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Armies at the Battle of Five Armies


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#1 Gilluin

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Posted 24 April 2004 - 06:29 AM

Okay, going with the same theme as my armies at Pelennor Fields/Siege of Minas Tirith, here is my break down for the Battle of Five Armies.

Dwarves - pretty easy here, 500 or more came with Dain, and there are 12 with Thorin Oakenshield.

Men of Lake Town - Scanty information to say the least, but looking at the description of Lake Town and JRR's drawing, and drawing from the information on the boats (not the huge ships of Umbar or Gondor, these would be more like small lake craft I would think). Going with best guess is all one can do here, but a reasonable estimate in my opinion is about 5 to 6 hundred, with about 1/3rd being bowmen and the rest spear/swords men with shield and very little armour (maybe some leather with a few chain shirts).

Wood Elves of Mirkwood - we are given one piece that says a thousand spearmen leapt down to follow Thorin. This happened after the battle had been joined for some time so if we use a bit of conjecture we can come up with a reasonable number for the Elves. First we know that the entire force of Men and Elves could not invest the entire mountain so there must have been less than 10,000 and more likely not even 5000. With 1000 Spearmen joining Thorin, I have imagined that by that time the Elves would have suffered somewhere around 500 to 700 casualties from their encounter to that point. The throw in the fact that the Kings Guard would not join and there is no mention of the considerable number of bowmen, I think we can reasonably assume that 3000 to 3500 Elves were present. This gives a total of about 4500 to 4600 for the good guys.

Goblins and Wargs - Their host was very numerous and far out numbered the good guys, so if we consider that even with superior positioning the Good guys were pressed to the max, then we must assume that the Goblins and allies numbered in excess of 4 to 1 and likely around 5 to 1. This is pretty much keeping with descriptions of the battle (but again this is conjecture and very little hard fact). So this would mean a total of about 15000 bad guys, I break it down to about 800 to 1000 wolf riders, another 500 to 1000 wolves and 13000 goblins.

Can't forget that there were a lot of bats and carrion that accompanied the goblin horde and these would have played havoc with the wounded.

Eagles - well there is no indication of numbers at all for these guys, but I think given their size and ability to gather numbers rapidly, I would say 50 is likely a good number and maybe a bit high.

Beorn of course and he must have the ability to larger as he becomes enraged.

Not the depth of information available with the Pelennor but I think my numbers would be fairly reasonable given that this was a very significant battle and I think would be roughly the size of Helms Deep as far as numbers go.

I would appreciate comments on this one.
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Shawn [ aka Gilluin ]

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#2 Mithrandil

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Posted 25 April 2004 - 09:41 AM

Well, can you say something to those numbers? :wacko:
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#3 Halmirion

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 08:54 PM

13000 goblins seems reasonable to me, since IIRC, that battle nearly emptied the mountains, and it was a long time before they had recovered enough to begin to be a threat again.
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#4 Thingol of Doriath

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 08:46 AM

I think all numbers are a bit to high, Thorin thought he could withstand the Elves and Men with the help of Dain, and if we reckon the armoured Dwarves (and the Hobbit) were almost invulnarable for arrows, but to slow te make a stand when they are outmunbered by spearmen, I think there were some 1000 Men and an equal amount of Elves. Then, there must also be less Goblins and Wargs (I don't think there were many ordinary Wolves, but I think Wargs looked more like Wolfs then PJ made them.)
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#5 Gilluin

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 03:47 PM

@Thingol - the mountain is a fairly substantial piece of terrain and to try and siege it properly would take a lot more than 5000 men and Elves. Some of my numbers come from speculation of course, for instance, when Thorin and coy come out of the mountain, the battle had already been raging for some time and Elven casualties were already mounting. Then when Thorin comes out it says 1000 elven spearmen leapt down the mountain to his call. Taking a rough cut at it, I think it is safe to assume that not ALL Elves followed Thorin, maybe 40 to 50 percent, so you can likely safely say there were at least 2000 Elves still fighting. Take into account the dead and wounded and you can probably safely assume another 500 plus. Now taking Tolkiens rather Greek epic style of numbering his armies there is likely more than 1000 spearmen but not as many as 1500 (that follow Thorin), so when you stack it all together I think that 3000 to 3500 is probably a fairly reasonable amount. By the way 500 Dwarves wouldn't have much problem against 4000 men and Elves if they made it to the mountain. THere is not much hope that with what they had in the field that the men and Elves could ever totally surround the mountain and keep Thorin and Dains folk from bolstering the Dwarves in the mountain. Given the nature of armour worn by the Elves of Mirkwood and their fighting style, they would never have a chance if the Dwarves were in their mountain hold.

Thanks for the response.
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#6 Drashkurz

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 11:56 PM

Then, there must also be less Goblins and Wargs (I don't think there were many ordinary Wolves, but I think Wargs looked more like Wolfs then PJ made them.)

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There were quite a few ordinary wolves, as far as I know. Here are some quotes from the chapter of The Hobbit entitled 'The Clouds Burst':

'These were the swiftest wolf-riders, and already their cries and howls rent the air afar.'
'...and many of their own wolves were turning upon them and rending the dead and the wounded.'
'Wolf and rider fell or fled before them.'
'Soon the attackers were attacked, and they were forced into a great ring, facing every way, hemmed all about with goblins and wolves returning to the assault.'

Whereas with the wargs...
'There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of Bolg, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel. '
'The Wargs were scattered and Thorin drove right against the bodyguards of Bolg.'

And I support you on the second point; the film's wargs looked more like hyenas. I think Jackson wanted to make them more ferocious and dramatic.

-----------------------------

And as to the scale of the battle:
'...there stood Gandalf, with his arm in a sling. Even the wizard had not escaped without a wound; and there were few unharmed in all the host.' So you can see that the goblins must have been there in myriads. But...
'Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of the North perished on that day, and the mountains had peace for many a year.'

Better luck next time, orcs.
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