Battle of Dover

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After the Battle of Trafalgar, Napoleon Bonaparte's chances of a sea invasion of Britain were smashed. This made little difference, however, as he had been planning an entirely aerial invasion to take place while a large part of Britain's Aerial Corps was elsewhere, as they were after Trafalgar.

The invasion was to be accomplished by French-built "flying ships," -- light wooden platforms, triple-decked, and some 200 feet from front to back. Flown by four large dragons each, such as Yellow Reapers, these could easily carry 2000 men each on a short journey, such as the trip from Cherbourg to Dover. Napoleon had more than 60 dragons available, and could thus land 50,000 men in a single day.

The British dragons who had not fought at Trafalgar, including Lily, Maximus, Temeraire, Messoria, Nitidus, and Obversaria, were given the seemingly hopeless task of preventing the invasion of Britain by Napoleon's forces.

The British were outnumbered, with 23 dragons compared to the more than 40 French, and almost a quarter of the British forces were the smaller and lighter Greylings and Winchesters. The French, however, were primarily using the middle-weight Pecheur-Rayes as the carriers of the transports, and the weight became difficult to bear, leaving them vulnerable to attack.

Admiral Lenton set the larger dragons on independent duty, freeing them from formation flying. Despite diligent efforts, there were not enough British combat dragons to engage most of the French transports. As the French approached the coast, part of their force broke off to attack the British troops waiting on the ground. Four transports landed, engaging and overwhelming the largely militia forces, despite the militia's numerical superiority on the ground.

Temeraire was largely responsible for turning the tide, discovering and using the Divine Wind. He destroyed one transport completely and caused serious cracking in another, but the display of his ability caused the French dragons to attempt an all-out attack on Temeraire. He avoided them and brought them in range of the Royal Navy ships waiting below, causing the French dragons to scatter. Temeraire was able to damage another transport while the other British dragons diverted the French defenders. The remaining transports still aloft then retreated, heading back over the Channel to France.

The Battle of Dover was counted a great victory. For once, the aviators were given their due by British society, and a ball was held in their honour.

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