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Old 12-04-2003, 11:16 PM   #1
Osse
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Sting Why did Sauron attack in the North as well?

Sorry if this topic has been discussed rescently, I couldn't find anything similar when I searched.

I am interested in hearing your views on why Sauron launched his attack in the north at the same time as the battle of Pelennor. To me it seems both attacks would have been more successful if he had instead of attacking Erebor and Dale at the same time as Gondor, he had committed his forces in the north to the war in the south. This is probably just another case of Sauron underestimating his enemy's capabilities. Nowhere are we told what strength of numbers was sent against the north, so we don't know how much of a difference it would have made if added to the attack on Minas Tirith, however, it seems he should have pushed everything into the destruction of Gondor, before even contemplating anywhere else. Once Minas Tirith had fallen, it would have been easier to attack Lothlorien, Erebor, the Elves of Mirkwood, Dale and Imlardris...these battles would have been won. Perhaps sending a host of troops down from Dol Guldur wasn't an option... I don't see why not, Lorien wasn't much of a threat, and the men of Gondor already knew an attack was eminent, in that case, why not pump all you can into their destruction; it just seems unlike Sauron. The force that attacked Erebor and Dale must not have been very substantial, after all it was defeated; though marginally by the dwarves. We must remember how narrow the victory at Pelennor really was; perhaps even a small force could have turned the tide in Sauron's favour. Another thing to bear in mind was that Sauron had power beyond reckoning; the first real attack on Minas Tirith didn't really matter if it failed, he'd just send another. He underestimated the folk of the north, he thought he could crush them easily. But if he had reserved such great strength for Mordor's defence and the battle before the Black Gate, then why didn't he send more of these troops to crush the kingdoms in the north??

Your thoughts are much appreciated!

Enjoy!
Osse
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Old 12-05-2003, 03:11 AM   #2
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Well, Sauron was indeed strong enough to attack on all fronts at the same time, but for some things he had not counted upon, nor could have. First, his most powerfull minion, the WitchKing was slain, which he had not counted on. Even without the WK, his troops would have been strong enough to conquer Minas Tirith, but for the extra forces which Aragorn brought in. Those forces were at first occupied in the South, but were unexpectedly helped by the Undead Aragorn brought into the game. Again, something highly unforeseen.
Even with these losses, Sauron was strong enough to easily wipe out the forces gathered before the Black Gate. Remember, that the forces of the Free Peoples were almost overcome (even with the help of the Eagles), when the thing happened Sauron never had foreseen, not in his worst nightmares: the Ring was thrown/fell in the Cracks of Doom!
As you said yourself, the forces in the North were barely overcome by the peoples of Dale and Erebor. They were only overcome after the Ring was destroyed, and even then with much difficulty.
While all this was going on, forces from Dol Guldur were attacking Lrien. I don't think Sauron expected that those forces could overcome the Elves of Lrien, but they could keep them (and Galadriel!) occupied. He thought to overcome them in a later stage of the War. And then: to Rivendell!
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Old 12-05-2003, 09:50 AM   #3
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I would also like to add that Sauron was not often the most patient being in middle earth. He oftentime overlooked things and did things too early and was too presumptious. He did have the strength too conquer much of middle earth. He wanted to cover all the lands with a second darkness and wether or not he thought he could do it at once or not didn't matter. He knew he could do it eventually. As seen in other battles the dark powers often attacked many places at once sometimes just on a whim or at a gamble that they might do harm. His true forces were where he wanted them. Orcs were of little value to him and were easily replaceable. I don't think having more forces attack Minas Tirith would have done much. It was primarily as pointed out the arrival of the Rohrohhim, Aragorn, and the death of the witchking that did the most damage and that was more mentally affective than just the physical numbers. Sauron didn't need more orcs at Minas Tirith so he might as well keep the other kingdoms busy and take a gamble at conquering or at least weakening them.
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Old 12-05-2003, 10:36 AM   #4
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This is(and please make no mistake i am not calling Tolkien alegorical) but its like asking why the Axis attacked from two fronts in WW2. Why not just send all the forces to Russia or send them all to the Western front. Sauron had a MASSIVE numerical advantage, and life was a lot cheeper for him than it was for the "good forces". I belive it is Faramir that says "he can lose a host more than we a company"-or something to that extent. As Sauron wanted to eradicate all life from Middle Earth that opposed him, he must of seen the practicality in spreading his enemies as thinly as possible in an attempt to weaken them as much as possible. This worked, particularly at the beggining, before the Ring was discovered, as he could simply destroy his enemies without real opposition. Sauron did not need in theory to attack only on one front because he would then draw all forces to him. It would also be risky to do so, as if he did so he might of then left his other lands vulnerable. On the same notion, isnt it very inpracticle to do so, as it would mean that the forces would have to travel a long way to take a small part in a war that they could be fighting nearer home and more significantly.

I also think that Sauron was over-confident, as he did not really have much to fear. This is shown by the swift and brutal attack that he makes on Mirith Tirith(true, he was already attacking it but not on the same scale) when Aragorn shows himself to Sauron in the palantir of Orthanc. He (as i have already said) had the far superior army on paper, and it was only the great valor and the brilliant leadership that thwarted him in the end. He most likely believed that he could of taken the world on two fronts(3 if you count his brief attacks on Rivendell) because he was simply gathering so much evil to him that it was not too difficult to do this, as was being shown because he was indeed taking over the lands(e.g. fall of Osgiliath).

Just some thoughts on it [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 12-05-2003, 02:33 PM   #5
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I agree with what Elendilyon said. He only attacked Minas Tirith in hopes of destroying it. The attacks in the north were only to keep those people occupied (and avoiding any possible support from them to Rohan/Gondor), as well as the 3 assaults on Lorien.

As the appendixes say, the forces that were attacking Lorien would not be able to destroy the kingdom thanks to the valour of the elven ppl that lived there and, mostly, because of Galadriel's fences guarding the land. If Sauron wanted Lorien to fall, he would have to go there himself (my guess is to break Galadriel's fences and help his troops take over Caras Galadhon).

After Gondor, Rohan and Lorien fell, there would not be much opposition. Rivendell and the house of Tom Bombadil, along with the Gray Havens in Lindon, Mirkwood and Dale/Erebor, would not prove a big task (since their forces were a lot smaller).

But I have a question... Would Elrond, Galadriel & Celeborn stay here in M.E. and not flee towards Valinor once Minas Tirith fell? Would they have time to get to the Gray Havens to take the ship?
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Old 12-05-2003, 03:42 PM   #6
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Sting

I believe that they would have time to get to the Havens. If Sauron conquered Minas Tirith, he would still need to "attack" the rest of Eriador before he could claim his dominance. This is why he makes such grand demands when the Captains of the West parle with the Mouth of Sauron. Without the ring, Sauron's takeover would take a considerable amount of time. With the ring, it would happen swiftly; but not instantaneously. There would be a short window of opportunity for the elves to make it to the Havens. For the years prior to the WotR, Elves had been leaving ME by the boatload. We can therefore assume that there was a fleet prepared already to bring them back. I don't know if there is any proof for this assumption, but that's how I always thought. In fact, the only proof that I do have from the books is indirect and not very solid. Several times JRRT mentions that all outcomes of the WotR would be wrought with woe for Elrond (ie Sauron is destroyed he looses Arwen and fades, Sauron conquers ME he must flee from/abandon his home). I think, in an indirect way, justifies my opinions above. If anyone knows about other sources, I would love to hear them. I'm not very knowledgable on the HoME series, so perhaps more clues lie there.

Cheers,
Mungo
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:12 PM   #7
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Thank you everyone for your input, it just seems that Sauron made a few crucial errors, but without any knowledge of his enemy's mission to destroy the Ring, he could not have known how little time he actually had.


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Old 12-06-2003, 05:58 PM   #8
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Old 12-06-2003, 06:53 PM   #9
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Sting

One word: Exactly
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Old 12-06-2003, 07:00 PM   #10
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I think it is mentioned somewhere in RotK (though it's a long time since I read it) that the attack on Minas Tirith was just to test it's strenght, not really to conqure it.
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Old 12-06-2003, 07:27 PM   #11
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Sting

I do think the purpose of the attack on Minas Tirith was to conquer it, although feel free to correct me with evidence from the text.

I think a number of the Downers who have posted on this thread have hit the nail on the head. Sauron was indeed militarily strong enough to launch assaults on several different fronts. He had enough manpower to overwhelm more than a single opponent. Furthermore, as has been stated, he had grown impatient and anxiety for a decisive victory.
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Old 12-06-2003, 11:51 PM   #12
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It's just a theroy but mabey since Sauron is only an eye, mabey his orders are misenterpreted. If they're using the Palantir to come in contact with him it's possible the orcs could've forgotton a part. I mean, they're not rocket scientist...
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Old 12-07-2003, 06:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
since Sauron is only an eye
Nonsense.
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Old 12-07-2003, 05:32 PM   #14
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I am not so sure that if Gondor fell, the elves would have much time to flee Middle-earth, especially the ones east of the Misty Mountains. Don't forget, if Sauron's plans had all worked, the Corsairs would be ruling in Gondor's harbours, and in a good position to launch a seabourne attach on Lindon and the Havens.
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Old 12-07-2003, 08:55 PM   #15
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Youre right, Lost One... Maybe the Gray Havens would not prove a safe haven if the Corsairs of Umbar were ruling in Gondor's shores...

Well... I think that the attack on Minas Tirith was to conquer, since it was the attack on Osgiliath the one that Sauron used to prove Denethor's awareness.

Maybe the elves at Alqualonde would have to come an rescue the remaining elves... because otherwise it would be a massacre... And Sauron would rejoice in the butchering of Galadriel, Elrond & Co....
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Old 12-08-2003, 05:10 PM   #16
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Minas Tirith was Sauron's main enemy, as stated several times in the book (Boromir, Denethor, Gandalf). However he had many enemies that he wished to deal with. Just because the "heaviest stroke" fell on Gondor doesn't mean that this was Sauron's sole focus. As has been stated he wanted nothing less than the complete domination of Middle-Earth.

The story is told from the perspective of people who were either at the Battle of Pelennor Fields or in the case of the two heroes, in Mordor. This means that we are biased into thinking that the fight for Minas Tirith was the only important battle of the War of the Ring. If Sauron had been more focussed on taking Lothlrien, then Gandalf would most probably have been there and the focus of the story would be quite different.

The fact that there were other battles going on in the north that we do not hear about underscores the fact that the entire world was under threat, not just "the world of men" as the movies are too quick to point out. Elves and Dwarves were under attack in their very homes. The conversation between Legolas and Gimli about their homelands being under attack is very important in terms of placing us in the context of what was happening at the time.

Also I don't think that sheer weight of numbers would have decided the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Logistics have to come into play. Osgiliath was a choke point, and for Sauron to ferry every single one of his armies across would have taken an extremely long time. I think that Sauron committed as many troops as he could reasonably get to fight at Minas Tirith, as well as the Corsairs and the army that was set on the road to Rohan. Any further forces were better used elsewhere or kept in reserve.
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Old 12-08-2003, 08:02 PM   #17
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As I understand it, the main purpose of Sauron's attack on Erebor was to forge a way through the northern passes to Rivendell. And what prizes Rivendell and Lothlorien would have been to Sauron. Quite apart from his own satisfaction at capturing these Elven strongholds, their fall would have had a very serious effect on the morale of those who still held out. So I can certainly see why Sauron was keen to attack these strongholds.

Even if he would have been unable to conquer them without first recovering the Ring and perhaps directing the attacks himself, he could at least prevent their occupants coming to the aid of Gondor. Perhaps he was also hoping to prevent the remaining Elves making their way to the Grey Havens before he was strong enough to defeat them. For this reason, I agree with the point made by Lost One that he would have used the Corsairs to attack the Grey Havens had Aragorn not defeated them at Pelargir.

I also agree with those who have said that Sauron had no concerns about over-committing himself militarily. He had more than sufficient forces at his disposal to achieve his military aims. One point does occur to me, though. As I understand it, Sauron needed to exercise his own will to direct his armies (hence they scattered when he was destroyed). So perhaps the fact that he committed his armies so heavily across Middle-earth contributed to his fatal mistake in overlooking the approach of two little fellows with a Ring.
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Old 12-09-2003, 04:47 PM   #18
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Sting

That probably added to it. Sauron underestimated the true strength of his enemies, and that was probably why he didn't keep a close guard on Mordor. It was his one fatal mistake.
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