TIL about the Huolongchushui: A dual-stage ballistic missile fielded by the ancient chinese navy in the 14th century, during the ming dynasty.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huolongchushui?wprov=sfti1

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  1. Truly fascinating invention centuries ahead of its time! The chinese gunpowder shenanigans never fail to amaze me. Anti-ship missiles for this specific purpose would only emerge as a viable mass-produced weapon system again during the cold war.

    The weapon was a thick bamboo tube with an ornamental dragons head carved out of wood, propelled by regular gunpowder.

    Inside the rocket were 4 smaller rockets, each with explosive or incendiary warheads. When the gunpowder of the main propellant rocket had finished burning, the remaining embers would ignite the 4 smaller rockets motors, sending them out of the main body and into the target. This weapon is the earliest recorded instance of a multi-stage rocket.

    Imagine being a regular sailor in 14th century china:

    you cant read, you cant write, and the most outlandish thing you had ever seen was a fancy piece of pottery or strange plant from some far away land. Now imagine seeing such a sophisticated weapon being used against your ship, it would be nothing short of magic to you

  2. Seems like there is very little information on this supposed device. Wikipedia only references one book. A quick Google search reveals no further information.

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