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Battle of the Morannon

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Battle of the Morannon
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Conflict: Battle of the Morannon
Date: March 25, Third Age 3019
Place: Dagorlad
Outcome: Decisive victory for Gondor and Rohan
Combatants

Gondor, Rohan

Mordor, Rhûn, Khand

Commanders
Strength

Less than 6,000 from Gondor and Rohan, and Eagles

Unknown total strength, but vast numerical superiority to the forces of Gondor and Rohan; possibly 60-100,000. Forces consisting of Orcs, Trolls, the Nazgûl, Fell Beasts, and Easterlings (men of Rhûn, Variags of Khand, etc.)

Casualties

Unknown, but probably moderate

Destruction of nearly all orcs, trolls; the remaining Nazgûl destroyed; heavy Easterling and Haradrim losses (the rest were pardoned)

War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater


The Battle of the Morannon, also known as the Battle of the Black Gate, was the last major battle against Sauron in the War of the Ring, fought at the Black Gate of Mordor. The army of the West, 6,000 strong by now, led by Aragorn marched on the gate as a diversionary feint to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo and Sam, who were carrying the One Ring through Mordor. It was hoped that Sauron would think Aragorn had the Ring and was now trying to use it to overthrow Mordor.

Contents

History

Prelude

Initially, the Army of the West had been composed of 7,000 men, but many were stationed at various places along the way. A strong guard of archers were stationed at the Cross-roads, in case enemy troops came from the Morgul Pass or from the South. In addition, Aragorn dismissed the faint of heart, who would not go to the Dagorlad, ordering them to liberate Cair Andros on the river Anduin. This resulted in the departure of over 1000 men, leaving less than 6000 to continue on towards the Black Gate.

Before the battle began, Sauron sent one of his servants, the Black Númenórean called the Mouth of Sauron, to speak with the Captains of the West. He tried to trick Gandalf into believing Sauron held Frodo captive, displaying as evidence items that had belonged to Frodo and Sam (Sam's sword, an Elven cloak, and Frodo's Mithril shirt.) The Mouth threatened that Frodo would be tortured if the West did not agree to Sauron's terms of surrender. The terms included: the disbanding of the armies of the west, an oath to never take up arms, the rebuilding of Isengard, and the turning over of all lands west. (It is clear that while Sauron knew there was a Hobbit in Mordor, he did not know why. He also probably did not know there were two.)

Gandalf, however, refused to be swayed, took the items from the Mouth of Sauron, and sent him away. Amazed and angered, the Mouth of Sauron rode back to the Black Gate, let it be opened, and the forces of Sauron marched out. At the same time, more of Sauron's forces that had been hidden in the hills around the Black Gate came forth, thus surrounding the Men of the West. Sauron's army outnumbered that of the West by at least ten to one.

The Battle

Against Aragorn's army was arrayed Sauron's hordes of Orcs, Trolls, and barbarian Mannish allies such as the Easterlings and Haradrim. An exact count is not given of the number of Sauron's forces, and though they numbered in the tens of thousands at least, the battle is said to not have been quite as large as the preceding Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

The slag pools near the hills proved a hinderment for many of Sauron's forces, but trolls easily passed through the pools and crashed into the hosts of the west. During the fighting, Pippin became buried under the body of a troll chietain he had felled that had just wounded his comrade Beregond.

During the course of the battle, the eight remaining Nazgûl attacked the army of the West. The Eagles of the Misty Mountains, led by Gwaihir the Windlord, arrived and attacked the Ringwraiths. At that moment, when all hope seemed lost, Frodo put on the One Ring and Sauron realized that Frodo was inside Mount Doom. The Nazgûl immediately left the battle to intercept Frodo. The hosts of Mordor, suddenly without direction, hesitated, and many knights charged. Gandalf ordered them to halt, for the hour of doom was about to come. Indeed, Gollum bit the Ring off Frodo's finger and then accidentally fell into the Crack of Doom, and Sauron's power was overthrown.

The Nazgûl had been flying over Mount Doom just as it underwent a gigantic volcanic eruption, and they were all destroyed in the firestorm. Barad-dûr, the Black Gate, and the Towers of the Teeth collapsed to ruin. The Orcs and other creatures of Sauron were completely directionless with the Dark Lord's demise and were easily decimated by the army of the West. The Easterlings fought on stalwartly, though eventually many threw down their weapons and surrendered.

Aftermath

Fighting against Sauron's remaining forces would continue in the northern theater of the War of the Ring for several weeks, notably at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood and at Erebor, but the power of the Dark Lord of Mordor was no more.

Months later, the Battle of Bywater in the Shire against ruffians led by Saruman, and the subsequent killing of Saruman and Wormtongue on the very doorstep of Bag End, ended the War of the Ring.

References