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Battle of Dale
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|Battle of Dale|
|Conflict: War of the Ring|
|Date: March 17th - March 25th, T.A. 3019|
|Place: Outside Dale and then the Lonely Mountain|
|Outcome: Easterlings were driven out of Dale after a long siege.|
Thousands, virtually entire force
|War of the Ring|
|Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater|
- "When you think of the great Battle of Pelennor, do not forget the Battle of Dale. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor."
- ― Gandalf
The Battle of Dale and the subsequent Siege of Erebor were decisive battles in the northern theatre of the War of the Ring. Even though it cost the lives of Kings Dáin Ironfoot and Brand of Dale, it was a decisive victory for the Free peoples.
The Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the Men of Dale refused to acknowledge the overlordship and alliance of Sauron. While his southern armies menaced Gondor, he sent an army north to extend his dominion to prevent the armies of his enemies joining together under one banner, which could have proved disastrous for Mordor.
On March 17th of the year 3019 in the Third Age, Sauron sent a large contingent of Easterlings to attack Dale. The combined forces of the Men of Dale under King Brand and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain under King Dáin Ironfoot marched out to meet the Easterlings in battle. Sauron's forces were probably more numerous, though the army of Dale would have possessed an advantage due to their superior Dwarven-made weaponry. After three days of heavy close-quarters fighting, they were forced to retreat to the Lonely Mountain.
A few sturdy warriors led by Brand and Dáin fought bravely before the Gate of Erebor, which was not taken. In the end, Dáin was killed as he stood defending the body of his ally Brand. Meanwhile, the defenders of the Mountain were able to withstand the siege.
However, the forces of Gondor and Rohan defeated the main power of Sauron in the Morannon theatre on March 25th, causing the northern army to lose hope. Seeing the morale of their foes being sapped by news of victory in the south, the Army of Dale under the new Kings—Bard II and Thorin III Stonehelm—managed to lift the siege on March 27th and drove the Easterlings out of Dale.
Aftermath and Repercussions
The battle was incredibly important in the course of the War of the Ring: if Sauron's Easterling armies had beaten the Dwarves and Men of Dale, they would have been able to join up with Sauron's forces from Dol Guldur in their attacks on the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood and Lothlórien, tipping the scales in favor of Mordor. This would have enabled the Mordor-armies to flank the forces of Gondor and Rohan from the North and rear. Gandalf himself commented that had the Battle of Dale been lost in this way, the forces of the West would have been crushed regardless of the victory at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Portrayal in Adaptations
- The Siege of Erebor is the penultimate level of the good campaign. The forces are Mordor are led by the Mouth of Sauron, and originate from Dol Guldur rather than the East. Groups of Corsairs and Haradrim first attack Dale, before the main host attacks. The first of three waves is led by a horsed Ringwraith, and the third (made up almost entirely of trolls and siege weapons) by a Ringwraith on a Fell beast. After the third wave is broken, the Mouth of Sauron enters Erebor via a hidden entrance, and has to be killed. Almost simultaneously, Glorfindel, Glóin and Thranduil arrive with reinforcements from Mirkwood. At the level's conclusion, they are credited with defeating the enemy.