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Battle for the Northern Air Temple

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This article is about the event. For other similar uses, see Northern Air Temple (disambiguation).

The battle for the Northern Air Temple was an assault by Fire Nation forces on Aang, Sokka, Katara, and the Earth Kingdom refugees living in the Northern Air Temple.[1]

The Fire Nation attacked with a large armada of soldiers and tundra tanks, advancing up the steep mountain on which the Northern Air Temple is situated. Aang and the refugees attempted to repel the assault with aerial attacks, utilizing the skill most of the refugees possessed with gliders as well as several types of bombs that the mechanist created. The Fire Nation was eventually defeated when Sokka and the mechanist managed to create a large explosion, using natural gas under the mountain and the engine of their hot air balloon.

The battle for the Northern Air Temple ended with a victory for Aang, his friends, and the refugees, as the Fire Nation did not attempt to attack the temple again. It also proved the significance of air power and its vitality in battle, which the Fire Nation would practice in the later stages of the Hundred Year War.[1]


In the first stage of the Hundred Year War, Fire Lord Sozin quickly attacked the Air Nomads, killing them all using the power of a firebending-enhancing comet. As a result, the temples were all abandoned.

Some years prior to Aang, Katara, and Sokka's visit to the Northern Air Temple, Earth Kingdom refugees found it while searching for a safe haven after their own town was destroyed. With the help of the mechanist, they turned the temple into a livable place for a non-Air Nomad population. He was even able to unlock the temple's Air Sanctuary, supposedly only able to be opened using airbending.

As the refugees prospered in peace in the Northern Air Temple, they were discovered by the Fire Nation. The mechanist was forced by the Fire Nation's War Minister, Qin, to design weapons, vehicles and equipment to help the Fire Nation in the War, and in exchange, the refugees would be left alone. The mechanist complied with the Fire Nation for years and stored all the weapons in the Air Sanctuary.[1]


Fire Nation attacks the Northern Air Temple

Fire Nation tundra tanks attacked the Northern Air Temple.

When Aang and his group arrived and eventually uncovered the mechanist's collusion, the deal was put in jeopardy and subsequently broken.

War Minister Qin was turned away angrily by Aang, and he subsequently declared that there would be an assault on the Northern Air Temple. Aang and his friends urged the mechanist and the refugees to defend themselves, and they decided to pilot the gliders that the mechanist invented and launch an aerial defense of the temple using smoke, fire, slime, and stink bombs.

During the initial assault, the Fire Nation attacked with hundreds of soldiers and at least a dozen Fire Nation tanks, which were perfect for the mountainous terrain. While the refugees easily repelled a large number of foot troops, the tanks were virtually unstoppable, and Aang and Katara were only successful in disabling a few.

Explosion at Northern Air Temple

The natural gas explosion killed many Fire Nation troops and cut off their only route to the temple.

As waves of Fire Nation forces continued to march toward the Northern Air Temple, the refugees began to run out of bombs, and several tundra tanks began to scale the temple cliffs without resistance. As Fire Nation forces approached the final advance, Sokka and the mechanist used a hot air balloon prototype in hopes of destroying the tanks. When the slime bombs did not work, they dumped the balloon's furnace as a last-ditch effort into a crevasse from which an enormous pocket of natural gas was seeping. This caused an explosion, which blew the tanks off the cliffs and killed almost all of the Fire Nation soldiers. It also cut off the Fire Nation's only route to the temple, securing the refugees' victory against the Fire Nation and forcing Qin's remaining forces into retreat.[1]


Fire Nation recovering balloon

Fire Nation troops led by War Minister Qin recovered the hot air balloon.

The victory over the Fire Nation ensured that the refugees would be safe from the Fire Nation armies, giving them and Aang's group a badly-needed morale boost in their struggle to end the War.[1] Despite their loss, Fire Nation forces were able to recover the tattered remains of the balloon, which was later produced in massive numbers by the Fire Nation, and its technology was adapted to create enormous airships. These airships later secured the Fire Nation's victory during the invasion on the Day of Black Sun the following summer.[2] These airships would also play a major role in Fire Lord Ozai's plan to incinerate the Earth Kingdom during the arrival of Sozin's Comet.[3]


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)


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