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Old 08-13-2012, 06:20 AM   #41
Zigūr
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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
[B]2.) The explanation that the Gondorians have no artilleries is an even worse alternative. If this is what the Professor thought should happen, then he is terribly mistaken. The inconsistencies here are horrendous beyond words.

So why am I excited? I am not just confirming the basic fact that Professor Tolkien, like every human authors out there, are not infallible. What I am excited about is that I believe that I have found one of Professor Tolkien’s greatest writing mistakes; I believe that I have found one of the greatest plot holes in the entire Lord of the Ring series. The Minas Tirith that Professor Tolkien described is being utilized nowhere near its highest potential, very nonsensical when we are talking about preparing for life and death struggles.
The impression I get though is that this is in fact the case - the Men of Minas Tirith simply did not have artillery. As far as I can determine, they are never mentioned as having any. The reason the Orcs stayed out of bowshot was because that was the only threat they faced from the Men of Gondor: bows. It wasn't that the Men of Gondor had artillery with very short ranges; they just didn't have artillery at all. Whether or not that is a "mistake" or "inconsistency" on Professor Tolkien's part is not so definite though. The evidence we get is that the Men of Minas Tirith were relying on the security of their walls, as others have stated, and the protection of the Rammas Echor. Sauron also attacked earlier than expected because Aragorn used the Orthanc-stone. But this makes an assumption that they would have used artillery, which I think is not necessarily reasonable. Maybe Minas Tirith's fortification just wasn't being used to the full potential that we can see with the benefit of hindsight and modern perspective. It may seem unrealistic to us, but this war was being fought in a very ancient time by an imaginary realm with an inconsistent level of scientific development. They key word though is imaginary; they don't have to practice warfare the same way people did in our history, because this is not our history. It is an imaginary history, and can occur in any way its creator sees fit. If Professor Tolkien says they didn't have artillery, then they didn't have artillery; I think he gives sufficient internal explanation for why the Men of Gondor considered their defences to be adequate (even if they actually weren't). What he doesn't give us is much evidence to assume that artillery or engines of any kind would have been in use by the Men of Gondor; it's more consistent with his world that they were not.
Again, it's only obvious from our perspective, a perspective we cannot assume to be universal. It's also worth considering that sieges of that nature were uncommon in Gondor, and in the later centures of the Third Age the Men of Gondor had spent most of their military endeavours in open battles, street-fighting in Osgiliath, skirmishes in Ithilien and Naval combat against Umbar and the Men of the Harad. Minas Tirith itself had not been beseiged since the end of the Second Age over three thousand years earlier, and so its unique defensibility had realistically never had a chance to be fully realised and exploited. Perhaps at the end of the Third Age the Men of Gondor simply lacked the experience or technological expertise to make engines of that nature and utilise them effectively. We must remember that this was not really the medieval world and the state of warfare was not identical to that of a period of real history.
What I'm trying to say is that while I do agree with you that Minas Tirith probably would have been very well served by powerful artillery, I personally don't believe that the lack of artillery in the book is necessarily some kind of internal logical inconsistency on the part of Professor Tolkien when writing. I'm afraid to say that the Men of Gondor were not perfect and did not always think of everything, including things that might seem blatantly obvious to us. That being said, if this point is indeed "one of the greatest plot holes" in The Lord of the Rings then we can be extra thankful that we got a book with such a tight and consistent plot.
I personally never liked the way the Men of Minas Tirith were given trebuchets in the films - they are too explicitly medieval/early Renaissance and too mechanical for me, which doesn't really fit with how I imagine the Dśnedain.

Last edited by Zigūr; 08-13-2012 at 06:37 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:30 AM   #42
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Leaf History?

The notion that fortified cities often have less siege machinery than those outside the walls seems historical. One would think that if a people expends effort and money to build these big walls they would spend some effort on catapults and similar devices. Yet, does anyone know of walled cities with platforms for siege engines built into the walls?
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:40 PM   #43
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Galadriel55, most of your arguments have been refuted already. To see what I mean, read the posts titled:
My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me(Cont'd) / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me (FINISH)
Most of my replies on this post will be a reiteration of things that I have either explicitly stated or implied.

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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Once the Mordor artilleries have fired their explosive loads, quickly followed by the human heads, they've done their job and it doesn't matter who or what hits them. They can go back to Mordor for all the difference it makes.
Every arms of the Gondorians were already in the "ready" state before the siege. If the Gondorians have artilleries, then those could also be used at any moment. The Mordorians, as you know, fired their projectiles in volleys, and the first volley might indeed have surprised the Gondorians. However, the Gondorians should soon fire back before the Mordorians finished firing all of their "special" supply.
Besides artillery, there were also other highly dangerous tools (and creatures) on the Mordorian side, and these are the Oliphaunts, the armored trolls and the siege towers. Being large and heavily protected, all of them are best left for the artillerymen to kill and destroy..
Quote:
And once again, because you still refuse to listen even after all those times that all those people told you so, Gondor's catapults could not reach the Mordorian ones!!! Could not. That's that.
I am seriously beginning doubt your maturity, Galadriel55. Why are you reaching such hasty conclusions based mostly on the number of people who agree with you? Just because I disagree with the majority here, that does not necessarily mean that I am being stubborn and is purposely shutting out my ears. In fact, I have been doing the complete opposite all along by providing the most evidence and responding to almost every counter-arguments made against me.

I thought that this is a civilized forum that deals mostly with evidence and reason.
The majority of the people against me may repeat the same things over and over, but that does not make their arguments true, especially when they have not provided much evidence.
Quote:
but the situation for whatever reason was such that whatever they did did not help them in time.
And you would see that my main point, Galadriel55, is that these "situations" are actually plot holes. The Gondorians are not perfect, but they are not below "sub-human" intelligence either.
Quote:
As for the palantir, it can kill one person when falling from a height. Big deal, when you have many thousand orcs running at you.
The palantir is used only as an example. Any type of stones that weighs around the same as the Palantir of the Orthanc can be used to kill. As for the problem of the thousand orcs, certain stones can break apart to effectively become shrapnels. The great Peter Jackson is wrong when he decides to crush those poor orcs with boulders - small stones are the more likely used projectiles. But he is more correct than Tolkien in the fundamentals; although archery are more effective at killing masses of soldiers, artilleries can also help out in this role, just not by crushing.

Last edited by TheAzn; 08-13-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
Sorry, TheAzn, I'm not sure I'm following your recent post.
Hey Boromir88. I do not think that my new argument should be hard to understand. To gain clarity, please read the posts titled:
My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me(Cont'd) / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me (FINISH)
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:16 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
I am seriously beginning doubt your maturity, Galadriel55. Why are you reaching such hasty conclusions based mostly on the number of people who agree with you?
Actually, I'm reaching such hasty and immature conclusions based on Tolkien's words. Whatever weapons the Gondorians had, they did not reach Mordor's lines. Whether they had catapults at all or no, Gondorian warriors could not do any damage to the Mordor army. They stayed out of range. That's that and you can't deny it, however hasty and immature knowing the book sounds to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAzn
I thought that this is a civilized forum that deals mostly with evidence and reason.
The majority of the people against me may repeat the same things over and over, but that does not make their arguments true, especially when they have not provided much evidence.
Perhaps we just stand on such different grounds that we will never reach a conclusion that satisfies us both, since for the past while I was thinking to myself that you are repeating the same invalid arguments over and over again. But if it's true the other way around as well, well, I will accept that.

Agree to disagree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAzn
And you would see that my main point, Galadriel55, is that these "situations" are actually plot holes. The Gondorians are not perfect, but they are not below "sub-human" intelligence either.
How is not having a catapult around make a plot hole? For whatever reason, unknown to us, a reason that we don't need to know, Gondor's artillery, if it existed, did not reach Mordor's lines. Maybe catapults were just invented - by the Mordorian side. Maybe a fire happened in Minas Tirith a couple days before the war and burned down their own artillery. Who knows?

Why does it matter so much to you to prove that Tolkien left a plot hole? And so what if he did?


So agree to disagree?
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:28 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Bźthberry View Post
Welcome to the Downs, TheAzn.

Your thread is obviously intriguing enough that many have replied and you should be quite pleased with that, even if it is hard to catch up.

I have to say, though, that your thread title certainly seems to wave a red flag at many of us and for that reason I shall be on my best behaviour and not reply.

You've made quite a successful entrance.
Hey Bethberry. Thank you for your warm welcoming. I apologize for my short reply.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:46 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Rumil View Post
The question remains as to why Sauron's catapults outranged Denethor's. Of course nobody knows the answer, but a possibilities suggests themselves. First of all the obvious conclusion is that Sauron's catapults were just more powerful, but why could't or didn't Minas Tirith make similarly powerful machines?

First, Sauron was a Maia originally of Aule! If anyone knew how to build a war machine, it was Sauron. Maybe Gondor's machines were just not as technically advanced?
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Originally Posted by Aragrax View Post
Most of the salient points (Sauron's forces did take massive losses but their driving will and sheer numbers made up for it; available materials might have been lacking in Minas Tirith to gear up any more; catapults might not have been available in large numbers or farther up the walls, etc) have already been covered, but two more clear factors in JRRT's favor should be noted:

1) He specifically stated in The Hobbit of orcs (here under the aegis of "goblins"):

"They make no beautiful things, but they make many clever ones. . . Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well. . . It is not unlikely that they invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world, especially the ingenious devices for killing large numbers of people at once, for wheels and engines and explosives always delighted them".
Hey Rumil and Aragrax. These are good posts!!!!! I apologize if my response is inadequate. This is my rebuttal: There are limits as to how bad the Gondorian artilleries can be and there are limits as to how good the Mordorian artilleries can be. Even if Sauron knows everything about Gondor, there is a point where he cannot build a better artillery. This is caused by the limitations the artillery type itself.

If you want to know my complete arguments, please read the posts titled:
My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me(Cont'd) / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me (FINISH)

The posts are located on the bottom half of page 1.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #48
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First, do not take my post too seriously. I'm rather... hmm... well let's say used for lack of other words. Do not let me spoil this debate, though there's something I must add.

Well, these two would be of most importance, from my point of view.

Third would be... a man.

In my lifetime (Which ain't long) I have told a story of cities conquered, or fought for, countless times (let Leggy stand as my witness), (yeah I'm zealous RPG; <DnD> player, but that matters not). Constructing scene with hundreds of thousands involved, you just do not not care about neccesities of physics. Mass. velocity, friction, does that really matter in Middle-Earth? I think it might be the same case with JRRT. He told us about the time, when The World changed. Cataclysm, and no less. Apocalypse, told perhaps by another point of view... But shedding The veil just leads us to another Age. Does it not? And what matters then? Physics? Thought? Conviction? Belief?

Ozban
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
From Letter 210:
The Lord of the Rings may be a ‘fairy-story’, but it takes place in the Northern hemisphere of this earth: miles are miles, days are days, and weather is weather.
From John D. Rateliff, The History of the Hobbit, The Fifth Phase, Timelines and Itinerary, vi. The Wandering Moon, note 2:
Tolkien of course was not alone in creating this shift: Joyce’s Ulysses, where both of the major characters’ actions can be followed hour-by-hour and street-by-street through a single day on a Dublin city map, pioneered this mode in the realistic novel a decade and a half before Tolkien began work on his magnum opus.
But Rateliff exaggerates. In medieval times Wolfram von Eschenbach in his Parzival is obviously working from a conceptual map of places, exact times, and genealogies and in the immense Prose Lancelot large sections are consistent with one another down to counts of days and agreement with what the current weekday names must be in sections hundreds of pages apart.

See Morgoth’s Ring (HoME X), edited by Christopher Tolkien, Part 5 Myths Transformed. Tolkien’s earlier fantasy writing had contained much that could be just put down a pure fancy, not realistic at all. Accordingly Tolkien must now consider that the tales told in the Silmarillion and the Akallabźth are traditions passed down among Men and mingled with inventions of their own. As Tolkien writes:
The High Eldar living and being tutored by the demiurgic beings must have known, or at least their writers and loremasters must have known, the ‘truth’ (according to their measure of understanding). What we have in the Silmarillion etc. are traditions (especially personalized, and centred upon actors, such as Fėanor) handed on by Men in Nśnenor and later in Middle-earrth (Arnor and Gondor); but already far back — from the first association of the Dśnedain and Elf-friends with the Eldar in Beleriand — blended and confused with their own Mannish myths and cosmic ideas.
In short, in intent, The Lord of the Rings does not contain anything intentionally not congruent with what is known today of physics, mass, velocity, and friction.
Hey Ozban and Jallanite. Ozban, Jallanite is right about this. The physics of Arda is, as far as can be discern, practically the same as that on Earth today.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:03 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
Hey Ozban and Jallanite. Ozban, Jallanite is right about this. The physics of Arda is, as far as can be discern, practically the same as that on Earth today.
One difficulty is that the physics you showed in your original diagram is nonsense. Galadriel55 produced a much better image and your new image does little more than copy it, without acknowledgement that you were very, very, very wrong.

Claiming that criticisms of your arguments have been disputed without indicating where doesn’t work with me. Mostly you appear to just ignore criticism and jump to irrelevancies that a falling palantķr would almost certainly kill a man if it hit him straight on.

You are only assuming that Minas Tirith even had siege engines. The text doesn’t back up your assumption anywhere. Quite likely it can be taken as something that should go without saying, but in medieval accounts of siege warfare that I have read almost all the siege engines were in the hands of the attackers, not in the hands of the defenders.

Seemingly siege engines were far more useful for attackers to use against fortress walls than for defenders to use against moving targets, as seems reasonable to my thinking and to those of some others here.

Diagrams of siege engines on the top of Minas Tirith don’t prove anything when an accurate diagram shows that a siege engine lobbing a rock would lob it just as far if the siege engine was on an outer wall. The first throw might well kill 10 or 20 of the foe at most. Then the foe would see the stones were coming and get out of the way. When using a catapult to lob stones at the walls, walls don’t run away. The foe can find somewhere they think there is a weak point, and keep lobbing at the same place, hoping that the stone will crack there.

But Tolkien explains clearly why this tactic is not used at Minas Tirith. Here the walls had been built too strongly.

It seems to be a fact in medieval and older battles that siege engines were not greatly used by the defenders in a siege.

If you think I and others are wrong, and in theory we might be, then point out historical counter-examples. Just saying Tolkien was wrong in his writing, was horrendous beyond words, doesn’t convince me at all. Those are only the empty words of someone who has provided no evidence that Tolkien was wrong.

That historically defenders of a besieged fortress didn’t greatly rely on siege engines seems to be the best evidence that siege engines were less useful in the defense of a fortress than you imagine.

Claiming that your posts support your arguments when they don’t doesn’t strengthen your arguments.

Last edited by jallanite; 08-13-2012 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:37 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
That being said, if this point is indeed "one of the greatest plot holes" in The Lord of the Rings then we can be extra thankful that we got a book with such a tight and consistent plot.
I actually agree with this, Zigur. Although I think that I have found the one of the glaring plot holes in the Trilogy, Professor Tolkien is by far one of the most consistent writers that I know of.

Quote:
The impression I get though is that this is in fact the case - the Men of Minas Tirith simply did not have artillery. As far as I can determine, they are never mentioned as having any. The reason the Orcs stayed out of bowshot was because that was the only threat they faced from the Men of Gondor: bows. It wasn't that the Men of Gondor had artillery with very short ranges; they just didn't have artillery at all. Whether or not that is a "mistake" or "inconsistency" on Professor Tolkien's part is not so definite though.
I am glad to hear your honest opinion, even though I disagree rather completely.

Quote:
Sauron also attacked earlier than expected because Aragorn used the Orthanc-stone. But this makes an assumption that they would have used artillery, which I think is not necessarily reasonable.
Just in case you are saying that the Gondorians did not have enough time, I would like to point to 2 examples.
1) The first would be the Hornburg. The attack upon Rohan was sudden too. Yet, the Hornburg was relatively well prepared. This is despite the fact that Theoden has just recently been freed from the influence of Saruman.
2) Saruman was definitely caught off guard. Yet, merely a short time after returning to the Orthanc, he immediately figured out how to use Isengard its near fullest potential. The great forges were started and some Ents burned. Unfortunately for Saruman, this just makes the Ents more angry.
Still, people can do amazing things even when surprised.

Quote:
Maybe Minas Tirith's fortification just wasn't being used to the full potential that we can see with the benefit of hindsight and modern perspective.
When we are talking artilleries, sure some hindsight might have affected our judgements. If I was a Gondorian soldier, I might have been surprised and caught off guard too when heads were thrown. But the Gondorians were aware for a long time that other great threats to Minas Tirith existed. They have plenty of time to recognize that artilleries are the best weapons against these threats.

Quote:
It may seem unrealistic to us, but this war was being fought in a very ancient time by an imaginary realm with an inconsistent level of scientific development. They key word though is imaginary; they don't have to practice warfare the same way people did in our history, because this is not our history. It is an imaginary history, and can occur in any way its creator sees fit. If Professor Tolkien says they didn't have artillery, then they didn't have artillery;
This would not have been much of a problem except that one of the main point of the Trilogy is realism. Considering that Professor Tolkien was also a war veteran, the standard of consistency should be higher for him than non-military authors when it comes to warfare. For example, readers would be rightfully angry if it turns out that Hobbits consumed 10,000 ton of food daily, even when the author consistently said that Hobbits have many meals per day. It could be that these small Hobbits have a black hole inside their stomach, but this requires a huge suspension of disbelief. Good stories make sure that they are never far from reality, and Tolkien did a great job for the majority of the time.

Quote:
I think he gives sufficient internal explanation for why the Men of Gondor considered their defences to be adequate (even if they actually weren't). What he doesn't give us is much evidence to assume that artillery or engines of any kind would have been in use by the Men of Gondor; it's more consistent with his world that they were not.
Yes, he gives sufficient explanation as to why the Gondorian were initially not afraid of the Mordorian artilleries. But there are many other great threats that still require the use of artilleries to effectively neutralize. These are the threats that the Gondorians have known about for a very long time. They have plenty of opportunity to recognize that artilleries are the best weapons against these threats.

Quote:
Again, it's only obvious from our perspective, a perspective we cannot assume to be universal.
The art of war is usually universal across even fictional universes; strategies and tactics have to make sense. Considering that Professor Tolkien was also a war veteran, it is not really acceptable for him to be erroneous. Siege warfare are always the same for the defenders: have walls or any other physical defense; make sure that you have a great store of food; leave an opening for escape if possible; horses are relatively useless for fighting in the small confinements of the city; make sure that you have the ability to kill as many enemy as possible before they even reach your walls; etc.

Quote:
It's also worth considering that sieges of that nature were uncommon in Gondor, and in the later centures of the Third Age the Men of Gondor had spent most of their military endeavours in open battles, street-fighting in Osgiliath, skirmishes in Ithilien and Naval combat against Umbar and the Men of the Harad. Minas Tirith itself had not been beseiged since the end of the Second Age over three thousand years earlier, and so its unique defensibility had realistically never had a chance to be fully realised and exploited.
Street-fighting in Osgiliath is actually close quarter combat and might be considered siege warfare, especially if the Mordorians are trying to “scale” the river. The best way to repel the Mordorians in that case would be to use artilleries. One shot can sink boats and destroy Mordorian temporary bridges. If I am not mistaken, the fight for Osgiliath has been happening for a very long time. It does not take much intelligence to know that, once the sparsely defended Osgiliath, Cair Andros and Pelargir fall, Minas Tirith is next on the menu. There is every reason for the Gondorians to ramp up Minas Tirith.

Quote:
Perhaps at the end of the Third Age the Men of Gondor simply lacked the experience or technological expertise to make engines of that nature and utilise them effectively.
As I have implied in my other post, building ancient style artilleries is not hard. Even pre-teens can build respectable artilleries. As for expertise in usage, it is true that Minas Tirith itself has not been under siege for a long time. But for the important choke points of the surrounding area, the story was very different. It is quite impossible for the Gondorians to be lacking in artillerymen.
Below is a video showing Pre-teens firing their homemade artillery:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRazO...6157DAE738106D

Quote:
I'm afraid to say that the Men of Gondor were not perfect and did not always think of everything, including things that might seem blatantly obvious to us.
This would be true if the intelligence of the Gondorians was far lower than that of us human beings today. Nothing in Tolkien’s work suggested that. The threats that they were facing were very obvious, and I am trying my best to view the world from a Gondorian general point of view. It does not take a perfect race to figure out the necessity of artilleries based on the threats that they are facing. No matter how much lacking in resources, an empire should have no problem filling a city with artilleries. Even middle-income families can build several artilleries during their leisure time.

Quote:
I personally never liked the way the Men of Minas Tirith were given trebuchets in the films - they are too explicitly medieval/early Renaissance and too mechanical for me, which doesn't really fit with how I imagine the Dśnedain.
I guess that this is a case of difference in taste.

Last edited by TheAzn; 08-14-2012 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:51 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
This would be true if the intelligence of the Gondorians was far lower than that of us human beings today. Nothing in Tolkien’s work suggested that. The threats that they were facing were very obvious, and I am trying my best to view the world from a Gondorian general point of view. It does not take a perfect race to figure out the necessity of artilleries based on the threats that they are facing. No matter how much lacking in resources, an empire should have no problem filling a city with artilleries. Even middle-income families can build several artilleries during their leisure time.
Quote:
This would not have been much of a problem except that one of the main point of the Trilogy is realism. Considering that Professor Tolkien was also a war veteran, the standard of consistency should be higher for him than non-military authors when it comes to warfare.
Quote:
The art of war is usually universal across even fictional universes; strategies and tactics have to make sense.
The problem I have with arguing for the realism of defensive artilleries is that even ancient and medieval warfare didn't really use defensive artilleries. Artillery was used in these time periods for attack, as we see at Minas Tirith, but not for defence, as we also see at Minas Tirith. Virtually all ranged defence in Medieval warfare and earlier was done through archery and whatever missiles could be dropped through murder-holes, so I don't see how you can insist on realism by arguing for something not grounded in reality. Warfare in the Third Age in Middle-earth was a hodge-podge of Ancient (Easterling chariots and Haradrim elephant cavalry, for instance) and Medieval (Iron/steel weapons, mail armour). Saruman's explosives are a rare and deliberate exception. So where's the precedent for defensive artillery, which wasn't used in these time periods? I don't deny that they'd be useful, but I don't think their absence is in any way inconsistent with the mode of warfare being depicted. It would be more unrealistic, ie less true to reality, if they did have them. If the Men of Gondor are unrealistic by not having them, then I guess reality is unrealistic. This is why I don't consider it to be a plot hole.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:52 AM   #52
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I am not sure how useful my responses will be, but I will give it a try.
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
One difficulty is that the physics you showed in your original diagram is nonsense.
I would suggest that you re read all of my arguments carefully again. My very first diagram would indeed be nonsense if they were all firing the same load and experiences the same air friction. As I clarified later on, the combination of height, lighter loads and less air friction on the higher walls can increase range significantly. I have admitted that it was partly my fault for mentioning only height as a significant factor in my first post. I have since then gone out of my way to provide greater clarifications. I do not understand how you could have unintentionally missed all of this.

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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
Hey Galadriel55. Besides a few things, I pretty much agree with what you said, but there are a few problems. Before expressing your opinion on who is more accurate, please have the courtesy to wait and ask for more clarity. Before I continue, I would like to say that I am at fault also. I should have been more clearer in my OP. As stated in my later post, there is less air friction the higher up you go. My drawing takes this fact into account. But more important is the fact that the catapults in my drawing were meant to not shoot the same loads. I guess I have to make some edits for my drawings.
And yes, I am saying that the Gondorians can use even lighter loads than the Mordorians to bombard , while the Mordorians can only cause “little” damage with their light but still heavier loads. I will explain more below in what will be my great responses to the general arguments made against me.
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Galadriel55 produced a much better image and your new image does little more than copy it, without acknowledgement that you were very, very, very wrong.
I made my revised edition similar to Galadriel55’s drawing partly because she is more right in a certain aspect, and partly because I don’t want to cause any more tension. In my revised drawing, all of the Gondorian artilleries at the back were handicapped by shooting the same load as the artilleries on the front, though all are lighter than the projectiles of the Mordorians. If I have wanted to, I could change this aspect and make each artilleries fire lighter loads the further back they are. For example, those in the Lower Levels can fire 9 lbs stone; meanwhile, those in the far back can fire 4 lb stones, twice as light. Given the fact that there is a limit to how weak the Gondorian artilleries can be (and how strong the Mordorian artilleries can be) not only is it possible for 3 levels (not including the Upper Deck) of Gondorian artilleries to outrange the Mordorian ones, it is possible that they might even outrange the Mordorians as spectacularly as is illustrated in my first crude drawing. I did not post this idea at first because I do not want to create fights. But now I must post. This is not to say that Galadriel55’s drawing is very inaccurate; she is accurate as long as she is talking about artilleries firing the same heavy projectiles. But her simulation cannot be stated as being more accurate than mine since she is missing a lot of important factors that I have included. If I have made some mistakes I am not much worse than Gal, contrary to some arrogant person’s statements.

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Claiming that criticisms of your arguments have been disputed without indicating where doesn’t work with me.
Usually, I said that because it is true. Most people here seems to be very impatient. They tend to argue with me even when I am not done with another person. Often, the "new arguments" of the second person is the same as the that of the first. Still, I will try to respond to every single person on the threads. But sometimes I don't feel like reiterating things, and will let the "new debator" know that his arguments have already been refuted. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to read the posts carefully and understand who is responding to who. You may ask kindly for help if there is too much to read.

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Mostly you appear to just ignore criticism and jump to irrelevancies that a falling palantķr would almost certainly kill a man if it hit him straight on.
Ignore criticism? I spend some of my valuable time responding and refuting most of the people’s post and yet I am ignoring criticism? I would kindly suggest that you retract your statements.

And what irrelevancies? In case you do not remember, one of the points that miss Gal kept on repeating was that, because they only need to fling light materials like human heads, the Mordorians can outrange the Gondorians. I refuted her arguments by stating what should have been the obvious: the Gondorians most likely used light projectiles as well. There is of course, a problem with this rebuttal. The Mordorian projectiles were not meant to cause physical damages, while the Gondorian projectiles must. This is when I brought in the palantir as an easy to understand example. Can light Gondorian projectiles cause substantial damages? The answer is absolutely yes, and most of the last page are dedicated to me giving the evidences.

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You are only assuming that Minas Tirith even had siege engines.
Yes, I am assuming, the same way I am assuming that the peoples of the Middle Earth do have a need to release waste, which is not an assumption at all.

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The text doesn’t back up your assumption anywhere.
Actually it does. Professor Tolkien does not have to explicitly write everything before we can logically and reasonably assume that such things exist. The need for Men to defecate is just one example.
So what are my evidences?
1) Even without the threat of Mordorian artilleries, there are still overwhelming incentives for the Gondorians to build the best artilleries possible. These incentives are the threats of the Mumakils,armored trolls and siege towers, all of which the archers themselves cannot handle alone. Like all human beings, I presume that the Gondorians would respond to strong incentives. And this presumption is most likely sound, for a lot of ancient cities with sizeable walls very likely had artilleries on them. See post below for evidence.
2) Although Minas Tirith has not been besieged in a long time, the other important cities surrounding the area most likely experienced sieges frequently. This alone creates many chances for artilleries to be invented (if they are not already) and enhanced.
3) Despite the incentives, it is true there would not be much artilleries if there are no spaces. Non-essential building could have been torn away create more space. The Ship Rock is secure and is enhanced by the “a mighty craft”. Based on the description of the book itself, there are no lack of spaces on the Upper Deck. With such overwhelming incentives to use artilleries, and not much reasonable hindrances, Gondor most likely did use artilleries on Minas Tirith.
4) Finally, it is a fact that building respectable ancient artilleries is not really hard. Even Highschool students can build such devices. With such overwhelming incentives to use artilleries, and not much reasonable hindrances, Gondor most likely did use artilleries on Minas Tirith.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWXEqJlj8pM

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Quite likely it can be taken as something that should go without saying, but in medieval accounts of siege warfare that I have read almost all the siege engines were in the hands of the attackers, not in the hands of the defenders.
Then the account that you have read is not quite accurate. It was actually quite common even during the Ancient Era for walled cities to have artilleries.

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Seemingly siege engines were far more useful for attackers to use against fortress walls than for defenders to use against moving targets, as seems reasonable to my thinking and to those of some others here.
Ah, this same point again. No, what you are thinking is not reasonable. As stated, artilleries on walls are more common than what you just give them credit for.

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Diagrams of siege engines on the top of Minas Tirith don’t prove anything when an accurate diagram shows that a siege engine lobbing a rock would lob it just as far if the siege engine was on an outer wall. The first throw might well kill 10 or 20 of the foe at most. Then the foe would see the stones were coming and get out of the way. When using a catapult to lob stones at the walls, walls don’t run away. The foe can find somewhere they think there is a weak point, and keep lobbing at the same place, hoping that the stone will crack there.
I think that this is the clearest example demonstrating the problems of your post. You haven’t been reading my arguments carefully at all. I have already talked about range countless times, and will not go through with this again. As for killing 10 or 20 people, I believe that you are mistaken. Yes, I did say that the Gondorian artillery can be use to kill individual soldiers with the help of archery. However, the main purpose was to destroy or kill large targets like Mumakils, armored trolls, siege towers and artilleries. Sure, all of these are mobile, but they are relatively slow, and are easy targets for the Gondorian Artillerymen.

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But Tolkien explains clearly why this tactic is not used at Minas Tirith. Here the walls had been built too strongly.
Correct. I did not disagree with this.

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It seems to be a fact in medieval and older battles that siege engines were not greatly used by the defenders in a siege.
Again, you are quite mistaken. To reiterate, it was actually quite common even during the Ancient Era for walled cities to have artilleries.

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If you think I and others are wrong, and in theory we might be, then point out historical counter-examples.
Sure. No problem.

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Just saying Tolkien was wrong in his writing, was horrendous beyond words, doesn’t convince me at all. Those are only the empty words of someone who has provided no evidence that Tolkien was wrong.
Right, and I never said those words without evidence. The quote that you cite is my conclusion after several posts worth of arguing my points.

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That historically defenders of a besieged fortress didn’t greatly rely on siege engines seems to be the best evidence that siege engines were less useful in the defense of a fortress than you imagine.
Look, I am sorry to say you seemed to be getting your facts quite mixed up. Again, artilleries on walls are actually quite common at least during the Ancient Era.

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Claiming that your posts support your arguments when they don’t doesn’t strengthen your arguments.
Yes, I know. This is why I only claim that my posts supported my arguments when they really do.

Last edited by TheAzn; 08-14-2012 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 06:37 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by blantyr View Post
The notion that fortified cities often have less siege machinery than those outside the walls seems historical. One would think that if a people expends effort and money to build these big walls they would spend some effort on catapults and similar devices. Yet, does anyone know of walled cities with platforms for siege engines built into the walls?
Hey Blantyr, this is an interesting question.

One example that springs to my mind is the fortress of Euryalos connected to the New Wall of Syracuse, on the west side of the Epipolai Plateau. This is after all where the catapult was invented. The katapeltikon (arrow projector) and lithobolos (stone projector). Later the Romans called them Catapulta and Ballista respectively. The fortress of Euryalos was built solely for the purpose of having stone projectors and arrow projectors on top of. This held the North of Syracuse safe until 212 BCE when Marcellus invaded it.


Other than Euryalos, there's been many more finds in Greek territories of walled artillery positions. Schramm excavated and analyzed the ruins at Ephyra finding the same. Washer-plates from catapults were found, and the walls were of sufficient width and volume that they were not just meant for soldiers.
Source: Greek and Roman Artillery 399 BC-AD 363

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To keep with the European theme for a moment, one need to look no further than the great Julius Caesar himself.
Even in something temporary like Roman camps, ballistas were kept within wooden "towers", ready to be used at any moment.
Sources: Caesar: Life of A Colossus

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But what about other cultures? In terms of China, there are both textual as well as archeological evidence of wall mounted artillery from as far back as the Han dynasty. I believe that Joseph Needham's volume on catapults covered this the best.

Source: Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 6, Military Technology: Missiles and Sieges by Joseph Needham and Robin Yates

I am not familiar with the artilleries of other Non-European cultures, so I might have to do more research on them.

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Last edited by TheAzn; 08-14-2012 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:22 AM   #54
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A friendly reminder...

Don't take personal offense to differing opinions.

It's not necessary to call people wrong, confused, or ignorant, especially when dealing with less explicit features of the stories.

Continue to make your case without personal remarks.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:56 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
Hey Boromir88. I do not think that my new argument should be hard to understand. To gain clarity, please read the posts titled:
My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me(Cont'd) / My Grand Refutation to the General Counter-Arguments Made Against Me (FINISH)
When I made that post, it was in response to your original post and post #24. Your original post containing large inaccuracies and post 24 containing irrelevant arguments about Grima throwing a palantir off Orthanc. Hence, why I was not following your original argument.

I can not follow arguments you had not posted yet, because I can not read arguments that do not exist. However, now that you have posted your latest counters and kindly directed me to them, I can follow quite well...

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Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
[B]
So why am I excited? I am not just confirming the basic fact that Professor Tolkien, like every human authors out there, are not infallible. What I am excited about is that I believe that I have found one of Professor Tolkien’s greatest writing mistakes; I believe that I have found one of the greatest plot holes in the entire Lord of the Ring series. The Minas Tirith that Professor Tolkien described is being utilized nowhere near its highest potential, very nonsensical when we are talking about preparing for life and death struggles.
With regards to this, and your latest arguments, I believe you have purchased boots many sizes larger than the ones you wear now. But good luck in this lofty endeavor of proving why an author who fought in brutal trench warfare, and lived through another brutal war, left a gaping plot hole and does not in fact understand the costs and realities of warfare.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:34 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAzn View Post
I would suggest that you re read all of my arguments carefully again.
I do suggest you stop pushing incorrect and irrelevant arguments.

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My very first diagram would indeed be nonsense if they were all firing the same load and experiences the same air friction. As I clarified later on, the combination of height, lighter loads and less air friction on the higher walls can increase range significantly. I have admitted that it was partly my fault for mentioning only height as a significant factor in my first post. I have since then gone out of my way to provide greater clarifications. I do not understand how you could have unintentionally missed all of this.
Differences in air friction for the heights you show do not increase range significantly. Lighter loads which are not mentioned at all in your earlier talk make your earlier diagram a cheat. You were not partially at fault but completely at fault. I did not miss your attempts at special pleading to cover your earlier errors. I reject them as obvious special pleading.

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I made my revised edition similar to Galadriel55’s drawing partly because she is more right in a certain aspect, and partly because I don’t want to cause any more tension.
You could change the weights in any of your diagrams in any way you want. But special changing of weight unmentioned in the discussion of the diagrams is only special pleading. You attempted to cover for yourself by claiming that you were imaging different weights before. That looks like a false claim.

Galadriel55 was right and you were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Special pleading only makes your arguments seem worse.

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If I have made some mistakes I am not much worse than Gal, contrary to some arrogant person’s statements.
I see mostly arrogant statements from you.

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Ultimately, it is your responsibility to read the posts carefully and understand who is responding to who. You may ask kindly for help if there is too much to read.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to present your case cogently. You have not done so. You have failed.

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Ignore criticism? I spend some of my valuable time responding and refuting most of the people’s post and yet I am ignoring criticism? I would kindly suggest that you retract your statements.
I do seriously suggest that you have not refuted most criticisms. I will not retract any statement I have made until it is shown to be incorrect.

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And what irrelevancies? In case you do not remember, one of the points that miss Gal kept on repeating was that, because they only need to fling light materials like human heads, the Mordorians can outrange the Gondorians. I refuted her arguments by stating what should have been the obvious: the Gondorians most likely used light projectiles as well.
And you really don’t see that your supposed refutation fails. The problem is that the book clearly states:
There was none upon the City walls large enough to reach so far or to stay the work.
It is pressing the words too hard to claim that possibly a load of light gravel might have reached the catapults of Mordor.

But a claim that the catapults on the city walls could have reached the catapults of Mordor with a load heavy enough to have caused damage would only be true in a battle that you are imagining, not in the battle you claim to be discussing. You surely must admit that in the real world some catapults have a longer range than others. Then this should not cause a problem in Tolkien’s world.

That the catapults from the city could not reach the catapults of Mordor is one of the pieces of data in the story. Saying that this data is wrong doesn’t prove a thing when that data is perfectly reasonable. Your refutation fails because it begins by assuming that the data is incorrect when there is no reason to think it is.

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1) Even without the threat of Mordorian artilleries, there are still overwhelming incentives for the Gondorians to build the best artilleries possible. These incentives are the threats of the Mumakils,armored trolls and siege towers, all of which the archers themselves cannot handle alone. Like all human beings, I presume that the Gondorians would respond to strong incentives. And this presumption is most likely sound, for a lot of ancient cities with sizeable walls very likely had artilleries on them. See post below for evidence.
Your presumptions are not evidence. You really can’t tell the difference. That is your problem.

Your presumption is that catapults of Minas Tirith must have been of the same strength or stronger than those of Mordor. In this story, you are simply wrong. Sauron had stronger catapults.

That the catapults of Minas Tirith were exactly as strong as those of Mordor or stronger is just something you have made up. Tolkien says differently and there is nothing unreasonable in what Tolkien indicates here. Nothing.

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Then the account that you have read is not quite accurate. It was actually quite common even during the Ancient Era for walled cities to have artilleries.
Did I say differently? What I do say is that in accounts I have read siege engine have universally been more used by the attackers than the defenders. You distort what other people say and miscall it a refutation.

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I think that this is the clearest example demonstrating the problems of your post. You haven’t been reading my arguments carefully at all.
Not true. I recognize that you find it easier to presume that people have not read your arguments. But that is only another presumption by you that is at least mostly not true.

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I have already talked about range countless times, and will not go through with this again.
Range is irrelevant when the crux is that Tolkien says that the catapults of Mordor had greater range than those of Minas Tirith. You expect that a perfectly reasonable indication by Tolkien of comparative range is to be ignored because you imagine it to be wrong.

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As for killing 10 or 20 people, I believe that you are mistaken. Yes, I did say that the Gondorian artillery can be use to kill individual soldiers with the help of archery. However, the main purpose was to destroy or kill large targets like Mumakils, armored trolls, siege towers and artilleries. Sure, all of these are mobile, but they are relatively slow, and are easy targets for the Gondorian Artillerymen.
Relatively slow but infinitely fast compared to walls.

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Again, you are quite mistaken. To reiterate, it was actually quite common even during the Ancient Era for walled cities to have artilleries.
Again your supposed refutation is to misstate the claim. My claim was only that my reading indicates that siege engines were more useful to attackers to defenders, not that defenders had no siege engines. You have not identified any historic battle in which the opposite was true, that the defenders had more siege engines than the attackers.

Possibly there were a few. But I believe that they were not the norm which strongly suggests that siege engine had generally proved to be more useful to attackers than to defenders. Are you perhaps terrified at looking at history?

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Look, I am sorry to say you seemed to be getting your facts quite mixed up. Again, artilleries on walls are actually quite common at least during the Ancient Era.
Again, misstating what I claim. You lose.

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Yes, I know. This is why I only claim that my posts supported my arguments when they really do.
As far as I can tell your claim amounts to the statement that it is impossible that Minas Tirith could have had catapults fewer and less strong than Mordor. Most of what you put forward does not support that claim at all.

You originally appeared to suggest that since catapults in Minas Tirith could be higher than those of Mordor, that they would have greater ranger than the catapults of Mordor. That argument was entirely fallacious.

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Old 08-14-2012, 01:29 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by jallanite View Post
Did I say differently? What I do say is that in accounts I have read siege engine have universally been more used by the attackers than the defenders. You distort what other people say and miscall it a refutation.
Same with what I've read. Fortified cities main defense was its walls. It kept unwanted people out, because if they didn't have the ability to break through the defense (the wall) then there really was no threat to the city. Of course, the attackers could find other ways to hurt the city (cut off supplies, starve them out..etc) but this takes far more time, resources, and costs, and the army could be well out of range of anything that might be fired deadly from the city's walls. It brings in other factors that the attackers might not be luxurious to having.

Large siege engines are offensive weapons, designed for the purpose of breaking through a fortified city's main defense (the wall). It does not do much good for the city to place siege engines on its walls if the walls themselves are not strong enough to keep attackers out. Anyway, point is, siege engines were often built on the spot, and could easily be greater than any siege equipment placed on a city's walls for defense. Since, the main purpose of the siege engine was offensive, and to break down walls. A city did not need to break down walls, it just needed to be fortified enough to keep attackers out.

(And now moving back towards the more specific discussion regarding the siege of Minas Tirith).

Minas Tirith's first wall, was in fact indomitable. TheAzn, you may not like this magical explanation in the books, but that's how it was and there is no way around it. Minas Tirith was a foritified city and its primary defense was the impregnable first wall:

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At first men laughed and did not greatly fear such devices. For the main wall of the City was of great height and marvellous thickness, built ere the power and craft of Numenor waned in exile; and its outward face was like to the Tower of Orthanc, hard and dark and smooth, unconquerable by steel or fire, unbreakable except by some convulsion that would rend the very earth on which it stood.~Siege of Gondor
At first the defenders laugh, because again, the primary purpose of siege engines is to break through the city's walls. The defenders of Minas Tirith are confident that their wall is indomitable. You may say their pride here shows "sub-human intelligence," but the fact remains if Sauron's army can't break through Minas Tirith's primary defense (the indomitable wall) then Sauron's large army parked out of range is not going to be much threat, unless Sauron's plans were to starve them out (which was not Sauron's plans).

However, Sauron recognizing the strength of Minas Tirith is in it's outer wall, does not waste time or resources trying to break through it (which was the reason the defenders "At first laughed," believing Sauron had built these large catapults to bring down their wall):

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But the engines did not waste shot upon the indomitable wall...As soon as the great catapults were set, with many yells and the creaking of rope and winch, they began to throw missiles marvellously high, so that they passed right above the battlement and fell thudding within the first circle of the City; and many of them by some secret art burst into flame as they came toppling down.
Soon there was great peril of fire behind the wall, and all who could be spared were busy quelling the flames that sprang up in many places. Then among the greater casts there fell another hail, less ruinous but more horrible~ibid
Trust me, by the time Sauron is flinging in fire bombs and decapitated heads the defenders are no longer laughing. Some need to be spared to put out the fires, and most others are fleeing at the horror and despair Sauron has just unleashed in a psychological warfare. Despite this, the fact still remains, if Sauron can't break through the City's primary defense, this psychological warfare is ultimately fruitless. And what is needed to break through the gate? A massive battering ram and an added bit of power from The Witch-King.

As others have argued, the reasons presented in the text for Sauron's army being out of range of Minas Tirith's siege equipment are logical and consistent, within the text. Orcs delighted in building machines and playing with wheels, especially machines that could be implemented for nefarious purposes. Saruman was said to have a "mind of wheels and metal." Saruman was a Maia of Aule, as was Sauron, they were both great craftsman. Maybe you don't think in siege equipment the men of Minas Tirith should have been outmatched by orcs and Sauron, but in LOTR, that's how the story is presented. That is how the story is also consistently explained. So, in my opinion, no plothole exists.
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:52 PM   #58
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The intelligence of the Gondorians might have been excellent, but there is always room for error and unpreparedness! Many, with Jallanite at the fore, have noted T. covered the angles on this subject, for the most part.


Two quotations come to mind of the risks of assuming one's preparedness in war.


The first of these being a song that might very well have had a primitive parallel in Orcish on that day:

"Whatever happens we have got,
The Maxim gun, and they have not"
.

-Hilaire Belloc


The second, from U.S. Gen. Patton, regarding the use of walls (and, presumably, trenches):

“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man's stupidity


Comfort and safety can lead to hubris!
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:45 AM   #59
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It would be a mistake to say that Tolkien did something wrong and Jackson did right. I'm not saying that Middle Earth is perfect but there isn't really much that Tolkien can improve on in his world, really.
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:03 PM   #60
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Artillery not used by defenders

I don't think artilley was used MUCH by the defenders of castles in medieval battles - for the simple reason that they were not very effective against armies.

It's difficult to hit someone standing 500 metres away hurling a rock at them - they will tend to move Towers, however, do not move, so it makes sense throwing rocks at them.

From my somewhat scant knowledge of medieval warfare archery was effective if you had a big group of bowmen firing at once - this way you get a swarm of arrows, and the other army cant jump away becuse there's arrows everywhere.

I think it would be much more useful for the defending side to put the ressources into archery than artilley - why dedicate 10 men and a lot of wall space to operating a fairly inefficient artillery piece, when you could have instead 30 archers in the same space firing arrows (assuming the pile of rocks and the machine itself takes up the space of 20 men) at a MUCH higher hate. You can fire an arrow every two seconds or so - while i suppose it would take at least several minutes to load an artillery piece.

It means the choice is betwen one rock every two minutes or 1200 arrows being fired continually in the same two minutes.

I don't think the artillery was very maneuverable. Like if you needed to change the angle 30 degrees right because they moved a siege tower - I don't think it was fast.

I'm a bit surprised of the roman castle stuffed with artillery. Maybe there's something special going on here - like an advancing army being forced intp a very tight space by the local geography.

The medieval castles I was - not very many I admit - does not look like a lot of space was dedicated to artillery either. I'll look closer next time I see one
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