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Old 07-30-2004, 10:19 AM   #1
Tuor of Gondolin
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Shield Defending Minas Tirith a strategic error?

It seems to me that, while understandable from a political and humanitarian view, it was arguably better strategically for Gandalf and the Rohirrim to not go to Minas Tirith but to rather demonstrate perhaps as far as Anorien and then to gradually withdraw in a slow, fighting, scorched-earth type pullback.
The overall point of Gandalf's strategy was to distract Sauron. With Aragorn's defeating of the Corsairs and clearing South Gondor (which Gandalf knew was Aragorn's immediate goal), even with the fall of Minas Tirith there would have been strong forces opposing Sauron to the northwest and southwest. And I believe it says somewhere in LOTR there were escape routes from M.T. into the White Mountains, so some M.T. forces could have escaped to link up in South Gondor or Rohan. Such a policy would have distracted Sauron for a long time, emptied Mordor of fighters, and drawn them even further from Mordor.
Of course, there would be certain negative effects, greater devastation in Gondor and Rohan, and Sam and Frodo would presumably have been toast after fulfilling the quest
but the overall chances of success would seem to have been greater.

As for Rohan's arguably not fulfilling its alliance with Gondor, if the above policy was followed there might well have been a better chance of the overall state of Gondor surviving, and to not follow the more sound strategy would have been an error like that featured in The Homecoming of Beorhnoth, Beorhthelm's Son.

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Old 07-30-2004, 12:29 PM   #2
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1420! Which to chose

Before I get into your "theory" of the defense of Gondor. You do make a good point, even if Minas Tirith fell there were still forces Sauron would have had to contend with. I believe Theoden left either 2 000 or 4 000 men to defend Edoras and Helm's deep, he went with 6 000 and left some back for defense. With Aragorn destroying the Corsairs you still have the 50 ships full of men from Lebennin to contend with. You still had the men of Dale, and dwarves of Erebor fighting, Galadriel and her people were fighting, Elrond was fighting. Eventhough the elves are a race that were leaving Middle-earth still people remained to fight. So, yes there were still many people left for Sauron to destroy even if Minas Tirith fell.

Your "theory" could possibly work but to say it would have been a better one? I don't know. If you ask me Denethor defended Minas Tirith abou as well as one could. Bringing in the armies, setting up walls, it was so well defended not an enemy entered into Minas Tirith. Also, your strategy for the Rohirrim, seems more like a Skirmish and Slash and Burn policy. Similar to that of the Russians defeating Napolean and Hitler. Eventhough, an enemy didn't enter Minas Tirith, the gates were broken, then Rohan arrived, if Rohan wasn't there for the arrival then Minas Tirith's survival becomes a little shaky. They still have 6 more levels to bust throught but if I remember I have seen Sauron had over 400,000 of his men attacking the city. I sort of lost my self in the ramble of facts, but I'll get right to my opinion.

I really don't see a better way of distracting Sauron then marching to the black gate, especially with the man wielding Anduril. If Minas Tirith did fall and Sauron did start spreading out his forces to attack all Middle-earth I still think he would have had plenty of orcs for Frodo and Sam to contend with crossing the plains. I think Sauron sees "what we got here, a couple thousand men marching out right in front of my gate, and with them is the king of Gondor" he sees it as fresh meat for the grinder. Not only that but you have the Eomer, Imrahil, Gandalf, and Beregond some of the biggest names around Middle-earth, and Sauron sees his chance to destroy all these "big names," and with all his greed thinking he was unstoppable he took the bate. The assaults upon Mirkwood, Lothlorien, Rivendell, were fairly small compared to Minas Tirith. So if Minas Tirith fell he can then concentrate on the other places and I really dont see him emptying his lands like he did when they road out to the black gates. His loss at Minas Tirith didn't really phase him too bad, but it hurt him a lot more then if he would have been victorious at Minas Tirith. He still had many orcs and men at his disposal, and a victory at Minas Tirith would have only made him stronger. I think it was key for Minas Tirith to stay intact, atleast key to the "real" quest, the ring's destruction, Minas Tirith falls, he wouldn't be as distracted anymore. That is my take on things, I also might have misunderstood your point.
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:31 PM   #3
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These are good points, Tuor of Gondolin and Boromir. Though the taking of Minas Tirith was nothing compared to the 'real' Quest to destroy the Ring, it would have gone ill with Frodo and Sam if Denethor and Gandalf did not defend Minas Tirith like they did.

With no defense, thousands more people would have died, Aragorn wouldn't have come to Gondor's aid on the Corsair ships, Merry and Eowyn wouldn't have defeated the Witch-King and Aragorn wouldn't be recognised as the King of Gondor by his own people had the people of Gondor just sat tight, or tried to flee.

However, though Sauron's forces could have focussed on other places, such as Mirkwood, Rivendell and Lothlorien, it wouldn't do him a great deal of good in the greater scheme of things. His forces of orcs, though they far outnumber the free peoples of Middle-Earth, could not penetrate Lothlorien or Rivendell, unless Sauron himself came there. Something he probably wouldn't do without the Ring. Sure his forces may overcome Mirkwood- they overcame Erebor, without the extra forces that he would gain from being defied passively by Gondor- but what would it mean for him in the end? That he has gained Mirkwood and killed Thranduil's people, but in the long run, he still hasn't come closer to achieving his target- to get the Ring.

Sauron attacked Gondor as he thought that the Ring would be taken there, and he feared it's use against him-

Quote:
'Indeed he is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wiedling the ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place.' (The White Rider)
This is what Sauron would have done in the place of the Ringbearer, and this is his folly. If Gondor offered no defense, then Sauron could walk all over them and face a smaller force of Rohan by itself. In the case of such a weaker force (let's say about 3000-4000 people, including Gandalf, Aragorn, Elladan, Elrohir, etc.), Sauron probably wouldn't be foolish enough to use all of his forces against Aragorn and take his bait- or then again, he might.

Quote:
'Hardly has our strength sufficed to beat off the first great assault. The next will be greater. This war then is without final hope, as Denethor perceived. Victory cannot be achieved by arms, whether you sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed beyond the River.' (The Last Debate)
So here we can see that even if Gondor 'endures siege after siege', they still can't distract Sauron's full attention, and that they are only a small (but important) part in Sauron's overall scheme- he despises Men and fears Aragorn. The only way to get his attention is by marching to the Black Gate and posing a direct threat (and mental challenge) to his great personal stronghold of Mordor. If Gondor retreated, or if Denethor did not resist Sauron's forces and defended Gondor like he did, it would be with a smaller force that the might of Mordor would be challenged- one that Sauron may not deem strong enough to be worth emptying his lands for, as they simply did not have the numbers to keep the battle going in earnest long enough for Frodo to reach Mount Doom via his free passage through Mordor (as Gandalf said, in his infinite wisdom during the chapter of the Last Debate).

Another factor in all of my mixed jumble of thoughts is the Nazgul. Assuming that Rohan would have come too late to aid Gondor, but 'stop the orcs from feasting' on the flesh of the Gondorians (as Hirgon said to Theoden), the Witch-King might not have been killed by Merry and Eowyn; a huge blow for the 'goodies'. The King of the Nazgul would be riding the fastest steed (most likely) and might have made it back in time to Mount Doom when Frodo claimed the Ring for his own, so that we might have had the fall of Middle-Earth to Sauron, or alternatively, one of the endings where the Nazgul did make it back in time to Mount Doom (see Sauron Defeated: The End of the Third Age (The History of the Lord of the Rings, Part Four), which in my opinion, were far inferior to the canonical ending of the Quest.

So, it could have gone either way, really, but I'm more in favour that not defending Gondor would have been detrimental to the Quest, if not for the sole reason that Sauron would deferred his forces to other places, or reinforced the guard on Mordor, so that Frodo and Sam could not penetrate to Mount Doom. Those are just my thoughts, feel free to rebutt them .
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:59 PM   #4
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If you could convince them...

If someone invaded New Jersey would you withdraw to Pennsylvania?

Before the Siege of Gondor, no enemy has ever stepped foot inside Minas Tirith. That should count against their withdrawal.

As for the strategic implications of such a move, I think you've said much already. I can't think of anything to add yet.
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Old 07-31-2004, 03:40 AM   #5
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It is certainly a fair question, but there is much [as has been said in the earlier replies] to be said for Minas Tirith as a focal point, for the West and Sauron.

The point of Aragorn's Kingship is a major one. But also it is symbolically the capitol of the Exiles of Numenor. If it falls, their last outpost goes the way of Arnor and the Dunedain their will all become rangers and their families living in some 'hidden fastness'. The Gondorians were seemingly very proud, eeven in their decay. And none maybe more so than Denethor himself. He clearly was not going to move himself one inch from the seat of his power till he was deluded by the palantir into assuming the Ships coming from the South were the Corsairs.

Also, there is something within the demands of the story itself, all military strategy aside that necessitates a City of the good guys. So far in the story Edoras and Bree and Laketown are the representative dwellings of Men. Hardly anything that could have been a central rallying point against Sauron for thousands of years.

Always goods to examine strategies though - and not get oneself caught in a 'seige mentality' in any part of one's life, so a most worthy thread topic methinks.
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Old 07-31-2004, 07:54 AM   #6
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Shield

In light of its outcome, I don't see how the defense of Minas Tirith could be construed as a strategic error.

However, for the purpose of the thread, I suppose we are putting aside the outcome to look at what other possibilites Gandalf, the Gondorians and the Rohirrim had in their fight against Sauron.
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gradually withdraw in a slow, fighting, scorched-earth type pullback
Keep in mind, when the Rohirrim finally reached Minas Tirith, it was already under siege. How then, could they have engaged the enemy in another part of Gondor? They would have nothing to withdraw to except hordes of enemies between them and Minas Tirith. As for the Gondorians, they had no choice but to defend their keep: they were extremely out-manned and had no hope in any kind of major offensive maneuvre against a much larger and stronger army. Their only hope lay in defending a city that was well-protected and hard for enemy forces to penetrate.

The Rohirrim would have had no hope of fighting Sauron's foes head-on, even in a 'scorched-earth' battle; the primary purpose of the scorched-earth tactics use by the Russians in WWII was to destroy supplies so the Germans would freeze or starve to death. In the case of Sauron's armies, they were probably very well-equipped to begin with as far as food and supplies, the weather wasn't nearly as cold as the western USSR's, and the period of time in which the Rohirrim fought Sauron would have been too small for a scorched-earth policy to have any real effect on Sauron's army. The Rohirrim, instead, were able to utilize their strength. The strength of Minas Tirith was in defense, as it had been their primary means of warfare for hundreds of years. The Rohirrim were cavaliers, and so were best utilized in this battle as a charging force, who could do serious damage by attacking the enemy's weak flank, and who could draw attention away from the siege.

Gandalf's plan, even if it could be called a tactical risk (which I would dispute based on the above, and also because any military strategy they had adopted would necessarily be risky against an army as powerful as Sauron's), I don't think it could be called a tactical error. It was well-executed with the means available, and ultimately led to a victory.

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Old 07-31-2004, 08:36 AM   #7
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Many good points above, and frankly, I would incline towards defending Minas Tirith, just not to the end, but at a given point pulling back through the mountains and back to Rohan. But for arguments sake:

Some comments:
1) The Witch King would be destroyed anyway when the Ring was destroyed.
2) You could envision a scenario where Eowyn killed the Witch King in the East March , edoras, etc.
3) Aragorn still might have a strong claim on the throne if he brought the Army of the Dead to free South Gondor and then harassed part of Sauron's army from South Gondor (and remember, his forces could always retreat through the Anfalas. Imagine Imrahil and Faramir leading M.T. remnants through the White Mountain passes to link up with Aragorn.
4) Rohan's cavalry was probably superior to Sauron's, and they would have had some 10,000 available in Rohan. On their home ground, and with strongholds in Eoras, Helm's Deep, Dunharrow, presumably Orthanc, etc., and with routes of retreat back through Enedwaith they would have been formidable. And battles in history have shown that forces fighting an invader tend to increase in efficacy. One example being the better performance of the Army of the Potomac against the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg, where it was essentially on even numerical terms and arriving in a scattered manner.
5) The retreat would only have to be long enough to give the ringbearers time to succeed.
(And I suppose JRRT might still have made a scenario to save Frodo and the nassty, fat hobbit).
P.S. If destroying the Ring was all important, and the elves were leaving Middle-earth fairly soon (and can eventually be reborn in Aman) why didn't Elrond and Galadriel have at least part of their forces engage in fairly suicidal local offensives to further distract Sauron?

P.P.S. Anyone notice how "counterfactual histories" are rather popular in science fiction and general fiction, such as Newt Gingrich's Gettysburg-based American Civil War novels?
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Old 07-31-2004, 09:10 AM   #8
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1420! Valid points

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Son of Numenor
The Rohirrim were cavaliers, and so were best utilized in this battle as a charging force, who could do serious damage by attacking the enemy's weak flank, and who could draw attention away from the siege.
Nice point made, plust it would work really well to their advantage on a "flat plain." Movie didn't show it well but the land around Minas Tirith, especially Pelennor, was flat.

Quote:
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5) The retreat would only have to be long enough to give the ringbearers time to succeed.
I agree, I think retreating would distract Sauron's eye, but still doesnt deal with the orcs left in Mordor. If a retreat happens, Sauron is probably smart enough to lay back and rebuild before he sends out more assaults upon the rest of Middle-Earth. Leaving Mordor still occupied, riding to the black gates emptied Saurons land, something retreating wouldn't do. Who knows? Sauron could get greedy like he is, and see he's got his chance right here and just empty his lands to go finish off the rest of the people of Middle-Earth. I do not see Sauron doing that however.

Quote:
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And battles in history have shown that forces fighting an invader tend to increase in efficacy.
There are many examples of these throughout history. Revolutionary war, Britain had the numbers and experience, but we wouldn't give up our home. WW2 Battle of Britain, Britain held strong against the blitzkrieg (sp?). Also, WW2 Norway fought hard against the Germans (actually lasted longer then the French) and if I remember never completely fell under German control. The Norwegian gold transported all around the country to keep away from the Germans makes for an interesting story. The situation we have right now in Iraq. The one that stands out to me the most would have to be 300 Spartan warriors fighting against an onslaught of forces at the battle of Trilopoli (Trilopoli is awfully close if that isn't the correct name fo the battle lol).

There have been also many armies who fell defending their country, and some a rather embarrassment. Darius III fights Alexander the Great at Phillippi. At stake, the whole Persian Empire. Darius's, persian army, outnumbers Alexander's men 5 to 1. Yet Alexanders presses onward to take complete control off the Persian Empire. Seems like Darius III would keep Persia, Right? WRONG! There was a hole in Darius's troops, an opening, that Alexander sprung his cavarly through and headed right straight towards Darius and his guard. Darius fled, his soldiers lost hope and were slaughtered.
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:07 AM   #9
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why didn't Elrond and Galadriel have at least part of their forces engage in fairly suicidal local offensives to further distract Sauron? (Tuor of Gondolin)
They know they won't really be dead forever, but still no Elf wants to die. It must be that horrible stay in Mandos that they dread.

So suicidal attacks: out of the question.

Beside, Galadriel's Lórien is already busy.
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
The one that stands out to me the most would have to be 300 Spartan warriors fighting against an onslaught of forces at the battle of Trilopoli (Trilopoli is awfully close if that isn't the correct name fo the battle lol).
Thermopylae. You were referring to the battle of Thermopylae. Tripoli is in North africa, Thermopylae is located at the peninsular southwest of Macedonia, northeast of Attica and Athens.

There were 7000 Peloponnesian troops under the command of Leonidas of Sparta. When the Persians outflanked the Greeks, Leonidas dismissed the allied contigents.
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Old 08-14-2004, 03:04 AM   #11
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One question I have always asked myself was how the armies of ME feed, clothed and replendished themselves during expeditions since Tolkien spoke not of it. Did they travel with long baggage trains and pack mules or did they live off the land they crossed? The former technique leaves a messy logistics trail that can easily be interdicted whereas the latter is subjected to the qualilty of the land crossed as well as the weather/seasons.

Another question I have is the tactic in which the opposing forces adopt. Do they simply blunder into one another and escalate skirmishes into general battles? Or do they penetrate lines of weaknesses and adopt the encircle-and-destroy doctrine?
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Old 08-14-2004, 09:12 AM   #12
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1420! Lake Nurnen

Here is a quote from "The Land of Shadow."

Quote:
"I don't like the look of things at all," said Sam. "Pretty hopeless, I call it - saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men not Orcs, or my eyes are all wrong."

Neither he nor Frodo knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in htis wide realm, beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Nurnen; nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to tributary lands, from which the soldiers of the Tower brought long waggon-trains of goods and booty and fresh slaves...
We do also, know how the fellowship drank Miruvor up the mountain of Caradhras, and of course Frodo and Sam with the Lembas. We also, know there was probably food in Ithilien, or atleast food at Faramir's disposal. Since, he gave Frodo some dried fruits, and other various food.

We know probably the Men of Minas Tirith were well fed, they did have the buttery for them as we see Pippin go there from time to time. Those are their food sources, now Tolkien never really wrote how they "delivered" the food to the soldiers, but they were there at there disposal. I would guess for Orcs and Sauron's mens they just gathered food from areas they crossed. If all else fails time for ORC MEAT!
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Old 08-14-2004, 09:14 AM   #13
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Thanks

P.S. thanks for the correction, battle of Thermopylae.
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:15 PM   #14
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"If all else fails time for ORC MEAT!"
--------------------------------------------
Yep. "Looks like meat's back on the table, boys!"
(One of the few PJ added/altered lines in the movies that worked).

And if Minas Tirith was under siege they could probably get some supplies in and people out using back paths into and out of the city, rather like the besieged Union Army did at Chattanooga in 1864, before Grant took over. Confederates occupied Missionary Ridge, etc. and blocked river and most, but not all, land passages.
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Old 08-14-2004, 03:10 PM   #15
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I think we can be fairly confident that the armies of Middle earth were fed and supplied in a "conventional" way. Probably even the Elves had a supply train of some sort when they went on campaign.

But describing all that would not have made interesting reading. I mean, who would want to read the quartermaster's report for the 23rd Morgul (Witch King's Own) Regiment for March 11, 3019?
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Old 08-14-2004, 07:45 PM   #16
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Going back to the beginning, how to you propose to evactuate a city of thousands? Civilians travel slow and are easy targets. Sauron would find out that Minas Tirith had been evacuated and would send his army in fast pursuit. The walls were what saved the forces of Gondor. Without them, the army would have been slaughtered. The orcs would have no need for siege engines, and thus would move faster. Nazgul could harry the retreat. Depending on the time frame, saruman's forces could be a factor. Where do they retreat to? Edoras? Too small and lightly fortified. The Hornburg? They would be starved into submission. No, the descision to remain in the White City was the only choice available. Anything else would have resulted in untold destruction and death.
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:48 PM   #17
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Well, a partial evacuation of the city had already taken place.... Many civilians were already gone.
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:10 PM   #18
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Yes, but would a full one (guards and all) be stratigically superior? To abandon Minas Tirith would be to abandon the last line of defense against Mordor.
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Old 08-14-2004, 11:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandro
No, the descision to remain in the White City was the only choice available. Anything else would have resulted in untold destruction and death.
It depends on the level of supplies/rations that have been allocated in Minas Tirith by the authorities and who the recepients were. Remember that more supplies translate into longer holdout times for armed defenders. time-based attrition may meant nothing to the armies of Sauron, but the Gondorians were placing the ante on the arrival of the Rohirrim and the return of the King, every second bought was an added advantage.

The same can be said of the English garrison at Chateau Gaillard in Normandy. When Philip of France invaded in 1202, the English commander - Roger de Lacy could only hope to hold out as long as he could until King John arrived with reinforcements. A quick stock check of the castle's supplies showed that by rationing meagrely, the armed defenders could theoratically hold out for another one year or so. As such non-combatants were ruthlessly cast out of the castle walls and left to fend for themselves in no-man's land. Relief for the hapless innocents came only when Philip toured the siegeworks and gave them a escape route through the ranks of the French army to the rear and fed them.

In RoTK, Pippin joined the Gondorian Beregrond and the men of his watch in a meal that was rather generous but nevertheless rationed. I should suspect that as the siege drags on, rations would be more meagre and scarcer still. Who knows if Beregrond's copmpany had already compromised their allocated ration stocks by feeding a "halfling prince"? Feeding a city of civilians would be highly uneconomical and would sap the will of armed soldiers through inadequacy of rations or distractions. Housing civilians also meant that considerations such as hospital beds and field surgery must be provided to them in addition to physically protecting their bodies. And should the walls be breached, progressive street fighting strategies and tactics would be compromised because bridges can't be demolished in fears of isolating some non-combatants on the other end and apartment blocks cannot be converted into stronghouses because they were occupied and the occupants did not evacuate in time.

Evacuation of non-combatants was still the safer bet.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Yes, but would a full one (guards and all) be stratigically superior? To abandon Minas Tirith would be to abandon the last line of defense against Mordor.
To be honest, I don't really have an opinion about which strategy would have been better. I can see benefits to withdrawing from Minas Tirith. However, I think it would be impossible to get Denethor to abandon the city.

From a storytelling perspective, Tolkien needed one big dramatic battle, not a long drawn out campaign of small skirmishes.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:07 PM   #21
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True Kuruharan, it did work for the story.

Sauron's objective was to destroy Gondor's people by any means possible. If they evacuated only civilians, he would hunt them down. In the wilderness, fleeing from Sauron, feeding an entire city of people on the go, with no time to set up farms and a permanent abode would be worse for the people. Starvation would set in even faster outside the city as it would inside. At least they had food stores inside the White City.

Also there was a motive here that affected strategy grately. The whole point of holding out against a seige was to keep Sauron's gaze fixed on Gondor; giving Frodo and Sam enough time to destroy the Ring. If it worked, better to have lost a few civilians of starvation then to have a lot slaughtered by roving bands of Wargs and Orcs. If Frodo and Sam failed would it really matter if they were inside the White City or in Anorien? Either way, they would be screwed.
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Old 08-17-2004, 09:55 AM   #22
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As has been touched on above, abandoning your major population centre, strategic stronghold and most defensible proposition is rarely a victorious tactic.

In addition and in response to the above 'slash'n'burn' proposal, it is worth noting that this is a truly horrific tactic that any force controlled by a power with concern for the welfare of life and lands would avoid at all costs. To delve further into the example of the Russian withdrawal through these means during WWII, the scorching of the rich farmlands of the Ukraine and then-western-Russian provinces caused the death of, conservatively, several tens of millions of people, and plunged those lands into a cycle of poverty and hardship from which some areas have barely recovered. Some victories are not worth having.
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:49 AM   #23
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There are obviously strong arguments for trying to hold Minas Tirith, both literary and strategic. The concept of a retreat and strategic withdrawal is more in the nature of "contingency plans" and leaving your options open. It would obviously be better to hold Minas Tirith but to stubbornly do so at all costs would be analagous to Stalin's insisting on holding forward front lines and then Kiev in 1941, rather then the flexible defense favored by his better generals. And recall that at Stalingrad the majority of the civilian polulation was withdrawn. Certainly Gondor did not anticipate the gate being destroyed, and if it hadn't a viable defense was possible (though not certain).
Denethor did (unlike PJ's characterization) make prudent preperations. One can imagine in the weeks and months preceding a possible attack evacuations of nonessential populations. And of intriguing interest to me is the use Gondor and Rohan could have made of pretty secure back links to each other and as a fairly safe area (even if in camps) for their populations in the Anfalas and Pinnath Gelin.
If the corsairs were repulsed the nature of the rivers in south Gondor and strongholds like Dol Amroth and Pelargir would have been substantial barriers to a divided Mordor force and given time for an even further withdrawal of refugees into Eriador, if necessary. And as it happened, with Aragorn destroying the corsairs and occupying south Gondor past Pelargir (and controlling the seas) a strong defensive stance. A costly, but possibly necessary, strategy, if the alternative was to stay in an untenable forward area subject to conquest, perhaps again like the Russian withdrawal of population, industry, etc. east. A very costly strategy, but what was the alternative, to be destroyed by a still superior wehrmacht?
Remember. in Rhovannion men and dwarves withdrew into Erebor, abndoning Laketown and thereby survived.
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:20 AM   #24
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I suppose that the question would ultimately rest on what the Gondorians thought they were fighting to protect. Were they fighting for themselves or for their land? If they were fighting for themselves then their lives and freedom were more important than any particular place and Minas Tirith could be sacrificed. If they were fighting for their land then losing Minas Tirith would be a grievous blow.
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Old 08-19-2004, 02:29 AM   #25
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I agree with Tuor of Gondolin,the men of Minas Tirth were in greater danger than they even could have forseen,and they certainly would have been destroyed had not the Rohirrim come to their aid at that time .

I should say that Denethor's policy did not work,I think he Should'nt have sent men to Osgiliath as a small garrsion . These men were slaughtered for no reason.
I think these men would have been better used if they had remianed in Minas Tirith.

And as Rimbaud says abondoning your strong defenses to a "raze an burn" policy is rarely succesfull.They could have used this policy had Minas Tirith fallen.
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Old 08-23-2004, 04:24 PM   #26
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I agree with rutslegolas about Denethor's sending of Faramir and company to Osgiliath being pointless but at this point Denethor's mind was already in the final stages of being overthrown by despair. He had already lost the son he loved best and I think he was desperate to see something of Boromir in Faramir. He may have honestly believed that if Boromir were there he could have taken Osgiliath back and sort of guilt-tripped Faramir into going by promising love if he lived up to the legend of Boromir.

Denethor was pretty much insane by this point anyway so he may have just not had a clue what he was doing! But then, I'm not sure if I'm remembering this correctly it may be a film thing that has forced it's way into my mind, but didn't Denethor say something about fighting being pointless and they were all going to die anyway so decide how you want to? Because if the answer to all that rambling is yes then maybe he thought Faramir would prefer to die in battle - with honour.
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Old 08-23-2004, 08:21 PM   #27
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1420! Only one Mistake

Actually sending Faramir to Osgiliath was Denethor's only mistake in defending Minas Tirith. Denethor learned a lot from the palantir, he knew where Sauron was going to attack, and where he was going to hit hardest, he did a very good job defending Minas Tirith, for the fact I mean not one enemy entered into the City. For it wasn't Gandalf who set up the defenses, Gandalf was sort of that motivational pep talker, Denethor was the man who set up the defenses. When Gandalf got to Minas Tirith, the beacons were lit, Hirgon was sent out, walls were set up outside of Minas Tirith, so Denethor did a very nice job defending the city. Too bad the palantir made him crazy in the process. The gates broke and Rohan arrived. I do agree though if it wasn't for Rohan Minas Tirith would have fallen. But if it wasn't for Aragorn, and the 50 ships full of men from Lebennin, the rohirrim would have gone down with Minas Tirith.
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