🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

How Powerful Was Gondor At Its Height

Aldarion

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
114
Reaction score
116
Location
Split, Croatia
Just something I wrote:

I basically worked off the assumption that Gondor = Byzantium. So I took a look at Byzantine military organization, and then extrapolated from that and from what little we know about Gondor at its greatest (namely, Imrahil's line about "7 000 men" and information about its territorial extent). Result is... well, it was likely far more powerful than most people think, with army numbers going into low six digits.
 

Olorgando

not from 'Straya
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Messages
1,457
Reaction score
777
Location
Franconia
What leaves me scratching my head is what is meant with a "vanguard". My impression from perhaps the last 100 years or a bit more of warfare would be hardly more than a scouting party, certainly nothing that could engage a serious massing of troop on the opposing side. Not something that such a "vanguard" would be expected to do, anyway. I would guess that they (the scouts) would have the job of informing the main mass of troops about where it would be of the greatest advantage to attack the enemy - or, if the enemy seemed to be at too much of an advantage, how to avoid any contact with them (I'm thinking of Ghân-buri-Ghân leading the Rohirrim, 6000 riders, past a Mordor force sent to impede them by the, by then, secret Stonewain valley … )
 
Last edited:

Aldarion

Active Member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
114
Reaction score
116
Location
Split, Croatia
What leaves me scratching my head is what is meant with a "vanguard". My impression from perhaps the last 100 years or a bit more of warfare would be hardly more than a scouting party, certainly nothing that could engage a serious massing of troop on the opposing side. Not something that such a "vanguard" would be expected to do, anyway. I would guess that they (the scouts) would have the job of informing the main mass of troops about where it would be of the greatest advantage to attack the enemy - or, if the enemy seemed to be at too much of an advantage, how to avoid any contact with them (I'm thinking of Ghân-buri-Ghân leading the Rohirrim, 6000 riders, past a Mordor force sent to impede them by the, by then, secret Stonewain valley … )
Vanguard, as used historically, was supposed to be capable of engaging the enemy in battle. In fact, it was one of basic battle divisions. As I noted, Byzantine army typically deployed in five divisions on march - vanguard, left wing, right wing, center and rear guard. According to Byzantine doctrine, all these divisions were of equal strength, which is how I calculated strength of Gondor's field army at its height. Now, Western European medieval armies could be and were far more varied... but the thing is, Gondor is not based on Western European feudal societies, it is based on Byzantine Empire. Which means it is there we have to look at if we want to understand its organization, be it political or military one, just as we have to look at Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to understand Rohan.

The above, by the way, would make Dunlendings the Celts who lived in Britain (Rohan) before Anglo-Saxons (Rohirrim) arrived. Which would mean that they are related to Gondorians...

But anyway, scouting party is one thing, vanguard another. Vanguard is a battle division, scouting party is just that - scouting party, relying on stealth and speed. Army on march would be surrounded by scouts, not just ahead but to the sides and rear as well. These would, if threatened, take shelter behind the vanguard, but were not vanguard (or rear guard, or flank guard - when such was deployed) in and by themselves.
 

Thread suggestions

Top