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  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    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", all but completely isolating Gondor. He was only undone by the "smarter tactics" of Gandalf.
    As I said, I already described simple strategy for dealing with opposing armies.

    No moving *all* his forces hundreds of leagues and gather them inside Mordor. Pointless since none of his opponents have any forces to even come close to attacking Mordor proper. Thus saving a *lot* of time he lost simply moving pieces to and fro.

    Take control of Anduin's eastern bank for obvious military reasons as a foothold for invasion. (This also all but guarantees no Ring-bearer waltzes all the way from Morannon to Morgul through Ithilien completely unchallenged.)

    Don't try to knock your head on Minas Tirith walls at all. Cut through Gondor in the north (above Cair Andros) and south (near Anduin delta), slice through the territory, devastate defenceless southern regions with the left flank and cut off any approach from north and west with the right flank (since you *know* Rohirrim are there and undefeated, Nazgul informed you about this fact long before). The capital is left completely isolated with a minimal garrison. Easy pickings at any moment, he could've even left Minas Tirith alone for a time leaving a token shield force to guard it (there were barely several thousand people in the City at that point overall). Thus Gondor is de facto destroyed within days.

    After that cleanup ride through Rohan sweeping those Riders Theoden managed to find (even as it was he only had 6000 overall, while forces that would've been freed from pointless Minas Tirith siege outnumbered his wildly). Result: Rohan dead as well.

    And after that Sauron has free forces numbering many tens of thousands (not counting those still coming in from East and South) free to invest Eriador and deal with Lorien, Bardings and whoever else.

    With these simple moves the West would've been all but destroyed by the time Frodo got to Orodruin (even if he managed it at all in this nightmarish scenario).
    Militarily Sauron wins literally within days even if he's killed after that because he completely failed to consider the obvious chance of his opponents trying to destroy the Ring. And in fact these same tactical moves all but prevent the whole Frodo business even without Sauron being aware of him, since in this scenario Frodo has to pass through half the invasion army to even get close to Mordor, which is unlikely even for a sneaky hobbit.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 28 2013 at 06:31 PM.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    No moving *all* his forces hundreds of leagues and gather them inside Mordor. Pointless since none of his opponents have any forces to even come close to attacking Mordor proper. Thus saving a *lot* of time he lost simply moving pieces to and fro.
    He didn't move all his forces there. A huge Orc host was waiting (and bred) for him in Mordor. Rhun and Harad have borders with Mordor, the Easterlings and Haradrim's safest path to war was via Mordor.

    No opponents near attacking Mordor? His main enemie's captial and most powerful city was on Mordor's doorstep. Osgiliath (a key tactical position) lay right outside. He kept his main standing armies all over Middle-earth. Dol Guldur and Angmar, for example, had armies which attacked the Elves endlessly throughout the war.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Cut through Gondor in the north (above Cair Andros) and south (near Anduin delta), slice through the territory, devastate defenceless southern regions with the left flank and cut off any approach from north and west with the right flank. The capital is left completely isolated with a minimal garrison. Easy pickings at any moment, he could've even left Minas Tirith alone for a time leaving a token shield force to guard it (there were barely several thousand people in the City at that point overall). Thus Gondor is de facto destroyed within days.
    Spread his army thinly over enemy territory? All but reliquishin Osgiliath, in that respect.

    You can't march an entire army past Gondor's doorstep. What would be the point anyway? Southern Gondor wasn't an issue. The entire power of Gondor was concentrated in Minas Tirith. Destroying a few farms way beyond that border doesn't help. The Black Fleet were well in motion harrying Gondor's costline and fleets around the Anduin anyway, before Aragorn saw to the main invasion force.


    You seem to be suggesting that Mordor had everything ready to attack but hung around for no reason. That's not the case. As soon as his army was assembled and up to scratch he marched on Minas Tirith. And it's not like there weren't raiding parties and forward armies all throughout Ithilien.

    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    After that cleanup ride through Rohan sweeping those Riders Theoden managed to find (even as it was he only had 6000 overall, while forces that would've been freed from pointless Minas Tirith siege outnumbered his wildly). Result: Rohan dead as well.
    Rohan weren't an issue anyway. His pawn Saruman had Rohan well and truly beaten were it not for some last minute intervention. It wouldn't be a simple case of "after that" either. If he'd sent an army into Gondor it's supply line would run directly between Dol Amroth and Minas Tirith. It would be isolated and harried from behind. Then what? Send his army north through the Gap of Rohan to spend weeks hunting rabble bands of Riders?

    You accused Sauron of underestimating Gondor earlier. By spreading his forces so wide and far from their main threat he would be doing exactly that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    And after that Sauron has free forces numbering many tens of thousands (not counting those still coming in from East and South) free to invest Eriador and deal with Lorien, Bardings and whoever else.
    He was dealing with Lorien and Thranduil's realm. They fought in the war too and were unable to break out of their homes. You're suggesting he empty Mordor across the entirety of Middle-earth.

    We're not discussing an RTS game. You can't just steamroll your army across the continent. Everything was going exactly to plan. The main bastion of resistance was entirely isolated and needed only a few attacks from nearby Mordor to finish it off. (Ignoring the Ring)


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    With these simple moves the West would've been all but destroyed by the time Frodo got to Orodruin (even if he managed it at all in this nightmarish scenario).
    Militarily Sauron wins even if he's killed after that because he completely failed to consider the obvious chance of his opponents trying to destroy the Ring.
    They're not simple moves. You've hugely oversimplified what is a silly strategy in the first place. He'd used his agents and his own will to cripple the majority of his enemies. The Elves had dwindled and he had them pretty much under control. Rohan was a nothing, Theoden was addled and Saruman was in place to crush them. All he'd achieve by moving his standing army out of Mordor and into Southern Gondor is allowing the Men of Minas Tirith a clear route to Osgiliath and the prolonging of the War. Had his attack on Minas Tirith been allowed to continue, and Saruman left unopposed by Gandalf, he'd have crushed the Men entirely. Elves and Dwarves would be a problem in their own lands only, not numerous or adventurous enough to counter attack.

    He failed to consider the "obvious" chance of them destroying the Ring? That is the entire crux of the work. He failed to consider that simply because the hardiness, resilience and willpower of the little men (the hobbits) was entirely unheard of and unknown. No one understood that the little guy could make a difference. They were entirely ignored and unimportant to everyone in Middle-earth except Gandalf. That is the crucial point. He understood and appreciated them and more than that understood the way the world works. He was able to twist the minutest of things into huge advantages. No one could have expected any of what he did, cropping up in Rohan to thwart Saruman (after he'd been killed by a Balrog, no less), rekindling the alliance between Rohan and Gondor, sending the Ring under Sauron's nose.

    None of what Sauron did was wrong. Committing his army to some sort of weird Rome: Total War-esque map roll would not have helped him. He'd won the war in military terms. He only lost because of Gandalf and Frodo.
    Last edited by Curandhras; May 28 2013 at 06:44 PM.
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  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    He didn't move all his forces there. A huge Orc host was waiting (and bred) for him in Mordor. Rhun and Harad have borders with Mordor, the Easterlings and Haradrim's safest path to war was via Mordor.

    No opponents near attacking Mordor? His main enemie's captial and most powerful city was on Mordor's doorstep. Osgiliath (a key tactical position) lay right outside. He kept his main standing armies all over Middle-earth. Dol Guldur and Angmar, for example, had armies which attacked the Elves endlessly throughout the war.




    Spread his army thinly over enemy territory? All but reliquishin Osgiliath, in that respect.

    You can't march an entire army past Gondor's doorstep. What would be the point anyway? Southern Gondor wasn't an issue. The entire power of Gondor was concentrated in Minas Tirith. Destroying a few farms way beyond that border doesn't help. The Black Fleet were well in motion harrying Gondor's costline and fleets around the Anduin anyway, before Aragorn saw to the main invasion force.




    Rohan weren't an issue anyway. His pawn Saruman had Rohan well and truly beaten were it not for some last minute intervention. It wouldn't be a simple case of "after that" either. If he'd sent an army into Gondor it's supply line would run directly between Dol Amroth and Minas Tirith. It would be isolated and harried from behind. Then what? Send his army north through the Gap of Rohan to spend weeks hunting rabble bands of Riders?

    You accused Sauron of underestimating Gondor earlier. By spreading his forces so wide and far from their main threat he would be doing exactly that.




    He was dealing with Lorien and Thranduil's realm. They fought in the war too and were unable to break out of their homes. You're suggesting he empty Mordor across the entirety of Middle-earth.

    We're not discussing an RTS game. You can't just steamroll your army across the continent. Everything was going exactly to plan. The main bastion of resistance was entirely isolated and needed only a few attacks from nearby Mordor to finish it off. (Ignoring the Ring)




    They're not simple moves. You've hugely oversimplified what is a silly strategy in the first place. He'd used his agents and his own will to cripple the majority of his enemies. The Elves had dwindled and he had them pretty much under control. Rohan was a nothing, Theoden was addled and Saruman was in place to crush them. All he'd achieve by moving his standing army out of Mordor and into Southern Gondor is allowing the Men of Minas Tirith a clear route to Osgiliath and the prolonging of the War. Had his attack on Minas Tirith been allowed to continue, and Saruman left unopposed by Gandalf, he'd have crushed the Men entirely. Elves and Dwarves would be a problem in their own lands only, not numerous or adventurous enough to counter attack.

    He failed to consider the "obvious" chance of them destroying the Ring? That is the entire crux of the work. He failed to consider that simply because the hardiness, resilience and willpower of the little men (the hobbits) was entirely unheard of and unknown. No one understood that the little guy could make a difference. They were entirely ignored and unimportant to everyone in Middle-earth except Gandalf. That is the crucial point. He understood and appreciated them and more than that understood the way the world works. He was able to twist the minutest of things into huge advantages. No one could have expected any of what he did, cropping up in Rohan to thwart Saruman (after he'd been killed by a Balrog, no less), rekindling the alliance between Rohan and Gondor, sending the Ring under Sauron's nose.

    None of what Sauron did was wrong. Committing his army to some sort of weird Rome: Total War-esque map roll would not have helped him. He'd won the war in military terms. He only lost because of Gandalf and Frodo.
    Recall Easterlings moving in to Morannon observed by Frodo, Haradrim marching to Morannon through Ithilien and Gollum's words that Sauron gathers all his forces there all the time "and soon all folks will be inside". Stupid.

    The only opponent close enough to Mordor is weakened Gondor which can barely hold the River against Sauron's vanguard. Gondor's fighting force overall is less than 10 000 at this point. Even with only Morannon garrison alone and closed gates Mordor is unassailable.

    The only doorstep Gondor still holds are Osgiliath crossings. Other than several hundred people on Cair Andros no other points on Anduin are guarded. Reason? Gondor lacks people for that. Free invasion north and south.

    The entire power of Gondor was *not* in Minas Tirith. Half the forces entered the city 2 days before the siege (observed by Pippin) and a whole another small army from southern provinces was brought by Aragorn up the River. Investing Southern Gondor prevents *all* these forces to reach Minas Tirith at all and destroys them before they can even assemble. Dol Amroth sent barely more than a thousand people as it was. With Southern Gondor truly invested Dol Amroth would've been swept away standing alone.

    Rohan was an issue since it was a threat of a flank attack, which is precisely what happened and which was one of the main reasons for siege failure. Any fool should've safeguarded against that possibility. Cut off the City from any possibility of help and after that just march all the freed forces (after devastating Gondor provinces) though Rohan all the way to the Gap in order to continue Eriador invasion. Remaining Rohirrim are intercepted and killed off in the process being wildly outnumbered.

    Thranduil is not an issue since he never even tried to move from his halls and had no military strength to even content with a small force. Lorien was contained as it was, it didn't even have to be attacked, Guldur forces controlled Anduin on that theatre already.

    Yes, everything really was going accroding to Sauron's plan. The plan was childish. Essentially he wanted to do just what you said: gather all untold armies together in Mordor and steamroll throughout the continent like an RTS zerg rush. Stupid.

    Again, militarily Sauron wins with a bit of tactical thinking. The affair with the Ring is a wildcard here and has nothing to do with military strategy. It's Sauron's personal failure which I'm not disputing at all.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 28 2013 at 06:53 PM.

  4. #29
    Oh, forgot the Ithilien argument.
    No, Ithilien was also completely overlooked prior to invasion. Some small wandering orc bands are not a military preparation. Frodo waltzed through Ithilien completely unchallenged. The only force he encountered there were Haradrim moving on the road to Morannon (again, with no logical reason anyway).
    If you plan to invade a neighbouring country on a large scale and want to safeguard against possible counterattacks, you must position forces to hold Anduin's west bank at least in strategic points. This was not done at all.
    And as I said, with Sauron fortifying Ithilien beforehand Frodo would have had almost no chances to get into Mordor anyway. Thus Sauron would've safeguarded himself without ever being aware of this possibility at all.

  5. #30
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    Rohan weren't an issue anyway. His pawn Saruman had Rohan well and truly beaten were it not for some last minute intervention. It wouldn't be a simple case of "after that" either. If he'd sent an army into Gondor it's supply line would run directly between Dol Amroth and Minas Tirith. It would be isolated and harried from behind. Then what? Send his army north through the Gap of Rohan to spend weeks hunting rabble bands of Riders?

    You accused Sauron of underestimating Gondor earlier. By spreading his forces so wide and far from their main threat he would be doing exactly that.
    This is also makes Sauron even more incompetent and desperate, because he also had a palatir so he probably saw how Saruman ended and he just desperately attacked Minas Tirith, its a desperate move because he knew Rohan would ally Gondor so he just rushed in.

    If he had taken command directly of Orthanac troops by sending the Witch King there along with some orcs of mordor he probably have won in helms deep.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    This is also makes Sauron even more incompetent and desperate, because he also had a palatir so he probably saw how Saruman ended and he just desperately attacked Minas Tirith, its a desperate move because he knew Rohan would ally Gondor so he just rushed in.

    If he had taken command directly of Orthanac troops by sending the Witch King there along with some orcs of mordor he probably have won in helms deep.
    Huh, an interesting thought.
    Would be difficult to implement though for a couple of reasons. First, Saruman would've opposed such a takeover and Sauron wouldn't want to lose a useful ally (or rather a tool) on a hunch (and after Isengard destruction there was nothing to take over anyway). And secondly, Saruman was not really a pushover and it would take more than a couple of Nazgul to 'persuade' him and the Nine had many other errands at that moment.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 29 2013 at 07:13 AM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    The only doorstep Gondor still holds are Osgiliath crossings. Other than several hundred people on Cair Andros no other points on Anduin are guarded. Reason? Gondor lacks people for that. Free invasion north and south.
    Crossings north and south were far more difficult and very far away. And again the army would be cut off by Gondor and it's allies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    The entire power of Gondor was *not* in Minas Tirith. Half the forces entered the city 2 days before the siege (observed by Pippin) and a whole another small army from southern provinces was brought by Aragorn up the River. Investing Southern Gondor prevents *all* these forces to reach Minas Tirith at all and destroys them before they can even assemble. Dol Amroth sent barely more than a thousand people as it was. With Southern Gondor truly invested Dol Amroth would've been swept away standing alone.
    Were those men not within the Rammas Echor already? (except the men from the South). Either way, to enter Southern Gondor meant breaching (or passing right under) that wall. You can't do that without attacking Minas Tirith first.

    He needed to build his army into a force capable of breeching that wall and then besieging that city before moving out properly, which he did. His forward forces saw to taking the crossing at Osgiliath. Holding that meant no serious fighting force was going to be crossing onto his side of the River any time soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Rohan was an issue since it was a threat of a flank attack, which is precisely what happened and which was one of the main reasons for siege failure. Any fool should've safeguarded against that possibility. Cut off the City from any possibility of help and after that just march all the freed forces (after devastating Gondor provinces) though Rohan all the way to the Gap in order to continue Eriador invasion. Remaining Rohirrim are intercepted and killed off in the process being wildly outnumbered.
    They weren't an issue in the planning. They had been entirely crippled by Saruman and almost wiped out at Helm's Deep. As far as Sauron was concerned the alliance between Gondor and Rohan was broken, and Denethor was too proud or despairing to rely on aid anyway. Only the late intervention of Gandalf saw this changing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Yes, everything really was going accroding to Sauron's plan. The plan was childish. Essentially he wanted to do just what you said: gather all untold armies together in Mordor and steamroll throughout the continent like an RTS zerg rush. Stupid.
    You're missing the point. The entire sum of his enemies' strength lay in Minas Tirith. His first attack nearly took the city. His second would have.

    You don't take a city in one go anyway, at least not very often. Perhaps a more patient siege would have been a better plan but he had so many men that wasn't necessary.

    As soon as Minas Tirith fell that was it. Gondor was defenceless, Rohan's army was wiped out (either in the suicide attack, or if you decide that doesn't happen and they hang around to wait for wave 2). Only the Elves and Dwarves are left as a serious fighting force and Mordor's armies have a free pass up and down Rhovanion and through the Gap.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Again, militarily Sauron wins with a bit of tactical thinking. The affair with the Ring is a wildcard here and has nothing to do with military strategy. It's Sauron's personal failure which I'm not disputing at all.
    Militarily he did win. How do you not see this? ALL that defeated him was the Ring. In military terms the Men were broken. He was literally in the process of stamping them out when the Ring went into Sammath Naur.

    And again to call it a personal failure on Sauron's part not to foresee the Ring's path is both understating the achievement and missing the point of that part of the story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Oh, forgot the Ithilien argument.
    No, Ithilien was also completely overlooked prior to invasion. Some small wandering orc bands are not a military preparation. Frodo waltzed through Ithilien completely unchallenged. The only force he encountered there were Haradrim moving on the road to Morannon (again, with no logical reason anyway)
    Recall Sauron had been preparing his strength roughly 50 years prior and was promptly utterly defeated by the White council.

    His attack on Minas Tirith came very soon after that.

    You're viewing the final battles of the War of the Ring as Sauron's endgame. They were likely far from that. The only reason it looks that way is because he was destroyed promptly afterwards. Without this (as you say, wildcard) all that had happened was his first wave against a hugely fortified bastion was (only just) beaten. The second wave would have claimed the city and the win. With the City and the Rammas taken he had all the fortification he needed on the Anduin.

    IF you further rule out Gandalf's unlikely contributions along the way (maybe even his resurrection since that's unprecedented too) Rohan were wiped out before the assault on Minas Tirith was even launched. Further than that, had Gollum been killed (against Gandalf's warning) the Ring wouldn't have gone into the fire and this would all be more moot than it is anyway.
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  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Crossings north and south were far more difficult and very far away. And again the army would be cut off by Gondor and it's allies.
    Gondor had no allies at that point but Rohan (being attacked and able to muster several thousand combatants at best). Far away from the City is precisely the point. You don't attack the City, you don't need to attack the City, you need to cut it off. Making the crossing is not as difficult as it appears. Orcs can build useable rafts very quickly and with their numbers in abundance. For that matter you can use Cair Andros as a staging point for the crossing, it's hardly defended at that point. The land north of Minas Tirith is defended. You establish a perimeter and leave it there as a precursor for Rohan invasion (once the forces down south are finished) thus cutting off the City from noth and west.
    South crossing is even easier. You got Umbar under your sway. The fleet can transport a very suitable number of Haradrim forces and make landfall anywhere in the 150 leagues between Osgiliath and Pelargir, there are no defended or defensible points on the west bank throughout all this stretch. This force ravages all southern provinces (everything south of the White Mountains). Considering the full muster of *all* those provinces (done in 2 stages, second stage organized by Aragorn) hardly reached 5000, crushing them before they can organize is a piece of cake.
    Thus Minas Tirith is left alone of all the kingdom with only its garrison inside (again something about 4000-5000 combatants depending on various assessments). Set a slightly comparable force in Osgiliath and Minas Tirith garrison will be shut in the city (moving out would risk losing the City completely).

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Were those men not within the Rammas Echor already? (except the men from the South). Either way, to enter Southern Gondor meant breaching (or passing right under) that wall. You can't do that without attacking Minas Tirith first.

    He needed to build his army into a force capable of breeching that wall and then besieging that city before moving out properly, which he did. His forward forces saw to taking the crossing at Osgiliath. Holding that meant no serious fighting force was going to be crossing onto his side of the River any time soon.
    No, Rammas Echor is simply a circular wall surrounding the City and close farmland. Its radius varies from a league near the River to 4 leagues on the northeastern side. It's not a kingdom-wide fortification. Minas Tirith garrison prior to the siege was something about 4000-5000 soldiers. 2 days prior to the siege another couple thousand arriver from southern provinces (something that would be stopped from happening by investing southern Gondor prior). Another part of the muster was brought by Aragorn way after the siege begun.
    With Gondor invaded from north and south the City would have been left with a bare minimal garrison for its defence. There was NO NEED to storm it at all. A medium sized force could have encircled it afterward and leave it to starve for all they cared. The garrison was to small to destroy any sizeable opposing army.


    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    They weren't an issue in the planning. They had been entirely crippled by Saruman and almost wiped out at Helm's Deep. As far as Sauron was concerned the alliance between Gondor and Rohan was broken, and Denethor was too proud or despairing to rely on aid anyway. Only the late intervention of Gandalf saw this changing.
    Sauron knows Saruman has been defeated, his armies ceased to exist and Isengard is destroyed. He learned that the very next day from the Nazgul. He knows it was done by Rohirrim. "Completely wiped out" Rohirrim could not have defeated Saruman's armies. Thus Sauron KNOWS Rohirrim have at least some assembled fighting force. Only an idiot ignores an assembled flanking opposing army.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    You're missing the point. The entire sum of his enemies' strength lay in Minas Tirith. His first attack nearly took the city. His second would have.

    You don't take a city in one go anyway, at least not very often. Perhaps a more patient siege would have been a better plan but he had so many men that wasn't necessary.
    As I explained above the sum of his enemies were not in Minas Tirith neither during the siege, nor even 2 days prior to it (south provinces quite sizeable muster, Rohirrim). Timely tactical invasion would've left Minas Tirith with only skeleton defences and cut off from ay relief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    As soon as Minas Tirith fell that was it. Gondor was defenceless, Rohan's army was wiped out (either in the suicide attack, or if you decide that doesn't happen and they hang around to wait for wave 2). Only the Elves and Dwarves are left as a serious fighting force and Mordor's armies have a free pass up and down Rhovanion and through the Gap.
    Exactly, in my scenario Gondor is sliced tgrough, completely ravaged, bereft of any fighting force. Blunt assault on the toughest military fortification *after* it assembled muster forces and completely ignoring the rest of the country (leaving your army vulnerable to any flank attack like Aragorn and Rohirrim) is idiocy. The events prove it, Minas Tirith didn't fall and a very sizeable blunt force attack army is destroyed completely. Brilliant move, Sauron!

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Militarily he did win. How do you not see this? ALL that defeated him was the Ring. In military terms the Men were broken. He was literally in the process of stamping them out when the Ring went into Sammath Naur.
    Let's see, in my scenario Gondor and Rohan are wiped out before Frodo even reaches Morannon, Eriador is on the point of being overrun, probably enough time to crush the Elves and Bardings even if Frodo does reach Orodruin. Result: all western armies cease to exist, all Numenorean remnants in Middle-Earth cease to exist, almost all remaining Elves are wiped out (depending on whether Sauron has enough time to reach Rivendell or not, but that's a trifle), no existing state is left in the West, even the parts of Eriador left untouched by the initial push are soon overrun by Easterlings, dunlendish people, haradrim or whoever else. If that's not a military victory for Sauron, I don't know what is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    And again to call it a personal failure on Sauron's part not to foresee the Ring's path is both understating the achievement and missing the point of that part of the story.
    Again, this is not the point of my analysis, I'm only discussing military strategy, nothing else. The Ring has nothing to do in this argument.
    And I still maintain that fortifying Ithilien as anyone with half a brain would have done prior to invasion, would almost certainly guarantee Frodo getting caught even without Sauron being aware of him in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    Recall Sauron had been preparing his strength roughly 50 years prior and was promptly utterly defeated by the White council.
    He was not defeated in any way. White Council only attacked Dol Guldur while all forces had been secretly assembling in Mordor a long time prior. Sauron prepared for their strike and feigned retreat from Dol Guldur thus reentering Mordor. Which left the White Council looking like idiots which they recognized immediately by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    His attack on Minas Tirith came very soon after that.
    70 years later? Soon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    You're viewing the final battles of the War of the Ring as Sauron's endgame. They were likely far from that. The only reason it looks that way is because he was destroyed promptly afterwards. Without this (as you say, wildcard) all that had happened was his first wave against a hugely fortified bastion was (only just) beaten. The second wave would have claimed the city and the win. With the City and the Rammas taken he had all the fortification he needed on the Anduin.

    IF you further rule out Gandalf's unlikely contributions along the way (maybe even his resurrection since that's unprecedented too) Rohan were wiped out before the assault on Minas Tirith was even launched. Further than that, had Gollum been killed (against Gandalf's warning) the Ring wouldn't have gone into the fire and this would all be more moot than it is anyway.
    What the "what ifs" have to do with it? Rohan did survive, Sauron did learn about it at once. "What could have happened" doesn't enter into military planning. Sauron knew Rohan survived, he should've prepared a safeguard.

    Again as I said yes, Sauron would have won anyway in the long run. Because he had mindbogglingly overwhelming forces at his disposal. That's why he didn't even bother to give any thought to tactics whatsoever. Which is my point.
    And even if the whole strikes against Gondor were motivated by the fear that some other opponent might claim the Ring and start amassing power base, my scenario specifically guarantees no power bases would've been left for any possible contenders to find. The West would've been decimated militarily. Even if any contender claimed the Ring, in my scenario he would've been a one-man army against Sauron's forces.
    Instead Sauron leaves all his enemies free to roam around (like Aragorn raising a whole small army in the south completely overlooked by Sauron) and attacks a single most defensible point in a flashy but thoroughly ineffective show of force. And fails even at that spectacularly.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 29 2013 at 10:37 AM.

  9. #34
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    Regarding Sauron's inability to protect his flanks, he did have a large army stationed in Eastern Rohan precisely to prevent the Rohirrim from riding to the aid of Gondor. It was only with the aid of the Woses that Theoden's army was able to slip past this army and arrive at Minas Tirith. In the south, his Corsair allies would have defeated the Gondor army stationed at Pelagir and sailed up to Pelenor had it not been for Aragorn mustering his own army and bringing the Oathbreakers. So it was not really the case that Sauron ignored his flanks.

    He did overlook the possibility that Aragorn would emerge to rally the forces of Southern Gondor and bring an Oathbreaker army with him, and he seemed to have overlooked the possibility that Rohan could have slipped by the army guarding his northern flank. Those are obviously errors, but they are not really tactical errors because in each case, the difference came from some factor exogenous to the battle field (Aragorn claiming his birthright as King of Gondor and the Woses).

    Laying seige to Minas Tirith would have been a very lengthy affair, lasting potentially years.

    I agree that there were other strategic options for Sauron that may have ensured military victor, but we can invent reasons why they weren't pursued. Perhaps the Easterling armies were only allied with Mordor on the promise of a quick and decisive victory. Maybe his plans rested upon assistance from other armies that did not show up (maybe one of the Blue Wizards helped disrupt the muster of one of these armies in the East?). Perhaps he assumed that the Orcs of Moria would join his war and help defeat Lorien.

    These other, ad hoc explanations are more convincing to me than assuming that Sauron was an ignoramus given what we know about him (i.e. he was very smart).

  10. #35
    Smart no doubt, also cunning, perceptive, charismatic. But lacking tactical perspective.

    Attacking the one truly defended stronghold in a flashy manner goes counter to both common sense and any of the possible goals you stated (all of which can be quite valid in fact). Instead of easy victories, a whole country of easy targets and spoils, the ability to dismantle opposing forces while they are separated, he chose to bang on the toughest walls he could find. *shrug*
    And still scattering the rest of the forces operating outside of Mordor throughout a thousand leagues on multiple theatres.

    Umbar fleet wasn't really a flank safeguard, it was supposed to follow straight to Minas Tirith simply as a strengthening force, again bypassing all southern provinces. A crucial oversight.

    The northwestern force did exist, you are right, but it wasn't a true screening force (otherwise Rohirrim would have encountered it near Rammas), it was more of a vanguard prepared to march to Rohan afterward (it was amassed on the Road).

    This overconfidence in their own intelligence and innate power are the common thread of all classical story tyrants. It's a rule of the genre of course. But it's so sad to see how they end up making all the obvious mistakes on the way.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; May 29 2013 at 11:16 AM.

  11. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    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.
    His being unexpectedly attacked by Durin and Amroth helped there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curandhras View Post
    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.
    Unless I missed something Denethor sent the arrow rider to Rohan and had the beacons lit before Gandalf arrived (Pippin mistook them for dragonfire).

    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    The entire power of Gondor was *not* in Minas Tirith. Half the forces entered the city 2 days before the siege (observed by Pippin) and a whole another small army from southern provinces was brought by Aragorn up the River.
    You've forgotten the ones that arrived at Minas Tirith several days after the battle, because they couldn't all fit on the boats. They arrived to defend the city around the time that Aragorn led the march on the black gate.

    Rohan was an issue since it was a threat of a flank attack, which is precisely what happened and which was one of the main reasons for siege failure. Any fool should've safeguarded against that possibility. Cut off the City from any possibility of help and after that just march all the freed forces (after devastating Gondor provinces) though Rohan all the way to the Gap in order to continue Eriador invasion. Remaining Rohirrim are intercepted and killed off in the process being wildly outnumbered.

    Thranduil is not an issue since he never even tried to move from his halls and had no military strength to even content with a small force. Lorien was contained as it was, it didn't even have to be attacked, Guldur forces controlled Anduin on that theatre already.
    Sauron did send an extra army over the great river but the ents (and huorn?) intercepted it. You can't really blame him for not predicting that.

  12. #37
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    Still that doesn't explain why he attacked most powerful enemies with not enough troops, like erebor, lorien, beornings land, etc. He though he would win with brute force but also thought the ring was at Gondor and attacked in rush. He is a fool

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Still that doesn't explain why he attacked most powerful enemies with not enough troops, like erebor, lorien, beornings land, etc. He though he would win with brute force but also thought the ring was at Gondor and attacked in rush. He is a fool
    He did attack Erebor with enough troops. In fact his siege on Erebor was extremely successful (his armies managed to kill both of the Kings and were quite busy starving the rest) until the ring was destroyed.
    Beornings were not powerful enemies, they were the chieftains of some backwater farmer villages. Sauron never even sent an army there as far as we know.
    As for Lothlorien, the outer parts were destroyed. But Galadriel's ward ensured no orcs or even the Nine could conquer Lothlorien, as she herself said; only if Sauron himself arrived would Lorien fall. And we know by now Sauron is a coward, he likely didn't want to come forward in battle himself until he had his ring back from (he thought) his enemies in Gondor/Rohan.
    As for attacking in a rush, I agree. He was rushing into it because he didn't know about Frodo. He was rushing because he had one fear: that Aragorn was strong willed enough to wield the Ring and challenge Sauron for suppremacy. So he wanted to get rid of those pesky Men before they could rise to such power. Had Aragorn carried the ring, rushing into battle with Minas Tirith would have been a good strategy on Sauron's account. If not for the Dead and the Woses, he would have crushed it into rubble before Aragorn had arrived, leaving Aragorn with few forces to use even if he did have the One Ring. Not to mention that the rest of his armies would have kept Lothlorien, south Gondor, Erebor, Rohan and the Grey Havens occupied. Only Rivendell would have been of any use to Aragorn.

    In short; his strategies were excellent for the situation he thought was occuring: that the Free Peoples were planning on using the One Ring (more specifically Aragorn using the ring to unite the Free Peoples against Sauron in one big front). But all his plans were thwarted by that pesky Hobbit.
    Last edited by BirdofHermes; Jun 03 2013 at 04:24 AM.
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  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    His being unexpectedly attacked by Durin and Amroth helped there.
    Not much, he drove them back to Moria quickly enough and it only halted his advance on Lindon for a little while. Mithlond was on the verge of falling when Numenoreans landed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    You've forgotten the ones that arrived at Minas Tirith several days after the battle, because they couldn't all fit on the boats. They arrived to defend the city around the time that Aragorn led the march on the black gate.
    Right, those too. Though considering the army they mustered after the Siege was only about 10,000 (7k to Morannon, 3k to Anorien) including the Rohirrim, those latecomers couldn't have been numerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    Sauron did send an extra army over the great river but the ents (and huorn?) intercepted it. You can't really blame him for not predicting that.
    No, the force you refer to was simply the remnant of Guldur army besieging Lorien. They ran to the Wold after the failure of the 3rd assault and the Ents stopped them from entering Rohan.

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    As for attacking in a rush, I agree. He was rushing into it because he didn't know about Frodo. He was rushing because he had one fear: that Aragorn was strong willed enough to wield the Ring and challenge Sauron for suppremacy. So he wanted to get rid of those pesky Men before they could rise to such power. Had Aragorn carried the ring, rushing into battle with Minas Tirith would have been a good strategy on Sauron's account. If not for the Dead and the Woses, he would have crushed it into rubble before Aragorn had arrived, leaving Aragorn with few forces to use even if he did have the One Ring. Not to mention that the rest of his armies would have kept Lothlorien, south Gondor, Erebor, Rohan and the Grey Havens occupied. Only Rivendell would have been of any use to Aragorn.

    In short; his strategies were excellent for the situation he thought was occuring: that the Free Peoples were planning on using the One Ring (more specifically Aragorn using the ring to unite the Free Peoples against Sauron in one big front). But all his plans were thwarted by that pesky Hobbit.
    That's precisely why the Siege was a terrible plan. He knew he had to get rid of main Gondor forces before some pretender claimed the Ring and rallied the whole kingdom (with a worthy pretender and the Ring Gondor would've become a much tougher target). Logically he should've crushed Gondor while The Fellowship was still en-route, he knew the Ring was in Imladris and most likely left there several months prior. Instead he made no real move until Aragorn's direct provocation. Essentially he gave his enemies every chance to gather all the available forces before his attack.
    And even after Aragorn revealed himself as the apparent threat, Sauron still defaulted to a head-on straight up attack on the most defended enemy target, again without adequate flank or rear defense. So he essentially gave Aragorn (most likely opposing leader in Sauron's mind) every chance to gather the aforementioned big front and chose to face it full on.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 04 2013 at 09:17 AM.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    He did attack Erebor with enough troops. In fact his siege on Erebor was extremely successful (his armies managed to kill both of the Kings and were quite busy starving the rest) until the ring was destroyed.
    Not that successful, killing a king hardly wins a war, dwarves eventually broke the siege and Sauron doesn't know that killing a king would only provoke the dwarves to break the siege.

    Beornings were not powerful enemies, they were the chieftains of some backwater farmer villages. Sauron never even sent an army there as far as we know.
    Frodo at top of Amon Hen saw Beorning land on fire, so we can assume Sauron sent troops to raid there

    As for Lothlorien, the outer parts were destroyed. But Galadriel's ward ensured no orcs or even the Nine could conquer Lothlorien, as she herself said; only if Sauron himself arrived would Lorien fall. And we know by now Sauron is a coward,
    As far as I know Lorien was unscathe by the attacks, like said previously Sauron move just made the elves organize and unite against him.

    he likely didn't want to come forward in battle himself until he had his ring back from (he thought) his enemies in Gondor/Rohan.
    He lost the ring, while in full power another fail move from sauron. Yep I agree he is a coward and wouldn't go himself to battle, I think the only time he showed up is when he was besieged in Mordor in his pit.

    Yep I agree Sauron is a coward, but a very bad tactician I think Morgoth was actually better at mustering troops.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Yep I agree Sauron is a coward, but a very bad tactician I think Morgoth was actually better at mustering troops.
    I don't mean to nitpick, but . . .

    While we might all agree that Sauron employed bad tactics in the War of the Ring or at least less than ideal tactics (though as the comments above indicate, this claim is disputed by some), we can only speculate whether he was a bad tactician.

    He might, as you suggest, have used bad tactics because he was a bad tactician, a fool, or an ignoramus.

    Or he might have been forced into bad tactics by the strategic situation he confronted (an ally didn't appear that he was expecting, his perceived window of opportunity was shrinking, etc -- see above for some possible post hoc explanations for Sauron's tactical choices). This situation might have forced him to gamble on a risky move as the best of available options given the available information.

    To put it differently, we don't want to be complicit in the fundamental attribution error when evaluating Sauron's tactical prowess.


    Since his behavior alone cannot tell us which of these were true, we have to try and use other evidence to support one claim or another. Support for the first proposition might come from his previous tactical moves in other wars (which at least one person has suggested also demonstrate a lack of tactical skill). Support for the second might come from what we know of Sauron's behavior in other areas of politics. The second source of evidence suggests that Sauron was pretty savvy about most things which lends credence to the structural explanation (i.e. the second) for the less than ideal tactics employed in the War of the Ring.

    tl;dr: Using bad tactics does not necessarily mean you are a bad tactician.

  17. #42
    Agreed, not necessarily. Though if he uses bad tactics consistently, it is a serious indication.
    Yes, details are arguable, but Sauron always tends to move pieces on the terrain for a long time, miss timely opportunities, and shows tendency for flashy but less than effective rush attacks.

  18. #43
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    Lets assume Sauron is not a fool for a sec,

    If sauron was forced by circumstances to act less than ideal (tactical), what was his mistake?
    His mistake is basically not understanding his enemy as he thought he did, he was overconfident on a "perfect plan" but he couldn't adapt to it if some factors changed.

    Then again we are told Sauron was pretty savvy in everything right?


    Like Ergovlad said he is a tactical fool, not the otherway around.
    Last edited by Al.; Jun 03 2013 at 05:57 PM.

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    Not much, he drove them back to Moria quickly enough and it only halted his advance on Lindon for a little while. Mithlond was on the verge of falling when Numenoreans landed.
    They did stop him from taking Elrond in the open though, resulting in a prolonged siege rather than the battle/massacre he had hoped for.

    Right, those too. Though considering the army they mustered after the Siege was only about 10,000 (7k to Morannon, 3k to Anorien) including the Rohirrim, those latecomers couldn't have been numerous.
    4000, led by Angbor the fearless. Though they stayed to defend the city, as Aragorn and Imrahil thought Sauron would send another force to Minas Tirith while Aragorn was still making his way to the gate.

    No, the force you refer to was simply the remnant of Guldur army besieging Lorien. They ran to the Wold after the failure of the 3rd assault and the Ents stopped them from entering Rohan.
    OK, you're right there.

    That's precisely why the Siege was a terrible plan. He knew he had to get rid of main Gondor forces before some pretender claimed the Ring and rallied the whole kingdom (with a worthy pretender and the Ring Gondor would've become a much tougher target). Logically he should've crushed Gondor while The Fellowship was still en-route, he knew the Ring was in Imladris and most likely left there several months prior. Instead he made no real move until Aragorn's direct provocation. Essentially he gave his enemies every chance to gather all the available forces before his attack.
    And even after Aragorn revealed himself as the apparent threat, Sauron still defaulted to a head-on straight up attack on the most defended enemy target, again without adequate flank or rear defense. So he essentially gave Aragorn (most likely opposing leader in Sauron's mind) every chance to gather the aforementioned big front and chose to face it full on.
    I think Sauron was hoping that Isengard and Rohan would obliterate each other before he had to get involved. When Rohan won comprehensively he had to take action.

    Sauron's battering ram worked, and as his armies had deployed out of arrow range, he smashed the main gate without much loss.

    And there wasn't much doubt that Sauron could win a pitched battle against Gondor and Rohan. If it wasn't for Gandalf, none of the defenders would have found the courage to fight. Plus, killing the Witch-king was not supposed to be possible but it happened anyway.

    And just to be clear I'm not Bird of Hermes, though the last entry you quoted in that post was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    He lost the ring, while in full power another fail move from sauron. Yep I agree he is a coward and wouldn't go himself to battle, I think the only time he showed up is when he was besieged in Mordor in his pit.

    Yep I agree Sauron is a coward, but a very bad tactician I think Morgoth was actually better at mustering troops.
    Sauron lost the ring after a seven year long siege which immediately followed a 6 month battle (though how much of that was constant fighting I don't know). Back then, he'd tried to take Gondor before Elendil and the elves could mobilise. It was actually a good plan, it's just that Osgilliath proved much harder to take than he'd thought (not the least because Anorian was expecting him, the result of his attacking the eastern provinces first). Sauron did not at this point have anyone in Eriador or Rhovanion that could intercept the armies as they were assembling, so a frontal assault was all he could do.

    Sauron fought Celebrimbor himself in at least one version. And I think he turned up when he took (the original) Minas Tirith off Orodreth. Although his eventually being chased out of that tower by a dog probably helped show him as cowardly, though the dog had beaten him first. Sauron did also go to fight Finrod of his own will, but I'm not sure he was expecting to find an elven-king when he challenged them.

    The main problems Morgoth had were:

    1 - His troops were useless, at least until he invented the dragon.
    2 - He didn't know where most of his enemies were hidden.
    3 - He taught weaponcrafting to the Noldor too well.

    Of those, only number 3 was a forseeable error.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    His mistake is basically not understanding his enemy as he thought he did.
    This sums it up best I think.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    And just to be clear I'm not Bird of Hermes
    Yeah, sorry, edited that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    They did stop him from taking Elrond in the open though, resulting in a prolonged siege rather than the battle/massacre he had hoped for.
    Yes, they did give Elrond time to retreat since he would've been crushed by overwhelming force otherwise. But the thing is, there was no followup siege! In yet another 'brilliant' move Sauron just let them all be.
    After Elrond retreated to the Angle and after Sauron chased Dwarves back into Moria (1697 S.A.), he did not follow up with an attack on either Elrond or Lindon. He simply started investing Eriador at large. He let his army disperse throughout the whole region for well nigh 3 years hunting small groups of Men and Elves and leaving both Elrond and Gil-galad all the time they needed to turtle up. And he followed up with an attack only 3 years later (1700 S.A.) now having to divide his army in 2 forces (Mithlond and now established Imladris). Just in time for the Numenoreans to make a landfall.
    Had he attacked all those disorganized forces at once, he would've wiped them all out back in 1697.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    4000, led by Angbor the fearless. Though they stayed to defend the city, as Aragorn and Imrahil thought Sauron would send another force to Minas Tirith while Aragorn was still making his way to the gate.
    Thanks, forgot the details about that. Yet even more reason to have invested the southern provinces long before in order to stop this muster from ever happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    I think Sauron was hoping that Isengard and Rohan would obliterate each other before he had to get involved. When Rohan won comprehensively he had to take action.
    Even more reason to have invaded Gondor in several points while that was still going on. Thus eliminating both risks:
    - Rohan wouldn't have been able to help Gondor even if they wanted to (still fighting Saruman's forces)
    - Gondor wouldn't have been able to help Rohan fight Saruman (a realistic chance) being invaded at the same time.
    Instead Sauron yet again lost the perfect moment for the invasion watching and waiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    Sauron's battering ram worked, and as his armies had deployed out of arrow range, he smashed the main gate without much loss.
    And there wasn't much doubt that Sauron could win a pitched battle against Gondor and Rohan. If it wasn't for Gandalf, none of the defenders would have found the courage to fight. Plus, killing the Witch-king was not supposed to be possible but it happened anyway.
    The cold hard fact is that the siege still failed. Even Gandalf wouldn't have won alone against the whole army if not for Sauron's numerous tactical miscalculations. And I still maintain the siege of the one fortified point itself was the least efficient plan of attack anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    Sauron fought Celebrimbor himself in at least one version. And I think he turned up when he took (the original) Minas Tirith off Orodreth. Although his eventually being chased out of that tower by a dog probably helped show him as cowardly, though the dog had beaten him first. Sauron did also go to fight Finrod of his own will, but I'm not sure he was expecting to find an elven-king when he challenged them.
    True above. Except in Finrod's case when their company was brought to him as prisoners, so the battle of wills was conducted fully on Sauron's ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    The main problems Morgoth had were:
    1 - His troops were useless, at least until he invented the dragon.
    2 - He didn't know where most of his enemies were hidden.
    3 - He taught weaponcrafting to the Noldor too well.
    Now Morgoth is a much more interesting story than Sauron. In fact I think he really was a much better military commander. Within 500 years he managed to completely destroy the Noldor and Edain in their prime. And 400 years out of these 500 (Siege of Angband) he was absent subjugating newborn Men in the far East. This is something Sauron failed to do in 5000 years with the later scarce remnants.
    He made do just fine with the forces at his disposal. Just recall Nirnaeth Arnoediad. This was truly brilliant battle planning on Morgot's side. And he won this battle completely with Orcs and Men.
    And he knew very well how to spy out his enemies actions and draw them out into the open as the results show.

    Sauron really should've paid attention back then.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 04 2013 at 10:17 AM.

  21. #46
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    Fan-f*cking-tastic. I've just spent over an hour researching my Tolkien works and typing up a reply, and the forum logs me out and swallows it. Here's the short version.
    Thanks Turbine. Really.



    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    That's precisely why the Siege was a terrible plan. He knew he had to get rid of main Gondor forces before some pretender claimed the Ring and rallied the whole kingdom (with a worthy pretender and the Ring Gondor would've become a much tougher target). Logically he should've crushed Gondor while The Fellowship was still en-route, he knew the Ring was in Imladris and most likely left there several months prior. Instead he made no real move until Aragorn's direct provocation. Essentially he gave his enemies every chance to gather all the available forces before his attack.
    I agree that he waited too long, BUT he didn't know about Isildur's heir being there until Aragorn actually showed himself. Only then did Sauron realise the true threat of a strong-willed Man wielding his ring and he started rushing things. Up until that point he only knew the Ring had left Rivendell and likely left Lothlorien.



    And even after Aragorn revealed himself as the apparent threat, Sauron still defaulted to a head-on straight up attack on the most defended enemy target, again without adequate flank or rear defense. So he essentially gave Aragorn (most likely opposing leader in Sauron's mind) every chance to gather the aforementioned big front and chose to face it full on.
    He had flanking armies, they just didn't know about the Woses. The Rohirrim were able to bypass the armies only because of the Woses, else Minas Tirith would be in ruins.



    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Not that successful, killing a king hardly wins a war, dwarves eventually broke the siege and Sauron doesn't know that killing a king would only provoke the dwarves to break the siege.
    Incorrect, they only broke the siege after Sauron was defeated (which was also a week after both kings had died).



    Frodo at top of Amon Hen saw Beorning land on fire, so we can assume Sauron sent troops to raid there
    Raiding, sure. Maybe even reinforcements from Moria to aid the Gundabad and various other Misty Mountains orc tribes who were attacking the villages. But no armies that we know of.
    Heck, how would he even get armies there? The only possible armies he could have sent would have been from Dol Guldur, and they were pretty busy at the time with Thranduil and Lothlorien. I'm not saying he didn't send any, just that nothing is said of it and it seems very unlikely to waste a trained army on a bunch of farmers when presumably the MM tribes were doing a good job of it.



    As far as I know Lorien was unscathe by the attacks, like said previously Sauron move just made the elves organize and unite against him.
    If you mean the city itself; it was unscathed, if you mean the forest; large parts of it were burnt down.



    He lost the ring, while in full power another fail move from sauron. Yep I agree he is a coward and wouldn't go himself to battle, I think the only time he showed up is when he was besieged in Mordor in his pit.
    He never lost the Ring while in full power. The only time he "lost" it (not counting the fall of Númenor since he carried the ring back to ME in spirit-form) was in a pretty desperate fight for him. He had been cornered and besieged for 7 years and finally had to go out and do the fighting himself. He lost.
    He does go into battle now and then, but only when he knows he'll win (against Finrod) or when he has no other choice (against Gil-galad and Elendil). When things go bad, he flees when he can. I agree, certainly a coward.



    Yep I agree Sauron is a coward, but a very bad tactician I think Morgoth was actually better at mustering troops.
    I respectfully disagree there, Morgoth simply had more to work with. Sauron didn't have that sort of raw power or numbers, but he did show more cunning and long-term planning (like being captured and brought to Númenor). Not to mention Sauron had an end-goal in mind that required some care in his warfare, whereas Morgoth didn't. He just wanted to destroy Eä.



    His mistake is basically not understanding his enemy as he thought he did.
    Now this I agree 100% on. This actually sums up the entire War of the Ring.
    Sauron displayed excellent strategic planning for a normal war, but not foreseeing what surprises his enemies were hiding (Frodo, the Woses, the army of the dead, funnily enough most were surprises which his enemies didn't foresee either but happily accepted).



    Even more reason to have invaded Gondor in several points while that was still going on. Thus eliminating both risks:
    - Rohan wouldn't have been able to help Gondor even if they wanted to (still fighting Saruman's forces)
    - Gondor wouldn't have been able to help Rohan fight Saruman (a realistic chance) being invaded at the same time.
    Instead Sauron yet again lost the perfect moment for the invasion watching and waiting.
    But he wasn't "watching and waiting". He was already attacking Gondor from all sides (but not yet Minas Tirith), and he was amassing his armies for a final blow on Minas Tirith before Saruman had even began attacking Rohan. I don't need to explain that you can't gather a massive together and ready to march within a few weeks or even months. This entire war was fought in just over a year, and it took at least a week just to march from the Black Gate to Minas Tirith. Considering Sauron's siege of Minas Tirith started only 11 days after Saruman's assault on the Hornburg began, he made some amazing time on it and had probably been preparing the siege years in advance.
    Last edited by BirdofHermes; Jun 04 2013 at 10:58 AM.
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
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  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    Fan-f*cking-tastic. I've just spent over an hour researching my Tolkien works and typing up a reply, and the forum logs me out and swallows it. Here's the short version.
    Thanks Turbine. Really.
    Yes, we all love when it happens. For future reference, if you go back a page when you receive a post fail message you should get back to your post edit where you can copy/paste it.

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    I agree that he waited too long, BUT he didn't know about Isildur's heir being there until Aragorn actually showed himself. Only then did Sauron realise the true threat of a strong-willed Man wielding his ring and he started rushing things. Up until that point he only knew the Ring had left Rivendell and likely left Lothlorien.
    Precisely the reason to crush Gondor *before* any pretender steps forward claiming the Ring. He had months for that while the Ring was in transit. As it is he only rushed with a real attack *after* the reveal of Isildur's heir.

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    He had flanking armies, they just didn't know about the Woses. The Rohirrim were able to bypass the armies only because of the Woses, else Minas Tirith would be in ruins.
    The only force NW of the City was a detachment parked on the Road, the Rohirrim passed to the south of it after leaving the forest. The whole north and northwestern part was left wide open for many miles. Thus the siege circle around the city wasn't complete (some orcs busy destroying Rammas do not count as a force)

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    I respectfully disagree there, Morgoth simply had more to work with. Sauron didn't have that sort of raw power or numbers, but he did show more cunning and long-term planning (like being captured and brought to Númenor). Not to mention Sauron had an end-goal in mind that required some care in his warfare, whereas Morgoth didn't. He just wanted to destroy Eä.
    Actually the goals were the same, complete subjugation. And in fact after several thousand years of work Sauron had vast numbers coming from the east and the south. I mentioned my thoughts on Morgoth in the post above.

    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    But he wasn't "watching and waiting". He was already attacking Gondor from all sides (but not yet Minas Tirith), and he was amassing his armies for a final blow on Minas Tirith before Saruman had even began attacking Rohan. I don't need to explain that you can't gather a massive together and ready to march within a few weeks or even months. This entire war was fought in just over a year, and it took at least a week just to march from the Black Gate to Minas Tirith. Considering Sauron's siege of Minas Tirith started only 11 days after Saruman's assault on the Hornburg began, he made some amazing time on it and had probably been preparing the siege years in advance.
    Agreed, it all takes a lot of preparation. Thing is, Sauron had almost 70 years of preparation after returning to Mordor in 2951 (governed from Morgul before that, so preparations began even earlier). The fact he started attacks on Osgiliath in June 3018 (under the Witch-king) means he was ready for invasion months prior to the Siege. And I noted somewhere above the lack of preparation in Ithilien so Sauron had to move all forces in a roundabout way from Mordor proper for any attack, which is illogical.
    And the only area he was attacking was general Osgiliath area (up to Cair Andros), these were at best test strikes. I described a classical invasion in some posts way above.
    So again, the invasion should've started while the Ring was still in transit and it definitely shouldn't have been a single attack on the most turtled up target.
    Last edited by Egorvlad; Jun 04 2013 at 01:28 PM.

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    606
    While I don't have my copy of Lord of the Rings available, there is one quote that pretty much sums up Sauron's biggest mistake to me. I believe its in the Two Towers when Gandalf is brought back. He mentions something along the line that Sauron was a wise fool. If he had committed all his power to finding the ring and making sure his borders were secure, the Free peoples would have no chance. But since Sauron had planned this war for so long, his pawns were set in motion so that he couldn't commit to the Ring Hunt. Did he overlook a lot of stuff? yes, but his biggest flaw was in letting the Ring go, assuming Men would use it against him. (also, trying to type this on laptop doesn't allow me to use the enter key for some reason, hence the big paragraph).

    Eodread, Earendel, Isilmacil - Horizon
    Thattickles, Thangorodread - Table Smashers


  24. #49
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    Jun 2010
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    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post

    Incorrect, they only broke the siege after Sauron was defeated (which was also a week after both kings had died).
    Not really, they broke the siege at the same time sauron was defeated considering it was an easterling army it was purely circumstancial or in other words dwarves won against that army.

    Raiding, sure. Maybe even reinforcements from Moria to aid the Gundabad and various other Misty Mountains orc tribes who were attacking the villages. But no armies that we know of.
    Heck, how would he even get armies there? The only possible armies he could have sent would have been from Dol Guldur, and they were pretty busy at the time with Thranduil and Lothlorien. I'm not saying he didn't send any, just that nothing is said of it and it seems very unlikely to waste a trained army on a bunch of farmers when presumably the MM tribes were doing a good job of it.
    It surely wasn't the Beornings burning heir land, thats sure only other possibility it was Sauron doing even if it was tribes of orcs they were all commanded by sauron at the time or the white hand.



    If you mean the city itself; it was unscathed, if you mean the forest; large parts of it were burnt down.
    Galadriel protection of Lorien reached even the outskirts of the woods, in other words the only part of lorien affected was the border.


    He never lost the Ring while in full power. The only time he "lost" it (not counting the fall of Númenor since he carried the ring back to ME in spirit-form) was in a pretty desperate fight for him. He had been cornered and besieged for 7 years and finally had to go out and do the fighting himself. He lost.
    He does go into battle now and then, but only when he knows he'll win (against Finrod) or when he has no other choice (against Gil-galad and Elendil). When things go bad, he flees when he can. I agree, certainly a coward
    He lost the ring when he was at his peak in Mordor, when Numenor was drowned and only people trying to defeat him were sieging him for 7 years, I agree he is a coward but a very unlucky one too.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    521
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Not really, they broke the siege at the same time sauron was defeated considering it was an easterling army it was purely circumstancial or in other words dwarves won against that army.
    Actually, it was because of the efforts of 12 brave adventurers in defeating the two Troll Champions of the Easterling army that the siege was broken. Sauron didn't count on that either.

 

 
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