembled rockets cannot be even approximately 
true. "^^ He pointed out that in order to ascertain the capabilities of 


rockets more attention to the improvement of manufacturing techniques 
would be required, but added that "because of the shortcomings of its 
machinery PRZ has no means for doing this. " *° 

Before the mid 1840's Russian rocketry developed extremely slowly. 
The low quality of the rockets prohibited their widespread use. Another 
negative factor was the fact that military rockets received virtually no 
practical use throughout the 1830's and early 1840's. Furthermore, much 
of the army command, having the impression that rockets had not achieved 
any particular success in the Russo-Turkish war of 1828—1829, were 
skeptical about their adoption as a new form of armament and obstructed 
their introduction to military units. All of this brought about a considerable 
reduction in the production of military rockets for the army. 

In the middle 1840's, however, the situation changed fundamentally, and 
the demand for military rockets rose sharply. This was explained by the 
wide use of rockets at that time in military operations in the Caucasus. 

As early as October 1842, 500 1.5" incendiary rockets were ordered by the 
Caucasus Corps, and they were delivered to Georgievsk in March 1843. *' 

In this mountainous region difficult of access the superiorities of 
rockets over artillery, such as their lightness and availability for massed 
fire and for firing without heavy ordnance, were clearly evident. 

At the beginning of 1845 M. S. Vorontsov, the Chief in Command of 
the Caucasus Corps, therefore requested the War Ministry to send a large 
shipment of military rockets to the Caucasus so that they could be used for 
"full battery action against the enemy. " 

Vorontsov first became acquainted with rockets as early as 1813, at the 
Battle of Leipzig, where for some time he served in place of the dead 
Commander of the English Battery. Subsequently he had several 
opportunities to observe rockets in action, both in war and in peacetime, 
at reviews and exercises. 

In 1846 Vorontsov wrote to the Minister of War A. 1. Chernyshev, urging 
the advisability of using rockets in the Caucasus, as follows: ". . .when 1 
saw 3- and 4-pound rockets used in reviews and exercises at Woolwich 
itself, I immediately got the impression that they could be one of the most 
useful forms of ordnance, especially in mountainous terrain. Of course 
small guns are truer and can shoot canister-shot for defense, even if only 
over small distances, but all guns involve gun-carriages and caissons, in 
a word, trains. Even our mountain ordnance involves limbers, wheels, 
and pack horses. Rockets have none of this paraphernalia; wherever the 
cavalry go, they can carry as many small rockets as desired with them. 
Every horseman can carry a small rocket instead of a lance; the smallest 
stands are required, and if necessary may be altogether dispensed with. 
In a word, small rockets constitute a form of artillery which, while 
obviously not the best, can always be made available, in whatever quantity 
desired, in places where it is difficult, dangerous, or downright impossible 
to provide other forms of artillery, and whose quantity in some measure 
compensates for its qualitative deficiencies. "*^ 

In 1845 1000 six-pound (2") military rockets were delivered to the 
Caucasus.*' This shipment was evidently successfully used in action, 
because in December of the same year Vorontsov requested another 
shipment, this time of 6000 rockets.** 


The Petersburg Rocket Institute, however, was not ready to supply 
rockets in such quantity, since it was poorly equipped for quality mass 
production. As before, most of the work was done by hand and the working 
conditions were very difficult and hazardous. 

The work was also greatly complicated by the fact that before 1846 PRZ 
had no established technique for the manufacture of military rockets. The 
resulting rockets therefore differed greatly both in quality and size. Only 
in 1847 did Colonel Kostyrko, manager of the Institute, prepare a special 
manual containing precise designations of rocket calibers, a description of 
rocket designs, and the ratios of fundamental components of the rocket 
mixture, as well as an explanation of the sequence of technological 

In these same years an effort was made to use rockets for the defense 
of coastal fortifications. Lieutenant-General Maslov, the builder of Risbank 
Fort in Kronshtadt considered the installation of special rocket loop-holes 
in the casemates planned for the fort. 

Since the idea of arming marine fortifications with rockets was new it 
was decided to perform some preliminary experiments in a fort which had 
already been built in order to determine the potentialities of rocket fire 
from casemates and clear up a number of technical questions. Tests were 
accordingly made in August 1848 in the "Emperor Peter l" fort (Table 7). 

1 AB[,K 7. Results o{ cxpcriniL-lits oil the firing of rockets from the caseniaws 
of the "Enipefor Peter I" fott 

Launching ele\'aiion in degrees 

Range insagenes[yds given in brackets] 


Up to To 
125- 150 
150- 175 
175- 200 
225— 250 
Over 250 


[292- 350] 






Up to 300 [700] 

450- 600 [1050- 1400] 

600-700 [1400-1633] 

.\o!e : Altogether 40 rockets were launched (20 12-pounders and 20 
36-pounders). After its first landing (range indicated in the table) each rocket 
rebounded once or more, covering an additional 50 to 100 sagenes [117 to 
233 yards] on each rebound. 

In the report on these tests it was stated that "the flight of the rockets 
was flat and fully satisfactory, and their deviations from the direction of 
firing, indicated by rods set up for this very purpose, were quite 
insignificant. " *^ 

The tests demonstrated the advisability of arming shore fortifications with 
rockets and provided the experimental data required on the design of case- 
mates and the size of the embrasures. 


At the end of the 1840's the military rockets leaving the Petersburg 
Rocket Institute were to be numbered in the thousands. Rockets had become 
firmly established among the actual forms of armament of the Russian 


^ The information on Congreve's rockets is taken from W. Ley. Rockets 
Missiles and Space Travel, pp. 68 — 71. New York, 1958. 

^ From the Report of the Military Study Committee, 14 June, 1818. 
TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, sheets 74—74 obverse. 

^ Ibid., sheet 74 obverse. 

4 TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65, sheet 92 obverse. 

5 TsGVIA, store 35, entry4/245, code 188, file 65, sheets 5 — 7; see 
also AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 35, sheet 1. 

" TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65, sheet 12. 

'' Z a s y a d ko, A. D. O zazhigatel'nykh raketakh (Incendiary Rockets). 
Manuscript.— TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65, 
sheets 48 obverse— 49. 

^ The table was compiled from Zasyadko's autographical notes — TsGVIA, 
store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, sheet 65, sheets 24, 42, 43, 46 obverse. 

^ Zasyadko, op. cit., sheets 33 — 40; see also store 35, entry 4/245, 
code 195, file 309, sheets 2 — 3. 

^° The data are taken from notes compiled by Zasyadko in the form of a 
diary, where they were entered in chronological order. In the table 
they have been systematized and rearranged according to range and 
launching elevation. TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65, 
sheets 53 — 70. 

11 Zasyadko, op. cit,, sheet 64. 

12 TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65, sheet 90; also ibid., 
code 194, file 241. 

" TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 196, file 334, sheet 27 obverse. 

*■* Excerpt from the diary of the experiments. TsGVIA, store 35, entry 
4/245, code 196, file 334, sheets 6 — 7. 

15 TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 196, file 334, sheet 3. 

IS Ibid., sheet 9. 

1'' Ibid., sheets 27 — 29; 

1^ Ibid., sheets 24 obverse — 25. 

1^ Ibid., sheet 34 obverse. 


^ Resolution of 30 March 1826. TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, 
code 196, file 334, sheet 34. 

^ AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 157, sheet 114; see also 

Gunpowder Warehouse store, entry 24/3, file 31, sheets 11 obverse — 14. 



From the Minister of War's letter to the Artillery Department. AIM 
Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 149, sheet 8. 

TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 196, file 334, sheet 49. 

The information on the military use of rockets is drawn from the notes 
sent by Paskevich to Main Headquarters.— TsGVIA, store 35, entry 
4/245, code 196, file 334, sheets 53—57. 

2^ Note on Congreve Rockets.— TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 196, 
file 334, sheet 57. 

28 AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 157, sheet 69. 

" TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 784, sheet 34. 

2^ AIM Archive, Gunpowder Warehouse store, entry 24/2, file 300, 
sheets 75 obverse — 76. 








Kon st antinov . O boevykh raketakh (Military Rockets), p. 64. 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

A detailed description of the performance of demolition rockets and 
other missiles during the experiments of 19 July 1835 is given in TsGVIA, 
store 1(1), entry 1, file 9967, sheet 11 obverse. 

TsGVIA, store 1 (1), entry file 9271, sheets 110 obverse —111. 

Ibid., sheets 114 obverse — 115. 

Ibid., sheets 95 — 96, 111 obverse — 112. 

Mazyukevich, M. Zhizn' i sluzhba general -ad "yntanta Karla 
Andreevicha Shil'dera (The Life and Service of Adjutant General 
Karl Andreevich Shil'der), p. 193. Sankt-Peterburg, 1876. 

TsGVIA, store 1 (1), entry 1, file 9271, sheets 30 obverse — 31. 

Ibid., sheet 25. 

^'' Ibid., sheet 130. 

Zapiska o proizvedennykh v istekshem lete opytakh usileniya oborony 
krepostei po sposobu general -ad 'yutanta Shil'dera (Report on the 
Experiments Performed During the Past on the Intensification 
of Fortress Defense by the Method of Adjutant Genral 
Shil'der).— TsGVIA, store 1(1), entry 1, file 11103, sheets 111 
obverse —112. 

Report of 1 November 1839. — AIM Archive, Gunpowder Warehouse 
store, entry 24/3, file 143, sheet 3 obverse. 

Ibid., sheet 3 9 obverse. 


*1 TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 978, sheet 46. 

*^ Quoted from the text in "Morskoi sbornik, " No. 10, first section, 
subsection IV, p. 272, 1855. 

" TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 978, sheet 130. 

** On this see AIM Archive, Gunpowder Warehouse store, entry 24/2, 
file 300, sheet 21. 

*^ AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 30, sheet 45. 


Chapter III 


1850's AND 1860's 

In Russia, as in most other European countries, the middle of the 
19th century was the period when rocket weapons attained their greatest 
popularity. Although military rockets could not compete with artillery 
in accuracy and range, they were highly successful as a form of 
supplementary armament. 

In this period military rockets were most widely employed in the 
Caucasus, where Russian troops continually saw action, and PRZ also 
equipped the troops in the Crimea, Central Asia, the Baltic region, Finland, 
and the Urals with rockets. Altogether about 33,000 military rockets were 
manufactured in Russia during the period 1846 — 1854.1 An idea of the 
production and destination of the rockets in individual years^ can be obtained 
from the "Note on the State of Our Rocket Unit" (Zapiska o sostoyanii u nas 
raketnoi chasti), submitted to the Inspectorof Gunpowder Plants in August 1854. 

1. 2" rockets 

1846 shipped to Caucasus 3500 

1847 2000 

1848 3920 

1849 4000 

1849 ■' ■' Orenbuig 400 

18)0 " " Caucasus 4000 

18.31 3700 

1852 1700 

1853 2000 

1853 ■' " Ketch 600 

1853 " " Oienburg 350 

1854 •' " Caucasus 2000 

1854 '• " Bucaiest 2000 

1854 ■' " Revel 200 

Ready for shiptnent : 

to Sevastopol 600 

" Helsingfors 480 

2. 3.5" demolition rockets 

shipped to Caucasus after 1846 60 

In 1854 near Silistria 100 

Prepared without projectiles for the merchant Nobel . . 100 


With the sharp increase in the number of military rockets produced 
by PRZ and used in the Russian army, the question of their quality, which 
formerly had left nnuch to be desired, acquired new significance. Among 
the fundamental deficiencies of the Russian military rockets of the 1840's 
must be included their comparatively short range, considerable deviations 
from the target, and most importantly, unreliable functioning. Rockets 
often burst on the launchers, injuring the troops using them; furthermore, 
they did not sustain extended storage and transportation, which resulted 
in a distinct impairment of their quality and a sharp increase in the 
percentage of malfunctioning rockets. ^ 

These defects were quite serious, and the extent to which rocket 
armament would be adopted by the army largely depended on whether 
they could be overcome. PRZ therefore could not avoid facing the problem 
of increasing the accuracy and reliability of its rockets. 

After the middle of 1840's K. I. Konstantinov (1818 — 1871), who did a 
great deal for the development of Russian rocketry and was one of the 
greatest exponents of the Russian artillery school of the middle 19th 
century, began to work on the improvement of military rockets. In 
March 1850 he was appointed to the management of the Petersburg Rocket 
Institute, which was almost completely re- equipped in the course of several 
years under his direction (for more details see below). 

At the end of the 1840's and the beginning of the 1850's Konstantinov 
performed a great many experiments, in which he and his colleagues 
attentively studied foreign experience in rocketry, considering the 
advantages and deficiencies of the rockets manufactured in various countries, 
in an effort to make use of every positive feature which found employment in 
foreign armies. 

At this time the greatest popularity was achieved by two rocket schemes 
which differed both in design and in the action of the propulsive force: 
rockets with lateral and with central tails. The former were most widely 
used in Austria and as a result were often termed Austrian rockets, while 
the latter were introduced by Congreve during the first quarter of the 
19th century and were called English rockets. This was the type adopted 
in Russia by the Petersburg Rocket Institute. 

Both types had their advantages and drawbacks. The main difference 
between the two was that in rockets with a lateral tail the propulsive force 
was developed at the very beginning of flight and acted only for a short 
time. This was explained by the fact that rockets with a lateral tail did 
not generally have a base plate, so that the gases formed by combustion 
of the propellant, with nothing to obstruct them, could flow out freely. 
As a result it was possible substantially to increase the speed of combustion 
of the propellant, and consequently, to increase the initial velocity of the 
rocket. After burnout the rocket flew like a conventional projectile, 
following the laws of ballistics, propelled by its accumulated kinetic energy. 
The position of its center of gravity underwent no further change. 

Both the increase in initial velocity and the constant position of the center 
of gravity over a considerable part of the trajectory made possible increase 
in accuracy, which was an important factor in the selection of designs for 
military rockets. 

Konstantinov undertook an attempt to introduce rockets with lateral 
tails into Russia, but the comparative tests he made in 1848 showed that 

despite the clear superiority of these rockets in aimed fire at short 
distances, which resulted from their uniformity and accuracy, it became 
less marked with increase in range. Furthermore, the rockets with 
lateral tails had generally shorter range than those of PRZ. Rockets 
with lateral tails were therefore finally rejected in favor of those with 
central tails. 

Later Konstantinov began to work on adaptation of the positive features 
of both types, taking as his model the 2" military rockets (Figure 11) with 
central tail attached to a base plate with five exhaust orifices, produced 
by PRZ. 

In Konstantinov' s opinion the number of exhaust orifices was a matter 
of some importance. During the first half of the 1850's, therefore, PRZ 
conducted tests for the comparison of rockets with base plates differing 
in the number of their exhaust orifices and in their diameter (Table 8).* 

TABLE 8. Some data on the rockets tested at the Petersburg Rocket Institute 



Ratio of total area of 

Number of exhaust 

Diameter of exhaust 

exhaust orifices to 


orifices, in 

internal cross sec- 
tional area of rocket 






















Experiments showed that the total area of the gas exhaust orifices had 
a decided influence on the magnitude of the reactive force. Decrease in 
the total area of the orifices improved the range and flatness of trajectory, 
while its increase had the opposite effect. 

This, however, applied only to the case when the total area was 
increased by increasing the diameter of the orifices, and was no longer 
true if increase in the total area of the exhaust orifices was achieved by 
increasing the number of orifices. Furthermore, the tests revealed that 
2" rockets with 6 exhaust orifices 0.45" in diameter had greater range and 
flatness than the same rockets with 5 orifices of the same diameter. ^ As 
Konstantinov pointed out, "the most recent experiments have proved that 
rockets with 6 orifices fly truer. " ^ 

It was therefore decided to increase the number of exhaust orifices 
in the base plates of PRZ rockets to six. A large quantity of these base 
plates were accordingly manufactured, but they could not be used, since 
the short grooved tails introduced at approximately the same time 
required that the number of exhaust orifices be equal to the number of 
grooves. This could not exceed five, if weakening of the surfaces between 
the grooves was to be avoided. It was therefore decided to forego the new 
base plates, and the old type with five exhaust orifices was used throughout 
the 1850's. 






FIGURE 11. Russian military rocket ( 1849 model) . 

Thanks to Konstantinov's improvements, the quality of the military 
rockets produced by PRZ rose considerably. Range and accuracy were 
innproved to some extent, and the accidents resulting from the bursting 
of rockets on the launchers were almost entirely eliminated. Of the 
12,550 2" rockets used in actions against the enemy between 1851 and 
1854, only one burst prematurely.'' 

For a long time military rockets in Russia were used almost exclusively 
in the Caucasus, where they were employed in thousands and performed 
very well. Gradually, however, interest in the use of rockets increased in 
other military zones. After 1851, they began to be used in the Trans-lli 
region (Kirghizia), where they became part of the standard equipment of 
every expeditionary force. ^ After 1856 permanent rocket detachments were 
formed in western Siberia, and rockets were successfully used in Armenia 
and in the Balkans between 1853 and 1855. An attempt was made to use them 
during the defense of Sevastopol. 

The action of Russian rocketeers at the siege and capture of Ak-Mechet 
in July 1853 is probably the most impressive of all. A rocket detachment 
under Ensign Johansen actively participated in the military actions and 
contributed a great deal to the capture of the fortress. During the 
operation both high curving rocket fire was used, against the enemy under 
cover, and aimed fire, to clear him out of the breaches. Demolition rockets 
were also used, to put the enemy's artillery out of action. Furthermore, 
flying detachments detailed for specific missions were also equipped with 
rockets. ^ 

Military rockets were also successfully used in the siege of Silistria 
and in the battles of Babadag, Karadag, and Kyuryuk-Dara. '■'' However, 
more widespread use of rocket armament in Russia was impeded by the 
fact that, in spite of the ever increasing demand for military rockets from 
the commanders of military districts, the central war administration, as 
before, underestimated rockets as a form of armament and did little to 
further their development. The opinion in the War Ministry for a long 
time was that "this projectile will annoy the troop commanders, the 
demand for it will thus decrease, and it will then die a natural death. " '^ 
This attitude made it much harder to improve rocket weapons. Konstantinov 
wrote, "They regarded this type of projectile as having no future chance of 
improvement, and therefore found it worthless because of its low 
accuracy. '' 

In the middle of the 1850's, however, the attitude of the highest 
military circles in Russia began to change a little. Major reasons for 
this were the experience gained during the war of 1853 — 1856 in the use 
of military rockets and the successes attained in their development in 
other countries. 

The position taken by government circles is indicative of this change. 
In September 1854 the War Minister V. A. Dolgorukov wrote that Nicholas I 
"bearing in mind the considerable successes in rocket research in Austria, 
England, and even France, where tests of rocket flight over very great 
distances were recently made, recognized the necessity of our also devoting 
the strictest attention to the greatest possible improvement of this type of 
projectile, so as not to lag behind the foreigners. " '^ 

After this considerably more attention was devoted to rocket armament 
in Russia. Military rockets were adopted in almost all military districts. 


and arming of the vessels of the Russian fleet with them was begun. It 
was decided to construct a new improved rocket plant in southern Russia. 

The introduction of military rockets into the navy was brought up as 
early as 1851, when Konstantinov sent to the Admiralty a "Note on the 
Introduction and Use of Military Rockets in the Navy" (Zapiska o vvedenii 
i upotreblenii boevykh raket na flote). "■* Remarking on the respects in 
which rockets were superior and inferior to artillery, Konstantinov pointed 
out the following applications which they would have in the navy: 

"1. For action from rowing boats against ships and the shore. 

"2. For action from shore batteries against ships. 

"3. For use on land whenever the navy finds it necessary to undertake 
shore offenses with its own weapons. 

"4. For signalling and illumination. 

"5. For throwing ropes. " ^ 

In order to investigate in more detail the possibility of using rockets 
in the navy, Konstantinov proposed to conduct experiments with the 2" 
military rockets produced by PRZ. His proposal was discussed at a 
session of the Naval Study Committee^^ and was adopted, though its 
realization was long delayed. 

Only several years later did the question begin to find a practical 
resolution. In 1854 the Naval Rocket Training Detachment, one of whose 
objectives was to familiarize the Navy with military rockets, was founded." 
In 1855 it was decided to ship rockets to the ports of Revel, Vyborg, 
Sveaborg, and Kronshtadt to strengthen their defenses, '^ and in 1856 some 
light vessels of the Russian war fleet were equipped with rockets. 

The Navy Department's demand for rockets correspondingly increased. 
In February 1857 the Admiralty requested PRZ to manufacture 696 military 
rockets for shipment to the Baltic Fleet, as follows: 180 2.5" with 
explosive; 180 2.5" with case-shot; 288 4" incendiary rockets; and 
48 2.5" with parachutes. ^^ Several hundred more rockets were ordered 
for experimental purposes. 

In March 1858 the War Ministry decided to supply the Navy Department 
with 50 4" incendiary rockets annually. ^° This decision, however, 
evidently arose from the fact that rockets with moist propellant could not 
be preserved for a protracted period and were of no value, once they 
became unfit for use. 

Throughout these years experiments on the use of rocket armament 
in the fleet continued. In 1857 their results formed the basis of the 
"Rules for the Use of Military Rockets on Rowing Boats and on Shore" 
(Pravila dlya upotrebleniya boevykh raket na grebnykh sudakh i na beregu), 
compiled by Lieutenant-Colonel Pestich. 

The use of military rockets in the fleet increased steadily throughout the 
second half of the 1850's. The Gunpowder and Warehouse files of the 
Artillery Department contain many requests from the Navy Department 
for military rockets for the ships of the Black Sea and Caspian flotillas, 
for experiments, to arm ships setting out for the Amur estuary, and for 
other purposes. ^^ 

In July 1859 the Naval Study Committee met to discuss the application 
of military rockets in the Navy and their future development. "That our 
military rockets should be made well, " says the Committee's Journal, 
"is unquestionably a matter of the greatest interest to the Navy, since 


with rockets the smallest rowboats can be used for the destructive 
bombardment of populated cities. Moreover, this can be done at a 
range which makes the rowboats, because they are such small targets, 
inaccessible to any form of ordnance on the shore. Above all, rockets 
are invaluable for landings, when they can be used to illuminate the shore, 
give signals, and throw ropes to sinking ships. This makes it clear that 
the armament of our ships with good rockets to supplement their 
conventional artillery would improve their military qualities and heighten 
morale, especially on long voyages. " ^^ 

The Naval Study Committee therefore came to the conclusion that 
"after necessary improvements rockets will be most useful in the 
Navy, " and gave the Navy's annual requirements as 4400 military 
rockets — 1100 of large caliber (4"), and 3300 of medium caliber (2.5"). 23 

When military rockets were adopted by the Navy, special attention was 
devoted to the question of how ships on which comparatively heavy 
artillery could not be installed might be equipped with rockets. "The 
Proposal for Fitting out of Navy Vessels with Artillery Launched Objects" 
(Polozhenie dlya snabzheniya sudov voennogo flota predmetami, 
otpuskaemymi ot Artillerii), compiled in the 1860's, placed special 
emphasis on the following: 

"To arm boats which because of the lightness of their construction 
cannot carry ordnance, and equally for action where needed from the 
boats themselves, 2.5" and 4" caliber military rockets with the 
appropriate paraphernalia should be supplied as follows: 













1 each ve 


2.5" military .... 








case-shot . 










4" incendiary .... 










with 1/2 pud 

[18 lb] of explosive 











Total on each vessel 




Note : Military rockets, as prescribed by the actual situation, should be supplied to the above- 
mentioned vessels in time of war. as well as to vessels which are to undertake protracted voyages; in peace- 
time, however, military rockets should be supplied annually, but only to training ships, for practical 
exercises. . ."" 

During the 1850's the efficient use of military rockets was widely 
discussed in print. ^' Konstantinov and his supporters had to carry on 
a continual battle with those who opposed the use of rockets in the Russian 

During the 1850's and 1860's Konstantinov published a great many 
articles on various aspects of the production and application of military 
rockets, and tried to take advantage of every opportunity to promote the 
idea of rocket armament in military circles. As early as 1855 he remarked, 
in a letter to Ya. I. Rostovtsev, Head of Military Schools and Academies, 



that "the technological and military aspects of rocket weapons might now 
be made the subject of a special course, and 1 should be happy to be 
entrusted with the task of instructing the gentleman officers of the senior 
class in the Artillery Academy in the following subjects: general theory 
of design of military rockets, and methods for their construction; 
applications and tactics of rocket weapons; the history of rocket armament, 
and in particular of the military and technological aspects of its introduction 
and subsequent development in Russia. " ^^ 

In 1860 Konstantinov delivered to the officers of the Mikhailovskii 
Artillery Academy a series of lectures based upon the many years of 
research and production at the Petersburg Rocket Institute. The subjects 
covered included rocket design and manufacture and the importance of 
rockets as a form of armament, tactics to be followed by rocket 
detachments, means for measuring the propulsive force of a rocket, and 
description of a rocket ballistic pendulum. 

In 1861 Konstantinov' s lectures on military rockets were printed in book 
form in Paris, ^ and were praised by scientists and technicians alike. On 
10 (new style 22) July 1861 Konstantinov was a guest at the session of the 
Paris Academy of Sciences, where he received an expression of "thanks 
for his contribution. " ^^ 

"Under the modest name of lectures, " ran the citation of the French 
Academy, "General Konstantinov has written a detailed work on the 
manufacture and use of military rockets, a type of projectile which, though 
terrible in action, is still little known. " ^^ 

Konstantinov' s lectures were generally praised in the world press, as 
the following excerpts from contemporary periodicals show: 

"From a scientific point of view the new work is of the greatest interest 
and should attract the attention of all particularly interested in the 
manufacture of military rockets" (Le Nord, France).^" 

"This work gives a full description of rockets which until now have been 
little studied. The learned general discusses the advantages of rockets as 
military projectiles, the benefits derived from them, their manufacture, 
the magnitude of their propulsive force, the improvements made in England, 
Austria, France, and Russia, as well as a completely new method for their 
production, and machines and stands of his own invention, constructed in the 
renowned Farcot workshop. Finally, he mentions the organization of troops 
using rockets. We have read this book with the greatest interest and now 
present a short excerpt from it in order to acquaint our readers with it" 
(Cosmos, France). ^'^ 

"For the sake of science one must hope that this invaluable book will soon 
be translated into German. . . We do not know another book possessing all the 
features of General Konstantinov' s work. It shows what rapid and powerful 
progress Russia is making in the development of her arts and sciences" 
(Militar-Zeitung, Austria). ^^ 

"The appearance of this work must be regarded as an important mile- 
stone in military literature, since it presents with scientific thoroughness 
and in generally accessible form a subject about which (excluding former 
works of the same author) until now only fragmentary and superficial 
information has been made available in print" (AUgemeine Militar-Zeitung, 
Prussia). ^' 


"This remarkable work is of real interest not only to those soldiers 
who must at least be acquainted with the necessary data in order to 
discuss the question of rocket armament, but even to artillery technicians 
concerned with rocket design and production" (Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

"Military Rockets" was obviously highly regarded in a number of 
countries as a significant event in the development of rocketry. 

At the end of the 1850's and beginning of the 1860's Konstantinov 
continued his experiments towards the development of better designs 
for military rockets, emphasizing layout, or, as he termed it, "the 
internal design of rockets. " 

The experiments performed by Konstantinov with a rocket ballistic 
pendulum showed that the propulsive force is developed exclusively by 
the combustion around the ignition channel and of a part of the blank 
propellant equal in thickness to the layer surrounding the ignition channel. 
According to Konstantinov' s data the combustion of the remainder of the 
blank propellant made almost no contribution to the reactive force. 

Konstantinov further concluded that the combustion of this part of the 
blank propellant, in addition to having practically no useful effect, 
contributed to untrue rocket flight by constantly changing the mass of 
the rockets and thereby shifting their center of gravity. 

In an attempt to remedy this deficiency, in 1859 Konstantinov suggested 
replacing a part of the blank propellant /? (Figure 12a), exceeding in 
thickness the layer surrounding the ignition channel, by an incombustible 
substance A, consisting of a mixture of clay and white resin. Fire was 
transmitted from the rocket propellant to the incombustible packing through 
a tube B, filled with a gunpowder mixture. Improved versions of these 
rockets became known as 1859-ers [rockets of the 1859 design]. 

Even preliminary experiments demonstrated the improved quality of 
the new rockets. They flew more stably and (at least at first) had a sure 
means of firing the explosive charge of the projectile. However, these 
rockets had one serious drawback: after prolonged storage the substance 
packed into the blank propellant channel became damp, often turning into 
a solid dirty mass which obstructed passage of fire to ignite the explosive 
charge. To counter this, Konstantinov suggested using a solid, rather than 
a moist compound for the two last fills, and the proposal was adopted. 
Furthermore, the diameter of the channel in the copper tube T, located in 
the incombustible mixture, was increased. These rockets came to be 
known as 1862-ers [rockets of the 1862 design] (Figure 12b). 

More changes in rocket design were made at the end of 1862. 
Experiments had shown the mixture of clay and resin to be so dependable 
that the thickness of the layer could be considerably reduced, which would 
correspondingly permit lengthening of the ignition channel. 

Reducing the thickness of the clay layer, however, made the forward 
part of the rocket lighter and thereby led to a reduction of flight 
accuracy. In order to compensate for the weight of the blank filling 
that had been removed at first a lead circle was placed above the rocket 
propellant, and some time later the incombustible part of the blank 
propellant began to be made entirely of lead. 

The so-called 1863 rockets were thus developed (Figure 12c). Unlike 
the 1862 rockets, they had a considerably thinner layer of blank propellant. 


FIGURE 12. Russian 2" military rockets (1859— 1863). 

a— 1859 design, b— 1862 design, c — 1863 design, d— planned design for 1867. 


and its incombustible part was made of lead, rather than clay and resin 
soaked in turpentine. The length of the ignition channel was increased from 
9.75" to 11.5". 

At first the 1863 rockets were packed, as before, with moist rocket 
propellant, but PRZ did not abandon the idea of transition to a dry 
propellant consisting of a mixture of gunpowder pulp with a carbonaceous 
product. In 1862 — 1863 experiments with rockets packed with both wet 
and dry propellants again showed the superior accuracy and range obtained 
with the latter. The dry- propellant 1863 rockets, compared with the 1862 
rockets, "had greater initial velocity, greater velocity throughout flight, 
greater flatness, greater accuracy, and finally, much longer range. "^^ 

It would seem that the most perfect type of rockets had been found. In 
order to arrive at a final conclusion as to their quality it was decided to 
produce 770 rockets at PRZ (385 with wet and 385 with dry propellant), 
including signal rockets and illuminating flares as well as military rockets 
(see Table 9),^^ in order to conduct final tests for purposes of comparison 
at Nikolaev. 

TABLE 9. List of [2"] rockets prepared for tests at Nikolaev 

Two-pounders with explosives for target fire . 

Ten-pounders with elongated explosives for high 
angle fire 

Five-pounders with elongated explosives for high 
angle fire 


Long range case-shot rockets carrying 20 spherical 
lead rifle bullets, each weighing 7 zolotniki 
[about 1.1 oz] 

Short range case-shot rockets carrying 36 spherical 
lead rifle bullets, each weighing 7 zolotniki 
[about 1.1 oz] 

With 1/2-pud [18-lb] luminous balls 

With l''4-pud [a-lb] luminous balls .... 

With luminous ball equipped with parachute . 

To be equipped with shot or Schwarmer 


Grand total 

Number of rockets 

1862 design 
(wet propellant) 






1863 design 
(dry propellant) 








Here, however, the insufficient technical equipment of PRZ showed 
itself fully since it made it impossible to obtain a uniform rocket 
propellant. Even in the first series of experiments conducted in 
Petersburg, it was revealed that in a number of cases the rocket 
propellant was so powerful as to result in bursting of the casings. Of 
168 rockets launched, two burst on the stand, while in a third, the blank 
part was dislodged inside the rocket casing, though without bursting of 
the rocket itself. ^^ 


It was necessary to develop a rocket design which would not permit 
possible changes in the power of the rocket propellant and its destructive 
force to exceed a certain predetermined limit, but the impending shut- 
down of PRZ made this difficult. It proved possible to build and test only 
three rockets, all of whose specifications were as before, except that the 
proportion of sulfur in the propellant was increased considerably. The 
formula of French blasting powder (62% nitrates, 18% sulfur, 20% 
carbonaceous product), the weakest of those used for military rockets 
with a central tail, was used (see p. 65). 

Experiments made for purposes of comparison showed that with these 
rockets the danger of an explosion was reduced, but at the cost of a 
reduction in range (on the average, of about 230 sagenes [537 yards]). 

This concluded research on military rockets at the Petersburg Rocket 
Institute. Subsequently, at Nikolaev, a number of experiments were 
performed as a basis for the choice of designs for rockets which were 
then assembled at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant. 

The progress made in Russian rocket research up to the beginning of 
the 1860's was unquestioned, but at the same period the factors which 
would soon result in the abandonment of rockets as military weapons began 
clearly to emerge. As early as the 1850's it became clear that rockets 
using black smoky powder could not compete with artillery in range and 
power. In 1851, in his "Note on the Introduction and Use of Military 
Rockets in the Navy, " Konstantinov noted that military rockets "must 
cede to artillery pieces both in their inferior striking power and lesser 
accuracy in flight. " ^^ In 1863, in his "Military Rockets in Russia from 
the End of 1861 to the Beginning of 1863" (Boevye rakety v Rossii s 
kontsa 1861 g. po nachalo 1863 g.), Konstantinov stated outright: "I am 
far from thinking that rockets can compete with conventional artillery, 
but they still have an enormous field of application in cases where for what- 
ever reasons it is impossible or inconvenient to use conventional artillery, 
snnooth or rifled, or to perform actions impossible with artillery pieces. "^^ 
In spite of the fact that the rockets of the 1860's were considerably better 
than those of the preceding decade, they were still essentially inferior to the 
rapidly developing artillery projectiles in both range and flight accuracy, 
and could serve only as supplementary weapons when for some reason it 
was awkward to use artillery pieces. 

This idea was reflected in the reference book for artillery officers which 
came out during the first half of the sixties, in which it was emphasized that 
"rocket weapons, which constitute a powerful auxiliary to artillery, are 
distinguished by their mobility, adaptability to any sort of terrain, and 
application in every field of war. " *" 

There followed a comparison of military rockets and artillery pieces, 
with discussion of their respective advantages and drawbacks. According 
to the "Reference Book, " "One can list the following advantages of rockets: 

"1) Rockets can be taken wherever a single infantryman has access. 
2) Rocket launching requires negligible space and makes it possible to use 
every topographic feature for cover of both stand and crew. 3) Ease of 
movement and action in highly dissected terrain, with the resulting great 
advantage of surprise. 4) Rockets can be used in dense woods. 5) Ease 
of transport across rivers on very small boats, safe action being possible 
even during the crossing. 6) The combination of projectile and propulsive 


force in rockets makes it possible to use them without any stand whatso- 
ever, launching them from the earth, from the slope of a parapet, from 
an embrasure, etc. V) When houses are occupied during a battle, the 
windows and balconies of every storey, as well as the roofs, can serve 
as convenient battle positions. 8) The speed with which rockets can be 
fired. Since cleaning and frequent aiming of the muzzle are dispensed 
with, it is possible to fire 4 shots a minute. 9) The small crews required 
for rocket launching, and the small number of horses required to transport 
military supplies for rocket batteries in the field constitute an economic and 
tactical advantage. 10) When necessary rockets can be destroyed in the 
sight of the enemy and to his detriment. 11) After rockets are used up, no 
awkward equipment, worthless in battle, but constituting a load which 
impedes movement and requires defense, is left. 12) The fact that the loss 
of stands is not serious, because of the ease with which they can be replaced, 
makes it easy to decide on sudden ventures which involve the inevitable 
loss of ordnance. 13) Rockets can be armed with explosive projectiles in 
thin-walled metal envelopes, which do not explode during the rocket's flight 
and penetration into the earth, but because of the low resistance to the 
explosion, act with all their force against the earth and thereby have a 
more powerful effect than hollow cast-iron artillery projectiles. 

"The deficiencies of military rockets include the following: 1) The 
low initial velocity of rockets, by comparison with artillery projectiles, 
which makes it impossible to use them for the destruction of heavy objects, 
such as stone pavements, walls, and similar constructions. 2) As a 
consequence of this deficiency, rockets are less true in flight than 
artillery, especially in target fire; an additional reason for this in our 
military aimed rockets is that until now we have had only the most inadequate 
mechanical resources for the sound manufacture of rockets. 3) The un- 
fitness of rockets after protracted storage is a direct consequence of this 
deficiency of mechanical means for their more careful construction. 4) As 
far as rocket transport is concerned, it can be said that if rockets 
constituted a greater load and volume than conventional artillery with the 
appurtenant military supplies, intended for exactly the same purpose as the 
rockets, the rockets would have the advantage of a more readily divisible 
load. 5) The weakness of case-shot fire from rockets can be compensated 
for by the speed of shooting by this projectile. " *^ 

Although this comparison was made by a keen advocate of rockets, ^^ 
it only showed once again that military rockets are superior to artillery 
pieces only in rare instances, and must generally be held much inferior 
to them. 

By the end of the 1860's the use of rocket weapons had been discontinued 
in most of the military districts of European Russia, though they continued 
to be used (in greatly diminished numbers) in the Caucasus and in Asiatic 
military districts. 

A table*^ of the average ranges of military rockets will give an idea of 
the results attained by the Petersburg Rocket Institute. 


TABL^ 10. Average range of military rockets (1860's) 
Type of rocket 

2" military . 

" case-shot 

2.5" military . ' 
4" incendiary 

2" with 6-lb spherical grenade 
2" with 9-lb grenade 
2.5" with 9-lb grenade. 
2.5" with 18-lb grenade . 
4" with 9-lb grenade . 
4" with 18-lb grenade . 
4" with 36-lb grenade . 


Weight of 

Average range 
in sagenes [yards 
given in brackets] 

Aimed fire 


21b 1.2 oz 

450-500 [1050-1167] 


21b 9oz 

200" [467] 


31b ll.loz 

500-650 [1167-1516] 


31b 12.9 oz 

300-* [700] 


121b 3.6 oz 

2000 [4666] 

gh angle fire 


61b 3.6 oz 

450 [1050] 


91b 10.9OZ 

240 [560] 


91b 10.9 oz 

525 [1225] 



225 [525] 


91b 10.9 oz 

1950 [4549] 



850 [1983] 


401b 7.2 oz 

450 [1050] 

[In the Russian text the weights are given in pounds and zolotniki, the latter being equivalent to about 
0.15 ounces. For the convenience of the reader these have been changed to pounds and ounces.] 
For case-shot rockets the figures given are not for range, but for the distance at which the case-shot 
grenades exploded. 


One of the most important problems confronting those working to 
improve military rockets was that of stability, to ensure which, rockets, 
like any other elongated bodies, required special devices to maintain their 
longitudinal axis in a certain position during flight. 

The simplest means of stabilization, which was used for pyrotechnic 
rockets and generally gave fairly satisfactory results, was a longitudinal 
bar (the rocket tail). This was the form of stabilizer adopted by Kartmazov 
and Zasyadko, the first Russian designers of military rockets. 

Subsequently rocket tails became more complicated. Realizing that the 
shape of the stabilizer has considerable influence on trueness of flight, 
designers tried to give the rocket tail a form which would permit the 
closest shot grouping. Furthermore, practical considerations, such as 
the weight of the tail, and the ease with which it couldbe stored, transported, 
and attached to the rocket, were also taken into account. 

For a long time PRZ used eight-sided tails in the shape of a truncated 
pyramid, but four- sided prismatic tails were introduced by Konstantinov 
in 1851. ''^ These featured a number of improvements, but were still 
too long, which made them awkward to store and transport. 

In 1855, after becoming familiar with French military rockets brought 
from Sevastopol, PRZ conducted experiments with rockets having 
shortened tails, of the same diameter as the rocket casings.*^ 

The short grooved tails were considerably lighter and not much more 
than half the length of the previous four- sided ones (4 ft, rather than 7 ft), 
which made them much easier to transport and improved their range some- 
what. As a result the new tails were approved, and almost all the military 


rockets produced by PRZ up to the beginning of the 1860 's were fitted with 
them. It was soon found, however, that the grooved tails were not at all 
durable: they often broke during shipment, and almost entirely excluded 
rebounds, since on the first rebound the tails broke at the point of their 
attachment to the rocket. 

At the beginning of the sixties, therefore, PRZ again turned to the 
problem of a design for rocket tails, and tested three models (Figure 13). 

All three were joined to the rocket casing in exactly the same way: a 
part of the rocket tail, shaped like a truncated cone and covered with thin 
sheet iron to protect it from scorching, was inserted into the tailpipe; the 
remainder of the tail, of the same diameter as the casing, was not covered 
with iron and took one of the following three forms: 

A — cylindrical with an internal void and an elongated pointed tip; 

B — cylindrical with three longitudinal, progressively deeper grooves; 

C — cylindrical with transverse rifling at the end. *^ 

Tests showed that in both aimed and high angle fire the best results 
were obtained with rockets equipped with B tails, i. e., the conical- 
cylindrical type with three longitudinal grooves in the cylindrical section, 
becoming progressively deeper towards the rear end of the tail. On a 2" 
rocket, this tail was 3 feet in length. 

Besides improving accuracy, these tails permitted the use of base plates 
with six exhaust orifices, whose advantages had been known since the early 
1850's (see p. 42). As mentioned above, at that time a large quantity 
of base plates with six orifices was manufactured, but they could not be used 
because the short grooved tails introduced after 1855 required a number of 
orifices equal to the number of grooves, which could not exceed five except 
at the cost of weakening the intervening surfaces. 

The B tails were recognized as the best and recommended for further 
production, but even they did not give fully satisfactory results. Rocket 
flight was still insufficiently true, and the closeness of shot grouping left 
a great deal to be desired. 

Furthermore, the long rocket tails, which considerably exceeded the 
length of the rocket itself, were very awkward to use, transport, and 
store. It is not surprising therefore that most countries began to seek 
another means of stabilization for rockets. 

In Russia the first experiments in this direction were made in the 
Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant in the 1840's. Signal rockets were built, with 
the long tails replaced either by much shorter stabilizing surfaces, which 
came to be known as wings, or by triangular prisms of thin cardboard (see 
Appendix 6, p. 182). 

In all probability efforts were made to apply this type of stabilization to 
pyrotechnic rockets at the same time. In 1853 the "Artilleriiiskii Zhurnal" 
carried an article entitled "Some Improvements in the Art of Fireworks" 
(O nekotorykh usovershenstvovaniyakh v feierverochnom iskusstve), *'' 
whose author reported that since 1848 he had repeatedly and successfully 
used rockets stabilized in flight by trapeziform wings made of doubly folded 
cardboard. It has not proved possible to identify the author (the article 
was unsigned), but, to judge by the fact that Russian measures are used 
throughout (foot, lot, zolotnik, arshin), one can assume that the article 
was original and not a translation. 


FIGURE 13. Different types of rocket tails. 

The inconveniences resulting from the large dimensions of rockets were 
felt especially keenly in the navy, and it is therefore not surprising that the 
Navy Department devoted great attention to finding some other means of 
stabilization to replace rocket tails. In the 1850's the French Navy had 
introduced winged signal rockets (Figure 14a), consisting of paper casings 
with a cap filled with shot. A wooden prism supporting three wooden wings 
was fastened to the casing by wire. 

During the sixties several attempts were made in Russia, as well, to 
replace the rocket tail by stabilizing surfaces (then called wings). In 1864 
Vishnyakov, the foreman of the Kronshtadt Laboratory, proposed for testing 
a rocket design of his own invention, which featured wings attached to the 
main body by special wires. The experiments with Vishnyakov' s rockets in 
1864 and 1865, however, did not give positive results, and were soon 
discontinued. '^ 

In November 1865 the Naval Technical Committee received a new 
proposal for the testing of rockets with stabilizing surfaces, this time 
submitted by Captain Kalinnikov of the Naval Artillery Detachment. *^ 

Kalinnikov's rockets differed from those of Vishnyakov in the 
means of attaching the wings to the rocket body, but even after 
some changes in design winged rockets failed to give satisfactory 

In 1866 Artilleriiskii Zhurnal published an article by Staff-Captain 
Skripchinskii, entitled "Parachute Rockets and Rockets with Wings" 
(Parashyut-rakety i rakety s kryl'yami), which described the author's 
experiments on rockets with stabilizing surfaces. ^ 

As Skripchinskii noted, his rocket wings (Figure 14c) were made of wood, 
and consisted of a rod used to attach the wing to the rockets, and the wing 
itself, which had the form of a parallelogram. A groove was made in the 
edge of the rod contiguous with the rocket (see cross section along CD), and 
it had two external notches bb, which served to attach the wing to the rocket. 

On both sides the wing had longitudinal grooves in staggered rows (see 
cross section along AB), whose nunaber depended on the size of the wing, 
to lighten it. The wings were given a tapered leading edge to reduce air 

Skripchinskii's article attracted the attention of rocketry experts, and 
the November 1867 number of "Artilleriiskii Zhurnal" carried an article 
by the Director of the Riga Pyrotechnic Laboratory, signed P.M., which 
was evidently a reply to it. This article dealt with exactly the same 
subjects^^ and pointed out that the Riga Pyrotechnic Laboratory, which 
constructed pyrotechnic rockets for sale to private parties, had been 
experimenting with winged rockets since 1862. Wings of various shapes 
and made of various materials had been tested, and the best had proved 
to be wooden ones having the form of a parallelogram. The dimensions of 
the wings are given in Table 11. 

Despite the failure of the first experiments on winged rockets in 1864 — 
1866, eagerness to do away with the clumsy rocket tails was so great that 
the Navy Department took the matter up again. At the beginning of 1867 
experiments for the comparison of Kalinnikov's and Skripchinskii's winged 
rockets were held. They indicated the superiority of the former, ^^ with 
the result that further tests were decided upon. In 1868 Kalinnikov's winged 
rockets were tested on the artillery training frigate "Sevastopol, " but on 


this occasion, too, they failed to give satisfactory results. Thereafter, 
experiments with winged rockets were terminated. 

I-IGURK 14. Winged rockets. 

a— signal rocl<el adopted by the French Navy, b— rocket with cardboard wings, described 
by Chicliinad/c, c — rocket with wooden wings, as used by Skripchinskii. 

In considering the various means of rocket stabilization adopted in 
Russia in the 19th century, one is struck by the almost total absence of 

rl. OiiiK-iMon- of riX'ket wing^ (in iiuMkv) 

Lcngtii of \v ing . 
Width of wing . 
Thickness of wing 
Length of rod 




7 . i.) 




4. .17 

4. .50 

Note: Tlie left half of each column refers to Skripchinskii's rockets; the right, to those built by the 
Riga Pyrotechnic Laboratory. 

suggestions to make use of the rocket's rotation. At first glance this 
seems strange, the more so since this problem attracted considerable 
attention in other countries. In fact, according to Konstantinov, in America, 


as early as 1815, experiments were made with rockets made to rotate by 
helical exhaust orifices in the base plate. *^ 

In 1824 Parlby proposed to the British army in India the use of rockets 
made to rotate by special devices placed in the stream of exhaust gases. 
A similar means of stabilization was suggested in 1846 by the French 
artillery officer Goupille, whose rockets were equipped with a short 
helical band placed in the stream of exhaust gases. Rotation was produced 
by the pressure of the exhaust gases against the oblique surfaces of the 

In other experiments, made in France in 1831, the rockets were made 
to rotate by special projections inserted into slots on the inner surface of 
the launching tubes. The best known rotating rockets, however, were those 
of Hale, which were made to rotate by spiral exhaust ducts in the base 
plate . ^ 

Hale's rockets were tested in many countries, including Russia, but 
again failed to give positive results. 

By the middle of the 19th century, then, rocket designers seeking 
means of improved stabilization had already suggested the following 
methods for making rockets rotate: 

1) fitting the outer surface of the rocket with projections and launching 
it from a notched tube; 

2) fitting the rocket body with oblique surfaces acted upon by air currents; 

3) placing such surfaces in the stream of exhaust gases; 

4) making spiral exhaust orifices in the base plate. 

All of these methods were known in Russia and were repeatedly recalled 
in Konstantinov's lecture notes and printed papers. However, no 
proposals for the adoption of such means of stabilization came from Russian 
inventors (with the exception of Lieutenant Berdyugin),^^ and no research 
was done on them at PRZ. 

The unsuccessful tests of Hale's rockets, held in Petersburg in 1850, were 
a likely reason for this. The occasion for these tests was a letter from the 
British engineer Nottingham, who offered (naturally for appropriate 
remuneration) to acquaint Russians with Hale's military rockets. ^^ 

Nottingham rennarked that Hale's rockets, while in no way inferior 
to, and in some ways surpassing conventional rockets with tails, were 
particularly distinguished by the lack of a clumsy tail, by greater 
connpactness, and by low cost (he claimed that they cost about 30% less 
than Congreve rockets). 

The letter was sent to the Naval Study Committee, which duly decided 
to test the rockets in order to gain a practical idea of their quality. 
Nottingham therefore came to Petersburg, bringing with him some Hale 
rockets manufactured in England. The experiments were performed on 
the Volkova field in August 1850. On the 14th, only Hale rockets were 
tested, and on the 17th, they were tested together with Russian rockets 
manufactured by PRZ. 

The results obtained by the Hale rockets were extremely poor, only 
one of the 13 rockets launched on the first day striking a target 
screen placed 300 sagenes [700 yards] from the launching point. Their 
flight was extremely inaccurate, with a range of from 170 to 500 sagenes 
[397 to 1167 yards] for the first strike, and lateral deviations as much as 
48 paces. Even worse results were obtained on the second day, when 



the Hale rockets proved inferior to the PHZ rockets in every respect, 
as shown in Table 12. 

TABLE 12. Comparative data obtained in tests of Hale and PRZ rockets 

Hale rockets . 
PRZ rockets . 

Number of 





the target 





Range of first 

strike, Sagenes 

[yards given in 


162- o90 [.•J78— 1377] 
72- 382 C168- 891] 






The Naval Study Committee concluded from these tests that the rockets 
brought by Nottingham were inferior to those used by the Russian army in 
accuracy, and also, taking into account the difference in caliber, in range. 
Moreover, Hale's rockets were costlier, not cheaper, than the PRZ 
rockets. It is true that they were considerably more compact and 
convenient to transport, but as the Committee journal remarked, "this 
is a minor advantage, of significance only in conjunction with superior 
flight accuracy and effectiveness." ^'' The Committee therefore decided 
to reject Nottingham's proposal to import Hale rockets into Russia. ^^ 

How were the low quality of the Hale rockets and their failure in the 
tests to be explained? Konstantinov, who in his papers had repeatedly 
considered the possibility of replacing rocket tails by other means of 
stabilization, gave considerable attention to these questions. After 
analyzing the results of the exoeriments, he concluded that the major 
deficiency of Hale's rockets was "the difficulty in obtaining fully developed 
rotation before the rocket began to advance, " while "for the rotational 
motion to increase the accuracy of the projectile's translational motion, it 
must be set up about a certain axis tangent to the trajectory, and must be 
fully developed before the axis of rotation ceases to be supported. " ^^ 
Konstantinov pointed out that communication of additional rotary momentum 
to a rocket in flight can change the position of the longitudinal axis and can 
thus be "a new source of inaccuracy and straying in flight. " ^° 

Furthermore, all these means of imparting rotation to the rocket 
decreased the energy of its translational motion, which led to a 
corresponding decrease of range. 

"These reasons alone, " wrote Konstantinov in 1860, "are enough to 
urge abandonment of the idea of using rotational movement to improve 
the accuracy of rocket flight, but to them must be added the necessity of 
using a very heavy and complicated launching stand, which would destroy 
the principal advantage of these rockets — the ease with which they can be 
transported. "^^ 

The negative attitude of Russian rocket designers towards stabilization 
by rotation is therefore readily understood. Only in the middle of the 
sixties did Konstantinov alter his views, and then only to the extent of 
saying that first priority should be given to the production of military 
rockets with tails, testing of rotating rockets clearly being of minor 



Konstantinov's great service to the development of rocket engineering 
in Russia was in making the first attempt at a scientific approach to rocket 
design and production. 

In some countries work on a theory of rocket motion had begun as 
early as the first quarter of the 19th century. Interest in the subject 
arose from the widespread use of rockets for military purposes in most 
of Europe, but this early work was rather abstract in character, full of 
errors and inaccuracies, was not applied to any practical purpose, and 
had absolutely no influence on the contemporary development of 
rocketry. ^^ 

The first attempt to create a theory of rocket motion was made by the 
British artilleryman W. Moore, ^ who examined a number of special 
problems, with and without taking into account the resistance of the 

At first Moore attempted to derive the differential equations of motion 
of the center of inertia of the rocket along the vertical, to obtain a 
formula for the velocity of the center of mass of a rocket launched at an 
angle to the horizon, to determine the trajectory followed by the center 
of mass and its velocity at an arbitrary point of the trajectory, and finally, 
to determine the range of a rocket, if the launching elevation and the time 
for which the propellant burns are given. 

However, he oversimplified the problem by completely neglecting the 
resistance of the medium, which is hardly admissible for comparatively 
high velocities, when it has a considerable effect on the accuracy of the 

In most of his work, therefore, Moore attempted to take into account 
air resistance, which was then regarded as being proportional to the 
square of the velocity. However, here Moore limited his investigation 
to the vertical motion of rockets and the question of whether the center 
of inertia of a rocket, moving under the influence of reactive force, gravity, 
and air resistance, can have constant velocity. 

The next step in the development of a theory of rocket motion was taken 
by the French artilleryman Montgery, who published a paper on military 
rockets in 1825. ^* In it he attempted the solution of a more general problem, 
regarding a rocket launched at an angle to the horizon as a material point 
affected by three forces: reactive force, gravity, and air resistance.^® 

The equations obtained by Moore and Montgery were quite complicated 
and contained a number of quantities which at that time defied analytical 
evaluation. As a result they had no practical application. 

As already pointed out, a purely empirical approach prevailed in 
rocketry until the middle of the 19th century. This was the period when 
those involved in rocket production limited themselves to the accumulation 
of experimental data without making the least effort at serious scientific 
comprehension of the factors which determine the quality and 
characteristics of rockets. The individuals who sought to improve 
rocket armament by introducing changes in the design of military rockets 
generally were guided not by the results of analytical or experimental 
research, but by intuition and guesswork. 

no7 60 

Such an approach to the design of military rockets made it exceedingly 
difficult to introduce improvements, since without scientific experimentation 
the basic direction to be taken in the development of rocket armament could 
not be correctly determined. As Konstantinov pointed out, "the unsatisfactory 
firing accuracy of rockets was a result of the fact that there were no means 
of attaining accuracy through uniformity, and no systematized search for the 
best rocket design. As a result, the experiments performed with this object 
did not sufficiently make clear the principles which had to serve as a basis 
for efficient rocket design. " ^^ 

Konstantinovwas aware that the creation of scientific principles of rocket 
engineering was prerequisite to the further development of rocketry, and he 
took the first steps in this direction when he laid the foundation of 
experimental rocket dynamics. 

The choice of a starting point for his research was not accidental. With- 
out denying the value of analytic study, and indicating the need to construct 
a "mathematical theory of rocket design and shooting, " which he felt "would 
unquestionably be of great service in seeking to improve such projectiles, "^ 
Konstantinov regarded experiment as the basic means of perfecting rockets. 

This was to be explained by the complexity of the processes taking place 
in the rocket. As a rule, these could only with difficulty be analyzed 
mathematically, and individual factors, such as the temperature of the 
gases in the rocket, or their pressure, taking into account a continuous 
exhaust flow, could not be accurately determined analytically by existing 
methods. Experiment was therefore the simplest and most natural way, 
which is why Konstantinov selected it. 

One problem confronting the researchers was the complex matter of 
determining the force which set the rocket in motion. "The gas pressure 
inside the rocket and its continuous variation while gases are being formed, " 
Konstantinov wrote in 1856, "have not yet been studied analytically with 
such precision as to provide a basis for improved rocket design, and the 
full solution of this problem seems to present insuperable difficulties. The 
known rate of combustion of the rocket propellant can readily be used to 
determine the volume of propellant consumed, the volume of the gases 
formed from it, and their elasticity at a known temperature, in successive 
intervals of time; but to determine the actual gas pressure within the rocket, 
one would have to know the temperature of the gases, which cannot be 
precisely determined. Moreover, in making the calculation one would have 
to consider the continuous flow of gases out of the rocket, which depends on 
their internal pressure and on the atmospheric pressure, the size of the gas 
exhaust and its reduction due to passage of the solid residue of the propellant 
combustion, and finally, on the influence of the forward motion of the 
rocket. "88 

Since the exact magnitude of the reactive force could not be found 
analytically, the researchers of several countries tried to solve the 
problem experimentally. At the pyrotechnic school in Metz (France), 
the propulsive force was measured by the use of a Moraine dynamon)eter. 
This consisted of a special spring composed of steel strips, which, to use 
Konstantinov 's expression, recalled the elliptical front spring of a carriage. 
One of the ends of this spring rested on a steady support, while the other 
was subjected to the pressure of the rocket, which was placed in a special 
cart. This end was equipped with an indicator whose readings were plotted 
on the cylindrical surface of a drum rotating at constant speed. 


A serious deficiency of the French dynamometer was the fact that 
when the pressure on the spring was decreased, its return was 
accompanied by oscillations which diminished the accuracy of the readings. 
This was unimportant when engines operating for a prolonged period, with 
insignificant and therefore gradual variation in pressure, were being 
studied. "But when the propulsive force acts for a short period," wrote 
Konstantinov, "with rapid pressure changes, such as occur in rockets, 
these machines leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the precision 
of the readings, since the tests are then of insufficient duration, while 
the changes occur too rapidly, to permit the deduction of average 
results. "S3 

In an effort to avoid the shortcomings of Moraine's dynamometer, the 
Prussian Artillery Captain Hartmann proposed measuring the propulsive 
force of rockets by a ballistic rocket pendulum, set in motion by a rocket 
placed inside it. 

The pendulum, made to oscillate by the reactive force of the rocket, 
used a special pin to trace a curve on a circle placed parallel to the plane 
of the pendulum's oscillation, and rotating with a known uniform velocity. 
Hartmann's idea was to use this curve to determine the propulsive force 
of the rocket, as well as its variation during combustion of the rocket 
propellant. However, experiments showed that the curves plotted on the 
rotating circle correspond to differential equations which cannot be 
precisely integrated. Hartmann therefore again resorted to the use of the 
Moraine dynamometer in his experiments. 

After analysis of the various means for measuring the reactive force 
developed by combustion of the rocket propellant, Konstantinov concluded 
that the best was the rocket ballistic pendulum, with the difference that he 
subsituted a transmission belt for Hartmann's rotating circle, thereby 
obtaining much simpler equations. Professor V.A. .Ankudovich (1792 — 1856) 
played an important part in the derivation of the formulas. 

Konstantinov was well aware that tests performed with a ballistic 
pendulum gave only an approximation to the processes actually taking place 
inside the moving rocket, but he nonetheless contented himself with such 
experiments, since with existing measuring apparatus it was impossible 
to determine the gas pressure in the casing and the other parameters of 
the moving rocket. 

Tests made under actual conditions (i. e., rocket launchings), in any case 
gave only general results, in which, as Konstantinov put it, all the particular 
phenomena producing the result were absorbed. It was just this — the need 
of an analytic research method to study one or several separate processes 
taking place inside the rocket — that led Konstantinov to decide on the rocket 
ballistic pendulum (Figure 15). 

Konstantinov built his first rocket ballistic pendulum in 1846, while at 
the Main Gunpowder School. It consisted of a wooden parallelepiped, in 
which a cylinder of sheet steel was placed. One end of the cylinder was 
closed, while the rocket was inserted into the other, in such a way that 
its axis coincided with that of the cylinder. An adjusting screw was used 
to set up the cylinder in such a way that its axis and that of the rocket 
within it passed through the center of oscillation of the pendulum. 

Paralljel to the plane of oscillation of the pendulum was a 
transmission belt stretched over two cylinders, placed above each other 


between the supports of the pendulum stand. The lower cylinder was 
geared to a flywheel, which was itself turned by two men.'"* 


-^. . 




' ■'% 



' ^ 


FIGURE 15. Rocket ballistic pendulum designed by K. I. Konstantinov. 

Even with this comparatively simple machine Konstantinov obtained 
positive results. In 1848, after becoming acquainted with Konstantinov' s 
rocket pendulum, the members of the Artillery Division of the Military 
Study Committee concluded that "such a pendulum really can give data 
for the determination both of the total propulsive force of the rocket, and 
of the laws governing its action. "''^ 

Further on, however, they commented: "In the form in which it 
presently exists at the Gunpowder School, the pendulum is not suitable 
for experiments on military rockets, because of its modus operandi; but 
it is highly satisfactory for research on signal rockets and flares, whose 
propulsive force is slight and acts over a protracted period of time."'^ 

In 1849, Konstantinov began to build his second rocket ballistic 
pendulum, which was also suited for experimients with military rockets, 
in Kolpino. '" 

The second pendulum, which weighed 17801b, was set on a granite base. 
The axis of the container was 127" away from that of the pendant, and the 
pendulum's center of gravity was 75.4" from the axis of the pendant. The 
pendulum had a period of 1.73 sec.''* 

Installation and final adjustment of the second rocket pendulum, how- 
ever, were very protracted, and it appears that the work was completed 
only at the end of 1854. ''^ 

A serious defect of both the first and the second rocket pendulums was 
the fact that the tape on which the pendulums' deviations were recorded 
was set in motion manually. As a result the tape's motion was not strictly 


uniform, and this greatly reduced the accuracy of the readings. In an 
effort to overcome these deficiencies, Konstantinov proposed adoption 
of a special acoustic device of his own design, '^ which would limit 
variations in the speed of the tape. 

This did to some extent mitigate this shortcoming, though it did not 
do away with it altogether. PRZ also failed to control the motions of 
the tape by some mechanical motor, which would have assured its 

In spite of this, the rocket ballistic pendulum gave a number of valuable 
results which were of great importance for the theory and practice of rocket 
engineering. In 1860 Konstantinov noted, "The rocket pendulum has given us 
many clues to the effect of the proportionality of the components of the 
rocket propellant, the internal dimensions of the ignition channel, the 
number and dimensions of the orifices, on the creation of the propulsive 
force and the character of its action; however, there have so far been too 
few experiments with the machine to give all the profit that can be expected 
from it. "" 

On the basis of his collected experimental data, Konstantinov tried to 
determine the optimum parameters of military rockets. By this time the 
major factors affecting the properties of rockets were known to include: 

a) thickness of the casing walls; 

b) composition of the rocket mixture; 

c) dimensions of the ignition channel; 

d) size and number of exhaust orifices. 

The basis for determination of the thickness of casing walls was 
usually made the consideration that the casings should be as light as 
possible, but this conflicted with other demands. While the casing had 
to be strong enough to withstand the rather high pressure of the gases 
formed by combustion of the propellant, excessive increase in the thickness 
of its walls led to increase of its weight and raised the passive mass of the 
rocket. Konstantinov therefore suggested using Piober's formula''^ to 
determine the thickness of the walls of the rocket casing: 


where / is the thickness of the walls in tenths of inches, 

p is the maximum gas pressure in the casing, in lOOlb/in^, 
d is the internal diameter of the rocket in tenths of inches, and 
T is the cohesive force of iron in lOOlb/in^. 
Of the unknowns in this formula, determination of the maximum gas 
pressure presented the greatest difficulty, since it depended on many 
factors and, as shown above, was not, in Konstantinov' s day, 
mathematically analyzed. The gas pressure in the rocket depended 
first of all on the composition of the gunpowder, whose components were 
sulfur, nitrate, and carbon. Pyrotechnic experience had shown that an 
increase in the nitrate content increased the power of the rocket 
propellant, while an increase in the sulfur and carbon content reduced it, ^® 
but the best proportion of ingredients was still unknown. Furthermore, 
the requirements imposed on propellant for military rockets differed 
somewhat from those for pyrotechnic rockets. At PRZ many experiments 
were performed to determine the best propellant for military rockets, ^^ 


As a result of these experiments Konstantinov reached the following 

"a) Normal powder can be weakened by the addition of sulfur only to 
the point at which the ratio of the weight of sulfur to that of nitrate is 1/5. 
Further addition of sulfur, though it weakens the propellant as far as 
range and flatness of trajectory are concerned, does not diminish its 
explosive properties. 

"b) Weakening normal powder by carbon is a completely dependable 
method, but not completely desirable, since addition of the carbon makes 
the propellant hygroscopic and more sensitive, and therefore inferior as 
far as the storage and transport of rockets is concerned. 

"c) In general, to weaken normal powder to the degree required by 
military rocket design, it is best to do so by addition of sulfur, proceeding 
to carbon only when the limit of possible sulfur dilution has been 

"d) The most powerful possible rocket propellant consists of: nitrate, 
72%; sulfur, 14%; carbon, 14%. "81 

Subsequently, however, Konstantinov, on the basis of the researches of 
the French chemist Proust, concluded that the most powerful rocket 
propellant was not the Austrian (72% nitrate, 14% sulfur, 14% carbon), 
but that using the proportions of French military gunpowder (75% nitrate, 
12.5% sulfur, 12.5% carbon), and that the weakest was the French rocket 
propellant (62% nitrate, 18% sulfur, 20% carbon), used in long-range 

TABLE 13. Various rocket propellants (mid-19th century) 

French military gun- 

Austrian rocket propellant 

Russian military gun- 

Russian rocket propellant . 

French rocket propellant . 

























Note: The left half of the table gives the percentage ratio of the components of the rocket mixture: 
on the right-hand side, for convenient comparison, all of the propellants are shown in terms of an 
identical quantity of one of the components (nitrate), and are given in parts by weight. 

Konstantinov compiled a comparative table, which took in all rocket 
propellants, from the most powerful to the weakest (Table 13). By use of 
very weak propellants one could prolong somewhat the action of the 
reactive force, which in turn made possible an increase in range. 

The depth and diameter of the ignition channel, as well as the dimensions 
of the exhaust orifices, greatly affected the pressure in the casing, and 
consequently also the magnitude of the reactive force. It had been known 
for a very long time that the ignition channel had considerable influence 
on the magnitude of the rocket's propulsive force (this was first pointed 
out at the beginning of the 15th century by Konrad von Kaiser), but the 
subject had not been sufficiently studiedbefore the middle of the 19th century. 


At the end of the 1840's Konstantinov projected,*^ and subsequently- 
carried out, ^^ a number of experiments to determine the influence of the 
dimensions of the ignition channel and of the area of the exhaust orifices 
on the magnitude of the propulsive force. 

Initially (in May, 1849), Konstantinov planned to carry out three series 
of experiments: 

1) for rockets with lateral tails and with an exhaust orifice of the same 
diameter as the casing; 

2) for rockets with lateral tails and a base plate with an exhaust orifice 
of variable size; 

3) for rockets with a central tail. ^^ 

In the first series of experiments only the dimensions of the ignition 
channel were varied: diameters from 0.6 to 1.4 inches, at intervals of 
0.2 inches (i. e., 15.24mm, 20.32mm, 25.4mm, 30.48 mm and 35.56 mm), 
and depth (i.e., length) of the channel from 7 to 10 inches, at intervals 
of 1 inch (i. e., 177.8mm, 203.2mm, 228.6mm, and 254mm). This gave 
20 different combinations. 

During the second series of experiments it was necessary to vary not 
only the dimensions of the ignition channel, but those of the exhaust 
orifice, whose diameter was taken equal to 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.4, and 
1.6 inches. To each diameter of the exhaust orifice corresponded two 
ignition channel diameters, one of 0,6", and the other 0.2" less than the 
diameter of the exhaust orifice. The depth of the ignition channel was 
varied as in the first series of experiments, giving a total of 40 different 

In the third series the area of the exhaust orifices was taken as the 
maximum possible for a base plate with central tail. The channel 
diameter, which was determined by the diameter of the tail screw, was 
0.6", and only the depth of the channel was varied, from 7" to 10" at 
intervals of one inch. 

Subsequently Konstantinov suggested modification of these experiments 
to test the following three types of rockets: 

A — with base plates designed by General Kozen, and total exhaust 
orifice area of 0.59 in^ (381.64mm2); 

B — with Kozen base plates, but maximum possible exhaust orifice 
area of 0.72 in^ (464.8 mm^); 

C — with slats instead of base plates, giving the greatest possible 
exhaust orifice area (1.72 in^, or lllOmm^). 

In A and B rockets the diameter of the ignition channel depended on that 
of the tail screw and could not exceed 0^6", while in C rockets it could be 
varied as desired. In the first two types of rockets, therefore, only the 
depth of the ignition channel was varied, while in the third type the 
diameter also varied. 

Here is Konstantinov's description of the order and sequence of his 
proposed experiments: 

"In order to compare as far as possible all aspects, all A, B, and C 
rockets should have tails of identical dimensions, and the same weight 
of explosives. Rockets with base plates should have as standard 3.5" 
of blank propellant, a substantial length because in these rockets the 
blank propellant serves to close off the blind end. In rockets with slats, 
whose blind end is closed by a soldered iron ring, 1" of blank propellant 


suffices. In the tests all these rockets should be target- launched from 
a new launcher at an angle of 20°. 

"The first series of experiments should be conducted with A, B, and C 
rockets, varying the depth of the ignition channel while keeping its 
diameter constant at 0.6", beginning with A rockets and with a channel 
depth of 1 caliber. For each channel depth at least 3 rockets should be 
launched, and the depth should be increased no more than 0.25 caliber 
each time. 

"These experiments will finally reach the extreme limit of channel 
depth, which we shall call X, and which must be less than 4.5 calibers 
(the present channel length). 

"Continuing similarly with B rockets, but beginning with depth X, 
some limiting depth y will be obtained. 

"Continuing similarly with C rockets, beginning with depth y, we shall 
obtain a limiting depth Z, whose value, to judge from experiments already 
performed, will be less than 10". 

"The second series of experiments will have as its object tests with C 
rockets at different diameters of the ignition channel, which, to limit the 
numiber of experiments, may be taken at 0.9" and 1.2". With the 0.9" 
diameter channel tests should be begun with depth Z. This will give a 
limiting value Z', which will serve as a starting point for tests of rockets 
with a 1.2" diameter channel, for which in turn Z" will be obtained. 

"The accompanying table shows the tests as finally worked out, for five 
different types of rockets. 

Type of rocket 

Area of exhaust orifices, in^ 
Diameter of ignition channel, in . 
Depth of ignition channel . 





















"it remains to compare these five types of rockets with rockets of 
General Kozen's design. Among these five types there will be appreciable 
differences, e. g., total ranges will decrease from A to C roctets, while 
initial velocities, and consequently flatness of trajectory for low angles 
of elevation and trueness of flight will increase from A to C" rockets, while 
high angle fire with heavy projectiles will improve from C" to A rockets, etc., 
although only experiment will show us to what extent these transitions will 

"The choice of a rocket from among the five types mentioned will in 
part depend on tactical considerations, though it is readily apparent that 
several of them will be needed to respond to the requirements of the various 
conditions that arise. 

"Finally, study of the use of various types of projectiles, ranging from 
solid light explosive warheads to heavy missiles for high angle fire, will 
be undertaken. "^^ 

It has so far proved impossible to obtain information as to exactly when 
these experiments were performed, and with what results, but 
Konstantinov's repeated references to the resulting data^^ testify to their 
having taken place. 


The results of comparative tests on the throwing of 9-lb and 18-lb 
explosives by rockets of various ignition channel lengths are of special 
interest (Table 14). 87 

TABLE 14. Results of experiments on the firing of explosives by rockets 

Range in sagenes (yard 

s given in pa 


Depth of channel, 


with 9 lb 

with 18 lb 


of ex 

































Note : The table shows the average ranges of three launchings. 
rockets were launched at an angle of 45". 


The experiments showed that with an ignition channel of constant 
diameter, the gas pressure in the rocket, and therefore the magnitude 
of the reactive force, rose continuously as the depth of the channel was 
increased. When the depth was held constant, on the other hand, and the 
diameter increased, the gas pressure fell. This was explained by the fact 
that although the surface of combustion, and therefore the quantity of 
gases formed, increased with an increase in diameter, the volume of 
the channel increased as the square of the diameter. The space filled by 
the gas thus grew more rapidly than the amount of gas itself. 

The studies of the extent to which the gas pressure and propulsive 
force of the rocket depend on the size of the gas exhaust orifices were 
also of great interest. The experiments showed that both the pressure 
and the propulsive force were increased, though to a different degree, 
by a decrease in the size of the exhaust orifice. Konstantinov noted that 
"the experiments have definitely established that the smaller the gas 
exhaust relative to the cross section of the rocket, the greater is the 
force of the gases against the casing; as far as the propulsive force of 
the rocket is concerned, it also increases as the exhaust orifices are made 
smaller, but to what extent has not yet been thoroughly investigated 
experimentally. " ^^ 

In discussing this period, it is well to recall, however briefly, the 
contemporary views of the nature of reactive force. ^^ In the 18th century 
and at the beginning of the 19th there were two points of view, each of 
which had its adherents and detractors. 

Some scientists, including Bernoulli, Buffon, and Piober, accepted 
the so-called impact view, which held that reactive force arose from the 
separation of particles of matter. Its adherents believed that the 
interaction of the parent body and the particles detached from it occurred 
only at the moment of separation. 

Others, such as Wolff, Euler, and Lagrange, regarded reactive force 
as a consequence of continuous full pressure on the inner walls of an 
envelope . 


It.should also be remarked that for a long time the opinion that a rocket 
moved by pushing away the surrounding air was widespread, though its 
erroneousness was demonstrated by the familiar experiment with a Segner 
wheel, which also rotated in a vacuum. 

Konstantinov took the second view of the nature of the propulsive force 
of rockets, regarding the pressure of the gunpowder gases on the walls of 
the connbustion chamber as the source of the reactive force. In his paper, 
"Military Rockets" (O boevykh raketakh), completed in 1856, * he wrote: 
"The gases which diffuse within the rocket create pressure in all 
directions, with the pressures on the sides of the rocket balancing each 
other. The pressure against that part of the blank propellant, however, 
which is directly opposite the exhaust, is not compensated and creates a 
force which sets the rocket in forward longitudinal motion. " ^' 

While regarding the reactive force as a consequence of the internal gas 
pressure developed by the combustion around the ignition channel, however, 
Konstantinov also took into account the emission of gas particles. Noting, 
as mentioned above, that the variation of the reactive force is not 
proportional to the gas pressure, and analyzing the reasons for this, 
Konstantinov concluded that the reactive force depended both on the pressure 
of the gases and their exhaust velocity. With regard to the influence of the 
dimensions of the exhaust orifice on the propulsive force of the rocket, he 
wrote: "In two rockets distinguished only by the size of their exhaust 
orifice, the consumption of propellant per unit of time will be the same, 
and since the previously formed gases must flow out of the rocket as new 
ones are formed, the gases must leave the rocket with the smaller exhaust 
orifice faster than they do the other. The momentum per unit of time of the 
outflowing gases, and hence that imparted to the rocket, is thus greater in 
the rocket with the smaller exhaust orifice. " ^^ 

This passage is of interest not only for what it has to say about the 
influence of the exhaust velocity on the magnitude of the reactive force, 
but also because it equates the momentum of the outflowing gases with 
that imparted to the rocket. This fundamental assertion of rocket dynamics 
was clearly recognized and formulated by Konstantinov, who wrote in the 
paper cited above: "At every moment of the combustion of the propellant 
the momentum imparted to the rocket is equal to that of the outflowing 
gases. "®^ 

Although he cited several important fundamental propositions of rocket 
dynamics, Konstantinov failed to give them nnathematical form and did not, 
for the reasons given above (p. 61), even attempt analytical determination 
of the magnitude of the propulsive force. His conclusions are nonetheless 
of great interest and show how close he came to solving the problem of 
determining the thrust of solid propellant rocket engines. 

The results of the experimental research carried on at PRZ during the 
1850's show that by then the fundamental relationships governing the 
characteristics of military rockets were known in Russia. Although the 
imperfect character of the experimental basis and the lack of precise 
measuring apparatus made it impossible to find numerical relationships 
and work out optimum characteristics for military rockets, the 
qualitative relations of the influence of such factors as the chemical 
composition of the rocket mixture, the fill density, the diameter and 
depth of the ignition channel, and the number and size of the exhaust 
orifices were determined with some precision. 



By the beginning of the 1850's there existed a certain essentially 
standardized technique for the manufacture of military rockets, which 
was laid out in Colonel Kostyrko's manual, and comprised the following 
production stages: 

1. Preparation of the propellant (rocket mixture). 

2. Manufacture of the casings, base plates, and other metal parts 
required for military rockets. 

3. Filling the rockets with propellant. 

4. Drilling a cylindrical channel (the ignition channel) in the propellant. 

5. Equipment of military rockets with projectiles. 

6. Fitting the rockets with stabilizers (tails). 

From a technological point of view, however, production was still at an 
extremely low level. Many operations were still performed manually, and 
in a number of cases even elementary safety engineering was not achieved. 
Every sort of mechanical motor was lacking at PRZ, and the entire 
mechanical plant comprised only shears for cutting sheet iron, presses 
to fill the casings, and a drill for the ignition channels. Even this scanty 
equipment was outmoded, having been installed in the first years of the 
Institute's existence, and was no longer equal to the demands made upon it. 

The substantial increase in the production of military rockets there- 
fore confronted PRZ with entirely new manufacturing problems. Semi- 
manual production in which hand labor of low productivity predominated 
had to be abandoned in favor of machine production, which would permit 
almost total mechanization of the laborious basic processes. Only in this 
way could a substantial increase in efficiency, uniformity of the finished 
products, and a considerable rise in production be achieved without a 
reduction of quality, which in hand labor depended almost entirely on the 
experience and craftsmanship of each individual worker. 

These improvements were in fact required if the quality of rocket 
armament was to be raised. In order to make full use of the experimental 
data gathered at PRZ and from numerous field observations, a means for 
manufacturing rockets in no wise differing from one another was necessary. 

Konstantinov attributed the greatest importance to the attainment of 
uniformity in military rocket production, regarding it as an unfailing 
condition for the improvement of rocket armament. In one of his papers 
on military rockets he wrote: "One of the chief conditions for the sound 
functioning of rockets is that they should in all respects be as far as 
possible identical. To this end the following points should be observed in 
filling the rocket with propellant: 

"a) the proportion of the propellant components should not be disturbed 
during filling; 

"b) in a given rocket the density of the propellant should everywhere 
be as far as possible the same; 

"c) in all rockets of the same kind the density of the propellant should 
be as far as possible identical. " '* 

Subsequently he returned to this subject, emphasizing that "the secret 
of military rocket production lies first in the possession of a manufacturing 
plant which produces perfectly uniform results, not only in the dimensions 


of the various parts of the rockets, but also in the physical and chemical 
properties of the materials from which they are made. "* 

Finally PRZ had to face another problem, which although seemingly 
simpler, was still important, the more so since the actual mass production 
of rockets could not be considered before it was solved. Rocket production 
had to be made safe in order to reduce the likelihood of accidents, which 
were comparatively frequent before the middle of the 19th century. 

In an effort to solve these problems Konstantinov drew up a number of 
measures designed to improve the quality of military rockets and make 
their production safer: 

a) preparation of the rocket propellant directly from its constituent 
parts (sulfur, nitrates, and carbon) in the Rocket Institute itself; 

b) mechanization of the manufacture of rocket casings and base plates; 

c) abolition of riveted joints in favor of seamless and soldered casings; 

d) improvement of the procedure for filling the casings, and 
substitution of a dry for a moist rocket propellant. 

We shall consider these proposals separately. 

Preparation of the rocket propellant directly from its 
constituent parts. The system adopted by the Petersburg Rocket 
Institute and described by Colonel Kostyrko in 1847 employed a rocket 
propellant of gunpowder, manufactured at the Okhtensk Gunpowder Works 
and modified at PRZ by an admixture of 1.2 oz carbon per pound. ^^ 

Spherical copper pellets placed in barrels set up horizontally were used 
to mix the components. The barrels were made to rotate by men protected 
from them by only a light fence. 

This method of preparing the propellant was highly unsatisfactory and 
suffered from a number of deficiencies. The method of pulverizing the 
powder by the falling pellets was extremely dangerous to the men in charge 
of the barrels, since the impact of a pellet could easily cause an explosion. 

In an effort to reduce the danger of preparing the rocket mixture as much 
as possible, Konstantinov at first proposed situating the mien within an area 
separated from the barrels by an earth wall. Revolution counters were 
installed on the barrels in order to assure the most uniform rotation 
possible by regulation of the speed. This in turn made possible a more 
uniform mixture. 

These measures did not rule out the danger of accidents, however, as 
was shown by the explosion of 1854, which entirely destroyed the shed 
where the barrels were located (thanks to Konstantinov' s precautions those 
in charge of the barrels escaped injury). ^ 

Furthermore, the rocket mixture obtained by the addition of carbon to 
gunpowder was of low quality. Konstantinov remarked that this propellant 
"is inferior, as far as uniformity of mixing is concerned, to that prepared 
directly from sulfur, nitrates, and carbon in the exact proportion required 
for rocket propellant. "^ 

Seeking to overcome these deficiencies and obtain a unifornri rocket 
propellant of dependable quality, Konstantinov proposed preparing it 
directly from its components within the Rocket Institute. He suggested 
using two types of barrels: copper ones to pulverise the ingredients, and 
oaken ones with a thick inner lining of leather to mix them. 

Another of his proposals was to set the barrels up with their longitudinal 
axis at an angle to the axis of rotation. The mixture was then ground not by 
the impact of the falling pellets, but by their displacement from one end to 


the other. This reduced the danger of explosions and substantially speeded 
up the entire operation. For example, when the older type of barrels was 
used to mix 72 lb of gunpowder and 8 lb of carbon, ten hours, during which 
the barrels made 4200 revolutions at a speed of 7 rpm, were required; 
with the new barrels, only 2100 revolutions sufficed, which at the same 
speed took only five hours. ^^ 

Konstantinov's proposal to prepare the rocket propellant directly from 
its component parts, however, was never realized. Until the day of its 
closing PRZ continued to produce rocket propellant by adding carbon to 
prepared gunpowder. 

Mechanization of the manufacture of rocket casings 
and base plates. Originally (in the 1820's) the metallic parts of 
rockets were ordered from private plants and reached the Rocket Institute, 
where only their assembly took place, in finished form. Later the casings 
were produced within the Rocket Institute, which at the period in question 
(mid- 19th century) could almost entirely meet its own needs in this area. 

The manufacture of rocket casings consisted of the following operations: 
cutting the sheat iron, punching holes for rivets, rolling the cut 
rectangular sheets on a steel roller, joining them manually by cold 
riveting, and attaching base plates and tailpipes to the casings. 

This process, however, was the least mechanized, since almost all 
the operations were performed manually and the only mechanical 
equipment employed was the shears used to cut the sheet iron. The 
resulting casings were of low quality. 

The production of base plates and tailpipes presented considerable 
difficulties. Because of its poor equipmient, which did not even include 
a steam hammer and other necessary machines, PRZ could not manufacture 
these metal parts itself and had to order them from private plants. This 
greatly complicated the situation, since it made PRZ dependent on its 
suppliers, while creating further technological problems. When the ready- 
made base plates were attached to the casings there were frequent cases 
of misalignment which resulted in asymmetric grouping of the orifices 
about the central axis. 

Konstantinov tackled these difficulties with a proposal to make orifices 
of smaller diameter which could be expanded to the required dimensions 
after attachment of the base plate to the rocket. Later he concluded that 
it would be best to leave the drilling of the orifices altogether until after 
attaching the base plate to the casing. 

A change in the external form of the base plates played an important 
role in the simplification of their manufacture. Until the 1860's base plates 
were convex with flared exhaust orifices. This design was dictated by a 
wish to protect the wooden tail from the hot flow of exhaust gases, but it 
greatly complicated the manufacture of the base plates. In 1860, therefore, 
it was decided to replace the base plates with flared orifices by flat plates 
"preferable for flight accuracy, ease of manufacture to the required 
tolerances, simplicity of installation, and cheapness. "^°° 

In an effort to raise efficiency and increase quality, Konstantinov 
devoted a great deal of attention to the improvement of casing manufacturing 
processes. He introduced machines to punch holes for rivets, improved 
shears to cut sheet metal, and a machine to manufacture the rivets. 


He also attempted to mechanize such operations as rolling the rocket 
casings and riveting the joint, but was prevented from doing so 
by inadequate means. PRZ continued to perform most of these operations 
manually until the day it closed. Furthermore, the lack of a mechanical 
motor meant that manpower was also required to drive the above-mentioned 

Abolition of riveted joints in favor of seamless and 
soldered casings. At PRZ rocket casings were manufactured by 
rolling rectangular iron sheets on a steel roller and cold-riveting thern 
manually. The thickness of the riveted seam was then double that of the 
casing walls, which led to a displacement of the casing's center of 
gravity. This was aggravated by the weight of the rivets themselves. 

This effect was slight in rockets with lateral tails, since the displacement 
of the center of gravity was partially compensated by the weight of the rocket 
tail attached to the side opposite the riveted seam. In rockets with a central 
tail, however, the ballistic qualities of the rocket were seriously affected. 
Furthermore, the protruding heads of the rivets complicated the filling of 
the casings and created the danger of an explosion. Finally, the hand 
manufacture of casings was laborious, inefficient, and costly. 

Realizing this, Konstantinov sought to change the process and mechanize 
this operation, too. He wrote, "The manufacture of casings for military 
rockets from sheet iron by hand requires a great deal of time and is costly. 
It would be desirable for the industry to find means of simplifying it and 
producing iron pipe mechanically, with no visible joint and walls of uniform 
thickness on their entire circumference. " ^"^ 

As early as 1848 Konstantinov had proposed the adoption, in place of 
riveted rocket casings, of seamless casings manufactured in the 
Sestvoretsk plant by the method of Talbot and Brown. ^°^ 

He repeated this proposal in 1850, as part of his scheme to prevent 
accidents at PRZ, '"^ but at that time industrial production of seamless 
casings in Russia proved impossible, and Konstantinov had to be content 
with some minor changes in the production of riveted casings. These 
consisted of strengthening the rivet heads to some extent and introducing 
flush rivets for which a conical opening for the rivet heads was drilled 
in the inner surface of the casing. ^°* 

Subsequently (in the mid-fifties) Konstantinov made another effort to 
obtain a casing with walls of equal thickness around its entire 
circumference. In 1855 — 1856 PRZ performed a number of experiments 
of rockets with soldered casings. These experiments, which ran 
concurrently with tests of the conventional rockets produced by PRZ, 
showed the rockets with a smooth surface to be greatly superior in firing 
precision. ^"^ 

In this instance also, however, the manufacturing process could not be 
altered. The Petersburg Rocket Institute went on producing riveted 
casings until it ceased operation. 

Improvement of the procedure for filling the casings, 
and substitution of a dry for a moist rocket propellant. 
The filling of the rocket casings with propellant was one of the most 
complicated, dangerous, and laborious processes. The practice adopted 
at PRZ to facilitate this process and assure the formation of a solid dense 
mass (which would in turn provide even combustion) was to moisten the 


propellant with wine or alcohol before filling. The procedure drawn up 
by Kostyrko in 1847 advocated a ratio of 0.61 to 0.91 oz dark wine per 
pound of gunpowder (depending on the caliber of the rocket). ^"^ Konstantinov 
adopted an alternative of moistening with 4 % to 7 % water or alcohol. ^"^ 

The practice of moistening the propellant arose from the lack of 
sufficiently heavy presses. According to Konstantinov, the pressure 
needed to fill rockets with dry propellant was at least 54,000 Ib/in^ 
(3808. 5 kg/cm^), ^°^ while the existing presses of PRZ could produce 
a maximum of only 2880 Ib/in^ (203. 12 kg/cm^). "^ Furthermore, the 
practice of filling the casings with moist rocket propellant greatly reduced 
the danger of an explosion. 

However, despite these advantages, the moistening of the propellant 
reduced the quality of the rockets. After termination of the filling 
process the propellant did not dry uniformly, with a resulting change, 
especially after protracted storage, in its structure. This had a 
considerable effect on the flight of the rockets. Moreover, the moisture 
in the rocket propellant had a harmful effect on the metallic parts of the 
rocket, which it tended to corrode. 

As early as the end of the 1840's Konstantinov voiced the idea of 
substituting a dry propellant for the moist one, since he felt that dry 
propellant rockets would be superior in several respects. This was 
convincingly demonstrated by comparative tests performed at Tiflis in 
1851. 11° In March 1852 a special disposition (No. 965)"1 introduced the 
use of dry propellant to fill rockets at PRZ, but the dry propellant rockets 
were soon found to be unreliable (there being several instances of premature 
bursting), and in December of the same year the disposition was revoked. ^^ 

The chief reason why PRZ could not fill its rockets with dry propellant 
in the 1850's was its lack of sufficiently heavy presses. As noted above, 
the pressure developed by the Institute's presses, which had been installed 
in the 1830's, was much lower than that required for filling, and 
Konstantinov was therefore temporarily forced to relinquish his progressive 
ideas. Subsequently he designed a hydraulic press (Figure 16) which could 
provide much greater fill pressure, to a maximum of 40 tons. The design 
was based on extensive research and preliminary study of the various types 
of presses in use in Austria, France, and Russia. His design, as a result, 
incorporated the desirable qualities of three different types. In 1860 three 
of the presses were manufactured at the Farcot plant in France and were 
highly rated by experts (in particular, the Spanish government, when 
ordering equipment for its newly founded rocket institute in Granada, 
specifically mentioned the desirability of manufacturing Konstantinov 

The presses built to Konstantinov' s designs were delivered to Russia in 
1861, but could only be used at the beginning of the 1870's in the newly 
founded Nikolaev Rocket Institute. 

In examining Konstantinov's projects for the improvement of Russian 
rocket production, one is struck by the disproportion between his many 
proposals and those of them which were realized. Konstantinov was one 
of the greatest of rocket engineers, was thoroughly familiar with the 
history of rocketry, and attentively followed the latest developments in 
the field seeking to utilize every positive feature of rocket engineering 
anywhere in the world. He did not stop at the study and mastery of foreign 


experience, but made and developed a number of proposals which found 
approval and became standard features of rocket engineering. He 
developed an original design for a rocket ballistic pendulum, designed 
and subsequently built from his sketches hydraulic presses to fill rocket 
casings, proposed a number of improvements in rocket production 
techniques, and introduced improvements in the design of Russian 
military rockets. 

-PK-SE f^'^''" lSeO-1861 

STSfFME DU '.EN-PAL Kv.'i -WANT •'■.■' P? 

FIGUtJE 16. Hydraulic press designed by K.I. Konstantinov. 


The production methods he advocated were as a rule the most 
progressive, and took into account both Russian and foreign experience 
in rocket engineering. Never stopping at what had already been done, 
never satisfied with such results as had already been obtained, 
Konstantinov ceaselessly sought new, more perfect solutions. 

In seeking to realize his intended measures, however, Konstantinov 
was impeded by great obstacles, for the most part of a material 
character. In spite of the steadily increasing demand for military 
rockets from army commanders, the central war administration, as 
before, underestimated their value and did little to further their 

All of Konstantinov' s overtures for installation in the Rocket Institute 
of a mechanical motor, construction of new, more perfect presses, 
broadening of the Institute and introduction of necessary improvements 
in rocket production techniques, in a word, all his proposals aimed at 
expansion of military rocket production, were continually pushed aside, 
or their realization was postponed. 

This considerably slowed the reorganization of PRZ. To realize his 
projects Konstantinov had to work with the comparatively small budget 
of 4000 silver rubles annually, allocated to PRZ by the Staff Regulation 
of 1850. This amount was also intended to cover maintenance of the 
Institute and performance of various experiments. 

As Konstantinov noted in one of his articles, "after 1846 all of the 
Institute's means were absorbed by the preparation of urgent orders 
needed for war, and only with difficulty, utilizing the time left when orders 
were filled ahead of time, was it possible to do some research towards 
establishment of a general theory of rocket design and improvement of 
rocket construction. " ^^^ 

The reorganization of PRZ had been largely completed by the end of the 
1850's, and such possibilities for improving the qualities of military 
rockets as existed within the Institute had been almost entirely exploited. 

"During my 10-year administration, " said Konstantinov, addressing 
the officers of the Mikhailovskii Artillery College, "all of the Institute's 
machines, excluding the presses, were set up on special principles 
devised by me, which constituted a compromise between manual and 
automatic mechanical operation. This was necessitated by the lack of a 
mechanical motor, as well as by the generally limited resources. "^^^ 

Yet, in spite of all the improvements introduced during the preceding 
decade, the level of PRZ's engineering equipment remained low. 
Konstantinov' s major problem — elimination of manual labor and its 
replacement by machine production — could not be solved at the Rocket 
Institute, where many operations were still performed by hand. As 
before, there was no mechanical motor and what machines there were had 
to be driven by sheer muscular strength, which required the efforts of 
most of the personnel. The rockets were still filled by mechanical 
presses of obsolete design, which were insufficiently powerful to fill at 
the required pressures. The lack of a steam hammer and tools for 
accurate metal work meant that base plates with tailpipes were still 
ordered from private machine shops. This continued to be a source of 
nonuniformity in rocket production. 


Further improvemeni: of the quality of military rockets was impossible 
without radical changes in manufacturing techniques. A transition from 
semi-manual production, which consisted primarily of hand labor, to 
machine production, in which all major processes would be mechanized, 
was necessary. 

Konstantinov went even further with the idea that the principal 
operations of rocket manufacture should be not merely mechanized, 
but automated. He wrote, "In pyrotechnics, if the manufacturing 
methods are to produce identical results, it is necessary not only to 
have proper machine production, but for this to be largely automatic, 
so that the machines will, as much as possible, replace not only the 
strength and craftsmanship of the workmen, but also their attention, 
since a slip in this area can lead to delay and failure. " ''^ The question 
therefore arose of building a new Rocket Institute, to be equipped with 
all the machinery needed for the manufacture of high quality rockets, 
"incorporating all means for rocket production with all possible 
improvements. "^*^ 


The question of founding a new rocket institute in south Russia arose 
in the middle 1850's, when the Artillery Department, in connection with 
the elaboration of plans for the development of rocket armament in Russia, 
urged presentation of the measures to be taken for this end. 

It was originally decided to build the new institute near Kiev, on the 
left bank of the Dnieper. *" The mild climate and ready availability of 
cheap water power spoke in favor of this proposal. 

One of the real deficiencies of the Petersburg Rocket Institute was 
its great dependence on climatic conditions, which extended to enforced 
cessation of operation for a prolonged period during the winter. It was 
therefore natural to want to transfer the Institute to the south where the 
warmer climate would make it possible to manufacture and test rockets 
the year round. 

The choice of a power source for the machinery was of great importance. 
Monetary considerations were also important. The budget drawn up in 1856 
set the total cost of construction at 616,000 rubles,'-*^ while a sum of 
108,000 rubles was required to build and operate the steam engines. 
Originally, therefore, it was decided for the sake of economy to abandon 
the idea of steam engines in favor of using a river as power source, but 
subsequently steam engines were chosen nonetheless. 

As early as 1856 Konstantinov had worked out a plan for the new rocket 
institute, ^^^ but he considered it essential, before building was begun, to 
familiarize himself with the latest advances in rocket production in 
France and other European countries which were devoting great attention 
to the perfecting of rocket armament. With this object, he was sent 
abroad in 1857, and remained away about two years. During this time he 
collected a great deal of material on rocket production in France and, 
to some extent, in Prussia, refined his plan for the new rocket institute 
on the basis of his knowledge of the foreign rocket institutes, and drafted 


a contract with the Farcot works, near Paris, from which it was decided 
to order the equipment required for the new institute. *^° During 
1859 — 1861 Konstantinov made several more visits to France to order 
machinery and observe its manufacture. Throughout this period a more 
suitable location for the new rocket institute was being sought. The 
environs of Chuguev, Baturin, Voznesensk, Nikolaev, and other cities 
of southern Russia were being considered. ^^^ The choice finally made 
was Nikolaev, as the area most suitable, in the opinion of the Artillery 
Department, for construction of a rocket institute and testing ground. 

The machines for the new institute, built in Paris from Konstantinov 's 
designs, were delivered to Nikolaev in November 1861. ^^^ Their assembly 
could have been proceeded with had not new doubts then arisen in the War 
Department as to the need for continuing development of rocket 
armament. *^ The desirability of building a new rocket institute again 
became a subject of discussion for commissions and conferences. Only 
a year later, in November 1862, was it finally decided to proceed with 
construction of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute "with the provision to pay 
the amount required for this purpose over a 4-year period. "^^' 

While the decision to build a new rocket institute in southern Russia 
was being made, the fate of PRZ for a long time remained uncertain. 
It had to supply the Army and Navy with rockets until construction of 
the Nikolaev Rocket Institute was finished, but there were divergent views 
as to what should be done with it thereafter. 

Some, including Konstantinov, thought that PRZ should continue to 
function even after completion of the Nikolaev plant, as a source of supply 
in Petersburg itself for the rockets needed for the tests performed in the 
capital. Others felt it unnecessary to maintain two centers of rocket 
production, and thought it would be best to shut down PRZ. 

The pace of development of military engineering, however, interfered 
with these plans and led to the closing of PRZ even before construction 
of the Nikolaev plant had been completed. The rapid improvement of 
artillery pieces resulted in a sharp decline of interest in military rockets. 
Beginning with the 1860's, most European countries ceased to employ 
rocket armament, and it was dismissed in many military regions of Russia. 

The result of this was that, in spite of the decision to build the Nikolaev 
Rocket Institute, the withdrawal of military rockets in Russia actually 
made the situation worse, not better. Although suitable conditions for 
rocket production did not yet exist in the south, and the plant buildings had 
not even been erected, PRZ was dissolved in the summer of 1864, and its 
machines and equipment were sent to Nikolaev. ^^^ 

The only actually existing center for production of military rockets in 
Russia had been eliminated. Meanwhile construction of the Nikolaev 
plant dragged on. Althoughitwas originally scheduled for completion by the 
autumn of 1867, the date was repeatedly put off, and as a result production 
of military rockets in Russia was at a total standstill from 1864 to 1870. 

It was revived only with the opening of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute 
at the beginning of the 1870's. The first 90 rockets, which were designated 
for experimental purposes, were produced in July 1871. The number of 
rockets produced in August was 190 (of which 90 were intended for 
experiments, and 100 for military purposes), while the September production 




No. 2 


No. 3 


rose to 580 (including 500 for military use). ^^^ A total of 1500 two- inch 
military rockets, which were sent to Omsk, Orenburg, Krasnovodsk and 
Tashkent, were produced in 1871. In 1872 military rockets from Nikolaev 
were displayed at the Moscow Polytechnic Exhibition, and by 1873 all the 
detachments sent to Khiva were equipped with rockets made at Nikolaev.'^ 

After the revival of military rocket production the directors of the 
Nikolaev Rocket Institute had to consider what form rocket armament 
should take in the near future. Konstantinov urged continuation of the 2" 
rockets, suggesting only a few superficial changes: 

1. Substitution of a sulfur compound for the clayey blank incombustible 

2. Replacement of the pointed projectiles and grooved tails by 
cylindrical explosive charges with hemispherical heads and cylindrical 
tails with conical tips, respectively. 

3. Substitution for the moist propellant consisting of gunpowder pulp 
with added carbon, of a dry propellant prepared directly from its 
component parts. '^^ 

New experiments were also performed to determine the best composition 
for the rocket mixture. Previous experiments had led to the adoption of 
three different mixtures: 

Nitrates Sulfur Carbon 

Parts by weight 

10 25 

14 18 

14 16 

The experiments of June and July 1871 showed No. 1 to be too weak, 
while No. 3 was too strong (of 30 rockets launched, in five the base plate 
was blown out, while one rocket burst in leaving the stand). It was there- 
fore decided to continue the experiments only with propellant No. 2, but 
further experiments, in August and September of the same year, showed 
that in a number of cases No. 2 was also too strong and that it had to be 
modified by the addition of two parts of carbon. The formula finally adopted, 
therefore (propellant No. 4), had 72 parts of nitrate, 14 of sulfur, and 20 of 
carbon. ^^^ 

The greatest difference in the rockets produced by the Nikolaev Rocket 
Institute arose from its superior manufacturing techniques. It possessed 
the necessary lathes and equipment to cut the sheets, plane their edges, 
punch holes for rivets, roll casings, manufacture rivets, drill gas 
exhaust orifices, drill and thread the central orifice, and perform other 
operations.'^" Furthermore, almost all the improvements proposed by 
Konstantinov in the fifties and sixties were envisaged, i.e., hydraulic 
presses to fill the casings with rocket propellant, a steam hammer to 
stamp base plates, and a number of other machines actuated by a 
mechanical motor. 

The comparatively high level of mechanization of the plant should have 
made possible a great increase in production. Konstantinov thought the 
Nikolaev Rocket Institute would produce 6000 rockets annually, with the 
possibility of increasing the output to 18,000 per year. '^"^ In practice. 


however, great difficulties were encountered. For a long time the 
steam engine was lacking, and as a result the machines had, as before, to 
be driven manually. Furthermore, the hydraulic presses, which had been 
built as early as 1861, were found to be inefficient and to have a variety of 
defects, generally falling short of the demands made upon them. ^^^ 

In the first few years, therefore, the rockets had to be built much as 
they had been at PRZ, and the maximum annual production did not exceed 
4000. The steam engine was installed only in 1876, when it was also 
decided to replace the hydraulic presses by new ones. 

By this time, however, the existence of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute 
had again been brought into question, again as a result of the general 
reduction of interest in military rockets. In 1875, the War Council, after 
asserting that military rockets were required only in extremely limited 
quantities, and then only in Asiatic military regions, and emphasizing that the 
demand for them was falling every year with the constantly rising level of 
artillery engineering, proposed that the Chief Artillery Administration consider 
whether it was even worthwhile to maintain a special rocket institute which might 
be better employed for the production of various types of artillery pieces. ^^^ 

During the several months that the matter was being considered, 
proposals were heard to turn the Nikolaev Rocket Institute into a gunpowder 
or cartridge factory, to make it over into an arsenal and arm.orers' work- 
shops, or even to rent it out or sell it to private parties. ^^^ 

It is hard to say how the fate of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute would have 
been resolved, had it not undertaken in those years, together with the 
production of military rockets, that of rescue rockets, flares, and other 
types, which soon became its principal products. 

Production of rescue rockets and flares at Nikolaev was discussed 
immediately after the plant opened. In 1873, at the request of the 
Admiralty, the Institute began experiments on the use of rockets to throw 
rescue lines, '^* and in 1874 the Chief Artillery Administration expressed 
itself in favor of conducting experiments on the use of rockets to 
illuminate a locality during sieges or attacks on fortresses. '^^ 

By 1876 the experiments had been successfully completed, and the 
Nikolaev Plant (as it was then often termed) began the manufacture of 
rescue rockets and flares for the Army and Navy. At the same time, on 
the initiative of Major-General Nechaev, Head of the Nikolaev Rocket 
Institute, experiments with fougasse rockets armed with such powerful 
explosives as pyroxylin were begun. Later Nechaev remarked that "in 
the Rocket Plant the idea of applying rockets to throw powerful explosives 
had existed for more than 20 years, but because of the imperfect nature 
of these substances it was not thought opportune to attempt it. "^^'' As the 
explosives were improved, however, the proposal acquired more reality . 
In 1876, after experiments performed by Navy mining officers had convinced 
him of the power of gun-cotton, Nechaev advocated the manufacture of 
pyroxylin rockets, which he held could be used for the successful 
bombardment, not only of buildings, artillery batteries, and troop 
battalions, but even of enemy iron-clads. 

Beginning in 1877, the Nikolaev Rocket Plant began to produce three 
types of 3" pyroxylin rockets: 

a) carrying a 15-lb warhead; range of 400 sagenes [933 yards] at a 
launching angle of 45°; 


b) carrying a 10-lb warhead; range of 600 sagenes [1400 yards] 
(same angle); 

c) carrying an 8-lb warhead; range of 700 sagenes [1633 yards] 
(same angle). ^^^ 

The rockets were sent off to the Army in the Field, where, though 
admittedly in insignificant quantities and more as a kind of experiment, 
they were used against the enemy. In 1877 a total of 386 pyroxylin rockets 
were sent to the Army in the Field. ^^^ Some of these were used at the 
battles of Plevna, Rushchuk, and Sulin, though with no particular 
success. "° 

The first experience in the use of pyroxylin rockets was nonetheless felt 
to be positive, and in 1878 the Nikolaev Rocket Plant received a new order, 
this time for 800 pyroxylin rockets. ^*' 

Altogether, in the years 1877 — 1879, the Nikolaev Rocket Plant produced 
22.930 rockets, "^ distributed as follows: 

2" military — 12,100 

3" flares — 8,600 

3" pyroxylin — 1,280 

4" incendiary — 450 

2" incendiary — 400 

3" rescue — 100 

Once the Rocket Institute began to produce rocket flares, which were 
in very great demand, the question of whether it was advisable to maintain 
a special rocket plant was dropped, and its existence was no longer in 
jeopardy. The Nikolaev Rocket Plant lasted until 1910, when rocket 
production was taken over by the Shostensk Gunpowder Plant. 


In spite of the fact that most European countries discontinued the use 
of rocket weapons in the 1860's, they were produced in Russia for a 
considerable period thereafter. 

During the seventies the Nikolaev Rocket Institute sent military rockets 
to the Caucasus and the Urals, as well as to Central Asia and Siberia. 
Rocket weapons also figured in a number of battles of the Russo-Turkishwar of 
1877 — 1878, though to a very slight extent. 

By the last quarter of the 19th century a well-established type of 2" 
military rocket had been developed (Figure 17), and the Nikolaev Rocket 
Institute tooled for its production. However, as before, the troops were 
unfamiliar with such weapons, permanent rocket detachments no longer 
existed, and the rocket corps were partly composed of men ill-informed 
as to the structure and application of military rockets. 

In 1876 the Chief Artillery Administration, observing that the 
information on military rockets given in the "Artillery Officers' Manual" ^^^ 
was inadequate, suggested that the Nikolaev Rocket Plant prepare a "Collection 
of Information on the Construction and Application of Military Rockets" 


(Sbornik svedenii ob ustroistve i upotreblenii boevykh raket).*** How- 
ever, the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War in 1877 delayed execution 
of the project until the beginning of the 1880's, when two versions of the 
manual reached the Artillery Committee almost simultaneously. The 
first was compiled by Captain Stepanov, Head of the Workshop in the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant, and the second, by Lieutenant Podruzskii of the 
East Siberian Artillery Brigade. Stepanov's work, the "Description 
of 2" Military Rockets" (Opisanie 2-kh dyxiimovykh boevykh raket), ^^^ 
comprised the following sections: 1) rocket design, with a brief 
explanation of their fabrication; 2) packing of rockets; 3) transport of 
rockets; 4) receipt and shipment of rockets; 5) storage of rockets; 
6) signs of deterioration in rockets; 7) means for the destruction of 
useless rockets; 9) rocket launching. 

FIGURE 17. Two-inch military rocket of the 1870's. 

After examining this document, the Artillery Committee in principle 
endorsed it with the observation that "Captain Stepanov's 'Opisanie 
2-dyuimovykh boevykh raket, ' written with thorough knowledge and 
experience of the subject, has been found to be correct, systematic and 
comprehensible by examination and comparison with design sketches. " ^*^ 
Podruzskii 's "Summary of Information on Military Rockets" (Svod svedenii o 
boevykh raketakh) received a much more modest evaluation. The Artillery 
Committee Journal remarked, "The information presented on rocket 
design is neither so complete nor so systematically presented as in 
Captain Stepanov's work; but among those items of information given in 
Lieutenant Podruzskii's work and lacking in that of Captain Stepanov are 
a scheme of regulations for the use of rockets and a list of historical facts 
which confirm the military value of rockets. " '^^ As a result it was 
decided to adopt Stepanov's "Description, " and, after supplementing it with 
some of the information lacking, to send it to the appropriate military 
quarters. By this time, however, it was perfectly clear that there was 
absolutely no future for military rockets using black smoky powder. They 
not only failed to compete with artillery, but were even inadequate as an 
auxiliary to it. The low energy of smoky powder severely limited the 
range attainable by reaction-powered projectiles, and as a satisfactory 
means for stabilization of military rockets had not yet been found, they 
underwent considerable deviation in flight. 

The same years saw considerable progress in the development of 
artillery, due to attainments made in metallurgy, chemistry, and 
ballistics. After the 1860's rifled breech-loading ordnance became very 
common in Russia. 

As a result, the military importance of rockets gradually declined, 
and by the beginning of the eighties it was being asked if continued 
production of military rockets was worthwhile. In November 1884 troop 


,._ _..,n 

commanders in several regions were circularized as follows: "Owing to the 
unsatisfactory performance of military rockets, which cannot be compared 
with either field or mountain ordnance of modern design, the Artillery 
Committee has seen fit to question the utility of their continued manufacture 
and use, and feels that perhaps cessation of the production and use of 
military rockets is indicated. "^'^ The commanders were invited to submit 
their opinions to the War Department. 

The commanders of the Caucasus, Turkestan, Omsk and Irkutsk 
regions, notingthe poor quality of themilitary rockets with which their troops 
were equipped, urged their discontinuation, with the reservation that a few 
already assembled rockets be kept at hand in the event of war with the 
disorganized troops of the enemy. 

The commander of the Amur region, however, while admitting the 
poor quality of the rockets and emphasizing their inferiority to artillery, 
felt that they were nonetheless of use, and wished to retain them among 
the military equipment of his troops. 

On the basis of these replies and the fact that all European countries 
had already discontinued the use of military rockets, the Artillery 
Committee decided, in January 1886, to discontinue the production of 
military rockets in Russia^*^ (see Appendix 9, pp.190— 193). 

It was proposed to place the 5650 military rockets then located in the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant at the disposition of the commander of the Amur 
troops, and to preserve the rockets included in the stores of the other 
Asiatic military regions in case they should be required in battle. ^^° 

The termination of military rocket production did not mean the end of all 
rocket production. The Nikolaev Rocket Institute continued to produce 
signal and rescue rockets and flares, and the discontinuation of military 
rockets turned out to be only one stage in the development of Russian 
rocketry. Characterized by the rise and comparatively wide dissemination, 
followed by the sudden decline of rocket weapons, and lasting more than 
60 years, this stage left its mark in the history of Russian military 

It was also of great importance in the development of Russian rocket 
theory and rocket engineering. This was the period in which the 
foundations of rocket design were laid, and the first efforts were made 
to create the new science of experinnental rocket dynamics. The same 
years saw the proposal of several ideas which would determine the course 
of rocketry research for many years, although they were not realized 
until long afterwards. 

The further development of solid propellant rockets was involved with 
the appearance of new, greatly improved forms of powder, and belongs 
to the second quarter of the 20th century. 


^ AIM Archive, Gunpowder Warehouse store, entry 24/3, file 438, sheet 12. 
2 AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 154, sheets 125— 126. 



The reason for the premature bursting of rockets was clarified only much 
later. In the 20th century it was found that smoky powder is able to 
burn in parallel layers only after being compressed at very high 
pressures. A small fissure in the charge, which could result from 
manufacturing defects or from jolting or shaking in transport, etc., 
was sufficient to interfere with normal combustion: the charge cracked 
and the gases entered the fissure, increasing the combustion surface. 
The pressure increased sharply, and this in turn accelerated the process 
of gas form.ation, which led to an explosion. L.angeniak,G.E. and 
V. P. Glushko. Rakety, ikh ustroistvo i primenenie (The Design and 
Application of Rockets), p. 44. Moskva-Leningrad, 1935. 

AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 506, sheet 66. The experiments 
are also mentioned in "Report on the Activity of the Sankt -Petersburg 
Rocket Institute" (Otchet o deistviyakh S. -Peterburgskogo raketnogo 
zavedeniya vl852 godu), 1852 . — TsGVIA, store 503, entry4, file 166, 
sheet 23. 

^ AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 506, sheet 29. 

^ Kons t ant ino V, K. op. cit., p. 8. 

' AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 154, sheet 128. 

^ Vrochenskii. Neskol'ko slov o boevykh raketakh (A Note on Military 
Rockets).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 8, section III, p. 164, 1864. 

^ Svedeniya ob upotreblenii boevykh raket pri vzyatii Ak-Mecheti (The 
Use of Military Rockets in the Capture of Ak-Mechet). Sankt -Peterburg, 

^° These battles are described in the articles: Ob upotreblenii boevykh 
raket pod Silistrieyu i pri gorode Babadage (The Use of Military 
Rockets at Silistria and the Town of Babadag).^ Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 2, section I, pp. 129 — 139, 1855; and P oli va n o v, N. Srazhenie pri 
Kyuryuk-Dara (The Battle of Kyuryuk-Dara). — Russkii Arkhiv, book 3, 
p. 287, 1904. 

*^ Kon s t ant in o v , op. cit., p. 67. 

12 Ibid., p. 66. 

1^ AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 154, sheet 148. 

1* TsGAVMF, store 162, entry 1, file 285, sheets 1 — 2. 

1^ Ibid., sheet 1 obverse. 

Journal of the Naval Study Committee, No. 109, 3 February, 1851. 
TsGAVMF, store 162, entry 1, file 285, sheets 4 — 6. ' 

" On the activities of the Naval Rocket Training Detachment see TsGAVMF, 
store 165, entry 1, file 1988. 

1^ Ibid., sheets 136, 148 obverse. 

1^ TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 1434, sheets 1—3. 

2° Ibid., file 1448, sheets 2 — 4. 

21 TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, files 1435, 1455, 1467, 1468, 1471, et al. 


22 Journal of the Naval Study Committee, No. 671, 10 July, 18b9. TsGVIA, 
store 503, entry 4, file 1114, sheet 190, 

^ Ibid., sheet 195 obverse. 

2* TsGAVMF, store 165, entry 1, file 2341, sheet 13 obverse. 

25 Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, section II, pp. 20 — 59, 1856; No. 3, 
section II, pp. 177 — 210, 1857; No. 4, section II, pp. 307 — 341, 1857; 
No.l, section II, pp. 129 — 142, 1858; No. 3, section H, pp.97 — 121, 1858; 
No. 1, section II, pp.21 — 29, 1859; No. 6, section IV, pp. 92 — 97, 1859. 

26 TsGAVMF, store 165, entry 1, file 1988, sheet 179. 

2'' Cons t ant inoff . Lectures sur les fusees de guerre. Paris, 1861. 
Published in Russian at Petersburg in 1864. 

28 AIM Archive, store 5, entry 4, file 660, sheet 18 obverse. 

2^ Ibid., sheet 19 obverse. 

^° Quoted from the Russian translation. AIM Archive, store 5, entry 4, 
file 660, sheet 18, 

^* Ibid., sheets 20 obverse-21. 

^2 Quoted from the Russian translation. — Russkii invalid, 9 May, 1862. 

'^ Quoted from the Russian translation. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, 
section in, p. 149, 1863. 

^■* Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 8, section III, pp.161— 162, 1864. 

^* Konstantinov, K. Boevye rakety v Rossii v 1867 godu (Military 

Rockets in Russia in 1867). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, p. 849, 1867. 

^6 Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, p. 855, 1867. 

^' Ibid., pp.856 — 858. 

^8 TsGAVMF, store 12, entry 1, file 285, sheet 1. 

*^ Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, p. 543, 1863. 

*" Karmannaya spravochnaya knizhka dlya artilleriiskikh ofitserov 
(Rocket Reference Book for Artillery Officers), part II, p. 289, 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1863. 

** Ibid., pp.289 — 290. 

*2 The author of the section "Military Rockets" (O boevykh raketakh) 
was N. Vrochenskii, who shared Konstantinov's views on the role of 
rocket armament. 

** Karmannaya spravochnaya knizhka. . . " p. 294. 

*** AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 109, sheet 12. 

■** Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, section I, pp. 22 — 23, 1857. 

*6 AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 4, file 715, sheet 5; see also 
Konstantinov. Boevye rakety v Rossii s kontsa 1861 goda po 
nachalo 1863 g., pp. 27 — 29. 


■" Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, section I, p. 449, 1853. 

*^ TsGAVM, store 421, entry 2, file 39, sheet 9 obverse. 

*' Ibid., sheet 1. 

50 Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, pp. 617 — 621, 1866. 

^ P.M. Parashyut-rakety i rakety s kryl'yami.— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 11. pp. 2031— 2037, 1867. 

^ TsGAVMF, store 421, entry 2, file 39, sheet 1 obverse. 

^ Here and subsequently information on foreign proposals for means of 
imparting rotation to rockets are drawn from Konstantinov's report to 
the Inspector of Gunpowder Plants, of 6 September 1855. AIM Archive, 
ShGF store, entry 12, file 252, sheets 5 — 6. 

^ Journal des armes speciales. No. 6, 1845. 

^ In 1855 Berdyugin suggested stabilizing the rocket by making it rotate 
about its longitudinal axis. The rotation was to be created by making 
the gas flow out through a spiral tube wound about the tail, and 
connected by thin tubes to the exhaust orifices in the base plate (AIM 
Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 252, sheet 4 obverse). The project 
was adversely criticized by Konstantinov, however, and put aside. 

*^ Zhurnal Morskogo Uchenogo Komiteta, No. 78. 2 6 August 1850. 
AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 37, sheet 12. 

^ AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 3 7, sheet 78 obverse. 




Ibid., sheet 79. 

Konstantinov. Sposoby dlya zameny raketnykh khvostov kryl'yami ill 
vrashchatel'nym dvizheniem (Means for Replacing Rocket Tails by Wings 
or Rotational Motion).— In: "O boeyykh raketakh, " p. 269. 

Konstantinov. Pr imenenie vrashchatel 'nogo dvizheniya k naprav- 
leniyu raket (Application of Rotational Motion to Keeping Rockets on 
Course).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, section I, pp.109 — 156, 1866. 

Konstantinov. O boevykh raketakh, pp.273 — 274. 

The papers published on the theory of rocket motion in the first quarter 
of the 19th century were first analyzed by the Leningrad science 
historian A. P. Mandryk, who presented the results of his research at 
a combined session of the aviation and physics and mathematics 
sections of the Soviet National Union of Science and Engineering 
Historians, in Moscow, in May 1961. 

^ M o o r e , W. On the Motion of Rockets both in Nonresisting and 

Resisting Mediums. — Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and 
the Arts, Vol. XX VII, pp.276 — 285, November 1810; Vol. XXVHI, 
pp.161— 169, March 1811; Vol. XXDC, pp.241— 254, August 1811; 
Vol. XXX, pp. 93— 94, March 1812. 

^ Montgery. Traite des fusees de guerre, nommees autrefois 
rochettes et maintenant a la Congreve. Paris, 1825. 



^* The research of Moore and Montgery is given more detailed attention 
in the article of Man d r y k , A. P. Issledovaniya pervoi chetverti 
XDC veka po teorii dvizheniya raket (Research on the Theory of Rocket 
Motion during the First Quarter Of the 1 9th Century) (prepared for 
publication in the papers of the Institute of the History of Natural 
Science and Engineering of the AN SSSR). 

^^ Konstantinov . O boevykh raketakh, pp.65 — 66. Sankt-Peterburg, 

^ Ibid., p. 93. 

^^ Kons t ant inov . Boevye rakety (Military Rockets). — In the book: 
"Artilleriya. Prodolzhenie kursa, nachatogo general -leitenantom 
Vesselem" part II, p. 259. Sankt-Peterburg, 1857. 

® For a description of the Moraine dynamometer and analysis of its 
operation see Kons t ant inov . O boevykh raketakh, pp. 180 — 181. 

^ For details of the design of Konstantinov's first rocket pendulum, 
see: Zhurnal Artilleriiskogo Otdeleniya Voenno-uchenogo Komiteta, 
No. 47, 28 Feb. 1848. AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 113, 
sheets 86 obverse — 88 obverse. 

''' Ibid., sheets 91 obverse — 92. 

'2 Ibid., sheet 92. 

" AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 113, sheet 290. 

">* AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 506, sheet 15. 

''^ On this see TsGAVMF, store 165, entry 1, file 1988, sheet 160 obverse. 

'^ Described in Kon s t ant inov. O boevykh raketakh, pp. 171— 172. 

" Ibid., p. 189. 

'« On this see AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 113, sheet 177. 

'^ F. Cheleev. Polnoe i podrobnoe nastavlenie. . . , oh. IX. 

8° AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheets 247 — 248. 

^^Konstantinov,K.I. Boevye rakety. In the book, "Artilleriya...," 
pp. 250 — 251. 

^2 AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheets 28—34. 

^ Details of these experiments are given by Konstantinov in the book 
"Artilleriya...," pp.260 — 261. 

^* Prograrnma izyskanii raketnym ballisticheskim mayatnikom dlya 
usovershenstvovaniya 2-dyuimovykh raket (A Program of Research 
Using a Rocket Ballistic Pendulum for the Improvement of Two-Inch 
Rockets), delivered by Konstantinov on 15 May 1849, to the 
Artillery Section of the Military Study Committee.— AIM Archive, 
VUK store, entry 40, file 113, sheets 231—237. 

^* AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheets 32 — 34. 


36 "Artilleriya "p. 260. 

3'' Ibid., p. 261. 

3= Ibid. 

3^ A more detailed analysis of the development of the major scientific 
views in the theory of rocket motion can be found in the dissertation 
of Tyulina, I. A., Razvitie mekhaniki dvizheniya tel perennennogo sostava 
(Development of the Mechanics of Motion of Bodies of Variable 
Composition), pp.272 — 290. 1951. 

^° This paper should not be confused with Konstantinov's book of the same 
name, which was published in 1864. It is the section on "Military 
Rockets, " prepared for the book "Artilleriya. . . , " pp. 244 — 280. It 
was finished in 1856 and published separately in the same year, before 
the book appeared. See Konstantinov,K. O boevykh raketakh. 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1856. 

81 "Artilleriya. . . , " p. 258. 

®^ Ibid., p. 261. 

93 Ibid. 

8* Konstantinov. Boe vye r akety (Military Rockets ) . — In the book : 
"Artilleriya. . . , " p. 256, 

8^ Konstantinov . O boevykh raketakh, pp.70 — 71. Sankt-Peterburg, 

8 '^ AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheet 243. 

^' See Konstantinov, O boevykh raketakh, p. 102. Sankt-Peterburg, 

8^ Konstantinov. Boevye r akety. — In the book: Artilleriya. . . , "p. 252. 

88 Kon s t ant inov . O boevykh raketakh, p. 103. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

1°° TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 1186, sheet 1. 

1°^ Kon s t ant in o V . O boevykh raketakh, p. 113. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

"2 AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 113, sheet 185. 

1°' Ibid., VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheets 9 obverse— 10. 

i°* TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 161, sheet 40 obverse. 

"^ AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 311, sheets 22 — 24 obverse. 
See also Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, section I, pp. 22— 33, 1957. 

1°^ AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheet 243. 

'"Konstantinov. O boevykh raketakh, p. 127. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

^°^ Ibid., p. 120. 

"8 Ibid., p. 121. 

^^° AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 131, sheets 150 obverse — 151. 

^^^ Ibid., sheet 244 obverse. 

"^ Ibid., sheets 245 — 245 obverse. 

^^^Konstantinov. Boevye rakety. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, 
section II, p. 205, 1857. 

"* Konstantinov. O boevykh raketakh, p. 78. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

"^ Konstant inov . O boevykh raketakh, p. 71. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

"8 Ibid., p. 67. 

"' TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 1114, sheet 1. 

"8 Ibid., sheet 3. 

"® See Konstantinov's report of 9 November 1856. TsGAVMF, store 165, 
file 1988, sheet 12 obverse. 

^^° Information on Konstantinov's activity while abroad is given in his 
report of 17 December, 1858. TsGVIA, store 503, entry 4, file 1114, 
sheets 95 — 130. 

^^"^ Ibid., sheets 185 — 188, 490 — 504. 

^^^ Konstantinov. Boevye rakety v Rossii s kontsa 1861 goda po nachalo 
1863, p. 5. Sankt-Peterburg, 1863. 

^^^ Report of the War Department No. 9079, 15 November 1861. TsGVIA 
store 503, entry 4, file 1114, sheets 746 — 747. 

^^* Kratkii obzor preobrazovanii po artillerii s 1856 po 1863 gg. (Brief 
Survey of the Transformations of Artillery between 1856 and 1863), 
p. 57. Sankt-Peterburg, 1863. 

^^^ AIM Archive, Gunpowder Warehouse store, entry 24/3, file 459, 
sheets 1 —121. 

i^** AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 6/1, file 145, sheets 3—8. 

^2' Ibid., file 146, sheets 56 obverse — 57. 

^28 AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 6/1, file 123, sheet 113. 

129 'pj^g results of these experiments are given in the Artillery Committee 
Journal, No. 193, for 16 December 1871. AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/ 10 — 1, file 489, sheets 1—7. 

^^° AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 8/5, file 16, sheet 42. 

"^ AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 6/1, file 123, sheet 52 obverse. 

^2 Ibid., file 246, sheets 2 — 3, 17. 

^^^ TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1346, sheet 2. 

^^■* Ibid., sheets 14 — 17. 

^^^ Ibid., sheet 11 obverse. 

"^ Ibid., sheet 12. 

1^' TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1348, sheet 15. 


1^^ Ibid., sheet 16. 

1'^ Ibid., sheet 17. 

^*° A description of the battles involving pyroxylin rockets does not fall 
within the scope of the present work. 

^^ TsGVlA, store 504, entry 8, file 1348, sheet 9. 

"2 Ibid., file 1350, sheets 6 obverse — 7. 

^*^ Spravochnaya knizhka dlya artilleriiskikh ofitserov (Artillery Officers' 
Manual), part II, pp. 289 — 303. Sankt-Peterburg, 1863. 

^** AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 6/1, file 261, sheet 1. 

"^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, 
sheets 18 — 32. 

"^ Artillery Committee Journal, No. 409, 22 November 1883. AIM Archive, 
GAU store, entry 6/1, file 261, sheet 13 obverse. 

"' Ibid., sheet 16 obverse. 

^*^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, sheet 68. 

"* Artillery Committee Journal, No. 12, 16 January 1886. TsGVIA, 
store 504, entry 8, file 1354, sheets 4 — 10. 

^^° At the time some 20,000 military rockets were to be found in various 
storehouses: 6057 at Omsk, 3425 in the Caucasus, 2812 in Turkestan, 
1061 in Amur region, 400 at Kiev, and 5650 in the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant (AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, 
sheet 93). 


Chapter IV 





As remarked above, the termination of military rocket production in 
Russia did not imply termination of all rocket production. At the end of 
the 19th century flares, as well as rescue, signal, and pyrotechnic rockets 
were still being produced. 

The 19th century witnessed considerable progress in pyrotechnics, but 
the main line of fireworks development was manifested in improvement of 

the pyrotechnic devices and increased complexity 
of the figures produced. From a technical point of 
view 19th century firework rockets hardly differed 
from those of the preceding century. ^ 

This was equally true of signal rockets, in whose 
design no essential changes were made. At the end 
of the 19th century signal rockets (Figure 18) con- 
sisted of a cylindrical thick- walled paper casing a, 
beneath which was a narrow orifice b; the internal 
part of the rocket above the orifice was densely 
packed with a force compound c, in which, 
immediately above the orifice, was a channel of 
conical section d. This was closed off above by a 
solid (or blind) layer of the same compound e, and 
above this layer the casing was filled with powder /, 
over which the walls were drawn together and 
corded. A wooden bar g (the rocket tail) was 
attached to the outside of the rocket casing. 

The weight of the rocket without tail was 1 pound 
32 zolotniki (536 g), and with the tail attached, 
2 pounds 24 zolotniki (918 g). The signal rockets 
reached a maximuni altitude of 400 — 500 sagenes 
[933—1167 yd], and took 4 seconds to reach it, 
while the time of their descent to earth was 
12 seconds. ^ 


FIGURE 18. Signal rocket 
of the 1870's . 


During the second half of the 19th century the sphere of application 
of gunpowder rockets in Russia widened greatly. After the 
middle of the century rockets were used for rescue operations on sinking 


ships, nocturnal illumination, and even (though in this area only a few 
attempts were made) applied to the problem of human flight. 

Rockets were first used to throw ropes to sinking ships at the beginning 
of the 19th century, when the English Captain Trowgrouse suggested using 
military Congreve rockets, rather than naortars, for this purpose. The 
first successful trials were repeated by Dennet in England and Stiller in 
Prussia, and rescue rockets soon found application in other countries as 

In Russia, Konstantinov, in 1851 (see p. 45), was the first to propose 
use of rockets to threw a line, but the matter remained undecided through- 
out the fifties. 

About the end of the 1850's Konstantinov began to interest himself in the 
ballistics of rescue rockets.* He arrived at the conclusion that rockets 
intended to throw rescue lines must have different ballistic properties from 
those designed to shoot projectiles. The latter required maximum velocity 
developed at the moment of leaving the aiming stand and briefest possible 
action of the propulsive force, while rescue rockets had to satisfy exactly 
opposite requirements, since long range was desired and breakage of the 
line had to be prevented. They had to have a low initial velocity, which 
would then increase gradually to a certain limit, in the opinion of the French 
inventor Tremblay, who worked on rescue rockets, about 100 — 200m/sec; 
furthermore, the action of the propulsive force during flight had to be quite 

Analysis of the means then known for reduction of a rocket's initial 
velocity (decrease in the depth of the ignition channel, increase in its 
diameter, use of a weaker rocket propellant, increase in the size of the 
gas exhaust orifices) led Konstantinov to the conclusion that none of them 
would be satisfactory in rescue rocket design, since, in addition to 
reducing the rocket's initial velocity, they also reduce its work potential, 
which in turn results in shortened range. 

Konstantinov 's efforts to resolve this contradiction resulted, in 1858, 
in an original rocket design with two channels^ (Figure 19), the first of 
which (ab) resembled a conventional ignition channel, while the second (cd) 
was inside the blind propellant, which was simply a continuation of the 
propellant surrounding the first channel. The space between the two 
channels had to be at least as great as the thickness of the propellant 
surrounding the first channel. 

This design made it possible to decrease the rocket's initial velocity 
and prolong the action of the propulsive force without reducing the rocket's 
work potential. ^ 

During the first half of the 1860's PRZ conducted a number of 
comparative experiments on the shooting of rescue rockets, and after 
1863 the new rockets of Konstantinov's design were in use at Russian 
rescue stations in the Baltic Sea. 

However, this did not represent termination of the search for the best 
rescue rocket design, and the Admiralty continued, until the beginning of 
the seventies, to order large numbers of rescue rockets from England. 
One compelling reason for this was the sharp reduction that occurred in 
Russian rocket production towards the middle of the sixties. As already 
noted, the Petersburg Rocket Institute closed its doors in 1864, and the 
snaall pyrotechnic laboratories located in various Russian cities confined 
their activity to the manufacture of firework and signal rockets, as the 
simplest designs which did not require complicated machinery. 

1707 92 

FIGURE 19. Rescue rocket designed by K. I. Konstantinov. 

Production of rescue rockets could be resumed only after the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant was opened. Experiments on rockets designed to throw 
lines were performed from 1873 to 1875, and in 1876 the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant filled a Navy Department order for fifty 3" rescue rockets.' The 
number ordered in 1880 was four times as great, while the 1881 orders 
were for 400 rockets.^ 

By the beginning of the eighties the Russian rescue stations of the 
Society for Rescues at Sea were equipped exclusively with Russian rockets, 
whose superiority over the foreign products was felt by the directors of 
the Society to have been established by many years of experience in their 


During the last quarter of the 1 9th century the principal product of the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant was rocket flares. The idea of using rockets with 
a special luminous compound to illuminate a given locality actually went back 
to about 1830. 

In 1831 the chennist Vlasov submitted an application for "approval of 
certain experinaents which he wished to perform on a special form of 
fire, of his invention, to be thrown from rockets for exposure of enenny 
movements, which he feels to be incomparably better, for this purpose, 
than the luminous balls shot from, ordnance, now in use, whose effect is 
insignificant. " '" Vlasov was granted means for conducting his experiments, 
but their results remain unknown. 

The question of using rockets for illumination arose again in the fifties, 
since the firing of luminous projectiles from artillery pieces presented 
great difficulties, while rockets were a highly convenient means for 
shooting such projectiles. 

Furthermore, there was then only one means for illuminating an area 
on the surface of the sea (with the object of preventing the enemy from 
reforming his ships by night under cover of darkness): luminous balls 
with parachutes, which could be launched only by rockets. Rockets for 
this purpose were tested in 1855 at Revel, with very good results: four 
or five rockets, launched simultaneously, proved adequate to illuminate 
the entire line of coastal defences and a good part of the roadstead. 

On the basis of these and other experiments conducted in 1855, the 
artillery section of the Military Study Committee concluded that the following 
steps were necessary for improvement of the means of illumination used by 
the Russian army: 

"a) In our fortresses, luminous balls should no longer be fired from 
ordnance, but only by military rockets; 

"b) of the luminous balls presently at hand in the forts, the 1 -pud 
[36-punders] should be thrown by 2.5" and 2" rockets, and the 0.5-pud 
[18- pounders], by 2" rockets; 

"c. . d) rockets with lunninous shot and parachute rockets should be 
further tested in several forts and in the Caucasus. "^^ 

In 1858 parachute rockets and rockets with shot were tested at the 
sappers' camp near Peterhof , '' and these tests also yielded positive 


At the end of 1858 and beginning of 1859 at Warsaw, and in the summer 
of 1859 during the annual camp of the Field Artillery Brigades, quite 
extensive experiments on the use of rockets for illumination of localities'* 
were performed, and revealed a number of their deficiencies. 

The research done in the Petersburg Kocket Institute established that 
"the best form for luminous projectiles, intended to be thrown by rockets, 
consists of an isosceles cylinder of strong sheet iron, covered with a lid 
of sheet iron, like a cartridge case, and filled with white Bengal fire, 
packed under pressure. The flame emerges through six circular orifices, 
two in the centers of the bottom and top, respectively, and four in the 
cylindrical surface. "'^ These projectiles were launched at a high angle, 
gave relatively good results, and were accepted as a form of fortress 
artillery. The Petersburg Rocket Institute also developed designs for 
luminous balls with parachutes, which closely resembled the projectiles 
described above, except for their smaller size. The luminous ball with 
the folded parachute was inserted into a sheet iron casing located in the 
upper part of the rocket. To decrease air resistance the casing was 
covered above by a cardboard cone, in which the greater part of the 
parachute was also placed. After the rocket rose the luminous ball was 
thrown out of its casing by a special "dislodging charge, " and the 
parachute, made to open by the air resistance, braked the fall of the 
luminous projectile.'^ 

However, these rocket flares, because of their imperfections, did not 
find widespread use in the fifties and sixties. For a long time it remained 
an open question, repeatedly discussed in journals, which was the best form 
of illumination — artillery projectiles with a luminous compound, electrical, 
or rocket flares? Most experts thought searchlights the surest means, but, 
besides their prohibitive cost, electrical devices could not be successfully 
used in every situation. 

"We have therefore, " ran the War Department report for 1876, "turned 
our attention to rocket flares with shot, which have the most important 
advantage of carrying the illumination upwards, so that their success does 
not depend on the character of the locality. Experiments in the manufacture 
of rocket flares at the Nikolaev Rocket Institute have given successful 
results, and the 3" flare produced by this plant provides excellent 
illumination of terrain over distances of up to 450 sagenes [1050 yd], 
several rockets launched one after another making it possible not only to 
survey the enemy's works, but even to train our ordnance on the 
illuminated objects. These results have led to a decision to provide 
fortresses with 3" rocket flares, as well as searchlights. " " 

Production of rocket flares rose sharply after their acceptance for 
fortress defense. Over the course of five years the output rose by a factor 
of more than 40, from 200 in 1876 to 8850 in 1881. 

The rocket flares of this period (Figure 20) consisted of an iron casing, 
a metal cap with shot, and a wooden rocket tail. 

The design of the casing and technique of its manufacture, methods of 
attaching the base plate, filling of the casing with rocket propellant, drilling 
of the ignition channel, etc., were exactly like the corresponding operations 
in military rocket manufacture. The same applies to the rocket tail, which 
was almost identical to the stabilizers of military rockets. 



FIGURE 20. Rockei flare, end of the 19th century. 


The chief difference between flares and military rockets was in the 
design of the head, which in flares had, instead of a projectile, a 
cylindrical cap with shot, 6" in diameter and 9.5" in length. The cap 
contained a total of 86 pellets of Bengal fire, consisting of 70% nitrate, 
20% sulfur and 10% antimony, arranged around the circumference in 
two rows. The weight of the rocket with shot was 15 kg. 

Rocket flares were fired at an angle of 45° to the horizon, and required 
a special launching stand. Their range was as high as 900 m. The period 
of combustion of the rocket propellant was so calculated that when the 
rocket reached the apex of its trajectory, the container of pellets was fired, 
and the ignited pellets formed a luminous hail which continued to burn for 
15 seconds. The diameter of the surface thus illuminated was 500 m. ^^ 

From the end of the seventies onward the use of rocket flares became 
increasingly widespread. In 1879 the production of flares began to exceed 
that of military rockets, and in the first half of the eighties constituted 
roughly 85% of the entire output of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant. This 
resulted not only from the increased production of flares, but also from 
the decreased production of military rockets. For comparison production 
data for the seventies and eighties are given in Table 15.*^ 

TABLE 15. Production of military rockets and rocket flares at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant, 1871-1888 




























































Considerable attention was devoted to the improvement of rocket flares 
and creation of a sufficiently large body of experts familiar with them. In 
the years 1880—1882 Artilleriiskii Zhurnal carried a series of articles 
discussing the manufacture and use of rocket flares. ^^ Furthermore, 
while 3 ' rockets were being produced, 4" rockets were being tested, 
though the results obtained were unsatisfactory. 

Notwithstanding the fact that thousands of rockets were expended in 
training and experiments, the total number of rockets in use for fortress 
armament grew steadily and stood at 27,701 on 1 January 1889. In the 
opinion of experts, however, this was still not sufficient to meet the 
growing needs of the fortresses for means of illumination. 

According to the Artillery Committee, the total number of rockets in 
all the fortresses and siege-trains of Russia should have been 65,800. ^^ 
It was therefore decided to increase sharply the output of rocket flares, 
which until the Nikolaev Rocket Plant closed down continued to be its 
chief product. 



^ A clear account of the development of pyrotechnics in the 19th century- 
can be found in the following books : Nat,E. Praktika dlya pirotekhnikov 
ili rukovodstvo k pravil'nomu proizvedeniyu rabot, neobkhodimykh pri 
feierverkakh (Pyrotechnician's Handbook, or a Manual for the Proper 
Execution of the Necessary Preparations for the Production of Fireworks), 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1845; Rumy ant s e v , P. Teoreticheskaya i prakti- 
cheskaya pirotekhnika ili iskusstvo delat' feierverki (Theoretical and 
Practical Pyrotechnics, orthe Art of Making Fireworks ), Moskva, 1852; 
Matyukevich, P. Sobranie formul i retseptov sostavov poteshnoi 
pirotekhniki (Collection of Formulas and Mixture Recipes for Pyro- 
technic Entertainments), Sankt-Peterburg, 1861; St epano v , F. V. 
Pirotekhniya (kurs feierverochnogo isskustva) (Pyrotechnics (A Course 
in the Art of Fireworks)), Sankt-Peterburg, 1894; Tsytovich,P. 
Opyt ratsional'noi pirotekhniki (rukovodstvo dlya izucheniya teorii i 
praktiki feierverochnogo iskusstva) (Experience in Efficient Pyrotechnics 
(A Manual of Instruction in the Theory and Practice of the Art of Fire- 
works)), Sankt-Peterburg, 1894. 

^ The data on signal rockets are drawn primarily from, the book, "Brief 
Artillery Service Manual for 1877 Model Field Pieces (Kratkoe rukovod- 
stvo artilleriiskoi sluzhby s polevymi orudiyami obraztsa 1877 goda). 
Section III, pp.124 — 134. Sankt-Peterburg, 1878. 

^ Ley.W. Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel, p. 76. New York, 1958. 

* Konstantinov's research on rescue rocket ballistics is described in his 
article, "Boevye rakety v Rossii s kontsa 1861 g. po nachalo 1863, 
Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, section III, pp.352 —413, and No. 6, 
section III, pp.484 — 543, 1863. A reprint of the article was made later 
in the same year. Konstantinov considered the applications of rescue 
rockets in greater detail in his "Application des fusees au jet des amares 
de sauvetage, " St. Petersbourg, 1863. 

^ Konstantinov's report No. 57, 25 December 1858. — In: Konstantinov, 
Boevye rakety v Rossii s kontsa 1861 po 1863, p. 91. Sankt-Peterburg, 

® Some non-Russian works on the history of rocketry report that 

Konstantinov's design for a bi-channeled rescue rocket was preceded by 
that of the British Colonel Boxer (1855). See for example Ley,W. 
Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel, pp.76— 77. New York, 1958. 

' AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 8/5, file 16, sheet 219. 

8 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1352, sheet 1. 

^ Ibid., file 486, sheet 1. 

^° AIM Archive, GAU store, entry 3/2, file 166, sheet 1 . 

" Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, section II, p. 316, 1857. 

^^ Rezul'taty proizvedennykh Artilleriiskim otdeleniem opytov nad 
brosaniem v nochnoe vremya svetyashchikh yader pomoshch'yu 
boevykh raket (Results of the Experiments on Throwing Balls by 
Military Rockets at Night, Conducted by the Artillery Section).— 
Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, section I, p. 69, 1856. 


'* Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, section 11, pp.21— 22, 1859. 

1* For further details of these experiments see Reintal'.R. "Throwing 
Luminous Projectiles by Means of Military Rockets" (Metanie 
svetyashchikh snaryadov posredstvom boevykh raket). — Artilleriiskii 
Zhurnal, No. 7, section 11, pp. 493 — 532, 1860. 

^^ Kons tantinov . O boevykh raketakh, p. 210. Sankt-Peterburg, 1864. 

^^ Ibid., pp.212 — 213. 

'^' Vsepoddaneishii otchet o deistviyakh voennogo ministerstva za 1876 god. 
(Most Thorough Report on the Activities of the War Department for 1876), 
pp. 46 — 48. Sankt-Peterburg, 1878. 

^^ The information on rocket flares is based on "Description of 3" Rocket 
Flares" (Opisanie svetyashchikh 3-dm. raket). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 5, pp. 277—292, 1881, and that on the radius of the illuminated 
surface and the length of combustion of the pellets is borrowed from 
"Officers' and Civil Servants' Manual" (Spravochnaya kniga dlya ofitserov 
i chinovnikov), pp. 593— 596, Moskva, 1879. 

^' These data are drawn from the official reports of the Chief Artillery 
Administration for the years in question. 

2° Pravila upotrebleniya 3-dm. raket pri proizvodstve strel'by iz oruzhiya 
(Rules for the Use of 3" Rockets in Firing from a Gun).— Artilleriiskii 
Zhurnal, No. 12, pp. 1260 — 1273; Obuchenie nizhnikh chinov pri 
svetyashchikh raketakh (Instruction on Luminous Rockets for the Lower 
Ranks). —Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 2, pp. 12 — 14, 1881; 
Opisanie svetyashchikh 3-dm. raket (Description of Luminous 3" 
Rockets).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal. No. 5, pp.277— 292, 1881; Prichiny i 
sposoby ustraneniya prezhdevremennogo razryva svetyashchikh raket 
(Causes and Methods of Eliminating Premature 

Explosions of Luminous Rockets) .— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5. 
pp.64 — 66, 1882; also No. 10, pp.204 — 207. 


TsGVlA, store 504, entry 8, file 1876, sheet 56 obverse. 


Chapter V 


From the middle of the 19th century onwards repeated proposals were 
made in Russia to use the energy of solid propellant rockets for propulsion 
of aerostats and other aircraft both lighter and heavier than air. 

The idea of building aircraft operating on a reaction principle is several 
centuries old. As early as the turn of the 15th century Giovanni Fontana, 
Rector of the University of Padua, suggested using reaction engines — gun- 
powder rockets — to move artificial birds through the air. Several 
historians assert that at about the same period "flying crows and dragons", 
also propelled by gunpowder rockets, were being built in eastern countries.^ 

Proposals to apply the reaction principle to manned flight became 
increasingly frequent after the turn of the 19th century. By this time, 
the problem of raising man into the air in lighter- than- air craft, i. e., 
aerostats, had already been resolved, but no means of flight control had 
yet been found. 

In 1784 the two French inventors Miolan and Jannine devised a means for 
control of aerostats through the reaction of the air flowing out through an 
opening in the shell of the aerostat. For experimental purposes they built 
a large balloon, but they did not succeed in flight- testing it because it burst 
and burned while being filled with warm air. 

In 1831 an unknown Italian also developed a plan for a lighter- than- air 
reaction craft — a balloon propelled by a rocket cluster. 

Other Schemes for reaction aircraft, involving the most various 
sources of energy (compressed air, steam or alcohol vapor, liquid hydro- 
carbons, nitroglycerine, etc.) were put forward, but the present work, 
which is devoted to the history of solid propellant rockets, will be concerned 
only with those designs using as their source of energy gases formed by the 
combustion of gunpowder compounds. ^ 

In 1849 the Russian military engineer 1. 1, Treteskii (1821 — 1895) 
developed designs for three aircraft, one of which was intended to run on 
power developed by the reaction of gunpowder gases. After commenting 
on the failure of previous attempts to control the flight of aerostats by 
means "analogous to the flight of birds and the swimming of fish, " 
Treteskii wrote, "... as a basis for the control of aerostats it is far more 
convenient to take the natural law which causes the recoil of artillery 
pieces and the movement of a rocket, respectively, when they are fired. 
This effect is to be explained by the gas pressure against the surfaces 
respectively opposite the mouth of the gun and the rocket exhaust orifice, 
since this pressure is not balanced by an opposite pressure, which is 


eliminated by the unimpeded outflow of the gases through the mouth or 
exhaust orifice. "^ In his unpublished paper "Means for the Control of 
Aerostats" (O sposobakh upravlyat' aerostatami), which he presented 
in May 1849 to M. S. Vorontsov, Commander-in-Chief of the Independent 
Caucasus Corps,* he wrote, "If, on the basis of this law, one were to 
build a vessel in which some elastic fluid, such as steam, gas, or 
compressed air, were constantly being formed, so that the pressure of the 
fluid would give rise to a force against the corresponding part of the vessel 
wall, upon its outflow through the opening of the vessel, the vessel would 
evidently be propelled forward like a rocket, drawing behind it a ship with 
balloon, provided this force P overcomes the resistance R" of the ship and 
balloon when they have a given velocity V , and as long as the sum of these 
resistances acts symmetrically with respect to the point of application of 
the propulsive force, so that the motion of balloon and ship is uniform and 
does not deviate from the given directing force. "* 

Treteskii's idea was disnnissed by the Artillery Section of the Military 
Study Committee as practically unfeasible, but it nonetheless merits 
attention as the first scientific Russian attempt to apply the principle of jet 
propulsion to a solution of the problems of aeronautics. 

The same principle was the basis of N. M. Sokovnin's aircraft design. 
Sokovnin (1811 — 1894), while convinced that "an aircraft must fly by some 
such principle as that of rocket flight, "^ suggested using compressed air, 
rather than gunpowder gases, as the propulsive force. 

Konstantinov, who also took an interest in possible aeronautical 
applications of rockets, wrote in 1856, "A rocket is a device including 
within itself a propulsive force, which not only propels it through the air, 
but also makes it capable of raising a certain weight with It, as a result 
of which It may at first glance appear an admirable means for the propulsion 
of aerostats; but closer examination shows the opposite to be true, and 
rockets to be less suitable for such a purpose than manpower. "'' 

Konstantinov was brought to this conclusion by his experiments with a 
ballistic pendulum. After observing that "the results given by this 
instrument constitute a thorough basis for evaluation of the relative 
applicability of rockets and manpower to the propulsion of aerostats, "^ 
he adduced the following figures: "A 4" rocket, which weighs, without tall 
or projectile, about 1 pud (361b), and whose range, under certain conditions, 
reaches 4 versts [4665 yd], incorporates a propulsive force of 52.92 pud- 
feet [1905 ft-lb], developed over a period of 2.7 seconds. . . Four rockets 
will then offer a work potential of 211.68 pud-feet [7620 ft-lb], developed 
over a period of 10.8 seconds, assuming the rockets are ignited 
consecutively. The well-known formulas determining the mechanical 
work which can be done by a man show that this amount of work can be 
done by one man in 146 seconds. "^ 

On the basis of the foregoing Konstantinov wrote; "This shows that, 
by comparison with rockets, man is a far more efficient machine for the 
protracted translation over a considerable distance of large masses which 
must also bear the forces moving them. Human force is therefore more 
efficient than rockets for the propulsion of aerostats. On the other hand 
it has been shown impossible for the flier borne aloft by an aerostat 
to furnish its propulsive force, and rockets coupled to the gondola or 
aerostat are therefore that much more inapplicable for this purpose. "^° 


In spite of Konstantinov's conclusion, efforts to solve the problems 
of aeronautics by means of reaction engines continued. In 1870 Treteskii 
revised his scheme for control of aerostats by means of such engines. As 
before, he proposed using the reaction of gases formed by the combustion 
of powder as propulsive force. Treteskii's design was considered by a 
Special Commission expressly formed for the purpose, but this time, too, 
he was refused support. ^^ 

The heavier-than-air jet aircraft design of N, I, Kibal'chich (1853 — 1881), 
one of the most active members of the Russian Revolutionary movement, is 
of great interest. 

Kibal'chich, a member of "Narodnaya Volya, " was executed in 1881 
for an attempt on the life of Alexander II, and he drew up his aircraft 
design while in prison. As a result he had no time to give details of the 
project or work out its mathematical foundations, and was forced to limit 
himself to mere exposition of the idea. After his execution Kibal'chich's 
design was preserved in the Police Department Archives, and it was 
published only after the 1917 revolution. ^^ 

One of the most important questions confronting those working on the 
construction of aircraft was the choice of the most suitable energy source. 
After an analysis of known attem^pts to solve the problems of aeronautics 
by means of steam engines, electromotors, or the sheer physical effort 
of the aviators themselves, Kibal'chich concluded that all of these efforts 
were doomed to failure, and that the best energy source was to be found 
in slowly burning explosive substances. 

"in fact, " he wrote, "during the combustion of explosive substances a 
large quantity of gases which possess enormous energy at the moment of 
their fornaation is formed more or less rapidly. I do not recall exactly the 
am.ount of work, in kilogram -meters, done by the combustion of one pound 
of gun-powder, but unless I am mistaken, a single pound of gunpowder, 
exploded in the earth, will throw out a clod weighing 40 puds [14401b]. In 
short, there are no other natural substances capable of developing as great 
an amount of energy in a short time interval as explosives. " ^^ 

The choice of this source of energy was by no means casual, but arose 
from Kibal'chich's several years as head of the Laboratory of the Executive 
Committee of the "Narodnaya Volya" party. As part of his preparation for 
revolution, Kibal'chich studied the properties of explosives with feverish 
energy, reading an enormous number of books on the subject in Russian, 
German, English, and French. 

"But how, " he continued, "can the energy of the gases formed in the 
combustion of the explosives be continuously utilized? This is possible 
only if the enormous energy released is not formed all at once, but over a 
more or less protracted time interval. 

"If we take a pound of granular powder, which takes fire momentarily 
after ignition, and compress it under great pressure into a cylinder, then 
ignite one end of the cylinder, we find that the entire cylinder does not 
flame im.mediately, but that the burning spreads quite slowly from one end 
of it to the other, with a definite speed. The rate of spread of combustion in 
com.pressed powder has been deternnined from numerous experim.ents and 
is 0.4"/sec. 

"The design of military rockets is based upon this property of compressed 
powder. The essence of this design is as follows. A cylinder of compressed 


gunpowder, with an axial ignition channel drilled through it, is tightly- 
inserted into a tin cylinder, closed at one end and open at the other. The 
combustion of the powder begins on the surface of the channel and spreads 
outward, over a certain period of time, to the external surface of the 
powder cylinder. The gases formed by combustion of the powder then exert 
pressure on all sides, but the lateral pressures respectively balance one 
another. The pressure on the tin shell enclosing the powder, however, 
which is not balanced by an opposite pressure (since on that side the gases 
have an unimpeded exit), pushes the rocket forward in the direction in 
which it was placed on the stand prior to ignition. In flight the rocket 
follows a parabolic trajectory like that of cannon balls shot from a gun. 

"Let us now suppose that we have a sheet iron cylinder of known 
dimensions, closed hermetically on all sides, and having only one opening 
of known size in its lower end. Let a cylinder of compressed powder be 
placed along the axis of this cylinder, and let it be ignited at one of its 
ends.^* When combustion takes place the gases liberated will exert 
pressure against the entire internal surface of the metal cylinder, but the 
respective lateral pressures, will balance each other, and only the pressure 
against the closed end of the cylinder will not be balanced by the opposite 
pressure, because on that end the gases have an unimpeded exit through the 
opening in the bottom. If the cylinder is placed with its closed end upwards, 
at a known gas pressure, which depends partly on the internal volume of the 
cylinder and partly on the thickness of the cylinder of compressed powder, 
the cylinder will rise. 

"I do not have at hand figures which would allow even an approximate 
determination of how much compressed powder must be burned in a unit 
of time, for a cylinder of given size and gravity, in order for the gases 
liberated to exert on the bottom of the cylinder a pressure balancing the 
cylinder's gravity. I think, however, that in practice this effect is 
certainly attainable, and rockets provide actual confirmation of this. 
Rockets are now being built which can bear upwards explosive projectiles 
weighing as much as 5 pud [1801b]. It is true that the example of rockets 
is not entirely appropriate here, because rockets have an enormous velocity 
unthinkable for an aeronautic craft, but this high velocity is due to the very 
large quantity of compressed powder used in rockets, which provides a 
correspondingly great surface of combustion. If a much lower vertical 
flight velocity were required, the amount of powder required to be burned 
per unit of time would be very much smaller. " ^^ 

In addition, Kibal'chich gave a description of his flying machine 
(Figure 21a), which was to be propelled by a reaction gunpowder engine A, 
placed vertically, and connected by the rods A^A' to the platform P , on which 
the aviators were accommodated. 

The engine A was a sheet iron cylinder hermetically sealed on all sides, 
with an exhaust orifice C in its lower end. Small cylinders of compressed 
gunpowder /(were to be fed into the cylinder's combustion chamber, and 
the gas formed by their combustion was the working medium of the engine. 
Kibal'chich proposed a special automatic control, operated by a clock 
mechanism, for ignition and continuous displacement of fuel into the 
chamber. He did not describe the design of this control, but remarked 
that "all this can easily be done by modern engineering techniques. " 


For fuel Kibal'chich suggested slowly burning powder compressed into 
cylindrical charges, but he also observed that there are many other slowly 
burning explosive substances, also containing nitrates, sulfur, and carbon, 
though in different proportion, or with admixtures of other substances, and 
that one of these other substances might turn out to be more efficient than 
gunpowder . 

FIGURE 21. Schematic diagram of N.I. Kibal'chich's flying machine. 

The ascent and descent of the machine were to be accomplished by 
changes in the volume of the powder cylinders fed into the combustion 
chamber. This variation in the amount of fuel entering the chamber made 
it possible to vary the lifting force as well. Horizontal motion in a given 
direction would be achieved either by inclination and conical rotation of 
the engine cylinder (which would give rise to a horizontal component of the 
resultant of the reactive forces. Figure 21b), or by a second engine, like 
the first, but placed perpendicular to it and rotating in the horizontal plane. 
Kibal'chich himself gave his preference to the second method, which he 
thought would give the aircraft more flight stability. 

The fundamental difference between Kibal'chich's reaction aircraft 
scheme and all others previously put forward was that his "aeronautic 
machine" did not require the atmosphere as a supporting medium and 
could theoretically move also in airless space. 

From a modern point of view Kibal'chich's design unquestionably suffers 
from many deficiencies and even from some fundamentally unsound solutions. 
Indeed, detailed analysis shows that the aircraft, as it is described by 
Kibal'chich, could not even have been built. 

However, one cannot fail to admire the courage of the man who developed 
this design, remarkable for its day, in the death chamber, only a few days 
before his execution, and one must acknowledge the talent of the inventor 
who foresaw such technical problems as assurance of flight stability, use 
of multi-chamber machines, regulated combustion, jacketing of gunpowder, 
etc. N.I. Kibal'chich is therefore rightly regarded as one of the 
pioneers of rocketry. 

The efforts of inventors working in the field of jet flight were certainly 
hindered by the fact that the representatives of Russia's scientific and 
technical institutes had a negative attitude to the very idea of applying a 


reaction prineiple to the problem of manned flight. In 1883, for example, 
the Chief Engineering Board expressed itself as follows: 

"With regard to the suppositions, most recently voiced, that free flight 
can be communicated to bodies by the continuous explosion of various 
explosive substances, it may be said that all explosive substances possess 
more crushing than projectile force, and if even black powder, which has 
the greatest projectile force and relatively slight crushing force, requires 
modification to reduce the latter if it is to be usable in rockets, it is the 
more unlikely that explosive substances can find application to aerial flight, 
whether operating directly by the reaction of their pressure upon explosion, 
as is the case, for example, in rockets, or in machines, for the purpose 
of propelling them; for any explosive, especially if it contains nitro- 
glycerine, will sooner shatter the enclosure within which the explosion 
occurs than communicate to it, or to its movable wall, some gradual 
motion. "^^ 

Research on jet flight in Russia continued notwithstanding. In the 
middle eighties the engineers A. V. Eval'd, in St. Petersburg, and 
F.Geshvend, in Kiev, were working on designs for reaction aircraft. In 
1886 Eval'd conducted a number of experiments with a jet airplane model.*'' 
As engine he used solid propellant rockets placed in a special sheet metal 
groove. After a series of unsuccessful attempts he finally succeeded in 
obtaining some positive results, but due to lack of funds could not continue 
his experiments. 

Geshvend's 1887 design for a reaction aircraft (steam-plane) is extra- 
ordinarily interesting, but is given no detailed consideration in the present 
work because its energy source was a jet of steam, rather than gunpowder 

The above-mentioned names exhaust the list of those working on the 
possibility of applying the reaction of the gases formed from the combustion 
of densely compressed gunpowder propellants for the purposes of aviation 
and aeronautics, down almost to the present day. The rough notes of 
S. S. Nezhdanovskii, which show that this talented scientist and inventor 
was studying the problem of realizing flight by naeans of jet engines as 
early as the 1880's, were found, however, in the 1950's.*^ 

Nezhdanovskii first thought about the possibility of building a jet air- 
craft in July 1880. His diary bears the entry: "A flying machine is 
possible with the use of an explosive substance; the products of its 
combustion to be ejected through something like an injector. "*^ 

At the end of 1880 Nezhdanovskii made several calculations relating 
to a rocket aircraft propelled by the reaction of gunpowder gases. Here 
they are presented as in his notebook :^° 

P — pressure of gunpowder gases 200 atm 

V — their exhaust velocity {V = 612 VlogP) 928 m/sec 

O — weight of the rocket charge 65 kg 

p — density of the gunpowder gases at a pressure of 200 atm 0.1 

W — volume of 4 pud [144 lb] of gunpowder gases at 200 atm 

pressure and density 0.1 655 dm' 

X — work inherent In 4 pud gunpowder at 200 atm pressure 1'^ = "^) • • • • 285 • 10 kg-m 

S — duration of flight 300 sec 


Making calculations for two versions of the engine (with gas pressures, 
respectively, of 150 and 200 atm), Nezhdanovskii concluded: "I think it 
entirely possible to build a flying machine which can carry a man through 
the air for at least 5 minutes. A funnel emitting air with the most efficient 
velocity will conserve fuel and increase flight duration. "^^ 

In the future Nezhdanovskii continued to study the problems of jet flight, 
but unlike most of the inventors working in this field, almost entirely 
neglected aircraft design, concentrating instead on the construction of the 
jet engine and the best fuel for it. 

In his search for the m.ost efficient type of engine, Nezhdanovskii 
produced a number of original ideas. In particular, in 1882 he proposed 
to build a jet engine "on the principle of 2- or 3-barreled magazine or 
machine guns, for the additional purpose of m.aking it possible to control 
the force and flight duration. "^^ 

Another idea of approximately the same period was to use specia] 
nozzles, so that when the stream of gunpowder gases passed through 
them, it would draw after it atmospheric air, thus, according to 
Nezhdanovskii, greatly increasing the jet effect. ^ 

Nezhdanovskii devoted a great deal of attention to the choice of a working 
medium, considering as energy source nitroglycerine, compressed air, 
steam, carbon dioxide, and various explosive mixtures. Of solid fuels 
Nezhdanovskii considered two types — powder- cotton and conventional black 
(smoky) powder, calculating the exhaust velocity of the gases from a 
pipe filled with gunpowder pulp, the mass of fuel used per second, and the 
work obtained. He concluded that the cotton powder incorporated three 
times as much energy as the smoky black powder.^ 

After several years of work, Nezhdanovskii at the end of the 1880's 
again considered the use of rockets for flight. In 1889 he noted in his 
diary: "Can one not build a flying inclined plane with a rocket to impart 
horizontal velocity to it? Which is more efficient, a simple rocket or a 
rocket with inclined plane? Is not the simplest form of flying rnachine 
simply a rocket with an inclined plane ?"^^ 

It is apparent that the authors of most of the above-mentioned schemes 
linaited themselves to exposition of the working principle of the engine, 
without presenting structural details or a precise calculation of the amount 
of energy required to realize jet flight. They cannot therefore be regarded 
as engineering projects, but were rather demands for inventions. Not one 
of these proposed aircraft schemes reached the stage of construction during 
the 1 9th century. 


^ Here and subsequently the information given on aircraft designs 
developed outside Russia is based on non-Russian sources. 

^ More details of the reaction aircraft designs proposed in Russia are 
given in a lecture delivered by the author in April 1961 at a session 
of the Aviation Section of the Soviet National Union of Historians of 
Natural Science and Engineering. This lecture is now being prepared 
for publication. 




Memorandum of Captain Treteskii, Field-Engineers' Corps, to the 
Commander-in-Chief of the Independent Caucasus Corps, 13 March 
1849. TsGVIA, store 1(1), entry 1, file 17464, sheet 31. 

Treteskii. O sposobakh upravlyat' aerostatami. Tiflis, 1849 
(Manuscript). TsGVIA, store 1(1), entry 1, file 17464, sheets 35 — 140. 

Ibid., sheets 59 obverse — 60. 

Sokovnin,N. Vozdushnyi korabl' (Aircraft).— p. 35. Sankt Peterburg, 

Morskoi sbornik. No. 8, part HI, p. 99, 1856. 


Ibid., pp. 99 — 100. 

Ibid., p. 101. 

Treteskii's project and the conclusions of the Special Commission have 
not yet contie to light. Only Treteskii's reactions to the Commission's 
observations have been preserved. See TsGVIA, store 802, entry 3, 
file 79, sheets 336 — 338. 

Kibal'chich,N.I. Proekt vozdukhoplavatel'nogo pribora (Design for 
an Aeronautical Craft).— Byloe, Nos. 10 — 11, pp.115 — 121, 1918. 
Kibal'chich's plan is presently kept in the Central Government Archive 
of the October Revolution.— TsGAOR, D. P. section III, 1881, 
file 79, part I supp., sheets 1 — 5. 

TsGAOR, D. P. store, section III, 1881, file 79, part I supp., sheet 2. 

I am not certain if maintenance of the required slowness and regularity 
of combustion requires that the compressed powder be enclosed in a tight- 
fitting jacket; but even if it is necessary, it would not obstruct the use 
of compressed powder for the experiment (Kibal'chich's note). 

TsGAOR, D. P. store, section III, 1861, file 79, part I supp., sheets 2 
obverse— 3 obverse. 

Report of the Chief Engineering Board No. 4663, 14 April, 1883.— 
TsGVIA, store 401, 1883, entry 4/928, file 34, sheets lOobverse-U 

E va 1 ' d , A. Letatel'nye mashiny. Opyty i nablyudeniya (Flying 
Machines. Experiments and Observations), pp.36 — 38. Sankt -Peterburg, 

Designs and calculations related to jet aircraft were kept in 
Nezhdanovskii's daybooks, which are now preserved in N. E. 
Zhukovskii's Scientific Memorial Museum in Moscow. The first 
reports on Nezhdanovskii's research in the area of jet propulsion 
were given by A. I. Yakovlev, of the Moscow Aviation Institute, at a 
conference organized by the Department of the History of Aeronautical 
Engineering of MAI (9 January 1957), and at a meeting of the Aviation 
Section of the Soviet National Union of Historians of Natural Science 
and Engineering (2 March 1959). 


** Scientific Archive of N. E. Zhukovskii's Scientific Memorial Museum, 
No. 1079, sheet 66. 

20 Ibid., sheet 82. 

" Ibid., sheets 81—82. 

*2 Scientific Archive of Zhukovskii's Museum, No. 290/1, p. 131. 

^^ However, this idea was first expressed in print by Geshvend in 1887 
in his paper "General Basis for the Construction of an Aeronautic 
Steamship (Steam -Plane)" (Obshchee osnovanie ustroistva vozdukho- 
plavatel'nogo parokhoda (parolet)), where he described a jet engine with 
similar nozzles. Subsequently these nozzles fagured in many designs 
and were known in scientific literature for a long time as "Melo Nozzles. 

^■* Scientific Archive of Zhukovskii's Museum, No. 2990/2. p. 38. 

25 Ibid., p. 41. 


Chapter VI 



In the development of solid propellant rockets the turn of the 20th 
century was the period of least apparent progress. Although these were 
the years in which K. E. Tsiolkovskii and I. V. Meshcherskii were laying 
the foundations of the mechanics of bodies of variable mass and working 
out the fundamental formulas of rocket motion, their work still seemed 
irrelevant to those seeking to improve solid propellant rockets, and 
consequently had no real influence on their development. 

By the end of the 19th century military rockets were greatly inferior 
to rifled artillery in all respects, and were no longer in use by any of the 
world's armies. It is true that a few inventors (Andreev, Unge et al.) 
attempted to improve military rockets and revive them as a sort of 
ordnance, but they obtained no practical results and until the end of the 
First World War none of the work in this area emerged from the experimental 

A number of countries, however, were using solid propellant rockets for 
illumination and signalling at the turn of the 20th century. Efforts were 
even made to use rockets to affect natural phenomena (hail- dispersion 
rockets) and to carry cameras (photo- rockets). 

In Russia, during these years, firework and signal rockets, as well as 
rescue rockets, though in very small numbers, continued to be produced, 
but the output of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant consisted primarily of rocket 
flares, the demand for which increased steadily. From 1891 onward the 
annual output of flares was 8000 to 9000. Table 16, compiled from the 
reports of the Chief Artillery Administration, ^ gives figures on rocket 
production at the end of the 19th century. 

As a result of the considerable increase in rocket production at the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant, military demands for rocket flares were fully 
satisfied by the end of 1898, and thereafter production was envisaged 
only in quantities sufficient to cover the annual expenses for experiments, 
research, and other routine artillery requirements. As a result, from 
1899 until the closing of the Nikolaev Plant, excepting the period of the 
Russo-Japanese War (1904 — 1905), its annual production of rocket flares 
did not exceed 4000. 

At this period attempts to improve signal rockets were also being made 
in Russia. In 1902 Lieutenant-Colonel Ivanov, Commander of one of the 


batteries of the 21st Army Corps, proposed replacing the rocket tail by 
three bars arranged like the faces of a right trihedron with the rocket at 
its vertex. ^ 

This means of rocket stabilization possessed a number of tactical 
advantages. Furthermore, experiments showed that rockets equipped 
with Ivanov's three bars, even in high, gusty winds, suffered almost no 
deviation from the direction of launching and rose more rapidly and 
higher than the same rockets fitted with conventional long wooden tails. 

TABLE 16. Production 

of 3" rocket Hares at the Nikolaev 

Rocket Plant (1890's 





Number remaining at 
end of year 

















































After due consideration of Ivanov's proposal, the Artillery Committee 
commented that "although the aforementioned superiorities of rockets 
equipped with three bars instead of a tail commend their adoption, the 
Artillery Committee nonetheless considers, in view of the fact that the 
withdrawal of signal rockets as one of the accepted means of signalling is 
now under discussion, that this proposed alteration in their design be 
deferred until it is known whether or not they are to be retired. " ^ 

The idea of discontinuing the use of rockets for signalling arose from 
their low quality, which resulted from the fact that they were often made 
in primitive laboratories without adequate control over the observance of 
all requirements. 

In an effort to improve the quality of signal rockets, the Artillery 
Committee found it necessary to concentrate their production in the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant, with the strictest adherence to the accepted design 
sketches and descriptions.'* 

At the beginning of the 20th century Russian signal rockets consisted 
of a thick cylindrical paper casing, force- filled with propellant, in the 
middle of which was an axial conical channel, covered above with a blind 
layer of the same propellant. Above this layer the casing was filled with 
powder used for slag. Attached to the lower end of the casing was a thin 
sheet metal pipe to the outside of which was soldered a right-angled socket 
of sheet metal into which the upper end of the rocket tail fitted. 

For launching the rocket was suspended vertically with the tail end down. 
Ignition was by a firing squib. 


In calm weather, free of atmospheric disturbances, the rocket rose for 
approximately 5 seconds to an altitude of up to 200 sagenes [467 yd], leaving 
behind it a long stream of sparks — a "ribbon" visible for a considerable 
distance in the darkness. After combustion of the blind propellant, the 
powder used as slag took fire, and the rocket burst. 

The principle data on Russian one- pound signal rockets, 1904 model, 
are given below:* 

External diameter of casing 1.75" 

Internal diameter of casing 1.15" 

Length of casing 15.58" 

Length of ignition channel 8.66" 

Length of blind propellant 1.95" 

Length of tail 5' 

Weight of rocket with tail 2.25 pounds 

The measures taken to regulate production of signal rockets only 
succeeded in delaying somewhat their discontinuation by the Army. Their 
quality continued to be low, as before, and in 1908 they were crossed off 
the inventories of artillery batteries and storehouses.^ 

Despite the Artillery Comnnittee's decision to concentrate the production 
of signal rockets at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant from 1904 onward, rocket 
flares continued to constitute the major part of the plant's production. In 
1904 a new "Collection of Data on Thrre-Inch Luminous Rockets" (Sbornik 
svedenii o trekhdyuimovykh svetyashchikh raketakh), incorporating all the 
changes made in the design of rocket flares, was published.' 

The Russo-Japanese War of 1904—1905 greatly affected the subsequent 
development of rocket flares. 

All the known means for illuminating a given area were tested in 
conditions of war, and the performance of rocket flares was on the whole 
found satisfactory. The reports on the progress of the war and dispatches 
sent in by the commanders of the various units contained such comments 
as: "During the siege of Port Arthur in 1904 standard model luminous 
rockets found the widest and most helpful application"; "at the request 
of the sailors, rockets were even distributed to the patrol- vessels, where 
they were of service"; "the advantages of rockets are even more apparent 
when one considers their application on land during the second part of the 
war. "° 

Table 17, which gives figures for the total numbers of rockets to be found 
in forts and siege trains between 1900 and 1915, shows clearly the 
distribution of rocket flares among the various military regions of Russia. ^ 

It is apparent that rocket flares were widely used in Russia, and 
constituted an integral part of the Russian army's illuminating equipment. 
During the period 1900 — 1915 the supply of flares increased greatly in 
practically all of Russia's military regions (excepting Kiev and Odessa). 
This was most evident in the Amur region, where the number of rockets 
increased by a factor of more than four — from about 3000 in 1900 — 1901 
to between 12,000 and 14,000 in the years 1906 — 191 4. The greatest number 
of flares (as high as 31,000) was found in the Warsaw region, which 
contained such strong fortresses as Warsaw, Novogeorgievsk, Brest Litovsk, 
and Ivangorod [now Deblin] . 


TABLE 17. Numbers of rocket flares in the military regions of Russia 











1909 1 







Petersburg region . 

3 754 


3 320 

3 470 

4 471 

5 071 

4 886 

5 793 

5 504 

5 246 


5 233 

5 507 

5 047 


Vilno region . 


6 864 

6 786 

8 665 

9 329 

10 314 



1 1 534 

5 809 

5 212 


8 787 




Warsaw region . 

25 183 

23 96!) 

22 555 

22 274 

22 140 

14 817 

17 .592 


28 512 

29 324 

28 684 

29 060 

28 083 

31 137 


Kiev region 


1 631 


1 539 


1 659 




1 1 0.10 






Odessa region . 

7 505 

8 462 

8 403 

8 209 

7 917 

8 288 

8 371 

8 029 

7 689 

j 7 500 

7 013 

10 581 

8 079 

4 939 

4 396 


Caucasus region 


8 109 

7 827 

7 216 

6 824 

7 090 

8 998 

8 830 

8 870 

8 777 

8 927 


1 8 782 

7 872 

7 657 

7 827 

Turkestan region 


1 .350 





2 100 

2 000 

1 840 


2 010 

2 070 

1 2 232 



2 003 

Amur region . 

3 064 

3 232 6 131 

6 421 

6 421 

8 200 

12 599 

13 129 ' 


14 276 

14 878 

13 987 


13 803 

' 12 958 

Kvantun district govern- 



ment .... 

2 858 

2 838 3 078 

2 998 














, . 

54 517 

60 212 


32 312 

.59 019 

56 965 

67 034 

49 517 


! 74160 


33 282 

77 391 

73 673 

74 954 

19 663 

Military actions, however, revealed the deficiencies as well as the 
advantages of rocket flares. Primary among the former were low altitude 
and short range. The 3" flares with wooden tails used by the army had a 
maximum altitude of only about 1 km, and as Major- General Pomortsev 
remarked in one of his lecture notes, served "more to illuminate the 
marksman himself than his target. " ^^ 

The primary problem confronting the inventors and designers seeking 
to improve rocket flares was therefore to increase their range and the 
radius of the illuminated surface. Those working to improve rocket flares 
during these years included Pomortsev, Sazonov, Ennatskii, et al. Their 
research is discussed in the following sections. 


For a long time a point of view widely encountered in Soviet works on 
the history of science was that after the discontinuation of military rockets 
in the 1880's, research on solid propellant rockets was actually abandoned, 
to be resumed only in the years immediately preceding the First World War. 

This point of view has also been reflected in many popular scientific 
works on the history of rocketry in Russia^^ and until very recently has not 
even been subjected to doubt. 

But the detailed study of the archives made by Soviet researchers in 
recent years has made it clear that the closing years of the 19th century, 
and more particularly, the first years of the 20th, despite the retirement 
of military rockets, saw intensive work on the perfection of solid propellant 
rockets. "^^ This was to be explained both by the widespread use of rocket 
flares and by the zeal of individual inventors who desired to build military 
rockets able to compete with other types of armament. 

An effort to create some such form of armament through improvement 
of existing solid propellant designs was being made at the end of the 
eighties, about three years after the Artillery Committee's decision to 
discontinue use of military rockets and terminate their production. In 1889 
Junior Artillery Captain Andreev of the Kars-Alexandropol Fortress 
submitted a memorandum with a description of his design for a military 
rocket with tubular tail^^ (Figure 22), intended for use in all cases when 
the use of artillery pieces presented difficulty. 

After analyzing the reasons for the retirement of military rockets, 
Andreev concluded that their chief drawbacks were inadequate accuracy 
and comparatively short range. In his memorandum he noted that the first 
of these deficiencies resulted from imperfect production techniques, and in 
particular, from the divergence, inevitable in mass production, of such 
parameters as the weight and volume of rocket tails, cross- sectional area 
of the gas exhaust orifices, distance of the axes of these orifices from the 
rocket axis, angles of inclination of these axes to the rocket axis, etc. 

These divergences, which were aggravated still more by the uneven 
combustion of the propellant, led to a substantial difference in the 
magnitude, direction, and distribution of the points of application of the 
forces acting on rockets of the same type, and were a cause of the 
considerable deviation of military rockets of earlier design. 



lehmmob moruumm ccam hamnw c%> mkmam>tjm mcmiam 


^ . 





•S3 (- 



FIGURE 22. Aadreev's design for a military rocket with tubular tail. 

In his memorandum Andreev attempted to give a schematic representation 
of the forces acting on a rocket in flight (Figure 22, sketch 2). "At any 
given moment, " he wrote, "let AB be the resultant of the propulsive force 
and force of friction. Kg, the force due to gravity, and LC, the air 
resistance. Their transposition to the point K produces one force KR' and 
the couple LC — KC", which can be resolved into two force couples: one, 
lying with the axis of the rocket in the vertical plane, and another, whose 
plane is perpendicular to the vertical and also passes through the rocket 
axis. The first couple will tend to make the rocket axis coincide with the 
tangent to the trajectory, while the second will make the rocket deviate 
from the vertical plane (plane of shot), while the center of gravity of the 
rocket will be shifted in the same direction away from the plane of the shot 
by the force KR'. Since the magnitude and direction of the force KR' and of 
the couple LC—KC" for rockets are different because the magnitude, 
direction, and point of application of their components are different, 
rockets will behave extremely differently one from another in flight. " ^* 

The second deficiency of military rockets — their comparatively short 
range — was, in Andreev's opinion, purely the result of imperfect design 
in the old type of rockets, and arose specifically from the small total area 
of the gas exhaust orifices and insufficiently long casings. Andreev thought 
range to be dependent on the power of the propellant and the length of the 
casing, and insisted on increasing these as much as possible, with the 
reservation that existing rocket designs did not permit a propellant force 
(and therefore a gas pressure) exceeding a certain value dependent on the 
strength of the casing. 

These considerations led Andreev to the conclusion that any improvement 
of military rockets depended, in the first place, on elimination of the 
causes of the above-mentioned shortcomings. 

"Thus, " ran his memorandum, "to increase the accuracy and range of a 
rocket its design must be so modified as 1) to reduce the influence of 
production errors, 2) make possible the adoption of a more powerful 
propellant for filling, without having to strengthen the casing walls, and 
3) increase the length of the casing, without unnecessarily increasing the 
weight of the rocket in so doing. " ^* 

Seeking to satisfy these requirements, Andreev proposed replacing the 
solid wooden tail by a hollow tube of sheet steel whose axis would be an 
extension of the axis of the casing, claiming that by the methods then known 
for the production of iron tubes and casings the tail could thus be given very 
nearly cylindrical form. 

The tubular tail was to be screwed onto the rocket casing in place of a 
sleeve designed to keep out dampness immediately before launching. The 
internal diameter of the tail depended on the power of the propellant, and 
its length, on the moment of the force couple which tended to make the 
rocket deviate from its proper direction. 

Andreev summarized the superior features of the tubular tail, as 
opposed to the solid one, a§, follows: 

"1) The tubular tail can make the rocket fly truer because its errors 
will be smaller than those of a central tail; 

"2) it makes it possible to use a more powerful propellant since the 
gas exhaust area can be made equal to the area of the casing and 

"3) it increases the range of the rocket independently of the power of 
the propellant. " " 


Andreev's military rocket with tubular tail (see Figure 22, sketch 1) 
consisted of a sheet iron casing BC, to which was attached a tail CD, in 
the form of a hollow tube, also of sheet iron. The forward part of the 
rocket carried an explosive head AB or a quantity of shrapnel with the 
tube A. 

Andreev expected his innovations to increase the range of 2" rockets 
to as much as 1000 or 1200 ft/sec, as well as to improve their accuracy 
substantially to the point of making it comparable with that of the mountain 
ordnance of 1867. 

Andreev also pointed out that the same changes could be made in rocket 
flares, increasing the radius illuminated to 800 sagenes [1867 yd], or a 
distance equal to that at which the objects illuminated could be examined. 

The design received almost no further development, however. In the 
concluding part of his explanatory memorandum, Andreev wrote: "This 
short description gives only the ideas and the advantages which will derive 
from their adoption. It gives no information about the projectile or the 
relative position of the centers of gravity and the figure, because the 
manuals used do not give the information required for this purpose. " '■^ 
Furthermore, Andreev was not sufficiently clear on the source of the 
reactive force. For example, he took the view that the "rocket moves 
only because the gases liberated seek to eject from the casing the 
previously liberated and lost part of the kinetic energy, as a result of 
which the greater this mass of gases, against which the newly liberated 
gases act, the greater will be their efficiency, and in consequence, the 
range of the rocket. " '^ 

At the same time he correctly noted that "the efficiency of the gases 
will be a maximum when the length of the casing is such that the pressure 
of the outflowing gases is equal to one atmosphere, though this would 
result in an exceedingly long casing. " ^^ 

In November 1891 Andreev's design was discussed at a session of the 
Artillery Committee, with the following result: "In view of the lack of 
details in Junior Captain Andreev's memorandum, and taking into account 
the fact that military rockets are no longer in use, the Artillery Committee 
does not see its way clear to support further development of his idea; the 
more so since the Committee's opinion is that a rocket possessing a tubular 
iron tail of the same length as a wooden tail will be extremely heavy, and 
that reduction of this weight by shortening the tail will only result in 
diminished flight accuracy. For these reasons the Artillery Committee has 
decided to reject the proposal of Junior Captain Andreev. "^^ 

No other information as to the fate of this design has been found, and 
it was evidently destined simply to lie gathering dust in the files of the 
Artillery Committee. Nor is it known if persons later engaged in rocket 
research had access to these files and acquired any knowledge of Andreev's 
design. Whatever the case, in a number of schemes dating from the 
beginning of the 20th century Andreev's idea of replacing the wooden tail 
by a hollow metal tube is repeated in one form or another, though without 
any reference to his work. 

Our information on the experimental solid propellant rocket research 
conducted in the 1890's is also very slight. It is true that the Artillery 
Committee files contain references to the fact that "Section V of the 
Committee, working on winged rockets, succeeded as early as 1892 in 


replacing the wing by three boards arranged like the edges of a right 
trihedron, " ^' but the passage leaves it unclear whether military rockets, 
signal rockets, or flares are being discussed, and what results were 
attained. No other references to the experiments of this period have so 
far been discovered. 

The next information on the experiments on rocket flares and military 
rockets conducted in Russia pertains to the beginning of the 20th century. 
During the years 1902 — 1917 the Russian engineers and inventors working 
on solid propellant rockets included Volovskii, Gerasimov, Demenkov, 
Karabchevskii, Linevich, Makhonin, Pomortsev, Sazanov, Sytenko, Ennatskii, 
and others. The researches of M. M. Pomortsev, N. V. Gerasimov, and I. V. 
Volovskii are of particular interest. 

Pomortsev wished to build a special "reaction glider, " propelled by a 3" 
rocket flare, attached to a tubular rod bound by thin steel wires to the 
tubular axis of the glider, and forming with it a parallelogram. ^^ He 
intended the lift of the glider to keep the illuminating compound (or other 
projectile) aloft, and its aerial stability would compensate for the lack of 
a rocket tail. The preliminary calculations made by Pomortsev in 1902 
showed that a glider with lifting surface area of 1 m^, using standard 3" 
rockets, could attain a range of 3 versts [3500 yd], and that this could be 
greatly increased by using rockets with slower burning propellant. 

At first glance Pomortsev's experiments seem like those of Eval'd 
(see p. 105) but their purposes were completely different. While Eval'd 
sought to use the propulsive force of rockets to power his aircraft, 
Pomortsev's primary intention was to improve the accuracy of rockets 
carrying explosives and illuminating compounds over great distances by 
the use of lifting surfaces. The first series of his experiments involved 
signal rockets and from the first had a more pronouncedly aerodynamic 
character. "The object of the rocket experiments described below, " 
Pomortsev wrote in 1903, "was to study the motion of various types of 
surfaces propelled in air with considerable velocities and to test the 
conclusions arrived at by myself and other researchers in studying motion 
at relatively low velocities, in order to apply the results obtained to 
increasing the flight accuracy of the rockets themselves. "^ 

The experiments consisted of attaching to signal rockets lifting surfaces 
of various shapes (Figure 23, 1 — 8), consisting of steel frames wound 
about with sheets of aluminum or some more durable material. The 
surfaces being studied were first tested in air without rockets, using 
rubber propellers, and were then attached to the rockets, either directly 
(Figure 23, 1 — 4), or to a rod from which the rocket was suspended 
(Figure 23, 5, 6). 

The results were quite negative: no sooner was a rocket with the 
attached supporting surfaces fired, than the entire system, moving forward, 
lost its stability and began to rotate about its longitudinal or transverse axis. 

A number of tests with supporting surfaces of the form described brought 
Pomortsev to the conclusion that "the flight of rockets cannot be made true 
by the use of surfaces whose direction coincides with the axis of the rocket, 
since the least angle between this plane and the axis gives rise to a 
torque couple which throws the rocket off course."^* 

The next series of experiments was conducted with tubular stabilizing 
surfaces, either cylindrical or slightly conical in form^* (Figure 24, 9 — 12). 











FIGURE 23. Rockets with stabilizing surfaces of M.M. Pomortsev's design. 


FIGURE 24. Rockets with tubular stabilizing surfaces of Pomortsev's design. 


They were made of aluminum sheet or of thin steel strips, and were 
attached to the end of the rocket casing, like an extension of it. This 
clearly was essentially a variant of Andreev's idea (see pp. 115 — 116). 

The experiments conducted with these tubular surfaces resulted in 
flight of satisfactory stability, but greatly reduced range, due, in 
Pomortsev's opinion, to reduced gas exhaust velocity because of 
considerable friction against the walls of the tubes. 

On the basis of these results, Pomortsev greatly increased the diameter 
of the tube and obtained a cylinder open at both ends, which was attached to 
the rear end of the rocket casing and was coaxial with it (Figure 24, 13). 
The results exceeded all expectation. Rockets equipped with ring 
stabilizers of this type suffered hardly any deviations from course in flight 
tests, even with a relatively high side wind. 

Further experiments were made with rocket flares, using the surfaces 
described above, with the object of determining the most favorable 
dimensions for all parts. The rockets tested were launched from a stand 
(Figure 25), to the forward end of whose housing four bars of thick T-shaped 
iron were securely attached. 

The ring stabilizers (Figure 26) were made of thin but wide strips of 
steel, or of aluminum sheets mounted on steel bands. Their length and 
diameter varied between wide limits. As the experiments performed by 
Pomortsev at Kronstadt in 1903 showed, the length of the ring stabilizers 
was not significant, whereas their diameter greatly affected the stability 
of the rockets. 

"An explanation for this last fact, " wrote Pomortsev, "is to be sought 
in the fact that in rapid motion of the rings the air resistance acts, for the 
most part, upon a part of the ring very near to its leading edge, and 
consequently, beyond known limits the rear surface of the ring does not 
participate in the air resistance component, serving only to increase the 
friction of the air particles. 

"When there is some lateral deviation of the rocket axis from the 
direction of motion, the annular surface, which also forms some angle 
with the motion, will immediately give rise to a couple of forces which 
restores the disturbed equilibrium, and the stability of the rocket becomes 
greater, the greater the moment of the forces thus created about the axis 
of the casing, i. e., the greater the diameter of the ring. " ^^ 

The above makes it apparent that in his research Pomortsev devoted a 
great deal of attention to the analysis of rocket flight dynamics. In his 
efforts to attain flight stability, he concluded that the essential thing in 
stabilizing a rocket is the mutual position of the center of pressure (or, as 
Pomortsev termed it, the center of air resistance) and the center of gravity. 

"However well a rocket is made, " Pomortsev wrote in 1903, "when it 
is in motion it is always possible for the axis of the rocket to make some 
angle with the direction of motion. At small angles of inclination and high 
velocities the center of air resistance is certainly very close to the head 
of the rocket, to a large extent because of the considerable resistance to 
the latter. As a result the center of gravity of the rocket (located 53 cm 
from the forward end in a luminous rocket) will pass behind the center of 
air resistance, and the rocket in motion will be in a state of unstable 
equilibrium. The equilibrium will continue to be disturbed until the axis 
of the rocket makes such an angle with the direction of motion that the 
center of air resistance moves back relative to the center of gravity. When 
this happens the resulting pressure on the rear of the rocket will move the 


FIGURE -■"). Rockci launching itand designed by PoiTiortsew 

FIGURE 26. Rocket flares with ring stabilizers designed by Pomortsev. 


rocket axis by inertia in the direction opposite to the preceding, etc. 

"The result of all this is an oscillatory motion of the rocket, always 
observable in rockets with tails and reaching 10° and more in luminous 
rockets, which , absorbing the enormous propulsive energy of the rocket, 
reduces its range and increases its inaccuracy. "^ 

"From the above, " Pomortsev continued, "we can conclude that the 
motion of modern rockets is very like that of a projectile shot from a 
cannon, while the restoration of a rocket's equilibrium is accomplished 
by an oscillatory motion about its longitudinal axis. " ^^ 

FIGURE 27. Rocket with cruciform guide. 

Later on, continuing his search for improved means of rocket 
stabilization, Pomortsev suggested replacing rocket tails by a special 
vane consisting of four steel bands. A steel sleeve A was fitted directly 
onto the rear end of the rocket (Figure 27), to which were riveted four 
half- rings a, made of steel bands 1 mm thick and 50 mm wide. The 
tangent ends of the bands were riveted together in pairs, forming a spider. 

Pomortsev designed a special stand for launching rockets with this type 
of stabilizer (Figure 28). Its upper end, consisting of four guide bars B of 
sheet iron, fastened at one end to the iron binding C, was attached to a 
small tripod and could be set up at any angle to the horizon. The total 
weight of the stand was about 16 kg, which made it easy to transport. 

Pomortsev's two years of experimentation on solid propellant rockets 
yielded a nunnber of positive results. In his report of April 1905 to the 
Artillery Committee he wrote: "I now regard my experiments on 3" rocket 
casings of current type, propelled by gunpowder gases, which I began two 
years ago with the support of the Artillery Committee, as concluded, and 
1 present their results in this report. 

"My first purpose in these experiments, which consisted of the 
attainment of long range, high velocity and accuracy of rockets, in order to 
use them for conveyance of explosive projectiles, may be regarded as 
achieved. Rocket casings with the stabilizers I fitted to them attain ranges 
of 2 — 3 versts [2335 — 3500 yd] before descent, and describe correct 
trajectories like those of spherical projectiles shot from mortars. " ^® 



FIGU[?E 28. Stand for launching rockets with cruciform guides. 

Later Pomortsev achieved even better results. In December 1905 he 
noted that standard 3" rockets, in which, however, the boxes of illuminating 
compound had been replaced by heavy cones, and the wooden tails by steel 
guides attached to the end of the casing, could attain ranges "of as much as 
3 — 4 versts [3500 — 4700 yd] with considerable trueness in flight. "^ 

"A like result, " continued Pomortsev, "may be obtained with luminous 
rockets, if the diameter of the box with the luminous compound is decreased. 
This can be done, without decreasing the number and size of the pellets, by 
a corresponding increase in the length of the box. The pressure of the 
gases formed by combustion of the propellant must be increased as well; 
this condition requires an increase in the strength of the metal casing. " ^^ 
On the basis of these data, the Artillery Committee decided to continue 
with the program of experiments on rocket flares outlined by Pomortsev. 
It was decided to order 500 steel casings from the Societe Metallurgique 
de Montbard in Paris, in order to determine the minimum size of gas 
exhaust orifices which would not lead to bursting of the casings. In 
addition, the Nikolaev Rocket Plant was instructed to collaborate with 
Pomortsev on the development of a new packing for luminous charges which 
would entail a box no more than four inches in diameter. 

Pomortsev's positive results with illuminating rockets gave the Artillery 
Committee a basis for returning to the idea of improved designs for 
military rockets. Pomortsev in fact proposed to develop two types of 
military rockets: incendiary (if thermite could be used in them) and high 
explosive rockets. The Artillery Committee rejected the idea of case-shot 
rockets with the comment that "the velocity of the rocket at the moment 
when the shell containing the bullet bursts will be too low to give the bullets 
adequate velocity for satisfactory performance. "^^ 

The proposed experimients, however, could be begun only in the second 
half of 1907. ^ Pomortsev, Head of the Gunpowder Workshop of the 
Nikolaev Rocket Plant, Lieutenant- Colonel Karabchevskii, the chief plant 
mechanic, the engineer Demenkov, and Captain Ennatskii, representing 
the Artillery Committee, participated. 

The first series of experiments aimed at determination of the gaa 
pressure in the casing in order to clarify the dependence of this pressure 
on the area of the exhaust orifices, the dimensions of the ignition channel, 
the method of propellant filling used, and other factors. 

During the experiments the rockets were placed in cast iron cases of 
approximately the same length as the rocket itself. In the center of the 
case bottom was drilled a hole into which was inserted the receiver of a 
Richard dynamometer. The rocket being tested was fitted into forks inside 
the case specially arranged so that the axis of the rocket passed through the 
center of the receiver piston. When the rocket's forward end touched the 
piston, its other end with the gas exhaust orifices projected beyond the end 
of the case and the gases could flow out into the air unobstructed. The 
case was placed on the bottom of a pit dug in the ground and the recorder of 
the dynamometer, connected with the receiving piston by a copper tube, was 
located inside a building next to the pit. 

In this way all the tests could be safely conducted inside the rocket plant. 
The very first experiments showed that the conical parts of the seamless 
casings delivered from France, drawn into the form of sleeves, were not 
strong enough. They often failed to withstand the gas pressure, showing 


TABLE 18. * Results of stand tests of rockets at the Nikolaev Plant (second half of 1907) 



























(sq in) 





Casings of three-inch rockets with six gas exhaust orifices 













































































Three-inch seamless casings with one central otifice 

























Over 250 
■' 250 
•■ 270 
■■ 300 
" 300 

Over 300 
" 300 





























? (Casing burned 


















? (Casing burst) 


• AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 50— 67. 
•* Numbers of the tests as given in the journal of the experiments; Sgrif is the area of the central gas 
exhaust orifice; dchan '^ "^he diameter of the ignition channel; 'chan '^ the length of the ignition 
channel; Q is the pressure at which the rocket was pressed; p is the maximum dynamometer pressure; 
and t is the time required for combustion of the rocket propellant. 


cracks and even burnout of the metal. It was therefore decided to cut off 
the lower parts of the casings and replace them by specially machined 
sleeves of the same shape, manufactured in the workshops of the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant. These sleeves were fastened to the casings by the cold 
method of squeezing the casings at the base plate and rolling their edges 
onto the lip of the base plate. 

Table 18 gives the results of measurements of the pressure developed 
by the gases in the rockets. It turned out that combustion of the blank 
propellant in the rockets occurred entirely without accompanying pressure. 
The rise and fall of the pressure, however, occurred very rapidly, so that 
all the curves showed more or less marked jumps at a pressure of about 
100 kg on their ascending arms, while the descending arms were 
completely smooth. 

Because of the lack of precise information as to the maximum possible 
pressure in the rocket casing, Pomortsev erroneously set its upper limit 
at 200 kg and ordered a dynamometer calibrated only to this maximum. 
The gas pressure in the rockets of his design with one central exhaust 
orifice often rose to 300 kg and more. In these cases an approximate 
visual estimate of the upper limit was made, and required refinement. 

A notable point is the substantial divergence in maximum pressure 
values for rockets of the same type. In Pomortsev's opinion, this was 
to be explained both by deficiencies in the recording mechanism and by 
differences in the construction of liie rockets themselves. He therefore 
compiled mean indices for all the figures given in the tables (Table 19). 

TABLE 19. Mean indices for stand tests of 1907 







(sq in) 






Casings with 

central orifices 























Over 250 




15- 19 


■' 300 








Casings with 6 orifices 

























Note . Letter designations as in Table 18. 

By analysis of this table Pomortsev was able to ascertain a number of 
general laws for all rockets of the type examined. It was first noticed 
that a substantial change in the area of the gas exhaust orifices has no 
great effect on the maximum pressure and the time for which the rocket 
propellant burns. They were considerably more affected by the diameter 


and length of the ignition channel. Pomortsev concluded, however, that in 
the case of the 3" rockets being tested it was dangerous to make the exhaust 
orifice too small (less than 0.5 in^), since with an orifice of this cross- 
sectional area the pressure in the casing would rise so high as to create the 
danger of its bursting. 

After termination of the experiments to measure the pressure developed 
in the casings, the second part of the tests was begun. This consisted of 
launching rockets with new types of stabilizers devised by Pomortsev 
(annular and cruciform guides, attached to a separate sleeve, and screwed 
onto the threaded part of the casing only immediately before launching). 

To launch these rockets Pomortsev designed special stands, two of 
which were built in Petersburg, and a third, in the workshops of the rocket 
plant. Test launchings, whose results are given in Tables 20 and 21, were 
carried out at Nikolaev and Ochakov in September and October 1907. 

These tables show that the range of the rockets equipped with annular 
and cruciform guides greatly exceeded that of those with a wooden tail, 
while the greatest range was attained by the rockets found in previous 
experiments to develop the maximum gas pressure, i.e., those whose 
ignition channel had the highest length/ diameter ratio, and whose exhaust 
orifices were smallest (see Table 20, October, Nos. 12, 13, 21, 22). 

When the results are considered from the point of view of flight 
accuracy the superiority of rockets with circular (annular) guides is 
evident (83% of military rockets with such guides followed the directrix, 
as opposed to 65% of those with cruciform guides; for rocket flares 
the figures are 75% and 70%, respectively). 

On the basis of all these experiments Pomortsev came to the following 
conclusions, laid out in his report of December 1907 to the Artillery Committee: 

"1) The kinetic energy or power of the rocket increases with decrease of the 
diameter of the ignition channel and, in particular, with increase of its length. 

"Decrease of the cross- sectional area of the gas exhaust orifices has 
the same effect, though to a much lesser degree. 

"Combustion of the blank propellant has practically no influence upon 
the pressure. 

"2) Full combustion of the channel, which raises the pressure, is 
accomplished in a very short period of time, from one to two secotids, 
and this period is decreased with increase of the gas pressure inside 
the rocket. 

"increasing the compression force of the rocket propellant beyond the 
established limits (about 150 pud [5400 lb] per sq in) has very slight effect 
on the combustion time of the propellant and the gas pressure. 

"3) Rockets with one central gas exhaust orifice, all other things being 
equal, give greater pressure and power than rockets with a series of 
smaller lateral orifices. The former also are much more accurate in 
flight than the latter. 

"4) Rockets with steel guides fastened to their rear end give 
considerably longer range, higher velocity, and greater accuracy than 
rockets of the old type with wooden tails. 

"5) Military rockets of the new type have a range of 5 to 7 versts 
[5850 to 8200 yd], but with more careful development (by means of 
experiments) and manufacture of their parts and improvement of the 
launching stand, there is good hope of increasing these distances even 
more without altering the diameter of the rocket itself. "^* 


TABLE 20." Tests of rockets with conical steel missiles 

Month of 



in test 








Cross-sec - 
tional area 
of orifice, 
sq in 

Diameter of 






















Length of 

Diameter of 

Weight of 

rocket with 



















Circular (annular) guide 










Cr uc if orm 











































With wooden tails 




angle of 




ilange of 

Over 6 

" 6 

■■ 6 

" 3 

Up to 4 

Over 6 

Up to 7 


Over 6 
.. , 

" 7 
5- 6 
Up to 5 
Over 6 
" 6 
Up to 3 


Along directrix 

To left of stand 
Along directrix 

Along directrix 

To left of stand 
Along directrix 

To right of stand 
To left 
To right 
Along directrix 
To right of stand 
Along directrix 

Considerable tail wobble 


Burst while ascending 











In launching from new 










stand, ricochetted due 










to lengthening 
Missiles torn out of 










casings during flight 

AIM Archive, Anillery Committee store, entry ;J9/3, file 685, sheeLi 50—68 obverse. 

TABLE 21. • Tests of luminous rockets with elongated caps 

Month of 



in test 


tional area 
of orifice, 
sq in 


of ignition 



Length of 




Diametei of 



Weight of 
rocket with 

angle of 

Range of 



Circular (annular) guide 









Up to 2.5 

Along directrix 









" 3.0 

To left of stand 









" 2.0 

Along diiectrix 









Over 2.5 


Cruciform guide 








Up to 2.0 

To left of stand 









' 2.0 










■ 2.25 

Along diiectrix 









• 2.0 

To right of stand 









' 2.25 

Along ditectiix 









• 2.0 










' 2.25 










■ 2 










■■ 2 











Along directrix 










To right of stand 








































W ith wooden tails 










Tail broken by exces- 
sive wobble 








Up to 2 

Along directrix 











Base plate burned out, 
fell near launching 










Defective cross piece 










Annulus with cap 







thrown out while 

AIM Archive, A rtillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 586, sheets 50- 

At this point experimentation on military rockets and rocket flares had 
to be broken off, since the Nikolaev plant's lack of heated workshops did 
not permit its continuation during the winter. Not wishing to lose time, 
however, Karabchevskii and Demenkov decided to test Pomortsev's 
stabilizers on signal rockets, of which there was always a good supply 
at hand. 

At this time Russian signal rockets consisted of a paper casing to 
which a wooden tail was attached by means of an iron charger. The 
casing was 16" long and 1.75" in diameter, with a weight, when filled, 
of 1 lb 40 zolotniki [1.42 lb]. ^^ 

In January 1908 comparative tests of signal rockets with various 
types of stabilizers were held on the rocket plant's testing ground. 
Conventional wooden tails 5 ft in length, shortened tails measuring 1 ft 8 in, 
annular and cruciform guides of Pomortsev's design, and several other 
types of guides were used. '^ The rockets were launched vertically, and 
the altitude attained was made a primary criterion for their evaluation. 
However, since the Nikolaev Rocket Plant possessed no instruments for 
precise measurement of the altitude, it had to be estimated by the naked eye. 

The experiments showed that the signal rockets of accepted design (with 
a single wooden tail) were no match to the others in altitude and flight 
precision. The best results were obtained with rockets equipped with 
Pomortsev guides, which while reaching an altitude 2.5 to 3 times that 
obtainable with conventional rockets, also flew accurately and stably. 

At the time these experiments were carried out, two signal rockets 
with guides designed by Berezhen, an official of the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant, were also launched, both times with very good results. 
Karabchevskii's report noted that these rockets "flew straight upward 
and stably, and attained no less altitude than those equipped with Major- 
General Pomortsev's guides. "^ 

About a month later the experiments with signal rockets were 
repeated, but this time, since it was desired to determine the ranges 
of these rockets with different stabilizers, they were launched not vertically, 
but at various angles to the horizon, and from a specially designed stand 
(Figure 29). The results are given in Table 22. "38 

TABLE 22. Results of Rocket Tests with various types of stabilizers 

Type of stabilizer 


Not found 

Launching angle 




One wooden tail 
Two shortened tails 
Cruciform guide . 
Annular guide .... 




* The numerator denotes the range of the rocket, and the denominator, its lateral deviation from the 
assigned direction. All measurements are given in sagenes [1 sagene — 7 ft]. 

It is readily apparent that in this case the rockets equipped with 
annular stabilizers performed best. 


Concurrently with his research for the improvement of solid propellant 
rockets, Pomortsev was looking for other energy sources for use in rocket 






V V V 

FIGURE 29. Stand for launching of signal rockets. 

As early as 1903 he presented to the Artillery Committee a program 
of experiments in which he expressed the view that one area in which 
projectiles working on a reaction principle could be improved was "in 
the development of a new type of rocket, operating not by the combustion 
of a solid propellant, but by compressed air inside the rocket casing. " ^^ 

"The Mannesmann tubes now used in Germany, England, and France 
to transport compressed hydrogen for aeronautical purposes, " he wrote, 
"weigh about 70 kg, while each such tube delivers as much as 30 m^ of 
hydrogen, compressed to 200 atmospheres. It takes 15 minutes to empty 
such tubes by means of special valves. "'*" 

On the basis of these figures, Pomortsev concluded that similar tubes 
or casings weighing about 10 to 20 kg and delivering air compressed to 
150 — 200 atmospheres could be built. These tubes could be evacuated in 
2 to 5 minutes. 


"if such casings, " Pomortsev continued, "were to be fitted with heavy 
head pieces, they would resemble aerial torpedoes which, possessing an 

enormous energy reserve, would be able to 
cover considerable distances through the air."*' 

In October 1905 Pomortsev put forward a 
detailed design for a compressed air rocket 
(Figure 30). *2 a steel tube A, able to with- 
stand pressures of above 200 atm, served as 
reservoir for the compressed air. A steel 
sleeve B, within which were four channels g 
each 2.5 nnm in diameter, was screwed into an 
opening in the pipe A. The exhaust openings 
of these channels were arranged in perfect 
symmetry about the central axis, and inclined 
slightly outwards to give freer passage to the 
connpressed air and reduce its friction against 
the threaded walls of the tube A. Inside the 
sleeve B all four channels g were joined in a 
larger channel /, leading into the reservoir A. 
The channel f was closed off by a small brass 
cover m and an ebonite disk E, which was tightly 
pressed against the flanges within the channel / 
by means of a screw D. This screw contained 
a percussion cap, which upon its ignition by 
means of an electrical spark, forced an 
opening in the disk E, letting the compressed 
air into the channels g. 

Pomortsev thought that this design would 
promote flight stability, since the point of 
application of the reactive force was in front 
of the rocket's center of gravity. To increase 
stability, the rocket was equipped with 
stabilizers of the type developed by Pomortsev 
for rocket flares. The forward part of the 
rocket (C) would hold explosives or some other 

Pomortsev also carried out some approximate 
calculations for this pneumatic rocket. *^ Its 
weight was 16—17 kg, no more than that of a 
conventional 3" rocket flare. As compressed-air 
reservoir he used a steel tube 100 mm in 
diameter and 1 m long, manufactured by the 
Montbard plant in France. This had a capacity 
of 1.5 m^ of air compressed to 200 atm. 
Pomortsev's figures indicated that the reactive 
force would reach 40 kg at the connmencement 
of motion, after which, while gradually 
declining, it would continue to act for 
25 seconds, or almost the entire duration of 
flight. This feature meant considerable 
superiority to solid propellant rockets, in which all the energy developed 
by the gases was dissipated in the first 2 or 3 seconds, after which the 
rocket moved by inertia, like a ballistic projectile. 

FIGURE 30. Scheme of pneumatic 
rocket designed by Pomortsev. 


The pneumatic rocket design was approved by the Artillery Committee, ** 
and in the spring of 1906 Pomortsev was able to begin preparing for the 
experiments he desired to carry out. 

By May 1907 all the equipment required for experiments on compressed- 
air rockets was concentrated in the chemical laboratory of the Mikhailov 
Artillery School. However, Pomortsev, before proceeding to the planned 
experiments, wished to complete his experiments on solid propellant 
rockets, so as to make use of their results. 

Curiously enough, Pomortsev also pondered such factors as the 
temperature inside the rocket casing. Noting that cooling would result, 
together with a rapid fall of pressure inside the casing, as the compressed 
air flowed out, he concluded that it might be better to use compressed air 
in combination with gunpowder gases, which develop high temperatures 
during combustion. ^^ 

In April 1908 the Artillery Committee considered the results of tests 
of Pomortsev's rockets, and expressed a completely favorable opinion of 
them, with the comment that their significance was greatly increased by 
the fact that no serious research on solid propellant rockets had been done 
for the forty years preceding. 

Recalling that even in the middle of the 19th century Konstantinov had 
persistently adhered to his notion of the importance of scientific research 
for the further development of rocketry, the Committee emphasized that 
such development acquired particular value in the period under consideration, 
because of the perfection of modern artillery pieces. "Therefore, " ran the 
Committee Journal, "the fact that the experiments of 1907 at the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant mark the beginning of laboratory research on rockets is of 
great importance. " ''^ 

While admitting that in range Pomortsev's rockets were greatly 
superior to those of the earlier design (the range of 3" rocket flares 
with missile-bearing cap, weighing about 18 lb, was 2 — 3 versts 
[2300 — 3500 yd], and that of 3" military rockets with missile, weighing 
8 — 101b, was 5 — 6 versts [5800 — 7000yd] and more, while the signal 
rockets rose to an altitude 2.5 to 3 times that achieved by rockets with 
wooden tails), the Committee did not agree with his assertion that his 
stabilizers assured true rocket flight, since this had not yet been 
established by the experiments. 

The Artillery Committee also noted that deficiencies in the launching 
stand used by Pomortsev were apparent from the very beginning. This 
stand was so short that the rockets moving on it could not acquire 
sufficient initial velocity, and as a result frequently deviated sharply from 
the direction of aiming. Furthermore, the results of the experiments did 
not lead to development of the best rocket mixture, and the incorrect 
choice of a dynamometer made it impossible to determine exactly the 
maximum gas pressure in the casing, as well as the best dimensions for the 
gas exhaust orifice and the ignition channel. 

"The preceding shows, " the Committee Journal continued, "that the 
experiments performed last year, on rockets fitted with guides, have not 
yet given conclusive solutions to the problems set for the first phase of 
rocket research. However, the failures which occurred have resulted in 
improvements in instruments and rocket casings, so that there is good 
hope of a satisfactory solution of these problems through continuation of 
the experiments. "*'' 


In conclusion, after observing that the tests which had been performed, 
being the first experiments of their kind, could not solve a number of the 
problems confronting the researchers, the Committee noted that they 
nonetheless provided material for further experiments, and expressed 
itself in favor of their continuation. 

In setting up the program of future research, a great deal of attention 
was given to the subject of which types of rockets should be tested first. 
In the previous years, as mentioned above, the tests were extremely 
varied, taking in rockets differing both in function (military, signal, and 
flares) and in energy source (gunpowder gases, compressed air). 

In 1908, however, the Artillery Committee decided against tackling 
too many different things at once, and that effort should be concentrated 
on the testing of rocket flares, propelled by gunpowder gases, as the type 
then thought to be of the greatest practical importance. At the same time 
the fifth section of the Committee was assigned the task of reviewing 
Pomortsev's pneumatic rockets and expressing its views on the advisability 
of future experiments on them. 

Certain specific research goals were also proposed. "The experiments 
must be begun, " ran the committee Journal, "with study of combustion on 
a dynamometer, in order to determine: a) the importance of the rocket 
propellant and b) the importance of its uniformity and density of 
compression. Then, with regard to the design of casings and the 
projectiles fitted with them, the objects of study should be: a) the influence 
of the dimensions of the exhaust orifice and b) that of the size of the ignition 
channel. Study of these factors will require launching of rockets with guides 
of Major-General Pomortsev's design on the Ochakov proving ground, with 
proper determination of the places where the rockets fall after shooting. . ."*^ 
A program of experiments was thus developed and the tests themselves could 
be begun; but because of some confusion, which arose mainly through 
financial matters, Pomortsev was actually dismissed from the tests of the 
rockets which he had designed, and they were conducted at the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant without his participation. 

During the second half of 1908 Karabchevskiiand Demenkov intended to 
perform a new series of experiments, with the object, as before, of 
determining the optimum parameters for solid propellant rockets of the 
type being studied. A great many experiments were performed to determine 
the gas pressure in the rocket for different combinations of ignition channel 
dimensions, and number and cross-sectional area of gas exhaust orifices. 

The results of these experiments were presented by Karabchevskii in 
a table, ''^ analysis of which brought him to the following conclusion: 

"a) A single central gas exhaust orifice is most efficient. . . 

"b) It is more efficient for the gases to flow out through six holes and 
a central orifice, having a total area of 2.7268 sq in, than only through six 
holes, having a total area of 1.8408 sq in. . . 

"c) The most efficient combination is a central exhaust orifice 1.5" in 
diameter (for which the cross-sectional exhaust area of 1.768 sq in is 
close to that of the six holes of the 3" luminous rocket now in use) and an 
ignition channel 0.5" in diameter."*" 

In 1908 no experimental rocket launchings were held, and they were 
resumed only in April, 1909, when 38 rockets with various types of 
guides were tested at Ochakov. The former relatively short stands were 


replaced by a long cast iron tube, and in a number of rockets the form of 
the cap with illuminating compound was altered (its length being increased, 
with a corresponding decrease in diameter). Karabchevskii drew the 
following conclusions from these tests: 

"1) Rockets with caps of the old type have shorter range than those 
with lengthened caps of smaller diameter, in spite of the fact that the 
total weight of the old type of cap with projectile is more than twenty 
pounds less than that of the new cap; this is a consequence of the lower 
wind resistance of the latter. 

"2) Some rockets with guides instead of a tail were true in flight, 
some underwent considerable deviations from the directrix, and 7 rockets, 
in leaving the stand, dived into the earth, as if into water. 

"3) The range was the same as in the first two launchings at Ochakov, 
i. e., up to 2.5 versts [2900 yd]. 

"4) The stand consisting of a cast iron tube, while better than earlier 
types, requires that 4 incisions be made in the tube along its length in 
order to fit on the circular guide (the edge from the external ring to the 
thick ring by which the guide is fitted onto the rocket casing). These parts 
of the tube are therefore highly unstable and every least jolt they receive 
is transmitted to the rocket as it leaves the stand, i. e., at the most 
important moment for acquisition of a correct initial direction. "*^ 

The results of the 1907 — 1909 experiments on Pomortsev rockets 
disappointed the representatives of the Artillery Committee, who expected 
results "that would resolve the problems of the new rockets to the extent 
that their mass production could be begun. " *^ 

As a result, at the beginning of 1910 it was decided to terminate the 
tests of Pomortsev rockets. "The Artillery Committee, " ran the Committee 
Journal for 27 January 1910, "having been convinced by the numerous 
experiments conducted at the rocket plant that the guides proposed to re- 
place tails, while increasing the range of luminous rockets, make them 
less true in flight, would consider it timely to bring an -end to such 
experiments. "*^ 

Not all rocketry experts shared this opinion, however. Karabchevskii 
took quite a different view of the experiments, and wrote, in the report 
which he submitted to the Artillery Committee in 1909: 

"The development of the rockets designed by Major-General Pomortsev 
has so far not led to satisfactory results, and in spite of those successes 
which have been attained, justify many skeptics who look upon Pomortsev's 
idea doubtfully; but 1 make so bold as to assert that this doubt should be 
directed towards the not altogether satisfactory conditions under which the 
experiments were conducted, rather than towards the idea itself. 

". . . It is my personal opinion, " he continued, "that Pomortsev's 
rockets do have a future. This year we shall try to perform a few more 
launching tests after overcoming the above-mentioned deficiencies, and 
shall also use a star- shaped guide of steel band, since it will be far easier 
to design a stronger and most important, stable, launching stand for 
rockets with such a guide. " ** 

Karabchevskii's plans were not destined to be fulfilled, however. In 
1910 the Nikolaev Rocket Plant was shut down, and the Artillery Committee 
conducted no further experiments with Pomortsev's rockets. 


In 1912, in his article "Old Experiments and the Modern Data of 
Aviation" (Starye opjrty i sovremennye dannye aviatsii), published in the 
journal "Tekhnika vozdukhoplavaniya, " Pomortsev gave some details of 
his rocket experiments, pointing out that rockets equipped with stabilizers 
of his design, and having an overall weight of 10 — 12 kg, had attained 
ranges of 8 — 9 km. ^^ 

For some time subsequently Pomortsev conducted rocket experiments 
at the Kuchino Aerodynamic Institute, founded with the funds of D. P. 
Ryabushinskii, who published their results in 1920, in the 6th number of the 
papers of the Kuchino Institute.^® 

In the years immediately before the First World War (1909—1912) 
several attempts were made in Russia to build a new type of military rocket 
for battle with an eijemy airforce. The progress that had been made in 
aviation and aeronautics by that time gave a sound basis for the belief that 
the airforce would have a considerable role in future military actions. The 
designers and inventors of all countries were thus faced with the problem of 
finding a weapon that would be effective against the airplanes and aerostats 
of an enemy. 

In Russia the first experimental firings of rockets against aircraft took 
place in 1909 at Sestroretsk, with completely unsatisfactory results. As 
the Artillery Committee Journal noted, "the bombardment of balloons by 
rockets had to be utterly rejected, since the experiments revealed the utter 
aimlessness of such bombardment: the slowness of the rockets and low 
accuracy with which they were thrown meant that a rocket could not come 
anywhere near an aerostat, if the latter was in motion. "^ 

Later on. N. V. Gerasimov (in 1909 — 1912), N. A. Sytenko (in 1909— 1910), 
I. V. Volovskii (in 1912) and others worked on anti-aircraft rockets. 

The gyroscopic rocket design of the military engineer N. V. Gerasimov 
is of the greatest interest. After consideration of the possible means of 
attacking enemy aircraft, he reached the conclusion that a direct hit would 
be extraordinarily difficult to achieve. He therefore suggested using mine 
shells filled with such explosives as melinite, ecrasite, pyroxylin, etc., 
to strike, not the aircraft itself, but the space in which it moved. 
Gerasimov considered rockets the most suitable means for hurling such 
missiles, were it not for the drawback of their highly unsatisfactory 
accuracy. Rockets could not be considered a serious form of weapon 
before removal of this fundamental deficiency. 

After study of the characteristics of rocket flight, Gerasimov concluded 
that "the chief causes of their low accuracy consisted of: 

"1) the instability of the rocket's major axis during aerial flight; 

"2) the excessive lengths of rockets, which reached 25 calibers 
(including the tail); 

"3) the transfer of the system's center of gravity as the rocket 
propellant burned; and 

"4) the inferior preparation of the rocket propellant, gradually stuffed 
into the casings through very long tubes. " ^® 

Gerasimov designed a rocket which he felt to be free from all the 
characteristics having an undesirable effect on flight accuracy. Most of 
his attention was devoted to the attainment of flight stability, for the sake 
of which he designed a special type of stabilizer. 


"The rocket's major axis, " wrote Gerasimov, "will be stabilized by the 
rotation within it of two turbine wheels constituting a gyroscope. Their 
velocity will be such as to give the rocket axis the same stability as that 
of a missile shot from a gun. The turbines are made to rotate by the gases 
liberated through combustion of the rocket propellant, and the axis is 
Stabilized before the rocket begins to move along the tube of the launching 
stand. After burnout, the rotational velocity of the turbines will be main- 
tained by air entering through an orifice in the head of the rocket and moving 
very rapidly due to the difference in air pressure on the head and the bottom 
of the rocket, which results from its swift motion through the air. The use 
of a turbine always imparts stability to the axis about which the rotation 
takes place, and it cannot therefore be doubted that the axis of the rocket 
will be sufficiently stable. " ^* 

Gerasimov's gyroscopic rocket (Figure 31) had two main parts: a 
cylindrical casing a, containing the rocket propellant, and a gyroscope 
compartment b.^° The cylindrical casing, 170 mm in internal diameter, 
was made of 3-mm steel. It contained three cylinders of compressed 
rocket propellant in file, with a cylindrical channel of such dimensions 
as to give a combustion surface of 1500 cm^ (according to Gerasimov's 
figures, enough to form the quantity of gases required to set the rocket 
in motion). 

The cylinders burned successively, beginning with the lowest one, 
placed alongside the gyroscope. The upper covering of the casing a 
simultaneously served as a bottom for the chamber containing part of the 
explosive, the remainder of which was located in a lower chamber behind 
the turbines. Below the casing a was closed off by the base plate b'. which 
also served as a roof for compartment b. The base plate was fitted with 
a movable bottom S with six orifices with tubes / for emission of the hot 
gases. The movable bottom was maintained in the upper position (Figure 31, 
section along AB) by six cylindrical springs r, with a pitch of 10 mm, so 
designed that when the pressure in the casing reached 2 — 3atm, the 
movable bottom began to descend, reaching its lowest position at a pressure 
of 5 atm. 

The tubes / descended with the movable bottom, and as they did so, the 
lateral orifices p', through which the gases could escape directly into the 
air, began to open. As the bottom descended (with increase of pressure 
in the casing) an increasing proportion of the gases escaped into the air 
and only a tiny part entered the channels of the turbine wheel z. As 
Gerasimov noted, the area of the orifices p' had to be so calculated, in 
accord with the quantity of gases liberated, that the pressure inside the 
casing did not exceeda previously established limit, approximately 10 atm, 
beyond which bursting of the casing would result. 

After complete combustion of all three cylinders air began to enter 
the casing through the orifice y (Figure 31) which had opened in the head 
of the rocket. Since the pressure in the casing was decreasing, the 
movable bottom began to rise and occupied such a position that the lateral 
orifices were closed, so that all the air entered the channels feeding the 

Gerasimov thought that this design would assure rocket firing accuracy 
equal to that of fire from heavy ordnance. He added that the velocity and 


along CD 

along flB 

FIGURE 31. N. V. Gerasimov's design for a gyroscopic rocket. 

range of rockets could be considerably increased by using a perfected 
rocket propellant and more efficient use of the combustion period. 

FIGURE 32. Gerasimov's gyroscopic rocket design (second version). 

Gerasimov also developed another version of the gyroscopic rocket 
(Figure 32), which differed from the first in having the gyroscope at the 
system's center of gravity, as well as in turbine wheels of different form. 
The subdivision of the rocket propellant into two parts made it possible to 
decrease the height of the powder charges (from 24 cm to 13 cm), while 
the displacement of the system's center of gravity by combustion of the 
propellant was thus reduced from 28 mm to 17 mm. The drawback of this 
second version, in Gerasimov's opinion, was "some loss of the propulsive 
power of the gases formed by the front cylinders, which had to change their 
direction somewhat. " ^^ Gerasimov gave the velocity of his rocket as 
400m/sec, with a range of 8 — 9 versts [9500— 10,500yd]. The weight of the 
rocket, totaling 61 kg, was broken down as follows: 

Casing and other parts 19kg 

Rocket propellant 24 kg 

Explosive in projectile 13kg 

Gyroscope 5 kg 

Total weight of rocket .... 61kg 

Gerasimov did not only intend to use his gyroscopic rocket to attack 
enemy aircraft, but also to propel aircraft, i. e., as an aviation engine. 

In October 1909 he patented (No. 40945), and in February 1912 received 
License No. 21024 "for a device to propel aircraft, " which, as noted in 
the patent application incorporated the following components: a) a gas 
generator a with annular chambers c, filled with combustible material; 
b) a gas reservoir with movable bottom S, from which branch pipes / 
with apertures p and t' led to the nozzles t; c) jackets / surrounding the 
branch pipes / and equipped with the nozzles m; and d) two coaxial 
turbines z and k, located in the chamber 6 and successively fed by the 
gases leaving the nozzles t, the gases released by the second turbine 
pushing the machine forward. 

Gerasimov's design was not built, but nonetheless clearly appears to 
have been a sort of prototype of the modern turbojet engines now in such 
widespread use. 

Gerasimov was a fervent advocate of military rockets and had sound 
insight into the future of such weapons. "Rockets, " he wrote. 


"will permit man, while remaining on earth, to rule also in the skies, 
since rockets, beyond doubt, will always be able to fly faster and higher 
than any other aircraft controlled by man."^^ 

Gerasimov did not feel that the applications of gyroscopic rockets were 
confined to action against enemy aircraft, but believed that they could also 
find use in the field, in the defense of fortresses and in naval battles. He 
also thought that "in the very near future rockets will replace all cannon 
of caliber above 6", since the advantages of a cheap, light, recoilless 
rocket stand which does not wear, over a heavy, expensive, short-lived 
cannon, are too great. "^ 

Gerasimov particularly emphasized the unquestionable advantage of 
replacing heavy artillery by rockets for Russia, which was behind the 
leading European countries in the development of the formier. "By this 
means, " he wrote, "we shall not only catch up with Europe, but in strength 
of armament might even precede her. " *** 

The special commission appointed by the Chief Artillery Administration 
after consideration of Gerasimov's proposal, expressed doubt that "his 
rockets will be in a position to compete with the artillery projectiles in 
current use in accuracy and range. " ^* The commission nonetheless 
decided: "it can be assumed that with the rocket launching stands now in 
use and modern forced propellant the rockets of Councillor of State 
Gerasimov will prove superior to existing ones in flight stability, and it 
will therefore be of use to perform experiments with them in order to 
make peferctly clear how the internal gyroscope affects their trueness in 
flight. "66 

The decision of the commission was also influenced by the increasing 
urgency of finding means to oppose enemy aircraft, and the desirability of 
investigating the applicability of gyroscopic rockets for this purpose was 
also mentioned. 

Wishing, however, to reduce expenses for the conducting of experiments, 
the commission urged the use, at least at the beginning, of standard 3" 
rocket flares with the forced propellant used for them, since retooling of the 
rocket plant's workshops would be required to fill casings of greater caliber, 
and this would involve considerable expense. At the same time, realizing 
the complexity of manufacturing a gyroscope of small diameter, the 
commission proposed placing the conventional 3" rockets to be used in the 
initial experiments inside special casings of large diameter, to the bottom 
of which the box containing the gyroscope was attached. 

At the end of 1909 Gerasimov prepared to perform the preliminary 
experiments, in which he intended: 

"l) to study the properties of rocket gases; 2) to develop mechanism 
designs; and 3) to test the firing accuracy of the rockets, for this purpose 
adapting a gyroscope to conventional 3" rockets. "^ 

At first the experiments were conducted in France, and afterwards 
(from February 1910 onward), at the Main Artillery Proving Ground in 
Petersburg. The first series comprised determination of the pressure 
developed in the com.bustion chamber, and the thrust of the rocket 
(Gerasimov termed these respectively internal and external pressure). 
The measurements were made with Richard automatic recorders. 

The pressure inside the combustion chamber was measured as follows. 
In place of a tail, a curved steel cylinder with a channel 12 mm in diameter 
was screwed into the base plate of the rocket. A steel tube 500mm in 


length, which was joined to a brass tube, also 500mm in length, led from 
the cylinder to a manometer. The brass tube was connected directly to 
the manometer, designed to measure the internal gas pressure of the 
rocket and mounted upon a special table, separated from the rocket by a 
low earth embankment. 

A dynamometer with hydraulic pressure transmission, for measuring 
thrust, was on the same table. The rocket being tested was fastened to 
iron rings at the base of a vertical stone wall, to which was attached a 
hydraulic receiver. A tube about 2m in length led from the receiver to 
the table with the dynamometer . Both the manometer and the dynamometer 
were carefully calibrated by the Richard firm. The propellant was ignited 
by electrical igniters. The graphs obtained from the experiments were 
verified and signed by Gerasimov and the plant director. 

The first experiments, conducted in November 1909, did not give the 
data required, since soon after beginning the tests the brass tube burned 
through, and, in a repetition of the experiment, so did the thin-walled 
steel tube used to replace it. 

Gerasimov tested four rockets during the second experiment in December 
of the same year. Ihis time all went well, and four graphs of thrust vs. 
time were obtained. Only three graphs of combustion chamber pressure 
were obtained, the fourth being lost through faults in the recording 

Analysis of the curves led Gerasimov to the conclusion that the thrust 
of a rocket depends : 

"1) on the amount of gases liberated by combustion of the propellant 
in a given period of time; 

"2) on their minimum velocity in the orifice; and finally 
"3) on the time it takes the gases to acquire this velocity. "®^ 
The experiments conducted at the end of 1909 and beginning of 1910 
showed that the pressure developed in a 3" rocket does not exceed 18atm, 
and that the thrust of the rocket reaches about 180kg and is not directly 
proportional to the combustion chamber pressure. In February and March 
1910 Gerasimov conducted a series of new experiments with his gyroscopic 
rocket, but this time the results showed that the use of his gyroscope with 
the 3" rockets standard in Russia did not provide sufficient angular velocity 
to give the rocket the required stability. 

As noted in Gerasimov 's memorandum to the Artillery Committee, the 
rocket axis could be stabilized only when the gyroscope rotated with an 
angular velocity of not less than 300 rps, while in 3" rockets the short 
period of time for which the gases acted on the gyroscope (only 1.25 sec) 
gave an angular velocity of only 79 rps. Gerasimov thought that the 
required angular velocity could be attained if the number of orifices were 
doubled, and the period for which the gases acted on the gyroscope 
increased to 4 sec. 

During the following two years (from June 1910 to June 1912) Gerasimov 
continued his tests, but without success, as before. From December 1910 
to July 1911 the experiments, which comprised stand testing of rockets as 
well as launchings, were conducted by the experimental commission of the 
Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant and atthe Main Artillery Proving Ground. All 
of the rockets tested burst on the stand and the gyroscope did not even 
begin to rotate. 


As a result, Gerasimov again altered his rocket design, placing the 
small cylinder intended to set the gyroscope rotating on the stand inside 
an iron cap screwed onto the bottom of the rocket. Upon the combustion 
of this cylinder the gases then flowed exclusively into the gyroscope 
compartment; ignition of the large cylinders occurred through an opening 
in the cover of the iron cap. 

The new experiments, however, conducted between January and April 
1912, continued to give negative results: the rockets either burst on the 
chute, burned out without leaving it, or covered an insignificant range of 
no more than about 70 sagenes [165yd]. 

As a result, Gerasimov again altered the design, at the end of April 1912. 
The small cylinder was brought out behind the bottom, and the gyroscope 
served as its continuation; as before, the gases from the large cylinders 
did not act upon the gyroscope. The first experiment with this rocket 
resulted in explosion of the propellant cylinder, as a result of which the 
cylinder was solid-drawn. At the same time Gerasimov proposed to 
replace the previously used propellant (52% nitrates, 18 % carbon, 30% 
sulfur) by the stronger one used in Russian 3" rockets. The last tests, 
conducted in June 1912, also failed to give positive results. 

The extensive factual material on the tests brought the Committee 
appointed to consider Gerasimov's gyroscopic rocket to the following 

"Both the preliminary experiments on stationary rocket ignition (with 
instrument determination of propulsive force and internal pressure) and 
those on launching from a stand or open chute have so far given no even 
faintly satisfactory results, such as some attainment of range (however 
short) and flight precision (in both of these areas these rockets have 
proved inferior to our 3" luminous rockets of old design). 

"it is impossible to decide whether the design of the rocket's metal 
parts, its equipment, or the choice of propellant is to be blamed for these 
exclusively unfavorable results, but in any case, the rocket as a whole, 
together with its launching stand, must be regarded as insufficiently 
developed. There are virtually no indications, however it may have 
seemed a year and a half ago, that positive results can be obtained by 
continued experimentation with it. "^ 

During the period of Gerasimov's experiments, the engineer N. A. Sytenko 
(in 1909 — 1910) and I. V. Volovskii, the former assistant director of the 
Putilov plant (in 1912) were also developing designs for anti-aircraft rockets. 

Sytenko's aerorocket (Figure 33) was designed for strikes against 
dirigibles and airplanes and was to consist of five or six Congreve rockets 
joined together, but sharing a common tubular tail. 

The aerorocket was intended to be ignited in such a way as to fire all 
the separate rockets composing it simultaneously. For this purpose the 
upper part of the rocket stand's connecting piece was fitted with a magnetic 
igniter which supplied a spark to all of the component rockets simultaneously. 
The rockets' warhead was to consist of shrapnel, which would readily inflict 
damage on enemy aircraft. 

"These rockets, with their stands, " Sytenko wrote, "can be placed en 
masse along demarcation lines at a small distance from one another, and 
in time of war, when convenient, can be launched by the frontier guards. """^ 


The Artillery Committee, however, after consideration of Sytenko's 
design, expressed the view that the combination of several rockets would 
result in a worsening, rather than an improvement of ballistic qualities, 
since some increase in the thrust would be accompanied by an increase 
in air resistance due to the enlarged cross -sectional area of the aero- 
rocket. It also felt that a further cause of nonuniformity — the unequal 
combustion of the forced propellant in each of the rockets grouped about 
a common tail — would adversely affect flight precision. 

FIGURE 33. Aerorocket designed by N.A.Sytenko. 

"Furthermore, " the Committee Journal continued, "the increased weight 
and volume of the head of such a combined rocket will have to be balanced by 
extremely long and heavy tails, greatly complicating the launching stands 
and increasing their weight, if the conditions normally accepted are to be 
satisfied: namely, that the center of gravity of the rocket be near its casing, 
and that the center of air resistance be near the center of the rocket's over- 
all shape and below its center of gravity. "" 

As a result the Artillery Committee, finding Sytenko's aerostat un- 
suitable for attacks on enemy aircraft, rejected his project.'^ 

In April 1912 Volovskii presented to the War Department a design for 
a military rocket (Figure 34, Type No. 1), as well as designs for two 
launchers for launching rockets from automobiles and airplanes.'^ 

Volovskii proposed to increase range and accuracy by substituting for 
the wooden tail a hollow metal tube, an extension of the rocket casing, 
and by using radially placed planes slightly inclined to the axis of the tube 
to make the rocket rotate. 

The Artillery Comnaittee rejected Volovskii's project. The Committee 
Journal commented that both of the means he proposed for increasing range 
and accuracy were not new and had been tested repeatedly both in Russia 
and in other countries: ". . . Volovskii's proposal is not at all innovatory 
and in itself does not constitute a technically well worked out project. " 
The conclusion was, "In view of the forthcoming experiments with more 
fully developed rocket designs based on the same principles. 


Rocket type No. I. 

along ay 


along ^4 

Perfected rocket type No. II. 

;j^^|5^ggg^ [ 

-^ I.. 



^ I 



Perfected rocket type No. III. 




. -./..''---„.fi.^7w-,-f.'.-iaj 

* 1 

along /™ 

Electric rocket ejector 



For mitrailleuse 


Bottom of rocket ejector 
for mitrailleuse 

— *>n 



For ordnance 




FIGURE 34. I. V.Volovskii's rocket design. 

as well as the comments made above and to be found elsewhere in literature 
on the subject, the Committee feels that the conduct of any experiments 
whatsoever with this rocket would not be of such interest as to justify the 
expenditure they would entail. "'''* 

D. D. Kuz'min-Korovaev, Head of the Chief Artillery Administration, 
however, did not agree with this opinion and added the following resolution 
to the Comm^ittee's conclusion: "The idea of using rockets as a weapon 
against aviators is new, and experiments should therefore be conducted 
with Volovskii's rockets, regardless of their cost. "'^ On the basis of 
this resolution, the War Department decided to inquire of Volovskii what 
ten rockets of his design would cost, with a view to conducting experim.ental 
shooting of these rockets at aerial targets jointly with the Airforce. 

Volovskii, meanwhile, had been working to imiprove his rockets. One 
of the most serious objections made by the Artillery Committee had been 
that in Volovskii's scheme the rocket acquired its rotational motion at the 
cost of a reduction in thrust, which in turn would inevitably result in 
shortened range. 

To counter this, Volovskii proposed to shorten the tail tube, an extension 
of the rocket casing, considerably, and to install a second tube of smaller 
diameter, but greater length, inside it (Figure 34, Type No. II), ''^ The 
tubes were joined by four tie rods d' , set at a certain angle to the axis of 
the rocket. The cross section of the rocket was thus divided into two parts: 
an internal solid one, for passage of the gases whose ejection produced the 
rocket's forward motion, and an external annular one, for passage, through 
the four channels formed by the tie rods, of the gases giving the rocket its 
rotational motion. 

The division of the rocket's cross section into two parts had the following 
advantages, according to Volovskii: by changing the orientation angle of the 
tie rods d' , the rotational velocity of the rocket could be changed, while 
change in the diameter of the internal tube (the rocket tail) made it possible 
to establish a ratio between the areas of the internal (solid) and external 
(annular) parts, thus regulating the amount of gases destined to impart 
translational and rotational motion, respectively, to the rocket. 

Volovskii developed one m.ore version of the rocket (Figure 34, Type 
No. in), intended for grazing fire from airplanes against cavalry, as wel] 
as against enemy aircraft. 

This version, identical with type No. II in its dimensions, differed from 
it in that the internal hollow tube which served as the rocket tail was 
replaced by a solid wooden bar somewhat less in diameter than the internal 
tube. As a result the area of the external part of the cross section was 
increased, though it was still, as before, smaller than that of the entire 
cross section. The intensity of the gas outflow was therefore increased. 
Varying of the inclination of the four tie rods so as to make the force of 
translational m.otion considerably greater than that of rotational motion, 
Volovskii remarked, would give the rocket the flattest flight trajectory. 

In November 1912 Volovskii's rocket design with the alterations he had 
introduced was considered for a second time at a session of the Artillery 
Committee, which, after repeating its earlier opinion that "there are not 
sufficient grounds to expect it to give greater range or accuracy than the 
old m.odel rockets currently in use, " nonetheless thought it possible to 
give the inventor means for a practical experimental check of his calculations. 



FIGURE 35. Design of a rocket battery foi shooting from automobiles 

in view of the great interest manifested most recently in the development 
of the most perfect type of rocket. ''"' 

Volovskii's attempt to build a stand for simultaneous launching of several 
rockets is also of interest as a prototype of future multi-barrelled rocket 
launchers. He also developed schemes for a rocket battery to be installed 
on an automobile, and a rocket mitrailleuse for installation on airplanes. 

The rocket battery (Figure 35) consisted of a certain number of ejectors 
(equal to the number of rockets), arranged in straight rows in the form of 
a square and enclosed in a common shell (jacket). The spaces between the 
ejectors were filled with some light fireproof material. Each ejector was 
equipped with two contacts, wired to the energy source. 

When the rockets were placed in the launchers (ejectors), contacts 
located on the forward part of tile rockets touched the contacts on the 
ejectors. When this happened a corresponding bulb on the control panel 
lighted up. After launching of the rocket the contact was broken and the 
bulb went out. This made it possible to tell at any time how many rockets 
were ready for launching, and which they were. 

The layout of the rocket mitrailleuse for shooting from airplanes 
(Figure 36) was roughly similar, except that it did not require a cumber- 
some gun carriage and was considerably lighter.'^ 

A look at the experiments done in Russia at the period under consideration 
shows that designers and inventors working to improve solid propellant 
reaction projectiles at the beginning of the 20th century faced much the same 
problems as had existed at the middle of the preceding century: increasing 
range and accuracy. However, the progress attained in the various fields 
of engineering made possible the resolution of many of the earlier problems at 
a much higher technical level. 

One of the most important factors determining the thrust of a rocket 
engine is, of course, the gas pressure in the combustion chamber, i. e., 
in the cases presently being considered, in the rocket casing. 

The experiments performed in the 19th century did not make it possible 
to determine the pressure in the rocket casing, but the tests performed at 
the beginning of the 20th century showed that the casings of the earlier 
design, manufactured at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant, could withstand 
pressures not exceeding 80kg/cm^. 

The use of seamless steel casings made it possible to increase the 
pressure in the combustion chamber (rocket casing) to 300 atm, which in 
turn allowed a considerable increase in the reactive force. 

The use of seamless casings permitted the solution of yet another 
problem existing since the 19th century — the construction of rockets 
with one central exhaust orifice, which in turn permitted further increase 
of the pressure inside the casing. 

Rocket stabilization was perfected. Most of the designs of the latter 
19th century and beginning of the 20th are characterized by the rejection 
of wooden tails and their replacemient by either a hollow metal tube, an 
extension of the rocket casing (Andreev, Pomortsev, Sazanov, Volovskii), 
or another form of stabilization, such as supporting surfaces (Pomortsev), 
a gyroscope (Gerasimov), or rotation of the rocket itself (Volovskii). 

A serious deficiency of all these designs was their continued use of such 
a relatively low- calorific fuel as smoky black powder as energy source. 


FIGURE 36. Design of rocket mitrailleuse for shooting from airplanes. 

As a result of this, in their tactical and engineering characteristics most 
of the rockets of the beginning of the 20th century essentially differed very 
slightly from Konstantinov's designs of the mid- 19th century. 

Further improvement of rocket projectiles required the substitution of 
some superior fuel for smoky black powder. It proved possible to do this, 
however, only in the 1920's and 1930's, when a new era in the development 
of solid propellant rockets began. 


Transfer of rocket production to the Shostka Gunpowder Plant was 
discussed as early as 1905, mainly because of financial considerations. A 
memorandum of the Inspector of Gunpowder Plants noted, "The transfer 
of the rocket plant to Shostka will not, it seems, occasion any great 
simultaneous expense, but the abolition of the Nikolaev rocket plant will 
in any case be a highly economical measure, since a few years of operation 
with a surplus will cover the expenses involved in transfer of the plant. "'^ 

It was assumed that casings and all their metal parts would be 
manufactured in separate plants, and that only assembly, filling, and 
finishing of the rockets would take place at the Shostka plant. ^° 

The decision to transfer rocket production to the Shostka plant, how- 
ever, was made with excruciating slowness. The office of the Inspector of 
Gunpowder and Rocket Plants exchanged correspondence with the Chief 
Artillery Administration for a number of years while budgets and lists of 
the number of workers involved in an annual production of 4000 and 9000 
rockets, respectively, were compiled. Only in November 1909 did the 
War Council officially confirm the proposal of the Chief Artillery 
Administration to shut down the Nikolaev Rocket Plant and transfer 
production to the Shostka Gunpowder Plant. ^^ 

Dismantling of the Nikolaev plant and equipping of a rocket workshop in 
the Shostka plant occupied most of 1910. and were completed only in 
October of that year. The Nikolaev plant was finally closed, while the 
Shostka plant received an order for 6700 rocket flares to be manufactured 
during 1911. 82 

Experimental research on rocket flares continued in the period preceding 
the First World War. The experiments conducted by D. V. Sazanov, former 
assistant to the Head of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant, and V. I. Ennatskii, 
Secretary of the Artillery Committee, are of particular interest. 

Sazanov began to work on rocket flares in 1907. After pointing out the 
shortcomings of the current design, which in his opinion were summarized 
by the impossibility of making the rocket tail and the exhaust orifices in 
the base plate strictly symmetrical about the rocket axis, Sazanov proposed 
a radical departure from such a design, substituting for the tail an elongated 
casing with dimensions to be chosen so as not to alter the weight of the 
rocket. ^^ 

This too will readily be recognized as a version of Andreev's proposal, 
but again without any reference to his work. However, it is not known 
whether Sazanov had some opportunity to become acquainted with Andreev's 
design, or simply developed it independently. 


At the same time Sazanov put forward another type of rocket without 
base plate or tail, which featured, in addition to the elongated casing, 
gradual change in the diameter of the ignition channel. *'* By an appropriate 
choice of diameter for different sections of the ignition channel, Sazanov 
expected to obtain the maximum possible range for his design and the 
rocket propellants then available. 

The Artillery Committee, after consideration of Sazanov's proposal, 
thought it worthwhile to test his rockets, commenting, "Without a base 
plate, which impedes the flow of gases out of the casing and has orifices 
of limited area for their passage, it will in all probability be possible 
to increase somewhat the length of the channel, thereby increasing the 
gas pressure in the channel, and giving the rocket greater velocity and 
accuracy in flight. "^^ 

The experiments, however, could be begun only in 1909, shortly after 
it was decided to shut down the Nikolaev Rocket Plant. The rockets 
actually tested differed substantially from those originally put forward 
by Sazanov. 

The rockets tested in 1909 (Figure 37), ^^ consisted of a metal (steel 
or iron) casing, to which was attached a cap containing an incendiary 
compound and two lateral wooden tails. At one end the casing was closed 
off by a metal disk with a depression into which the cap could be screwed. 
An aperture for a time- fuse was left in the center of the disk. Two pairs 
of metal clamps served to couple the tails to the casing. 

FIGURE 37. Rocker designed by D.V. Sazanov. 

As Major- General Rudakov, assistant to the Head of the Shostka 
Gunpowder Plant, later observed, the features of Sazanov's rocket 
design were the following: 

"1) The absence of a base plate, 

"2) a long, narrow cap for luminous pellets, 

"3) two tails, placed along the two generatrices of the casing, rather 
than one, located along an extension of the rocket axis, 

"4) chalk and sulfur are not rammed in, 

"5) a time-fuse ready for use is screwed into the rocket plug, 

"6) a cap, also completely finished and equipped with pellets, is 
screwed into the same plug. " ^'' 

The experiments were conducted in April 1909, at the Ochakov proving 
ground. Altogether 6 rockets were launched, and ranges of 2100 to 2500 m 
were achieved, with lateral deviations of from to 200 m.^^ 

In addition, Sazanov conducted stand tests of rockets in which the length 
of the ignition channel had been increased to 39", while the diameter 


remained at 1", replacing the propellant by compressed black powder. 
In neither case did a burst casing occur, so that Sazanov had a case for 
proposing the introduction of these changes into the rocket flares of his 

While developing rockets for purposes of illumination, Sazanov also 
devoted thought to the application of his rockets as military projectiles. 
He noted that if the cap with 20 pounds of incendiary mixture (measuring 
4^/8 by 21 inches) were to be replaced by a cylindrical pointed missile 
weighing 10 pounds, and measuring 3 VS by 11 V2 inches, the range of the 
rocket would rise from 3 to 5 versts [3500 to 5800 yd], and it would be 
suitable for the bombardment of fortresses, camps, villages, and other 
more or less sizeable areas. ^® 

The Artillery Committee, after consideration of the experiments on 
Sazonov's rockets (with lengthened casing, without base plate, and with 
two lateral wooden tails), concluded that it would be worthwhile to 
continue the experiments, since the preliminary results had been 
satisfactory. "The range was greater than that of luminous rockets currently 
in use, flight accuracy was reasonably well preserved, and the stationary 
combustion of rockets with compressed black powder gives some indication 
of its feasibility in place of weaker rocket propellants. " ^'' 

The Artillery Committee Journal emphasized the particular desirability 
of replacing the rocket propellant by compressed black powder in view of 
the proposed transfer of rocket production to the Shostka Gunpowder 
Plant, since it would release the plant from the need to prepare special 
rocket propellant when standard smoky powder could be used. It was there- 
fore decided to resume the experiments at the Shostka, rather than the 
Nikolaev plant, but only after rocket production had been properly launched 
at the former. 

The rocket workshop of the Shostka Gunpowder Plant began production 
in 1911, but the manufacture of the Sazanov rockets dragged on, and the 
first 20 experimental rockets were ready only by 1913. 

The results of the tests were completely unsatisfactory; of seven 
rockets, only one attained a range of near 2.5 km, while in all the other 
cases the casings burst due to excessively high gas pressure. ^^ Further 
tests of the series of rockets produced at the Shostka plant were there- 
fore abandoned. 

The professionals present at these experiments attributed the burst 
casings to the great difference in the properties of the powder manufactured 
in the Shostka Gunpowder Plant and that of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant. 
Major-General Rudakov, assisted to the Head of the Shostka Plant, 
reported its powder to be half again as powerful as that of the Nikolaev 
plant. 92 

It was therefore decided, despite the patently unsatisfactory outcome 
of the first tests, to continue experimentation on Sazanov's rockets after 
approving a different rocket propellant and making some alteration in the 
dimensions of the ignition channel. ^^ The matter dragged on, however, 
until the beginning of World War I. 

Ennatskii, who, as noted above, had been sent to Nikolaev in 1907 to 
participate in the tests of Pomortsev's rockets, began to work on rocket 
flares at almost the same time as Sazanov. Analysis of the 1907 tests 
brought Ennatskii to the conclusion that Pomortsev stabilizers would not 


lead to development of a satisfactory design for rocket flares in the near 
fugure, and he therefore urged further attempts at stabilizing rockets by 
making them rotate. 

"it would seem possible, " he wrote in September 1907, "to make a rocket 
fly straight by making one of its components rotate — a special wing (like a 
paddle wheel on boats), fastened to the casing. This wing would be made to 
rotate neither by air resistance, nor by the gases giving the rocket its 
translational motion, but by either an appropriate modification of the stand 
or, more correctly, by means of work stored earlier (for example, by 
winding a spring), which is released by a special catch on the stand at the 
moment the rocket is launched. " ** 

Since he realized, however, that the introduction of serious alterations 
in rocket design would require considerable time, and wished to produce 
well- functioning rocket flares as soon as possible, Ennatskii at first 
limited himself to only the most essential changes. In September 1908 he 
requested from the Artillery Committee permission to experiment with 
3" rocket flares of somewhat modified design. ^^ 

Ennatskii proposed to retain the essentials of the accepted Russian 
design for rocket flares, i. e., their major dimensions and overall shape, 
means of stabilization, propellant mixture, fill density, dimensions and 
number of orifices in the base plate, introducing only the following slight 

"1) a) Decrease the diameter of the cap and make its cover ogival in 

b) install a means of filling the cap with small pellets. 

"2) Adapt the wooden tail to the modified rocket. 

"3) Give the ignition channel different, more efficient dimensions. " ^^ 

Ennatskii expected by these changes to obtain an increase in range to 
two versts [2350yd], as well as improved accuracy. The preliminary 
experiments, performed between June and August 1910 at the Main 
Artillery Proving Ground, with rockets termed Type No. 2, confirmed 
his estimates, and the Shostka Plant was ordered to build 100 Ennatskii 
rockets of 2 knn range for the conduct of further experiments.^ 

At the same time the Artillery Committee voiced the desirability of a 
rocket design for illumination at both small and great distances. In 
December 1911 Ennatskii accordingly presented designs for three types 
of rockets designed for ranges of 2.5 km (Type 1), 3.5 km (Type 3), and 
above 5 km (Type 4). ^^ In this instance too, however, construction of the 
experimental rockets proceeded at a snail's pace and according to some 
accounts was not finished before 1916. ^^ 

It is of interest that not long before the First World War an attempt was 
made at the Shostka Gunpowder Plant to find criteria for evaluating 
rockets of different designs. Major-General F.N.Rudakov suggested using 
as an index a so-called design coefficient, by which he meant the ratio of 
the useful work (which he gave as the product of payload weight and flight 
range) to the weight of the propulsive load. The design coefficient was thus 
determined by the formula 

p ^C-S _ (P-D).S 


where R is the design coefficient of the rocket, 

C is the payload weight, 

S is the range of the rocket, 

D is the weight of the propulsive load, and 

P is the total weight of the rocket. 
Rudakov made this relatively simple formula the basis of a comparison 
of standard 3" rocket flares with Sazanov and Ennatskii rockets (Table 23), ^"^ 

TABLE 28. Comparative data on different rocket flares 

Payload (illuminating compound) 

in kg 

Propulsive load in kg . 

rocket propellant . . . . 

empty casing 


cap (empty) 

rocket tail 

Range in m 

Useful work in kg-m . . . . 
Design coefficient 


3" rocket 






Rocket flare 


by Ennatskii 





Rocket flare 

by Sazanov 






Note . The measures in the table have been converted to the metric system. 

and concluded that Sazanov's rockets had the best design coefficient, 
followed by Ennatskii 's, while the standard rockets had the poorest. 
A glance at Rudakov's formula shows that he incorporated in the 
propulsive load not only the fuel (rocket propellant), but also all of the 
rocket's structural elements. It was therefore essentially the total 
starting weight of the rocket, excepting only the payload. This approach 
aroused the objections of the Artillery Committee's representatives, who 
believed that the useful work should more properly be referred not to the 
total weight of the rocket, but only to that of the rocket propellant. ^°^ 
Furthermore, it was pointed out that Rudakov's criterion neglected such 
factors as flight accuracy and the efficiency of the payload (in the case of 
rocket flares, for instance, the brightness of the illumination). 

Unfortunately Rudakov's idea of the comparative evaluation of rockets 
of differing design received no further attention, and at the period in 
question no satisfactory criteria for the evaluation of rockets were developed. 

From the above it is clear that before World War I no solution was found 
to the problem of building satisfactorily functioning, reliable rocket flares. 
Once the war had begun, however, the need for such rockets rose sharply. 
The Shostka Gunpowder Plant was pressed to quadruple its daily 
production of flares from 50 to 200 rockets. ^"^ During 1915 the plant's 
rocket workshop was greatly expanded, other buildings were fitted out, 
and a new mechanical plant was installed. 


In August 1915 the Chief Artillery Administration informed the Central 
Committee of War Industries that the army required 10,000 rocket flares 
per month. ^"^ The Mechanical Section of the Committee thereupon prepared 
to place an order for 150,000 rockets (from October 1915 to December 1916). 
Since the production of rocket casings remained one of the greatest 
bottlenecks and lagged far behind front-line needs, slowing down rocket 
production, it was decided to order 50,000 additional casings from the Kiev 
Arsenal, ^°* and a further 8000 from the United Siberian Rolling Mills. '"^ 

Despite their wide application, the rocket flares produced continued to be 
of low quality, and this attracted the attention of many commanders of the 
Army in the Field. In April 1915, for example, Lieutenant-General E. A. 
Kolyankovskii, Commander of the 15th Army Corps, mentioned the following 
deficiencies of the rocket flares in current use: 

"1) In leaving the stand the rocket trails a strip of fire 15 sagenes 
[35 yd] in length and about 8 vershok [14 in] in diameter, giving the enemy 
an accurate indication of the stand's location. 

"2) The terrible noise and masses of smoke produced by the launching 
eases the enemy's orientation and aiming of his ordnance. 

"3) Short range. 

"4) Inadequate light and brief duration of illumination (about 15 sec). " '"^ 

Ensign Kucherov of the Household Combat Battalion also discussed the 
serious defects of rocket flares in a written report on the unsatisfactory 
methods of illumination being used by the Army in the Field, which he 
submitted to the Department of Gunpowder and Explosives in October, 

In that year the Artillery Committee, considering the question on methods 
of illumination, pointed out that despite the familiar defects of rockets 
listed in Lieutenant-General Kolyankovs kit's report, rocket flares were 
still widely used because of their lightness and mobility, and their 
simplicity by comparison with other means of illumination, such as search- 
lights and luminous projectiles. ^^ 

While rockets were being used for local illumination in Russia, attempts 
were also being made to apply them for other purposes. The military 
rockets of Captain Budevskii of the Bulgarian Service were tested in 
Petersberg in 1913, though without success. '°^ 

In August of the same year the Admiralty requested the Chief Artillery 
Administration to give the Shostka Gunpowder Plant an order for 50 
3" rescue rockets, ^i" In September 1913 this order was increased to 
300 rockets, and in January 1914 it was doubled again. ^^'■ 

In February 1915 an order for 20,000 3" and 4" rockets of the same 
type as flares, but without the luminous heads, arrived from the naval 
battalions of the Army in the Field. These rockets were to be used to 
bombard wire entanglements with grapnel. '^^ 

During the First World War many persons and organizations in Russia 
worked to improve rocket flares. In September 1915 Major-General E. B. 
Pokhvisnev, in charge of artillery supplies for the northern front, reported 
to the Chief Artillery Administration that the Fifth Army had tested rocket 
flares manufactured in Petrograd in the private laboratory of A. P. 
Serebryakov. The report emphasized that "the results obtained were 
excellent: simplicity of handling, duration of combustion 1—2 minutes, 
considerable area illuminated. " ^''^ 


Also engaged in the creation of new methods of illumination were Major- 
General Helfreich, Captain Likhonin, Junior Captain Artem'ev, Second 
Lieutenant Makhonin, the War Industries Committees of Moscow, Kiev, 
and Khar'kov, the Troitskii Plant, the Vaulin Plant, etc."* 

In considering their work, however, it must be borne in mind that in 
these years illuminating projectiles which did not work on a reaction 
principle were also often termed rockets. In particular, the so-called 
hand -rockets, which were shot from a special pistol or rifle and were 
essentially illuminating cartridges, achieved widespread use. 

The most innportant rocket flare designs of this period are those of 
Junior Captain V. A. Artena'ev and Lieutenant 1. 1. Makhonin. 

Vladimir Andreevich Artem'ev began work on rocket flares before the 
First World War, when he was stationed at the fortress of Brest-Litovsk. 
During the years 1915 and 1916 Artem'ev introduced a number of 
improvements in the design of 3" rocket flares. He proposed to replace 
the pellets by parachute flares with aluminum powder, which would greatly 
increase the duration of the illumination, an important criterion in the 
evaluation of rockets. 

At the beginning of 1916, 1. 1. Makhonin, Second Lieutenant of the 
Engineers, proposed an "illuminating self-propelled projectile, " which 
consisted of "a rocket turbine with the capability of bombarding the enemy 
not only with a luminous bomb, but also with explosives, asphyxiating 
gases, and a smoky compound. "^^ 

Makhonin' s design for his rocket projectile, however, took the form of 
a simple sketch unaccompanied by numerical data or description. "As far 
as can be judged, " ran the Journal of Section VI of the Artillery Committee, 
"Second Lieutenant Makhonin's projectile consists of a metal drum filled 
with certain substances, which must be propelled by five rockets spaced 
in a circle and resting with their heads upon the drum. " *'^ 

The tests of Makhonin's projectile in March 1916 gave very good results, 
which led the Field Inspector -General of Artillery to raise the question of 
manufacturing 500,000 such rockets. "To emphasize the importance of such 
a device as a rocket turbine -engine, " he remarked, "I request that it be 
given the widest possible use by placing on the turbine som.e chem.ical 
substance, in particular, an explosive, and thus transforming it into an 
aerial mine, which, when used in concentrated large numbers against a 
given enemy target, would prove to be a powerful and fearsome weapon. "'^^ 

Repeated experiments performed in July 1916 did not, however, confirm 
this promise. As noted in the Artillery Committee Journal, "Not one rocket 
worked properly and fulfilled its function. " ^^^ The results of tests held in 
September were little better; almost half of the rockets launched refused to 
function. As a result of these tests the Artillery Committee held that 
Makhonin's rockets did not fulfill their purpose and were therefore un- 
suitable for purposes of illumination.^*® 

In October 1916 the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief 
held comparative tests of various illuminating and rescue devices, including 
rockets. *^° Because of a disagreement between the Artillery Committee and 
the Office of the Inspector -General of Artillery as to how the results should 
be interpreted, however, it was decided to repeat the tests in the spring of 

The illuminating devices tested included 3" rocket flares of fortress 
type, manufactured by the Shostka Gunpowder Plant and converted by 


Junior Captain Artem'ev into parachute rockets, and Second Lieutenant 
Makhonin's rocket missiles. 

It was originally planned also to test Ennatskii's 3" rocket flares, but 
they did not arrive in time and were therefore excluded. 

Artem'ev's rockets received praise, but were recognized as suitable only 
for fortress and shore warfare. Their clumsiness, together with the fact 
that they revealed the launching point, were awkward to transport when 
adjusted, and required a special stand, made them unfit for field and trench 
warfare. ^^^ 

Makhonin's rocket missiles came in for sharp criticism as extremely 
dangerous in operation and awkward. The common opinion of the delegates 
from the front was that they were altogether unsuitable as illuminating 
projectiles, and should be rejected. *^^ 

No satisfactory design for rocket missiles was thus developed before the 
end of World War I. This was largely tobe explained by the fact that black smoky 
powder, a relatively low-calorie fuel, continued to be used as the energy 
source for rockets. 

Further improvement of solid propellant rockets required replacement 
of the relatively weak forced compound by a better and more caloric fuel, 
and efforts in this direction were begun as early as 1915, when I. P. Grave, 
an instructor in the Artillery School, proposed the use of a new rocket 
propellant based on smokeless pyroxylin powder. '^^ 

The Artillery Committee considered this proposal, and although it met no 
essential objections, it was rejected because its development would have 
required a long time, and the war seemed likely to end soon, making it point- 
less to embark on an extended project. 

After this refusal, in 1915 the inventor turned to the board of the 
Shlissel'burg Gunpowder Plants of the Russian Society for the Manufacture 
and Sale of Gunpowder, presenting his initial considerations as to the 
percentage composition of the new powder. 

The board conducted a few preliminary experiments, but with un- 
satisfactory results, and informed Grave that his mixture disintegrated 
without giving a compact mass. They nonetheless allowed him to work 
privately in the plant, placing at his disposal the plant laboratory and 
two assistants. 

The first stage of the experiments was concerned with obtaining a 
compact and only slightly compressed mass by hot rolling a mixture of 
two sorts of pyroxylin with stabilizing substances. A compact mass was 
obtained in the form of ribbons or even strips, and cut into pieces which 
were then fed into a preheated press equipped with a compound matrix. 
Leaving one upper input opening in the press. Grave obtained the gunpowder 
mass in the form of a bar 70mm in diameter, which was then cut by hand 
into cylindrical pieces. The cylinders were dried briefly, and after 48 — 72 
hours hardened to such an extent as to permit machining on a lathe and 
drilling of a central longitudinal channel. A liquid solvent was used to seal 
the drilled -out channel at one end with a thin disk of the same mass. 

On 14 July 1916 (certificate No. 746), Grave received a patent for: 

"1) A military, or luminous rocket, distinguished by the use, in place 
of a forced compound, of a compressed cylinder of gelatinized nitrocellulose 
with an admixture of stabilizing substances. 


"2) The method of manufacture of this rocket, which is distinguished by 
the fact that the cylinder substituted for the forced compound has one or 
more longitudinal sealed channels. "^^^ 

Replacement of forced rocket connpound by smokeless (colloidal) powders 
was threfore proposed as early as 1916, and experiments on the 
manufacture of cylinders of compressed nitrocellulose were actually 
begun. However, neither in 1916 nor later did Grave succeed in 
arranging experiments on the use of his cylinders in jet missiles. The 
triumph of smokeless powder over forced rocket propellant thus remained 
uncertain until the end of World War I. 


^ See Otchety o deistviyakh Voennogo ministerstva za 1889 — 1900 g. 
(Reports on the Activities of the War Department for 1889 — 1900). 
Sankt-Peterburg, 1891—1902. 

^ Ivanov. Spuskanie raket bez upotrebleniya spuska (Rocket Launching 
without Use of an Incline).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, Section I, 
pp.313 — 315, 1902. 

^ Alteration in the Design of Signal Rockets. Artillery Committee Journal 
No.400. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 11, official section, p. 358, 1902. 

* Artillery Command No. 123, 12 September 1904. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 12, official section, p. 260, 1904. 

^ Ibid., p. 261. 

^ Artillery Order No. 95, 1 908. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 9, Official 
Section, pp.76 — 77, 1908. 

' Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, Official Section, p. 25, 1904. 

^ From the Report of Major -General Belyi, Artillery Commander of the 
Vladivostok Fort. — AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, 
file 585, sheets 217 — 219. 

^ The table is compiled from the reports made by the Commanders of 
Russia's various military regions to the Chief Artillery Administration. 
TsGVlA, store 504, entry 8, files 1370, 1373, 1376, 1378, 1379, 1382, 
1384, 1391, 1392, 1393, 1396. 

^° AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, 
sheet 320. 

^' Sonkin,M. Russkaya raketnaya artilleriya (Russian Rocket Artillery), 
Moskva, 1952; Shuvaev,N.A. Istoriko-kriticheskii analiz razvitiya 
osnov mekhaniki peremennoi massy (A Historico-Critical Analysis 
of the Development of the Fundamental Mechanics of a Variable Mass). 
Dissertation. — Gorki State University, 1955; Ly apuno v , B. V. 
Raketa (Rockets). Moskva, 1960. 


"■^ It should be noted that most of the documents to be found in the archives 
relating to the research done on solid propellant rockets in Russia during 
the early years of the 20th century were discovered by V. A. Guseva- 
Tarasova (Postgraduate, MVTU), and figured largely in her dissertation 

'^ Andreev. Boevye rakety s trubchatym khvostom (Military Rockets 
with Tubular Tails).— AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, 
entry 3 9/3, file 246, sheets 245 — 248. 

^* AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, 
sheet 246. 

1* Ibid., sheet 247. 

^^ Artillery Committee Journal, No. 630, 1 November 1891.- AIM 

Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, sheet 240. 

" AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 246, sheet 248 

^^ Ibid., sheet 247. 

l» Ibid. 

^° Ibid., sheets 251—251 obverse. 

2' Artillery Committee Journal, No. 400, 24 July 1902. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 349, sheet 299. See also 
Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 11, Official Section, p. 357, 1902. 

22 AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 349, sheet 275. 

2^ Pomortsev,M. Opyty po primeneniyu raznoi formy poverkhnostei k 
dvizhushchimsya raketam (Experiments on the Application of Surfaces 
of Various Shapes to Moving Rockets). — AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 349, sheet 372. 

^* AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 349, sheet 376. 

2 5 Ibid. 

25 Ibid., sheets 373 obverse — 374. 

2' Pomortsev, loc. cit., sheets 373 obverse — 375. 

28 Ibid., sheet 375. 

2" AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheet 295. 

^° Artillery Committee Journal, No. 62, 27 January 1906. — TsGVIA, store 
504, entry 8, file 1445, sheet 18. 

^^ Ibid., sheets 18 — 18 obverse. 

^2 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1445, sheet 20. 

For a description of the experiments see the Artillery Committee 
Journal, No. 357, 5 April 1 908. — AIM Archive, Artillery Committee 
store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 45 — 54. 


** Pomortsev.M. Rezul'taty opytov s raketami novogo tipa, 

proizvedennykh v 1907 godu v g. Nikolaeve i Ochakove (Results of 
Experiments with Rockets of a New Type, Performed in 1907 at 
Nikolaev and Ochakov) . — AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, 
entry 3 9/3, file 585, sheets 50/71—50/71 obverse. 

^* Artillery Order No. 123, 1904, and Chief Artillery Administration 
Circular No. 47. 1905. 

'* These experiments are described in S. V. Karabchevskii's report of 
12 May 1909. AIM Archive, Artillery Committee sotre, entry 39/3, 
file 585, sheets 277 obverse — 279. 

" Ibid., sheet 279. 

'^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 3 9/3, file 585, 
sheets 404—405. 

*' AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 349, sheet 408. 

*" Ibid., sheets 408—408 obverse. 

** Ibid., sheet 408 obverse. 

*^ Pomortsev,M. Proekt ustroistva rakety so szhatym vozdukhom 
(Design for aCompressed-Air Rocket). — AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheets 299 — 302. 

*^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheet 301. 

** Artillery Committee Journal, No. 42, 18 January 1906. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheet 307. 

*^ Artillery Committee Journal, No. 497, 30 May 1907.— Ibid., sheet 434. 

*^ Artillery Committee Journal, No. 357, 5 April 1908. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheet 52. 

*' Ibid., sheets 53 obverse— 54. 

*^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 
54 — 54 obverse. 

" Ibid., sheets 406 — 417. 

^ Ibid., sheet 279 obverse. 

*^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 3 9/3, file 585, sheets 267 
obverse— 268. 

*^ Artillery Committee Journal, No. 86, 27 January 1910. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheet 434 obverse. 

® Ibid., sheet 436. 

" AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheet 283. 

® Tekhnika vozdukhoplavaniya. No. 1, p. 9, 1912. 

^^ The contents of Ryabushinskii's article are described in the book: 
Rynin.N.A. Rakety i dvigateli pryamoi reaktsii (Rockets and 
Ramjet Engines). Leningrad, 1929. 


^'' Excerpted from the Artillery Committee Journal, No. 277, 1909.— 
AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 704, 
sheet 243. 

^^ Gerasimov,N. Zhiroskopicheskaya raketa (A Gyroscopic Rocket). — 
AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheet 14. 


For a description of the rocket's mechanism, see Ibid., sheets 19 — 21. 

Gerasimov,N. Zhiroskopicheskaya raketa.— AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheet 21. 


^^ Ibid., sheet 14 obverse. 

^' Ibid., sheet 15 obverse. 

" Ibid. 

55 Journal of the Special Conference of 1 and 11 September 1909.— AIM 
Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheet 44 

"5 Ibid., sheets 44 obverse— 45. 

" From Military Engineer Gerasimov's report.— AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheet 138. 

^^ Ibid., sheets 140—140 obverse. 

58 Journal of the Committee's session of 3 July 1912.— AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheet 348 obverse. 

''° AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, 
sheet 441. 

" Ibid., sheet 442. 

^2 Ibid. 

'3 Report of I. V. Volovskii, 19 April 1912. — AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 704, sheets 203 — 207. 

'"t Artillery Committee Journal, No. 629, 3 June 1912. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 704, sheets 199 — 201. 

■'5 AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 704, 
sheet 212. 

^5 Description of the rocket of improved type No. II and No. Ill 
(patent No. 52725).— AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, 
entry 39/3, file 704, sheets 244, 245. 

" Artillery Committee Journal, No. 1254, 3 December 1912. — AIM 
Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 704, sheets 

78 For a description of the design of the rocket battery and rocket 

mitrailleuse see AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, 
file 704, sheets 251 — 252. 


''^ Memorandum No. 464 of the Inspector of Gunpowder and Rocket Plants, 
31 December 1905. TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1375, sheet 3. 

80 Ibid., sheet 43. 

81 Excerpt from the War CouncilJournal, 20 November 1909. Ibid., 
sheet 137. 

82 On this see TsGViA, store 504, entry 8, file 1375, sheet 604. 

83 AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheet 185. 

84 Ibid., sheet 188. 

85 AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/4, file 417, sheet 188 


TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1445, sheets 246 obverse— 247. 

Ibid., file 1473, sheet 10 obverse. 

TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1445, sheets 245 obverse— 248. 

Ibid., sheet 244 obverse. 

Ibid., sheet 253. 

81 Report on testing of Major-General Sazanov's rockets. TsGVIA, store 
504, entry 8, file 1473, sheet 11. 

92 Ibid., sheet 12. 

93 Copy of Artillery Committee Notice, 18 June 1914. Ibid., sheet 4. 

9* From Junior Captain Ennatskii's report. AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheet 50/48. 

95 Report of Guards Captain Ennatskii. — AIM Archive, Artillery 
Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 143 — 147. 

96 Artillery Committee Journal, No. 83, 24 January 1909. — AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheet 148 obverse. 

^ TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1445, sheet 266. 

98 Ennatskii's Report. — AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 
39/3, file 704, sheets 126 — 133. 

99 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 331, sheet 2. 
100 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 147 3, sheet 13. 
i"! Ibid., sheet 12. 

"2 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1395, sheets 3, 26, 52. 

103 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 314, sheets 6, 7. 

^°* TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1395. sheet 10. 

i"5 Ibid., sheets 5 — 6. 

106 TsGVIA. store 504, entry 8, file 1395, sheet 13. 


°' Tbid., file 1396, sheets 1—2. 

03 Artillery Committee Journal, Section II, No. 1229, 27 July 1915. 
TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1395, sheet 158. 

°^ AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 795, 
sheets 15 — 19, 88 — 89, 92 — 100, 108 — 110, 114—115, 

10 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1390, sheet 1. 

" Ibid., sheets 3, 20. 

12 Ibid., file 1395, sheet 1. 

"TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 316, sheet 1. 

i"* For more details of these rockets, see the papers of Section VI of 
the Artillery Committee. TsGVIA, store 504, entry 7, file 687, and 
also entry 11, files 314, 324, 326, 330, 332, and 345. 

15 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 321, sheet 29. 

" Ibid., sheet 40. 

" Ibid., sheet 29 obverse. 

18 Journal of Section VI of the Artillery Committee, No. 2980, 31 July 
1916. -TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 321, sheet 83. 

15 Journal of Section VI of the Artillery Committee, No. 3759, 
27 September 1916; Ibid., sheet 104 obverse, 

20 TsGVIA, store 504, entry 11, file 321, sheets 113-116. 

21 TsGVIA, store 506, entry 2, file 370, sheets 1 — 10. 

22 TsGVIA, store 506, entry 2, file 370, sheet 6. 

2^ Ibid., sheet 6 obverse. 

2^* The information on Grave's work is taken primarily from the article of 
S e r e b r y ako V , M. E. Ob otechestvennom prioritete v oblasti artillerii 
(Russian Pre-eminence in Artillery). — Izvestiya Voennoi artilleriiskoi 
inzhenernoi akademii imeni Dzerzhinskogo, Vol.91, pp.25 — 29. 
Moskva, 1955. 

125 S e reb r y a kov, M. E. op. cit., p. 26. 



Over a considerable stretch of time — from the end of the 18th century 
to the Great October Revolution — Russian designers and researchers 
contributed a great deal to the improvement of solid propellant rockets. 
However, Russian rocketry did not follow a smooth, even path of 
evolutionary development. During its 250 years of history a rise and fall 
of interest in various types of rockets, and periods characterized by sharp 
criticism of rocket weapons occurred more than once. 

Despite the repeated attempts of scientific historians to ascribe the 
beginnings of rockets in Russia to the 14th, 12th, and even 10th centuries, 
their assumptions cannot be substantiated either analytically or by 
documents, and must be regarded as highly unreliable. Documents indicate 
that rockets were first used in Russia during the second half of the 17th 

At first they were used only to create fireworks and illuminations for 
entertainment. Only during the first quarter of the 18th century did the 
army come to adopt them as a means of giving signals. 

Pyrotechnic rockets came into widespread use in Russia at the turn of the 
18th century, thanks mainly to the activity of Peter I, During his reign new 
fireworks laboratories were built, a number of foreign works on artillery 
and pyrotechnics were translated into Russian, national cadres of pyrotechnic 
experts began to be formed, and signal rockets were first used by the army. 

During the period dealt with in this book solid propellant rockets under- 
went significant changes. The rockets of the 17th and 18th centuries were 
quite primitive from an engineering point of view, and their production 
depended to a great extent on the experience and skill of the masters. They 
consisted of a cardboard casing containing a payload (pyrotechnic compounds) 
and a rocket chamber, which served sim.ultaneously as reservoir for the 
rocket propellant and combustion chamber. To stabilize the rockets a long 
wooden bar (the tail), which absorbed the pressure of the countercurrent of 
air and maintained a certain position of the longitudinal axis, was attached 
to the casing. 

The rocket experts of this period devoted particular attention to the 
composition of the rocket mixture, since they believed the quality of 
pyrotechnic rockets to depend primarily on its correct choice. A great 
many formulas, all basically consisting of nitrates, sulfur, and carbon, 
taken in different proportions, were worked out — all empirically. 

The idea that choice of the design parameters, as well as of the rocket 
mixture, affected the quality of rockets becanae established only at the end 
of the 18th century, and it was reflected in the works on artillery and 
pyrotechnics published at that period. 

By the beginning of the 19th century Russian pyrotechnicians had 
accumulated a good deal of experience in the production and use of 


pyrotechnic rockets. Efficient ratios and dimensions for the rocket casing 
and tail had been worked out, composition of the rocket mixture had been 
determined and its fill density regulated, and the significance of the 
dimensions and shape of the ignition channel were understood. The books 
on the art of pyrotechnics published early in the 19th century even included 
descriptions of multistage and composite rockets (rocket clusters). 

All of the results obtained, however, were obtained empirically and 
were based not on theoretical, but on exclusively experimental 
considerations. By the beginning of the 19th century there was still no 
theory of explosive compounds, rocket design, or rocket flight. 

This was to be explained to a large extent by the fact that up to the end 
of the 18th century, in Russia as in other European countries, rockets 
were used exclusively for fireworks displays and to give signals at night. 
As a result the demands made upon them were not very great and were 
satisfied by the numerous experiments of the pyrotechnicians, without any 
great need for a fundamental theory of rocketry being felt. 

At the end of the 18th century in India, however, and after the turn of the 
19th century in Europe rockets again acquired military significance, and in 
Russia the question of producing military rockets arose, to occupy the 
Military Study Committee for a number of years. The first successful 
Russian designs for military rockets were produced by Kartmazov and 
Zasyadko, working independently, in the years 1814 — 1817, but achieved 
no widespread success. 

The principal difference between the military rockets of the first 
quarter of the 19th century and the pyrotechnic rockets was in the composition 
of the payload and the material from which the casings were fabricated 
(cardboard was replaced by metal). Furthermore, while in pyrotechnic 
rockets the pyrotechnic compound and the rocket mixture were both 
enclosed in the casing and constituted a whole from the manufacturing 
point of view, the military rockets of the beginning of the 19th century were 
characterized by a clear division between the rocket casing and the warhead. 
They were separate parts, manufactured separately, and joined only when 
the rocket was finally assembled. 

A practical solution to the problem of mass production of military rockets 
in Russia and their introduction to regular use in the army was found only 
during the second half of the 1820's. The first experiment in the massed use 
of military rockets occurred during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828 — 1829, 
when the Russian troops made relatively great use of rockets at Shumla and 
at the sieges of Varna and Silistria. 

This military experience showed the great potential of rocket weapons, 
while it also demonstrated the poor quality of those then actually in use. 
The rockets of the 1830's and 1840's suffered from a number of serious 
defects, including relatively short range, inaccuracy, and worst of all, 
unreliability in operation. 

These years saw the use of signal, incendiary, and military rockets 
supplemented by attempts to use rockets for the destruction of fortifications, 
local illumination, and submarine armament. Experiments undertaken for 
these purposes failed to yield positive results. 

Until the middle of the 1840's Russian rocket engineering developed 
very slowly, and the poor quality of rockets impeded their widespread use. 
Many of the corps of army commanders took a dim view of rocket weapons 
and sought to prevent them from reaching the troops. During the forties. 


however, this situation changed radically. The development of military 
activity in the Caucasus resulted in a sharp upswing of demand for military 
rockets. Such advantages of rockets as their lightness, adaptability to 
firing without heavy ordnance, and ready application in massed salvoes 
clearly appeared during battles in mountainous terrain difficult of access. 
Although military rockets could not compete with artillery in range and 
accuracy, they proved a very successful complement to it. 

The steep increase in the production of military rockets made the 
question of their quality even more pressing, and it became essential 
to improve their range and accuracy of firing, and even more, to make 
them safe to use. 

Rocket weapons achieved their most widespread use, in Russia as in 
most other European countries, about the middle of the 19th century, when 
military rockets were being produced in very great numbers and sent to 
almost all military regions. They were often used in military actions, 
and in a number of instances special rocket battalions performed with 
success. Sea-going ships began to be armed with military rockets. 

A great deal of work was done to improve the design and manufacturing 
techniques of military rockets. During this period the PRZ group was 
ably headed by K. I. Konstantinov, one of the greatest exponents of the mid- 
19th century Russian artillery school, whose contribution to the development 
of Russian rocketry was enormous. 

As already noted, Konstantinov was one of the world's greatest experts 
on rocket production, had a thorougli knowledge of the history of rocketry 
and carefully followed the most recent developments in foreign countries 
such as Austria, England, Prussia, and France, in order to make use of 
all the advantages they presented. Konstantinov's work also was widely 
known outside Russia and influenced the development of rocketry through- 
out the world, 

Konstantinov introduced a number of significant improvements in the 
design and manufacture of military rockets. Under his direction the 
Petersburg Rocket Institute was almost completely re-equipped. He also 
proposed a whole series of measures designed to improve the quality 
of military rockets and make their production safe. 

The adoption of these measures did bring about some improvement 
in the quality of Russian military rockets, with increases in range, 
accuracy, and life in storage, while cases of premature explosion were 
almost entirely eliminated. However, no fundamental improvement in 
the quality of rockets was attained at PRZ. As previously noted, the 
disparity between the number and extent of Konstantinov's projects and 
those actually realized is striking. 

By the end of the 1850's the reorganization of the Petersburg Rocket 
Institute was basically complete and such possibilities for the improvement 
of military rockets as existed in the Institute itself had been almost fully 
exploited. Nonetheless, despite all the improvements introduced during 
the preceding decade, the engineering plant of the Institute remained very 

Konstantinov's biggest project — the replacement of manual labor by 
mechanized production — was not accomplished at PRZ, where most 
operations continued to be performed manually. As before a mechanical 
motor, of any sort whatsoever, was unavailable, and all the machines 


were actuated by sheer muscle power, which involved a considerable number 
of men. Further improvement in military rockets was impossible without 
fundamental change in manufacturing techniques. The primitive production 
techniques, in which manual labor was predominant, had to be abandoned in 
favor of automation, with all major processes performed by machine. 
Konstantinov sought to bring this about by designing a new rocket institute 
at Nikolaev and ordering the necessary plant for it abroad. However, the 
construction of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute was repeatedly interrupted 
and was not completed before the beginning of the 1870's. 

In addition to military rockets, pyrotechnic and signal rockets were still 
being produced in Russia at this period. During the second half of the 19th 
century rockets also came to be used for illumination and for throwing rescue 
lines to ships in distress. The same period saw the first attempts to use 
rockets as aircraft engines. 

The development of Russian rocketry up to the middle of the 19th century 
was characterized by the absence of any theoretical principles of rocket 
design and production. The accumulation of experimental data, without any 
attempt at serious scientific analysis of the factors governing the performance 
and quality of rockets, was considered sufficient. The improvements made 
in the design of military rockets were generally based neither on theoretical 
nor experimental research, but rather on the intuition and guesswork of 
individuals. Konstantinov was the first to undertake a scientific approach 
to the problems of rocket design, and he laid the foundations of experimental 
rocket dynamics. 

His empahsis on experimental research was deliberate, for while 
Konstantinov did not deny the need for "a mathematical theory of rocket 
design and firing, " he regarded experimentation as the principal means 
for improvement of rockets. 

This choice was also to be explained by the complexity of the processes 
occurring inside a rocket, which were difficult to analyze. At the middle 
of the 19th century science possessed no methods for the precise 
determination of such factors as the temperature of the gases, their pressure, 
taking into account the continuous flow, the exhaust velocity of the combustion 
products, etc. 

Experimentation was therefore the simplest and most natural method. 
During the 1840's and 1850's PRZ conducted a great many experiments to 
determine the significance of the composition and fill density of the rocket 
mixture, dimensions and shape of the ignition channel, number and cross - 
sectional area of the exhaust orifices, etc. 

By the end of the 1850's the researchers had quite a good idea of the 
qualitative interrelationship of these factors. Konstantinov tried to use 
his extensive experimental data to determine the optimum parameters of 
military rockets, but was impeded in his attempt by the unsatisfactory 
experimental basis, and the lack of precise measuring instruments, which 
made it impossible to determine exact numerical relationships. 

Konstantinov died in 1871. The vast body of experimental data gathered 
at PRZ had no great scientific reverberations, and a theory of rocket motion 
was not born before the end of the 19th century. 

At the beginning of the seventies, when the Nikolaev Rocket Plant went 
into operation, it was already quite clear that rockets running on black 
smoky powder could compete with artillery pieces neither in range nor in 


firing accuracy. The development in artillery engineering which resulted 
from the successes of metallurgy, chemistry and ballistics {steel casting, 
rifled barrels, and smokeless powder), made rockets worthless as weapons 
and the last third of the 19th century saw their retirement in Russia, just 
as in the other countries of Europe. 

This step marked the end of an era in the development of Russian 
rocketry. Encompassing more than sixty years, this period saw the rise, 
comparatively widespread dissemination, and rapid fall of rocket weapons, 
and left a notable trace in the history of Russian military engineering. 

It was also of great importance in the development of Russian rocket 
theory and engineering, since it saw the foundations of the design of solid 
propellant rockets laid, the first attempts at the creation of the new 
science of experimental rocket dynamics, and the expression of a nun:iber 
of ideas which would influence the course of research in rocketry for many 

During the second half of the 19th century, repeated attempts were made 
in Russia to power aircraft by means of gunpowder rockets. Several 
original designs for solid propellant rocket engines, both for lighter- than- 
air and heavier- than-air craft, were proposed. 

Inventors were attracted by the apparent simplicity of using jet engines 
to achieve flight. However, most of them did no more than present the 
plan of an engine, unaccompanied by the details of its construction or of the 
precise amount of energy required for jet flight. Not one of these designs 
was actualized during the period under consideration. 

Even later, however, solid propellant rocket engines were not used as 
independent aeroengines, because of their very brief operating time 
(governed by the combustion time of gunpowder) and the difficulty involved 
in regulating their thrust. 

The retirement of military rockets did not, however, signify the 
termination of all rocket production. Signal rockets, rescue rockets, and 
pyrotechnic rockets continued to be produced in Russia into the 20th century. 
The so-called luminous rockets achieved particularly widespread use during 
this period in fortresses and siege-trains, and constituted an integral part of 
the Russian army's means of illumination. 

However, despite their widespread use, rocket flares were still of poor 
quality. At the beginning of the 20th century a number of researchers 
sought to improve them, in particular, by increasing their range and 
accuracy, and by prolonging the duration of the illumination. Some 
encouraging results were obtained, but fully satisfactory rockets were 
not developed before the end of World War I. 

Repeated efforts were made to revive military rockets in spite of their 
retirement. These efforts were redoubled in the years immediately 
preceding World War I. The successes in the development of aeronautics 
and aviation gave every basis for assuming that the airforce would play a 
significant role in the next war. Efforts were therefore made to create 
a new type of anti-aircraft rocket, concurrently with work on rockets for 
field warfare. 

Examination of the experiments conducted by Russian researchers at the 
beginning of the 20th century shows that they were confronted by essentially 
the same basic problems faced by their predecessors in the middle of the 
preceding century: increase of range, and close grouping of rocket fire. 


However, the intervening progress in the various branches of engineering 
made possible a much more satisfactory resolution of long-standing 
problems. At the beginning of the 20th century rocket engineering was able 
to profit from seamless steel casings and improved measuring apparatus. 

The means for stabilizing rockets were also improved. Most designs 
at the beginning of the 20th century rejected the wooden tail in favor of 
superior devices, such as stabilizing surfaces, or a gyroscope. 

The level of scientific knowledge among rocket engineers at this period 
was still low. Most of the Russians engaged in the construction of new 
types of solid propellant rockets were not acquainted with the theoretical 
papers on jet propulsion, and in some cases entertained naive and down- 
right erroneous ideas as to the origin and character of reactive force. The 
researchers also made no effort at a theoretical solution of such problems 
as the determination of the velocity and range of a rocket, and displayed 
total lack of interest in such ideas as the efficiency of a rocket engine or of 
the rocket as a whole. 

The fundamental drawback of all rocket designs at the beginning of the 
20th century remained the use of such a relatively low- calory fuel as black 
smoky powder. This delayed progress in rocketry and resulted in the fact 
that from a tactical and engineering point of view the specifications of most 
rockets at the turn of the 20th century differed only slightly from those of 
the rockets of 50 years before, designed by Konstantinov (they were still 
characterized by relatively low range, considerable deviation, and premature 

Before the end of World War I no military rockets that could sustain 
comparison with rifled artillery were built. There was a corresponding 
lack of satisfactorily functioning rocket flares. 

The further improvement of solid propellant rockets demanded the 
replacement of black smoky powder by better propellants of higher 
calorific value, based on smokeless powder. This too, however, was 
achieved only after the end of World War I, when a new stage in the 
development of solid propellant rockets began. 




On the 20th day of January in the present 194th year [sic], by decree of 
the great Tsar Peter Alekseevich, Mighty Prince and Absolute Sovereign 
of All Greater and Lesser and White Russia, the Russian explosives master 
Grigorii Prokof'evand his assistants were ordered to create an entertainment 
by the shooting of fireworks. 

The town had 8 towers, and 100 ascending 2-ounce rockets on each tower. 

Twelve quarter- pound high-flying rockets were arranged about each of 
these towers. 

In the cantonment were 4 high-angle cannon, to shoot wooden balls, 
each containing 100 ground rockets. 

There were 10 marquees, each containing 80 2-ounce rockets. 

Item, a semicircle containing 35 quarter-pound rockets. 

Item, a wooden tub of water, 3 arshin wide; in this tub, a cover and 
four wooden balls, containing 250 2-ounce rockets. 

Item, an octagonal wheel, with 8 1/2 -pound rockets. 

Item, a cluster of 50 2-ounce rockets. 

About this, 8 small tents, each containing 30 2-ounce rockets. 

Item, on the ground, a Catherine wheel with 250 2-ounce rockets. 

Item, on the walls ringing the entire town, 120 rockets, pounders, 
1/2 -pounders, 1/4-pounders, and 2-ounce rockets. 

Item, for the firing entertainment itself: 2 lances, 2 poles, 2 sabers, 
2 earthenware pots, 2 cudgels, 6 ropes, 2 kites, 200 ground rockets, 
50 1/4 -pound rockets. 

Item, supplies for the entertainment: 10 pud of hand- cream, 1 V2 pud 
refined saltpeter, 1/2 pud sulfur, 10 pounds oil, 50 arshin medium canvas, 
30 sheets white iron, a pound of flour, a pud of black tar, 2 pud standard 
thick ropes, a 150-sagene rope for flying ropes and kites, a pud of rolled 
iron, 20 pud steel, 1 pud lead, a steel rasp, 2 saws, as many nails of 
various types as required, 3 good axes, 5 wooden candlesticks, 50 
1 VS-sagene bars of firewood, chopped into 5-vershok sections. 

Item, of such things as are not normally found in the treasuries of 
mighty lords, it was necessary to buy: 5 pounds camphor, 10 pounds 
turpentine, 5 pounds wire, 5 quires artists' paper, a ream of paper, 
10 arshin shiny colored flax, 5 pounds cotton thread, 7 arshin good colored 
flax, 7 arshin thin canvas, 10 pounds isinglass, 3 pounds turpentine, 
10 pounds beeswax, 1 chetverik wheat flour, 1/2 vedro linseed oil, 3 pounds 
drying oil, 10 pounds thin rope, 1 pud thick rope, a 150-sagene rope for 
throwing, 1/2 pud lard, 5 pounds crushed tendons, 10 cowhides, 3 copper 

" State Historical Museum, Department of Written Sources store 440, file 378, sheet.'; 9 — 12. 


frying-pans, an iron long-handled ladle, 3 sieves, 3 pairs scissors, a large 
tub, 200 tallow candles, 20 limewood jambs, 10 maplewood jambs, 2 reams 
grey paper. All these were bought for the sum of 23 rubles, 26 altyn, 
and 4 coppers [i.e., 23 rubles, 80 kopecks]. 


In military tactics rockets are depended upon for attacks upon 
fortresses. When the batteries, both cannon and mortars, are all ready 
for firing, since m launching his major attack the general wishes to deliver 
a powerful salvo against the fortress, he has the chief battery release a 
rocket as a signal. 

Signal rockets in use range from one- to six-pounders. The rocket takes 
its caliber from the weight of lead it contains. Here, for example, are the 
dimensions of a 3-pound rocket. Compasses are used to make the rocket's 
caliber correspond to the dimensions of 3 pounds of lead, and the rocket's 
length is made equal to 7 such calibers. 

Now the rocket casing must be prepared and rolled. The frame of a 
paper rocket is termed the casing. After the caliber is chosen, it is 
divided into 7 equal parts, 5 of which give the thickness of the roller or 
wood on which the paper for the casing is to be rolled, while the thickness 
of the casing walls is taken as 1/7 caliber. The good heavy wrapping paper 
is taken, cut along the sheet and transversely to the rocket casing, and 
rolled upon a roller, while the protruding ends are pasted together. After 
rolling sufficiently to give the casing a diameter equal to the caliber, it is 
taken from the roller, and one end is stretched to form a neck. The ends 
are then so cut as to make the length of the casing equal to 7 calibers. The 
ends are dipped into molten glue to ensure that the paper does not turn up 
during filling, and the casing is then ready. 

The entire length of the casing should next be divided into three equal 
parts, of which two are filled with [rocket] compound, while the third is 
left for the powder, which is strewn over the slag. The mold in which the 
rocket is to be filled with the compound is made next: small- caliber molds 
are generally of wood, while brass ones are cast for large sections. The 
mold should have the same caliber as the rocket, but need not be so long as 
the casing; 5^/2 calibers is an adequate length. There is a base plate with 
a semicircular cap whose diameter should correspond to that of the internal 
ignition channel of the rocket. On the cap is an iron rod 3V2 calibers in 
length, and with a thickness at the cap of 1/4 caliber or 1/3 the ignition 
channel diameter. The rod must be a cone tapering towards its upper end. 

Compound for a 3-pound rocket 

1st compound 2nd compound 

Nitrates 32 Sulfur 1 

Sulfur 6.5 Nitrates 2 

Limewood coal 14 Gunpowder pulp 3 

• Danilov.M. Nacharnoe znanie teorii i praktiki v artillerii s priobshcheniem gidrostaticheskikh 
pravil (Elementary Theory and Practice of Artillery with an Appendix on the Laws of Hydrostatics), 
pp.72— 74. Moskva, 1762. 


Whichever of these two compounds is desired may be chosen. It should 
be carefully pulverized in a tray, after which it is to be sieved three times. 
Next four ramrods of diameters corresponding to that of the ignition channel 
are required: the first, equal to that of the channel; the second, less; the 
third, still less; and the fourth, least of all. The ramrods are used to stuff 
the rocket as follows. Placing the casing in the mold, the compound is 
poured in one ounce at a time, and each such fill is rammed in by 20 or 25 
powerful blows of a wooden beetle. When the compound is level with the 
rod, it should be stuffed in by a solid ramrod without holes, in order to 
make a one- caliber layer of solid, or, in laboratory parlance, blind 
compound above the rod. 

A wooden disk, with a hole for ignition of the gunpowder from the rocket 
compound in its center, is placed above the compound, and above it 5 ounces 
of powder are poured over the slag. Finally the end is drawn together and 
tightly tied with cord, above which it is glued, and the rocket is then 

A faceted awl of the same length as the rod should then be used to clean 
out the ignition channel, and after thinning the gunpowder pulp in wine, the 
rocket should be oiled for ignition. The rocket tail should be equal to 7^/2 
or 8 times the length of the rocket, and its thickness at the rocket should be 
equal to 1/3 caliber. Once the tail has been attached to the rocket, it should 
be supported on an awl at a point 3 1/2 calibers away from the rocket, so that 
the whole, including the tail, will be in a state of equilibrium. This 
concludes our promised exposition of rocket manufacture. 


1. Rockets are divided into two types: high-flying and rebounding. 

2. High-flying rockets are again subdivided into two types: incendiary, 
which are 4" in diameter, and, including the cap filled with incendiary 
compound, from which they take their name, 41" in length; and explosive, 
which have the same diameter and are 34" in length, including the powder- 
charged explosive. Rockets of both these types can be used in the siege of 
fortresses since, as experiments have shown, they fly up to 12 60 sagenes 
[2940 yd] and fall with such force as to bury their entire length, with part of the 
tail, in the hardest ground. 

3. Rebounding rockets are also divided into two types, of which the 
first, incendiary rebounding rockets, carrying an incendiary compound 
and explosive, are 2^/2" in diameter and 28" in length (including the 
explosive). They may be used to set fire to marshy regions and similar 
areas which the enemy might use for an ambush, and may also be used 
with considerable success against enemy cavalry, since they fly along 
the ground with fire and noise, inflicting injury upon the enemy when they 
explode. Their range may be reckoned as up to 1000 sagenes [2330 yd], 
but they may also be used, as desired, at any distance since their range 
depends upon the launching angle. The second type, rebounding rockets 

• TsGVIA, store 35, entry 4/ 245, code 188, file 65, sheets 96—100. 


carrying explosive, are 2" in diameter, with an overall length of about 25", 
and a range of up to 800 sagenes [1870 yd]; they can be used against cavalry. 

4. Incendiary rockets and rebounding rockets of large and small caliber 
are all filled in the same way, with differences only in the number and 
force of the packing blows. 

5. The first type, large high-flying incendiary rockets, are manufactured 
as follows: copper soldered cylinders, termed casings, with an interior 
diameter of 4 inches, are made from sheet iron with a thickness of 0.07 or 
0.08 English inches. Soldered to the casings at one end are convex copper 
disks 0.09 English inches in thickness, with a round central aperture which 
corresponds to the thickness of the ramrod. The length of the casings 
should be 30 inches. The casing is glued inside five turns of wrapping 
paper, then set up on a ramrod, mounted on a pile driver 20^/2 inches in 
length, in an anvil block. An oaken mold is then fitted over it, and set up 
perpendicularly. A five- ounce measure is used to pour into the casing a 
little silt moistened with water and by means of a ramrod 50 blows are 
made upon this by a 60- pound wooden ram. After thus constructing the 
mouth of the rocket, which must give passage to its propulsive force, the 
casing is stuffed with propellant. This is poured in, using the same 
measure, and, letting the rocket down onto the aforementioned ramrod, 

50 blows are inflicted with the same wooden ram. This procedure is continued 
until the casing is filled. A channel for ignition of the incendiary from the 
rocket propellant is made in the silt stuffed in above the propellant, and a 
cap filled with an incendiary compound is mounted on the filled casing. One 
end of the cap is cylindrical, with internal diameter equal to the external 
diameter of the casing, while the other end is conical. These two parts 
have a total length of 19 inches, divided equally between them. In the 
cylindrical part are three large round orifices, three inches in diameter, 
while the cone has three similar, but somewhat smaller orifices, two 
inches in diameter. Finally, there are three small longitudinal orifices 
near the pointed tip. Throughout its length the cap has a channel 
communicating with channels leading to all of the orifices mentioned 
above. All these channels are fed by trowels. The cap is then fitted over 
the casing by means of a ribbed strip at its end, and is secured by tarred 
twine wound around it. This is the procedure followed in the filling of 
incendiary rockets, regardless of their caliber, which affects only the 
fill measures, quantities of compound and number of blows, which are 
dependent on the diameter. 

6. The second type of high-flying rockets with shells are filled exactly 
like the above, except that they are fitted with a gunpowder- charged shell 
instead of a cap with incendiary compound. The weight of explosive 
corresponds to the caliber of the rocket, and it is secured to a cruciform 
brace by means of riveted bands of tin and cords. 

7. Rebounding rockets are filled exactly like the above. 

8. All types of rockets require tails from 6 to 6^/2 times the length of 
the rocket, with an equilibrium point one caliber away from the mouth of 
the rocket, where it is ignited. The tails of large- caliber rockets are 
screwed together in the middle by nuts, first, because during a campaign 
it is more convenient to transport them with the two parts unscrewed; 
second, because when the rockets see action, they can thus more readily 
be adjusted to the rockets when aiming; and third, because a long tail, 
always tending to warp, is better protected from warping when divided 
into two halves. 


Cost estimate for parts of one large 
4" incendiary rocket 

4" casing with cap, made in 


Five sheets of wrapping paper for 
internal glueing 

Glue for glueing 

Rocket propellant (incl. losses incurred 
in its preparation), and preparation 
of tincture for it 

Finished pine tail 


Nuts for screwing 

Total . . 

Fittings and accessories for cap 

Incendiary compound 


Resinous cement 

Resinated flax to cover holes . 
Oilcloth to protect cap from dryness 

of the air 

Cords to secure cap 


Grand total 

This rocket, when filled, with cap 
andtail, weighs as much as 41 pounds 

for a high-flying 4" rocket with shell 

Casing made in Sesterbek .... 
Paper for internal glueing .... 


Rocket propellant including 




Nuts for tail 


Seven pound shell 

Powder used inside 

Skirts about shell to secure it to the 



Resinous cement 


Resinated flax to cover holes 

Total. . . . 

Grand total 

Cost of parts 



























Cost unknown to me 

Arsenal's requirements unknown 

Cost in Sesterbek unknown 

Arsenal's requirements unknown 


For 2.5" rebounding incendiary 

Casing made in Sesterbek . 

Paper for glueing 


Rocket propellant 



Three pound shell 



Skirts about shell to secure it to 

the casing 

Resinous cement 


Resinated flax to cover holes . 










Cost in Sesterbek unknown 


1. Incendiary rocket casings. The caliber of alarge rocket is 

4 English inches. The length of the casing is 7 calibers, or 28 inches, while the 
thickness of its walls is 0.05 inch. The base plate is 0.1 inch in thickness. 

Wrapping paper 0.025" thick is pasted onto the sides of the casing at 
its middle. The orifice in the bottom is 1.5" in diameter. Of the rings 
securing the tail, the center of the first is located 1.3" from the bottom of 
the casing, and that of the second is midway between this one and the third, 
whose center is 14" from the bottom of the casing. The rings are 1.6" in 
width, while the height of the shackles into which the tail is inserted is 
2.05" above the side of the casing. 

The caliber of a small rocket is 2.5", while its casing measures 7 
calibers, or 17.5", in length. The thickness of the casing walls is 0.05", 
while that of the base plate is 0.1". Wrapping paper 0.025" thick is pasted 
onto the sides of the casing at its middle. The orifice in the bottom is 1" 
in diameter. There are two rings securing the tail, the center of the first 
of which is 0.6" from the bottom of the casing, while the second is located 
at the middle of the casing. The width of the rings is 1.2". The height of 
the shackles into which the tail is inserted is 1.55" above the side of the casing. 

2. The cap. The eylindricalpart of the cap is 9.2", while the external 
side of the cone measures 10". The cylinder has 15 longitudinal slits, 
made for the greatest convenience in assembly and attachment to the 
casing, which are 4.5" from the head of the cone, and four holes, 
corresponding to four similar holes 0.9" in diameter in the rocket, 1.3" 
from the base of the cone. A small cap is made proportional to a large 
one, according to the ratio of calibers. The holes in the cone of a large 
cap are arranged as follows: the centers of the first four holes, which 
are 0.9" in diameter, are 1 .5" from the base of the cone, while the next group 
of three holes, 0.6" in diameter, are 1 .5" beyond the periphery of the first set; 
the third group of two holes, removed a further 1 .5", are 0.5" in diameter, while 
the fourth group of two holes, a distance of 1 .5" beyond the third, areO.25" in 
diameter. The holes are arranged pyramidally on the cone. 

* TsGVA, store 35, entry 4/245, code 188, file 65. sheets 41-47 obverse. 


A small cap has three holes in the cylinder, corresponding to three 
in the rocket, and in the cone a lower row of three, and a second row of two. 

3. The axis pole. The length of the pole is five calibers, or 20", 
while its thicloiess ranges from 1.5" at its base to 0.6" at its tip. Its base 
is made in the form of a quadrilateral bolt terminating in a screw with a 
nut used to secure it to the bar. The length of this bolt, excluding the 
screw, is from 7" to 9". The length of a small pole is 12.5", and its 
thickness ranges from 1" at its base to 0.3" at its tip. In other respects 
it is like the large pole. 

4. The ramrods. These are generally turned of the driest and 
strongest wood, with diameter corresponding to the ignition channel with 
extremely small tolerance, and length corresponding to that of the casing. 
The head above this part is turned a little thicker, and has a hole. Ramrods 
for large rockets are turned in 8's, and for small rockets, in 6's, one 
smaller than the next by 1/8 part, and in small ones, by 1/6 part, of the rod. 
Seven of the ramrods are straight- through and the eighth is blind, but in 
order to pass through them the appropriate measure in accord with their 
size, the rod is divided into seven equal parts and the first large ramrod 

is straight- through for the entire length of the rod, while the second 
passes 6/7 of the length of the rod, the third, 5/7, the fourth, 4/7, the 
fifth, 3/7, the sixth 2/7, the seventh 1/7 of the length of the rod, while the 
eighth is blind. For small ramrods, the rod is divided into five parts, 
and the same procedure is followed. It is most important that the ramrods 
be truly and properly drilled out in accord with the thickness of the rod, 
and that they be machined with such small tolerances that they turn freely 
only during filling, and are easily withdrawn thereafter. 

5. The pile driver used for rocket stuffing. The pile 
driver can be made of any kind of wood, whichever is cheapest, and consists 
of two bars at least 3 vershok [5V4"] thick, atleast four vershok[7"] 

wide, and 3^/4 arshin [105"] long. They are bound together, 8 vershok 
[14"] apart, by two cross-beams of the same thickness, though they may be 
narrower, and 1 sagene [84"] in length. Uprights 3 vershok [5^4"] thick, 
3^/2 vershok [6V8"] wide, and 5^/4 arshin [147"] high are then rammed in 
at a distance of 8 vershok [14"] from the cross-beam. Above they are 
bound together by a drilled- through beam of the same thickness and width, 
14 vershok [24^2"] in length. Two beams of the same thickness and width 
as these uprights, and 8 vershok [14"] in length, are seated by the up- 
rights upon two straight- through tenons, and an iron bolt, over which is 
fitted a pulley-block, is passed through them. To each upright are nailed 
two thin beams, forming grooves 2 vershok [3-'-/2"] apart, in which a 
lV2-pud [54-lb] ram must move. Beneath this piledriver a beam at least 
3 vershok [5^4"] thick and at least 5^2 arshin [15"] long is dug into the 
ground. To this, near its center, is attached the ramrod on which the 
rocket is filled. 

6. The mold. The mold in which the casing is enclosed for filling 
with propellant is made from the two halves of a log of dry wood, sawn 
apart longitudinally. The halves are 13 vershok [22^/4"] long, and 7 to 

8 vershok [12^/4" to 14"] in diameter. Each half is hollowed out into a 
semicylindrical channel along its entire length, so as to receive half of 
the casing. The casing is intended to fit compactly when the two halves are 
closed together over it, and for this purpose they are tightened by an iron 


7. The propellant used in rockets. This propellant consists 
of nitrates, sulfur, and carbon, 

Proportion for big rockets 

Nitrates 18 parts 

Sulfur 5 " 

Carbon 8 " 

Proportion for small rockets 

Nitrates 18 parts 

Sulfur 3 1/5 " 

Carbon 5 4/5 " 

To make the propellant, the nitrate, sulfur, and carbon must separately 
be rubbed and sifted extremely fine, then thoroughly mixed and again sifted 
several times, since the more finely the compound is rubbed, the better it 
will perform. A 4" rocket requires 12 pounds 88 zolotniki [12.92 Russian 
pounds] of this propellant, and a 2 1/2" rocket, 3 pounds 22 zolotniki 
[3.23 Russian pounds]. The amount of incendiary compound required for 
a big rocket is 5 pounds 24 zolotniki [5.25 Russian pounds], and for a small 
rocket, 1 pound 72 zolotniki [1.75 Russian pounds]. 

8. Regulations for filling with rocket propellant. The 
casing is so set up and viewed on the pole that it reaches right down to the 
beam on which the pole stands. Three or four felt disks are then fitted 
over the pole, which is smeared with fresh pig fat, and the casing is again 
fitted Over the pole and covered with the mold, over which is forced the 
iron band. Wedges are then driven in at both ends, and the whole is bound 
about the piledriver uprights with cord. A large ramrod is then inserted 
into the casing, and a distance of 1 V2 arshin [42"] from its head is measured 
upwards along the upright. At this point a hole is drilled in the left upright, 
and into it is inserted a wooden peg to hold back the ram, so that the 
operators will not have to hold it in their hands when they pour in the 
propellant. In order to raise the ram a fixed distance in stuffing, it is 
raised to this peg, while above, the piledriver uprights are bound with cord, 
and notches are then made on the ramrod. In stuffing, these marks will 
show how much propellant should be stuffed in by which ramrod. They are 
cut as follows: first a trial is made with the first ramrod, lowering it to the 
very bottom of the casing and, if it is longer than desired, making a notch on 
it level with the brim of the casing. The second is then lowered, and if it 
also proves too long, a similar mark is made. This mark is then held level 
with the lower end of the first rannrod, while the latter is marked at the 
point reached by the end of the second ramrod. This mark will then indicate 
how much propellant should be stuffed into the first ramrod. The third 
ramrod is then lowered into the casing, and should its head also protrude, 
a notch is made, to be held level with the lower end of the second ramrod. 
The notch then made on the latter at the point reached by the end of the 
third ramrod will indicate how much propellant should be stuffed in by the 
second ramrod and the sanae method is followed with all the others. It 
should be noted that when a ramrod is lowered into the casing and the 
clearance is great, another layer of wrapping paper is pasted onto the 
casing, to permit the ramrod to turn freely inside it and to allow it to dry; 


after lowering the blind ramrod into the casing, however, it is marked 
level with its brim, and from this mark it is displaced downward 
1 1/4 calibers and marked again. 

When all this has been done, the stuffing takes place as follows: the 
propellant is poured into the casing in measures of 24 zolotniki [0.25 Russian 
pounds] for big rockets, and 12 zolotniki [0.125 Russian pounds] for small. 
A beetle should be at hand just in order to ensure that the propellant all falls 
to the bottom, and the first ramrod is then inserted into the casing and, 
before the heavy blows, is seated by three light taps of the ram. There 
follow 25 blows of the ram, raising it to the cord and turning the ramrod 
after every blow by means of a stick inserted in its head. After these 
25 blows there is a pause while the ramrod is raised a little and the 
propellant is knocked out of it into the casing; then, lowering it again, 
there follow another 25 such heavy blows, turning the ramrod after each. 
This procedure is followed for each fill of propellant and for three ramrods. 
For the fourth, fifth, and sixth ramrods the procedure is the same, but 
each fill receives 45 heavy blows, with a pause after the 22nd to knock the 
propellant out of the ramrod. For the seventh and eighth ramrod the same 
procedure is followed, with 40 heavy blows. When the casing is filled up 
with propellant, silt is packed above it to the depth of 1/4 caliber by 40 
heavy blows, after which the casing is removed from the rod by a windlass 
and the hole is sealed with resinated flax. Small rockets are stuffed using 
a 10-pound hand beetle, and following the same procedure: first two 
ramrods with 35 measured blows per fill, and a pause after 17 to knock the 
propellant out of the ramrod, then two more ramrods with 30 blows, and a 
pause after 15, and finally, the fifth and sixth ramrods with 25 blows, and 
a pause after the 12th. 

9. Incendiary compound and its preparation. This 
compound consists of saltpeter, sulfur, antimony, rosin and oil of 
turpentine, in the following proportion: 

Saltpeter 14 parts 

Sulfur 6 " 

Antimony 1 part 

Rosin 1 " 

Oil of turpentine 2 parts 

All of the ingredients are separately rubbed very fine and boiled over 
coals in a stove made for the purpose, on top of which stands a cauldron. 
After it has warmed up somewhat, its edge is smeared with pig fat, and 
the sulfur and rosin are placed inside and melted into a liquid. While 
this is happening, the saltpeter is poured in a little at a time, while stirring 
constantly with a trowel. When it is sufficiently mixed, the antimony is 
poured in and the mixture is stirred further. Then, removing the cauldron 
from the heat onto thick felt, the oil of turpentine is poured in and the 
mixture is again stirred with a trowel. The cap is filled with the compound 
while still warm (it should by no means have been allowed to get cold), 
without disturbing the ignition channel in the rocket casing. 

10. Filling the cap with incendiary compound. As noted 
above, the incendiary compound is to be filled while still warm.. The hands 
are thus smeared with pig fat, and the compound is poured in a little at 


a time, packing each fill in with a ramrod some 15 times, and continuing 
until the cap and the designated part of the casing are full. 

11. Attaching the shell and the cap. Before it is secured 
to the rocket, the cap is prepared as follows: when the compound in the 
cap has completely cooled and hardened, a hole is drilled in the compound 
in the middle of the cap, as far as the large orifices, or, if it is desired 
to prepare all the holes, as far as the last ones; then each of these holes 
should be drilled through lateral holes to the one made in the middle, and 
filled with an illuminating compound, packed in as in paper tubes of gun- 
powder, and prepared by means of a trowel. After this a hole is also 
drilled through the incendiary compound and silt, as far as the rocket 
propellant, in the center of the casing. After this is done, the cap is 
fitted tightly onto the casing and bound tightly with twine, from beginning 
to end of the notches. After perforating the silt in the rocket as far as the 
rocket propellant, the shell is inserted into it by means of a tube, the 
shell tube support having previously been set straight in the silt. Two 
half- inch bands of sheet iron are placed crosswise over the shell, and it 
is then attached to the rocket like the cap. The length of these bands 
should be about 15 inches. All of the orifices in the cap and beneath the 
rocket are covered with fireproof resinated flax. 

12. The shell of an incendiary rocket. The shells should 
be of the same diameter as the rocket with walls half the thickness of 
those of conventional cast shells of the same diameter. 

13. Weight and size of tails and their attachment 

to the rocket. The tails are made of pine or some other light wood 
2" thick at its upper end, and thinner below, and 7 1/2 times the 
circumference of the rocket casing in length, planed to form a right 
tetrahedron. If one moves along the tail away from the casing, the rocket 
begins to overbalance at a point 4 calibers away from the casing. The tail 
is then passed through lugs, the two lower of which are heated red hot, and 
have one hole pierced in each (the lugs are heated and the holes made before 
filling); the screw fitted to the upper lug is turned extremely tight, and the 
tail is perforated opposite to the holes in the two lower lugs, through which 
iron nails are driven. The tails should be made of the driest possible wood, 
which would keep the weight of a 4" rocket tail down to only 12 pounds, but 
due to the unavailability of dry wood here, big tails have never weighed less 
than 14 V2 pounds, and have been known to reach 16 V2 pounds. Tails for 
small rockets weigh from 3 to 4 V4 pounds. 

14. The launcher. The launcher is made of strong dry wood, of a 
planed bar measuring 7" on all sides and 8 1/2 times the circumference of 
the casing in length. In this bar is hollowed pyramidally, from one end to 
the other, a groove of the same length as the tail into which the tail easily 
fits. The end which is not chiseled through is rounded off as in the trail 

of a gun-carriage, and is perforated by a hole designed to fit a slide-valve 
with spring, as in gun-carriages of early design. The depth of this groove 
is 5", and inside it, towards the bottom, are small rollers on pivots. From 
its upper end the bottom and sides of the groove are externally bound with 
sheet iron, and the lower sheet is bent upwards along a line over the surface 
of the rollers for 6 inches. This flange is rounded at both its ends. The 
groove is fitted with two legs, attached to a cushion by a bolt. The bolt, 
passed through the cushion and the groove, connects the legs with the 


groove. The legs, for the launchers of large rockets, are made 2/3 the 
length of the entire groove, while those for small rockets are made 
2 1/4 arshin [63"] long. 

15. Elevation of the launcher in degrees [launching 
angle] and range of a rocket. The greatest launching angle for big 
rockets is 55°, though this can be decreased to 35° and even lower. With 
a launching angle of 55° a 4" rocket covers a distance of 950 to 1250 sagenes 
[2220 to 2920 yd], while at 35° it will reach a little over 500 sagenes [1170yd]. 
Small rockets with long tails are launched at from 40° to 25°, and will reach 
750 sagenes [1750 yd] at the higher angle, and 500 [1170 yd] at the lower. 

Small rockets intended to ricochet are cut into a wooden sphere 4" in 
diameter, but are in other respects like rockets shot in a curved 
trajectory. They are normally equipped with shells and launched from the 
ground. Small rockets have been found more convenient for this purpose, 
since experiments show the large ones to reach no farther, and sometimes, 
not so far. 

Colonel of Artillery Zasyadko 


A rocket pendulum can be used to determine, for each rocket tested: 

1. The tinrie for which the propulsive force acts. 

2. The magnitude of the entire propulsive force produced by combustion 
of the rocket propellant from its beginning to its end, in pud-feet 

[1 pud = 36 1b]. 

3. The internal gas pressure in the casing in pounds per square inch of 
internal casing area, i. e., the successive magnitudes of this pressure at 
the end of successive arbitrary time intervals, so that the variation of the 
internal pressure from the beginning to the end of combustion can be 
represented by a curve, with the abscissa proportional to the time and the 
ordinate proportional to the internal pressure in pounds. From this can 
be determined: 

4. The limiting maximum gas pressure in the casing. 

5. The time between the commencement of combustion and the moment 
of maximum gas pressure. 

From this it is evident that a rocket pendulum can be used to determine: 

a) The relationship between the proportionality of the constituents of the 
rocket propellant, all features of the rocket's internal design, and the 
parameters noted above. 

b) The minimum possible thickness (determined by calculation) of the 
iron in the casing of the rockets tested. ** 

• AIM Archive, VUK store, entry 40, file 113, sheets 231 — 237. 

** From the formula x= , where x is the thickness of the casing walls, v is the internal diameter of 

the casing, p is the weight necessary to burst iron for the required cross section, equal to a unit of 
surface, and / is the limit of the internal pressure in pounds per unit of internal area of the casing. 


The features of the internal design of rockets of a given caliber are: 

1. Ingredients of the rocket propellant and their proportionality. 

2. Density of the rocket propellant. 

3. Height of the blind propellant. 

4. Height of the ignition channel. 

5. Diameter of the ignition channel. 

6. Size of the gas exhaust orifices. 

There are thus six factors the effect of variation in which on the 
performance of the rocket propellant is still very poorly understood. 
To study them fully it would be necessary to perform a number of 
experinaents with a rocket pendulum, varying each of these factors in 
order to obtain different combinations; but even with a small number of 
variations in each factor, the number of different combinations would 
become enormous, there would be no end to the experiments, and the 
idea would be lost in the mass of results and their applications. 

To facilitate the investigation, the variations can be limited, on the 
basis of such facts as are now partially known, i. e.: 

1. For rockets with an exhaust orifice equal to the cross section of 
the casing, a propellant consisting of pure gunpowder pulp should be 
used; for weakened propellants, which may be required if the exhaust 
orifice is reduced in size, two series of propellants should be adopted: 

a) Gunpowder weakened by the admixture of varying percentages of 

b) Gunpowder weakened by the admixture of varying percentages of 
nitre and sulfur. 

2. In all possible experiments the density of the propellant should be 
brought up to the maximum possible limit. 

3. The height of the blind propellant should be made equal to the 
thickness of the propellant about the channel, because the combustion of 
the blind propellant alone must give rise to a propulsive force whose only 
appreciable effect will be the production of deviations. 

In addition, at the beginning experiments with direct application to the 
design of rockets with lateral and central tails should be conducted. These 
experiments can be divided into series: 

First series of experiments. Investigations toward the 
design of rockets with lateral tails and an exhaust orifice equal to the cross 
section of the casing. 

Propellant — gunpowder pulp. 

Diameter of the channel— 0.6", 0.8", 1.0", 1.2", 1.4". 

Channel height — 3 V2, 4, 4 1/2, and 5 calibers. 

This gives 20 different combinations. Each combination should be 
tested both igniting the rocket propellant at its edge and igniting it by 
means of a quick-firing primer, extending to the bottom of the channel, 
with the rocket covered with resinated flax. This will double the number 
of experiments, making 40 altogether. 

Second series of experiments. To determine the effect of 
the size of the exhaust orifice in rockets with lateral tails and a base 
plate with central orifice. 

Propellant — gunpowder pulp. 

The central orifice in the base plate is taken at 0.8", 1.0", 1.2", 1.4". 
and 1.6". For each orifice one rocket with a channel in the propellant 


0.6" in diameter should be tested, and another the diameter of whose 
ignition channel is 0.2" less than that of the exhaust orifice in the base 
plate. For both these rockets the height of the ignition channel should 
be allowed to run through the values of 3 ^2, 4, 4 1/2, and 5 calibers, 
giving a total of 40 rockets. In each rocket the two different methods of 
ignition employed in the first series should be tested, giving a total of 
80 rockets for the second series. 

Third series of experiments. Investigations of rockets with 
a central tail and base plate designed for a central tail. 

In these experiments the area of the gas exhaust orifice can be taken 
as the maximum possible permitted by the central tail design, where the 
tail is screwed on. It must be taken into account that the tail screw must 
have a diameter of 0.8", while the diameter of the channel will be constant 
and will be determined by the diameter of the tail screw in the base plate. 
It must be 0.2" less than this, giving it a diameter of 0.6". The variables 
will be the proportionality of the ingredients of the propellant and the height 
of the channel. For the former one can take the two types of propellant 
mentioned above: gunpowder pulp with an admixture of carbon, and gun- 
powder pulp with an admixture of nitre and sulfur, allowing six 
variations in each type. For each propellant the channel can be taken 
at 3 Vs, 4, 4 Vs, and 5 calibers, giving 48 different rockets for the 
third series of experiments. 

In all of the series of experiments it is assumed that only one experiment 
will be performed for study of each factor in the internal design of rockets. One 
successful experiment should be sufficient to determine the relationships 
sought, for the following reasons. 

1. The results obtained by means of the pendulum for each rocket will 
have all the accuracy that could be desired, due to the design of the pendulum 
and the means adopted for conduct of the experiments. 

2. The results obtained for one rocket, tested on the pendulum, can be 
allowed with only a small departure from the mean results which would be 
obtained from many experiments since in carefully built rockets there can 
be no great variation in the performance of the propellant. It must be 
incomparably less than the variation in the performance of gunpowder 
charges, since the rocket propellant constitutes a dense mass, almost 
unaffected by the various circumstances in which a rocket can be placed 
during storage; a gunpowder charge, on the other hand, consists of grains 
susceptible to displacement into a different relative position and subjected 
more than a mass of rocket propellant to the influence of external 
circumstances, on account of their considerably greater surface area 
relative to their mass. 

The lack of mean results can be partially compensated for by the 
familiar graphic method of correcting the experimental results which 
determine the functional relationship between any variable and another 
variable depending upon it. This is done as follows: 

The experiments of each series, as is evident from the scheme, consist 
of several classes of experiments, in each of which are tested a number of 
rockets distinguished from one another by continual variation of just one 
part of the design. The results obtained for each class can therefore be 
represented graphically by broken lines, plotting the design changes along 
the abscissae and the results, along the ordinates. In this way a broken 


line will be obtained for the variation of time required for combustion of 
the entire propellant, another for the variation in the magnitude of the 
propulsive force, etc. 

If these broken lines are replaced by continuous curves running between 
the points determined, one has an empirical approximation of the truth. 

The requirements for the experiments of all three series are as follows :'i' 

For the first series of experiments, casings with an exhaust orifice equal 
to the cross section of the casing. For this purpose the manually made 
casings remaining from last year's experiments can be used 

For the second series of experiments, casings with a smaller gas exhaust 
orifice, and five different schemes corresponding to different areas of the 
orifice. To speed up the experiments, two casings could be used for each 
scheme, making a total of 10 casings, which would have to be prepared 
manually at the Sestroretsk plant. 

For the third series of experiments, casings with base plates of my 
design, to finish the rockets used by us, with central tails, until the 
perfection of Pikte rockets, therefore the number can be confined to 
10 casings. 

In the casings for the second and third series of experiments the 
thickness of the walls must be made much greater than is usual, or 
approxiraately 0.5", to avoid every danger of an explosion and to conserve 
the casings. 

As these casings have no lugs, they can be filled in one of the Rocket 
Institute's 3" molds. 

The casings for the second and third series of experiments must be 
fitted with iron plugs on wedges to strengthen the layer of clay which 
constitutes the blind propellant. 

This program of experiments with a rocket pendulum will serve as the 
basis for a theory of internal rocket construction, which now exists only 
in the vaguest form. This theory would make it possible to strive 
systematically for the perfection dependent on the internal design of a 
rocket. Indeed, the following can be assumed a priori to be prerequisite 
to the attainment of this perfection: 

1. The magnitude of the propulsive force must be the maximum. 

2. The time for which the propulsive force acts must be the minimum, 
provided it is no less than the time needed for the rocket to leave the stand. 

3. The time between the beginning of combustion and the moment of 
maximum gas pressure in the rocket must be less than the time needed 
for the rocket to leave the stand. 

4. The wear and tear on the casing must be as little as possible, there- 
fore the maximum gas pressure in the casing must be as low as possible 
when the propulsive force is at its maximum, to minimize the wear and tear. 

In addition, the increase and decrease of pressure in the casing should 
occur continuously, and in proportion to the time. It would most likely be 
best, both from the point of view of maximum propulsive force, and from 
that of nninimium wear and tear on the casing, for the pressure to reach its 
upper limit rapidly, rising in proportion to the time, then to remain constant, 
and finally, to fall off rapidly and in proportion to the time, rather than drop 

The three series include 168 rockets, but the number of casings can be far lower, since each casing 
can be used for a number of experiments. 


The external design of a rocket, which implies the weight of the entire 
fully-equipped rocket, the length of the tail, the position of the center of 
gravity and its displacement during flight, etc., can be based on known 
facts unrelated to this subject, on the fundamentals of theoretical 
m.echanics, on the data which I found in previous experiments, and finally, 
is subject to further experimental research. 

A program of investigations towards the establishment of a theory of 
external rocket design (in the sense used above) will be the subject of 
another monograph. 

15 May 1849. 

Captain Konstantinov 


As is well known, there are other means, besides a tail, for making a 
rocket fly straight, i. e.: 

1. A rocket can be made to fly sufficiently straight by proper situation 
of the center of gravity alone; this requires only that the center of gravity a 
of a fully-equipped rocket casing be located along the direction of forward 
motion of the center of the figure b, and that through burnout the center of 
gravity of the entire system, being displaced, not pass behind the center of 
the figure, nor even coincide with it. If either of these contingencies 
occurred during flight, the rocket, rather than flying straight, would take 
the course of a Schwarmer. 

A well-designed rocket, even though it proceeds in a given direction, 
thus follows a rather winding course. This is particularly due to the fact 
that the nonconcentric combustion of the propellant causes displacement 
of the center of gravity, not along the axis of the rocket casing, but along 
an irregular curve about the rocket axis. To dispel the consequent 
irregularity in flight, wings are fitted to the lower part of the rocket casing. 
(I brought details of signal rockets of this type, used by the Sardinian 
artillery, from Turin in 1840.) These wings increase the lateral air 
resistance on the lower part of the rocket, thereby maintaining it in the 
direction of flight. 

In place of wings, a certain Vaillant from Boulogne -sur- Me r (Manuel 
de s'artificier de Vergnaud) conceived the idea of using a triangular prism 
of thin cardboard, tangent to and secured to the lower part of the rocket. 

Pounder signal rockets with wings and with prism.s have been repeatedly 
manufactured in the laboratory section of the general Gunpowder School. 
For launching two rings of wire c and d were attached to the surface of the 
rocket casing and used to launch the rocket from a vertical iron rod secured 
to the upper part of a stake. The flight of these rockets was always 
completely satisfactory, and in particular that of the rockets with prism.s, 
which are superior to those with wings in certain important respects, i. e. : 
they are easier to make, a prism is more easily attached to the surface 
of a casing, and in addition, rockets with prisms are far easier to transport 
than those with wings. 

AIM Archive, ShGF store, entry 12, file 37, sheets 32 — 35. 



It would be exceedingly useful to bring signal rockets with prisms 
into actual use, on account of their ready transportability and safety 
in launching, but the same system is inadmissible for military rockets, 
because of the insufficient flatness of trajectory. Rockets fitted with 
wings and prisms can only be launched vertically, or at high angles. 

They have very long range at high launching angles, and the insufficient 
flatness results from the shortness of the rocket. To attain flatness of 
trajectory in spite of this, the rocket would have to have a velocity near that of 
an artillery projectile which follows a flat trajectory, and rockets cannot 
be given such velocities. 

When the length of the rocket is increased by a tail, flatness is 
increased by lateral air resistance on both the ascending and descending 
arms of the trajectory. 

2. Another means for directing rockets without tails consists of 
imparting to the rockets in flight rotational motion about their axis. 

This method reduces the flatness of trajectory even more than the 
preceding one, since the rotational motion of the rocket about its axis. 


produced by the design of the rocket, ''' always absorbs part of the 
propulsive force, thereby reducing the action of the propulsive force 
in the direction of flight, with a consequent reduction in velocity and 
trajectory flatness. 

3. There is yet another method of making a rocket fly straight without 
a tail. This consists of imparting to the rocket, whose center of gravity 
is located as in winged rockets, a high initial velocity by means of a gun- 
powder charge in an appropriately designed launching tube, or, in accord 
with the caliber of the rocket, in the barrel of a fire-arm or the bore of 
an ordnance piece. This was Montgery's idea and was developed by him, 
though in very incomplete fashion, in his 1825 work on rockets. On the 
basis of this idea Montgery proposes rockets of special design, which he 
terms "rochettes. " 

The Foss rifle incendiary rockets used by us are a practical realization 
of Montgery's idea and probably constitute its only possible application. 
There is no doubt that the idea could be made a basis for the design of 
tailless military rockets meant to be shot from light ordnance by a reduced 
charge or from launching tubes specially designed for this object. 

Unfortunately such rockets, in spite of their probably flat trajectories 
and small deviations, would offer no particular advantages. Shot from 
artillery pieces, they would constitute an expensive projectile whose cost 
and difficult maintenance would not be compensated for by its advantages, 
consisting of the great explosive and incendiary effect of rocket projectiles 
by comparison with conventional artillery projectiles. 

The introduction of rockets as artillery projectiles would lead to an 
increase in the already existing diversity of ordnance ammunition and 
this alone is almost a sufficient argument that the idea of shooting tailless 
rockets from artillery pieces should not be pursued. 

The shooting of tailless rockets by a charge from specially designed 
launching tubes would lead to a special artillery whose character would 
be particularly notable for having combined the deficiencies of conventional 
and rocket artillery, without the chief advantages of either. The efficiency 
of this artillery would thus be less than that of conventional artillery. On the 
the other hand, although the launchers of this artillery would be considerably 
easier to move than artillery pieces, they would weigh far more than 
conventional rocket launchers, with the result that this artillery would have 
considerably less mobility than existing rocket artillery. Furthermore, 
so much time would be required to load the launching tubes with rockets 
that this artillery would be slower in action, not only than rockets, but 
even than ordnance. This new artillery, constituting something in between 
conventional and rocket artillery, would be devoid of the qualities which 
are the reason for the vitality of military rockets, their existence at present, 
and the urge for their improvement, i. e., the lack of any destructive effect 

Rotational motion about the axis of the rocket can be produced by: 

a) Oblique gas exhaust orifices. 

b) An oblique surface attached to the rocket, in the stream of the escaping gases. 

c) External spacings on the casing to produce rotational motion through air resistance. 

d) Screwlike threads on the inner surface of the launching tube and projections, which fit into them, 
on the surface of the rocket. In all of these cases, careful investigation of the matter shows convincingly 
that the rotational motion occurs at the expense of the rocket's propulsive force. 


on the launcher, and concentration of the reasons for the projectile' s motion 
and its terminal effect in the projectile itself. 

6 July 1849 

Colonel Konstantinov 


The following are the contents of a note on the introduction and use of 
military rockets in the Navy, read by Colonel Konstantinov, Permanent 

1 . Comparison of military rockets with conventional artillery 

Deficiencies of rockets: 

a. Military rockets cost more than rounds fired from artillery pieces. 

b. They are more prone to deteriorate through prolonged storage or 
unfavorable conditions than is artillery ammunition. 

c. They are inferior to ordnance both in striking force and accuracy. 

d. In large numbers, exceeding 500, rockets have higher weight and 
volume than those of artillery pieces with their ammunition. 

Advantages of rockets: 

1. The projectile incorporates its means of propulsion. 

2. The small space required for rocket launching. 

3. The ready transportability of rocket launchers and individual rockets. 
For these reasons rockets, despite their drawbacks, constitute a useful 

weapon even when conventional artillery is available, since they sometimes 
make it possible to achieve results unattainable with conventional artillery. 
Proof of this is furnished by the increasing annual demand for military 
rockets in the Caucasus, where 6000 rockets are to be sent this year, and 
measures are being taken to increase the annual shipment to 12,000. 
Rockets might have certain special uses in the Navy, e.g.: 

1. For operations from rowboats or the shore. 

2. For action against ships from shore batteries. 

3. For action against the shore whenever the Navy must undertake 
independent military operations against the shore. 

4. For signalling and illuminating. 

5. To throw lines. 

To examine more closely the utility of introducing rockets in the Navy 
it would be helpful to conduct experiments on military rockets under the 
direction of the Rocket Institute and in the presence of observers from the 
Navy Department. For the purpose of testing rockets in the five instances 
listed above, at least at first, it would be necessary to limit the tests to 
2" rockets, whose use, to the exclusion of other calibers, in the Caucasus, 
testifies to their being the most perfected of our designs. 

For rocket operations on terrain and against ships from the coast the 
launchers and launching methods now in use are sufficient, but rowboat 
operations would require new launchers equipped to direct rockets even 
when the boat is pitching and tossing, and which would protect the ship 

• Journal of the Naval Scientific Committee, No. 109, 3 Febniary 1851. TsGAVMF, sotre 162, entry 1, 
file 285, sheets 4—6. 


and crew from the rocket's fiery wake. Such a launcher with a percussion 
raechanism for ignition of the rockets might be built according to the 
instructions of the Rocket Institute in the Izhorskii Naval Workshops. A 
list of rockets for the first experiments is appended. * 

Colonel Konstantinov 

After hearing these remarks the Committee, being of the opinion that 
military rockets might be of use to the Navy, proposed to present the idea 
to the scrutiny of the Head of the Chief Naval Staff, requesting his opinion 
of the following: 

1. Allowing the indicated experiments to be performed. 

2. Permitting the use of the Committee's funds, up to the sum of 
300 silver rubles, required for the manufacture of 170 rockets for the 

3. Communication with the War Department on the subject of having 
these rockets made in the Rocket Institute and stored there until required, 
as well as having the Institute supply means for performance of the 

4. Ordering from the Izhorskii Naval Workshop, on the instructions 
of Colonel Konstantinov, a rocket launcher for use on training ships. 

Original signed by the Honorable Chairman of the Committee and the 
members and authenticated by the learned Secretary. 


Military rockets have been in use in Europe for about 50 years, but 
at present they are everywhere regarded as second-class weapons and 
no government has yet affirmed the need for any great outlay on rockets. 
Only in Austria has the influence of General Augustin, who has made 
considerable improvement in rockets, succeeded in constituting 1/8 of 
all the field artillery t of rocket batteries; however, the rockets 
manufactured in Austria are exclusively of small caliber (2" and 2 V2"). 

The manufacture of rockets was taken up in France in 1806, after 
their use by the English at Boulogne. Research on the subject was 
conducted under the observation of a special commission composed of 
first-rank scientists, but frequent coups-d'etat and, to an equal extent, 
the extraordinary difficulty of perfecting rockets, have been the reason 
why rocket research in France has continued to the present day, and the 
French now have only one rocket battery in the East. 

In England rockets are used both by land forces and by the Navy for 
operations from small rowboats, but the organization of the rocket 
batteries is unknown to us. 

• It goes without saying that further experiments in this area would depend on the success of the first ones. 
•" AIM Archive, ShGF sotre, entry 12, file 154. sheets 149 — 160. 

t The note communicated this year by the Suite of His Highness Major-General Count Stakelberg shows 
that Austria's 168 field batteries include 20 rocket batteries. 


French and English Congreve rockets are completely different from 
the Austrian ones both in their appearance and in their performance: 
Congreve rockets have long range — up to 1600 sagenes [37 35 yd] — but 
deviate considerably from the aiming plane, while the Austrian rockets, 
with a range of no more than 350 sagenes [820 yd], are distinguished by 

For a long time we had no information about the Austrian rocket design, 
which was kept a closely-guarded secret, and although Major Moore 
attempted to reproduce it in Russia, he failed due to his lack of familiarity 
with the subject. Finally Colonel Konstantinov, Director of the Rocket 
Institute, in two trips to Vienna, succeeded in penetrating the secret of 
the Austrian rockets, which would of course have remained permanently 
inaccessible to someone less conversant with the business of rocket 
production. * 

Our Rocket Institute was tooled for the production of rockets of the 
English type, whose military use in appreciable numbers in Russia 
began in 1846, as a consequence of the requirements of Prince Vorontsov. 

Since then about 33,000 Russian military rockets have been manufactured, 
and they were used with considerable success, in the capture and defense of 
Ak-Mechet, and at the siege of Silistria, as Prince Vorontsov, Imperial 
Aide, General Perovskii, and Prince Gorchakov testify. According to the 
dispatch of Lieutenant- General Brimmer in the battle of Kyuryuk-Dara 
against the Turks, the rockets with the Cossack Hundreds, on the right 
flank of the Russian position, not only terrified the enemy infantry and 
cavalry by their novelty and unexpectedness, but being well- aimed, inflicted 
real damage on the enemy masses, especially during the pursuit. 

It is thus apparent that 2" field rockets, when properly used to 
supplement ordnance in mountainous and dissected terrain where the latter 
is not easily transportable, can be quite useful, and Russian rockets are 
beginning to attain this goal. 

As far as long-range rockets, of about 3 V2" caliber, are concerned, 
they are generally of little use in the defense of sea caosts because of 
their considerable deviation in flight and the awkwardness of transporting 
them with their long tails, and for the additional reason that the extremely 
limited weight of the projectile these rockets can carry decreases with 
increase in the range desired. Over long distances rockets cannot carry 
any greater projectile than a 12- pound shell, whose effect on a ship is 
totally insignificant. In such cases high- angle fire from artillery pieces 
is always preferable, since the latter not only strike far more accurately 
than rockets, but can shoot projectiles of very great caliber. Long-range 
rockets are equally ineffectual in the bombardment of cities or fortresses, 
because of the insignificant size of their projectiles, and an enemy can 
only think of bringing rockets close to the shore in small boats when 
attacking an unfortified position. 

From this it is clear that in our present war with the English and French 
we have no reason to fear rocket launchings from enemy ships. The news- 
paper reports of experiments conducted in France on long-range rockets are 

• A small printing of the detailed description of the Austrian rockets, with sketches, composed by 
Colonel Konstantinov, was made by royal order for distribution at the disposition of the Inspector- 
General of Artillery. 


only apparently impressive, but give no assurance of particularly 
destructive effect, since, as shown above, these rockets can carry 
no missile substantially greater than a 12- pounder. 

The real utility of large- caliber rockets is limited to their application, 
for demolition purposes, in land attacks or fortress defense, to open a 
breach in a bank of earth or to destroy the works of those under siege. 
However, high-quality demolition rockets able to withstand transport and 
storage cannot be built with the existing equipment of the Rocket Institute. 

From 1823 to 1850 Russian rocket production was directed by the 
Englishman Massingbird-Turner, and throughout this period it remained 
at the same level. The chief deficiency of the rockets was their rapid 
deterioration in storage and their tendency to burst in launching, 
particularly pronounced in large-caliber (3 V2") rockets. The reason for 
this is the weakness of the presses, which date back to Moore's days, 
which makes it impossible to fill the rockets with dry propellant. The 
compound must first be dampened, and the nnoisture it contains then 
results in cracks when it dries. 

After 1850, when Colonel Konstantinov, an officer endowed with 
exceptional abilities and having wide knowledge, succeeded as Director 
of the Rocket Institute, Russian rocket production made great progress. 
The concern of this field-officer resulted in much greater accuracy and 
safety in rocket production than before, brought about uniformity in the 
preparation of the propellant and all rocket parts, improved rocket 
launchers and replaced almost all machines by new ones differing from 
the older models. The only exception to this was the presses, whose 
construction would have required a mechanical motor and the reorganization 
of the entire Rocket Institute. The practice of filling rockets with dampened 
propellant could therefore not be altogether done away with. Konstantinov 
accomplished all this without burdening the treasury with great expense, 
and with extremely limited financial assistance. Without enough steady 
artisans, but annually employing new ones periodically sent to him from 
various places and from the Guards infantry, Konstantinov nonetheless 
succeeded in eliminating the premature explosion of 2" rockets filled 
with damp propellant. '^ 

The manufacture of military rockets is the hardest of all laboratory 
tasks, and in the Russian artillery only Colonel Konstantinov, dedicating 
his life to rockets and tirelessly studying them and investigating every 
possibility for their improvement, subjecting every alteration in their 
design to careful experiment, is able to bring Russian rockets up to the 
same level as foreign ones. 

Now Russian military rockets are a useful supplementary weapon in the 
Army, as the testimonies cited above make clear, and although they are 
less accurate than the Austrian ones, they fly farther, which is essential 
now that hand fire-arms are so highly developed. 

By comprehensive annual experiments in the presence of the Artillery 
Section of the Military Scientific Committee, Konstantinov laid firm 
foundations for the final establishment of correct rocket design in Russia. 
These experiments have required extended periods of time and untiring 

Konstantinov was not responsible for the construction and launching of the 3 1/2" rockets used during the 
field-engineers' experiments at Peterhof in 1850. The explosion of one of these on the launcher nearly 
took the life of Adjutant-General Prince Menshikov. 

efforts and now Colonel Konstantinov need only be given the necessary 
means in order to attain the desired perfection. He has not excluded 
3 V2" long-range rockets from his research, and in the experiments 
performed these rockets no longer burst, although, due to the weakness 
of the presses which require the use of dampened propellant, the Rocket 
Institute cannot fully guarantee their quality. 

The highest artillery command has not lost sight of the necessity of 
equipping the Rocket Institute to produce rockets of the desired quality. 
Profiting from the information about Austrian rockets collected by 
Konstantinov, and the great experience which he had acquired in this 
area, the Inspector- General of Artillery permitted him to draw up plans 
for the design of barrels for the preparation of propellant, new presses, 
and a steam engine, together with the necessary structures they involve. 
At the same time Baron Korf, General of Artillery, was petitioning for an 
increase in the permanent staff of the Rocket Institute, taking into account 
that the maximum set for it in 1850 was reduced in view of the proposal 
to found another rocket institute in the Caucasus; since this proposal had 
come to nothing, the existing staff of the Petersburg Rocket Institute was 
insufficient. Presentation of the budget and staff schemes formulated 
was delayed, first, by Prince Vorontsov's proposal to found a special 
rocket institute in Georgievsk, second, by the very formulation of machinery 
designs, which required extended study and involved profound engineering 
ideas, and finally, by the failure to resolve the question of transferring the 
Rocket Institute and the place for artillery experiments from Volkova 
field. * 

It is inconvenient to leave the rocket institute in its present location not 
only because it is unsafe and because of the proximity of the connecting 
railway line, but also because there is insufficient room for the installation 
of a steam engine and of new workshops. A further point of necessity in 
favor of the transfer of the rocket institute to a new location is that the 
installation of a safe heating system in it would involve rebuilding of all the 
structures, which would in turn mean bringing all rocket production for 
current orders to a halt. . . 

The following measures must therefore be taken to fulfill the imperial 
command without delay, and to place our rocket production unquestionably 
on such a high level that it not only does not lag behind, but even outstrips 
that of foreign governments. 

1) The Rocket Institute should be removed farther from the connecting 
railway line and built closer to Volkova village. For this purpose the 
necessary land should be rented from the Volkova peasants, 12 V2 desyatina 
[33.75 acres], for an annual rate equal to the yearly income they receive 
from it, 1541 silver rubles. The ground for the artillery experiments, 
however, should be left on Volkova field, but the buildings on it should be 
rebuilt and some new ones erected. The ground itself should be partitioned 
off and surrounded by a hedge on three sides. The plan of the sections 
allotted for the cottages should be changed so that they lie parallel, rather 
than perpendicular to the Tsarskoe Selo railway line, and no fresh boundary 
line should be drawn between the plots and the testing ground, especially 
across the latter. 

• The order to seek a new location for the artillery experiments and the rocket institute came in 1846 by 
royal command, as a result of His Majesty's observation, made after a visit to the poorhouse, which 
was built by a local Civic Group near Volkova Cemetery, that the view from there, on either side of 
the Tsarskoe Selo railway line, was unsightly. 


Leaving the rocket institute and the artillery testing ground at Volkova 
field would save the treasury the 740,132 silver rubles required to purchase 
the land of Piskarev. In place of this there would be only a small outlay 
for rental of the new location for the rocket institute from the residents of 
Volkova and completion of the testing ground. 

2) A rocket institute to be built on the newly chosen site should be 
designed from the plans and budgets drawn up for this purpose, for the 
annual production of 12,000 field and demolition rockets of various calibers, 
with installation of a heating system safe for operations involving gunpowder. 
According to the estimates, construction of the workshops with assembly of 
the machines and metal parts, and of the barracks for the artisans would 
require 755,263 silver rubles, but the cost of commercial structures could 
be lowered. 

3) With foundation of the new rocket institute corresponding new staffs 
should be assigned, with an increased number of masters, apprentices, 
and artisans, in accord with the scheme specially drawn up. 

4) Until completion of the rocket institute in the new location, rocket 
manufacture should be continued in the existing institute, using its 
facilities and attempting no more than the production of rockets with moist 
propellant, which it is equipped to turn out. 

When these proposals will receive preliminary approval from the 
Emperor, the already existing plans for the new staff and budget of the 
rocket institute will be presented for final ratification. 


By order of the Chairman of the Artillery Committee the notes of a 
member [of the Committee] in charge of affairs refer to the Committee 
for its conclusion, under the numbers 105, 107, 539, 592, and 653, the 
replies of the regional artillery commands and headquarters to the 
question of withdrawing 2" military rockets from use, as follows: Omsk, 
No. 309/1885, and Turkestan, No. 558/1885 (commands); Irkutsk, 
No. 2685/1885, Caucasus, No. 2997/1885, and Amur, No. 2835/1885 

The subject arose as follows. In the previous year (1884) the 
Artillery Committee had been instructed to study the matter of 1500 2" 
military rockets delivered from Orenburg to Tashkent. Of these a large 
number turned out to have deteriorated during the journey and to require 
repair. The Master of the Ordnance therefore requested the Committee 
to consider the utility of the continued production and use of 2" military 
rockets, suggesting that in view of the present design and armament of 
field and mountain artillery it might be advisable to withdraw and 
discontinue the manufacture of the 2" rockets. 

Bearing in mind that military rockets were nowhere used in European 
wars subsequent to the Crimean campaign, and feeling that their future use 
would be unlikely, and considering that Russians had used military rockets 

• ArtUlery Committee Journal No. 12, 16 January 1886. TsGVIA, store 604, entry 8, file 1354, 
sheets 4—10 obverse. 


primarily in wars with semi-barbarian peoples and that, so far as was 
known to the Committee, the rockets had been dispatched to the battalions 
in the field at the request of individuals in command of expeditions, the 
Artillery Committee, in its journal No. 462, for 25 October 1884, expressed 
the view that for final resolution of the matter, it would be best to ask the 
troop commanders in distant regions how much importance they attached 
to the use of military rockets and whether they did not find the time 
opportune for their withdrawal, following the example of the European 

The aforementioned replies just received show that the commanders of 
the Omsk, Turkestan, Irkutsk, and Caucasus military regions are all 
agreed in the view that 2" military rockets are of little value in military 
action, especially in view of the perfected long-range weapons of our troops, 
and that their use should be altogether discontinued for the following 

1. The Commander of the Omsk region finds military rockets 
useless even in Asiatic wars, due to their low accuracy, poor 
striking force, and extremely unpredictable flight vagaries, sometimes 
resulting in injury to the troops launching them. A further objection is the 
difficulty of maintaining them in a proper state of repair during transport, 
since the propellant deteriorates if it is shaken or exposed to great heat. 
As a result the rockets frequently explode on the stand or close to it, 
injuring the attendants. Under such circumstances, it is natural to 
distrust a weapon which at a decisive moment can cause confusion of which 
the enemy can readily take advantage. Just such a circumstance was 
witnessed during the Kokand campaign by Major-General Savrimovich, the 
present Commander of the West Siberian Artillery Brigade. 

2. The Commander of the Turkestan region also regards the sums 
expended on military rockets as a waste of money, since their unpredictability 
in flight, the infrequent explosion of their shells and their short range make 
it impossible for them to compete with rifle fire. Moreover, the bursting 
of rockets on the stand is dangerous to the attendants. When rockets are 
used against cavalry their mere appearance in the air frightens the horses 
and creates disorder, but in war against the peoples of Central Asia 
rockets do not even offer these advantages, since the Asiatic cavalry is 

not ordered to begin with, and attacks in an enormous mass, only an 
insignificant part of which can be affected by rockets launched against it. 
On the other hand, the delivery of rockets to the Turkestan region is 
costly, and in addition, formation of the rocket detachments results in 
weakening of the Cossack units, from which the best men and horses are 

As a result the Commander of the Turkestan region feels that some of the 
most reliable rockets to be found in the depots of the region, together with a 
few stands and other paraphernalia, should be kept in some of the regional 
fortifications, in any case, for use against enemy troops in the improbable 
contingency of the investment of these fortifications; for leaving the rockets 
in service until they become useless will involve no new expenditure. The 
remaining rockets, however, in his opinion, should be destroyed, and the 
stands and other appurtenances reduced to scrap iron and sold. 

3. The Commander of the Irkutsk region, while agreeing that 
production of military rockets should be terminated because of their 


low effectiveness in battle, believes that it would be useful to retain the 
military rockets presently in the regional depots for the event of war with 
the Mongols and Chinese, whose cavalry is so disorganized that in the 
absence of artillery military rockets could be of use by impeding the 
enemy's control of his horses. 

4. The Commander of the Caucasus region, agreeing that production of 
military rockets should be discontinued because of their low military 
capabilities, and their tendency to deterioration through transport or the 
influence of temperature, humidity, etc., feels that the existing rockets 
should be transferred to the disposition of the Commanders of the 
Transcaspian region and the Turkestan region, where alone occasions 

for their use can arise, since the chief purpose of rockets should be not 
so much to strike as to demoralize the semi-barbarian and undisciplined 
hordes of native cavalry. Previous campaigns have shown, however, that 
even in this theater of war occasions for the use of military rockets have 
arisen extremely seldom, and that when they did the rockets were not 
always successful, since they not only failed at times to inflict injury 
on the enemy, but endangered the troops using them by bursting on the 
stand. As far as the use of military rockets in the event of a clash with 
the Turks or Persians is concerned, it cannot be expected to be of any 
service since at present not only their regular troops, but also most of 
their irregular cavalry, are armed with breech- loading rifles characterized 
by great range and accuracy, qualities which the rockets do not possess. 

5. The Commander of the Amur region, while recognizing that 
military rockets have now completely lost their value in wars with 
countries whose troops are properly organized and well armed, feels that 
they can still be of use in the Amur region, since in the event of war 
there, not only troops drawn up in modern array would be involved, but, 
for the most part, crowds who could be made to panic by the rockets. 

With this attitude, and in view of the fact that the regions of European 
Russia, in all probability, contain a considerable number of military rockets 
doomed to destruction, and that their production will again be terminated, 
while the artillery depots of the Amur region contain at present a total 
of only 800 rockets serviceable for military use. Baron Korf, Adjutant 
General and Commander of the region, requests from the Minister 
of War a disposition for shipment to his region of the greatest possible 
number of rockets, together with stands and all other appurtenances. 

Information. The following is the number of 2" rockets presently to 
be found in depots: 

In the depots of the Omsk region 6057 rockets 

" " Turkestan region 2812 

' " " Kiev region 400 

" " Caucasus region 3425 " 

" " Amur region 1061 " 

In the Nlkolaev Rocket Plant 5650 


The Nikolaev Rocket Plant has been given an order for the manufacture of 
250 2" military rockets in 1886. 


After examining all the above and taking into account the opinions of 
the Commanders of the military regions mentioned with regard to the 
uselessness of manufacturing military rockets of the type current in 
Russia, and bearing in mind the thin walls of the rocket propellant forced 
into the casing, which frequently suffer severe jolts when the rockets, 
transported in carts, and more particularly, in pack- loads, are carelessly 
taken down from the horses and put on the ground, thereby inducing cracks 
in the propellant and ruining the rockets, the Artillery Committee decided: 

1) That the manufacture of 2" military rockets at the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant now be terminated, and that it be left to the Rocket Plant to make 
use of those of the remaining machines, lathes, instruments, etc., which 
can be employed in the manufacture of rocket flares, rescue rockets, and 
other objects. 

2) That in accord with the request of the Commander of the Amur 
region the 5650 2" military rockets presently in the Nikolaev Rocket Plant 
be shipped at his disposition and wherever he wishes, with the beginning of 
summer in the coming year (1886). All of these rockets, which have not yet 
undergone transport, should in any case be examined, and only those of 
them should be sent whose appearance indicates that they are in perfect 
order, although such examination will give no guarantee that after the 
journey to the Amur region some rockets will not burst in launching. 
The rocket stands and prescribed appurtenances should be shipped with the 
rockets, and where convenient, may be taken from the depots of the 
Caucasus or other regions where they are to be found. 

3) The military rockets now to be found in the depots of the Asiatic 
military regions should, in accord with the opinion of the Commanders 
of these regions, be retained in these depots or in other places, 
conformable to the occasion of their being required in battle. 

4) The military rockets stored in the depots must unfailingly be 
periodically (not less than once a year) checked and tested in the presence 
of an officer in charge of experiments, with their launcher and 
preliminary drive, in accord with the rules set forth in the description 

of 2" military rockets written by Captain Stepanov of the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant and disseminated in the Committee Journal, No. 409 (183 3). This 
description should be used as a guide in dealing with military rockets and 
their storage. 


Notes No. 491 and 1176 of the business manager of the Artillery 
Committee, for 1905, refer to the Committee for its conclusion Colonel 
Pomortsev's reports of 21 April and 14 October 1905, the first of which 
deals with the replacement of rocket tails by special guides, and the second of 
which is concerned with the replacement of forced rocket propellant by com- 
pressed air. 

From the first report it is clear that Colonel Pomortsev has replaced 
the rocket tail by a special vane consisting of 4 steel bands (1 mm thick 
and 50 mm wide), attached at their centers to the 4 extensions of a steel 
tube, at the ends of two mutually perpendicular diameters. The tangent 

• Artillery Committee Journal No. 42, 18 January 1906. AIM Arciiive, Artillery Committee store, entry 
39/4, file 417, sheets 293, 305— 307. 


ends of the bands are riveted together in pairs, forming a spider on the 
tube, which is tightly fitted over the lower end of the rocket casing and 
is securely coupled to it. 

The arms of the vane, since they meet small air resistance when the 
rocket is in translational motion, serve as excellent guides, and since 
they are lighter than a tail, rockets with a vane of this type, as experiments 
at the Main Artillery Proving Ground have shown, fly more accurately and 
farther than rockets with tails. For the launching of vaned rockets 
Pomortsev built a very light stand, consisting of 4 iron guide strips 
arranged in pairs in two mutually perpendicular planes, with their inner 
edges parallel. The rear ends of the guides are coupled by an iron ring 
and brace strips in the plane of the ring, but the forward ends are free to 
admit the rocket casing with the required gap, placing the arms of the 
vane between the neighboring guides. The lower guide strip is connected 
by means of a hinge to a small tripod, which makes it possible to launch 
the rocket at any angle desired. The total weight of stand and tripod is 
about 1 pud [36 lb], but experiment has shown such a light stand to be rather 

In his second report Pomortsev remarks that during his last journey 
abroad, among other things, he visited several plants in Belgium and 
France which are concerned with the development of pipes for compressed 
gases, and that he stayed at the French Societe' metallurgique de Montbard, 
near Dijon. This plant is involved in widespread production of pipe and 
has a special factory for the electrolytic extraction of oxygen and hydrogen. 
The plant then ships these gases in compressed form to many places in 
France and Belgium. The director of this establishment, an excellent 
engineer, was highly receptive to Pomortsev' s idea and together they 
developed a design for a rocket propelled by compressed air. 

Attaching a schematic diagram of this rocket. Colonel Pomortsev 
requests that an order now be given to the French plant, in order to 
begin experiments on the rockets at the beginning of the coming spring. 

The essence of the design is as follows: a seamless steel pipe with a 
threaded hole in its head serves as a reservoir for compressed air at 
200 atmospheres. When filled with air, the pipe is closed by the shank 
of a steel sleeve which screws into the hole. The sleeve has a disk-like 
top whose diameter is slightly greater than the external diameter of the 
pipe. Along the axis of the sleeve is drilled a channel whose upper part 
is fitted with a screw thread, while its middle, smooth part, of somewhat 
smaller diameter communicates with the lower surface of the sleeve head 
by four mutually perpendicular radial ducts in the thickness of the head, 
whose outflow orifices are arranged with perfect symmetry about the axis 
of the pipe and diverge downwards somewhat from it. Finally, the lower, 
also smooth part of the central channel through the sleeve , still smaller 
in diameter, is closed off by a copper cup whose base rests upon an ebonite 
disk. This is pressed against the lower edge of the middle part of the 
channel by the stem of the central screw, whose head is screwed into its 
upper, threaded part. In the stem of the central screw below is a recess 
for a percussion cap. When this is exploded by an electrical spark the 
ebonite disk and copper cup are broken, permitting the compressed air 
to escape from the reservoir through the radial ducts. 


The advantage of placing the exhaust orifices in the rocket head is that 
the rocket's propulsive force, being applied in front of the center of 
gravity, contributes to flight stability. The stabilizing vane described 
above is mounted on the rear end of the rocket, in place of a tail, and a 
luminous or other projectile is mounted on the disk- like head of the 

Pomortsev showed, from the numerical data given in his notes, that a 
10-cm compressed air rocket weighing 16 to 17 kg, about the weight of a 
3" flare, could hold 1 V2 cubic meters of air under a pressure of 200 
atmospheres. The air, escaping through the four radial ducts, 2.5 mm 
in diameter, is completely exhausted in 25 seconds, giving the rocket an 
initial propulsive force of not less than 40 kg, or no less than that of a 
3" flare, but since it acts for a longer period, the compressed air rocket 
might be expected to have a longer range. 

Opinion of the committee. In its journal for 1903 (No. 554), the 
Artillery Committee, after declaring itself in favor of experiments on 
compressed air rockets, voted to allow Colonel Pomortsev 1000 rubles for 
his experiments. The money was used to build a pump to compress the 
gases and to finance experiments for the development of stabilizing devices 
to replace rocket tails, as well as preliminary experiments on rocket 
propulsion by means of compressed air. Finding his results satisfactory, 
the Artillery Committee voted Pomortsev another 1000 rubles upon his 
petition for this sum to enable the completion of his experiments on 
compressed air rockets. 


. . . Summarizing all of the above, I arrive at the following conclusions: 

1) Major-General Pomortsev has been conducting experiments toward 
the development of a new type of rocket for about 5 years, but they have 
not yet yielded any result, despite the full sympathy of the Artillery 
Committee in making both the material and technical arrangements for 
these experiments. 

2) After spending about 1 V2 months at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant on a 
mission of participation in these experiments, I am convinced of the 
complete lack of a program in their conduct, which leads me to assert 
that they will not yield an improved rocket flare in the near future. 

3) In order to promote the development of a new type of rocket flare, 
Major-General Pomortsev should be removed from leadership of the project 
in favor of someone who has experience in working with gunpowder. 

For my part, I can indicate the following instructions to be followed for 
the attainment of success: 

1 ) Attention should be concentrated on the development of rocket flares, 
and only incidentally devoted to military rockets (recalling that great 
importance was formerly attributed to military rockets both here and 

• AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 50/46 obverse — 50/48 obverse. 


abroad for the simple reason that the smooth cast-iron artillery then in 
use produced less effective fire than rockets, whereas the rifled artillery 
and light machine guns now in use have caused military rockets in many 
instances to lose all value in war, in the field, and in fortresses). This 
demands altering the cap with pellets, giving it the most effective shape 
for reduction of wind resistance, and equipping it with pellets of a stronger 
(i. e., brighter) compound, since that currently in use is adequate for 
illumination only over distances not exceeding one verst. 

2) To come to the development of a rocket flare, one must first of all 
study the curves of pressure in rockets for different combinations of 
ingredients in the rocket propellant, its density of compression, the 
dimensions of the ignition channel and the size and shape of the exhaust 
orifices. This will require an improved dynamometer, more suitable for 
this purpose than that proposed by Major-General Pomortsev. 

The research program should be as follows: 

a) First of all the pressure curve for the existing type of 3" rocket 
flare must be found. 

b) Then, without altering any other conditions in the equipment of 
existing rockets, only the size of the exhaust orifices should be varied 

in order to find, under certain set conditions, the most efficient orifice. 
Concurrently one can investigate the best shape and disposition of the 
orifices — whether a single central orifice of a given area, or several 
orifices grouped symmetrically about the axis of the rocket and together 
giving the same area. 

c) After the most efficient type of orifice has been found, the best 
dimensions for the ignition channel, all other things being equal, must 
be sought (i. e., the dimensions which will give the greatest propulsive 
force). The shape of the ignition channel used in rescue rockets— with a 
narrow neck in the middle — should be tested. 

d) It should be determined whether the currently accepted rocket 
propellant (72 parts nitre to 14 of sulfur and 20 of carbon) is the best. 
Practice gives the following indications, which should be used as a guide 
in seeking the components of a rocket propellant. Carbon should be used 
in the smallest possible quantity, as a substance which in appreciable 
quantities will make the propellant too loose and more likely to dry out. 
The most powerful propellant is gunpowder: 75 parts of nitre, 12 V2 parts 
of sulfur and 12 ^2 parts of carbon. This can be weakened by addition of 
sulfur until it reaches 1/5 of the weight of nitre; further addition of sulfur 
results in too great an increase of the amount of solid residue, so that 
the explosive properties of the compound are not reduced in proportion to 
its adulteration, probably because the holes in the base plates become 
obstructed by the solid residue. When the limiting quantity of sulfur, equal 
to 1/5 that of nitre, is reached, further weakening requires resort to carbon, 
though the amount of sulfur can be increased somewhat with the addition of 
carbon, since the residue of combustion is then less dense. The propellant 
chosen should be the best in terms of range, curvature of trajectory, and 
least likelihood of bursting the casing. The quality of the carbonaceous 
products used has an enormous effect on the properties of the triple 


Temperature of 





Melting point of platinum 



lalysis of coal in percentages 


ture of 





of coal in 































In general it can be said that the most suitable coal is that which is most 
easily ignited, burns fastest, and leaves the least ash. The extent to which 
all this depends on the temperature at which carbonization of the wood 
occurred appears from the above table of Violette, who carbonized almost 
identical pieces of buckthorn turned out at 150°. 

e) The most favorable degree of compression for the rocket propellant 
must be determined (incidentally determining the absolute density of the 
compressed propellant). The journals of former experiments kept on file 
in the Rocket Plant will be of some assistance in working on the second 

f) In place of tails and guides efforts should be made to utilize 
rotational motion for the attainment of flight accuracy. For the rotational 
motion to increase the accuracy of the projectile's translational motion, it 
must, as is well known, take place about a certain axis tangent to the 
trajectory, and must be fully developed before the projectile ceases to be 
guided or, what amounts to the same thing, before the axis of rotation 
ceases to be supported. Only then will the desired stability of the 
projectile relative to the direction of firing be achieved. 

In ordnance pieces and hand fire-arms these conditions are satisfied 
by the full development of the rotational motion in the barrel of the gun 
itself, whose walls determine the position of the axis of rotation. This 
will not occur, however, if the rotational motion continues to develop and 
increase when the projectile is no longer guided, or, what would be 
altogether disadvantageous for flight accuracy, when the rotational motion 
is produced by translational motion, as, for example, by air resistance 
against the spiral grooves or through the spiral ducts in the projectiles; 
for then the rotation can arise about a random axis with no specific 
orientation to the direction of motion, and instead of correcting the flight of the 
projectile, can become a new source of deviation. Finally rotational 
motion set up even prior to the projectile's translational motion in space 
will be inadequate to regulate its flight if its translational motion continues 
through action of the propulsive force, whose development in the projectile 
does not cease, and which causes constant change of the direction of motion 
of the projectile relative to its axis, even though within very close limits. 
In this case the rotational motion would undergo constant change from the 
direction of the translational motion. These considerations, which are 
applicable to all projectiles, fully explain the failure of the means of 
applying rotational motion to regulation of rocket flight adopted when 
military rockets were introduced in all the armies of Europe. These 
means can be divided into the following three categories: 


1) The rotational motion is produced through air resistance by means 
of helical vanes located on the outside of the casing or tail of the rocket 

2) By means of launching tubes whose inner surface is rifled to 
accommodate tenons located on the outside surface of the rocket; 

3) By means of the exhaust gases, part of which leave the rocket 
through spiral ducts inside the casing, or by the pressure of the exhaust 
gases against oblique surfaces attached to the rocket tail. 

Experiments on these means of imparting rotation, however, were 
not conducted carefully, nor were they accorded serious importance, 
even as applied to artillery projectiles. They were simply regarded as 
a matter of taste and fashion, and it was supposed that this enthusiasm 
would pass, to give their due to smooth-bore guns. Modern rifled 
artillery and the most recent discoveries (the single -gage railway of 
Bretten and elimination of tossing on ships by means of a rotating 
gyroscope) give irrefutable proof that the rotation of a moving body 
or one of its component parts is the surest means of giving it stability. 
Whichever of the three means outlined above is chosen, the rotation will 
always be achieved at the expense of the propulsive force which gives rise 
to the translational motion, and since the propulsive force of rockets is 
extremely limited, its partial absorption to create rotation will have as a 
consequence decreased velocity and consequently, reduced range and 
flatness of trajectory. It seems possible to achieve flight steadiness and 
long range by communicating rotational motion to a component part of the 
rocket — a special vane (similar to the propeller on a ship), attached to 
the casing, which would be made to rotate neither by the air resistance 
nor by the pressure of the gases giving rise to the rocket's translational 
motion, but either by appropriate design of the launching stand, or, more 
correctly, by previously stored work (for instance, by means of a wound 
spring which is set in motion by the release of a special delay on the stand 
at the moment the rocket is launched). 

4) Our experiments on the improvement of rocket flares need not 
always be confined to the Nikolaev Rocket Plant; much research might 
be pursued equally successfully at the Main Artillery Proving Ground 
during the autumn and winter months. Preparation of the experimental 
rockets and their dispatch to Sankt-Peterburg for instrument research 
and direct firing tests might be discussed in correspondence with the 
rocket plant. 

Guards Captain Ennatskii 


All of the energy obtained by passage of the gases through the turbine 
wheel goes to overcome the opposing resistances created by rotation of 
the two wheels constituting the gyroscope, so that if the diameter of these 
wheels and the desired velocity of rotation are known, the amount of gas 

• AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 577, sheets 37 — 42. 


flowing into the turbine, the dimensions of the inlet and exhaust orifices 
and the length of the nozzles through which the gas passes can be 
determined with sufficient accuracy for initial experiments. 

If the diameter of the wheels is taken as 13 cm and the velocity of 
rotation as 30, OOOrpm, the results of Prof. Levitskii's experiments with 
a Laval turbine 20 cm in diameter can be used. 

The frictional surface of the disks can be taken as approximately 
proportional to the squares of the diameters, so the ratio of the surfaces 
will be 

2x^ = 555 = 0.845. 

20« 400 

It should also be borne in mind that the peripheral velocity is 

proportional to the diameters, so that in order to obtain identical values 

for the friction, the angular velocity for a 20cm turbine, and consequently, 

the number of revolutions, must be reduced from the number of revolutions 

of a 13-cm turbine, in the ratio — = 0.65, i. e., in this case, 30,000X 0.65 = 

= 19,5000. According to Levitskii, a turbine rotating with a velocity of 
20,000 revolutions required 4.55 h. p., and one rotating at 17,600 revolutions, 

3.33 h.p. Reduction of the number of revolutions by 20 000 ~ ^2% therefore 

reduces the work losses by -455- = 26.8 %. 

It can therefore be assumed that reduction of the number of revolutions 
by 500 (4%) will result in a 9 % reduction of resistance, i. e., 19,500 
revolutions will correspond to a loss of 4.55 — 0.41 = 4.14 actual h. p. ; 
multiplying by the reduced surface, we obtain finally 4,14X0.845 = 3,47 
actual h. p. 

For small Laval turbines the practical efficiency can be taken 
as 0.33, but this is when the steam strikes the blade of the turbine with 
a velocity of about 725ni/sec; in this case the actual velocity of the gases 
must be taken as about 1400 m/ sec, and the efficiency will therefore be 
about 20%. In other words, the kinetic energy of the incoming gases must 
be equal to 17.35 h.p. or 17.4X75 = 1305 kg-m, and since the velocity is 

1400m/sec, gas with a kinetic energy of ^ = 1305 = 2x9.9 1 X 14002. Then 

1305 X2X 9.91 _ 25944 r^ n^ -^n ^ 1 A 11 I, 1 ■ J t, , 

P = — 1960000 1 960 000 ~ 0.01 33 kg/ see. As will be explained below, 

the combustion products of the rocket propellant, at the greatest permissible 
pressure of 10 atmospheres, have a specific volume v = 0.788 m^, or 
788,000 cm^. Consequently, in place of 1 kg/sec one must put in 
0.0133X0.788 = 0.01048 m^ and since the minimum velocity at the orifice 
will be about 900m/sec, the minimum area of the orifices will be 

'9QO = 0.000012 m^, or 12 mm^, and since the gas initially enters at a 

pressure of about 2 atmospheres, the initial area of the inlet orifices must 
be 12X5 = 60 mm^. 

In determining the dimensions of the exhaust orifices, it must be 
recalled that the gases expand to 10 times their former volume, but on 
the other hand their temperature drops considerably and their velocity 
increases, so that, following steam turbine practice, one can take the 
area of the exhaust orifices as 8 times the minimum, or 96 mm^. 


As far as the length of the inlet ducts is concerned, it should be noted 
that by Rosenhein's experiments a distance of 16 mm between the minimum 
and exhaust cross sections is insufficient for the expansion of steam from 
8 atm to 1 atm, but a distance of 20mm allows the pressure to descend to 
1 atm. 

In practice the length of the nozzles is made somewhat greater; in 
(small) Laval turbines they are made some 30 — 40mm in length, 
which is perfectly suitable for the case under discussion. 

Now I shall pass to calculation of the volume and exhaust velocity of the 
gases formed by combustion of the force propellant. Since this propellant 
is very similar to mine powder, I have taken the data for the latter, which 
are given in Brink's interior ballistics. 

Table XIX (p. 25) notes that the temperature of dissociation is 1682°, 
while Table VIII gives the products of dissociation of this powder. Making 
use of the data given by Bellunzo (p. 58) for the characteristic constant 
of the various products of combustion, I found R for this mixture to be 41.9. 

One can then determine v from the formula ■^'^■^, or v=^~. In this case 

F= 1700 + 273 = 1973, which must be 197.3, .p= 10.5kg, and /? = 41.9. 

Then a=^ 197.3 x 41.9 ^ ^gg ^j^ich corresponds to 0.788 m^ 
10.5 ^ 

From Table II, compiled from experimental data, and curve IV, we can 
find the velocity in the minimum orifice to be 1060 XV^= 1060X0.88 = 932 m. 
To obtain the final velocity this figure must be multiplied by 1.85, obtained 
from curve VI in accord with the ratio of the initial and final pressures 

1.05 ' • 

The final velocity comes out to be 932X1.85 =1724m/sec. The 
calculated velocities, however, must be regarded as approximate, since the 
dissociation products of mine powder include not only gases, but also a 
finely crushed solid residue, constituting by weight 51 % of the ballast which 
reduces the velocity of the gases. 

Still more difficulties are encountered in determining the pressure of the 
outflowing gases against the rocket, since as far as I know, no effort has 
been made to determine the causes of the rocket's motion. 

There is no doubt that a rocket is set in motion by the reactive force 
resulting from the outflow of the gases. This pressure P can be expressed 

by the formula P = A-W, where p is the weight of the gases leaving per 

second, g is the acceleration due to gravity = 9.91 m/sec^, and W is the 
velocity of the gases through the area of a minimum orifice, in m/sec; 
A is a numerical coefficient, introduced as a correction for the time taken 
by the gases to reach the velocity W. 

For clarity this equation can be written 

^ = ^X 

P S i. 


and read as follows: the ratio of the pressure created by the gases to the 
weight of gases leaving per second is equal to the ratio of the velocity 


acquired by the gases during one second to the velocity acquired in one 
second by a body falling freely in a vacuum. If the observed velocity 
through the minimum orifice were reached by the gases in one second, ti 
would be equal to 1, but of course the gases reach this velocity in a 
considerably shorter time, so that 

Unfortunately too few scientifically organized experiments on rockets 
have been made to permit determination of the coefficient A, but an 
approximate idea can be formed from the following argument, based on 
graphs of the combustion of rocket propellant. The figure of 0.3 in or 
8 mm/sec for the speed of combustion of rocket propellant is taken as 
correct, and it is approximately so, since a 24 mm layer of rocket 
propellant burns in 3 sec. However, it is highly probable that combustion 
under high pressure at the end proceeds more rapidly than combustion 
under lower pressure at the beginning. One may therefore assume that 
in 0.1 sec, with a dynamometer pressure of 200kg, a 1.5 mm layer 
will burn. Then the amount of propellant of density 1.8 g/cm^ which is 
burned will be 

-{D^~Dl)h + '^xOA5 = - (7.6= — 7.3'') X 
4 4 4 

X 44 + " ^ '^■^' X 0.15 = (45.365 — 41.855)44 + 

+ 45.365 X 0.15 = 161.2 cm^, 

and, in fact, 161.2X1.8= 290 g or 0.291 kg, as we know; the amount of 
gases obtained is 0.29X0.51 = 0.148kg. 

Substituting in the formula yl = ^ the values P = 200, g = 9.91, S^ = 930, 

and d = 0.148 gives 

. 200 X 9.91 1882 

0,148 X 930 137.6 

= 14.4. 


the exhaust velocity of the gases after 0.1 sec is 930m/sec, so that in 
0.1 sec, 0.1023 m^ of gases, weighing 0.148 kg, will flow out. Consequently, 


the specific volume V—j^ = 0.691, which corresponds to a pressure 

„ F-R 197.3 41.9 8274 ,„, i,c^ ui.-, ^^,. 

P= -j;— = ^591 =~69i ~ ■'■2 kg, or 11.5 atm, which is close to the assuined 

figure of 10 atm. 

The mean surface of combustion at this time was 23X44+45 = 1057 cm^; 
therefore, 1 kg of pressure is obtained per 5 cm^ combustion area at 11 atm. 

That is why I chose as normal combustion area in my cylinders 1500 cm^, 
with an exhaust orifice area designed to give an internal pressure in the 
casing of about 10 atm. 

The pressure on the rocket is found to be about 300kg, i.e., 5 times 
the weight of the rocket. With a different propellant this ratio will change. 


but it will always be possible to determine the numerical coefficients if a 
few accurate graphs are drawn. 

9 September 1909 

N. Gerasimov 

DURING THE YEARS 1908 — 1909* 

The Artillery Committee Journal No. 637, 1908, is devoted to the subject 
of Major-General Pomortsev's petition for continued testing of the rockets 
of his design. The Committee decided: 1) That the experiments of the near 
future at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant and the Ochakov Proving Ground should 
be primarily on rocket flares running on a burning propellant and fitted with 
guides; 2) That, since Major-General Pomortsev's participation in the 
experiments would be helpful, and in view of his desire to continue the 
experiments, the rocket plant should be advised to follow his guidance and to 
cooperate in performing the experiments; 3) That the expense for the 
instruments which Major-General Pomortsev will have to order for his 
rocket research should be borne by the Treasury, the orders to be placed 
after information to be provided by Major-General Pomortsev has 
acquainted the Committee with the design of the instruments. 

At the instance of the Chairman of the Artillery Committee, in a 1909 
memorandum of the business manager (No. 911), the report of the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant dated 15 May 1909 (No. 885) has just been referred to the 
Committee for evaluation. The report includes an appendix dealing with the 
experiments on the development of Pomortsev rockets, performed by 
Lieutenant -Colonel Karabchevskii and the plant mechanical engineer 
Demenkov, during the period 1907—1909. The report presented also 
includes tables, sketches, and graphs, ** and incorporates the following 

1) At the very outset of the experiments, before casings, stands, 
dynamometer, etc., were ordered, Major-General Pomortsev allowed 
the following inaccuracies and errors.- 

a) The weight of an iron riveted casing for a 3" rocket flare was 
assumed to be 12 pounds, while the actual weight is about 8 pounds. 

b) Major-General Pomortsev thought that an iron riveted casing produced 
by the rocket plant would withstand a miaximum pressure of 15atm; 
actually it can withstand a pressure of about 80atm, i.e., more than 

5 times what was assumed. 

c) In the casings delivered from the Montbard factory in France, the 
lower, elongated part turned out to be so flimsy that the rocket plant had 
to cut off this part of the casing and machine an iron base plate of 

* Artillery Committee Journal, No. 86, 27 January 1910. AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 
39/3, file 585, sheets 265—437 obverse. 
""' In this edition the tables, sketches, and graphs are omitted, but they are preserved in the AIM Archive, 
Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, file 585, sheets 284—433. 


appropriate shape, which was then secured to the casing by pressing the 
casing into the groove of the base plate and rolling the ends of the casing 
over the base plate. These operations greatly increase the cost of the 
Montbard casings. 

d) The Rocket Plant calls attention to the fact that in his report on 
rocket flares in current use Major-General Pomortsev mentions those 
having no practical application, i.e., with a range of only about 450 sagenes 
[1050 yd], as a result of which they serve more to illuminate whoever fires 
them, while rocket flares underwent their baptism of fire only most recently 
in the Russo-Japanese War, and particularly at the defense of Port Arthur. 
Although the plant possesses no official data on their performance, both in 
the Russian descriptions of this defense and in the descriptions of foreigners 
in the Japanese besieging army, the testimonials to the performance of the 
rockets are most enthusiastic. In order to avoid making unfounded 
statements, the plant presents a dozen or so descriptions of the performance 
of the rockets at the siege of Port Arthur, extracted from the current press. 

2) Experiments on rockets with guides at the end of 1907 and in 1908 and 
1909 were continued by Karabchevskii and Demenkov without the 
participation or direction of Pomortsev. 

After the 1907 experiments at the Rocket Plant, in which Pomortsev and 
Ennatskii participated, the Plant set as a goal for the same year repetition 
of the experimental launchings of rockets with guides. Since the earlier 
experiments had shown the lower part of the Montbard casings to be 
unstable, it was replaced by a machined base plate secured to the casing, 
with a single central exhaust orifice 1 inch in diameter. These base plates 
are shown in Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4 (sheet 3). Eight casings with such base 
plates were made, filled with propellant, and fired, hooked up to a 
dynamometer. The pressure they produced was so great that the arrow 
of the recorder flew off the drum, and neither the curve nor the maximum 
pressure could be determined. The casings suffered no damage. 

Thirty casings modified as described above were launched at the 
Ochakov Proving Ground on 18 October 1907, with the results shown in 
Table 13. The rockets were launched from stands modified so that the 
lateral faces were connected by iron arcs, while the lower face was 
considerably lengthened (sheet 1, Figures 1 and 2). These changes in the 
stand were made because the irregular flight of the rockets with guides 
in the first launching was attributed to Imperfections in the stand, and 
in particular to its instability and excessively short sides. 

In examining the results of the experiments, Karabchevskii and 
Demenkov conclude that on the whole the launchings of 18 October are 
less satisfactory than those of the first launchings (5 September), when 
the flight of the rockets was more uniform. The failure of the later 
launchings was attributed to the small diameter of the guides (about 3", 
or considerably less than in the first launchings) and the fact that the 
stand was still short. The plant cannot pursue its experiments in the 
winter because it lacks heated workshops, and because Ochakov is 
unavailable for rocket launching experiments. However, so as not to 
waste the time, the winter of 1907 — 1908 was devoted to experiment on 
the application of circular and radial guides to signal rockets of current 


Such rockets were launched on the field of the Rocket Plant on 21 January 
1908, with the results given in Table 4. 

Throughout 1908 the Rocket Plant used a dynamometer to study the 
pressure developed by the existing types of rocket flares with different 
combinations of ignition channel length and cross-sectional area of gas 
exhaust orifices. The dynamometer was installed at one end of a tube 
with an accurate sensitive manometer, which showed the maximum 
pressure in the casing; the dynamometer pen was replaced by a pencil 
and the tracing of the curve was perfectly clear. 

Some 80 rockets were burned out under different conditions, with the 
results shown in Table 5. 

From this table the Rocket Plant concludes that the optimum 
combination is a central exhaust orifice 1 1/2" in diameter with an 
ignition channel 1/2" in diameter; decrease in the size of the exhaust 
orifice results in reduction of the useful pressure, and at a diameter 
of 1/2" the casing bursts. Increasing the size of the exhaust orifice 
beyond 1 V2" diameter results in a drop in pressure. 

The most recent experimental launchings of rockets with various types 
of guides were held by the Rocket Plant on 27 April 1909, at Ochakov. 
Altogether 38 rockets were launched under the following conditions. A 
long cast-iron tube, instead of the former short stands, was used as 
launcher (sheet 1, Figure 13). Ten rockets, whose caps were filled with 
80 1 1/2" pellets, and with sulfur instead of an explosive charge, were 
launched in the daytime at the proving ground, and their range and 
deviations from the line of aiming were determined. Twenty similar 
rockets, whose caps carried an explosive charge, were launched at night 
from a marine battery. 

The results of this launching are shown in Table 6, from which the 
Rocket Plant has drawn the following conclusions: 1) Rockets with caps 
of the old type do not have so long a range as those with elongated caps 
of smaller diameter, in spite of the fact that the total loaded weight of the 
old caps, at something over 20 pounds, is less than that of the new ones. 
This is to be explained by the lower resistance area of the latter. 2) Some 
of the rockets with guides, rather than a tail, flew straight, some deviated, 
occasionally very greatly, from the directrix, and 7 rockets, upon leaving 
the stand, bit into the earth as if it were water. 3) The range was the same 
as in the first two launchings at Ochakov, i. e., up to 2 1/2 versts [8750 ft]. 
4) The stand consisting of a cast-iron tube, although better than previous 
types, has the drawback that a circular guide requires for its fitting (the 
edge extending from the external ring to the thick ring by which the guide 
is fitted onto the rocket casing) four slits along the length of the tube. 
These parts become very unstable, and the least jolt they receive is 
com.municated to the rocket as it leaves the stand, i. e., at the most 
important moment for acquisition of the proper initial direction. 

The fact that the center of gravity of a rocket with a guide coincides 
with the center of the body, making the rocket generally unstable in flight, 
is a great contributing factor, in the opinion of the Rocket Plant, to such 
irregularity in the flight of the rockets. 

The center of gravity of a 3" rocket flare lies on the casing beneath the 
cap, at a distance of 20^/4" from the vertex of the cap cone, and 73 3/4" 
from the tail cone. It is 53" distant from the center of the body. In rockets 


with guides the center of gravity is on the casing at a distance of 
approximately 22 3/4" from the orifice and 22 V4" from the vertex of 
the cone, i.e., it almost coincides with the center of the body. 

This is the chief reason why graze bursts occur with rockets with 
guides, since at the least provocation the rocket head tips forward, 
causing the entire rocket to overbalance, and it falls to the ground 
upon leaving the stand. 

Opinion of the committee. After consideration of the report 
of Lieutenant-Colonel Karabchevskii, Head of the Gunpowder Workshop 
of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant, on the experiments of 1907—1909, 
concerned with the development of rockets with guides designed by retired 
Major-General Pomortsev, the Artillery Committee has reached the 
following conclusion: 

1) At its beginning the report mentions the inaccuracies admitted by 
Major-General Pomortsev even before the beginning of the experiments 
on rockets with various types of guides, as well as when the experiments 
were begun in 1907, to be dismissed only in 1908, when continuation of 
the experiments was placed in the hands of the workers of the Rocket Plant. 

2) All of the experimental launchings of rocket flares with guides 
instead of tails, conducted at various times at Ochakov, can be represented 
for clearness in the following table. 

As early as 1907, before the beginning of the experiments in prospect 
at the Rocket Plant, the Artillery Committee, having in mind the results 
of the successful preliminary research of Major-General Pomortsev on the 
application of tailless guides to rockets, anticipated the collection of data 
which would make possible mass production of the new rockets. The 1907 
experiments at Ochakov did not justify these hopes: the accuracy of the 
rockets with guides, as the table shows, was highly unsatisfactory, with 
60 % of the rockets launched undergoing considerable deviations from the 
aiming plane. The remaining 40%, although they kept to the directrix, 
showed such extreme disparity of range that they were scattered over 
an area of some 20 square versts [app. 9 square miles]. 

In the Artillery Committee Journal No. 637, 1908, where the results 
of the first launching of rockets with guides are discussed, the Committee, 
for the fullest possible illumination of the question of using guides for 
rockets, in view of the fact that rockets with guides have approximately 
double the range of those with wooden tails, expressed itself in favor of 
continuation of the experiments for final clarification of the matter. 

The results of the two subsequent experimental rocket launchings, as the 
Rocket Plant's report makes evident, also failed to give satisfactory 
results, in spite of the removal of all the causes to which Major-General 
Pomortsev and Lieutenant -Colonel Karabchevskii attributed the failure of 
the first launching, by considerably lengthening the launching stand, 
increasing the diameter of the guides, and employing them in the most 
various forms. Only 20% of the rockets in the second series of 
experiments, and no more than 14% in the third, flew straight. 

3) The use of guides on signal rockets, which are launched vertically, 
gave good results: the altitude achieved was greater than that of signal 
rockets with a single wooden tail, and no less than that of signal rockets 
with two short lateral wooden tails. 



4) The initial research on the best dimensions for the ignition channel 
and size of the gas exhaust orifices, in the first experiments of 1907, 
gave no solution to this problem. Table 1, appended to the Artillery- 
Committee Journal No. 637 (1908) does not make it possible to come to 
any definite conclusion, since even after improvement of techniques for 
filling the casing with propellant and change of the parts of the casing, 
different and unexpected pressure values were still obtained. The 
subsequently repeated experiments on burning out a considerable number 
of rocket casings to dispel some of the factors obscuring research on the 
question, and performed by the Rocket Plant in 1909 (Table 5), make it 
possible to determine some of the optimum parameters: a) The gas exhaust 
orifice should be central, and for our 3" casing its size should be 
approximately equal to the sum of the areas of the six orifices used in 
current practice. For six orifices each 5/8" in diameter, this comes to 
1.84 in^, which gives the best diameter for a single central orifice as 1.5". 
b) For the existing dimensions of the rocket casing, the most 
advantageous size for the ignition channel will evidently be that presently 

in use, i.e., diameter 1" and length 15". 

5) The adoption of a modified cap with pellets was extremely effective. 
Its dimensions are: length to vertex of the cone, 21 ■'■/8", principal section 
of the cap, 17", and its base, 4 Vs"; diameter of the cap, 4". For greater 
strength the bottom of the cap is a disk of the same iron as the casing. It 
contains 80 1 V2" pellets, which are arranged in 11 rows of 7 pellets, 3 
being placed in the base. The empty cap weighs about 3 pounds, and the 
pellets, about 14 pounds 50 zolotniki [14.52 pounds]. The explosive charge, 
slow-match, etc., have a total weight of about 1 pound, so that the loaded 
cap weighs about 18 V2 pounds. On its external face the bottom of the cap 
has a threaded stem, which screws into a ring pressed into the casing, in 
order to fasten the two together. This is done on the spot when the rocket 
is being readied for launching. 

This review of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant's report on the numerous 
experiments performed with rocket flares fitted with guides has convinced 
the Artillery Committee that substitution of the proposed guides for tails, 
while it increases the range of the rocket flares, makes their flight 
irregular. The Committee therefore thinks it opportune to terminate 
these experiments. 

The existing experimental data, taking into account both the Artillery 
Committee Journal No. 83 for 1908 and the results of the most recent 
experiments atthe Rocket Plant, lead the Comnaittee to propose that further 
experiment for the improvement of 3" Russian rocket flares of current 
design be conducted under the following conditions: 

1) Instead of the currently employed cap 6" in diameter one should use 
an iron cap 40 mm in diameter, and of such length as to accommodate 
10 rows of 7 pellets each, with 3 in the base, giving a total of 73 pellets. 
With 11 rows of 7 pellets and three in the base, giving a total of 80 in the 
cap, an arrangement actually built at the plant, the cap weighed almost 
2 1/2 pounds more than the current design, with a total weight of about 
18 V2 pounds. The alternative proposed above will give perfectly adequate 
illumination, as in the currently used type of cap, without any increase in 
its weight (about 16 V2 pounds). The base of the cap should be ogival in 


form, with the radii of curvature used in artillery projectiles of the same 
caliber. The cap should be attached to the casing by means of a threaded 
shaft in the bottom of the cap, which is screwed into a ring set into the 
casing by pressing the edges of the latter around it and rolling them over. 
For greater durability the bottom of the cap should be made of casing iron, 
in the shape of a disk, with an orifice for a time-fuse. 

2) The casings for these experiments are among the seamless ones 
remaining at the Rocket Plant from those ordered from the Montbard 
factory in France. These casings must be tested after being cut to the 
length of the 3" rocket flares in current use, with ignition channels of 
identical diam.eter and length, and of increased length, since in these 
latter, increase in the length of the channel will result in an increase in 

the gas pressure in the channel, and consequently, will increase the rocket's 
range and regularity in flight. When the length of the ignition channel is 
increased, the area initially ignited, and therefore, the quantity of gas 
initially formed upon ignition, are increased, and in this case the diameter 
of the ignition channel may have to be changed from the former l" to 
something less. 

The base plate with a central gas exhaust orifice must be made separately 
and attached to the casing by pressing and rolling over it the casing's 
trailing edge. The diameter of the orifice should be 1 V2", giving it an area 
of 1 .84 sq in [sic]. 

3) The rockets should retain a wooden tail coaxial with the rocket. A 
bushing with three arms converging in a threaded hole at its end is secured 
to the rear edge of the rocket, and a shaft seated on the rocket tail is 
screwed into this hole. 

Since in these rockets the cap filled with pellets will be longer, thereby 
shifting the rocket's center of gravity nearer to its head, the length and 
diameter of the tail must so be chosen as to move the center of gravity 
backwards. In this way the rocket's axis can be made almost to coincide 
with the direction of motion until the moment the rocket bursts. The rocket 
will then constantly move forward, and the effect on the flight of these 
rockets, arising from the application to them of the old unchanged tail, will 
readily be eliminated. 

These rockets clearly consist of three fundamental parts which are 
readily dismantled: cap, casing, and tail. They can therefore be packed 
compactly, and are correspondingly easier to transport. 

The following should be noted with regard to the arrangem.ents for these 
experiments: the Nikolaev Rocket Plant will cease to operate on 1 January 
1910, when its activities will be transferred to the Shostensk Gunpowder 
Plant. The proposed experiments call for the filling of a certain number of 
rocket casings with an inserted base plate having a central orifice 1 V2" in 
diameter, and an end whose external surface is threaded for a bushing. 
Since all of the proposed changes in the casing, both for the seating upon it 
of the cap, and the attachment of the tail, must be made before it is filled 
with forced propellant (the various modifications are hardly feasible after 
filling, in view of the danger involved), conduct of the experiments in their 
entirety will be impossible until the establishment of rocket production at the 
Shostensk plant. However, it would be as well to request the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant now, if there remain from the experiments of the past few 
years, 1) 3" seamless steel casings of various lengths with a ring for 
attachment of a cap filld with pellets and a base plate with central orifice 


inserted into their forward and rear ends, respectively, filled with rocket 
propellant, and with ignition channels of various dimensions; 2) caps, about 
4" in diameter, with pellets 1 V2" in diameter, and with a bottom modified 
so that it can be screwed into the ring pressed into the upper part of the 
casing; 3) 860 1 V2" pellets. If these parts are to be found in the plant, they 
should be shipped to the Sankt-Peterburg annmunition dump, to be placed at 
the disposition of Section V of the Committee. Even should these items be 
unavailable, the plant should nonetheless ship, as indicated above, 25 
finished 3" rocket flares. 


Two memoranda, of 9 June** and 30 June of the present year (the 
second superseding the first) presented by Gerasimov and dealing with 
his gyroscopic rocket design, have reached the Commission for its 
evaluation. The content of the second memorandum, submitted by 
Gerasimov to the Chairman of the Commission, is as follows: 

Regarding his rocket design, on the basis of experiments, as fully 
developed, Gerasimov requested his friend Vice-Admiral Bubnov, the 
Secretary of the Navy, to assist him in the conduct of a firing experiment 
to determine the accuracy of his rockets, producing the metallic rocket 
parts for this purpose in the Navy Department plant. In reply to his 
m.emorandum of 28 June, His Excellency resolved that "The conduct of the 
experiments should be supported, and an order given to the Obukhov plant 
to manufacture one hundred rockets, the expense to be borne by the 
experimental fund. " Subsequent negotiations revealed that the first 
installraent of some 20 — 3 rockets would be ready about the middle of 
September of this year. To equip these rockets Gerasimov requested 
that the Shostka Gunpowder Plant be given an order for the manufacture 
and delivery to the Okhtensk Plant of the following quantity of powder, 
granulated like rifle powder. 

Rocket propellant 40 pud [1440 lb] 

Compound of 5270 nltte, IS^o carbon, 30% sulfur 10 pud [360 lb] 

Compound of 62 ^o nitie, 18 "Vc carbon, 20% sulfur 3 pud [108 lb] 

The last variety of powder is desirable for the compression of small 
cylinders for experiments, in order to give the gyroscope greater velocity 
of rotation. 

Mr. Gerasimov requests the Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant to give 
instructions for the pressing of cylinders for the rockets out of the powder 
which is to arrive from the Shostka plant, and that for this purpose the 
molding workshop now be readied, in order to be able to undertake this 
work from the middle of August. At present, as ]V[r. Gerasimov knows, 
the molding workshop is closed for lack of work. It is desirable to alert 
the Experimental Commission now of forthcoming work for continuation of 

" Journal of the Commission, 3 July 1912. AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, entry 39/3, 

file 577, sheets 342—344, 348—349, 
■** Communicated in accord with a note from the business manager of the Artillery Committee, dated 
16 June, this year, No. 1131, for evaluation by Section V of the Committee. 


the experiments and equipping the rockets. Mr. Gerasimov requests that 
this work, and supervision of the pressing, be entrusted to Nedzel'skii, 
the Provincial Secretary, who has been concerned with such matters up 
to now. 

Mr. Gerasimov requests the gun factory to give instructions for 
shipment of whatever tail fuses remiain there to the Obukhov Plant, and for 
the adjustment of the instrument for determination of the rocket's 
gyroscopic properties. 

According to the decisions of the Commission, in the journals for 1909 
and 1910, the program for elaboration of Gerasimov's rockets must include: 

1) The development of a type of gyroscopic rocket and study of the 
properties of the gases formed by combustion of the forced propellant. 

2) The manufacture of a rocket stand. 

3) The presentation by Mr. Gerasimov, after development of his 
rocket, of 30 rockets to the Main Artillery Proving Ground for firing tests. 

In its journal for 21 December 1910, the Commission, sumnaarizing the 
results of all previous experiments, arrived at the conclusion that 
experiments with Active State Councillor Gerasimov's rocket are incomplete, 
and that there are no indications of confidence that launchings of this type of 
rocket will yield favorable results. 

Gerasimov's above-mentioned memorandum coincided with the expenditure 
of all the material for conduct of experiments withhis rocket{i.e., gyroscopes, 
casings, and pressed cylinders) in his possession, and the Commission 
therefore finds it necessary to present in the present journal the results of 
all the experiments performed from 21 December 1910 (when the 
Commission's last journal was composed) until the last gyroscopic rocket 
test, which was to have taken place on 26 June 1912. 

The experiments of the past year and a half took place at two locations : 
the Experim.ental Commission of the Okhtensk Gundpowder Plant (where the 
rockets were burned out on the spot), and the Main Artillery Proving Ground 
(where the rockets were launched from the stand). 

From December 1910 to 2 June 1911 the experiments were performed 
exclusively by the Experimental Commission, and attempts were made to 
change the powder of the small cylinders 118 mm in diameter, which would 
have turned the gyroscopes well and ignited the big cylinders; but the 
French powder for the sm.all cylinders, composed of 52 parts nitre to 18 
parts carbon and 30 parts sulfur burned very slowly (a small cylinder took 
45 seconds to burn), and the gyroscope failed to rotate. At first the small 
cylinders, of the same compound, were ordered from the Shlissel'burg 
Gunpowder Plant, but when they were tested in the rocket, the latter burst. 
The same cylinders, of the same gunpowder compound, were then ordered 
from the Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant, while at the same time small cylinders 
of gunpowder were again obtained from France, with the composition 62 
parts nitre to 18 parts carbon and 20 parts sulfur. But when these latter 
were burned in a rocket together with the big cylinders, the rockets burst 
after 1/2 second. 

From 2 June to 22 July 1911, small cylinders manufactured by the 
Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant were tested together with large cylinders of 
French powder, in the ratio 52/18/30, at the Main Proving Ground. All 
of the rockets launched burst on the stand, and the gyroscopes failed to 


Because of these results the design of Gerasimov's rocket was modified, 
and the small cylinder, which was to start the gyroscope rotating while on 
the stand, was placed inside an iron cap screwed onto the bottom of the 
rocket; as a result all of the gases formed by the combustion of this 
cylinder flowed exclusively into the gyroscope compartment, and ignition 
of the big cylinders took place through an orifice in the lid of the iron cap. 

This change in the design, mentioned in Gerasimov's report of August 
1911 to the Chief Artillery Administration, was approved by Section V of 
the Committee, and 9 rockets of the new design (without gyroscopes) were 
manufactured at the Sankt-Peterburg gun factory. It was decided to order 
30 more of the (French) big cylinders, which by this time, had been almost 
all used up, from the Sevran Livry plant (with 52/18/30 propellant), and 
supervision of their manufacture was entrusted to Colonel Bordelius, the 
Artillery Receiver, who happened to be there. (These cylinders have not 
yet been delivered.) 

By the beginning of November 1911 the rockets ordered from the gun 
factory were ready. These rockets were fitted with the remaining large 
French cylinders and with small cylinders compressed at the Okhtensk 
Gunpowder Plant (all with propellant in the ratio 52/18/30). When individual 
small cylinders were tested in the rockets the internal pressure and time of 
combustion were determined. A charge 70 mm high and 88 mm in diameter 
burned for 8 seconds, giving an internal pressure of about 6 atmospheres. 
Combustion of these charges made the gyroscope rotate. When rockets of 
this design and equipment were subsequently tested at the Proving Ground, 
the rockets burned out completely without leaving the stand. It was 
suggested that imperfections of the stand might have been responsible for 
the rocket's being jammed on it. 

By this time all of the big French cylinders had been used up, and upon 
Gerasimov's petition Section V of the Committee decided that until delivery 
of more cylinders from France, the large cylinders too would be pressed 
in the molding workshop of the Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant. 

Meanwhile, at Gerasimov's instance, 3 pud [108 1b] of powder for the 
cylinders was ordered from the Shlissel'burg and Shostka Gunpowder 
Plants (composition, 52/18/30). The stroke of the piston in the molding 
workshop did not permit pressing of cylinders of the full height (250 mm), 
and they had to be prepared in parts in the form of rings, inner fuse, and 
a solid bottom. 

At first the parts were joined only by glueing, and in all tests, both by 
the Experimental Commission, and at the Proving Ground, all of the rockets 
burst on the stand. Later, when the rings were pressed, a thin layer of 
graphite was pressed in at the joints. 

Two rockets thus manufactured were tested at the Proving Ground in 
January 1912, but one altogether failed to leave the stand, while the other, 
after flying forward some 70 sagenes [163 yd] and falling to the ground, 
turned back and fell a second time some 50 sagenes [117 yd] behind the stand. 

In order to avoid the reproach that the rockets were held back by the 
stand, in view of the possibility that the rocket was jammed by the stand's 
guides, the Commission proposed in all future experiments to launch the 
rockets from an open chute. The results of several chute launchings in 
February, March, and April, were as follows: the rockets either burst on 
the chute, burned out without leaving the chute, or achieved the insignificant 
range of about 70 sagenes [163 yd]. 


At the end of April the design of the rocket was further modified by- 
removing the small cylinder from the bottom and so placing it that the 
gyroscope served as its extension. The first experiment with such a 
rocket resulted in bursting of the propellant cylinder, as a result of 
which the cylinder was manufactured as a whole. 

At this time Gerasimov voiced the desirability of replacing the propellant 
formerly used for the small cylinders by the stronger propellant used in our 
3" rockets, and a small quantity of this was ordered from the Shlissel'burg 
and Shostka Gunpowder Plants. 

The rocket propellant sent from the Shostka Plant was too fine for 
Gerasimov' s rockets, since under compression in the molding workshop its 
density remained low and the rockets fitted with cylinders made of it burst 
on the spot. 

Finally, four last launchings of rockets from a chute were held in June 
1912. The large cylinders were compressed from 52/18/30 propellant at 
the Okhtensk Plant, and the small cylinders from rocket propellant 
(manufactured at the Shlissel'burg Plant). The results were: 2 rockets 
left the chute, somersaulted in flight and fell at a distance of about 
250 sagenes [585 yd]. One of these rockets left the chute exceedingly fast, 
so that the small and large cylinders were ignited simultaneously (the whistle 
of the gyroscope was not heard). Of the two remaining rockets, in one only 
the small cylinder burned, and the large ones failed to be ignited (a layer of 
paraffin had been pressed into the bottom of the iron cap to prevent rapid 
ignition of the large cylinders, and the rocket did not even leave the stand); 
in the other, the electrical sparkplug failed to ignite the small cylinder, and 
after three attempts to fire the rocket, breakage of the tube containing the 
electrical sparkplug prevented its launching. 

These data on the testing of Mr. Gerasimov' s gyroscopic rockets have 
brought the Commission to the following conclusion. 

Both preliminary experiments on burning out of rockets on the spot (with 
instrunaent determination of the propulsive force and the internal pressure) 
and experimental launchings from a stand or open chute have so far given no 
satisfactory results whatsoever, in the form of appreciable range, however 
short, or of accurate flight (in both of these respects these rockets have 
proved inferior even to our old-style 3" rocket flares). 

It is impossible to say whether the exclusively unsatisfactory results 
constantly obtained are to be blamed on the design of the rocket' s metal 
parts, on the method of equipping it, or on the choice of a gunpowder 
compound; in any case, the rocket as a whole, together with the stand, 
must be regarded as insufficiently developed, and there are almost no 
indications, as was the case a year and a half ago, of the possibility of 
obtaining favorable results in experiments with it. 

In view of the above, without presently giving an opinion as to the final 
termination of experiments with Mr. Gerasimov' s gyroscopic rocket, the 
Commission, bearing in mind Mr. Gerasimov' s request that the Navy 
Department order casings with gyroscopes for rockets of his design, and 
that he is requesting that a warrant for order of the necessary powder and 
rocket propellant be issued, feels that such a warrant can be given if the 
Navy Department will order the rockets. 

Meanwhile the Commission is taking heed of the fact that so far no 
propellant suitable for Mr. Gerasimov' s rocket has been developed, and 


Mr. Gerasimov, rather than the Commission, must give the directions for 
its development. Since when manufacturing rocket propellant and smoky 
powder at different times compounds differing somewhat in their properties 
can be obtained, the compounds requested by Mr. Gerasimov in his report 
should be ordered for all 100 rockets. The Commission should add that an 
order of powder for 15 rockets has already been given to the French Sevran 
Livry plant. 

The Manager of Artillery Engineering Institutions should communicate 
the need for manufacture at the Shostka Gunpowder Plant of powder and 
propellant for 100 casings, as follows: 

Forty pud [14401b] granulated rocket propellant (the grains to be of the 
same size as in smoky rifle powder), 10 pud [3601b] black powder, the 
52/18/30 compound used for French mining powder, and 3 pud [108 1b] of 
62/18/30 powder; the whole to be delivered, if possible, to the Okhtensk 
Gunpowder Plant by the middle of August, this year. 

Furthermore, it is necessary to continue, if possible, experiments on 
the pressing of this powder into cylinders for rockets, in accord with 
Mr. Gerasimov' s instructions, on the presses of the molding workshop of 
the Okhtensk Gunpowder Plant, during the same time period. 

In accord with Mr. Gerasimov' s instructions, the gun factory should be 
requested to ship its remaining adaptable rocket fuses to the Obukhov Plant, 
and to adjust the instrument for determination of the rockets' gyroscopic 

It would be useful to bring this journal of the Comm.ission to the attention 
of the Navy Department. 


In the Artillery Committee Journal No. 629 (1912), a memorandum of 
Lieutenant Volovskii, now retired, former Vice -Director of the Putilov 
Factory, dated 19 April of this year, and submitted to the Secretary of 
War, was discussed. This memorandum contained proposals relating to 
Volovskii' s design for a rotating rocket to be fired at troops and airplanes. 
On the basis of both experimental data and literature on the subject 
(analyzed in detail in this journal) the Committee has concluded that the 
performance of any experiments whatsoever with this rocket —bearing in 
mind a number of proposed experiments with more highly-developed rocket 
designs — is not of such interest as to justify the financial outlay they would 
require. In this journal the Head of the Chief Artillery Administration 
proposed the following resolution: "The idea of using rockets as anti- 
aircraft weapons is new, and experiments should therefore be made on 
Volovskii' s rockets, regardless of the financial outlay they entail." 

When this matter was presented to the assistant of the Secretary of War 
on 9 June of this year, an order was given to inquire of Mr. Volovskii the 
cost of manufacturing 10 of his rockets, and then to conduct firing experiments 

Artillery Committee Journal No. 1254, 8 November 1912. AIM Archive, Artillery Committee store, 
entry 39/3, file 704, sheets 241—243. 


on them, jointly with the aeronautical section, with the object of determining 
the effect of their bursting in mid-air upon aerial targets. 

Mr. Volovskii was informed of the proceedings by Directive No. 26681 
of the Chief Artillery Administration, for 18 June of this year. In reply 
he again submitted, on 13 October, a memorandum with appendices, 
addressed to the Secretary of War, and this, in a note No. 1936 of the 
business manager of the Artillery Committee (1912), was referred to the 
Committee for its conclusion. 

In the copy submitted Mr. Volovskii notes that since the presentation of 
his initial design for a rotating rocket, he has made essential improvements 
in the rocket, and that the design of individual component parts of the rocket 
has undergone detailed elaboration. 

In the original design (see sketch No. 1)* the union of the rocket main 
body with the tail was to be by means of a common metal tube containing 
three radial fins at a small angle to the axis of the tube. When the rocket 
was launched, the pressure of the exhaust gases on these fins was to impart 
to the rocket not only translational, but also rotational motion. Such an 
arrangement, in the inventor's opinion, with the force of the gases working 
simultaneously to create translational and rotational motion, would operate 
to the detriment of the former. To overcome the deficiency, in rocket No. 2, 
the function of the gases was divided into two independent categories by 
fixing inside the casing and concentric with it a second tube of smaller 
diameter, constituting the rocket tail. The tubes were joined by four tie- 
rods, arranged at a certain small angle to the axis of the rocket, so that 
the cross section of the rocket would be divided into two fields, a central 
one, inside, for passage of the gases creating the translational motion, and 
an external annular one for passage of the gases along four channels to give 
the rocket rotational motion. Division of the cross-sectional area of the 
rocket into two fields made it possible to change the rotational velocity of 
the rocket by altering the angle of inclination of the tie-rods, and to 
determine the most efficient ratio of the areas of the central and external 
annular fields by varying the diameter of the internal tube, thus regulating 
the partition of the gases between translational motion and rotation. 

Rocket type No. 3 is designed for grazing fire from airplanes against 
cavalry. The internal tube is replaced in this rocket by a wooden rod, 
which must be covered with a layer of pitch or resined hemp. During flight 
the resin must be ignited, which will cause it to emit a great quantity of thick 
black smoke. The descent of such a burning object, with a great quantity of 
smoke, upon the cavalry will, in Mr. Volovskii' s opinion, throw the horses 
into a state of panic fear, while the projectile in the rocket's warhead, 
carrying a powerful explosive, will upon impact complete the total disorder 
of the cavalry. 

To the sketches of the rockets are appended those of: 

a) a launching device (rocket cannon) with control panel showing that the 
contacts on the rocket head touch those on the launcher; 

b) a maneuverable gun-carriage; and 

c) a rocket mitrailleuse. 

The design of these is evident from the sketches attached to the copy. 
With regard to the Chief Artillery Administration proposal that 10 rockets 
of Volovskii' s design be built and presented for testing, Volovskii reports 

• See Figure 34 on p. 143. 


that all his efforts to have this done in private plants have come to nothing, 
since none of the plants have ever engaged in rocket production, and would 
therefore have to install a new plant before being able to undertake it. 

The inventor was invited to a session of Section V of the Committee on 
30 October of this year, so that he might personally elucidate several points. 
Meanwhile, he had reported that if he were vouchsafed a sum of 1000 rubles, 
100 rockets of his design might be ordered even from a private plant, and 
could then be presented to the Artillery Department for testing. 

Opinion of the Committee. Mr. Volovskii's new design for a 
rotating rocket is distinguished from the previous one by the installation 
of a tube in the path of the exhaust gases. This tube is intended for passage 
of a part of the gases, communicating exclusively translational motion to 
the rocket, while oblique tie-rods are placed in the external annular space 
formed, to set the rocket in rotation. 

The designation of these rockets as anti-aircraft weapons cannot be 
called correct. The general principles established for anti-aircraft fire, 
i.e., the longest possible range, accuracy, and rapid fire, are beyond any 
doubt more readily to be attained by the special guns now being designed 
for this purpose, and are almost completely lacking both in rockets of 
established type, or in those identical to them, such as the rocket proposed 
by Mr. Volovskii. 

In confirmation of the above the Artillery Committee Journal No. 277, for 
1909, on the results of experimental firing upon dirigibles, conducted near 
the town of Sestroretsk, should be quoted: "The idea of bombarding balloons 
with rockets had to be completely dismissed, due to the notorious aimlessness 
of this bombardment, which was revealed by the experiments; due to the 
slowness and poor accuracy of the rockets, one could not count on throwing 
a rocket anywhere near the dirigibles, if the latter were to move. " 

Although the modifications noted above in Mr. Volovskii's rocket do not 
appear essentially to affect his former design or to overcome the 
deficiencies of this type of rocket, as noted in the Artillery Committee 
Journal No. 629 for 1912 (lengthened casing instead of a tail; cfr. experiments 
with Colonel Sazanov's rocket; communication of rotational motion during 
the translational m.otion), so that there are no adequate grounds for expecting 
from it any increase in range or accuracy over the rockets of old design still 
in use, the Artillery Committee finds it possible, in view of the recent 
interest in finding the most perfect type of rocket, to meet the inventor half- 
way and give him an opportunity for experimental verification of his 
calculations. With this object the Committee feels that Mr. Volovskii should 
be allowed the sum of 1000 rubles to order 100 rockets of his design from a 
private plant, so that upon their completion, he can present these rockets, 
with a stand, to the Chief Artillery Administration for testing of their flight 
accuracy and range. 


At the instance of a directive of the Chief Artillery Administration, 
No. 9599, for 26 February 1913, 20 rockets of Major-General Sazanov's 

TsGVIA, store 504, entry 8, file 1473, sheets 10—17. 



design were manufactured in the rocket workshop, and filled with a black 

powder propellant, for the conduct of experiments to determine their 

range, the bursting altitude of the cap, and the degree of illumination of 

terrain they provided. The experiments on these rockets were begun at the 

former Nikolaev Rocket Plant and consisted of the following: an iron 

riveted 3" casing without base plate, 34 3/4" in length, with walls 0.08" thick, 

was filled with rocket propellant; a cap filled with sand equal in weight to the k 

luminous pellets was seated on it, and the rockets put together in this way, 1 

after being fitted with two parallel lateral tails, were launched from a stand j 

to determine their range and accuracy. 1 

The journal of these launchings, appended to the report of the assistant 1 

to the Head of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant, No. 7, for 4 May 1909, shows that 
in the launchings of six rockets, ranges between 3100 and 3420 paces were 
obtained, with deviations from the directrix ranging from to 300 paces. 
For increase of the range it was then proposed to press into the casings 
a black powder propellant; experiments on the pit burnout of rockets with 
a 39" channel had shown the iron casings to be sufficiently strong for this 
propellant. To complete the experiments it thus remained only to equip 
the casings with black powder propellant and the caps with luminous pellets, 
and to launch the rockets from the stand, to determine their range, the 
thickness of the blind propellant (bursting altitude of the cap), and the degree 
of illumination of the terrain. 

The features of Major-General Sazanov's rockets are the following: 1) 
the lack of a base plate; 2) a long, narrow cap for the luminous pellets; 
3) two tails located along two generatrices of the casing, rather than one, 
located along an extension of the rocket axis; 4) the absence of a fill of 
chalk and sulfur; 5) a time-fuse is screwed into the plug of the finished 
rocket; 6) the cap, also finished and filled with pellets, is screwed into 
the same plug. 

Major-General Sazanov's rockets have important advantages over 
existing 3" rocket flares as far as the simplicity of working with them and 
their improved safety are concerned: 1) in existing rockets with an iron 
base plate the pressing in of the propellant proceeds from the head end, 
and in order to form a chamber the first fills are of chalk, which is taken 
out after the entire casing is filled. In Major-General Sazanov's rocket, 
thanks to the absence of a base plate, the casing can be filled from the tail 
end, and in order to form the chamber, it need proceed no further than a 
point the necessary 1 V2" away from the cutoff of the casing. The chalk 
fill is thus superfluous, as a result of which the rather dangerous operation 
of scraping the chalk out of the filled rocket with steel hooks can be 
eliminated. 2) In existing rockets the time-fuse, having first been filled 
with propellant throughout its length, is pressed into the casing by means 
of the sulfur which at the same time serves as a plug, then the superfluous 
propellant is drilled out of the fuse, the cap is seated and filled with pellets; 
in Major-General Sazanov's rockets an iron plug is inserted instead of the 
sulfur, and the time -fuse and finished cap, complete with pellets, are 
screwed into this plug. 

Major-General Sazanov's propellant-filled casing is thus involved in none 
of the operations; the fuse and cap are screwed into it in finished form. 
After rockets had been prepared in accord with the description and sketches 
provided by Major-General Sazanov, experimental launchings were begun. 


The first rocket, so that its range and lateral deviation could be 
determined precisely, was launched during the day, and a range of 12 65 
sagenes [2950 yd] was obtained, with a deviation of 100 sagenes [235 yd] 
to the right. The height of the explosion and the degree of illumination 
could not be observed, since the daylight and the great range made the 
bursting of the cap and the combustion of the pellets invisible. When the 
next rocket was launched, in the evening, it burst on the stand after ignition; 
it tore off the cover of the stand, fell near it and burned relatively slowly, 
throwing out of the burst in the casing pieces of propellant burning in the 
air. The burst in the casing was about 10" in length, in the head part, 
partly along a seam, and partly in a weldless section; the cap was thrown 
out and burst separately from the casing, a short while later. After 
construction of a new stand, a rocket was launched in the presence of 
Major-General Sazanov, who had been invited, and the same thing happened: 
the casing burst in two places, and the bursts, about 12" long in the head 
part, and some 15" in the tail part, occurred partly along seams, and 
partly in weldless areas. After this it was decided to test the rocket by 
on-the-spot burnout in a pit, but without determination of the gas pressure, 
since there was some apprehension as to the adequacy of the instrument for 
pressure determination. This turned out to be fully justified, since the 
burned out rocket burst and the stand to which the manometer is normally 
attached was torn from its place by the force of the gases. The head 
section of the casing suffered a 12" burst along the seam. When a channel 
was drilled in the propellant of one of the rockets, the propellant took fire 
and the casing suffered a 20" split in a weldless place in its longitudinal 
middle. Somewhat later rockets whose ignition channel 0.787" in diameter 
was bored out (in two rockets) to 1", and later, in one rocket, to 1.5", were 
burned in the pit. 

All of the rockets burst in the pit, accompanied by phenomena more 
characteristic of an explosion than before: a sound like a shot, and extensive 
damage to the casing. 

The direct reason for the failure of the experiments on Major-General 
Sazanov' s rocket maybe the following. In both cases of bursting, it 
occurred while the rocket was being placed on the launching stand 
immediately after its ignition. If the data of Table 1, characterizing the 
conditions of ignition and initial combustion of the propellant in Major- 
General Sazanov' s rockets are compared with those for the 3" rocket flares 
currently being mass-produced and for Colonel Ennatskii's No. 2 rocket, we 
see that while the two latter rockets each have 4 sq in of combustion surface 
per unit of ignition channel volume, Major-General Sazanov' s rocket has 
5.1 sq in. The gunpowder propellant with which his rocket was filled there- 
fore exceeded conventional rocket propellant in power by a factor of at 
least 1.4. 

Together all this shows that at every given moment of combustion of the 
propellant, a considerably greater amount of gas per unit of volume is 
developed in the channel of Major-General Sazanov' s rocket than in the others 
with which it is compared. Furthermore, the special shape of this channel 
must be taken into account, since it is twice as long as in the other rockets, 
and smaller in diameter, i.e., it has the form of a very long, narrow tube, 
which makes outflow of the liberated gases at the proper time far more 



Parameters of rocket 

3" mass-produced 

3" No. 2 of 
Colonel Ennatskli 

3" of Major- 
General Sazanov 




Ratio of diameter to 




Ratio of surface to channel 



Type of propellant . 



15 in 
5 in 


47.12 sq In 
11.78 cu in 

4 sq in 




15i in 
1 in 


48.70 sq in 
12.18 cu in 

4 sq in 




30 in 
0.787 in 


74.17 sq in 
14.58 cu in 

5.1 sq in 




These data, together with the fact that in every case the rocket burst 
immediately after its ignition, give a basis for supposing that the bursting 
occurred through the above-mentioned structural deficiencies in the shape 
of the channel and the unsuitability of its dimensions to the force of the 
propellant used. 

The favorable results of the experiments conducted with this rocket in 
Nikolaev, with a channel of exactly the same design, are wholly explained 
by the weakness of the propellant manufactured in the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant, some idea of which will be given by the following considerations. 

All other things being equal, an idea of the force of the rocket propellant 
can be gained from the range over which it propels the rocket. The average 
range of a 3" rocket at the Nikolaev Rocket Plant was 450 sagenes [1050 yd]; 
at the Shostka plant, because of the superior rocket propellant, it reached 
580 sagenes [1355 yd]. Later, during the pit burnout experiment on a 3" 
rocket filled with gunpowder propellant, performed at the latter factory, it 
was revealed that both the magnitudes of the separate pressures of the gun- 
powder gases against the head part of the rocket, and the total work area 
bounded by the curve of these pressures exceeded the very same parameters, 
as obtained for rockets filled with the propellant of the Nikolaev Rocket 
Plant, by approximately 40%. These data, taken together, indicate that the 
power of the Shostka plant's propellant exceeded that of the Nikolaev 
plant's by a factor of about 1.80. Despite its roughness, this estimate gives 
an idea of the very serious difference in the power of the propellants used in 
both cases in the experiments on Major-General Sazanov' s rockets. 

To preclude the possibility of the rocket's bursting, the elasticity of the 
gases developed in its channel must be reduced, and this is most simply 
done by reducing the force of the rocket propellant. 

Choice of a suitable weaker propellant, or shortening of the rocket's 
ignition will yield the desired result, but with a corresponding reduction in 
the rocket's serviceability. 


In order to reveal, insofar as present circumstances permit, the 
ballistic qualities of Major-General Sazanov's rocket, we shall compare 
it with mass-produced 3" rocket flares and with Colonel Ennatskii's No. 2 
rocket, assuming, as was shown in experiments conducted at the Nikolaev 
Rocket Plant, that it is capable of transporting its luminous payload 
(pellets), weighing 16 pounds and 8 zolotniki [16.08 pounds], a distance of 
1100 sagenes [2575 yd]. 

The major task laid by present service requirements upon rocket 
flares is the transport of the greatest possible luminous payload over the 
greatest possible range in a given direction. Through its fundamental 
design principles the rocket incorporates in itself both the payload and the 
means for its transport. 

If we designate the weight of the luminous payload as C, and the distance 
it can be transported as S, the product CS is an approximate indication of 
the rocket's useful work. The same amount of useful work, however, can 
be obtained by various means, depending on the design of the rocket, and the 
most perfect design will be that which allows production of the given amount 
of useful work at minimum cost. If we deduct C from, the total weight of the 
rocket readied for launching P, we obtain the weight of the driving loadD, 
whose sole function is to transport C. From this it is clear that the ratio 
of the product CS, the useful work of any rocket, to the weight D of its 
driving load, 

D CS (P — D)S 
^=D = ^"' 

shows how much useful work is obtained per unit of driving load, and gives 
an accurate idea of the value of the rocket's design. 

The following comparative table gives estimates of the amount of useful 
work and design coefficients for three rockets, the range S of Major- 
General Sazanov's rocket being taken as that obtained during experiments 
at the Nikolaev plant. 

This table shows that the amount of useful work (CS) of Sazanov's 
rocket is twice that of the mass-produced rocket and 1.7 times that of 
Colonel Ennatskii's No. 2 rocket. When the design coefficients are 
compared, the results are not so pronouncedly in favor of Major-General 
Sazanov's rocket, but it still retains its pre-eminence. Let us now see 
to what this is due. 

The following table shows that Major-General Sazanov's rocket has a 
long, narrow cap, promoting the streamline flow of air about it, and a 
considerable cross -sectional load, but that it is filled with a somewhat 
weaker propellant. 

Going by the value of the construction coefficient. Colonel Ennatskii's 
rocket has the single advantage of the narrow cap, while the least successful 
design of the mass-produced rocket possesses none of the indicated 

In order to deternaine the influence of the shape of the cap on the range of 
a rocket, four mass-produced rockets whose wide caps (c(= 6") had been 
replaced, retaining the same weight of luminous payload C, by narrow 


ones (d = 4"), were launched. The range obtained varied from 780 to 
850 sagenes [1820 to 1985 yd], showing that the wide cap reduces the 
range of a mass-produced rocket by no less than 200 sagenes [465 yd]. 


Parameters of rocket 

a) Load 

1) Luminous C pellets 

2) Driving D 
Propellant . 
Empty casing 
Sulfur . 
Cap (empty) 
Tail . . 

Totals . 

b) Range S 

Useful work CS 
Useful work per unit of 
driving load: 

« = 


(design coefficient) 

3" mass-produced 
Pounds Zolotni 

14 16 

9 51 

6 44 

1 48 

3 32 

3 93 

24 76 

580 sagenes 

[1 sagene= 7 ft] 

8210 pound-sagenes 

[1 pound-sagene = app. 

7 ft -lb] 

331.7 pound-sagenes 

[1 pound-sagene = app. 

7 ft-lb] 

3" No. 2 rocket of 
Colonel Ennatskii 





1000 sagenes 
[1 sagene= 7 ft] 
10160 pound-sagenes 
[1 pound-sagene = app. 
7 ft-lb] 

443.6 pound-sagenes 
[1 pound-sagene = app. 
7 ft-lb] 

3" of Major- General 









2 tails 

1100 sagenes 
[1 sagene= 7 ft] 
17688 pound-sagenes 
[1 pound-sagene = app. 
7 ft-lb] 

475.2 pound-sagenes 

[ 1 pound-sagene = app. 

7 ft-lb] 

Parameters of rocket 

1) Shape of cap: 
Diameter . 
Length .... 

2) Cross-sectional load 

3) Force of propellant: 
Short .... 
Relative force 

4) Design coefficient 


61/4 in 
121/4 in 
1.39 pounds 

Rocket (Shostensk) 


331.7 pound-sagenes 

3" rocket flares 

Colonel Ennatskii's 
No. 2 

4 in 

19 1/2 in 
1.11 pounds 

Rocket (Shostensk) 


443.6 pound-sagenes 


4 3/4 in 
21 1/4 in 
1.81 pounds 

Rocket (Shostensk) 


475.2 pound-sagenes 

Table 4 shows that when the mass-produced rocket and Colonel 
Ennatskii's No. 2 are both given a narrow cap, they have the same design 
coefficients, understandably, since in this case their designs are almost 

In this case General Sazanov's rocket differs from, these in the great 
length of its casing and the consequently greater transverse load. 


II ■■ 

TABLE 4. Design coefficients of rockets 

1) Actually .... 

2) When the wide cap of 
the mass-produced 
rocket is replaced by 
a narrow one. 

331.7 pound-sagenes 

446.0 pound-sagenes 

3" rocket flares 

Colonel Ennatskii's 
No. 2 

443.6 pound-sagenes 

443.6 pound-sagenes 

General Sazanov's 

475.2 pound-sagenes 

475.2 pound-sagenes 

as well as in the absence of a base plate. Whether the superior design 
coefficient of General Sazanov's rocket is to be attributed only to its 
transverse load, or whether ballistic advantages resulting from the 
absence of a base plate also play a role are questions which can be answered 
only after careful experimentation. In any case, it should be recognized 
that even going by the results of the tests conducted at the Nikolaev plant 
General Sazanov's rocket is distinguished from the other rockets compared 
with it by its ballistic properties, and in addition has the important advantage 
over them of its greater simplicity and the safety of its equipjnent. 

In order to show how such a feature as the absence of a base plate can 
be reflected in the useful work of a rocket's driving load, let us consider 
the conditions under which the working pressure necessary for motion is 
created in its channel. 

The gases formed by combustion of the propellant act equally in all 
directions. Their pressure on the sides of the casing is balanced, but 
that on the head part has nothing to balance it, since the gases can leave 
through the orifices in the base plate; this pressure is what causes the 
axis of the rocket to move in the direction opposite to that of the outflowing 
gases. From this it is evident that the motion of a rocket proceeds from 
the principle of reaction or recoil, which also takes place in a fire-arm. 
But there is no recoil when the fire is blank; for it to occur, the gases 
liberated by combustion of the charge must create an impact by means of 
a bullet or projectile. 

In exactly the same way creation of a working pressure in the channel of 
the rocket requires the placing of some obstacle in the path of the liberated 
gases to reduce their velocity. Then the schem.atically required working 
pressure p will be obtained from the difference V — Vi between the speed of 
formation of the gases by combustion of the propellant and the speed of their 
outflow through the open end of the casing. 

This obstacle, reducing the initial velocity of the gases at the end of the 
casing, is provided by the base plate, in the wide sense of the word. When 
V=V,, this difference, and therefore the propulsive pressure, go to 0. 

Experiment shows that if we make no channel at all in a rocket of 
conventional design, or fill it with a compound of light brown powder, i. e., 
create such conditions that the very slowly liberated gases from combustion 
of the propellant will find a completely free exit through the hole in the base 
plate, such a rocket will not move from the stand because of the absence of 
any working pressure. From what has been said it is not hard to see that 
the same pressure p can be obtained from a very great number of values of 



the velocities V and V,, or from widely differing consumptions of rocket 
propellant. The designer's problem is to choose such values that the 
consumption of propellant, as well as the driving load D, will be minimum. 
For a given p, however, the minimum speed of combustion (consumption) 
of the propellant can also be obtained for a minimum Vi. From, this the 
enormously important role of the base plate in rocket design is evident. 

In general the gases obtained from combustion of the propellant, in 
passing to the casing outlet, lose a part of their initial velocity due to 
friction against the walls of the channel and of the casing, and, as might 
be expected, of the internal partial pressure as a result of which some 
difference in the velocities V and Vi and the corresponding pressure are 
created as it were naturally. 

With the object of decreasing further Vi, the exhaust velocity of the 
gases, obstacles increasing their friction must be placed in their path, 
or they should even be made to do some work, e. g. : 

1) Keeping the rocket caliber the same, the lengths of the casing and 
the ignition channel are considerably increased (rockets of Sazanov and 

2) The area of the free orifice in the casing is reduced by a small 
flange, and the remaining orifice is covered by a disk of cardboard (German 
rocket flares Mark 78 and 8 cm. Guards' Captain Ennatskii's report on his 
foreign mission of 1909). 

3) A base plate with holes whose area depends on the circumstances is 
attached to the free end of the casing (majority of present and past systems). 

4) The exhaust gases are made to turn a propeller attached to the rocket 
and serving to make it rotate in flight (English 9- and 20-lb military rockets. 
Ennatskii's report on his foreign mission of 1909). 

From what has been said it follows that the longer the rocket (channel), 
the less it requires a base plate (in the narrow sense of the word). 
Consequently, a length is conceivable at which the need for a base plate 
will disappear altogether. This, or something close to it, is the case of 
General Sazanov' s rocket. The following facts convince us of this: 

1) The very great length and small diameter of the channel of Sazanov's 
rocket. With the same caliber it is more than twice as long as comparable 

2) The high value of the design coefficient of this rocket, whereas when 
the base plate is inadequate (its total absence, as already shown, is not 
permissible), the required driving pressure is obtained by excessive 
consumption of rocket propellant, completely uncalled for by the 
circumstances, which cannot fail to be seriously reflected in the value of 
the driving load D, and therefore in the coefficient itself. 

3) The complete failure of experiments on the application of the principle 
of large holes in the base plate to the 3" mass-produced rocket with its short 

All of this brings us to the unavoidable logical conclusion that General 
Sazanov's rocket, like all rockets, has a base plate, whose role is filled 
by the great length, and in part, by the narrowness, of its channel. 

The last peculiarity of General Sazanov's rocket is its being guided 
by two completely identical lateral wooden tails. 

The simplest method of guiding the motion of a rocket is by continuation 
of the rocket casing in the direction opposite to the motion, by means of a 


rigid tail. The basic requirements the tail must satisfy in order best to 
fulfill its function are: 

1) The axis of the tail must as far as possible be an extension of the 
axis of the rocket casing. 

2) The tail must be an immutable system. 

3) It must be as light as possible, in order not to increase the driving 
load D and not to shift the rocket's center of gravity in the direction of the 
tail. The tails of General Sazanov's rocket have an insufficiently large 
cross section for their length, and the means of attaching them to the 
casing does not assure their perfect parallelism. The relative position 

of the tails therefore is slightly affected by random, occurrences, or by 

the weather. Under such circumstances one cannot even discuss satisfaction 

of conditions 1 and 2 above with any sort of precision. 


3" rocket flares 

Colonel Ennatskii's 
No. 2 

21.6 in 

Parameters of the rocket 

23 in 

General Sazanov's 

Length of casing . 

34.75 in 

Length of channel . 

15 in 

15 in 

30 in 

Diameter of channel . 

1 in 

1 in 

0.787 in 

Weight of rocket . 

39 pounds 

31 pounds 

1 pud [36 pounds] 
14 pounds 

Weight of tails .... 

3 pounds 

2 pounds 

5 pounds 

93 zolotniki 

48 zolotniki 

84.3 zolotniki 
(two tails) 

Weight of tail as a 

percentage of weight 

of rocket 




Despite their clearly inadequate thickness, together, as Table 5 shows, 
they nonetheless are heavier than each of the tails of the other rockets, and 
in particular, of Colonel Ennatskii's rocket No. 2. Furthermore, attached 
to the sides, rather than beneath the casing, they undoubtedly create extra 
air resistance, which cannot fail to have an adverse effect on the range. 
Altogether, one can only term this arrangement of tails extremely negative 
and deplore its use by General Sazanov, since the good ballistic qualities 
of his rockets must suffer from it, to a greater or lesser degree. This 
is the more lamentable since for such rockets (lacking a base plate) there 
exists a tested system which fulfills its objective, of conventional central 
tails, located along the rocket axis, attached to the casing by means of an 
iron bracket. 

Experiments on the application of two lateral tails to rockets were 
performed in Russia after the Sevastopol campaign (Major -General 
Konstantinov's work on rockets), and the idea was rejected even then. 

The preceding analysis of General Sazanov's proposal permits the 
following practical conclusions. 

The most important part of his idea is the problem of a long, narrow 
rocket, with a long, narrow channel. General Sazanov has doubled the 


15" channel length hitherto accepted for a 3" rocket flare, and has equipped 
this lengthened rocket with a similarly narrow cap to hold the pellets. As a 
result of all this the rocket's load is distributed for the most part 

This shape has promoted easier streamline flow about the rocket in 
motion and, in addition, has greatly increased its cross -sectional load. 
These factors in turn have promoted increased range, and consequent 
increase in the rocket's design coefficient. 

The great length of the rocket's ignition channel has naade a base plate 
(in the narrow sense of the word) superfluous, and has made it possible 
to profit from the resulting advantages of convenience and safety. 

Finally, the rocket proposed by General Sazanov, despite its clearly 
unsatisfactory guidance system, surpasses Colonel Ennatskii's No. 2, the 
best of the rockets compared with it, in the value of its design coefficient, 
and in addition has on its side all the advantages resulting from the absence 
of a base plate. 

The advantages cited for a long rocket and channel are so significant as 
to demand the attention of rocket designers, especially when 3" or similar 
calibers are involved. 

Major -General Rudakov, assistant to the Head of the 
Percussion-Cap Plant 



Bakul'skii.N. Neskol'ko slov o deistvii boevykh raket v 1855 godu pri blokade 
Karsa (On the Performance of the Military Rockets at the Blockade of Kars 
in 1855).— Artilleriiskii Zhuroal, No. 3, Sect. IV, pp.23— 35. 1858. 

Barantsov.O smotrakh, proizvedennykh. . . . Kerchenskoi i Nikolaevskoi krepostnoi 
artillerii i Nikolaevskomu raketnomu zavodu (The Reviews of the Kerch 
and Nikolaev Fortress Artillery and of the Nikolaev Rocket Plant), Prikaz po 
artillerii No. 125 ot 3 oktyabrya 1875 g. (Artillery Order No. 125, 3 October 
1875).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No.l2, official section, pp. 2072— 2075. 1875. 

Baranyuk,V. Pervye boevye rakety Rossii (Russia's First Military Rockets).— 
Tekhnika i vooruzhenie. No. 7, pp.49— 51. 1961. 

Boikov , A. A. General K. I, Konstantinov i ego raboty po raketnoi tekhnike v 

50—60 godakh proshlogo stoletiya (General K. I. Konstantinov and His Work 
on Rocketry in the 1850's and 1860's). — MVTU, no date. 

Boikov , A. A. Kratkii istoricheskii obzor razvitiya raketnoi tekhniki za granitsei i 

V Rossii do poloviny XIX stoletiya (Short Historical Survey of the Development 
of Rocketry Abroad and in Russia to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century). — 
MVTU, no date. 

Cheleev.F. Polnoe i podrobnoe nastavlenie o sostavlenii uveselitel'nykh ognei, 
feierverkami imenuemykh (Full and Detailed Instructions for Creating the 
Entertaining Illuminations Known as Fireworks). Moskva. 1824. 

Chernyshev.N. G. Reaktivnyi samolet N. I. Kibal'chicha (N. I. Kibal'chich's Jet 
Airplane). — Vestnik vozdushnogo flota, No.8, pp. 57— 62. 1951. 

Chernyshev , N, G. Rol' russkoi nauchno-tekhnicheskoi mysli v razrabotke 

osnov reaktivnogo letaniya (The Role of Russian Science and Engineering in 
the Development of the Fundamentals of Jet Flight). — MVTU. 1949. 

Danilov.M. Dovol'noe i yasnoe pokazanie, po kotoromu vsyakii sam soboi mozhet 
prigotovlyat' i delat' vsyakie feierverki i illyuminatsii (A Full and Clear 
Explanation of How to Make All Kinds of Fireworks and Artificial Illuminations). 
Moskva. 1779. 
•Deistvie raket na Kavkaze (Performance of Rockets in the Caucasus).— Artilleriiskii 
Zhurnal, No. 7, Sect. IV, pp. 439—442. 1863. 

Demidov.A. P. O proiskhozhdenii uveselitel'nykh ognei, izobretenii porokha i 
skhematicheskoe opisanie raketnykh pavil'onov (The Origin of Firework 
Divertissements, the Invention of Powder, and a Schematic Description of 
Rocket Clusters). Sankt-Peterburg. 1820. 


Dem idov , A. P. O sostavakh uveselitel'nykh ognei (The Composition of Firework 

Divertissements). Sankt-Peterburg. 1821. 
Dem idov , A. P. O stellazhakh, feierverochnykh korpusakh i nechto o raspolozhenii 

uveselitel'nykh ognei (Scaffolding and Firework Casings with a Note on the 

Arrangement of Firework Divertissements). Sankt-Peterburg. 1820. 
Fedorov.V. Apparat Kibal'chicha (Kibal'chich's Machine). — Tekhnika molodezhi, 

Nos. 5—6, p. 20. 1944. 
Feierverochnye izdeliya (Fireworks Articles). — In the book: Spravochnaya knizhka 

dlya ofitserov i chinovnikov, pp. 593— 596, Moskva. 1897. 
Feodos'ev.V. I. andG. B. Sinyarev. Istoricheskoe vvedenie ( Historic al 

Introduction). — In the book: Vvedenie v rakemuyu tekhniku, pp.8— 14, 

Moskva. 1956. 
Fortikov.I. Ot ognennykh strel do reaktivnykh apparatov (From Fiery Arrows to 

Jet Aircraft).— Nauka i tekhnika. No. 14, pp.8— 9. 1936. 
Fortikov,!. Raketa i ee razvitie (Rockets and Their Development).— Tekhnika i 

vooruzhenie. No. 11, pp.80— 83. 1935. 
Golovin. O raketakh s parashyutnymi zvezdkami (Rockets with Parachute Pellets).— 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, Sect. Ill, pp. 338—353. 1855. 
Gorlov . Nekotorye zamechaniya na stat'yu "Boevye rakety" (Some Observations on 

the article "Military Rockets").— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, Sect. II, 

pp.129— 142. 1858. 
Ivanov. Spuskanie raket bez upotrebleniya spuska (Rocket Launching without Use 

of an Incline). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, Sect. I, pp.313— 315. 1902. 
Johansen. Artilleriiskie opyty, proizvedennye v sapernom lagere pod Peterburgom 

V 1859 godu (The Artillery Experiments Performed at the Engineers' Field- 
Camp near Petersburg in 1859). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, Sect. II, 

pp.21— 29. 1859. 
Kanevskii.N. Biografiya general-leitenanta A. D. Zasyadko 2-go (Biography of 

2nd Lieutenant-General A. D. Zasyadko).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, 

Sect. IV, pp.46— 75. 1857. 
Karmannaya spravochnaya knizhka dlya artilleriiskikh ofitserov (Rocket Reference Book 

for Artillery Officers), Part II, pp. 289—303, Sankt-Peterburg. 1863. 
Khramoi,A. V. Konstantin Ivanovich Konstantinov. Moskva-Leningrad. 1951. 
Kibal'chich, N. I. Proekt vozdukhoplavatel'nogo pribora (Design for an 

Aeronautical Craft).— Byloe, Nos. 10— 11, pp. 115— 121. 1918. 
Kniga Marsova ili voinskikh del (The Book of Mars or of Military Affairs). Sankt- 
Peterburg. 1713. 
Konstantinov. Boevye rakety (Military Rockets). — In the book: Artillery, Part II. 

Continuation of the Course Begun by Lieutenant-General Vessel', pp. 244 — 277, 

Sankt-Peterburg. 1857. 
Konstantinov. Boevye rakety (Millitary Rockets).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No.3, 

Sect. II, pp. 177— 210; No. 4, Sect. II, pp.307— 341. 1857. 
Konstantinov. Boevye rakety v Rossii s kontsa 1861 goda do nachala 1863 

(Military Rockets in Russia from the End of 1861 to the Beginning of 1863). — 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, Sect. I, pp. 354— 413; No. 6, Sect. I, pp.484— 543. 



Konstantinov. Boevye rakety v Rossi s kontsa 1861 goda po nachalo 1863 

(Military Rockets in Russia from the End of 1861 to the Beginning of 

1863). Sankt-Peterburg. 1863. 
Konstantinov. Boevye rakety v Rossi v 1867 g. (Military Rockets in Russia in 

1867).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, Sect. I, pp.818— 872; No. 6, Sect. I, 

pp. 1075— 1109, Sankt-Peterburg. 1867. 
Konstantinov. Nekotorye svedeniya o nyneshnem sostoyanii raketnogo 

oruzhiya vo Frantsii i v Rossii (Data on the Present State of Rocket Weapons 

in France and Russia).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 9, Sect. Ill, pp.395— 414. 

Konstantinov. O boevykh raketakh (Military Rockets). Sankt-Peterburg. 1856. 
Konstantinov. O boevykh raketakh (Military Rockets). Sankt-Peterburg. 1864. 
Konstantinov. Primenenie vrashchatel'nogo dvizheniya k napravleniyu raket 

(Application of Rotational Motion to Keeping Rockets on Course).— Artilleriiskii 

Zhurnal, No. 6, Sect. I, pp.109— 156. 1866. 
Konstantinov. Spasatel'nye rakety i spasatel'nyi zmei (Rescue Rockets and the 

Rescue Kite). Sankt-Peterburg. 1869. 
Konstantinov. Usovershenstvovanie feierverkov i sdelanie poteshnoi pirotekhniki 

bolee poleznoyu praktikoyu dlya voennoi laboratorii (Improvement of Fire- 
works and the Transformation of Pyrotechnics for Entertainment into a More 

Useful Praxis for a Military Laboratory). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, Sect. I, 

pp.553— 559; No. 5, Sect. I, pp.713— 715. 1870. 
Konstantinov. Vozdukhoplavanie (Aeronautics). — Morskoi sbornik, No.8, 

Sect. Ill, pp. 1—101. 1856. 
Kosmodem'yanskii,A. A. iz islorii raketnoi tekhniki v Rossii (A Contribution to 

the History of Rocketry in Russia). — In the book: K. E. Tsiolkovskii — ego 

zhizn' i raboty po raketnoi tekhnika, pp.54— 79, Moskva. 1960. 
Kosmodem'yanskii.A. A. Osnovopolozhniki sovremennoi raketnoi tekhniki 

(Founders of Modern Rocketry), Lecture Theses, Moskva. 1948. 
Kostylev.P. M. Raketnye snaryady (Istorzcheskii ocherk) (Rocket ftojectiles 

(a Historical Sketch)). —Morskoi sbornik, No. I, pp. 56— 73. 1937. 
Kratkii obzor preobrazovaniya po artillerii s 1856 po 1863 (Brief Survey of the 

Transformations of Artillery between 1856 and 1863). Sankt-Peterburg. 1863. 
Kratkoe rukovodstvo artilleriiskoi sluzhby s polevymi orudiyami obraztsa 1877 goda 

(Brief Artillery Service Manual for 1877 Model Field Pieces), Section III, 

pp. 124— 134, Sankt-Peterburg. 1878. 
Kryzh anovskii ,N. Poseshchenie lagerya soyuznikov na Fedyukhinykh gorakh 

(A Visit to the Allied Camp in the Fedyukhin Mountains). — Artilleriiskii 

Zhurnal, No. 5, Sect. II, pp. 41— 43. 1856. 
Luk ' y anov , P. M. Primenenie i raskhod porokha dlya nevoennykh tselei (Use and 

Consumption of Gunpowder for Nonmilitary Purposes). — In the book: Istoriya 

khimicheskikh promyslov i khimicheskoi promyshlennosti Rossii, Vol. V, 

pp.82— 114, Moskva. 1961. 


Luk'y anov, P. M. Primenenie porokha dlya izgotovleniya boevykh raket (The 
Use of Gunpowder for the Manufacture of Military Rockets). — Ibid., 
pp. 46— 49. 

Lyapunov, B. V. Istoriya porokhovoi rakety (History of Solid- Propellant Rockets).— 
In the book: Rasskazy o raketakh, pp. 35 —54, Moskva. 1955. 

Ly apunov , B. V. Iz istorii raket i upravlyaemykh reaktivnykh snaryadov (A 
Contribution to the History of Rockets and Guided Rocket Missiles).— 
In the book: Raketa, pp. 75— 110, Moskva. 1960. 

Ly apunov , B. V. Proshloe rakety (The Past of Rockets). — Tekhnika molodezhl, 
Nos. 1 —2, p. 6. 1945. 

Mansvetov.V. Russkaya boevaya raketa (The Russian Military Rocket). — 
Voennye znaniya, No. 11, p. 21. 1954. 

Markevich, A. Rukovodstvo k artilleriiskomu isskusstvu (A Guide to the Art of 
Artillery). Sankt-Peterburg. 1820. 

Mel'nikov. Zametka po povodu razryva 5 odnopudovykh svetyashchikh yader 
raketnogo zavedeniya, na dopolnitel'nykh opytakh, proizvedennykh pri g. 
Varshave 14 iyulya 1859 goda (Note on the Bursting of 5 1-pud [36-lb] 
Luminous Balls Produced by the Rocket Institute at the Additional Experiments 
Performed at Warsaw on 14 July 1859). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, 
Sect. IV, pp.31— 35. 1861. 

Nat,E. Praktika dlya pirotekhnikov ili rukovodstvo k pravil'nomu proizvedeniyu 
rabot, neobkhodimykh pri feierverkakh (Pyrotechnician's Handbook, or a 
Manual for the Proper Execution of the Necessary Preparations for the 
Production of Fireworks). Sankt-Peterburg. 1845. 

Naumenko,M. Raketnaya artilleriya russkoi armii (Rocket Artillery of the Russian 
Army). — In the book: Iz istorii razvitiya russkoi voenno-tekhnicheskoi mysli, 
pp. 64 — 87, Moskva. 1952. 

Nilovskii.S. and M. Naumenko. Iz istorii razvitiya boevoi reaktivnoi 
tekhniki v Rossii (A Contribution to the History of the Development of 
Military Jet Engineering in Russia). — Voennay a mysl'. No. 4, pp. 46 — 60. 1950. 

O mekhanicheskikh stankakh dlya vydelki raket, neobkhodimykh Nikolaevskomu 

raketnomu zavedeniyu (The Mechanical Lathes for Rocket Production Required 
by the Nikolaev Rocket Institute).— Artillery Committee Journal No. 446, 
1877; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, official section, p. 177. 1878. 

O nekotorykh usovershenstvovaniyakh v feierverochnom iskusstve (Some Improvements 
in the Art of Fireworks).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, Sect. I, pp.446— 466. 

O rassmotrenii otcheta ob opytakh, proizvedennykh v Nikolaeve nad svetyashchimi 

raketami, i ob opytakh, predpolagaemykh proizvesti nad takimi zhe raketami 
na Volkovom pole (Analysis of the Report on the Experiments Performed on 
Rocket Flares at Nikolaev and on the Proposed Experiments on the Same at the 
Volkov a Field) .—Artillery Committee Journal No. 10 (January 1876); Artilleriiskii 
Zhurnal, No. 5, Review of Artillery Committee Journals, pp. 290 — 293. 1876. 

O signal'nykh raketakh (Signal Rockets). — Artillery Order No. 123, 12 September 1904; 
Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, official section. Orders, pp. 260 — 277. 1904. 


O signal'nykh raketakh dlya potrebnostei mirnogo vremeni (Signal Rockets for 
Peacetime Requirements), GAU Circular No. 15, 24 January 1910.- 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, official section, circulars, pp. 18— 19. 

Ob ispytanii boevykh raket s korotkimi khvostami i spayannymi gil'zami (The 

Testing of Millitary Rockets with Short Tails and Soldered Casings).— 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, Sect. I, pp. 22 — 23. 1857. 
Ob ispytanii piroksilinovykh raket, predlagaemykh nachal'nikom raketnogo zavedeniya 

V g. Nikolaeve general-maiorom Nechaevym (The Testing of the pyroxylin 

Rockets Proposed by the Head of the Nikolaev Rocket Institute, Major-General 

Nechaev).— Artillery Committee Journal, No. 36, 1878; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

No. 7, official section, pp. 249 — 251. 1878. 
Ob izdanii sbornika svedenii o 3-dm. svetyashchikh raketakh (Publication of the 

Collection of Data on 3" Rocket Flares). Artillery Order No. 32, 18 March 

1904, — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, official section, p. 25. 1904. 
Ob izmenenii ustroistva signal'nykh raket (Modification of the Design of Signal 

Rockets),— Artillery Committee Journal, No. 400, 1902; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

No. 11, official section, pp.356— 358. 1902. 
Ob izmeneniyakh v Sbornike svedenii o 3-dm. svetyashchikh raketakh (Changes in the 

Collection of Data on 3" Rocket Flares), GAU Circular No. 63. — Artilleriiskii 

Zhurnal, No. 2, official section, p. 80. 1907. 
Ob opytakh, kotorye neobkhodimo proizvesti dlya sravneniya osveshcheniya 

posredstvom svetyashchikh yader i zvezdok (The Experiments which Must Be 

Undertaken for Comparison of Illumination by Means of Luminous Balls and 

Pellets). — Artillery Committee Journal, No. 47, 1873; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

No. 7, official section, pp. 550 — 554. 1873. 
Ob umen'shenii chisla signal'nykh raket v letuchikh i mestnykh parkakh (The Drop in 

the Number of Signal Rockets in Temporary and Local Storehouses).— 

Artillery Committee Journal, No. 572, 1904; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, 

official section, pp.562— 564. 1904. 
Ob upotreblenii boevykh raket pod Silistrieyu i pri gorode Babadage (The Use of 

Military Rockets at Silistria and the Town of Babadag). — Artilleriiskii 

Zhurnal, No. 2, Sect. I, pp. 129— 139. 1855. 
Ob upotreblenii fugasnykh raket s piroksilinom v sukhoputnoi artillerii (The Use of 

Demolition Rockets with Pyroxylin in Land Artillery).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

No. 3, official section, pp. 91— 93. 1878. 
Ob upotreblenii fugasnykh raket s piroksilinom v sukhoputnoi artillerii. — Artillery 

Committee Journal, No. 8, 1878; Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, official section, 

pp.215 — 216. 1878. 
Obuchenie nizhnikh chinov pri svetyashchikh raketakh (Instruction on Luminous Rockets 

for the Lower Ranks). — Artilleriiskii ZhuranI, No. 2, pp. 12 — 14. 1881. 
Obukh, V. O deistvii boevykh 2-dyuimovykh raket v Zailiiskom krae Kirgizskoi 

stepi (The Performance of 2" Military Rockets in the Trans-Ili Region of the 

Kirghiz Steppe). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, S ect. IV, pp. 3— 17. 1859. 


Opisanie svetyashchikh yader g. -m. Reintalya, kotorye sleduet naznachit' na 

2-pudovye i 1/2-pudovye mortiry (Description of Major-General Reintar's 

Luminous Balls, which Are to Be Prescribed for 2-pud [72-lb] and V2-pud 

[18 -lb] Mortars). — Artillery Committee Journal No. 196 (September 1874); 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, official section, pp. 58— 61. 1875. 
P.M. Par ashy ut-rakety s kryl'yami (Parachute Rockets and Winged Rockets),— 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 11, Sect. Ill, pp. 2031—2037. 1867. 
Per el'm an, Ya. I. Istoriya porokhovoi rakety (History of Solid- Propellant 

Rockets). — In the book: Mezhplanetnye puteshestviya, 10th edition, 

pp.74 — 85, Moskva- Lenigr ad. 1935. 
Po povodu otpuska signal'nykh raket dlya potrebnosti mirnogo vremeni (On the 

Distribution of Signal Rockets for Peacetime Uses). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 

No. 1, official section, p. 733. 1910. 
Pobedonostsev, Yu. A. Kratkii istoricheskii obzor boevogo primeneniya raket 

(Brief Historical Survey of the Military Application of Rockets). — MVTU. 1949. 
Polevoi artillerist. Zametki o boevykh raketakh (A Field Artilleryman. Observations 

on Military Rockets). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 8, Sect. IV, pp. 487— 500. 

Polozhenie o chisle signal'nykh raket v batareyakh (Regulations as to the Number of 

Signal Rockets in Batteries). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, Sect. I, 

pp. LXXI-LXXII. 1859. 
Polozhenie o feierverkakh (Fireworks Regulations). Sankt-Peterburg. 1809. 
Pototskii.N. Opisanie svetyashchikh 3-dm. raket (Description of 3" Rocket 

Flares). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No.5, pp.277— 292. 1881. 
Pravila dlya razryadki boevykh raket, podlezhashchikh k unichtozheniyu (Rules for 

the Deactivation of Military Rockets Condemned to Destruction).— 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, official section, pp. LXVI — LXK. 1859. 
Pravila dlya razryazheniya boevykh raket (Rules for the Deactivation of Military 

Rockets). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 4, Sect, I, pp. 183— 185. 1858; 

No. 1, Sect. I, pp.54— 56. 1859. 
Pravila dlya upotrebleniya boevykh raket na grebnykh sudakh i na beregu (Rules 

for the Use of Military Rockets on Rowing Boats and on Shore). 

Sankt-Peterburg. 1857. 
Pravila dlya upotrebleniya 2-dyuimovykh boevykh raket, s pokazaniem predostorozh- 

nostei, kakie dolzhno nablyudat pri deistvovanii raketami, a ravno pri 

perevozke i khranenii v zapase (Rules for the Use of 2" Rockets, with an 

Indication of the Precautions to Be Taken in Handling Them, as well as 

in Transporting and Storing Them). — Artilleriiskii Zhuranl, No. 2, Sect. I, 

pp. Ill— 127. 1849. 
Pribor inostrantsa Motandra dlya pridaniya vrashcheniya boevym raketam, ne 

imeyushchim khvosta (Invention of the Foreigner Motandre for Imparting 

Rotation to Tailless Military Rockets).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, 

Sect. I, pp.89— 99. 1856. 


Pr i m e n k o , A. E. Istoricheskii ocherk razvitiya reaktivnykh dvigatelei do XX veka 

(Historical Sketch of the Development of Jet Engines before the Twentieth 

Century). In the book: Reaktivnye dvigateli, ikh razvitie i primenenie, 

pp. 10— 26, Moskva. 1947. 
Reintal', R. Metanie svetyashchikh snary adov posredstvom boevykh raket 

(Throwing Luminous Projectiles by Means of Military Rockets).— Artilleriiskii 

Zhurnal, No. 7, Sect. II, pp.488 —532. 1860. 
Rezul'taty proizvedennykh Artilleriiskim otdeleniem opytov nad brosaniem v nochnoe 

vremya svetyashchikh yader pomoshch'yu boevykh raket (Results of the 

Experiments on Throwing Balls by Military Rockets at Night, Conducted by the 

Artillery Section). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 1, Sect. I, p. 69. 1856. 
Rodnykh,A. A. Iz istorii raketnykh metatel'nykh snary adov (A Contribution to the 

History of Rocket Missiles). — Nauka i tekhnika. No. 47, pp. 3—5, 9. 1939. 
Rov inskii , D. A. Opisanie feierverkov i illyuminatsii (Description of Fireworks and 

Illuminations). Sankt-Peterburg. 1903. 
Rumyantsev,P. Teoreticheskaya i prakticheskaya pirotekhnika ili iskusstvo delat' 

feierverki (Theoretical and Practical Pyrotechnics, or the Art of Making 

Fireworks), Moskva. 1852. 
S az an ov . Rrichiny i sposoby ustraneniya prezhdevremennogo razryva svetyashchikh 

raket (Causes and Means of Eliminating the Premature Bursting of Rocket 

Flares).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 10, pp. 204 —207. 1882. 
Sbornik svedenii o 3-dm. svetyashchikh raketakh (Collection of Data on 3" Luminous 

Rockets). Sankt-Peterburg. 1887. 
Sbornik svedenii o 3-dm. svetyashchikh raketakh (Collection of Data on 3" Luminous 

Rockets). Sankt-Peterburg. 1904. 
Sbornik svedenii o 3-dm. svetyashchikh raketakh (Collection of Data on 3" Luminous 

Rockets). Petrograd. 1915. 
Serebry akov.M. E. Ob otechestvennom prioritete v oblasti artillerii (Russian 

Pre-eminence in Artillery). — Izvestiya Voennoi Artilleriiskoi inzhenernoi 

akademii imeni Dzerzhinskogo, Vol.91, pp. 25— 29, Moskva. 1955. 
Shaurov,N. and N. Shlyapnikov, Proekt reaktivnogo dvigatelya L L Treteskogo 

(L I. Treteskii's Jet Engine Design). — Vestnik vozdushnogo flota, No. 5. 1955. 
Shternfel'd, A. A. Istoriya raket (History of Rockets).— In the book: Vvedenie v 

kosmonavtiku, pp.52— 61, Moskva-Leningrad. 1937. 
Shternfel'd,A. A. Istoriya razvitiya raketnogo dela v Rossii (History of the 

Development of Rocketry in Russia). — In: Nauchnye problemy kosmonavtiki, 

Sovetskaya nauka, No. 7, pp. 131— 132. 1939. 
Shternfel' d, A. A. Iz istorii russkoi rakety (On the History of Russian Rockets).— 

Nauka i zhizn'. No. 2, pp.45— 47. 1940. 
S h t e r n f e 1 ' d , A. A. Iz proshlogo russkoi rakety (On the Past of Russian Rockets). — 

Tekhnika molodezhi, Nos.8— 9, pp. 1—4. 1946. 
Shternfel'd, A. A. K istorii razvitiya raketnogo dela v dorevolyutsionnoi Rossii 

(A Contribution to the History of Rocketry in Pre-Revolutionary Russia). — 

Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, pp.89— 92, 1938. 


Shternfel'd, A. A. Konstantin Ivanovich Konstantinov — otets russkoi boevoi 
rakety (k 75-letiyu so dnya smerti) (Konstantin Ivanovich Konstantinov — 
Father of the Russian Military Rocket (Commemorating the 75th 
Anniversary of His Death)). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, pp. 50— 57. 1946. 

Shternfel'd, A. A. Rakety v Rossii nachala XVII veka (Rockets in Russia at the 
Beginning of the 17th Century). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, p. 33. 1950. 

Shuvaev.N. A. Istoriko-kriticheskii analiz razvitiya osnov mekhaniki peremennoz 
massy (A Historico-Critical Analysis of the Development of the Fundamental 
Mechanics of a Variable Mass), Thesis. — Gor'kovskii Gosudarstvennyi 
Universitet. 1955. 

Signal'nye rakety, ikh ustroistvo i izgotovlenie. S prilozheniem opisaniya prigotov- 
leniya signal'nykh raket i urochnogo polozheniya (Signal Rockets, Their 
Design and Manufacture, with an Appendix Describing the Manufacture of 
Signal Rockets and the Fixed Regulations). Artillery Order No. 26, 3 March 
1875. — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No.5, official section, pp.323— 364. 1875. 

Skr ipchinski i . Ob usovershenstvovanii parashyutnykh raket s bumazhnym zontom 
(The Improvement of Parachute Rockets with a Paper 'Chute).— Artilleriiskii 
Zhurnal, No. 9, Sect. I, pp. 303— 337. 1870. 

Skr ipchinskii. Parashyut-rakety i rakety s kryl'yami (Parachute Rockets and 

Rockets with Wings).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, Sect. I, pp.591— 621. 1866. 

Sonkin,M. E. Iz istorii otechestvennoi raketnoi tekhniki (A Contribution to the 

History of Russian Rocketry).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 10, pp. 49— 51. 1949. 

Sonkin,M. E. Iz istorii russkoi raketnoi artillerii XIX veka (A Contribution to the 
History of 19th Century Russian Rocket Artillery).- Inform atsionnyi listok, 
No. 24. 1949. 

Sonkin, M. Raketnaya artilleriya (Rocket Artillery). — Voennyi vestnik. No. 20, 
pp.27 —34. 1949. 

Sonkin, M. Russkaya raketnaya artilleriya (Russian Rocket Artillery), Moskva. 1949. 

Sonkin, M. Russkaya raketnaya artilleriya (Russian Rocket Artillery), Moskva. 1952. 

Sravnenie metkosti 1/2 i 1/4-pudovykh granat, broshennykh navesno raketami i iz 

mortir (Comparison of the Accuracy of 1/2- and l/4-pud[18- and 9-pound] 
Shells Shot in a Curve by Rockets and from Mortars).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 8, Sect. I, pp.561— 562. 1860. 

Step anov , F. V. Pirotekhniya (Kurs feierverochnogo iskusstva) (Pyrotechnics (A 
Course in the Art of Fireworks)), Sankt-Peterburg. 1894. 

Svedeniya ob upotreblenii boevykh raket pri vzyatii Ak-Mecheti i otchet o zanyatiyakh 
Sankt-Peterburgskogo raketnogo zavedeniya (The Use of Military Rockets in 
the Capture of Ak-Mechet and Report on the Activities of the Petersburg 
Rocket Institute), Sankt-Peterburg. 1854. 

Tarasov,A. Boevaya raketa (Military Rockets).— Voennyeznaniya, No.6, p. 23. 1953. 

Tarasova,V. A. Istoriko-tekhnicheskoe issledovanie razvitiya otechestvennykh 
porokhovykh raket (A Historical and Engineering Study of the Development 
of Russian Solid- Propellant Rockets), Part 2, Thesis. — MVTU. 1958. 

Tikhonr avov ,M.K. Vvedenie v raketnuyu tekhniku (Introduction to Rocketry).— 
MVTU. 1952. 


Topunov, L. F. Rozhdenie otechestvennoi boevoi rakety (Birth of the Russian 
Military Rocket). — Izvestiy a Akademii artilleriiskikh nauk, No. 20, 
pp.87— 102, Moskva. 1951. 

Tsytovich,P. Ocherk istorii pirotekhniki (Sketch of the History of Pyrotechnics).— 
In the book: Opyt ratsional'noi pirotekhnii; rukovodstvo dlya izucheniya i 
praktiki feierverochnogo iskusstva, Part II, pp. 641— 679, Sankt-Peterburg. 1894. 

Tyulina, LA. Razvitie mekhaniki reaktivnogo dvizheniya tel peremennogo 
sostava (Development of the Mechanics of Motion of Bodies of Variable 
Composition), Thesis. — MGU. 1951. 

Upotreblenie raket v Zachuiskom krae (Use of Rockets in the Zachuisk Region). — 
Attilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 12, Sect. IV, pp.738— 758. 1865. 

Urochnoe polozhenie dlya prigotovleniya feierverkov (Fixed Regulations for the 
Preparation of Fireworks). — In the book: Svod voennykh postanovlenii. 
Parti, Book 4 (Appendices, pp. 380— 390). Sankt-Peterburg. 1859. 

Vedomost' feierverochnym shtukam, kakie pri laboratorii na vol'nuyu prodazhu 
delat' naznachaetsya. . . (List of Pyrotechnic Objects Whose Manufacture 
in the Laboratory for Unrestricted Sale is Planned). — In the book: Svod 
voennykh postanovlenii. Parti, Book 4 (Appendices, pp. 3T4— 379). Sankt- 
Peterburg. 1859. 

Verevkin,N. Neskol'ko zamechanii po povodu stat'i "Boevye rakety" (Some Notes 
on the Article "Military Rockets"). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, Sect. II, 
pp.97 —121. 1858. 

Verevkin,N. Otvet poruchiku logansenu (Reply to Lieutenant Johansen). — 
Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 6, Sect. IV, pp. 92 — 97. 1859. 

Vessel'.E. Nachal'nye osnovaniya artilleriiskogo iskusstva (Fundamentals of the 
Art of Artillery). Sankt-Peterburg. 1831. 

Vrochenskii . Neskol'ko slov o boevykh raket akh, po povodu izdaniya russkogo 

perevoda sochineniya g. -m. Konstantinova "Lectures sur les fusees de guerre" 
(A Note on Military Rockets, in Connection with the Publication of the Russian 
Translation of Major-General Konstantinov's Work "Lectures sur les fusees de 
guerre"). — Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 8, Sect. Ill, pp. 161 — 174. 1864. 

Vypiska iz zhurnala deistvii boevymi raketami konno-raketnoi komandy zailiiskogo 
otryada i iz doneseniya zavedyvayushchego etoi komandoyu poruchika 
Vrochenskogo (Excerpt from the Journal of the Military Rocket Actions of the 
Mounted Rocket Detachment of the Trans-Hi Task Force and from the Report 
of its Commander Lieutenant Vrochenskii). —Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 3, 
Sect. IV, pp.157— 166. 1861. 

Yakovlev. Prichiny i sposoby ustraneniya prezhdevremennogo razryva svetyashchikh 
raket (Causes and Means of Eliminating the Premature Bursting of Rocket 
Flares).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, No. 5, pp. 64 — 66. 1882. 

Zapiska general-maiora Zh[ukovskogo] o raketnykh branderakh (Major-General 

Zh[ukovskii]'s Memorandum on Rocket Fire-Ships).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 3, Sect. I, p. 63. 1857. 

Zavadovskii. Pravila upotrebleniya 3-dm. raket pri proizvodstve strel'by iz orudii 
(Rules for the Use of 3" Rockets to Be Fired from Guns).— Artilleriiskii Zhurnal, 
No. 12, pp.1260 —1273. 1880. 



Andreev 109, 113—116, 118, 146, 

148, 157 
Ankudovich,V. A. 62 
Artem'ev.V. A. 154 — 155 
Augustin 186 

Demidov, A. P. 9, 14 
Demidov, I. 14 
Dennet 92 
Dibich, I. I. 28 
Dolgorukov, V. A. 44 

Bellunzo 200 
Belyi 156 
Benkenstein 14 
Berdyugin 58, 86 
Berezhen 129 
Bernoulli, D. 68 
Bockler,G. A. 4 — 6, 19 
Bogdanov, A. 5, 18, 20, 21 
Bogoslovskii, M. M. 19 
Boxer 98 
Braun, E. 5, 20 
Brechtel 4 
Brimmer 187 
Brink 200 
Brown 73 
Bryus 14 
Bubnov 208 
Buchner,J. Z. 5, 20 
Budevskii 153 
Buffon,J. 68 

Catherine 11 13 

Cheleev.F.S. 9, 14 — 16, 20,21, 

24, 87 
Chernyshev, A. I. 44 
Chernyshev,N. G. 1, 17 
Chichinadze 57 
Congreve,V. 22,24,41,58,92 

Danilov,M. V. 8, 9,14, 20,21,169 
Demenkov 117, 123, 129, 133, 202 — 203 

Elagin, I. 14 
Elizabeth 13 
Ennatskii, V. I. 113, 117, 123, 148, 

150—152, 155, 160, 198,218—223 
Erebo, R. 13, 21 
Ermolov, A. P. 28, 29, 30 
Euler, L. 68 
Eval'd,A. V. 105, 107, 117 

Farcot 47 
Fedorov.V. G. 17 
Feodos'ev,V. I. 17, 19 
Fontana, G. 100 
Foss 184 

Fronsperger, L. 4, 18 
Furtenbach 4 

Garber 14 

Gerasimov,N. V. 117, 135—141, 146, 

159, 202, 208—212 
Geshvend,F. 105, 108 
Gorchakov 187 
Gorden, P. 4 
Goupille 58 

Grave,!. P. 155, 156, 161 
Guseva-Tarasova,V. A. 157 

Hale 58—59 
Hartmann 62 
Helfreich 154 




Inekhov 14 

Ivanov 109, 110, 156 

Jannine 100 
Johansen 44 
JuII.J. 5, 10, 20, 21 

von Kaiser, K. 65 

Kalinnikov 56 

Karabchevskii, S. V. 117,123, 129, 133, 
134, 158, 202 — 205 

Kartmazov 23—28, 53, 163, 170 

Kibal'chich, N. I. 102—104,107 

Kirpichnikov, A. N. 17 

Klement'ev.V. 14 

KIenk,K. 2, 18 

Klimov, M. 4 

Koiet, B. 2 

Kolyankovskii, E. A. 153 
Konstantinov, K. I. 32, 41—48, 53, 57, 
58-79, 84-89, 92, 93, 99, 101, 
102, 148, 164-165, 182, 
185—189, 222 
Korchmin, V. D. 13, 21 
Korf 189, 192 
Kostyrko 36, 70, 71, 74 
Kozen 29, 34, 67 
Kreits 5 
Kucherov 153 
Kulibin, I. P, 14, 21 
Kuzakov,V.K. 17 
Kuz'min-Korovaev.D. D. 144 

Lagrange, J. 68 

Langrini, J. B. 4, 19 

Laval 199, 200 

Levitskii 199 

Ley,W. 37, 98 

Likhonin 154 

Linevich 117 

Lomonosov, M. V. 12, 14, 21 

Luk'yanov, P. M. 18, 20 

Makhonin, LL 117,154—155 

Mandryk, A. P. 86, 87 

Martynov, M. 14 

Markevich, A. 9, 14 

Maslov 36 

Massingbird- Turner 28, 29, 188 

Matyukevich, F. 98 

Mavrodin, V. V. 17 

Mazyukevich, M. 38 

Melissino, P. 14 

Menshikov 188 

Meshcherskii, L V. 109 

Mikhailov,0, 18 

Miolan 100 

Montgery 60, 86, 87, 184 

Moore, W. 60, 86, 87, 188 

Moraine 61, 62 

Nat,E. 98 
Nechaev 80 
Nemov,M. 14 
Nezhdanovskii, S. S. 
Nicholas I 44 
Nottingham 58 —59 

105—106, 107 

Lyapunov, B. V. 17, 156 

Onufriev, A. 4 

Parlby 58 

Paskevich 30 

Pavlova, G.E, 21 

Perovskii 187 

Pestich 45 

Peter I 4, 5, 8, 10, 13, 19, 21, 162, 168 

Pikte 181 

Piober 64, 68 

Podruzskii 82 

Pokhvisnev, E. B. 153 

Polivanov,N. 84 

Pomortsev.M. M. 113, 117—135, 146, 

150, 157, 158, 193-196, 

202 — 203, 205 
Primenko, A. E. 17, 18 
Prokof'ev, G. 4, 168 
Proust 65 


Rainov, T. I. 18 
Reintal'.R. 99 
Richard 123, 139 
Romen, A. 4 
Rostovtsev, Ya. I. 46 
Rovinskii.D. A. 20, 21 
Rudakov 149, 150, 151, 152 
Rumyantsev, P. 98 
Ryabushinskii, D. P. 135, 158 
Rynin,N. A. 17, 158 

Sytenko.N. A. 117,135,141,142 

Talbot 73 

Tikhonravov,M. K. 17 
Tremblay 92 

Treteskii, 1. 1. 100—102, 107 
Trowgrouse 92 
Tsiolkovskii.K. E. 17, 109 
Tsytovich, P, 18, 21, 98 
Tyulina, I. A. 88 

Savrimovich 191 

Sazanov,D. V. 113, 117, 146—150, 

152, 160, 214 — 223 
Schmidlapp, J. 4, 18 
Schreiber 5 

Serebryakov, A. P. 153, 161 
Serebryakov, M. E. 161 
Shesternikova, L. 19 
Shil'der,K. A. 32—34, 38 
Shtelln, Ya, Ya. 14 
Shuvaev.N. A. 17, 156 
Siemienowicz, C. 5-7, 19 
Smyarev,G. B. 17, 19 
Sipyagin 30 

Skornyakov-Pisarev,G. G. 13, 21 
Skripchinskii 56 —57 
Sokovnin.N.M. 101,107 
Sonkin,M. E. 18, 156 
Stepanov 82, 193 
Stepanov.F. V. 98 
Stiller 92 
Subotowicz, M. 5, 19 

Unge 109 

Vanchinov, A. 25 

Vaulin,K. 25 

Vessel', E.Kh. 8, 20 

Vilinbakhov,V. B. 17 

Violette 197 

Vishnyakov 56 

Vlasov 94 

Vnukov.V. M. 25, 29 

Volovskii, I. V. 117, 135, 141—146, 159 

212 — 214 
Vorontsov.M. S. 35,101,187, 189 
Vrochenskii.N. 84, 85 

Wallhausen 4 
Whitworth.C. 10, 21 
Wolff, C. 68 

Yakovlev, A. I. 107 

Zasyadko.A. D. 24—28,37,53,163,178 







Full name (transliterated) Translation 





Artilleriiskii Istoricheskii 

Glavnoe Arkhivnoe 

Moskovskii Gosudarstven- 
nyi Universltet 

Moskovskoe Vysshee 
Tekhnicheskoe Uchili- 
shche (im N. E. Baumana) 

Tsentral'nyi Gosudarstven- 
nyi Arkhiv Oktyabr'skoi 
Revolyutsii i Sotsialistiches- 
kogo Stroitel'stva 

Tsentral'nyi Gosudarstven- 
nyi Arkhiv Voenno- 
Morskogo Flota 

Tsentral'nyi Gosudarstven- 
nyi Voenno-Istoricheskii 

Historical Artillery Museum 

Main Administration of 

Moscow State University 

Moscow Higher Technical 
School (im. N. E. Bauman) 

Central Government Archives 
of the October Revolution and 
of the Building of Socialism 

Central Government Archives 
of the Navy 

Central Government Archives 
of Military History 

Voenno-Uchenyi Komltet Military Scientific Council 




Cover printed in Jerusalem, Israel TT 66-51152