The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-05-2003, 06:25 PM   #1
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye Battles of the late Third Age

Hail and well met friends,

I'd like to start a thread discussing the battles of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, (well I already have, so there!) to root out the obscure facts and gain the opinions and speculation of the inestimable Barrow-Downers.

First of all, a definition. In our world battles are defined as having at least 1000 participants on either side, I'll downgrade this to 100 a side for Middle Earth, so that the larger skirmishes (eg. Eomer's destruction of the Uruk-Hai) aren't omitted.

Secondly, a list of the battles I hope we will discuss. I plan to deal with these in order, but can you first please check the list and make sure its right and includes all the relevant events.

2941 - Assault on Dol Guldur
- Battle of the Five Armies
(2900s - frequent skirmishes in Ithilien)
(2950s on - Orc raids on Rohan from the Misty Mountains and over the Anduin. Dunlending raids from the West, eg. in 3002 Eomund was killed in battle with orcs in the Emyn Muil)
2980 - Aragorn (Thorongil) destroys the fleet of Umbar
2994 - Dwarves of Moria destroyed
3018 - Orcs from Dol Guldur attack Thranduil
- Black riders force passage of the Anduin at Osgiliath
3019 - 1st Battle of the Fords of Isen
- Eomer destroys the Uruk-Hai
- 2nd Battle of the Fords of Isen
- Helm's Deep
- Faramir's ambush
- Pelargir taken
- Cair Andros taken
- Orcs from Dol Guldur surprised by Ents on the Wold
- First assault on Lorien
- Orcs attack Beornings
- Battle of Linhir
- Osgiliath taken
- Causeway forts reduced
- Imrahil's sortie
- Aragorn captures the fleet at Pelargir
- The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
- Battle Under the Trees
- Second assault on Lorien
- Battle of the Carnen
- 1st Battle of Dale
- Third assault on Lorien
- Second Ithilien ambush
- Cair Andros retaken
- Elfhelm routs force in Anorien
- Battle of the Morannon
- 2nd Battle of Dale
- Final assault on Dol Guldur
- Battle of Bywater

In each case I'd like to discuss the 'facts' we have, and speculate on terrain, size and armament of forces and the course of the battle. Obviously this is easier in some cases than others due to lack of information!

[ July 05, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]

[ July 06, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2003, 03:32 AM   #2
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Hmmm, a heavy task. Could be interesting though; but as I'm about to log off I'm afraid I don't have time right now. The list seems more or less complete, the Ent attack on Isengard not really being a 'battle' in the sense of the word. Anyway no discussion of it could really be possible. Also, I wouldn't include this:
'3002 - Eomund killed in battle with orcs in the Emyn Muil' as it was just another skirmish -- Eomund went into an attack on some Orcs with only a few men, and got slaughtered. Not really a battle, but you can consider it as such if you choose, I suppose.
Not all of these battles need be discussed. But some of them could concievably be interesting enough, I'll be back tomorrow if you or anyone else wants to start a specific discussion on one of them.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2003, 12:25 PM   #3
FingolfintheBold
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Somewhere between knowing my path and walking it
Posts: 69
FingolfintheBold has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to FingolfintheBold
Sting

Looks great! But I was wondering if your planning on starting seperate posts on each battle orjust keeping it all here... Doesn't really matter i guess. One thing I've always wondered is this: did the White Council field an army for the assulat on Dol Guldur, or did they themselves mount the attack? I mean certainly they had to have some sort of backup against the shear number of orcs in the network of caverns and such? Just a thought...
__________________
There long the golden leaves have grown, upon the branching years, while here beyond the sundering seas, now fall the Elven-tears...
but if of ships I now would sing, what ship would come to me, what ship would bear me ever back, across so wide a sea?
FingolfintheBold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2003, 07:50 PM   #4
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Gwaihir, I'm sure you're right about Eomund's little accident, I'll include it with the sundry skirmishes in Rohan.

Fingolfin, what I thought of doing was starting at the beginning, posting my thoughts on the first battle, then when (immediately??) no new posts show up, move on to the next one.

OK, to start off with, we have the White Council's attack on Dol Guldur, which of course, paradoxically, may not have involved a battle at all. There have been threads on this during the last year but I can't find them at the moment as the search engine seems unco-operative.

We can be reasonably sure of a number of things: Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel and Celeborn were the leaders. The attack was launched from Lothlorien. The target was Dol Guldur, Sauron's stronghold in Southern Mirkwood. Sauron fled to Mordor, seemingly not putting up any opposition.

The big question is whether there actually was a battle, perhaps the White Council simply put forth their considerable 'magical' power to persuade Sauron to leave?

More questions remain. Who else was in the Council? Probably Radagast, since it was on his 'patch', possibly Elrond, though he doesn't seem to acknowledge this during the meeting at Rivendell on Bibo's way home, probably assorted elven nobility too.

From the strategic point of view, Gandalf was worried about Sauron's increasing power (he had scouted out Dol Guldur and found out the true identity of the 'Necromancer' years before) and the potential of him co-operating with Smaug. His chief concerns were that, with the aid of the dragon, Sauron would attack Lothlorien and Rivendell and re-occupy Angmar. Fortuitously he ran into Thorin and sent him off to Erebor. Was this a piece of rather callous realpolitik from Gandalf? Surely he couldn't have really expected 14 Dwarves and one hobbit to cause the demise of Smaug the Magnificent? Was Gandalf simply trying to distract Smaug during the attack on Sauron so that the dragon could not interfere? Be that as it may, as soon as Bilbo and co. were on the forest path, Gandalf sped south (perhaps collecting Radagast on the way).

Saruman had previously counselled against an attack on Dol Guldur. By now his studies had uncovered the Gladden Fields as the likely resting place of the Ring, so he wanted Sauron out of the way in order to conduct his own search.

Galadriel and Celeborn were presumably eager to drive away the shadow threatening their land, although fairly quiet recently, Sauron certainly wasn't an ideal neighbour.

If there was a military attack, I'd imagine it went something like this (speculation warning!). First the Wise used their power (including at least two of the elven rings) to extend Galadriel's protective 'girdle' (see Melian for 'Girdling') from Lothlorien over the river towards Dol Guldur. Sauron at this stage was thinking about relocating to Mordor, re-building Barad-Dur and taking over Middle Earth. He therefore feigns some resistance, doesn't get drawn into a standup magical slugging match (whatever that may be) and has it away on his toes to the Black Land. (Which begs the question of how he travelled; secret tunnel hundreds of miles long? turned into werewolf and ran? piloted his own Fell Beast or skull-faced horse? Hmmm...).

With Sauron on the run, presumably this is when any military attack would have occurred. Objectives would be to 'cleanse' Dol Guldur, drive off or kill Sauron's troops and free any prisoners. The force would surely have been mainly elves of Lothlorien with their deadly longbows and probably some more heavily armed elves equipped for melee (chainmail, swords, spears etc. - I know they're never mentioned but in a few thousand years it would be strange if the elves could not make or obtain whatever warlike equipment they fancied). I wonder if Saruman also brought some forces - perhaps his (less than) trusty human gate guards who may possibly have been descended from the last Gondorian garrison of Isengard. I'd imagine something like 2000 - 6000 elves (more than Thranduil, less than Rohan) with perhaps a token force of Saruman's troops.

They cross the Anduin with elven boats (perhaps a pontoon bridge?) and advance through Mirkwood. The various inhabitants (spiders etc) keep well away if they know whats good for them.

Meanwhile, at Dol Guldur, the boss has scarpered (perhaps with a Nazgul or two), leaving the poor old Uruks in the lurch (as usual). We can guess from later campaigns that Dol Guldur housed a fairly sizable force, perhaps 10,000 or more orcs. They could have tried to hold Dol Guldur, tried to escape with Sauron, or dispersed into Mirkwood. Orcish morale would have been very low, abandoned by the boss and with this nasty bright 'power' being projected from Lorien (it hurtsss ussss!!). I'd reckon the majority fled Dol Guldur, perhaps leaving only the bravest Uruk Hai (and perhaps Trolls, even Olog Hai?)defending the place and some poor snagas cowering in the darkest tunnels. Of course we don't know much about Dol Guldur except that it was originally a lone treeless hill rising out of the forest. You'd imagine that Sauron would have fortified it, built a tower, walls, gates etc. but that most of the living space was underground to suit the orcs, along with the dungeons.

I'd reckon the elves would have had a fairly easy task of entering the fortifications, with the orcs (apart from Uruk-Hai) unwilling to fight in the daylight. The main fighting would have been underground, with the orcs defending their tunnels. This would have proved far more difficult for the elves, though the leaderless orcs may well have run after any initial reverse, perhaps being terrified by the appearance of one of the 'wise'.

Then the hunt would be on, the orcs could expect no mercy from elves. After causing as much destruction as possible and freeing any prisoners, the elven bowmen are likely to have scoured the forest to hunt down any escapees. Then, with a job well done, everyone went home for tea. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Well, that's my view, and of course its all a tissue of ifs and buts, the points we don't know are; was there a physical attack? did the elves enter Dol Guldur? was there anyone left to oppose them?

And of course, will anyone reply? [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2003, 02:32 AM   #5
Noxomanus
Wight
 
Noxomanus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 233
Noxomanus has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Sounds very interesting and plausible. I do wonder wether Radagast (if he indeed played a part in the assault) might have send birds and/or other animals to the attack to let them fight the Orcs a la "The Birds."
Were the Wizards actually allowed to attack Sauron in this way or is this a plot hole?
__________________
Nothing is evil in the beginning,even Sauron wasn't
Noxomanus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2003, 05:02 PM   #6
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Sting

Can't see the orcs being too terrified by herds of rampaging deer, but birds could have been useful for scouting the area, (eg Roac and Carc and the Crebain). Perhaps Radagast even found an eagle or two to assist.

Interesting point about the use of power by the Istari, which was restricted by the Valar. Maybe they got away with it by assisting Galadriel, rather than doing everything themselves. Certainly some uses of 'magic' or 'power' were allowable, eg. Gandalf's Nazgul-repelling 'bolts'. The main thing was not to unleash excessive power, so presumably Gandalf (and Saruman?) had to limit the assistance they could give.

Found those previous threads at last, they were lurking in Haudh-en-Ndegin

White Council
More White Council
Attack on Dol Guldur

[ July 07, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2003, 07:30 PM   #7
FingolfintheBold
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Somewhere between knowing my path and walking it
Posts: 69
FingolfintheBold has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to FingolfintheBold
Sting

I guess I always imagined it somewhat like that, but as far as numbers of a physical attack, I'd have to say it was on the lower end of the spectrum, not more than 2,000. A force of elves that large marching to war would surley have been mentioned somewhere in the books. After all, the elves of Lorien rarley went far abroad, and i can't see Galadriel's girdle of protection reaching all the way to the fortress that Sauron's magic so long gaurded.

I think there probably was a physical battle with the boldest orcs and trolls that hadn't fled. But I also think the council would have some considerable counter-spells to cast and words of command to speak: Sauron had been practicing his black magic their for a long time.

Also, Gandalf says it was by Saruman's devices that they regained Dol Guldur. Maybe those "devices" were magic of some kind.

I cant imagine Sauron stiking around long when the Council's strokes fell: I think he was half way to Mordor by then, a dark spirit floating on the breeze.
__________________
There long the golden leaves have grown, upon the branching years, while here beyond the sundering seas, now fall the Elven-tears...
but if of ships I now would sing, what ship would come to me, what ship would bear me ever back, across so wide a sea?
FingolfintheBold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2003, 02:58 AM   #8
Numenorean
Haunting Spirit
 
Numenorean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Bay of Eldanna
Posts: 94
Numenorean has just left Hobbiton.
Shield

I always imagined that Saruman's devices were more mechanical than magical, during this assault anyway. Perhaps he contributed a few siege engines, trebuchets and the like manned by his mannish guard force? Given his mind of metal and wheels and his devious Ring inspired secrecy, I don't think he would've been too keen on using his own powers infront of so many of the White Council elite, perhaps he was already thinking of them as potential future adversaries too.
__________________
'…Avallónë, the haven of the Eldar upon Eressëa, easternmost of the Undying Lands, and thence at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Númenor in oarless boats, as white birds flying from the sunset…'
Numenorean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2003, 03:37 AM   #9
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Galadrial's 'power' existed in her own land only, and at any rate, it was certainly considerably less than that of Sauron, who remember was himself personally present in Dol Guldor -- or so it was believed -- at the time of the attack. A vague extending of 'magical power' from Lothlorien would not have shifted Sauron had he been there, and anyway, is an entirely implausible thing to suggest happening. No-where else has this method of aggression been employed by anyone wishing to mount an attack on an established and powerful stronghold, with, what's more, an established and powerful Maia within it. In fact it was never been used on any stronghold, not even a small one. It is an impossible thing to do. It would appear, from the evidence of Doriath, Rivendell and Lorien, that the power to spiritually defend a land in this way was possible in some circumstances and with some powers, but to launch an offensive in this way was impossible.

Gondor, I do not believe, would have taken part in the attack on Dol Guldor. I hav often wondered about this myself, but I would say with some certainty that it was the Elves of Lorien, Rivendell and perhaps Thranduil -- though he himself and an army were busy with Five Armies, he could conceivably have sent one south for the assistance of the Council -- would have been the troops that undertook the assault. That, I think, is why we don't know much about it. Quite little of the actions of Lorien are really known in much detail; it is probably taken for granted that it was them that staged the attack. Presumably they would have marched on Dol Guldor, perhaps fought an army of Orcs and destroyed it, and layed siege to Dol Guldor itself. The defenders would largely have either been slaughtered or escaped southwards (see below) -- Sauron had already departed himself. One or two Nazgul were probably left behind to direct the defense and stay to inhabit the place.

Since Dol Guldor was not actually destroyed, I think it probable that it was not taken in this battle. Surely if they had, then it would have been destroyed and its power broken, as happened in the War of the Ring? It is possible that they laid siege to it and destroyed a large army of Orcs, and then gave chase to the retreaters. Then, seeing that the place was largely abandoned, left warily, knowing that while the place was greatly diminished it was still inhabited. It would have been fearful to them. The Nazgul would have helped achieve this. They had succeeded in their goal of driving out the 'Necromancer', I suppose. They were not there to actually destroy Dol Guldor.

Alternatively, Dol Guldor may have appeared lifeless and totally deserted, so they did not judge that they needed to enter it particularly except to have a look around, perhaps, before they left. A slight sense of dread and uncanniness may have entered their minds, making them how no wish to stay, but anything tangible may have been hidden. The Orcs, and the Nazgul, hidden deep in the famous dungeons and caverns. When the army retreated, Dol Guldor would then lain low for a while before rising up again when Sauron declared his presence again in Mordor.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2003, 06:55 AM   #10
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Hmm interesting reasoning... Reminds me of the dungeons of Angband which were no razed in the assault. Firstly, it is quite time taking to raze a castle, even if you are in posession of it. I think that Saruman must have used some kind of siege weapons, mangonels, rams or something like that, and sicne their desire was not too take any casualties, they would have been pretty htorough in the siege, demolishing defences and shooting positions. When they were done, tehy were all eager going home to their own, most of all Saruman who could now resume his quest for the Ring with Sauron gone. The thought that they needed to raze the entire castle never occured to them. For of what use is a castle (even an undamaged one) when you have none to occupy and defend it? The white council counted on continued dominance of the Mirkwood by the wood elves and that they would guard the place. It is even possible that they were given the job to raze it, but since it was such a powerful stronghold, it took time they did not have. One must remember, all castles as built ot last, and it seems to me that Sauron was pretty ingenious when it came to building anything that could hurt people.

IF we conrinue to look at the storming, I wonder which forces they might have used? Surely, Elrond with his Rivendell guard, some elves from Lórien (even if Haldir says: It was now long ago anyone of our people were outside the boarders. or something like that), and a few Istari, bound by their promise not to use their powers of force, one ahs to remember) could not have taken any castle, even less a castel occupied by Sauron himslef. All this strenghtens the theory of Saruman's usage of siege machines since he could not use "magic" (never understood what one means by magic anyway)and taht Sauron used Dol Guldur as a decoy and a weak forward base from which to search for the Ring. It was a lot easier to ahev weaker servants search the river than to send the Nazgul all the way from Mordor.

Another thing is the rather stange location of a stronghold like Dol Guldur, in a forest! Castles are used to control areas, and areas you want to control are usually inhabited. It did not even control teh river valley completely since the Gondorian messenger to Eorl the yong got by, even if it was a close call. since the plains were pretty tightly controlled by the eótheod, one could not build a castle there without defeating them. Thusonly the Mirkwood and the Mountains remained of you wanted to have some control on the area. For me the obvious choice is the mountains. These are the chief reasons: 1, It is very easy to find a strong defensive position with extremely good control of the river valley and the plains, bridging the Anduin would be necessary but not impossible since it was a pretty small river up there. 2: The Proximity to both building materials (which is a huge factor) and of course, to a potential ally, the mountain orcs. You would not be threatened by anything, be controlling the roads to and from the lonely mountain, to and from the Eótheod, have for exampel and unemptiable reserve of drinking water. It would have been a fortress stronger than Masada, but without a roman army to capture it. The mainly moounted enemies wouldn't have ahd a chance, and the dwarves would have cared little.

My description of the evnents would be similar but soemwhat different. I think that it would ahve been a sheerly militar operation to overthrow Sauron by force, that the forces from the south (Lórien's and Saruman's few men) would march northwards along the river on the eastern side of it but still in the valley. Swiftly, they would try and join with the norther forces (Thranduil, Elrond) who would presumably have met by the river. This they do since none fo them would like to come near Dol Guldur in anything but full force.Their route from there becomes more uncertain, I think they COULD go to Thranduil for the last preparations. They could as well go by the edge of the forest earlier, but I don't know if they would have ventured to go through it; though they had the trailers of Thranduil with them. What speaks for that Thranduil did not send many or any men at all to this siege is thathe was busy cutting himslef a slice of the action by the lonely mountain and partying in the forwest to which Vilbo testifies. This maeks me believe that the assaulting force cannot have been very large at all, very few ordinary soldiers compared to the number of chiefs. To even out the situation they must have used siege weapons, invented by Saruman as Gandalf says.

By the way, I will not try and turn this into a Dol Guldur discussion! [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] How about the fords of Isen, the least dramticized and over-heroic battle for the next?

Have lots more to say but little time, so for now, bye.

[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]

[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2003, 02:29 PM   #11
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Saruman's 'devices', nice point! While I'm sure Saruman could and did construct siege engines such as mangonels, rams, trebuchets, ballistae etc. there would surely have been difficulties transporting these through the thick pine forests surrounding Dol Guldur. Perhaps some of the smaller engines were broken down and transported by pack animal?

I'd imagine that Saruman's devices consisted of explosive charges of the 'they have lit the fires of Orthanc beneath us' sort, and that Gandalf may well have contributed something similar. (I was going to speculate on Gandalf's rocketry experience, but found I was about to propose a Middle Earth Tomahawk cruise missile, so I won't!).

Gwaihir, I know there's no real backup for my 'girdle extending' theory. I was inspired by the passage in Lorien where the 'light' of Lothlorien appeared to be opposing the 'dark' of Dol Guldur.

I also found a couple of extra things out. One was that at the time of the War of the Ring, Dol Guldur was occupied by a force sevenfold its previous garrison. This would fit with Mans' idea that Dol Guldur was a weak decoy outpost, perhaps Sauron had been sending troops to Mordor secretly for some time beforehand? I also found the rather extraordinary claim by Galadriel that she could percieve the thoughts of Sauron, or at least all of those concerning elves. That's really quite an advantage! I wonder if Gandalf could do something similar?

I'm still not convinced that Elrond and Thranduil sent any troops. Gandalf felt the need to explain the attack to Elrond (on Bilbo's way home) and I'd imagine Thranduil's forces were too busy partying, interrogating Dwarves and setting off to Erebor to worry about Dol Guldur.

I know what you mean about the situation of Dol Guldur within a forest. It does somehow fit the 'evil guy's secret hideaway' stereotype quite well, they always seem to hang out in rather inaccesible places, extinct volcanos, islands, extinct volcanos on islands ( I'm thinking Bond villains and Dr.Evil here).

I'll move on to The Battle of the Five Armies next, but please feel free to post on whichever subject you fancy as it'll be a while before I sort my next post out!

[ July 10, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2003, 03:56 PM   #12
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

The Battle of the fords of Isen seems intriguing, as does the Five Armies... Hmm.. Therefore, I take a different one, the raids into ithilien.

I will do this in a total lack of order as always since this is written in the order it comes into my head but I hope that you will forgive me for my unstructured writings and misplaced letters.

Anyway, what we do now is that there during the last say 50 years of the third age were frequent raids into the area of Ithilien from Gondor, then newly taken by the forces of Mordor. Let us begin on looking at the purpose of these raids. They seem to have come into being as some vain and desperate attempt at showing that they were still at war with the Enemy, like the Britihs did with Dieppe in 1942. Faramir himself sais that these raids and plunderings hve lost all thrir former glory which insinutates that they could have been used as much against the enemy as for the morale of the population in Gondor. Their anture was probably at the beginning quite casual, a company of emn under a stury commander crossed the river, slew some maraudign orcs and quickly withdrew. As the years went by they established firm foothold/s in Ithilien like Henneth annun, where they could hide great many men and stores so taht they could live there for many months, probably. 'tis my guess since they ahd fresh drinking water and large sotrage rooms but I am not very knowledgeable in the art of fortification so anyone with the right details, please share them with us! These hideouts were as you know protected by their secrecy and not strength in amrs, if resupply was neeeded, I would think that it oculd be A: Brought in by boat. B: The men carried as much as they could on the way there. C: Regular caravans from Osgiliath which I think is the least likely because of the obvious danger. Anyway, tehre seems to be have been a well developed system and very well oiled indeed since it worked so well. They were well prepared for forest warfare with their green clothes and bows which makes me think that there msut have been a large support behind this from the Steward, amybe worked out by Boromir who was eager to battle. Anyway, the assaults went on as described in the books whistling arrows and then a ferocious atack to sweep the opponents away in confusion, something that must have been relatively easy since they were not used to forests, in marching order and very surprised.

In this warfare we see that the need of a strong hadned commander is great at the operational level but that the missions required skilled underofficers and soldiers able to take an initiative on their own, if for example isolated which could happen easily. I need not emntion the strength of nerve required to spring a trap in the exactly right moment with the arrow already on the bow. One move too mcuh and it might all be in vain. To look at this at a strategical level we see the leadership fo the army of Gondor facing the fact that their resources were not the same as it used to be and restricting itself to waiting and small raids. This is a conscious change and can only have come about with the planning and strong will of a great commander, probably Boromir in this case. The same we see in the fortification of the plains, the Rammas where not built to achieve a decisive battle once and fro all but too wear down an enemy against an iron hard defence, stranger things have happened.

Personally I think this is a sound strategy since the general that risks a battle is insane. Where there any Great battles in the war of the Ring that was not some kind of a siege or an assault from the beginning? The Hornburg, the fields of Pelennorand even the last battle fo the amry fo the west, they weren't even beleaguering armies drawn of to force a battle, it was a good old siege and relief. Well, why a commander that risks a battle is insane I will now explain. Wehn you sit at home and look at a battle and see those bright arrows moving across your little pretty fold out map with bird perspective, you have a month to decide what to do, with all the beneift of hindsight and a map of it all. When it happened, the commander ahd a very restricted view, three minutes on him to decide and virually very little to do. If eh decided that something needed to be done, how would he get it done? messengers were killed, sound signals drowned in the noise, that is why many commanders were in the front line, not because they wanted to play heros. What today might seem like a fatal and stupid charge into a grossly superior army (for example, Marj Ayyoun) was then sheer logic andthe best and only right thing to do. Thus, battles are disorganized messy and out of control. It oculd reverse a war entirely or decide it, or none of it. Nothing is sure about the winne rtill it's over. We have been FOOLED, ladies and gentlemen, fooled by the Historians and generals during the 19th century! They wanted war to be seen as a rational political instrument to be used if necessary to acquire a world balance which they did through fxing it on persons and simplifying it, like a game of chess. The only difference is that they are totally out of control, those pieces, and they die in reality! Thus, the commander that risked a major battle was amd since it was out of his control, it could og anyway, depending on what men call chance.

Hmm, I have been rambling... it's too late now I guess, and I've run out of tea. Crotte! Now six hours of sleep and then vacation. yay! I wil come back tesday and fix this mess up.. or mess it up even more, then I will haev to tell you about Blücher at Katzbach, my friends! Sorry if the last part might seem a little bit out of topic, but I jsut want everybody to understand what war is really aobut, not sitting in your armchair with a conjac and meditationg over wheter Napoleon did this or that wrong.

Måns

[ July 10, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2003, 08:33 PM   #13
FingolfintheBold
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Somewhere between knowing my path and walking it
Posts: 69
FingolfintheBold has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to FingolfintheBold
Sting

The Raids into Ithilien were risky to say the best... I think they were conducted mostly for the moral of Gondor, to hear about victories even though the times were dark... Hope can be the strongest tool for keeping the civilian populous united. After all, with Berigond of the Gaurd on your side...

Gondor couldnt afford to let their enemies walk at will through the Land, otherwise more and more would be drawn to Sauron's cause. With the fear of an ambush and death less southern and eastern savages would run hastily to the dark Lord's call.

However, if an ambushing company were to lack a good drumheller and be defeated, it could be disasterous for the morale back home. Thats why strong willed individuals like Mablung and Damrod and Faramir were chosen as captains.

Actually i think it was unlikely that Boromir was ever leader of such an attack. Before the Fords were lost there was little need of such forayes, since more damaging battle could be fought without the secrecy of sneaking over the river ( I wasss sssneaking!). Boromir and his bro had there dream the morning before the battle, the Fords fell and then Boromir probably left for Imladris soon after. I dont have the timeline on me right now so i cant check for sure.
__________________
There long the golden leaves have grown, upon the branching years, while here beyond the sundering seas, now fall the Elven-tears...
but if of ships I now would sing, what ship would come to me, what ship would bear me ever back, across so wide a sea?
FingolfintheBold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2003, 10:27 PM   #14
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Hmmm interesting... the first parts I agree to refering to my post. But still they ahd o be careful, or the prey would run away and they didn't want to catch the attention of Sauron. di they? IF you mena that they conducted the same type of raid from Osgiliath, I would seriously doubt it, they must have had some kind of forward supply position to retreat to. It is no good if the enemy can sit on a map and say: 'They were there but they must go there, so we'll just block the way.' Taht would have ended up in a rather confused battle which we do not want.It is all aobut forward bases, friend. What supports that there were long raids for months is that Faramir uses the words: "Remember why it was I who was sent to Ithilen, and not Boromir, father." This means that it was considered important a duty to be sent to Ithilien and also that we are here speaking of long raids. The clock is 06:24 in the morning and I'm on my way. Boat is late...
CET, Central European time, Central African time AND central antarctic time.

Måns

[ July 11, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2003, 05:15 AM   #15
Numenorean
Haunting Spirit
 
Numenorean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Bay of Eldanna
Posts: 94
Numenorean has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Fingolfin:
Quote:
The Raids into Ithilien were risky to say the best... I think they were conducted mostly for the moral of Gondor, to hear about victories even though the times were dark... Hope can be the strongest tool for keeping the civilian populous united.
I agree with all you say there Fin, but the Raids were also a sound tactical basis of guerilla warfare. Man-for-man, Gondor reaped considerable physical success from their forays into Ithilien: attrition & stealth are brutally effective (even in our times with all our satellites/spy drones/technology) and as you also said, it was of upmost importance that:
Quote:
Gondor couldnt afford to let their enemies walk at will through the Land
It was a double-edged gain for Gondor as the Raids not only offered a glimmer of hope for their people, but they also bred fear of ambush and associated paranoia within the rank and file of the Enemy.
Given the harsh reality of Saurons overwhelming numerical superiority, surely guerllia warfare was Gondors only logical plan of resistance?
__________________
'…Avallónë, the haven of the Eldar upon Eressëa, easternmost of the Undying Lands, and thence at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Númenor in oarless boats, as white birds flying from the sunset…'
Numenorean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2003, 09:38 AM   #16
Finwe
Deathless Sun
 
Finwe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Royal Suite in the Halls of Mandos
Posts: 2,609
Finwe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Finwe
Sting

Gondor knew that she couldn't face Sauron in open battle, because that would be just folly. Sauron had the advantage of numbers. But Gondor had one thing that Sauron didn't, men who were willing to fight 'til the end in the defense of their homes and their country. No matter how frightened the Orcs were of Sauron, they could not fight like that.

Guerilla warfare has worked throughout history, when open warfare has failed. Look at Alexander the Great's campaigns. When crossing over the mountains in Persia, good ol' Alex had the presence of mind to send ahead sorties to annoy the Persian army. After a while, the leaders and the soldiers just get so annoyed and harried that they end up making a stupid mistake. Then, the main part of Alexander's army can swoop in and decimate the really annoyed soldiers. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]

Another reason that the Raids into Ithilien were such a good idea is that you don't need a lot of men to do it. You can divide up your main fighting force into sectors, and while one sector is out there harrying, the others are preparing to fight. And then, they rotate. One of the more rested sectors goes into the fray, and the tired one falls back. That way, you get a nearly non-stop attacking force. Since the Gondorians knew Ithilien like the back of their hand, they could make a small force seem like a much larger force by moving around and using the land. I personally think it was one of Gondor's best strategies to keep up morale and to keep harrying the Orcs.
__________________
But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
Finwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2003, 03:36 PM   #17
Dimaldaeon
Wight
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ireland & damn proud of it.
Posts: 125
Dimaldaeon has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Dimaldaeon Send a message via AIM to Dimaldaeon
Sting

Can I just go back to Dol Guldor for a second. Sorry.
When the battle,if there even was one, is won sorting out the fortifications is quite simple. They just use slighting, see Castle by Marc Morris. Cromwell, cough Satan cough, used this after the English Civil War. Here we have two Istari obviously skilled with explosives, all they have to do is dig a trench under a main wall put in a charge and hey presto half the castle comes crashing down. This is still used to demolish buildings today.

As for guerilla warfare in Ithillian, this was brilliant. I think it was an American officer who said that guerilla warfare can only be defeated by betrayal, as the Irish have proven again and again and again. As I don't see any Gondorians running off to help Sauron, he's pretty well stuck in how to defeat them without a massive frontal attack on Osgiliath, which did come.

[ July 11, 2003: Message edited by: Dimaldaeon ]
__________________
Dear Saddam, Do not disunderestimate me.Yours G.W.Bush

You're not drunk if you can still hold onto a blade of grass to stop yourself from falling off the face of the Earth
Dimaldaeon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2003, 06:38 PM   #18
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Hi all, just a short communication, as I'm suffering fom multiple bottles of wine and cans of Stella.

Dimaldaeon, I see your point, but remember the leaning tower of Caerphilly Castle, supposedly having been slighted by the evil warty Oliver Cromwell, still standing today, after 400 plus years. Also I reckon most of Dol Guldur would have been underground tunnnels etc.

Good points on the defence of Ithilien by Gondor, I wonder if Thorongil organised the Rangers of Ithilien originally, will have to check.

PS. Mans, I totally agree with you on the futility of war etc. (in at least 99% of cases) and the misrepresentation by 19th C armchair soldiers, though I think this discussion would be out of ME and more suited to private mails (lest we incur the wrath of the Wights). Blucher at the Katzbach, is that the time he thought he was giving birth to an Elephant sired on him by a Frenchman, or the time he believed that the French had heated the floor of his room so he could only walk on tiptoe?

My weekend plans having been dashed to the floor like so many Blue Wizards, I will attempt to post my thoughts on the Battle of the Five Armies soon.
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2003, 05:06 PM   #19
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Hahaha... Well, I can imagine that Wellington needed a lot of "stiff upper lip" when Blücher told him that iin confidence. Well, well, I'll try not to anger the wights but it is an interesting battle. The Prussians under Blücher were driven across the river Katzbach and Blücher gets an idea: "We'll cross the river and strike at the French right flank!" Said and done, the following morning his troops start marching in the heavy rains, the visibility is almost zero, one could only see a few meters ahead. Everything seems to be going fine, they are approaching the river but there is a yet unknown problem, the French commander ahs decided to do exactly the same thing but started of a few minutes before his adversary. This meant disaster, as the French are straggling to get up from the steep river bank they see the Prussians approaching. After a short tumult, the wet and tired Frech are driven back but the rear forces keep trying to cross and aPrussian cavalry charge mows them down turning it into a French route. By the end of the battle, Blücher knows two things about it, 1 That it ahs been fought. 2 That they have probably won since they had not yet been captured and that the fire was steadily moving away. When he learns that the French lost 15 000 in an uneven exchange agaisnt 300 Prussians, he sais to his chief of Staff, Moltke (not THE Moltke): "Well then, now it is only to convince everybody how ingeniously this was planned." This I tell you to illuminate the difficulties that arise when you try to be a commander, you have no control. Sorry if my last posts were rather rambling but I can't resist it. If anyone thinks that I am talking to unlistening ears, amking long and (too) unorganized posts, tell em and I will try to fix it. "To write the history of a battle is like writing the history of a dance!" (Yet again, Wellington, this time in a rather contemptous tone

Anyway, on slighting... Well you could in theory right but I still have to disagree. Slightings are used when after a long siege you want to storm a castle by surprise. A storming of a castle was an extremely bloody and messy affair for both sides, usually carried out by volunteers who got great shares of the booty for it. That is something that teh white council did not havewhich is why I think that it was reduced to almost nothing before it was stormed, in which case the walls would have been downed before it came to an assault. Also slighting is based upon the in the 17th century commonly used tactics of digging trenches closer and closer to the castle in question that was invented ebcause of the use of muskets and cannons which Sauron did not posess. Moreover, in that case Gandalf would have told Aragorn about the threat from Isengard, the use of explosives in a siege and then he would not ahve been so surprised, no?

Yes those are the foundations of guerilla warfare and one has to notice that many of the emn fighting there ahd once lived in Ithilien, before it was taken by the Enemy. This makes it impossible to accredit Thorongil with the invention of the guerilla war. By the way, good ol' Alexander's way of fighting was pretty common at the time, I wouldn't call it Guerilla fighting, rather probing and "teaser" attacks. This is becasue it was not conducted in a defensive war in a land once posessed but now occupied by an enemy and simply standard military procedure. Indeed, in the strictest interpretation of the word we couldn't even call Faramir a guerilla fighter since he was a commander of an armed force, sent into the lands with the mission of raiding and not the leader of a local band of resisters, but that's just being puritan.

I cannot agree that it was a great Gondorian strategy since these operations were always risky and costly. By the time of the war of the Ringthere was no chance of winning the war by military means and thus I would see the force as a drainer of well needed men and resources (not to mention commander, what if Faramir would have been killed) in pointless engagements. Of course it was a huge benefit that so amny men earned combat experience but it was taken over a limit when the raids were conducted even when they were exxcpecting an attack in the nearest days. My humble opinion, by the ay, if you ahven't noticed, I'm back!

Måns
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2003, 03:12 AM   #20
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Quote:
By the time of the war of the Ringthere was no chance of winning the war by military means and thus I would see the force as a drainer of well needed men and resources...
Perhaps not of the whole war, but battles could be won. The Battle of the Pellenor Fields was crucially important. It was the true Battle of Gondor, as had it been lost, then Gondor would have fallen. Raids in Ithilien -- such as the one we saw, led by Faramir -- were important, and you must see the point of them. They damaged Mordor's forces. Gondor had to continue the war against Mordor, as it was only by keeping up this war and not being defeated that they could survive. They were fighters to the end. Damage done to Haradrim in Ithilien was damage done to the enemy; an enemy which was weakened as a result.

The Haradrim forces had to be met in battle sooner or later. If this battle was an ambush, executed by the Gondorians skillfully in country that the Dunedain had far superior knowledge of, then they had an advantage. The army that they destroyed would otherwise have been used against them, which is not a good thing. Perhaps they foresaw another, open battle, that would otherswise have been lost, possibly tipped in their favour by such raids.

An ambush, initiated by Faramir, stood a better chance of inflicting decent losses on the enemy without suffering much loss on his own side, and the Haradrim invaders were so much the weaker.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2003, 12:44 PM   #21
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

But you must certainly understand that I am not arguing against the raiding system as a whole, only that it, as it appears to me, became almost a fixed idea. In the actual case, it went well and they got to their more important positions before the start of the invasion, but imagine if they had been slowed down by something, or Faramir hadn't recognized that they needed to split? Disaster, the loss of the extremely important second in command, the heir to the steward and many battle hardened men in vain. Of course it was the only reasonable way Gondor could make war upon the Black Tower, but caution is hte better part of valour.

Måns
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2003, 01:33 PM   #22
Finwe
Deathless Sun
 
Finwe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Royal Suite in the Halls of Mandos
Posts: 2,609
Finwe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Finwe
Sting

That's true, but overcaution is just as bad as rashness. It is far better to dare mighty things than to just sit at home and not dare anything for fear of failure. Faramir knew the risks he was taking, and he felt that the ultimate result would far outweigh those risks. He welcomed death, rather than a life of thralldom, and I commend him for that. In some situations, you have to be a little rash. That is the only way you will succeed at anything.
__________________
But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
Finwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2003, 02:20 PM   #23
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

In theory your reasoning sounds correct, I must admit and I have nothing to say about that caution could be as dangerous as rashness. Though one can apply this into most situations, one has to look at each event specificly. An example of good "rashness" is Alexander the Great at Granicos, he dared to take a great risk and won the battle. Another man that always gambled was Adolf Hitler, the IMO "worst" human being ever, he was always gambling in the thirties, breaking the Versailles treaty and invading Czechoslovakia, invading France and, the last and most fatal great gamble, invading the Soviet Union. That's an example of bad risk taking. The last raids in Ithilen is of neither type, Hitler could ahev gained very much from destroying the Red army and the Soviet union, and Alexander won much by his fast assault across the river but waht could Faramir have gained? He destroyed a few regiments of Haradrim, which is all he could have counted on doing. This is not worth the risk he took and I think that many people's instinctive reaction against the very word caution is because of the chances people have ahd through history without taking them, for example Gallipoli and it's almost identical replica, the western allied futile landing to the north of Rome in Round No. 2 in the European struggle for power. One ahs got to remember that the Soviet Union won that war not through it's daring attacks like the 1942 spring offensive by Timoshenko or pressing into the Ukraine after Stalingrad, both ended in major defeats, they were too risky. They won the second world war for the rest of us by carefully planned attacks like operation Uranus agaisnt the Sixth army were Zhukow refused to go on an offensive with the named German army still in Stalingrad and Hoth's Panzers in the Caucasus, he stubbornly refused even though what looked like fantastic chances appeared. In the end he was right and the German army group B was oblitterated and A was terribly mauled. He was a genious and he was cautious. The perfect commander si a mix between the two abilities, can you imagine what risk he took when starving the defenders of Stalingrad of troops and ammunition, holding back all his troops for the counter offensive in the winter of 1941? He risked total collapse because he knew that he could achieve something that was worth it, which Faramir could not.

Maybe these examples of warfare are not very medieval, but the basis is still the same, throughout all the history of warfare.

Indeed, a good commander should be lucky,but what is greater is having the ability when it is time to be rash and not.

Måns

[ July 15, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2003, 02:31 PM   #24
Finwe
Deathless Sun
 
Finwe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The Royal Suite in the Halls of Mandos
Posts: 2,609
Finwe has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to Finwe
Sting

I see where you're coming from. I agree that a good commander is a mix of rashness and caution. It just a matter of luck. If the commander is in the right situation for his personality, then he can be victorious.
__________________
But Melkor also was there, and he came to the house of Fëanor, and there he slew Finwë King of the Noldor before his doors, and spilled the first blood in the Blessed Realm; for Finwë alone had not fled from the horror of the Dark.
Finwe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2003, 07:22 PM   #25
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Well then, the Battle of the Five Armies, one of Tolkien's most detailed battles which still, naturally, poses many questions.

First, a quick introduction. Bard's Lakemen and Thranduil's Wood Elves were besieging Erebor (the Lonely Mountain) where Thorin's band of Dwarves were holed up. Dain had come to support Thorin, but just as he was launching his attack on the besiegers, Bolg's armies of orcs (Goblins) and wolves (Wargs) appeared. The Elves, Dwarves and men then allied to fight off the orcish hordes.

Quote:
So began a battle that none had expected; and it was called the Battle of Five Armies and it was very terrible.
I'll start with the terrain, move on to the forces and their dispositions and summarise the course of the battle, finishing with some unanswered questions.

The terrain was a V shaped broad valley, open to the south but narrowing to the north where Thorin had dammed the river running and fortified the gates of Erebor. The river (I'd guess quite shallow so not too much of an obstacle) wound across the valley past the ruined town of Dale. On either side were the spurs of the mountains, the south-westerly one ending at an eminence called Ravenshill where there was a small lookout tower. The ground was devoid of vegetation, being the 'waste of Smaug' but full of rocks and the rubble of Dale. This would hinder an army fighting in close shoulder to shoulder ranks, so more open formations must have been necessary.

What do we know, and what can we guess, of the five armies that day?

The elves were led by their King, Thranduil and undoubtedly the nobles of his land (including Legolas?), with Gandalf and Bilbo (who was sensibly invisible). They led elven spearmen and archers. 1000 spearmen were present, it would be strange if there were not a similar or greater number of the famous elven bowmen. I'd imagine that there was a King's bodyguard unit as well. Potentially these could be cavalry as Thranduil often rode out hunting, but in the difficult terrain they would surely have dismounted. To speculate on numbers, I'd reckon around 1000 spearmen, 1200 bowmen and 300 guards, with the guards and probably the spearmen being armoured in chainmail. Their banner was green.

The dwarves of the Iron Hills were led by Dain Ironfoot, they were experienced veteran fighters, heavily armoured in chainmail, with armoured legs and feet. They carried heavy war mattocks (a type of digging tool, but presumably effective), short swords and shields. They also included some bowmen. (Crossbows are never mentioned, but if anyone had them it would surely be the mechanically minded dwarves?). There were more than 500 of them, so I'd think 500 heavy infantry and 100 bowmen. Their warcry was 'Moria', perhaps they had recognised Bolg son of Azog?

Bard's Lakemen included spearmen, archers (longbowmen if Bard is anything to go by) and swordsmen. They also sent out a small force of skirmishers. To speculate, I'd think about 1000 spearmen and swordsmen, 500 bowmen and 200 skirmishers (armed with bows?). Their banner was blue.

On the side of the good guys we can also add Thorin, the Eagles and Beorn. Thorin and his 12 Dwarven companions were magnificently armoured (possibly in mithril?) and had the pick of Erebor's weapon store ('magic' weapons maybe?). They had bows and Thorin carried an axe (he had lost Orcrist to the elves). The eagles were a powerful addition, they were led by the 'Lord of the Eagles' (presumably Gwaihir, perhaps with his buddies Landroval and Meneldor, but see a recent thread for this). Numbers are difficult to imagine, Bilbo described 'line after line' of eagles, I'd have to say at least 30, probably more, but they were individually very powerful creatures.

Lastly, there was Beorn (there are many, many threads on him if you wish to debate his nature and origin). He appeared in the form of a great bear (he was a man but a shapechanger and, no doubt, something of a magician - according to JRRT). He was extremely powerful, nearly invulnerable and very dangerous (perhaps similar in power to an ent??).

The orcs were led by Bolg and they greatly outnumbered the three allied armies. They comprised at least three quarters of the orcs of the North. They came from many lairs in the Misty Mountains and their capitol at Mount Gundabad. (Maybe they had reinforcements from Moria, the Grey Mountains and the old fortresses of Angmar, Carn Dum and Mount Gram?). Bolg brought his bodyguard too, orcs of great size (perhaps Uruk-Hai?). I'd imagine at least 10,000 orcs were present. They carried spears scimitars, hammers, axes and shields and some at least were armoured. They fought under red and black banners.

The fifth army was the army of Wargs (or great wolves), some were ridden by orcs. Again, its difficult to suggest a number (though there were 'hundreds and hundreds' at the previous rendezvous). I'd think a few thousand with perhaps some hundreds of wolfriders.

Lastly, and strangely most crucially for the evil armies, were the bats. They formed a dark cloud over the orcs which enabled them to fight in daylight (though the weather was overcast and stormy, not bright).

Thranduil's wood elves were placed on the south-western spur of hills, Dain's dwarves and Bard's lakemen were placed on the south-eastern spur. In the valley there were some brave skirmishers (in later days called a 'Forlorn Hope') who were to hold up and bunch the orcs so that the main forces could charge down from either flank.

Bolgs armies wre led by the wolfriders with the mass of orcs following on, backed up by Bolg's bodyguard and the Wargs. He also detatched a force of orcs to climb the mountain and attack the rear of the allies' lines.

To summarise the battle -
- Wolfriders repulse the skirmishers, orcs advance into valley
- Orcs are charged by the elves, supported by their bowmen
- Dwarves and men charge in on the other flank
- A general melee ensues, but the good guys are in trouble when the orc detatchment attacks from the mountainside
- Twilight! - Bolg commits his reserves, his Bodyguard and the Wargs
- Thorin and the 12 dwarves attack from the gates of Erebor, dwarves, elves and men charge again to support him.
- Bolg's bodyguard stands firm, the charge dissipates, Thorin is surrounded, the allies are pushed back to their hills.
- The Eagles are coming! They dislodge orcs from the mountainside but the battle in the valley continues
- Beorn appears and charges the orcs' rear, he rescues the mortally wounded Thorin and returns to devastate Bolg's bodyguard and kill Bolg himself
- With their leader down and their finest unit broken, the orcs and wolves flee the field
- The three armies pursue them with great execution

Well, there you have it! We're still left with some questions though. What were the likely numbers on either side? Was Legolas involved? How effective in combat were the eagles, the wolves, Beorn and Gandalf for example? Would the orcs have fought without their 'batcloud', and where did they all come from anyway. What do you think of the tactics on either side?

[ July 20, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2003, 07:19 PM   #26
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Well, hmmmm,

Is nobody into the Battle of Five Armies! Oh well, I really wanted to hear some opinions of what wolves could do on a battlefield, anyway...

Moving on to the raids in Ithilien, much has been discussed on this matter above. Just a few dates etc. to sort out, then hopefully I'll pique your interest with a bit of discussion.

The 'Watchful Peace' ended in 2460. The attacks on Gondor from Minas Morgul were renewed, with Osgiliath taken and the bridge destroyed in 2475. By 2885 there were frequent Haradrim attacks on Southern Ithilien culminating in the defeat of the Southrons by Gondor and Rohan at the Fords of the Poros.

By 2901 the attacks of Uruks from Mordor forced all but the hardiest inhabitants out of Ithilien. Turin II was Steward of Gondor, he responded by creating secret bases such as Henneth Annun and fortifying Cair Andros. During Turgon's stewardship, Sauron returned to Mordor (2942), then just after Ecthelion II's accession Mount Doom resumed its eruptions (2954) and the last inhabitants fled from Ithilien. There was still a force of arms held in Ithilien, and its possible that Aragorn (as Thorongil) led or organised the Rangers of Ithilien during the 2960s and 70s. During the last years of Denethor II's stewardship the Rangers were led by Faramir (and perhaps Boromir at times).

In my opinion, it seems plain that this was generally a low-intensity border-war, with frequent skirmishes over a period of more than 500 years. Ithilien was used as a buffer zone, to keep Sauron's forces well away from poulated Gondor and provide warnings of major invasions.

During the early 2900s there were still 'civilians' in Ithilien. I wonder if they lived in protected secluded villages such as their ancestors used in Brethil? Presumably the orcs would wish to raid and destroy these communities, while the Gondorian soldiery tried to protect them.

With the evacuation of civilians in 2954, Ithilien became a solely military zone. I'd like to think that the Rangers were organised by Aragorn, who could certainly have passed on the tracking techniques etc. of the Rangers of Arnor, also there's a possibility that men of other countries joined this unit. Ecthelion recruited widely and Faramir mentions a Ranger from Rohan.

It's said that a number of secret strongholds were built but only Henneth Annun survived to the War of the Ring. There must have been frequent searches for, and assaults on, the other strongholds during the late 2900s.

The Rangers, as we encounter them under Faramir, dressed in green hooded cloaks to aid concealment in the woods and carried spears or longbows. Their number was probably not very great, a few companies,so 200 to 500 men perhaps. Their enemies were the orcs of Mordor, occasionally Haradrim and possibly Easterlings.

The Rangers performed a useful intelligence-gathering task, kept the enemy at arms length from Gondor, allowed the soldiery to gain combat experience and kept up the morale of Gondor with their small victories. In the end, though, they could not even hope to dent the Sauron's great army, but sensibly pulled back to defend Minas Tirith.
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2003, 10:26 PM   #27
Finrod Felagund
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Sting

Hail,
On the ambush of Faramir, since the army was led by the Lord of the Ringwraith's the men would panic and as it said in the Lord of the Rings the men would fall and weep.Even though the men were strong they might run and might join Sauron.Faramir's men were mainly bow men so they wouldn't stand a chance against legions of bowmen,spearmen, and footmen.
  Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2003, 02:30 AM   #28
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Quote:
Indeed, a good commander should be lucky,but what is greater is having the ability when it is time to be rash and not.(Mans)
Which Faramir clearly had, did he not?

Sorry that I don't have time to say anything more than this in this thread today, but it is interesting, Rumil.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2003, 08:59 AM   #29
Numenorean
Haunting Spirit
 
Numenorean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Bay of Eldanna
Posts: 94
Numenorean has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Greets Rumil,
Quote:
Is nobody into the Battle of Five Armies!
This is a great topic (and battle Rumil)!I for one needed to re-read the Hobbit before posting.
Quote:
How effective in combat were the eagles, the wolves, Beorn?
All good questions mate! Beyond keeping the skies and mountainsides in check I'm unsure how effective the Eagles would be against hordes of armoured ground troops, fairly intimidating to have one swoop at you, but surely the lower they come the more vulnerable they are too?
The Wolves/Wargs must've been good for shock tactics, but beyond that I would deem their biggest weakness to be a lack of military coordination and discipline, maybe.
For me Beorn is the pivotal element in this battle. He comes over as a total force of nature, unstoppable and singleminded, armed (presumably) with only his teeth and claws and possessing no armour I believe? To be as brutally effective as he was, Beorns speed, intensity and ferocity in this battle must've been phenomenal by any standards!
__________________
'…Avallónë, the haven of the Eldar upon Eressëa, easternmost of the Undying Lands, and thence at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Númenor in oarless boats, as white birds flying from the sunset…'
Numenorean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2003, 02:47 PM   #30
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Farmir did. And Faramir did not. He gives proof of his rashness as an operational commander when he has the force saty in Ithilien for so long, though it was doubtless that whatever they would have time to do would haev absoutely no effect on the outcome of the battle. Taht is being too eager to battle and taking a decision too swiftly, he should have chosen the safer path. He proved his rashness when fighting in the rearguard on the battle of Pelennor even though it sure was a brave deed, one has got to see to military reason and not only symbolic emotional appeal. His first duty was to keep himself alive to be able to direct the forces in such manner as he could. If you say that he did hold the troops together across the plains, I counter with, is it impossible that eh could haev done this a few lines back, in relative security? He did, but that does not make his decision right. Waht if the arrow that hit him ahd struck earlier, when they were still close to the Rammas, or out on the open plains? Total demoralization as happens when the commander is slain, especially a loved and famous one, simply a disorganized route. He could and should not have taken that risk and I think that is quite clear now, it went well but that does not justify his decision, no professional would think that way.

Hastily to other matters, the only thing we can do to analyze Beorn is to interpret him, from a bear to a fierce host of mountain warriors with a terrible onslaught. The most important part of their attack was the charge. As with most such tribes, their first assault is the most powerful whereafter they are gradually worn down due to lack of discipline. The effect of this charge was enhanced extremely by the fact taht it came from behind, partly because they weren't ordered for an attack from that direction, though, order wasn't their strongest side. What made it so effective was the factor of morale. They were already engaged in comabt with hosts on three sides which means that hte regular prder of battle was sundered and their flanks were gradually eroded since we can guess that the strongest assault was aimed at the gate. The weaker troops on the flanks were forced to press on, while their forward ranks were egaged all the time. This takes a terrible force on the force in sheer numbers but also morally, being surrounded is a soldier's worst nightmare since the chances of victory or even escape seems and are so small. How importnat morale is we see in for exampel the battle of Poltava, 1709 in the Great Nordic war, where fourthousand unsupported, starved, tired, demoralized by the loss of a third of the army the same day and poorly armed Swedish infantrymen advanced against 22000 Russian soldiers, well fed, confident, well armed, supported by over one hundred pieces of artillery. What is interesting is that it might seem like suicide BUT, the well trained Swedish veterans charged, caring little for death, and the first Russian line (of two) broke up and ran straight into the second that started withdrawing too but many held their ground and the distances between the Swedish battalions were too short and they were surrounded and slaughtered. But even then, if the cavalry that had just crossed a morass ahd had time to get organized, they could have decided the battle for their King. In reality, 4000 men could never beat 22000 men to the last amn, that is virtually impossible if the hosts are the least even in quality, but the disciplined force of the charge, as always with Swedish infantry totally silent, made the Russians who were afraid of Swedish soldiers since the humiliating defeat every time they had met on the field before started withdrawing, due to lack of morale. The Swedish left wing later broke because there was a rumour that the King Karl XII. who was well behind the lines for once since he ahd been shot in the foot three days before, had fallen and since he was considered a military genious and called the army's guardian angel, the men broke into panic. Two examples from the same battlefield. Had the goblins been a well trained army, it might not have happened, since units with experience and training usually stay put even in the most dangerous situations. The Romans at Cannae never broke down totally,a few thousand even got out on the south side of the encirclement but one cannot excpect discipline of orcs.

Måns

[ August 16, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2003, 09:17 PM   #31
FingolfintheBold
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Somewhere between knowing my path and walking it
Posts: 69
FingolfintheBold has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to FingolfintheBold
Sting

About eagles/wargs/Beorn, i tend to think that the eagles would be less effective at actually doing physical damage to orc ranks and would do more harm to morale. For example, just the coming of the clouds of bats caused great dread and distress for the dwarves and men and elves in the battle. What real harm can a bunch of bats do in battle? Not too much, and yet a brooding mass of them as harbingers of doom has a great effecton enemy troops. I imagine a cloud of heroic eagles filling the sky, sun on thier wings, lashing at the orcs faces while never presenting a clear target, picking up orcs and casting them on to the rocks...That would ruin my morale pretty quick!

Wargs were feared by horsemen and companys of lightly armoured men, and were wonderful at hunting fugitives and waking woodmen from sleep. But in an all out battle with fully armoured soldiery on rocky terrain their effect wouldnt be nearly as terrible.

Beorn: He is probably one of the biggest deciding factors in the battle. First of all, Beorn was a BIG guy. Lets say, for the fun of it, 10 feet tall. A normal man is about 6 foot, to a 12 foot grizzly bear. So that puts Beorn's bear right close to 20 feet (on hind legs, of course) of orc thrashing muscle and teeth. His hide could almost certainly turn all but the heaviest spears and arrows.
__________________
There long the golden leaves have grown, upon the branching years, while here beyond the sundering seas, now fall the Elven-tears...
but if of ships I now would sing, what ship would come to me, what ship would bear me ever back, across so wide a sea?
FingolfintheBold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2003, 04:08 AM   #32
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Hmmm, you may be right about Faramir actually. But then again he may have had to. He was the commander of a medieval-style army; he had to be there in the battle, rather than behind it. His presence was certainly very important in the retreat, and we don't know what problems they had in withdrawing from Ithilien.

The Eagles would have probably been quite a big factor in this battle, as they were in the Battle before the Gates at the despairing march of the Captains of the West. They would have had a similar effect to the Nazgul (but on the other side, of course) in terrorising the enemy and inspiring the Western troops, as has been said. But I do not doubt that they would have been formidable warriors.

A long dive, a lethal and well-aimed strike with huge (remember that these were not ordinary-sized eagles) talons to an unsuspecting enemy, swooping away into the sun and out of harm's way again -- as the unfortunate target's comrades scattered, to be largely hacked down by Elvish or Lakemen soldiers -- to attack again within, probably, not so many tens of seconds. As well as they, their presence would have disrupted the bats in the skies. Remember that Eagles were a deciding factor in the War of Wrath, as well. They would have been a formidable foe.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2003, 04:39 AM   #33
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

No medieval commander ever fought in the front unless it was abolutely necessary, that is if he was attacked. There duty is to pick a good defensive position behind the lines, preferably with a view over the battlefield and commanded through couriers. In critical situations, he had to charge into the battle with his personal bodyguard, which was often an elite force, and this had a tremdous effect of boosting morale, but it's nothing that was done regualrly, considering the risks and the small actual effect. If he would be slain, or even worse, his banner taken which would carry the word of defeat faster than anything, no one would stand fast. Remember the battle of Hastings, when the troops were broguht to halt the flight by Williams' personal bravery, they thoguht he was slain and ran away. At that moment, he sat up on a new horse pulled back his helmet and shouted: Look at me! I am still alive and the day is ours! Follow me! and lead his personal bodyguard and many knights in a charge against the following fyrdmen on the plain field who were completely slaughtered. His personal appearance on the field adn brave charge calmed the forces down, then he returned to position. When Faramir was in the front line, he could have controlled, at max the company closest to him, not even that if he was personally involved which he was. Company commanders are to do that, not the chief of the theatre of operations. That is bizarre to require that of him. If the men 50 meters to the left of him had started to flee, what would he ahev done if he ahd even noticed? Would he have disengaged and ran back, through the lines of his company and caught up with them? Nobody runs faster than a fleeing soldier.

On the effectiveness of eagles, it must have been fairly fine on single men and to some extent organized troops without spears. But they could have done nothing against, say a Spanish sqaure without the muskets. A forest of spears pointing upwards, swoop down at that, not comfortable. In this battle, their greatest achievement was that they rid the mountainsides of orcs and thus allowed the troops bound up in the rear to disengage, not to speak about the panic they must haev caused.

SUM MÅNS OPTIMUS MAXIMUS
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2003, 04:10 AM   #34
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Quote:
No medieval commander ever fought in the front unless it was abolutely necessary, that is if he was attacked.
This is not true. Richard the Lionheart? Harold, William of Normandy's foe (admittedly killed by an arrow, but said to have been consistently in the action)? And many others. Kings have often fought in battles, considered right for them to do so and, as you say and exemplify with your reference to William the Conquerer, as a boost to morale and to terrify the enemy. Probably exactly what Faramir's army required.

True though, the Eagles could not have attacked infantry in spear/bayonet-bristling, orginised squares (employed not just by the Spanish) any more than cavalry could in battle. Orcs would probably have trouble holding this sort of discipline, although they were capable of doing so; as you say on the mountainside it would have been impossible.
However at any rate, to form squares the troops must first know of an attacking enemy that instigates the defensive response. Attacking from the air and probably out of the sun deliberately (similar to wartime dogfighting), detection of an Eagle before it was too late would have been difficult. The Orcs were most likely preoccupied, either with fighting land enemies or climbing craggy precipices. The Eagles would have been very deadly against such unsuspecting enemies.

It would be interesting to know how many Eagles were killed in this battle, and in the Battle Before the Gates, but that is not recorded.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2003, 05:58 AM   #35
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Gwaihir, please. First, why should the enemy be terrified by the commander? No, it was only the morale of your own troops that benefited from it. You seem to quite have misunderstood my last post. In William's case, he saw that the moment was come and cahrged. This was not meant that he was among the men that beat the Saxon army all the time. He had one single opportunity, as I described, and with his feresh household guard held in reserve, he charged and was followed by many otehr knights. Then, as said, he returned to his position at the foot of the hill. This is not meant as if he actually fought in the frontline, he is most likely to have stayed in the middle of the guard, togeteher with his confanonier who played and almost as important role as he himself in being his only sign of being alive that could be seen from afar. But you don't see the difference between this moment and Faramir's retreat was a long withdrawalover the fields. Kings did fight in battles, tehy had too, it was part of their duties. But don't imagine that they fought in the forefront. Richard the first, the slaughterer of civilians for the fun of it by the way, has been seen as a man fighting and leading from the front. It was not so, but his propagandists have done quite a job! There were probably occasions when he came into battle, but not on the terms of an ordinary soldier, I ssure you. On Harold, he is said to have been hurt badly but not slain by the arrow. No, he did not fight in the front line, he stood by his banner, the Fighting men, on the top of the hill, surrounded by his Huskarls who were the royal guard, compare to Greek Hetairoi. Faramir's decision was to fight as an ordinary soldier in the very foremost front, all the time. From there, he controlled the company closest to him, fi he was not engaged personally which he seems to haev been. He relinquished all control of teh battle to the company commanders which is good, but he did not have the overall control. His subordinates had no contat with eachother, if one company broke, the rest would either do the same or be outflanked, and there was nothing Faramir could have done about it.
Please, I don't see what your problem is, with me or with this?

Now, to the Spanish squares. Haev I ever said that they were ever a solely spanish tactic? No, in the proffesional terminology, both now and then, a Spanish square indicates a giant square with Pikes in the middle and a few lines of muskets on the outside. It was a generally used formation, not only by Spanish armies. Look at the battle of Breitenfeld. No Spaniards, noly Germans and Austrians, still Spanish squares. (They were beaten by the new strategy there, the multiple lines with small and manoeuverable troops, invented by Gustav II Adolf). Moreover, I ahve never said that ti was required to form the troops in squares, that would be silly. You do not seem to realize that it took time to organize troops, even without a battle raging. It is not like in a video game where you click the mouse and everybody nows their exact positions and gets to them virtually immediately. It would be a great obstacle even to make yourself heard by the whole formation. The valley was filled, and I presume that the eagles did not sweep down at the front line due to the increased danger. All they would have had to done was to stick their spears up, those without would have to suffer. Not all orcs were busy fighting.

Måns
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2003, 06:24 PM   #36
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

Hi all,

glad to see some debate has been stirred up!

Of the eagles, I agree that their attacks on the goblns climbing the mountainside would have been rather effective, as they simply grabbed the unfortunate snagas and dropped them from a great height! No soldiers like to encounter something they have no means of defence against and I'd imagine these attacks shattered the morale of this force. However, I'd agree that they were less likely to be effective against steady, spear or pike armed troops, but perhaps, like cavalry, would induce them to form a dense 'hedgehog' and inhibit their movement. The eagles are noted as being wary of the 'great bows of men' (perhaps Smaug should have followed their example!), so would also have been less keen on attacking formations of bowmen (or bow-orcs).

Wolves are, I feel, rather tricky to pin down. Ordinary wolves are far too sensible to go anywhere near a large number of people, and, as far as I know, will only attack vulnerable humans, such as children or exhausted travellers, and then very rarely. (Alaskan, Canadian and Russian BD-ers, we could do with your wolfly knowledge here!). However we're really dealing with 'Uber-wolves', the Wargs or 'Hounds of Sauron'. As has been said, their major ability was attacking isolated settlers and, probably, fleeing or disorganised troops. In a battle, they seem to have become distracted and often attacked their orcish allies in the heat of the moment. Wolves are said to be loyal to their pack-leader, perhaps the loss of this individual would cause them to turn tail? I don't think they would have had great effect on steady troops in a shieldwall, for example.

I'd agree with Numenorean that Beorn appears as quite exceptionally powerful in this battle. As he was said to be 'something of a sorceror', I wonder if he 'magically' enhanced the size and strength of his bear-form, as Gandalf and Galadriel seem to do at times? As it was he charged directly into the rear of Bolg's bodyguard, presumably catching them by surprise at a time when the rest of the goblin forces were already committed, losing their leader Bolg disheartened the whole army, a common enough occurrence amongst less professional troops.

Not to get deeply into the Faramir question(all in good time!), I'd agree with Gwaihir that in the medieval period (and other times), a leader was often expected to charge with his men. Even Alexander the Great felt this to be necessary. Many medieval armies were not sufficiently organised or disciplined for them to be controllable by couriers with messages from high command. Additionally, it was a matter of prestige for the commander to be seen as exceptionally valiant. More organised armies could be more effectively controlled by generals behind the line of battle, eg. the Romans and horse-and-musket period forces.

I'd agree with Mans about the difficulty of maneuvering medieval troops on the battlefield. In the main, they were simply pointed in the right direction and told to get on with it! As someone said, 'he who maneuvers in the face of the enemy is disordered'. I'd also agree on the paramount importance of morale at such battles, a good example being the successful relief of Vienna from the Turks by the Polish Hussars who were outnumbered at least 10 to 1, but were fighting an army which chained their gunners to artillery pieces to stop them running away!
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2003, 08:08 PM   #37
TheSquireof Aragorn
Animated Skeleton
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Michigan U.S.A.
Posts: 46
TheSquireof Aragorn has just left Hobbiton.
Pipe

Hi everyone,

Faramir wasn't a king he was a captain and captains are supposed to lead men into battle. He probably wanted to make sure his troops got out alright because if I was in his place i would feel like a terible commander if i was in the first group to retreat and left my men leaderless.

As for the eagles I'm pretty sure they were not physically involved, in The Hobbit and LOTR it says that the eagles were at the battle but only very high up and distant, I would guess they just served as a morale booster(except when retrieving Frodo and Sam).
__________________
"One more soldier dies, and when he gets to Heaven, to St.Peter he will tell, one more soldier reporting for duty, I've served my time in Hell."
TheSquireof Aragorn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2003, 02:05 AM   #38
Gwaihir the Windlord
Essence of Darkness
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Evermore
Posts: 1,420
Gwaihir the Windlord has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Due to the fact that I don't feel I am really being understood, I think I shall be discontinuing my presence in this thread (at least for the foreseeable future). If you have some sort of personal issue with me, Mans (a prevailant vibe over many threads), I suggest you message me in private.
Gwaihir the Windlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2003, 03:02 AM   #39
Måns
Haunting Spirit
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 63
Måns has just left Hobbiton.
Sting

Like everybody else, you are free to PM me, in a sensible and polite tone, of course. But I have never had a problem with you until you obviously had one with me. If you still have a problem with me, PM me, after all, it IS your problem and not mine.

I know that my appearánce in this thread has been sadly one sided but it has had to be so. What I have said is true, on medieval armies and Faramir. Look for example at Saladin, probably the greatest medieval general, he was during his wars against the Kingdom of Jerusalem only close to be in combat once, and that was at Mont Gisard, his only defeat. That was ab ambush upon his army when it was in marching column and he had no chance of evading that his guard came into combat, he was in the middle of it! There si a diference ehre that I have been trying to point out, it is quite subtle. Kings and captains were excpected to be in the battles and, if necessary partake in them personally with their guard. The difference between this unfrequent appearance in the frontline and staying back adn Faramir's reckless but brave behaviour is that eh fought in the front line. You say that Faramir was there to controll his men, and I ask once again, what time had he to notice or do anything aobut whatever happened around him if he was struggling for his life to survive. Because that is what a battle was and is about, every man fighting to survive. You say that a battle could not be run through couriers in those times,, but that is actually what they were, if any orders were needed. What is not commonly known is the exact precision of the medieval armies in command, peasantry excluded. Ordering was effective and exact. But when the battle had ensued there was little a commander could do, since whatever sound signals he amde were not heard, visual signals not seen, move orders unable to carry out. What the commander could do in that situation was to direct the reserves, foremost among which was, of course, his personal guard. If necessary he threw it in the balance. The reason why he still had to at least retain a visual contact with his men was that the back lines, those who started fleeing first, regularly,were looking abck at the commander, to see signs of how the battle was going. If he ws retreating, they relaized that this was going no good and would probably follow his example. If he wasn't seen, they would presume that he had retreated. More importantly, he could personally use his reserve elite guard to calm down a crisis, simply by putting them behind troops that appear to be wavering, so as to show them he was behind, or even if necessary break into the battle. He just had to keep out fo the battle as long as possible. No wise King or commander ever voluntarily charged into the enemy, there are countless examples of the contrary, wise men who kept behind the lines. Did Henry fight in Agincourt? Did his French opponent? Did Barbarossa in all his campaigns fight? Isn't it odd that Kings seldomly die in battle, the last example drowned. I can keep in giving examples for ages, but I will contend with Caesar, who did the same at Alesia as William at Hastings, however not medieval, commanding battles changed little from his time to Richard the First. He raised the banner of his bodyguard and charged downhill at the Gauls, his purple clothes shwon clearly in the front. He did so because he had an amazing reputation among his trooops and knew that the effect of the charge would be tremendous upon their morale, and grievous for his enemies. I am not yet convinced of the opposite, as you see, but if anyone would want this thread to be a little wider, just tell me and we can open a thread for this alone.

Måns

By the way, I love getting 1 ratings, I can't stand any serious rating by anyone. I will not say anything that is rash, I contend with asking you others not to be as childish as these people and give me, and everybody else, the rating deserved and earned.

[ August 18, 2003: Message edited by: Måns ]
__________________
"One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a stastistic."

Josef Stalin
Måns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2003, 05:11 PM   #40
Rumil
Sage & Onions
 
Rumil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Britain
Posts: 887
Rumil has been trapped in the Barrow!
Eye

My my, hastiness!! hoom, hoom!!

While I feel that drawing historical parallels is necessary for this thread, I'd like to ask posters to continue debates that are specifically historical rather than overtly Tolkien-related by personal mail. (We wouldn't want to get shut down now would we?)

And just chill out for goodness sake ladies and gents!!
[img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

Meanwhile, back at the thread, TheSquireof aragorn, I think you'll find that the eagles 'cast the goblins over the precipice'(or similar), though I'll concede that this does not necessarily mean that they had physical contact. Perhaps they simply terrified the goblins into a stampede which ended with a long fall off a short cliff -ooops! I'd certainly imagine that the orcs were demoralised by the appearence of the eagles, much the same as the Morgul army when they found the Corsairs were in fact Aragorn and co., a nasty surprise really.

PS. Have we found no-one with pet wolf theories? (That's pet theories on wolves, not theories on pet wolves..... whatever)

[ August 18, 2003: Message edited by: Rumil ]
__________________
Rumil of Coedhirion
Rumil is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:25 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.