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Great Battles in Military History

Ancalagon

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I have been mulling over a historical battle in relation to another thread (as Gothmog will know), when the idea came to me to ask members which great or unsung battles in our history rest heavy on your shoulders. I say 'rest heavy', for battles, though admirable are truly sorrowful, for the price paid is immense.

Tolkien obviously recounted tales of many battles throughout his work and was experienced in battle himself. In particular the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, Gladden Fields, Field of Celebrant, Pelennor Fields, The FIve Armies, Dagorlad to name but a few. Warfare, the clash of steel, injury, sorrow and victory was integral to the Histories of Middle-Earth.

1. Which battle in our own history do you consider captures the essence of bravery and sorrow?

The one I had been contemplating was of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, which I will delve into later.

2. Which battle in The Histories of Middle-Earth do you think sums up the devastation and elation of war in the eyes of Tolkien?

As always, interested to hear your views and opinion.

I do not wish to glorify death; but death in battle in glorious in itself: AncalagonTheBlack 05/01/2002
 

Ancalagon

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Thank-you Cir, please feel free to elaborate on your choices, for I think they are important to the essence of Tolkiens emotion when he describes his battles and moreso his characters.
 
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Ciryaher

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Oh, hehe :D

Gettysburg was a defining point in history because it was perhaps one of the greatest battles fought between brothers; a nation fights against itself.

Stalingrad was perhaps one of the bloodiest battles, ill-equipped Russian conscripts chipping away at the weary but well-trained Germans...Truly a picture of humanity's dark side.

Gondolin was a terribly magnificent battle. Hordes of dragons, balrogs, and countless orcs. Great machinations that seemed alive and the bitter concept of betrayal. The betrayal in turn avenged by a horrible death... Truly amazing...
 

Beorn

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Well, for numero uno, I would put down the attack on Normandy. So many brave men went in, to be drowned before they even landed, to be shot on the beach, to think they got away, but didn't. It is truly a sorrowful attack.

And, for number 2, I'm not sure what I would say. I'm not all that sure that I could choose one....
 

Moonbeams

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For the first one I have no doubt, since it happened fairly recently, and it happened to my preople, and to my relatives - the battle of Vukovar. It was a beautiful baroqe city in Croatia, full of buildings that stood against the Turks in middle ages, gremans in ww1 and ww2... until it was attacked by Yugoslavia and held under siege for years. And people survived, and struggeled, and they were surrounded, and could not run away even if they wanted to, but they did not. But in the end the overpowering yougoslavian army entered the city and banished the remaining people, while flattening the entire city to the ground. There are very few remains of buildings left standing... and the picture of woman, and men, and children being banished from their homeland while carrying their whole life in a gray pack, walking slowely under the winter sun... that is something I will never forget.

As far as Tolkien, I don't know if the drowning of the Numenor can be conciodered as a battle, since it was a concequence of going after Valinor,but the entire island submerged with everyone on it is a pretty powerful way to end a war.
 

Ancalagon

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I wonder if anyone who has a knowledge of Scandanavian history can pinpoint any relation between battles of middle-earth and those of their own history?
 

Anarchist

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1. For the courage category I would defeneately pick the battle of Thermopylae with the 300 Spartans since I am Greek and very proud of it. As for sorrow I pick the final battle in Mesologgi in Greece. After many months of siege, the Greeks of Mesologgi decided to break out and try to break the lines of the Turks. Only a few of them survived. This was both brave and sorrowful and nearly brought the Greek revolution to an end.

2. Well I don't know many battles of Tolkien's work. I "enjoyed" the siege of Minas Tirith. It was a very sorrowful battle full of fear for the men in the city. Especially when they saw the ships and thought that all was lost.

Can someone tell me a little bit about the battle of Gondolin? Where can I read about it?
 

Ancalagon

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You can find a great deal about Gondolin in 'The Silmarillion'. By all accounts it seems it was one of the most beautiful cities ever to grace Middle-Earth.

The story itself is wrapped in intrigue, mystery and immense sorrow. Well worth reading more about.
 

Pippin

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I´ll put for number 1 the attack on Normandy and for the 2 gondolin i guess got it for sure.

By the way can anyone send a PM with the whole Tolkien works ( book´s names) i guess i´m getting confused with new ones i saw on the book store, thanks anyway.
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Pippin
I´ll put for number 1 the attack on Normandy and for the 2 gondolin i guess got it for sure.

By the way can anyone send a PM with the whole Tolkien works ( book´s names) i guess i´m getting confused with new ones i saw on the book store, thanks anyway.


1 Stalingrad

2 Nirneath Arneodiad Fo sure it was called "The Unnumbered Tears" and was a drasti`c battle. They could have won 2. If it wasn't for the easeterlings. Then probably Gondolin.
 

7doubles

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i vote the korean war. considering agricultural disaster and population controll tactics a mock demonstration of the only true superpowers the united states and china. the mass of man proved owerwelming to the usa technical and machanical defence stratagy. mcarther perposed we poison the rivers and resavors with nucular and toxic waste. but was fired for crossing the 38th paralel wich maskoraded the subturfuse to reasert diplomatic relations with china. now 50yrs later we prepair for the aniversary, the war of the rat. the proofing is being staged, embasys are evacuated in antiapation; because of hoof and mouth, a bad drowt,overpopulation,hunger and milatary opression, the only way to avoid cival war is to seek releif from the usa to cut down chinas surpluss poulation and at the same time stimulating the production of both countrys economys through output and lowered minum wages during wartime years and mandatory rationing of all tangable reborces. my point is the degree of psycological warfair and propaganda brainwashing in this country is milatary genius. the manipulation has to be total or we'll go into cival war as vietnam demonstrated. i am no cowered but koreia is the end of the line and deat of us all!

best tolkine war: the dicord of melco in the song of the ainor when iluventar rose hands and pronounced his doom on ea.
 
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Brent

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Originally posted by Ancalagon

1. Which battle in our own history do you consider captures the essence of bravery and sorrow?

The one I had been contemplating was of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, which I will delve into later.

2. Which battle in The Histories of Middle-Earth do you think sums up the devastation and elation of war in the eyes of Tolkien?

As always, interested to hear your views and opinion.

I do not wish to glorify death; but death in battle in glorious in itself: AncalagonTheBlack 05/01/2002
1. Bravery and sorrow. I wouldn't go for Gettysburg or Stalingrad. Nor Normandy, the begining of the defeat of Evil. Its a difficult one there are so many in history. Leonidas is quite a good one though I've heard a good critique of his decision that led to that engagement.
I think I would go for the Warsaw uprising in WWII. Ordinary people with little or no equipment against regular well armed troops, no help comes to them from the Red Army (they halt their advance) but they still fight on even when their situation becomes hopeless. What did they fight for ? State's rights a political ideal ? No taxation from the mother country ? No. Just the simple right to exist. Though I suppose you could argue they had no choice, I wouldn't though.
Second choice would be personal, the defence of Arnhem Bridge by Lt Col. Jon Frost VC and the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, with ad hoc elements of the 3rd.

2. No contest for me - the battle of Unnumbered Tears, a name given it by the Elves and they would have a better concept of Unnumbered than you or I.
 

Lantarion

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1. Hmm, I can't say. I first thought of the Battle of Agincort, in the Hundred Years' War, but shooting at a bunch of charging footsoldiers isn't very heroic (the French were heroic here, although the English whooped their butts!).
2. The Nirnaeth Arnoediad, definately. Great captains died there, and it was the greatest mustering of Elves and Men against the forces of Melkor that was ever known. Gondolin was pretty straightforward: Melkor came, saw, and destroyed.
 

7doubles

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anything melco must begiven special consderation. when it comes to war melco invented or was the root of the warpath. the fact he wared with life itself showes a degree of spontinaty that had a substance of caotic purity. "a noble elalament of time"

our hour devourer!
 
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Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Pontifex
1. Hmm, I can't say. I first thought of the Battle of Agincort, in the Hundred Years' War, but shooting at a bunch of charging footsoldiers isn't very heroic (the French were heroic here, although the English whooped their butts!).
2. The Nirnaeth Arnoediad, definately. Great captains died there, and it was the greatest mustering of Elves and Men against the forces of Melkor that was ever known. Gondolin was pretty straightforward: Melkor came, saw, and destroyed.

Yes that is right it has to be the battle of the unnumbered tears.
 

Ossiriand Blade

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1. For courage it has to be the Somme,30,000 british dead on the first day.Companies of men marching at parade ground pace,some kicking footballs in front of them or playing flutes and bagpipes while advancing into machine gun fire, stupidity and butchery on the generals part,but the bravery of the men,such were Tolkiens generation I wonder if people would do such a thing now? I am sure I would'nt

2.Hurins stand against the troll bodyguard of Gothmog.
 

daisy

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1. Dieppe

2. Vimy Ridge

3. Normandy

4. Waterloo - just for sheer guts

5. Little Big Horn

6. D-Day

7.Paradise Lost

8.Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
 

Ancalagon

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Like him or loathe him, there is something to be said for Boromirs last stand against the Orcs, whilst trying to defend Merry and Pippin. Personally, I think this was one of the most significant acts of bravery Tolkien ever wrote about. Not a battle or a war, simply a last stand to the dying breath. Actually, to give some credit to PJ, I think that the moment of Boromirs last stand was one of the better depictions in the film.
 

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