Armies of Middle Earth

Discussion in 'The Works of J.R.R. Tolkien' started by JeffF., May 21, 2002.

  1. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    It has long been an interest of mine to determine the approximate size of the armies of Middle Earth aournd the time of the War of the Ring. I would like to run my conclusions past the readers and participants of the forum to see if anyone has any additional information to add or suggestions to make. My sources are the LOTR trilogy, the Hobbit and Unfinished Tales.


    Army of Rohan. 12,000-13,000. This was the easiest because UT states plainly that the full muster of Rohan was 100 eoreds each not less than 120 riders. It also states that doubtless many more than 12,000 could be mustered so that Theoden would not leave his strongholds undefended even if he did ride with the full muster to Gondor.

    Army of Gondor. 20,000-21,000. This is based on Imrahil's comment at the last debate that the size of the force they were sending against Mordor (seven thousand) was scarcely the size of the vanguard of the army in the days of its strength. In Medieval armies the vanguard is almost universally 1/3 of the total force. This is also based on the approximate size of the garrison of Minas Tirith (after being reinforced from the fiefs) which I reckon at about 6,000 (3,000 from the fiefs and the estimate of 3,000 in the usual garrison--based on Aragorn's statments at Last Debate on the strength coming up from the South and the number of defenders being left behind being at least as strong as prior to the siege.

    Army of Thranduil. 3,000. This is based on his strength at the Battle of Five Armies where he had 1,000 elvish spearmen and the estimate of 1,000 bowmen (the bow being the best known weapon of the Wood Elves) and the determination that he would not have left his forest stronghold unguarded (a reasonable gues that he would not have taken any more than 2/3 of his available warriors).

    Army of Dain. 2,000 This is based on the strength of Dain's force at the battle of Five Armies 500 axe bearing dwarves (a force solely from the iron Hills), the fact that Thorin requested that the ravens bear word to his kin in the north, west and east (of whom only the iron Hills dwarves had arrived) and the fact that Gimli states that they had increased in strength by the time of the War of the Ring.

    Army of Dale. 2,000. This is a tenous number based on Bard's force at the battle of Five Armies, the men and dwarves were in one wing and the elves in the other. There were 500 dwarves, 1,000 elf-spearmen (and my estimated 1,000 elf-bowmen) so I would anticiapte that the dwarves and elves together were at least near to the size of the elf wing say 1,000 men plus the 500 dwarves) and the fact that Gimli states that King Brand ruled "many men" and his land extended south and east. A look at the map shows that the logical bounds for such a realm are the rivers Running and Redwater. about half the size of Rohan or a little bigger than Lebinin in Gondor. This area had been severely depopulated but was since on the mend since the demise of Smaug.

    Woodmen and Beornings 1,200. This is based on the incident of Isildur's death as told in UT. The woodmen got together a force to contest the 2,000+ orcs that attacked Isildur and his 200 man guard. Given the inferior fighting qualities of orcs it would still require a significant force (say half the number as the orc host plus they would not have left their homes unguarded. Since there were no Beornings at the time of the hobbit I assumed they were one people that divided (but kept their cultural ties) by the time of the War and they had a relatively stable population (a great achievement given the evil things that were on the increase in Mirkwood).

    Army of Lorien 3,500-4,000. This is based on my estimate of the total of Thranduil's army and the various statements in UT that say by the time of the War that most of the Silvan elves lived in Lorien as opposed to Greenwood (which had been opposite in the Second Age)

    Hobbitry in Arms. 700-1000. In the scouring of the shire it states that the hobbits numbered several thousand (definitely not including Bree and probably not including those of Buckland either). It is unclear whether these were only the hobbits of Hobbiton but it definitely does include females and children. Given the size of the force at Bywater this number is a reasonable estimate for the total force available to the Thain for defense.

    Woses 1,400. I estimate the Woses in the Druadan forest only numbered a few hundred based on their ability to screen (in the forest) Theoden's march but that their kin in the Druwaith Iaur may have numbered around 1,000 since they were able to destroy the remnants of Saruman's army fleeing south from the battle with the Rohirrim (UT)

    High Elves 1,500. I estimate that Rivendell probably had only a few hundred High Elf defenders since they were rapidly abandoning ME and many of the remainder no longer cared for ME matters. Grey Havens, the Forlond and Harlond probably had slightly larger contingents since most of the Noldor and Sindar refugees were in this area. These would probalby defend their havens and Rivendell and not be attacking anyone.


    Saruman's Army 13,000-15,000 orcs and Dulendings. This assumes Gandalf's estimate of 10,000 orcs (as stated in his conversation with Treebeard) is correct and estimating that the Dunlendings could field several thousand warriors. It probably was more since this force would have to be able to take on Rohan, I'd prefer to say 20,000 total but Gandalf's estimate shouldn't be that far off.


    Sauron's Armies,

    At the Black Gate. 61,000-65,000 orcs, trolls, Southrons, Easterlings,. This is the clearest since it was plainly stated that they numbered ten times and more than ten times the 6,000 (remaining) warriors of the west standing on the two slag hills before the Black Gate.

    In the Druadan forest 6,500-7,000 Easterlings and Orcs. Ghani-Buri-Ghan tells Theoden that a force that numbers "more" than his score of scores counted ten times and five waylays the road to Minas Tirith.

    At Minas Tirith. 30,000-36,000. This is a conservative estimate based on the fact that the Haradrim alone outnumbered the Rohirrim 3 to 1 (giving the 18,000) and the fact that Variags of Khand, Orcs and Trolls were also part of the force.

    At Dol Guldor 8,000-10,000 orcs and trolls. This is a vague estimate based on the fact that Dol-Guldor attacked Lorien three times (failing each), the same force invades Rohan (destroyed by Treebeard); and another force from Dol-Guldor simultaneously attacks Thranduil and is soundly defeated.

    Army attacking Erebor. 5,000-6,000 Easterlings. This is also tenous, based on my estimates of the size of Dain's Dwarf Army and Brand's army of Men, the fact that they were initially defeated after a fiercely contested three day battle, and after a siege of the Lonely Mountain (in which both men and dwarves had taken refuge) they emerged to defeat the enemy.


    I know that the Atlas of ME also makes estimates of the size of forces. I have tried to to this independently based on the same sources.

    Any comments on the logic or illogic of my conclusions and estimates?
     
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  2. Lantarion

    Lantarion no house

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    Well, as far as I can see you are at least very near the actual mark(s). Your reasoning is well-founded and logical, and the numbers are quite possible IMO. Outstanding work, I couldn't have done it better myself. :)
     

  3. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Thanks for the response. I've thought a lot about this.
     
  4. DRavisher

    DRavisher Registered User

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    Very nice to see those numbers JeffF, thanks.
     

  5. Turgon

    Turgon Ghost-King of Gondolin

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    That's a fine piece of Scholarship JeffF. Well researched and well presented - well done! Can we expect 'Armies of Beleriand' next?...;)
     
  6. Pippin

    Pippin Registered User

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    Awesome. Very nice work . You must´ve for sure spent lots of time giving the shape. Congratulations.
     
  7. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Armies of Beleriand

    This is much more difficult because the only number given is the 10,000 for the Army of Gondolin. I estimate that the total number for Gondolin was closer to 12,000 since they would not have denuded the fortress of defenders and their army consisted of 12 battalions (Book Lost Tales). This number might be as much as 1/3 that of the total number of warriors available to Fingolfin (and his sons) and the Sons of Feanor. This is based on the fact that the Sons of Feanor led a smaller host of the Noldor than Fingolfin and his sons (the host of Finfarin's sons came over with Fingolfin's division of the Noldor).

    At the time of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears I estimate that Turgon led 10,000 of his available 12,000, his brother Fingon led the same number (based upon the fact that Tugron's people would have thrived in their hidden fastness while Fingon's would have been continously attritted due to ongoing combat with Morgoth. Fingon would also have led a number of Edain. Since they seem to multilply faster than elves I'd say a safe estimate of Edain of all three houses was between 9,000-10,000. The sons of Feanor would have led around 25,000 the majority of whom would have been men (and the majority of those Easterlings before they defected). This is based upon the plan that Fingon's host would be the anvil and Maehdros' the hammer (the hammer should have more warriors than the anvil but the planning did not take into account Turgon's unleashing of the Gondolidrim). Thingol whose army consisted entirely of Sindar (and the Sindar being part of the Teleri who outnumbered the Noldor) would probably also have a very large army of that numerous folk. Since many of the Sindar took the lords of the Noldor as their sovereigns I estimate between 20,000-25,000 for Thingol and maybe 4,000-8,000 for the Green Elves of Ossiriand (whose late lord was Denethor).

    The armies of Morgoth are much more difficult since they are not given numbers at all (with few exceptions, a footnote in Lost Tales says that Morgoth had only 7 Balrogs total and Gothmog's Troll Guard numbered at least 70--the number killed by Hurin). Based on the outcome of the battles I estimate that Morgoth's initial force (the baiting force) was around 35,000-45,000. The main force was at least twice that or more around 100,000-120,000 and the final force he unleashed at the end around 20,000-25,000. The number of dragons was probably relatively small (perhaps 20-25) given their strength that would still be formidable and perhaps undefeatable.

    Of course these numbers are much more tenous than those for the Third Age since they are based entirely on Turgon's 10,000.
     
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  8. Pippin

    Pippin Registered User

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    Excelent Again, those numbers are priceless.
     
  9. DRavisher

    DRavisher Registered User

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    Quite the worker thou arth JeffF:) Thanks again.
     
  10. Elu Thingol

    Elu Thingol Lord of the Sindar

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    Wow JeffF this is really awesome I've gotta write this down somewhere.

    GREAT JOB!
     
  11. Anarchist

    Anarchist The Eternal Champion

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    Wow that's cool!! Very well accomplished, my congratulations!!
     
  12. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Composition of the Armis of Middle Earth

    These are my conclusions on the make-up or components of each army:

    The Army of Rohan would consist mainly of medium cavalry and not as many heavily armed knights. This conclusion is due to the horse herding culture and the fact that the ratio of heavy cavalry to light in historic Scythian type cultures is about 1 to 10. Trade with Gondor would improve general armaments so that the majority cavalry would be partially armored and well armed (thus my conclusion they were medium cavalry). Excerpts from UT and LOTR leads me to believe that one out of ten riders would be horse archers. My conclusion is that in a typical Rohan host 1 of 10 heavy cavalry (envision Norman or Medieval Knights), 1 of 10 horse archers (like Scythian/Mongol), 8 of 10 medium cavalry (like Roman cavalry with torso armor, shields, helmets).

    According to UT (Disaster at Gladden Fields) the Army of Gondor was mainly infantry but by the time of the War of the Ring we see evidence that there were significant mounted contingents (like the Knights of Dol Amroth). Archers would also be significant (like those of Pinnath Gelin and the Rangers of Ithilien).LOTR talks about both Axemen and spearmen. The signature weapon of Numenoreans seems to be the longsword. Based on typical historical medieval armies I believe they would have about 1/4 Cavalry (half heavy armored knights, half less well armored mounted sergeants/squires), 1/4 archers, 1/2 infantry (half longswordsmen remainder spearmen and axemen).

    Beornings I conclude would be mainly heavy cavalry but by this I mean big men on big horses and not necessarily heavily armored but definitely heavy armed. This is due to their historic ties to the Rohirrim, and the need for mobility in the vales of Anduin and their reputed great stature. They would be also be a form of mounted infantry, that is willing and able to fight in the hills, mountains of the Misty Mountains as well as the eaves of Mirkwood.

    Woodmen. These cousins of the Beornings would be mainly archers, axemen and swordsmen. Entirely infantry they would be much like the Rangers of Ithilien. Woodcrafty, they would excel in partisan warfare, the ambush and raid.

    Army of Dale. Typical city state medieval army. They would probably have a higher ratio of cavalry due to their common ancestry with the Rohirrim. I'd say 1/3 cavalry (1/4 Knights remainder medium cavalry with a few horse archers). The infantry mainly longswordsmen (as they were in the Battle of Five Armies). They would be exceptionally well armed with their proximity and trade ties to the Dwarves of the Kingdom Under the Mountain with matchless weaponry and strong armor.

    Elven Army of Thranduil. 1/2 archers and 1/2 spearmen. Traditionally poorly armored like their relatives the Green Elves of Ossirand. The bow and spear were their traditional weapons. Spears (long spears/Pikes) are not typical weapons for forest cultures but the short spears that can double as thrusting weapons and (at need) javelins are. Woodcrafty beyond the skill of the woodmen also ambushers and raiders.

    Elven Army of Lorien. 1/2 archers and 1/2 spearmen. Similar to Thranduil's host they seem to have superior bows (as described in the gift of the Lothlorien bow to Legolas, said to be superior to his peoples, being stronger and it is assumed greater range and penetrability). Woodcrafty (like Thraduil's) They would have greater morale due to the overlordship of Galadriel and the faith in her power to protect Lorien.

    Dwarves (of Erebor and Ered Luin). Almost entirely heavily armored axemen with stout chain mail, round shields and shortswords (as Gimli is described as well as the host of Dain at Battle of Five Armies). Though never mention in any Tolkien writings it woudl seem to me that dwarves would be partial to crossbows and composite bows both requiring the craftsmanship dwarves were famous for. This would give them a small but very effective body of missile troops (though the overwhelming majority of dwarves would seem to prefer close combat with the axe).

    Hobbits/Men of Bree. Typical militia. The hobbits would seem to prefer bows and slings when it comes to combat. Probably 2/3 archers and slingers, remainder militia type spearmen (as most of the Bree men would be) with some armed with wood cutting axes, farm implements like scythes and flails (like giant nunchaku sticks AKA 'Nunchaks or Numchaks' actually evolved from an implement used to thresh grain).

    High Elves. These few remaining would be the best armed with the weapons and armor of the Noldor. They would have significant cavalry 1/3-1/4 of the host. They would also be supported by many Sindarin archers. Few in number probably would man defenses of teh havens and Rivendell

    Haradrim. These actually seem to be a coalition of different peoples similar to African and Middle East warriors. Said to have few horsemen these would be mainly infantry (spearmen with some archers) and medium cavalry similar to Saracens and Turks with light armor, scimitars and spears. They would also have a number of war elephants (mumakil), said to be much larger than elephants we know, difficult to control and liable to go beserk among their own troops as well as the enemy. Variags seem to be undescribed but should be similar to Haradrim in armament. Majority of infantry should be unarmored or with leather armor but all would carry shields and perhaps a few elite units with metal helms and armor.

    Easterlings. Again majority infantry with 'few' horsemen. Their armament would be similar to Haradrim but without Mumakil.

    Orcs. Varying from heavily armored and armed Uruks to lightly armed goblin archers. These should be the majority of the Dark Lord's Infantry. Uruks seemed to be elite units say one out of ten in ratio.

    Trolls. These are the shock troops of the Dark Lord. Armed with great hammers and protected by scales, they seem to be vulnerable only to special weapons like elven swords (like Sting) and barrow swords (like Pippin's). Few in number they are at most described as being 'companies' not battalions. Probably less than 100. If their were more they would have overwhelmed the Army of the West (standing before the Black Gate on the two slag hills) in short order, breaking thru their ranks and allowing the horde of Orcs and evil men in.

    Dunlendings. A poorly armed people as described in UT (the battle of the Fords). Few with armor (except those with captured armor) and armed with spears, swords. They would also have some cavalry (unarmored except for champions and cheiftains)
     
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  13. Turgon

    Turgon Ghost-King of Gondolin

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    Fascinating JeffF - what a great thread - it's a rare thing when a person give such you such new, well-informed, insight - dare I ask if you can give us an 'Armies of the Last Alliance'?
     
  14. Camille

    Camille Of the Edain

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    WoW * bow* great job, just one thing about the Balrogs, it is also said in the Book of lost tales that Tuor killed 5 balrogs and the ones of the host of the hammer elves, family or.. sorry do not remember the name, bad English :) , killed several of them, so you are right about calculating the number of Morgoth's host is difficult if the writings are contradictory.
    But Again *bow* excellent job
    :)
     
  15. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    THe Last Alliance

    The Last Alliance is one of my greatest interests. First to set up my conclusions, much of what is stated in the Silmarillion confuses me about this host. At Imladris it is described as "greater and fairer in arms" than any host seen in Middle Earth since the breaking of Thangorodrim. My assumption is this is an exagerration. The armament sent by Ar Pharazon (sp? my books are not with me) to Umbar to subdue Sauron was so great that his servants would not withstand them and deserted him (my question is how could a host of Numenoreans however great and imposing be more dangerous than the Host of the West at the Breaking of Thangorodrim that included Valar and Maiar as well as the Vanyar and Noldor (those-who-were-not-exiled). Anyway it is described as being the greatest since that and this includes only the Army of Arnor (presumably the Army of Gondor is still fighting at Ossigliath) and Gil-Galad's last army of Noldor and Sindar. The area of Arnor is described as not heavily populated (prior to Elendil's establishment of Arnor). Five ship loads of people (Elendil's share---Isildur with 3 and Anarion with 2 respectively) could not have multiplied into so vast a host in 100 + years even if they all the sparse population prior to their arrival took them as overlords. The main part of this northern host must have been Noldor and Sindar of Gil-Galad and Cirdan. As described in UT this force is joined by the host of Greenwood elves under Thraduil's father Oropher and the host of Lorien under Amdir (described as smaller than Oropher's host). These Silvan elves were only titular under Gil-Galad's command (since later they attacked without orders at the Battle of Dagorland). It is joined by a small army of Durin's Folk out of Khazud-dum (Moria) which it must be assumed had a token force of both the other two dwarf houses of the west, the Broadbeams and Firebeards (from excerpts in the Peoples of Middle Earth the dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost) who had joined Durin's Folk in Khazud-dum after the destruction of their kingdoms at the end of the First Age. This force must have been joined at Dagorland by as many soldiers of the Army of Gondor as could be spared from the defences of Ossigliath or Minas Ithil. One note while it was said in Silmarillion that Minas Ithil was taken by Sauron UT describes that Minas Ithil was being held by two of Isildur's sons (Disaster at Gladden Fields) during the campaign against the Battle of Dagorland and Siege of Barad-dur so it must have been re-capured.

    My conclusion is that the Army of the Last Alliance at the Battle of Dagorland numbered around 50,000. A few thousand of these were dwarf axemen mostly Longbeards but some Firebeards and Broadbeams. The remainder were about half elves (of all types) and half men (of all types).

    The elf-host (say 20,000+) would be half High Elves of Lindon and Imladris (for simplicity includes the Sindarin elves of Lindon also) under Gil-Galad and Cirdan. The remaining half would be Silvan Elves of Lorien and Greenwood (AKA Mirkwood ). The reason I assign them so high a number is this is the first war the Silvan Elves fight in history so thy must have thrived while the Noldor and Sindar suffered attrition in the wars with Morgoth and Sauron.

    The Army of Elendil, Isildur and Anarion (say 20,000+) would have had a few units of tall Numenoreans. These would be almost all infantry with longswords. There would be some cohorts of archers with the famous Numenorean steel bows (as described in UT Description of Numenor and Disaster at Gladden Fields). There were horsemen 'mostly' of non Numenorean descent (probably ancestors of the Rohirrim/Northmen) and most of these would be horse archers (again as described in UT). I conclude that there were two other types of units under the Dunedain. First Native men of the west adopting Dunedain culture and overlordship (with perhaps some offspring of intermarriage) and second Native men of the West allied to Elendil & sons but under their own chieftains or lords (like the Dead Men of Dunharrow when they were alive). The former would be almost as well armed as the Numenoreans with similar weapons and organization with perhaps a few unique military traits (perhaps a greater ratio of horsemen). The latter would have the arms of their ancestors and be much less well armed (according to the description of the host of the dead, spearmen, swordsmen as well as mounted warriors).

    The armies of Sauron are more of a mystery but it can be reasonably assumed that it was similar to his army during the War of the Ring with the exception of the Uruks and Olog Hai which appear in the Third Age. That would be orcs, trolls, wargs, wolves, Easterlings and Southrons (in all likelihood with some mumakil). Some unique exceptions are a few units of Black Numenoreans (still a separate people prior to their absorption by the Haradrim) similar in armament and capabilty to their counterparts in Elendil's host as well as a few dwarves of the four eastern houses which would be armed with weapons and armor much superior to the orcs but not on a par with the Black Numenoreans.

    Another sigficant point is JRRT's statement in the Silmarillion that some of all folk as well as beasts and birds were divided that day save the elves alone who fought under Gil-Galad. If this is to be taken literally (and that is a big IF) then the Ents fought (and some were on the side of the Dark Lord) and some orcs and trolls must have rebelled and purposely or accidentally fought on the side of the West (as I said in another post I envisioned some outcast orcs driven out by their more evil bretheren because of 'throwback' elf characteristics--imagine Goblin imps set out to die being rescued by similar outcasts who survived--- who banded together, persuaded a couple easily led trolls to join and offered their services to the lords of the West with the desire to kill the last representative of the cause of their torment--Sauron servant of Morgoth).

    I would imagine that Sauron's tactics would be the time honored methods of those of Morgoth utilizing deception and baiting. A force 'seemingly great and yet but a part of all he had prepared' would stand before the Black Gate to lure the host of the West between the arms (the spurs that later mounted the Towers of the Teeth). As described in UT the Silvan elves rashly charge despite Gil-Galad's orders to wait. They overthrow the bait force and spring the main force of the Dark Lord who surround the rash Silvan elves and cause great casualties. The Host of the West in turn charge to the rescue and the Dark Lord host, pre-maturely sprung now fight at a disadvantage. The dwarves of the East cause great havoc against men and elves until Durin's Folk reveal themselves in wrath. The dwarves allied to evil fall back in dismay at the appearance of a host of their Eldest Father. Again the Host of the West drives the host of Mordor and Sauron unleashes his last reserve. Beasts of Mordor, battalions of great orcs, horsemen of the Easterlings and Southrons, companies of trolls all driven by the brigades of Black Numenoreans and the Nazgul smash into the disarrayed Army of the West. The Trolls cause great havoc among the non-Numenorean men and Silvan elves whose arms cannot withstand them and the Edain and High Elves with their blessed weapons cannot be everywhere. The Ents standing like a stately forest to the rear of the western host stride forward and engage the trolls, counterfeits of Morgoth made in mockery of Ents. The power of great roots compressed in time breaks the might of the stone of the trolls and they are destroyed. The Ents retreat wanting no part of any further conflict with any other folk except the orcs and the Mordor host falls back in final retreat through the Morannon into the vale of Udun, through the Isenmouthe and into Barad-dur to withstand a seven year siege during which they kill Anarion and sortie many times, at the last sortie led by Sauron himself they drive the warriors of the West all the way to the slopes of Orodruin, Mount Doom, where Gil-Galad and Elendil together fight Sauron to a standstill inflicting great wounds with Aiglos and Narsil but falling to the weapon of the Dark Lord until he himself suffers the wound from Isildur with the shard of his father's sword that cuts the One Ring from his hand.

    I am currently writing a 'story of Middle Earth' about the campaign of the Last Alliance, starting with the initial attack on Minas Ithil, the battle of Dagorland, the siege of Barad-dur, the last sortie and the overthrow of Sauron and my research objective is to make it as accurate as possible within the context of the Silmarillion, LORT Appendices and Unfinished Tales. I am also writing a story during the War of the Ring about Thranduil's, the Beornings and the Woodsmen battle with the forces of Dol Guldor and the defence of the men of Dale and dwarves of Erebor against the Easterlings. A Dunedain Ranger unable to answer the summons Galadriel made for Aragorn's kindred to join him is the central character
     
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  16. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Camille

    Thanks for the accolades. I'm also confused about the apparent contradictions about the number of Balrogs or any of the Maiar for that matter. I believe that Tolkien's letter stating that Morgoth had no more than seven balrogs is what he eventually meant to be as final. I've often wondered why Gothmog the Lord of the Balrogs would have a Troll Guard. It makes sense only if there were not a large number of Balrogs. In the Silmarillion it talks of the death of only two balrogs, both killed in the overthrow of Gondolin. The fuller story of the fall of Gondolin told in the Book of Lost Tales is a draft and many aspects of it are not in accord with the Silmarillion, e.g. the great mechanical beasts that were used. In a way the seven Balrogs of Morgoth are like the nine Nazgul of Sauron. They serve as Captains of hosts and are the main, most senior and most deadly servants of their respective dark lords. The overthrow of even one is a major blow against evil.
     
  17. Tar-Elenion

    Tar-Elenion Registered User

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    This would be a full muster of the riders. I would guess they could likely muster an equal or double number of foot.

    A little less than three thousands came from the 'provinces' to Minas Tirith. But they may seem to have sent only a tithe of their strength, for fear of assault from the south.
    The Army of Gondor was undoubtedly larger than 20 thousands in its days of might. The Army of Gondor in the time of Ondoher was divided into a Northern and a (smaller) Southern Army, and each had a Centre, Left Wing and Right Wing.

    You are over estimating the number of bowmen at the Battle of Five Armies. By the descriptions given the spearmen were the main component, I doubt Thranduil had more than two hundred archers with him. But also note that Thranduil probably gathered what he could in haste, and left many Elves behind to aid the Lakemen who did not go to Erebor.

    Possible.

    There is nothing indicating that Bard had 1000 men with him. Several hundreds is more likely (I doubt they outnumbered Dain's army). Some of Thranduil's Elves were sent with some of Bard's Men which may have evened the two wings up.

    There were no Beornings at the time of the hobbit?


    Provide the quote wherein it says most of the Silvan Elves lived in Lorien.
     
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  18. Tar-Elenion

    Tar-Elenion Registered User

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    Re: Composition of the Armis of Middle Earth

    Theodred had 12 eoreds with him, one of which was archers. It may be that this was standard and one eored in 12 was bow armed, while it also seems likely that a few archers were included in each eored, so one tenth is not unlikely. What makes you think the Rohirrim were 'scythian' or 'mongol' like? They were at most and in portion semi-nomadic, and it was likely farmers and such that for example Grimbold drew his strength in foot soldiers from and there were towns (for example Aldburg).

    One fourth cavalry is likely too high. Out of 7000 that headed for the Morannon, 1000 were horse, 6000 foot. Of those 1000 horse half were Rohirrim (as were 500 of the foot). There soldiers would primarily be armed with both spear and sword. It is perhaps significant that horses were uncommon in Minas Tirith, and Imrahil seemed to provide a major contingent of cavalry.

    There is nothing suggesting the Beornings were cavalry of any sort.

    Likely much to high a proportion in cavalry.



    Poorly armoured in the Second Age, likely much better off in the Third. Swords were also used, mail is mentioned. It is possible that the Sindarin elements among them were axe armed.


    Gimli is not described as using a short sword, he has an axe. Dain's folk weilded mattocks and shortswords. Dwarves are mentioned as using bows, but crossbows are not mentioned at all. Spears are mentioned as well.



    The favored weapon of the Sindar was the axe (and the short bow). Spears were also used but swords seem to have been reserved for special units with little strength in cavalry. The Noldor favoured swords but also used spears, axes, bows and longbows. Cavalry was used, both shock and missle.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2002
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  19. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Reply to Tar Elenion

    Army of Rohan. I don't agree that the 1/2 or the bulk of the Rohirrim were infantry. In Theoden's conversation with the messenger of Gondor (ROTK, Muster of Rohan) he says "we are a people who fight rather upon horseback." The numbers of infantry are given in TT as 1,000 in Helm's Deep plus 1,000 that arrive later with Erkenbrand. This later force was the same as described in UT Battle of the Fords. The men of Westfold were unique among Rohirrim in having infantry. It is possible that these men might mount when called upon to join the full muster. In any case my estimate is a few thousand infantry for the Rohirrim besides the cavalry and these would be mainly greybeards and younglings whose task was to guard the fortresses of Dunharrow, Helm's Deep, and Edoras as well as the few Rohirrim (or descendants of orignal inhabitants absorbed into Rohirrim culture but who retained their preference for fighting on foot).

    Army of Gondor. I agree that in the days of its strength the Army of Gondor was much stronger than 20,000 but my estimate was for the War of the Ring when the strength of Gondor had waned and though I failed to mention it I intended the strength estimate to mean the field army and not count the necessary garrisons of Minas Tirith, Pelargir and Dol Amroth. If we can take the 'tithe' statement literally (and it musn't necessarily be so-since the term is also used to mean a pittance) then muliplying the estimate of the 3,000 actual reinforcements to Minas tirith by 10 getting 30,000 adding the 2,000-3,000 or so actually in Minas Tirith would get us 32,000-33,000. With Minas Tirith and Pelargir as major fortresses (the later was the original haven of the Faithful and one of the oldest Numenorean cities in Middle Earth, and Dol Amroth (size unknown but as residence of the ruler of the fief of Belfalas perhaps a formidable fortress plus the fact that none of the fiefs would leave themselves undefended a 20,000 field army with 12-13,000 to guard the two major fortresses, one unknown size fortress, and the possibly numerous minor castles throughout Gondor is not unreasonable.

    Army of Thranduil. Though I concede that anyone's guess is as good as mine a few hints throughout LORT makes me believe that the bow and not the spear is the main weapon of the Silvan Elves. First the fact that Legolas is an archer, second that in Galadriel's conversation with Frodo at her mirror she says, "nor even by the slender arrows of elven bows, is this land of Lothlorien maintained and defended" third that in the Silmarillion the Green Elves of Ossiriand (to whom the Silvans are closely related) are described as (intially) having few weapons of steel. Bone tipped arrows were common in our history prior to the advent of metal. It is reasonable to estimate that Silvan elves were intially bowmen and later developed superior bows and arrows as well as obtaining swords and spearheads later in their history but probably being most comfortable with the bow (to keep the iron shod and steel bearing orcs at a distance). Also I took as an example the Welsh armies of medieval history whose forest and hill bound people were in the majority archers as were most of the woodland folk in european medieval times.

    Army of Dale/Bard's army. I agree that there is nothing to indicate the number of men Bard had with him. It is very possible that only the men of the village of Esgaroth (size unspecified) but as I based my estimate on the size of Thranduil's army (which I have given my reasons for) it would not make sense to put only men and dwarves on one spur and elves on the other at the Battle of Five Armies unless they were closer rather than farther apart in strength. Further in the Hobbit (Fire and Water) Bard's company of archers is only one of an unspecified number of companies (the others having fled the wrath of Smaug). Though JRRT uses the term 'company' loosely, in military terms he usually uses it as a signifcant force (the Knights of Dol Amroth -aside from the Dol Amroth infantry men-at-arms are described as a company, the Rangers of Ithilien another company--a force that defeated a regiment of Southrons as described in TT Of Stewed Herbs and Rabbit). Also it may be ludicrious for a few villagers to hail Bard as the new King and Girion's heir unless there was a hefty or sizable population/body of armed men to justify such a delcaration. I concede though, as I did originally that this number, 2,000, is the most tenous of my estimates.

    Beornings. Certainly the ancestor of the Beornings existed at the time of the Hobbit but the tribe called the Beornings did not exist until as at the end of the Hobbit (The Return Journey) states, "Beorn became a great chief afterwards and ruled a wide land between the mountains and the wood."

    Lorien. Again only hints, but in Unfinished Tales History of Galadriel and Celeborn, appendix titled The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves it states that Oropher led a numerous army (of the Greenwood/AKA Mirkwood Silvan elves and joined it with the "lesser" army of Lorien. Later in the same appendix it mentions that the host of Lorien lost more than half it's number while the of the host of Oropher less than a third remained. This factor combined with the supposition that under Galadriel the elves of Lorien thrived within her protected bounds while the elves of Mirkwood were constantly atritted due to strife with the growing evils within Mirkwood (the northern Silvan realm is once described as being most of the northern Greenwood/Mirkwood and by the time of the War of the Ring had dwindled to the area around Thranduil's palace-implying loss of population comensurate with the loss of territory) leads me to believe that after the Second Age there were more Silvan Elves in Lorien than there were in Mirkwood. Another factor I just re-read that would affect the composition of the Army of Lorien. It seems that Noldorin as well as Sindarin elves followed Galadriel and Celeborn into Eriador when the left Lindon. it is reasonable to assume that Noldorin and Sindarin elves followed their chosen lords into Lorien as well. While undoubtdly some of these would assume leadership positions under the Lord and Lady a few might compose one or two elite units of High Elves within the host of the Galadrim.
     
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  20. JeffF.

    JeffF. Registered User

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    Tar elenion

    Hello, my previous reply was to your first inquiry, I must have posted my reply at the same time you posted your second inquiry.

    Before I forget thanks for the thought provoking discussion.

    My estimate that the Beornings being cavalry/mounted infantry and the Army of Dale having a higher than normal proportion of infantry is based upon the terrain and their kinship with the Rohirrim who were always described as a horse people. The vales of Anduin were one of the homes of the Eotheod (previous name of the Rohirrim) before they moved to Rohan. It is a reasonable assumption that of the few people they left behind (whose descendants were the Woodmen and Beornings) those who remained in the vales (the Beornings or more precisely thier anscestors) were horsemen like their Eotheod forebears. Same for the Men of Dale who are also described as kin to the Rohirrim. It seems reasonable that a people who dwell in the open areas east of Mirkwood (which is described as the original or first known home for the Eotheod/Rohirrim would continue to have sizable mounted contingents.

    I agree that the Gondor forces should always mainly infantry and there is little evidence for significant mounted forces but the fact that the Knights of Dol Amroth existed and Kings like Earnur (who fell to threachery by the Lord Nazgul) who preferred the skills of knighthood lead me to believe that Gondor evolved into a typical medieval like realm and army with Knight signors supported by mounted sergeants and mounted squires became a growing part of the army. Gandalf states in his conversation with Denethor that the one advantage they have over the enemy is that they (the enemy have few horsemen). Though Denethor retorts that he also has few horsemen evidently there are enought for Gandalf to believe he has an advantage over the enemy. A significant mounted force for Gondor also goes far to explaining their ability to withstand the the onslaught of near overwhelming numbers of Haradrim and Easterlings. the fact that Gondor at different time in its history brings war to the Haradrim and the lands near the Sea of Rhun, both of which have significant plains leads me to believe that Gondor must have been capable of fielding a sizeable mounted force. the force sent to the Black Gate is not necessarily representative of a typical army of Gondor since it is stated in the Last Debate that the land in which they will campaign is too poor to sustain a large cavalry force that arm was intentionally minimized. A note in european medieval campaigns March (the time of this campaign) is too early to march and fight with a mounted force as there is insufficient grazing to maintain the horses unless thier feed grain is carried (a logistical nightmare for wagon bound supply trains). I believe it is significant that of the 1,000 horsemen taken by that last host of the west 1/2 are Men of Gondor (the Rangers of the north being a token force). Again though I must concede that it is supposition and not supported by any statement within JRRT book.

    Tar Elenion, though I look forward to your opinions as well as anyone elses could you offer the reasons why you believe my estimates or conclusions are off? It is my intention to do so with my own (as I believe I have been doing). thanks again. One note, as a constant student and old instructor of Military Science and Military History I find that my views on military matters are often clouded by my experience and previous studies (that is I think within the box that I have constructed for myself) and I look forward to any and all "outside the box" ideas but fervently desire the 'why' behind them.

    best regards,

    JeffF.
     
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