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  1. #1

    Saruman's military strategy

    When Saruman won passage of the Fords of Isen, he apparently sent his army straight to Helm's Deep. Instead, he should have attacked Edoras, Rohan's capital, and bypassed Helm's Deep-- which even he knew was a very strong fortress. Edoras was not that much further, and supply of the army was not a problem in the Westfold. I think Saruman made a strategic blunder here.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by gasconade View Post
    When Saruman won passage of the Fords of Isen, he apparently sent his army straight to Helm's Deep. Instead, he should have attacked Edoras, Rohan's capital, and bypassed Helm's Deep-- which even he knew was a very strong fortress. Edoras was not that much further, and supply of the army was not a problem in the Westfold. I think Saruman made a strategic blunder here.
    Edoras was empty by that point, the fact that Saruman was quite aware of. He also knew that the Rohirrim forces at the Fords were scattered, not destroyed. In fact he did make the only smart move available to him - destroy the main (and the only organized) opposing force.
    His blunder was in incorrectly estimating the timetable (Hornburg siege took too long) and completely overlooking Fangorn.

    Had Saruman's forces marched to Edoras, the King would've had time to reassemble the scattered muster of Westemnet (what Gandalf did in a very short time) and assail Saruman's forces on the plains giving the Rohirrim every advantage.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Edoras was empty by that point, the fact that Saruman was quite aware of. He also knew that the Rohirrim forces at the Fords were scattered, not destroyed. In fact he did make the only smart move available to him - destroy the main (and the only organized) opposing force.
    His blunder was in incorrectly estimating the timetable (Hornburg siege took too long) and completely overlooking Fangorn.

    Had Saruman's forces marched to Edoras, the King would've had time to reassemble the scattered muster of Westemnet (what Gandalf did in a very short time) and assail Saruman's forces on the plains giving the Rohirrim every advantage.
    Excellent point Egorvlad - in bypassing the Hornburg to destroy Edoras, Saruman would have left his forces vulnerable to a counter-attack from behind with a better organized Rohirric force. And you have to ask yourself the question: would you rather have the decisive battle of the war for Rohan fought on the plains somewhere with the decided advantage that Rohan's cavalry provides at that point, or engage in a siege battle with a smaller enemy force holed up in a keep? I don't think Saruman chose his strategy poorly in this regard. If he had won the battle at HD, it likely would have been the knockout punch for Rohan.
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

  4. #4
    Exactly. You never leave an enemy behind your lines that can still fight. And that is exactly when Saruman would have done if he had marched on Edoras. He made a mistake of course but it was not in that part of his strategy at least. Rather it was, as Egorvlad mentioned, that he left Fangorn and the Ents out of his plans. That and he underestimated the Rohirrim.

  5. #5
    All due respect, but I would have taken the knock-out blow and went for Edoras. All the rats were in a cage, locked up in Helm's Deep. That was the White Hand's mistake.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by gasconade View Post
    All due respect, but I would have taken the knock-out blow and went for Edoras. All the rats were in a cage, locked up in Helm's Deep. That was the White Hand's mistake.
    Empty city is worthless. Ask Bonaparte.
    And the cage is only as good as the lock. What would be holding Theoden in the Deep if Saruman's forces just marched past? And again, what would prevent him from joining forces with Erkenbrand and the muster of Westfold in this scenario?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by gasconade View Post
    All due respect, but I would have taken the knock-out blow and went for Edoras.
    How is taking an abandonded city the knock-out blow? A great symbolic victory, sure. But not a knock-out blow when your enemy's army is still intact, the King and his closest allies are all still living, and their citizens are safely evacuated to Dunharrow.
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by gasconade View Post
    All due respect, but I would have taken the knock-out blow and went for Edoras. All the rats were in a cage, locked up in Helm's Deep. That was the White Hand's mistake.
    Exactly. Capture the key city, even if it HAS been abandoned and the enemy is in your rear. Holding that city will win you the war by itself. Look how well it worked for Napoleon when he took Moscow.
    Theofrid, Wyndriel, Wendros, Glydia, Halfrid, Fridward, Friddis, Fridli, Gondaglir

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Meluihel View Post
    Exactly. You never leave an enemy behind your lines that can still fight. And that is exactly when Saruman would have done if he had marched on Edoras. He made a mistake of course but it was not in that part of his strategy at least. Rather it was, as Egorvlad mentioned, that he left Fangorn and the Ents out of his plans. That and he underestimated the Rohirrim.
    Quite right. Although I think it is important to note that Saruman’s original strategy involved sidelining Theoden through Grima’s corrupting influence to prevent Rohan from mustering any sort of viable defense at all, something that was working quite well until Gandalf showed up…

    (EDIT)And unlike the movies, I'm not sure that Saruman knew that Theoden had been roused before the Battle of HD began, as Grima basically started out from Edoras a few hours before Theoden and his army did, and didn't arrive at Orthanc until after the Ents were already there. Saruman didn't really have a chance to alter his strategy at that point. (/EDIT)
    Last edited by Wilros; Dec 13 2013 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Clarification after re-reading JRRT's work
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

 

 

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