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Rocket Evolution by Imperator-Zor Rocket Evolution by Imperator-Zor
Here are the example of four generations of military rocketry for a fictional human civilizaton

The first rocket is a modified arrow. Affixed near the top is a tube of waxed paper with a clay spigot near the bottom stuffed with meal powder with a bit of wax as a binding agent. Cheap and easy to make in bulk, these weapons can be fired up to a kilometer away, though their accuracy is very poor and they are only really effective against large formations of soldiers and usually only en mass. Occasionally they explode on impact but far more often they burn all their fuel in flight, when they don't they usually explode in mid air or sputter out shortly after impact and even when they do it does little beyond spread a few splinters around and startle people and horses. They rely on their hardened steel heads to do most of the damage.

The next one in the line is an improved design made of cast iron, though it retains a ceramic spigot. It carries more gunpowder (and in particular more powerful and stable corned powder) and hits harder when it lands, killing even armored soldiers reliably. On the off chance it explodes it also does more damage in the form of cast iron splinters. Each individual weapon is as a rule more deadly than it's wood and paper predecessor and less of them are destroyed in flight, but also more expensive to make and they are still wildly inaccurate. Small teams of rocketeers each carrying a single rocket were quite effective at harassing armies on the march in terrain with some cover for them.

The third model is a refined version of the previous one and was contrived as this nation begins to industrialize, trading in the arrowhead for a cast iron warhead and replacing the long vein in the back for a set of inwardly curved cast iron fins which give it a spin in flight. This improves ballistics and means that it has an effective range of 2,500 meters. Usually these are launched from tube and frame launchers. These shells explode far more than their older counterparts but still have a high dud to detonation ratio. Mostly these weapons were used to spread chaos among the ranks of enemy columns.

The forth model is the most modern, using refined smokeless powder for it's propellant and made out of steel (fairly cheap rolled steel for the body with heavier steel used for the warhead and other parts) and is outfitted with a contact fuse to reliably set it off on impact. The result is a rocket which has a far greater range, firepower and reliability than any of it's counterparts. Numerous variants on this basic design could be affixed to aircraft or launched from field pieces, vehicles, boats and ships.
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August 20, 2015
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