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  1. #1
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    Fear and Cruelty weapons of Sauron

    Sauron used more fear and deception as his tools to take over middle earth, but how exactly did he use them?

    Did he used fear as his "stare" to achieve victory, like he used it too much to organize his orc troops for example?

    or did he use it as an aura of fear like nazgul?, the nazgul are actually pretty weak if it wasn't for that.
    or did he use it to demoralize the free people ak.a Mind torture.?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Sauron used more fear and deception as his tools to take over middle earth, but how exactly did he use them?

    Did he used fear as his "stare" to achieve victory, like he used it too much to organize his orc troops for example?

    or did he use it as an aura of fear like nazgul?, the nazgul are actually pretty weak if it wasn't for that.
    or did he use it to demoralize the free people ak.a Mind torture.?
    i'm not exactly sure on the questions you are asking but I think I can help you understand the first question "how he used them".

    He used his fear and deception to take control (or sway to do his work) of the evil men, easterlings, and orcs. With the orcs I would say it is mostly out of fear of him that they listen to him (as well as a natural order of things and natural evil maybe).

    The Easterling as well as evil men had their own motivations so that Sauron could easily sway them. I'm not sure if that is written by tolkien anywhere but I would assume they fought for him for their own motives as a mix of other things (a little bit of fear, bribery, deception, promises, etc...).

    The fear he used against other enemies (Men, Elves, Dwarves) would be the fear of his power (orcs, easterlings, men, nazgul, etc..). Most of the time Tolkien talks about men running frightfully or something in the books it is because of the Nazgul and their natural aura of fear. I would assume Sauron would be able to let off an aura like that if he so chose to (assuming he has the power left to choose that).

    I hope that helps somewhat. Just take what I said with a grain of salt however because a lot of it is assumptions.
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    Sauron employed it in classic "Art of War" style. A combination of fear, terrorism, shock and awe, espionage and classic brute force. Whether he used subversion or straight up terror (Grima style propaganda vs Nazgul following his armies) the result was to demoralise and cripple his opponents, or bring them under his sway. Use of deception is probably best hilighted with his corruption of Saruman (and through him Theoden) within the LotR, or in wider history the "use" of Celebrimbor to forge the Rings of power. His cruelty was more of a "path" through which to use these tactics. He had no moral objection to using them allowing the full brunt of his wrath to be unleashed.

    Don't forget he wasn't alone in this. Aragorn and Gandalf employed similar tactics (albeit without the cruelty), abusing Aragorn's position (and sword) to both scare Sauron and force his hand, somewhat. All the while sending the Ring right under his nose.

    With regards to his effect on his own forces, it was his overpowering will that bent the Orcs to him. The Men from the East and South were brought under his banner through a mix of propaganda, promises of wealth and probably a dash of intimidation. Plus their innate hatred for the Westerners. Perhaps even the influence of the Blue Wizards although their allegiance and involvement is ambiguous.

    Looking at the war in a neutral stance (to take Tolkien's view, the Men and Elves aren't necessarily the "good guys", simply the "history" is written from their perspective) Sauron was simply a talented leader and general, employing pretty much all the tactics in a logical way, like any similar leader would, had he had them at his disposal.
    Last edited by Curandhras; May 26 2013 at 11:12 AM.
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    Sauron didn't use personal traits like Nazgul, he used Nazgul. The Nine had no agenda other than his will. They were his agents, his tools. He created them in the first place by playing on their fear of death, and envy of the undying Firstborn.

    When the Witch King created morgul-knives, and sent evil spirits into the ancient, pre-Numenorean burial-mounds in Cardolan, we can see that he is trying to make death scarier. Its effectiveness in making it difficult for the Dunedain to hold Cardolan is secondary to the defilement of the graves of their ancestors, turning places of reverence into places of horror. It is a tactic the Nazgul would use again, in Gondor, when they seized Isildur's city and made it Minas Morgul.

    All of this was at Sauron's instigation, manifesting his enmity for the survivors of Numenor (the corruption and destruction of which was his greatest success).

    On a more personal level, one need only look at the madness of Denethor as the direct use of fear and cruelty by Sauron against his foes. Denethor was manipulated through the palantir, with Sauron choosing what he should see. The results were horrific, and might have been fatal for Gondor without Gandalf's intervention.

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    thanks for the postings, Im not a fan of Sauron but just trying to analyse his tactics a bit.

    Ok he used Nazguls as his elite troops or tools, I find this suiting for Sauron because of the Aura of fear this would make free people panic or became mind numb.

    Then on his organization, the orcs are bound to Sauron because of his will, I find this very important because basically Sauron is a Maia or a fallen demon, makes sense twisted beigns are bound to his will.

    Next I think Sauron feeded on the fear of the free people at least he seem to like it because of his tactics he divides and conquer wile using cruel tactics essentially he is a demon tyrant a dark foe in his own right a bad guy that makes all his moves calculated to destroy all good.

    One thing that seem to be logical is that his tactics give some insight on his personality, he is a cruel, fearful, coward entity, basically the story always should be read from the free peoples point of view which is the contrary brave, honor bound, compassionate. Seems Gondor is the place where this morals are exemplified because his wrath in on it just like Numenor, he just hates nobility of gondor and their "point of view".

  6. #6
    Classical tyrant multiplied by his innate corrupt Maia desire to physically and psychically dominate every being he can and twist every work of the Valar.

    Unfortunately for him, Sauron was also completely tactically incompetent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Classical tyrant multiplied by his innate corrupt Maia desire to physically and psychically dominate every being he can and twist every work of the Valar.

    Unfortunately for him, Sauron was also completely tactically incompetent.
    Not so sure about that. He nearly brought all of Middle-earth under his sway twice. Arrogant probably more than tactically incompetent.

    Don't forget he had all but won the second time round. It took Gandalf to outwit him and Gandalf by all accounts was no slouch. Pretty much every move Sauron made or tried to make that would have nigh on won him the war was countered by Gandalf at some step along the way.
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    I think Sauron was tactically incompetent because he let the ring pass under his nose, while using his armies in different places while not conquering any of the regions, and last he didn't used his whole army.

    In Sun Tzu the art of war a competent tactician is the one that uses terrain, resources and army in the most efficient way like using the weapons of the enemy against him. Sauron didn't use the enemies weapons he used his own fear and cruelty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    I think Sauron was tactically incompetent because he let the ring pass under his nose, while using his armies in different places while not conquering any of the regions, and last he didn't used his whole army.

    In Sun Tzu the art of war a competent tactician is the one that uses terrain, resources and army in the most efficient way like using the weapons of the enemy against him. Sauron didn't use the enemies weapons he used his own fear and cruelty.
    Sauron did manage to manipulate the Numenoreans into launching an assault on the Undying Lands and destroying themselves. This seems like it required pretty deft tactical maneuvering. His construction of the Rings of Power also depended upon manipulation and subterfuge rather than brute force. In fact, most of what Sauron was able to achieve was done through manipulation rather than brute force (contrast this with Morgoth's brute force tactics against the Elves in Beleriand). Men, given their weak will and fear of death, were particularly ripe for manipulation which is why Sauron was able to generate massive support from among most of the human populations in Middle Earth (while he did not get similar support from other races).

    His big strategic miscalculation was to assume that he had amassed sufficient power and had weakened the resisting groups of Men (Rohan, Gondor) sufficiently that he could use brute force to destroy them in one final push. He underestimated, in other words, the resolve of Men to resist him in the Battle of Pelenor Fields. Of course, he likely would still have destroyed Gondor had it not been for Frodo and the destruction of the Ring, so in the end, his strategic miscalculation did not really cost him the war as brute force would have probably eventually prevailed.

    On a side note, it is interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Ring had once again become lost (i.e. claimed by no one and not destroyed). Could the Free Peoples have fought Sauron to a standstill? Would Sauron eventually have conquered all remaining kingdoms, including Lorien? How long would this have taken?

  10. #10
    You are confusing intelligence and tactical ability.
    Yes, Sauron was smart in his way, cunning, charismatic, etc.

    Tactically he is a fool. He essentially lost every large scale engagement he participated in.

    He did not manage to crush the small Elven states in the West after forging of the Rings even with superior numbers, and was beaten back by a very small Numenorean help. He completely discounted the largest marine power in existence and had to capitulate to Numenoreans as a result.

    At the time of the Last Alliance he had literally months to split the gathering forces of the Alliance, waylay them on the move and destroy them. He completely ignored the preparations, let himself become besieged, driven into a corner and physically defeated.

    The War of the Ring was the height of folly. He stretched his forces on a thousand leagues frontier, let literally everyone learn his strategic moves, miscounted the strength of every opponent he was facing.
    Consider the northern frontier. Very large armies were sent into the North. Bardings were driven back but managed to resist and stop the northernmost onslaught. He 'besieged' Lorien, but the forces were completely inadequate and the Elves managed to reinforce the northwestern frontier as a result.
    Then he removed all the main southern forces to Morannon leaving only some haradrim offensive power which was pretty much stopped at Poros way before the 'main strike' at Minas Tirith.
    And after this he employed his ever favoirite and completely ineffective "hammer strike" against the toughest and most prepared target ever - Minas Tirith. Without having a single foothold west of Anduin. And completely misjudged the threat from Rohan even though he *knew* it should have been forthcoming (he knew about Saruman's defeat the very next day after Gandalf broke his staff). And forgot about the southern approach thinking that some pirates coming up the river counted as a shield force. As a result with reinforcements from the west and the south (which were essentially left unguarded by Sauron) the assault failed.
    And then he simply withdrew all the forces and let his opponents do whatever they would!

    So, how competent was he?

    A smart general could've won the war with a tenth of his forces.
    One simple way. Leave the watch up north (those armies never even tried to move on Sauron at the time), send one flank way above Cair Andros and cut Gondor off from any western help (maybe destroy Rohirrim meanwhile, though holding action would've been enough), send the southern flank to cross Anduin near the delta and invest all Southern Gondor scattering all those 'armies' and leaving Minas Tirith completely cut off with a minimal garrison. As a result Gondor would've been finished within a week with no chance of any help. After that he could take Minas Tirith like a cookie off a platter at any time whether Denethor had the Ring or not.
    With all south in his hands the war is won. All other opponents are just cleanup.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 28 2013 at 04:04 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    You are confusing intelligence and tactical ability.
    Yes, Sauron was smart in his way, cunning, charismatic, etc.

    Tactically he is a fool. He essentially lost every large scale engagement he participated in.

    He did not manage to crush the small Elven states in the West after forging of the Rings even with superior numbers, and was beaten back by a very small Numenorean help. He completely discounted the largest marine power in existence and had to capitulate to Numenoreans as a result.

    At the time of the Last Alliance he had literally months to split the gathering forces of the Alliance, waylay them on the move and destroy them. He completely ignored the preparations, let himself become besieged, driven into a corner and physically defeated.

    The War of the Ring was the height of folly. He stretched his forces on a thousand leagues frontier, let literally everyone learn his strategic moves, miscounted the strength of every opponent he was facing.
    Consider the northern frontier. Very large armies were sent into the North. Bardings were driven back but managed to resist and stop the northernmost onslaught. He 'besieged' Lorien, but the forces were completely inadequate and the Elves managed to reinforce the northwestern frontier as a result.
    Then he removed all the main southern forces to Morannon leaving only some haradrim offensive power which was pretty much stopped at Poros way before the 'main strike' at Minas Tirith.
    And after this he employed his ever favoirite and completely ineffective "hammer strike" against the toughest and most prepared target ever - Minas Tirith. Without having a single foothold west of Anduin. And completely misjudged the threat from Rohan even though he *knew* it should have been forthcoming (he knew about Saruman's defeat the very next day after Gandalf broke his staff). And forgot about the southern approach thinking that some pirates coming up the river counted as a shield force. As a result with reinforcements from the west and the south (which were essentially left unguarded by Sauron) the assault failed.
    And then he simply withdrew all the forces and let his opponents do whatever they would!

    So, how competent was he?

    A smart general could've won the war with a tenth of his forces.
    One simple way. Leave the watch up north (those armies never even tried to move on Sauron at the time), send one flank way above Cair Andros and cut Gondor off from any western help (maybe destroy Rohirrim meanwhile, though holding action would've been enough), send the southern flank to cross Anduin near the delta and invest all Southern Gondor scattering all those 'armies' and leaving Minas Tirith completely cut off with a minimal garrison. As a result Gondor would've been finished within a week with no chance of any help. After that he could take Minas Tirith like a cookie off a platter at any time whether Denethor had the Ring or not.
    With all south in his hands the war is won. All other opponents are just cleanup.
    He does have a rather long list of failures on the battle field. But two things I would offer in Sauron's defense: First, at the Battle of Pelenor fields, he could not really have anticipated the Undead army that Aragorn brought (or maybe he should have?). Without the Oathbreakers, Mordor still would have won the battle even with the appearance of the Rohirrim.

    Second, his approach to battles may have embraced a strategy of attrition rather than tactical maneuvers. It is striking that he lost every major battle his armies engaged in, but he was working with less disciplined troops than his opponent and attacking heavily fortified positions. Using brute force may have been his only option for breaking the will and capability of the enemy, and he certainly had much more military capacity than his opponents.

    So Sauron perhaps could not engage in the tactical maneuvering that could have ended the war more quickly given the poor training of his army (and I agree, as you point out, that there were a LOT of missed opportunities) though whether he could or couldn't is debatable. But he also didn't need to given his overwhelming superiority in military capability. He could simply pound away at the Free Peoples until they broke, and he new they would break before his near limitless supply of men and orcs ran out.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ScionofAngmar View Post
    He does have a rather long list of failures on the battle field. But two things I would offer in Sauron's defense: First, at the Battle of Pelenor fields, he could not really have anticipated the Undead army that Aragorn brought (or maybe he should have?). Without the Oathbreakers, Mordor still would have won the battle even with the appearance of the Rohirrim.

    Second, his approach to battles may have embraced a strategy of attrition rather than tactical maneuvers. It is striking that he lost every major battle his armies engaged in, but he was working with less disciplined troops than his opponent and attacking heavily fortified positions. Using brute force may have been his only option for breaking the will and capability of the enemy, and he certainly had much more military capacity than his opponents.

    So Sauron perhaps could not engage in the tactical maneuvering that could have ended the war more quickly given the poor training of his army (and I agree, as you point out, that there were a LOT of missed opportunities) though whether he could or couldn't is debatable. But he also didn't need to given his overwhelming superiority in military capability. He could simply pound away at the Free Peoples until they broke, and he new they would break before his near limitless supply of men and orcs ran out.
    First, Aragorn did NOT bring any Oathbreakers to Pelennor, whatever fantasies Jackson may have had about that. Aragoen cut through the Southern Gondor with the Dead in his train to Pelargir and with their help scattered the corsairs. And then the reinforcements he collected on the way (along with remaining Pelargir garrison) simply boarded the ships. With Southern Gondor invested beforehand as any smart general would've done Aragorn would've been going through the already ravaged lands and even if he did manage to break the invading armies and the corsairs all the help coming up the River would've been several dozen Rangers on one ship, not all the forces from the southern provinces.

    As to the second point, the lack of professional army (which he did have by the way, Easterlings were a very effective army throughout Gondor history) is precisely why no general in his right mind would rely on brute force hammer attacks without any sensible tactical preparation. Send several thousand orcs and haradrim across Anduin to Pelargir and kill everyone in the southern provinces. You hardly need a disciplined force for that.

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    According to the Sun Tzu, Sauron would be a "over confident captain", even if pelenor fields he calculated right he didn't send his whole army garrison of Mordor he sent most but not all.

    On his tactics his troops aren't diciplined but his "Dark Lord Will" should have compensated that, after all he is leading them there and even sent Lieutenants more precisely he wasn't as good tactician than a manipulator, deception artist, he did use some tactics to lower morale of the free people but it backfired on him by Aragorn rising, and the free people grouping together to defeat him in Mordor.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    According to the Sun Tzu, Sauron would be a "over confident captain", even if pelenor fields he calculated right he didn't send his whole army garrison of Mordor he sent most but not all.

    On his tactics his troops aren't diciplined but his "Dark Lord Will" should have compensated that, after all he is leading them there and even sent Lieutenants more precisely he wasn't as good tactician than a manipulator, deception artist, he did use some tactics to lower morale of the free people but it backfired on him by Aragorn rising, and the free people grouping together to defeat him in Mordor.
    Also true. He didn't even send "most" on this stupid brute force attack, he simply sent the Morgul army without even trying to reinforce it from Mordor proper.
    Smart, inventive, cunning, but an ignoramus in warfare.

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    A large number of these "tactical failures" on Sauron's part can be attributed to Gandalf's genius. Sauron didn't expect Aragorn to intercept his Black ships. Has the Corsairs turned up at Pellenor that would have been a death blow to Minas Tirith. Who pushed Aragorn through the paths of the Dead?

    Similarly the surprising resolve of the Men. Sauron (correctly, to be honest) thought that the world of Men had crumbled and that the alliances were broken. Rohan was crippled and in-fighting, through the Palintiri Sauron had all but robbed his enemies of hope. No one would have arrived at Gondor's aid, indeed Gondor wouldn't have even called for aid.

    Sauron did pretty well really. His major failing was to wildly misunderstand and underestimate Gandalf's abilities as a leader, tactician and strategist.

    He overlooked the Ring's progress through his own back yard through a combination of pride and simple logic. He knew how easily Men were corrupted and assumed that Gondor would (having found the Ring) be trying to use it as some sort of weapon. The idea of sending a Hobbit in with the Ring occurred to about 2 people in all of Middle-earth. It was by all accounts a stupid idea, so to overlook it as a possibility is not so much a failure on Sauron's part, more a great success on the Free Peoples'.
    Last edited by Curandhras; May 28 2013 at 05:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    First, Aragorn did NOT bring any Oathbreakers to Pelennor, whatever fantasies Jackson may have had about that. Aragoen cut through the Southern Gondor with the Dead in his train to Pelargir and with their help scattered the corsairs. And then the reinforcements he collected on the way (along with remaining Pelargir garrison) simply boarded the ships. With Southern Gondor invested beforehand as any smart general would've done Aragorn would've been going through the already ravaged lands and even if he did manage to break the invading armies and the corsairs all the help coming up the River would've been several dozen Rangers on one ship, not all the forces from the southern provinces.

    As to the second point, the lack of professional army (which he did have by the way, Easterlings were a very effective army throughout Gondor history) is precisely why no general in his right mind would rely on brute force hammer attacks without any sensible tactical preparation. Send several thousand orcs and haradrim across Anduin to Pelargir and kill everyone in the southern provinces. You hardly need a disciplined force for that.
    Ack, you're right. Embarrassing to confuse a scene from the movies with one from the books. Your account does make it sound like Sauron is not quite the strategist I had been trying to make him out to be. We could speculate about other constraints that he faced which made his assault on Minas Tirith his only option, but those would all be ad hoc excuses.

    It does make the threat from Mordor a bit less menacing, knowing that Sauron could not put together a coherent battle plan. I wonder, though, in the long run whether Mordor could have prevailed simply on the basis of its capacity, strategic and tactical blunders aside.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    A large number of these "tactical failures" on Sauron's part can be attributed to Gandalf's genius. Sauron didn't expect Aragorn to intercept his Black ships. Has the Corsairs turned up at Pellenor that would have been a death blow to Minas Tirith. Who pushed Aragorn through the paths of the Dead?

    Similarly the surprising resolve of the Men. Sauron (correctly, to be honest) thought that the world of Men had crumbled and that the alliances were broken. Rohan was crippled and in-fighting, through the Palintiri Sauron had all but robbed his enemies of hope. No one would have arrived at Gondor's aid, indeed Gondor wouldn't have even called for aid.

    Sauron did pretty well really. His major failing was to wildly misunderstand and underestimate Gandalf's abilities as a leader, tactician and strategist.
    So essentially Sauron did not even deign to consider Gondor a worthy opponent and relied on one mid-scale attack without any safeguards. Underestimating his opponents does not even come close to this. If that doesn't make him an incompetent military leader, I don't know what does.
    On the other hand, Gandalf was essentially a good tactical thinker. And by the way Aragorn's move was quite a surprise to Gandalf, he himself admitted he barely had time to get to Minas Tirith due to Aragorn's provocation.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ScionofAngmar View Post
    Ack, you're right. Embarrassing to confuse a scene from the movies with one from the books. Your account does make it sound like Sauron is not quite the strategist I had been trying to make him out to be. We could speculate about other constraints that he faced which made his assault on Minas Tirith his only option, but those would all be ad hoc excuses.

    It does make the threat from Mordor a bit less menacing, knowing that Sauron could not put together a coherent battle plan. I wonder, though, in the long run whether Mordor could have prevailed simply on the basis of its capacity, strategic and tactical blunders aside.
    It was not his only option, it was a fear reaction. Isildur's heir revealed, possibility of the Ring coming along to Minas Tirith. He essentially panicked (which was quite stupid with his numerical advantages).
    And yes, he would eventually crush everyone of course, any fool would with the truly overwhelming forces at his disposal. Still an ignoramus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    So essentially Sauron did not even deign to consider Gondor a worthy opponent and relied on one mid-scale attack without any safeguards. Underestimating his opponents does not even come close to this. If that doesn't make him an incompetent military leader, I don't know what does.
    You miss the part where he almost won. The armies he sent forth (1st and 2nd time around) were all but enough to win. Underestimate Gondor? Not really. Even with Gandalf and Aragorn's help pushing back the first assault, his second wave was ready to go within Mordor. Remember how the Men had to launch a last ditch, hopeless attack on the Black Gate to draw that army out so Frodo could drop the Ring in?

    Without Frodo (/Gollum) that last army of Man would have been slaughtered at the Black Gate. Gondor would have fallen and Rohan with it, then the rest of Middle-earth would (again) be under his rule. This time without a combined force of Numenorians and Elves to oppose him.

    You're making it sound like he get completely embarrassed. Sauron had, for all intents and purposes, won. His first assault all but broke his enemies. It was the destruction of the Ring that brought about his defeat and that was essentially a free radical.
    Last edited by Curandhras; May 28 2013 at 05:17 PM.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    You miss the part where he almost won. The armies he sent forth (1st and 2nd time around) were all but enough to win. Underestimate Gondor? Not really. Even with Gandalf and Aragorn's help pushing back the first assault, his second wave was ready to go within Mordor. Remember how the Men had to launch a last ditch, hopeless attack on the Black Gate to draw that army out so Frodo could drop the Ring in?

    Without Frodo (/Gollum) that last army of Man would have been slaughtered at the Black Gate. Gondor would have fallen and Rohan with it, then the rest of Middle-earth would (again) be under his rule. This time without a combined force of Numernorians and Elves to oppose him.

    You're making it sound like he get completely embarrassed. Sauron had, for all intents and purposes, won. His first assault all but broke his enemies. It was the destruction of the Ring that brought about his defeat and that was essentially a free radical.
    The "all but" makes all the difference. "Almost won the battle" is still the a lost battle. Gandalf acted as any reasonable opponent general would. Sauron *had* to count on such sensible preparations and *had* to consider countermoves. He did not, he simply relied on one big push.
    Battle of Morannon does not count in all this analysis. It was a calculated suicide distraction move by Aragorn and they never even had any illusions of 'winning' that.
    Yes, Sauron all but won, yes he would've won in the long run. But that's simply because he had an overwhelming multiplied by overwhelming force at his disposal, nothing else.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 28 2013 at 05:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    The "all but" makes all the difference. "Almost won the battle" is still the a lost battle. Gandalf acted as any reasonable opponent general would. Sauron *had* to count on such sensible preparations and *had* to consider countermoves. He did not, he simply relied on one big push.
    Battle of Morannon does not count in all this analysis. It was a calculated suicide distraction move by Aragorn and they never even had any illusions of 'winning' that.
    Yes, Sauron all but won, yes he would've won in the long run. But that's simply because he had an overwhelming multiplied by overwhelming forces at his disposal, nothing else.
    You're hugely understating Gandalf (and Frodo's) contribution to this. They sent the Ring into Mordor in the hands of a hobbit. That is not what any reasonable opponent would do.

    The overwhelming evidence suggests to Sauron that the Ring would end up in the hands of Gondor where some idiot captain would try and use it. The Ring would be reclaimed and Sauron would dominate. He had no reason to suspect the Ring was in Mordor. You can't say it's a failure on his part to not see that coming, almost the entire point of the base story is how overwhelmingly unlikely that is. Sauron did not rely on "one big push" at all. He'd been whittling away at Gondor's list of options and allies for a long time. The battle in front of Minas Tirith did not represent Sauron's final push by any strech, he had huge armies in reserve waiting for the second, third, fourth, however many "final pushes" he needed. As it happens the first was very nearly enough, the second surely would have been.

    The march on the Black Gate shows only how desperate the Men were. Yes it was a calculated distraction but it was their only option, they'd been left in that torrid state due to Sauron's actions. Sauron didn't want Aragorn to properly rise up and rally all the Men under his banner so he (sensibly) acted to crush that idea as quickly as possible.

    You can't hold the fact that Sauron rose such huge armies against his abilities as a general. He had legions Orcs at his disposal from the get go. Rallying the Men of the East and South to his banner is an obvious logical step. Further bending Saruman (and very nearly Rohan, were it not for Gandalf) to his sway (or at least crippling them as enemies) was simply a sensible plan. To use a smaller number just to demonstrate to some readers how adept he was would be pointless.

    The only thing he did wrong was to not stop Frodo. Had he poured his entire army out for one assault on Minas Tirith (which would go against sensibilities) perhaps he might have won that battle but the end result (Ring -> fire) would not have changed.
    [CENTER][I][FONT=georgia]"Never laugh at live dragons"[/FONT][/I]
    [/CENTER]

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    You're hugely understating Gandalf (and Frodo's) contribution to this. They sent the Ring into Mordor in the hands of a hobbit. That is not what any reasonable opponent would do.

    The overwhelming evidence suggests to Sauron that the Ring would end up in the hands of Gondor where some idiot captain would try and use it. The Ring would be reclaimed and Sauron would dominate. He had no reason to suspect the Ring was in Mordor. You can't say it's a failure on his part to not see that coming, almost the entire point of the base story is how overwhelmingly unlikely that is. Sauron did not rely on "one big push" at all. He'd been whittling away at Gondor's list of options and allies for a long time. The battle in front of Minas Tirith did not represent Sauron's final push by any strech, he had huge armies in reserve waiting for the second, third, fourth, however many "final pushes" he needed. As it happens the first was very nearly enough, the second surely would have been.

    The march on the Black Gate shows only how desperate the Men were. Yes it was a calculated distraction but it was their only option, they'd been left in that torrid state due to Sauron's actions. Sauron didn't want Aragorn to properly rise up and rally all the Men under his banner so he (sensibly) acted to crush that idea as quickly as possible.

    You can't hold the fact that Sauron rose such huge armies against his abilities as a general. He had legions Orcs at his disposal from the get go. Rallying the Men of the East and South to his banner is an obvious logical step. Further bending Saruman (and very nearly Rohan, were it not for Gandalf) to his sway (or at least crippling them as enemies) was simply a sensible plan. To use a smaller number just to demonstrate to some readers how adept he was would be pointless.

    The only thing he did wrong was to not stop Frodo. Had he poured his entire army out for one assault on Minas Tirith (which would go against sensibilities) perhaps he might have won that battle but the end result (Ring -> fire) would not have changed.
    Again, you are confusing 2 issues. I'm not talking about the whole business with the Ring (although he did screw up royally in that respect as well). I'm simply analysing Sauron's ability as a tactician.
    Yes, he was a truly formidable dark entity able to sway whole countries to his will, control untold legions of orcs and other filth. Yes, he was cunning and smart (though the Ring miscalculation puts a dent in the whole 'cunning' business as well ).
    But as a military leader he is a simpleton. Had he managed simple military attacks right, all of Gondor, Rohan, and probably even Lorien would've fallen long before Frodo even got to Mordor.
    So again, from a tactical perspective a simpleton who always counted on the sheer number of his forces.

    P.S. Arguably with Sauron being smarter and able to conquer Gondor quicker Frodo would've been going through hostile territory all the way from Anduin and it's quite likely he would've been caught long before Mordor. But that's just a side speculation.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Again, you are confusing 2 issues. I'm not talking about the whole business with the Ring (although he did screw up royally in that respect as well). I'm simply analysing Sauron's ability as a tactician.
    Yes, he was a truly formidable dark entity able to sway whole countries to his will, control untold legions of orcs and other filth. Yes, he was cunning and smart (though the Ring miscalculation puts a dent in the whole 'cunning' business as well ).
    But as a military leader he is a simpleton. Had he managed simple military attacks right, all of Gondor, Rohan, and probably even Lorien would've fallen long before Frodo even got to Mordor.
    So again, from a tactical perspective a simpleton who always counted on the sheer number of his forces.

    P.S. Arguably with Sauron being smarter and able to conquer Gondor quicker Frodo would've been going through hostile territory all the way from Anduin and it's quite likely he would've been caught long before Mordor. But that's just a side speculation.
    They're not two issues though, they're one and the same. The War of the Ring. If we exclude that wildcard (Frodo) Sauron wins. Not even through strength of numbers. Without Gandalf, his use of Saruman to cripple Rohan would have wiped them out. Gondor would have only Dol Amroth (maybe) as a viable ally since the Elves and Dwarves were busy. That is tactically sound. He isolated his main enemy and could have wiped them out with ease had Gandalf not intervened and ruined it for him.

    Gandalf the White, by the way. It literally took divine intervention to foil his plans in that regard.

    I wonder what you think Sauron should have done? The obvious step would be to neutralise Mithrandir (or later the White), but how? Right from the get go Gandalf was working under the radar against Sauron. When Sauron tried to march his armies across the North of Rhovanion (unopposed) it turned out Erebor had been reclaimed (very unexpected).

    There are no clear "wrong" decisions made by Sauron. You say he was tactically inept but offer no suggestions for improvement. How, exactly, should have have conquered Lorien? The Elves are hardly pushovers when fighting in their own back garden. There was very little he could have done in his second war on Middle-earth that he didn't do. The Ring was, crucially, kept hidden from him. That was his only failing.
    [CENTER][I][FONT=georgia]"Never laugh at live dragons"[/FONT][/I]
    [/CENTER]

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    They're not two issues though, they're one and the same. The War of the Ring. If we exclude that wildcard (Frodo) Sauron wins. Not even through strength of numbers. Without Gandalf, his use of Saruman to cripple Rohan would have wiped them out. Gondor would have only Dol Amroth (maybe) as a viable ally since the Elves and Dwarves were busy. That is tactically sound. He isolated his main enemy and could have wiped them out with ease had Gandalf not intervened and ruined it for him.

    Gandalf the White, by the way. It literally took divine intervention to foil his plans in that regard.

    I wonder what you think Sauron should have done? The obvious step would be to neutralise Mithrandir (or later the White), but how? Right from the get go Gandalf was working under the radar against Sauron. When Sauron tried to march his armies across the North of Rhovanion (unopposed) it turned out Erebor had been reclaimed (very unexpected).

    There are no clear "wrong" decisions made by Sauron. You say he was tactically inept but offer no suggestions for improvement. How, exactly, should have have conquered Lorien? The Elves are hardly pushovers when fighting in their own back garden. There was very little he could have done in his second war on Middle-earth that he didn't do. The Ring was, crucially, kept hidden from him. That was his only failing.
    And still no, I'm not talking about the reasons of his downfall. You are correct on all those points. I'm talking about his military skill only, which is pitiful.
    As to what he should've done from *military perspective* only, I described one simple solution above. He would've crushed Gondor easily, devastated Rohan, maybe even had time to crush Lorien and invest Eriador. Even if Frodo still got to the Fire and done the same thing, militarily Sauron would've had time to crush everyone easily before that, had he employed smart tactics.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    As to what he should've done from *military perspective* only, I described one simple solution above. He would've crushed Gondor easily, devastated Rohan, maybe even had time to crush Lorien and invest Eriador. Even if Frodo still got to the Fire and done the same thing, militarily Sauron would've had time to crush everyone easily before that, had he employed smart tactics.
    Again you completely fail to offer any suggestions. What "smart tactics" should he have used that he didn't?

    I've given examples of his "smart tactics", his strategies, all but completely isolating Gondor. He was only undone by the "smarter tactics" of Gandalf.
    Last edited by Curandhras; May 28 2013 at 05:59 PM.
    [CENTER][I][FONT=georgia]"Never laugh at live dragons"[/FONT][/I]
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