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One of the greatest sea battles ever to occur took place off the Spanish coast of Trafalgar On October 211805 Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson of the English Royal Navy with twenty-seven ships of the line crushed the combined forces of the French and Spanish fleets Had the outcome of this great battle been different Napoleon may have realized his dream of ruling an empire that never saw the setting sun The purpose of this paper is to explain the events that led to this great battle to discuss the ships of the line and the men who worked them It will also expose the lack of commitment the French had in regards to naval warfare Bonaparte wanted to rule the world The largest obstacle in his way was that of the Royal Navy of England Bonaparts idea was to cross the English Channel moving his vast army onto British soil If the English mainland could be penetrated and London occupied Napoleon felt that the Royal Navy would collapse under the French army and its allied forces The peace Treaty of Amiens afforded Napoleon eighteen months of opportunity to put the plan of crossing the English Channel into place Napoleons plan was to build a fleet of landing craft flat bottom boats powered by sail and oar that could outmaneuver the great English Men of war The person Napoleon appointed to direct the building of the fleet was Admiral Denis Decres Decres in turn appointed a Flemish engineer Pierre Forfait to see to the construction of the landing fleet Forfaits objective was to supply the French forces amassed at Boulogne with 1300 vessels One thousand of them were to be utilized for troop transport the balance were to be armed with cannons and used in the role of defense Most all of France rallied around the objective of Napoleon To finance such an undertaking most of the major cities townships
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