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Old 02-17-2005, 06:24 PM   #161
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Boots Moving this to another arena...

Perhaps you and I should continue this discussion via PMs...
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:57 PM   #162
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I highly doubt Kuru's hypothesis that mounted archers would have made up the bulk of an Eored. In RotK, Tolkien's references are quite clearly on lancers, e.g. "More skilled was their Knighthood with long spears and bitter", Theoden shattering his lance against the Haradhrim chieftain, etc.
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Old 02-24-2005, 05:55 PM   #163
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I highly doubt Kuru's hypothesis that mounted archers would have made up the bulk of an Eored.
I don't recall saying that...

...but let me go quote myself.

Quote:
However, if the Rohirrim would go all out for horse archers that would change the situation a bit.
There it is. I said "would" as in something they could have done but did not.

I did not mean to imply I thought the Rohirrim were primarily horse archers.
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:52 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan
I don't recall saying that...

...but let me go quote myself.

There it is. I said "would" as in something they could have done but did not.

I did not mean to imply I thought the Rohirrim were primarily horse archers.
Right. My mistake.

AS I have said before though, to me, the Rohirrim seem most reminiscient of the Carolingians in battle.
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:20 AM   #165
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Hi, I'm back.

It is a pity that we can discuss very little on the organisation and tactics of Saruman's army since the Battle of the Fords revolved around the Rohirrim. But from some paragraphs we know these;

1) The network of anti-horse ditches and trenches in the narrow defile leading to Isengard. Proof of rudimentary knowledge and presence of military engineering?

2) Phalangites of lesser men were used against Theodred and his horsemen. Presence of heavy infantry?

3) Uruks able to best Rohirrim cavalry in motion. I have no idea how to make this out.

4) The army crossing the Isen upstream from the eyot and hence avoiding a head on collision with Theodred and his defenders. Proof of knowledge in maneuver warfare?
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:44 AM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan
That is a fairly good source for extrapolation. My source for believing the Gondorians were less specialized in their military is the high quality of the Knights of Dol Amroth.
Within a well trained and lavishly equiped army, there are bound to be certain units that are more elite. The First, Second, tenth and fourteenth legion of the Imperial Roman Army, the Imperial Guards of the Grande Armee and the winged hussaria of the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth armies are such examples. But that does not mean that the rest of the army are of low quality or less specialised.

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In the Battle of Five Armies the elven spearmen did both to some extent.

I don't think that proves anything about their equipment. Attacking too soon and without support is a recipe for getting cut all to pieces no matter how heavily armed your troops.

However, I do have vague recollections of some mention being made that the Wood elves were "lighter" armed than other folk. Although who they were being compared to I can't remember. I also can't remember where the reference is, so maybe I just imagined it.
I will take your word on the deeds of the elven spearmen though I still reserve significant doubt.

When I think about the elves getting annihilated soon after attacking, I question their ability to deliver and withstand shock. Those two attributes above all seperate heavy infantry from light infantry. The fact that the elves were not even able to fight an ordered withdrawal from the battle gives doubt to their cohesiveness and staying power.

I would suspect that due to the lack of shock, the elves were unable to make an impression on the enemy front and dashed themselves to pieces. With poor cohesion and still numbed by the unsucessful attack, the elves soon found themselves overwhelmed and indeed overran by the shock delivered by the enemy.

You did not imagine that part about the lightly armored wood elves. I have read it somewhere before.

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The dwarves would also have been much stronger and much better armed. These would both have been true even in the days of the "height" of Nùmenórian power. (Note the clever pun, har har )

If the dwarves are not heavy infantry, then what are they?

I'm also not clear that the axe-men-orcs were disadvantaged in height, though they likely were in quality of armor.
I never claimed that the dwarves had no heavy infantry. In my post I typed,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurreg
You might classify dwarves as heavy infantry if you must.
I simply stated that if you, Kuruharan wished to state that dwarves had heavy infantry, then feel free to do so.

Flexibility is the key word I was looking into here. The dwarves might have been better armored, but the Gondorians with their reach and stride would make for more flexible soldiers, giving their commanders better options. For example if a quick violent dash is needed, the greater strides of the towering Dunedain would give them an advantage over dwarves. Similarly when there is a need to cross waters chest high to the Dunedain height, no bridges need to be put up if the rocks in the bed offer traction and the flow not to swift. Equally important is the climbing of siege ladders and such other equipment swiftly.

As for the the hybrid berserkers, I should think that their main advantage was their frenzied state of mind in battle. They can deliver shock, but how well can they withstand shock and also offer flexibility?

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Yes, but wasn't he using his own horse archers by that point? However, you do point out something I forgot to mention. By some monumental oversight I left out the staggeringly important fact that I meant a stirruped well-armed horse archer.

Imagine me making an oversight like that.
No he did not. At that point of time he was pursuing the renegade Bessus and securing the north eastern frontier of his newly won empire. As such what cavalry he had were still macedonian and grecian in nature. There were javelin-throwing cavalry but no horse archers at all. The Perisian Epigoni was still in an embryonic stage.
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Old 02-26-2005, 02:53 AM   #167
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Rumil, I think now's a good time for you to steer this thread onto a new discussion of you're still interested in doing so.
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Old 02-26-2005, 10:42 AM   #168
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Sting

I tend to agree it's time to move on to another battle.

As for woodelves (silvan elves) being comparatively lightly armed, from UT:
Quote:
The Silvan Elves were hardy and valliant, but ill-equipped with armour and weapons in comarison with the Eldar of the West; also they were independent, and not disposed to place themselves under the supreme command of Gil-Galad. Their losses were thus more grevious than they need have been, even in that terrible war. Malgalad and more than half his following perished in the great battle of the Dagorlad, being cut off from the main host and driven into the Dead marshes. Oropher was slain in the first assault upon Mordor, rushing forward at the head of his most doughty warriors before Gil-Galad had given the signal for the advance.
And I believe that woodelves were so severely decimated in the First Battle of Beleriand that they were largely bystanders in later Beleriand wars.
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Old 02-27-2005, 01:22 PM   #169
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For example if a quick violent dash is needed, the greater strides of the towering Dunedain would give them an advantage over dwarves.
Actually, I do disagree with this. In a short charge the dwarves would have a lower center of gravity and with their greater strength they would have a much easier time of crashing into the enemy line and knocking their enemies to the ground and chopping them into itty bitty bits. They would not have to worry as much about the longer reach of some of their enemies because of the quality of their armor.

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The Perisian Epigoni was still in an embryonic stage.
Ah, okay. I wasn’t sure about that.
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Old 02-28-2005, 06:40 PM   #170
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Hi All,

Eomer is definitely up next, but I think I need to type it up in Word and paste in later as the post seems to be turning complicated at the mo. Anyway, I thought Saurreg raised some nice points about Sarman's army. I agree that they showed some tactical sophistication, the pikes and trenches are exactly the right way to fend off cavalry as long as they're not outflanked.

I'm wondering if these pikemen were a) Dunlendings, and therefore allies of Saruman, probably led by their own cheiftains or b) troops maintained solely by Saruman. I think its revealing that at Helm's Deep the Dunlendings cry out in a 'foreign' language, but the ruffians at the scouring of the Shire certainly speak the common tongue. (In fact a very common tongue!). I wonder if Saruman recruited and trained a reasonably large number of men, perhaps instructing them in language as well as tactics. From these some may have been selected for spying duties up the Greenway, others trained as pikemen and some remained as Saruman's trusted gate guards. Perhaps some were even desceded from the old Gondorian garrison of Orthanc. Presumably Orthanc would always have had a garrison of some sort after its re-occupation by Saruman and a human force would have been more acceptable in case visitors dropped by, before the orcish army was revealed to the world.

Its also a big shame that we only get to see one of Saruman's 'underlings', Grima Wormtongue. There must have been 'generals' sent out with the army. From Grima, maybe we can conclude that although corrupted, they were certainly not without intellgence. I'd also imagine some sort of 'apprentice sorcerors' to set off the technically complex 'fires of Orthanc', though I'm getting ahead of myself here!
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Old 02-28-2005, 07:20 PM   #171
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troops maintained solely by Saruman...Perhaps some were even desceded from the old Gondorian garrison of Orthanc.
I think considering their weapons they would almost have to be Saruman's Own Pike Regiment. I always pictured them as being human. I never really considered where they came from. However, they were evidently not numerous because they are never mentioned again (although that is evidently where Jackson got the idea). Their lack of numbers as well as their equipment makes it appear to me that they were probably some of the old people of Isengard who had lived there for generations.
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:04 AM   #172
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Pipe Orthanc Guards Regiment.

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[T]hey were probably some of the old people of Isengard who had lived there for generations. (Kuru)
I agree. As I recall the inhabitants of Isengard by the time it went under Saruman's stewardship had much Dunlendish blood.
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Old 03-01-2005, 02:49 AM   #173
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I for one tend to think of the phalanx contigent as a unit of Dunlendings specially organized, equiped and trained to repel cavalry.

If memory serves (it seldom does now), the Dunlending has had contact with the Rohirrim and relationships between both people were a wee bit hostile. Thus if Saruman needed a human look in his army, the Dunlendings would be the best candidates. Or that was needed for the walled up tide of bad feelings to flow was a little push and Saruman could have done that. As Erkenbrand explained to the captives at the foot of Helmsdeep, they were misled by Saruman and I dare say it was due to their prolonged bias and hatred to the horse-tamers.

As for the equipment and tactics, both could have been bestowed upon by Saruman or not. Stephen Dando-Collins stated in his book Caesar's Legion" that when the Helvetii attacked, they made use of the Greek phalanx. A classic case of monkey see, monkey do. The dunlendings could also have done so, either from the memories of some elders who had seen phalanx in action or have heard stories of how moving pikes mowed down everything before it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the longer the pike, the lesser chance a horseman can get to you and that if every pikemen cluster together and point their pike tips in the same direction and advance, the chances of sucess are much higher for say a lone naked fanatic with an axe.

That said, I will not discount the fact Saruman might have his orcs round up a motley crue and have them taken to him. He'll look at the bunch, stroke his beard and say,

"Alright then! You see those big sticks laying on the ground there? Yes, those. Now I want every single one of you to pick up a stick. No! Not those twigs at your feet! I meant THOSE sticks over there! Yes, good... Now I want you to form a rectangle, sixteen a column and ten per row. What's that Michael? You don't know what's a rectangle? Billy? You're confused between the difference columns and rows. Yer Valars... (Barks a curt command to a group of uruks chatting around the water dispenser, taps foot impatiently) Now that is what I want. Now do as the Uruks just did. No Paul, you don't need to go growling and beating your chest, just go line up! Ok! You are now in a rectangle. No Jason! You don't go around giving hi-fives and handshakes, we're not over yet! Now I want the first four rows to point the sharpened ends of your big sticks forwards. What's that Billy? You still... Nevermind! The first four rows start with Andy and ends with Mac! You see that Billy? That's the first four rows! Now the rest of you tilt your sticks a little forward. Yes good. What's that Mac? You cannot point your stick forward because you'll impale the man before you and you don't want to impale him because you're a nice guy! Ok, just hold your stick over his shoulder. There! Now I want all of you to walk slowly towards that uruk over there. Nice and slow! Don't run Andy! WALK! Yes! Yes! Good... Now when you see those big bad strawheads and their horses, this is what you do. You pick up your big stick, form a rectangle and walk towards the strawheads together. Understand? Capisch? Good! Any questions? What's that Jason? Yes, you can go congratulate yourselves now!"
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Old 03-01-2005, 06:45 PM   #174
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Eye Eomer's Battle

Eomer’s Battle

Our next battle, Eomer’s destruction of the Uruk-Hai, is in fact not much more than a skirmish, but gives us the opportunity to see the tactics of the Uruks and Rohirrim at a closer level.

Quote:
Then with a great cry the Riders charged from the East; the red light gleamed on mail and spear
The precursors to this battle were the skirmishes at Sarn Gebir on the 23rd February 3019 and at Parth Galen on the 26th of February, where the Fellowship was broken. At Parth Galen we are shown a mixed company of ordinary orcs and Uruk-Hai, the Uruk-Hai belonging to Saruman, the orcs to Sauron and Moria. Boromir managed to slay about 20, Legolas and Gimli ‘many’. With the three hunters in hot pursuit the orcs set off across Rohan, though stopping briefly for an altercation between Ugluk and Gishnakh where another 5 were killed. They managed to outrun their pursuers. Interestingly, Legolas says

Quote:
There is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us
Evidence of Saruman’s ‘magic’?

Eventually Eomer’s eored of Rohirrim encountered them on the plains and managed to overtake and surround them just before they reached Fangorn forest.

The orcish forces consisted of Saruman’s Uruk-Hai under Ugluk, with Lugdush maybe second in command. They carried short broad bladed swords, yew bows with long-shafted arrows, shields with the white hand device, chainmail and helms with an ‘S’ rune. The orcs of the eye were led by Grishnakh, they were generally short and stocky in comparison with the Uruk-Hai. Additionally there was a contingent of Moria orcs who were smaller than both the groups above and were not happy operating in daylight. The orcs had bows with black feathered arrows, shields and scimitars and may have been armoured. There were also some ‘Snaga’ scouts armed with bows. Darts are mentioned, this may indicate javelins or alternatively war-darts, maybe similar to the Late Roman martiobarbuli. In total there were around 200 orcs remaining by the time of the battle. Previously there were around 100 Moria orcs, 80 Uruk-Hai and 40 Mordor orcs and a few snaga scouts. In addition, of course, Merry and Pippin!

The Rohirrim consisted of Eomer’s Marshall’s eored of 120 cavalry. They rode grey horses with braided manes, carried tall ash spears with bright spearheads, painted shields and long swords and wore burnished mail coats, some carried bows and fired grey-fletched arrows. The riders themselves were tall with blond braided hair. Eomer wore a white horsetail crest and rode a horse called Firefoot.

The battlefield was around a hillock just three furlongs from the eaves of Fangorn, bounded on the East by the river Entwash.

The battle took place during the night of the 28th February and the morning of the 29th. After harassing the orcs with bowshot and surrounding them on the knoll, the Rohirrim settled in to degrade the morale of their opponents by small actions, sensibly waiting until morning to launch an all out attack. They cut off a group that tried to flee to the forest, shot some, infiltrated the camp to kill some more and lit watchfires in a ring around the knoll. Orc morale was distinctly shaky and rapidly became worse, though the Uruk-Hai were less impressed. At this point Grishnakh attempted to escape with Merry and Pippin but was swiftly spotted, shot and speared.

Ugluk was still hopeful, however, as he knew of another force of orcs under Mauhur waiting to support him in Fangorn. I’d guess that these were Uruk-hai but probably not very numerous, maybe 50-odd? Mauhur and his ‘lads’ may have been part of the missing Uruk battalion from the 1st Battle of Isen (see previous page), though Ugluk could not have been. Mauhur attacked, but Eomer sent a detachment which successfully dealt with the problem.

At dawn, with further degradation of orcish morale, the Rohirrim charged from the east (therefore with the sun in the eyes of the orcs), the riders singing and the horses neighing. The orcs responded by firing their remaining arrows, the Rohirrim passed up the knoll, wheeled, charged again and broke the orcs who were hunted down individually. Ugluk and a group of Uruk Hai formed a wedge and attempted to break through to the forest, at which Eomer dismounted and killed Ugluk in hand to hand combat. The orcs were utterly destroyed but the Rohirrim lost 12 horses and 15 men.

Quote:
So ended the raid, and no news of it came ever back either to Mordor or to Isengard; but the smoke of the burning rose high to heaven and was seen by many watchful eyes
Some points which struck me included; the danger of a combined operation between Sauron and Saruman for either party if the ring had indeed been found; Saruman’s ‘magic’ coming into play; Eomer’s use of almost ‘guerilla warfare’ style tactics to damage orcish morale; the fact that Ugluk knew about Mauhur’s presence and the discipline of the Uruk Hai, who withstood 2 charges then tried a fighting withdrawal. Any comments on these?

Also, a link to the relevant chapter of Estelyn's fantasic Chapter-by-Chapter discussion

The Uruk-Hai
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:55 PM   #175
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First important point to note is that the Rohirrim were heavy enough to ride over a clustered body of troops, something not all horses or cavalry could be made to do, although the orcs may not have been "formed up" as such.
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Old 03-01-2005, 09:26 PM   #176
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Several brief points:

1) Note how superior JRRT's Rohirrim tactics are to PJ's movie
(where they just charge in blindly--- and at night!), helped out, of
course by a lack of movie orcish sentries.

2) Given the highly effective strategy of Eomer's lads here, did Denethor later
have a point about how the Rohirrim might have been effective, en masse,
if they'd arrived before Minas Tirith was under siege?. Or would a 6,000+ heavy
cavalry force have been significantly less capable then Eomer's household professsionals? And if so, did Eomer act rashly and unwisely in committing them
against what he must have assumed was merely a raiding force of no great importance, and one that was fleeing Rohan [good grief, was Wormy correct in his critique of Eomer?]
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Old 03-02-2005, 10:00 AM   #177
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And if so, did Eomer act rashly and unwisely in committing them
against what he must have assumed was merely a raiding force of no great importance, and one that was fleeing Rohan
At the time it did not seem likely that they would ever have any other use.

And it was probably just the principle of the thing.
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Old 03-02-2005, 05:26 PM   #178
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Hi again,

Some interesting points here, on the Rohirrim charge up the knoll, I wonder if it was fairly rocky and scrubby, maybe allowing the cavalry to charge through rather than into the orcs in a dispersed manner rather than a mighty collision?

I'd reckon that Eomer was correct in attacking the orcs once he found them. A relatively easy victory would have encouraged the riders, whereas shying away from combat would definitely have been frowned upon by his contemporaries. However, I guess there's an argument that he should really have been leading additional reinforcements to the second battle of the Isen at this time. I'd imagine that one of Grima's priorities would have been to keep Eomer's and Theodred's forces from uniting if at all possible, therefore the Worm's insincere criticism may have reflected the fruition of his own plans!

Naturally the Marshal's Eored would have been picked troops and better equipped and trained than many of the Rohirrim, though HoME implies that the majority were at least adequately equipped. 'Nearly 10,000 fully equipped and provisioned riders' or similar.

On the pikemen, I find myself drawn to comparisons with medieval Scottish schiltrons. A relatively poorly financed infantry force having to deal with arrogant knights from a bordering country maybe?
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:28 PM   #179
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Rumil, are you in anyway an aficionado on cavalries?

Battlefield Comment

If the hillock was close to the Entwash and carefully selected by Eomer as the place to herd the orcs onto, then I would think that the Marshal of the Mark had decided on a cavalry charge as his coup de grâce already when he intercepted the enemy. For the cavalry charge to be effective, the cavalry commander must prevent his target from shifting because once committed, the impetuosity and inertia of the charge would make a quick change in direction impossible. If the enemy is massed in a large group of several thousand bodies or so, its own bulk and inherent rigidity would prevent it from dispersing rapidly to avoid the incoming shock. But in this case there are only 200 hundred or so orcs - very easy for them to scatter in all directions and render the cavalry charge impact void. Something was needed to helm them together, to prevent them from avoiding the horses and I belief the Entwash was that barrier.

Any cavalry vs. infantry engagement is more of a contest of wills than brute melee and shock is the key. An for every infantryman, nothing is more terrifying than facing a cavalry charge with a wall behind his back to prevent him from escaping. Once the pressure exceeds the infantry's threshold of tolerance, the will to fight snaps and the unit routs.

I hereby submit that Tolkien had the "anvil and hammer" effect in mind when he wrote of the battle. Eomer and his eored was the hammer while the Entwash was the hammer. Provided that the Entwash was in close proximity to the hillock i.e (<100m distance).

Charge Comment

I tend to believe that the Rohirrim Cavalry charged pass the gaps between the orcs as opposite to through them literally, crushing all beneath hoof, simply because as stated by Fuller and Keegan, NO heavy cavalry had in the course of history from antiquity to the Great War ever done so.

As mentioned, anti-cavalry warfare was essentially a psychological duel. Units that panick, break and scatter would be those that cavalry "overrun" After the Napoleonic Wars had ended, the British Army conducted a study and discovered that the only time that a resolute square of infantry was broken by cavalry alone, was when the dead and out of control carcass of a charger crashed into it and nearby horsemen immediately exploited the gap created. In no instance during the countless breathtaking cavalry charges that took place did cavalry mow on and flatten all before it through sheer momentum and weight. Not even during the mass cavalry charge at Eylau where, it is now more or less accepted that the Russians rout and parted ranks when the French heavies reached them. Makes sense because it would have been impossible for Murat and company to wheel around and charge back to the French lines had they bloodied and squashed their way through the entire Russian depth in two feet of loose snow.

Georges Blond, the premier French Historian on the Grande Armee placed the average cavalry charge at only 18km/hr and at Eylau due to bad weather and ground conditions, it was even less. That meant that despite mass, the French cavalry lacked the momentum to physically overrun the enemy.

Another way to decide if a cavalry did literally squash all in its way underhoof is by counting the cavalries casualties. The logic is that no matter how fast and heavy, the cavalry is bound to suffer heavily if it keeps crashing into things constantly. Throughout his entire Persian Campaign, Alexander's Companion Cavalry suffered less than 10% casualties as compared to his other arms and at the Battle of Patay, La Hire and Poton de Xantrailles lost only an estimated five men in their charge through English ranks (the English lost 2000 over men).

Another thing to note is that unless a rider delibrately directs his mount towards an obstacle, both rider and horse tend to avoid obstacles instinctively and subconsciously.
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:19 PM   #180
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Hi Saurreg,

I must say I agree pretty much completely with your analysis of cavalry combat here. I nearly put in a sentence after the 'mighty collision' comment to emphasise that this almost never happened historically, but your post explained things a lot better!

I guess the only minor differences are that I'd credit the watchfire tactic of Eomer with 'penning in' the orcs though I'd agree that the reason the orcs could not flee further East was the location of the Entwash. I do think that if the orcs had scattered on the plains the Rohirrim would easily have been able to chase them down individually, however if they had managed to reach the forest, the riders would not have been able to pursue them effectively. Also maybe that cavalry of earlier times appears more effective against some infantry, but that really depends on the relative training and morale of both sides, which becomes more difficult to analyse as you go back in history.

I guess its really quite difficult for us to imagine precisely what went on in cavalry combat. I've seen some accounts of opposing units opening ranks and charging through one-another and some of the units reining-in, slowing down and fighting 'hoof-to-hoof', but often one side would break and run before the 'impact' occurred.

Anyway I must admit that the charge of the Rohirrim at the Pelennor Fields is one of my favourite bits of the books!
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Old 06-07-2005, 01:28 AM   #181
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Time for a new discussion?
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:43 PM   #182
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erm, yeah, soon, honest!

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Old 07-28-2005, 11:10 AM   #183
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Bump???

What's next, Helm's Deep?
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Old 07-28-2005, 05:26 PM   #184
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Hi Tuor et al,

as you noticed, I haven't made much progress with this thread recently! Must admit I've been v busy with those nassssty computerssssess at work and therefore not too enthusiastic about using the one at home.

Anyway, the next battle on the list is the Second Battle of the Fords of The Isen, please feel free to post any ideas and comments etc. I will get round to it eventually!

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Old 04-01-2006, 02:37 PM   #185
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The Second Battle of the Fords of Isen

I would like to say at this point, the command structure of the Rohirrim was somewhat in disarray with the death of Theodred. Grimbold and Elfhelm were the direct commanders over the foot men of Westfold and the riders of Edoras respectively. Erkenbrand had been put in overall charge, and named Grimbold as commander in the field, but did not assume authority over Elfhelm. But though they were friends and both wise, the differences in thought on how to best defend the Fords was ever prevalent. Considering the numbers available, I think Elfhelm's defence plan was the wisest, but the thought of abandoning the Fords uncontested didn't sit well with the Westfold commanders.

The second Battle of the Fords of Isen was a critical defence by a force out-numbered and initially out-maneuvered, but held on with little hope of relief in hopes their efforts were worthy. Strategicly it made a big difference with the time it bought Theoden to get to Helms Deep.

I have more on this but time doesn't allow right now.
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Old 05-27-2006, 09:45 AM   #186
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The Battles of the Fords of Isen are well depicted by Tolkien. Theodred's
initial plans seem reasonable. I was at first prepared to question the
Rohirrim's intel, but heodred was aware of the general situation and
plans of Saruman (which makes all the more absurd Saruman's speech
to Theoden at Orthanc). On reconsideration the underestimation of
Saruman's forces was understandable, and rather frequent in military
history- giving verisimilitude to the battles. (Among others, consider Gen.
McClellan vastly overestimating Confederate forces in 1861-62 due to
not only his overcautious nature but badly flawed intel provided by
the Pinkertons, the wehrmacht greatly underestimating Russian forces
in 1941, and the incredibly, disappeaaring "weapons of mass
destruction" in Iraq---which fooled all intelligence services).

From what they surmised, the Rohan forces prepared and fought well
even in the Second Battle. Had Wormtongue not delayed Theoden
sending aid a stronger delaying action might have been fought in
the West Emnet while the muster of Rohan proceeded---based on
Erkanbrand's strategic vision:
Quote:
He sent errand-riders to Edoras to announce this
(Theodred's loss) and to bear to Theoden his son's last words,
adding his own prayer that Eomer should be sent at once with
all help that could be spared. 'Let the defence of Edoras be made
here in the West,' he said, ' and not wait till it is itself besieged.'...
It was not until his (Grima's) defeat by Gandalf that any
action was taken. The reinforcements with Eomer and the King
himself set out in the afternoon of March the 2nd, but that night
the Second Battle of the Fords was fought and lost, and the
nvasion of Rohan began.
The twin evils of underestimating Saruman's forces and Grima's influence
may have delayed an effective defense of the Westfold. While speculative,
and ignoring needs to rapidly assist Gondor and to destroy Orthanc itself,
as a military in situ problem I would suggest Rohan would probably
have prevailed over Saruman, especially given the quality of Rohan's
leadership.
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:17 PM   #187
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Bringing to Front

just a post to bring up to the front of the threads, more to follow
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:15 AM   #188
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Blimey,

it has been a long time hasn't it?

Cheers to JeffF for bringing this one back from the dusty vaults. I may even start posting on it again , though don't hold your breath!

Any interest in continuing this thread?
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:43 AM   #189
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This thread looks like a good one to continue. So far all of Jeff's threads relating to military can fit in this thread. I support reopening this thread.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:33 AM   #190
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Battle of Five Armies

The battle as described by Tolkien particularly in light of Fondstad's Atlas
of Middle Earth has much that does not make sense and the tactical
deployment is more like a modern battle than a medieval type.

First the distances described in Fonstad's Atlas make no sense. Six miles
separate the Elven wing from the Dwarves and Men. In a medieval battle that
is two separate battles not one. Three miles separate the gate from either
wing. No one would have noticed the gate crashing down and 13 Dwarves
emerging. The numbers stated in the Hobbit (1000 Elf spearmen - bowmen unstated but assumed to be at least as many - and 500 Dwarves). Anyone who has seen an Army battalion on a parade field will see that it takes up a remarkably small amount of space and medieval type mass formations would be very similar.

The geography of the battle needs to shift. The vale between the two arms (southern and eastern) will have to extend closer to the summit until it reaches a fairly narrow area closer to the Gate held by Thorin and his company. This would preclude the ruins of the town of Dale being anywhere near the summit, it could still be between the arms of the mountain but must be farther down. A town of any size being in the middle of a battle with such small numbers would not make sense, it would dominate the battlefield.

The Elf wing and Dwarf/Men wing should be closer together, the ends nearest the other should be within bowshot otherwise there would be no need to occupy both arms. The tactical requirement to man both arms would be to prevent the enemy bowmen from using that adjacent height to support with arrow volleys an attack up the ridge by other forces. If the mountains arms are not within arrow range there would be no point in occupying both.
Another reason for the forces to be closer together is the observes sent by the Free folk to climb the mountain to observe the enemy, these must have been fairly close to communicate with their forces, having such observers several miles away would preclude that particularly given the haste in which deployments were made once Gandalf warned of the enemy approach. If Fonstad's distances are correct such deployments would take hours instead of the short time that apparently passes in the story. Tolkien's deployment of skirmishers to delay the enemy approach also does not make sense, one does not send archers out in a thin screen against cavalry (wolf-riders) and expect them to return. Such a deployment would make sense to draw the larger enemy host between the arms of the mountain where the missile troops of both sides could catch them in a crossfire, another reason to have the arms closer together.

Such distances would make more sense to the narrative description of the battle and Thorin's dramatic entrance.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:54 PM   #191
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Great threa this. Didn't really get into a discussion of the 2nd Battle of the Fords of Isen like the 1st was covered (thanks Rumil). I find this chapter sort of a 'must read' when I get to that part of Two Towers as I thin it important as background as to why things were as they were in Rohan.

Anyway... carry on.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:50 PM   #192
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Oh, hi Snowdog,

it seems to be thread resurrection season at the moment!

A continuation of 'Battles' ? Well, I guess a lot of this sort of thing is available online now, (eg Wiki etc), but yeah, I'll have a think about getting around to it. You know me all too well to expect a concrete date!

Cheers,

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