ROCKETS!!!....the so called "Secret Weapon" has been around in one form or another for a good number of years....if fact they were fooled around with back in the beginning of the 1800. Actually if you really want to go back further you'll find a rocket-propelled arrow that 'was said' to be used in and around 1232.....now that is going way back!!!
Then there was this Chinese scholar named Wan-Hoo...now let me tell you folks this guy was really 'into' the early variety of 'rockets'..... So much so... It has been said that ole Wan-Hoo attached a whole bunch to a chair....and to the chair was attached a bunch of kites.....and to get this experiment 'off the ground' ole Wan-Hoo..he had had a side-kick ignite this mess.... Well folks after the roaring flame...and god awful smoke cleared...Mr. Wan-Hoo went to visit his great ancestors....yep!! you got it he vanished forever.
So...this is how rockets were "born" ....but from this point to the rocket being accepted by the British ...and later by the U.S. Navy....is a very interesting story, of which I've banged out five or six pages on.
The article takes you from the above point to a point in time just a few years beyond WW II....I think you'll be surprised at how long it took for the Navies other than the British to accept this 'Secret Weapon' If you'd care to give it a read....you can just click on the title: EARLY NAVAL USE OF ROCKET WEAPONS and this link will take you right to the article.