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Old 05-23-2007, 02:47 PM   #1
Iarwain Ben-adar
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Miliatry Tactics and Strategies In Middle-earth

In this thread, I would like to discuss the different forces, number of soldiers, and strategies/tactics in the battles of Middle-earth. In this starting thread I will give you an example of what I mean:

The first battle, or the first of the great battles, was fought soon after the destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor. After his own return to Middle-earth, Melkor sent legions of Orcs to attack Thingol and Cķrdan, who were,at that time, the two greatest lords of Beleriand. Those legions of orcs, If I recall correctly from all of the other battles that Orcs have fought under Morgoth, used something called an Overwhelming Force tactic, which is where the besiegers attack with a greater force than the defenders, and try to destroy them with one powerful blow. They send all of their forces in at once and try to completely anhilate the defenders. It was a win-lose situation for the elves; they did manage to safely defend their kingdoms, but n turn Orcs wandered in Beleriand from then on in.

Another example of a Military tactic would be the elves of Nargothrond. They usually employed a tactic known as th Guerilla Tactic, or a hit and run tactic. They would swiftly attack a groups of Orcs, then run away, presumably into a forest, before any damage to their forces could be done. When Turin came, he convinced Orodreth, the ruler of Nargothrond, to use an overwhelming force tactic. I quote from the Children of Hurin, Turin in Nargothrond:
Because of his prowess and skill in warfare with Orcs Turin found favour with Orodreth, and was admitted to his council. Now Turin had no liking for the manner of fighting the elves of Nargothrond, of ambush and stealth and secret arrow *1, and he urged that it be abandoned, and that they should use their strength to attack the servants of the enemy, to open battle and pursuit*2
*1: Hit and Run/Guerilla Tactic
*2: Overwhelming force Tactic

So, just follow my example above and i feel that we can have a great in depth and lore filled thread discussing the various strategies and tactics and if possible, the numbers of the soldiers) of all the battles of Middle-earth.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:43 AM   #2
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Morgoth's power is terror. I think this is enhanced in his warring style. He stays behind massive walls, making the enemy have no idea of the numbers or strength of his forces, uses scare tactics like lies, then breaks the enemy's spirit by sending a massive flashy force to kill them through a lightning strike. The shock factor, the mystery factor, without this maybe the Elves and Men would be more effective in combating him. Because of this I believe in Turin's style, defiant, unshaken, proud, more than the secretive style.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:08 AM   #3
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Secret Weapons

Good thread Iarwain, I would like to bring to notice the New Weapon Tactic coupled with the Power Tactic as seen in The Dagor Bragollach. Morgoth sends forth a first wave of Sudden Flame with Glaurung and Balrogs to break the leaguer of Angband, this was follwed by The Overwhelming Force Tactic of more Orcs than the Noldor had ever seen. Although Glaurang was not actually a new weapon he was the first of the next generation of new weapons. Saruman employed similar tactics at Helms Deep.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iarwain Ben-adar
Miliatry Tactics and Strategies In Middle-earth

...something called an Overwhelming Force tactic, which is where the besiegers attack with a greater force than the defenders...
That's just sound tactics. If you're an attacking force, going up against a defender who's entrenched or behind cover of some sort, you had BETTER have a larger force.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:40 PM   #5
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Sorry Boo I have to disagree, one plane with a New Power Tactic destroyed the city of Hiroshima, therefore saving the lives of countless allied servicemen who would have died using the Overwhelming Force Tactic.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by narfforc
Sorry Boo I have to disagree, one plane with a New Power Tactic destroyed the city of Hiroshima, therefore saving the lives of countless allied servicemen who would have died using the Overwhelming Force Tactic.
I thought we were talking about standard ground pounder warfare.
I could also say that in the case of Hiroshima, the attackers felt they HAD an Overwhelming Force Tactic with their bomb.
And you notice how I did not say "Besiegers" like I did in my first post, because dropping the bomb on Hiroshima was not a typical seige tactic.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:29 PM   #7
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I read that someone posted Morgoths main weapon was fear and surprise attacks: this is sort of true. Most of the Battles that his armies fought used the overwhelming force tactic. Some of his battles were fought with the introduction of the new weapon, or th new weapon tactic (which someone has already mentioned). Two distinct examples of ths were when Glaurung first came out of angband (before he was fully grown and his armour was fully hardened), and in the war of wrath, wher hte host of the Valar destoryed almost all of his forces, and when defeat was iminent, then he used the New weapon Tactic by sending out the fire drakes, the greatest of which was Ancalagon the black.
Also, his main weapon, as has also been mentioned is fear and doubt. He instills fear by spreading lies and getting rid of peoples hope, and without hope (I quote from the story of Pandora's box in Greek mythology there would be no point in living until tomorrow unless there is hope. He also instills doubt that his opposing armies can win. He sends a Massive army, and the sheer numbers of his armies overwhelm anybody mentally, even if they are the better fighters and would normally win. This does not usually happen, though, because all of the peoples have such a hate for Morgoth that they will do anything to stop his reign as Dark Lord. Ah, well. Just a few thoughts. Just wanted to sy thanks for al who have posted in this thread so far, and it will be a pleasure reading your replies in the future.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:55 PM   #8
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Morgoth does not necessarily need overwhelming numbers to crush an opposing force. When Glaurung and the Orcs campaigned against Nargothrond, they would most certainly not have won, or at least, not been able to push so far into enemy territory, if they didn't have the Secret Weapon, namely the dragon...

I don't think in Tolkien's world the numbers rule is entirely set in stone... f.ex when the Noldor were swiftly victorious over the orcs in the Second Battle, and they were outnumbered and quite possibly out-weaponed too, Feanor tells them to "Journey light, but bring with you your swords", so the Noldor may have had little armour too.
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Old 05-26-2007, 08:36 AM   #9
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A very good example of military tactics is Isildur's guard fighting against the Orcs from Mirkwood, where 2 Numenorean formations are presented. I don't have the time to post all the details now, but I'll do that soon.
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:13 AM   #10
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Overwhelming Numbers is most often relied upon by commanders, like Morgoth, who know that their manpower is inferior on an individual basis. Face it: Angband's legions on an orc-for-orc basis perform about as well as Imperial Stormtroopers recruited from France.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:00 AM   #11
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Trench warfare is used by the orcs in the Battles of the Fords of Isen, a pincer is used in the Nirnaeth with Maedhros and Fingon and reinforced when all looked lost is used in a million battes, Helm's Deep, Pelennor, Celebrant...
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:06 PM   #12
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I think an underestimated tactical move in the lord of the rings was the Goblin people of Moria. When the dwarves came to reclaim there realm they met limited resistance, then pressing on until they were too deep to turn back before they attacked in force, trapping the dwarves underground and ensuring no one returned to rally greater forces.
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Radley View Post
That's just sound tactics. If you're an attacking force, going up against a defender who's entrenched or behind cover of some sort, you had BETTER have a larger force.
The accepted military standard for attacking enemies in fixed positions or in urban environments is 3 to 1.
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elmo View Post
Trench warfare is used by the orcs in the Battles of the Fords of Isen, a pincer is used in the Nirnaeth with Maedhros and Fingon and reinforced when all looked lost is used in a million battes, Helm's Deep, Pelennor, Celebrant...
Nice one on the Trench Warfare. It often scares me just how much resemblance there is between Pelennor and the fields of Northern France and Belgium during WWI.

Pelennor aint just a big park, it was a living landscape:

Quote:
And so in this place and that, by burned homestead or barn, upon hillock or mound, under wall or on field, still they gathered and rallied and fought until the day wore away.
Bit different to the landscape drawn up in the films eh?

Then there are the trenches 'themselves' of course, filled with fire to confuse the Gondorians and block any attacks/hide activity of Sauron's forces. And they seem to be filled with some kind of fuel, a portable and incendiary one - oil?

Quote:
Busy as ants hurrying orcs were digging, digging lines of deep trenches in a huge ring, just out of bowshot from the walls; and as the trenches were made each was filled with fire, though how it was kindled or fed, by art or devilry, none could see.
And incendiaries or flamethrowers (Flammenwerthers):

Quote:
It was no brigand or orc-chieftain that ordered the assault upon the Lord of Mordor's greatest foe. A power and mind of malice guided it. 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.
TNT - as used in WWI by the men who would dig trenches underneath enemy lines and set up explosives (as seen in Birdsong):
Quote:
"But the Orcs have brought a devilry from Orthanc," said Aragorn. "They have a blasting fire, and with it they took the Wall. If they cannot come in the caves, they may seal up those that are inside. But now we must turn all our thought to our own defence."
Mostly though, it's the full scale horror of mechanised war on an unprecedented scale that reminds me of WWI.
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