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Battle of the Pelennor Fields

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{{disambig-more|Battle of the Pelennor Fields|[[Battle of the Pelennor Fields (disambiguation)]]}}
 
{{cleanup}}{{sources}}
 
{{cleanup}}{{sources}}
 
{{battle|
 
{{battle|
image=[[Image:Perkan Pickman - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields.jpg|300px]]|
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image=[[File:Per Sjögren - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields.jpg|300px]]|
name=Battle of Pelennor Fields|
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name=Battle of the Pelennor Fields|
 
conflict=[[War of the Ring]]|
 
conflict=[[War of the Ring]]|
date=March 15, 3019 T.A.|
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date=15 March {{TA|3019}}|
place=[[Minas Tirith (Gondor)|Minas Tirith]] and fields of [[Pelennor]], [[Gondor]]|
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place=[[Minas Tirith]] and fields of [[Pelennor]], [[Gondor]]|
 
result= Victory of Gondor and Rohan|
 
result= Victory of Gondor and Rohan|
 
side1=[[Gondor]], [[Rohan]]|
 
side1=[[Gondor]], [[Rohan]]|
 
side2= [[Mordor]], [[Harad]], [[Rhûn]], [[Khand]]|
 
side2= [[Mordor]], [[Harad]], [[Rhûn]], [[Khand]]|
commanders1=*[[Denethor II|Denethor]] †
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commanders1=*[[Denethor]] †
 
*[[Gandalf]]
 
*[[Gandalf]]
 
*[[Forlong]] †
 
*[[Forlong]] †
Line 17: Line 18:
 
*[[Grimbold]]†
 
*[[Grimbold]]†
 
*[[Aragorn]]
 
*[[Aragorn]]
*[[Halbarad]]
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*[[Éomer]]
*[[Éomer]]|
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| commanders2=*The [[Witch-king]] of [[Angmar]] †
*[[Dervorin]]
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commanders2=*The [[Witch-king of Angmar]] †
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*[[Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul)|Gothmog]]
 
*[[Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul)|Gothmog]]
|forces1=In [[Minas Tirith]]: Minas Tirith Garrison(strength unknown)Possibly around 2200 troops smaller than the supported small southern contingent (<2800). 6000 Rohirrim cavalry arriving from the north at dawn, later reinforced by an unknown number of Men of Southern Gondor under Aragorn arriving from the south (possibly 2-4,000)|
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| forces1=In [[Minas Tirith]]: Minas Tirith Garrison (strength unknown); possibly around 4000+ troops. Around 1000+ survivors from Osgiliath and Causeway Forts.  Approx. 3,000+ auxiliary troops from Southern Gondor in Minas Tirth.{{fact}}<br/>6000+ Rohirrim cavalry<ref name="Muster">{{RK|Muster}}; quote from [[Théoden]], "''Yet six thousands at the least shall ride behind me.''"</ref><br/>Unknown number of Men of Southern Gondor under Aragorn arriving from the south (possibly 2-4,000)
forces2=Unknown total strength, but vast numerical superiority to Gondor's forces in Minas Tirith; possibly over 100,000. Forces consisting of [[Orcs]], [[Trolls]], [[Wargs]], [[Oliphaunts]], the [[Nazgûl]], 18000 [[Haradrim]], and thousands of [[Easterlings]] (Men of Rhûn, Variags of Khand, etc.)|
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| forces2=Unknown total strength, but vast numerical superiority to Gondor's forces in Minas Tirith; possibly over 75,000. Forces consisting of [[Orcs]], [[Trolls]], [[Wargs]], [[Oliphaunts]], the [[Nazgûl]], 6000+ [[Haradrim]], and thousands of [[Easterlings]] (Men of Rhûn, Variags of Khand, etc.)
casual1=
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| casual1=Heavy
2000 [[Rohirrim]],2000-4500 overall(number unknown); see article|
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| casual2=Almost Complete destruction of attacking force
casual2=
+
Complete destruction of attacking force
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}}{{wotr}}
 
}}{{wotr}}
'''Battle of Pelennor Fields''' was the greatest battle of the [[War of the Ring]], and indeed the largest of the entire [[Third Age]].
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The '''Battle of the Pelennor Fields''' was the greatest battle of the [[War of the Ring]], and indeed the largest of the entire [[Third Age]].
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
 
===Prelude===
 
===Prelude===
After the fall of [[Osgiliath]] there was no longer a barrier against the forces of [[Mordor]], which moved on the [[Pelennor Fields]] before the city on [[March 15]], [[Third Age 3019]] as the [[Great Darkness]] blotted out the sun.
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{{seealso|Siege of Gondor}}
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After the fall of [[Osgiliath]] there was no longer a barrier against the forces of [[Mordor]], which moved on the [[Pelennor Fields]] before the city on [[15 March]] {{TA|3019}} as the [[Great Darkness]] blotted out the sun.
  
Mordor's troops consisted of more than 30,000 [[Easterlings]] and [[Haradrim]],{{fact}} numerous [[mûmakil|oliphaunts]], and tens of thousands of [[Orcs]]; The defenders' numbers were considerably less despite the addition of about 2,800 men from southern [[Gondor]] in the days before the battle.
+
===Opposing Forces===
 +
Mordor's troops consisted of more than 30,000 [[Easterlings]] and [[Haradrim]],{{fact}} numerous [[mûmakil|oliphaunts]], and tens of thousands of [[Orcs]];  
 +
The defenders' numbers were considerably less. the city's garrison likely was no more than 2,000, the survivors from Osgiliath probably numbered around 1,000 (One third of that garrison were killed), there were about 2,800 men from southern [[Gondor]] who arrived just before the siege commenced.
  
 
===Battle===
 
===Battle===
 
The attackers used catapults not only to attack the city, through bombardment and flames, but also to fire the heads of slain men from Osgiliath and other places Mordor's armies had passed through into it.{{fact}} Later on, the great battering ram [[Grond (battering-ram)|Grond]] (named after [[Morgoth]]'s weapon from the First Age) was put into action.
 
The attackers used catapults not only to attack the city, through bombardment and flames, but also to fire the heads of slain men from Osgiliath and other places Mordor's armies had passed through into it.{{fact}} Later on, the great battering ram [[Grond (battering-ram)|Grond]] (named after [[Morgoth]]'s weapon from the First Age) was put into action.
  
Before dawn Grond was used to break the city's main gate, and the [[Witch-king of Angmar|Witch-king]] rode into the city unchallenged, save by [[Gandalf]]. Before Gandalf's strength was put to the test, however, the cock crowed and the horns of [[Rohan]] were heard as around 6,000 of their riders joined the battle. Mordor's strategy for keeping Rohan out of the battle had failed twice, both through the defeat at Helm's Deep and the blockade in Anorien. So the Witch-king was forced to ride out and attack them instead of fighting Gandalf and destroying the city.
+
Before dawn Grond was used to break the city's main gate, and the [[Witch-king]] rode into the city unchallenged, save by [[Gandalf]]. Before Gandalf's strength was put to the test, however, the cock crowed and the horns of [[Rohan]] were heard as around 6,000 of their riders joined the battle. Mordor's strategy for keeping Rohan out of the battle had failed twice, both through the defeat at Helm's Deep and the blockade in Anorien. So the Witch-king was forced to ride out and attack them instead of fighting Gandalf and destroying the city.
  
 
King Théoden's charge drove the Mordor forces from the northern half of the field, and charging the Haradrim cavalry he slew the Southron chieftain, the [[Black Serpent]], and cut down his standardbearer.
 
King Théoden's charge drove the Mordor forces from the northern half of the field, and charging the Haradrim cavalry he slew the Southron chieftain, the [[Black Serpent]], and cut down his standardbearer.
 +
[[File:Laurent Alquier - Éowyn's Stand in the Pelennor Fields.jpg|thumb|left|Éowyn ([[Dernhelm]]) and the [[Dwimmerlaik]].]]
 +
When the Witch-king's fell beast attacked King [[Théoden]] of Rohan, the king's horse [[Snowmane]] lost control, and was hit by an arrow. Snowmane fell with the king atop him, and the horse landed on him, which proved fatal. The warrior [[Dernhelm]], defending the king's body, slew the fell beast and challenged its rider. The Witch-king mocked him, telling him that no living man might slay him, but the [[hobbits|Hobbit]] [[Meriadoc Brandybuck|Merry]] wounded him with a sword that had been forged centuries before during the war between [[Arnor]] and [[Angmar]] and which contained spells against the Witch-king. The spells finally found their target, for the Witch-king was distracted and possibly seriously weakened. He was then slain by Dernhelm, now revealed as Théoden's niece [[Éowyn]] and thus no ''man'' at all. The [[Black Breath]] caused both Merry and Éowyn to become gravely ill, and they were sent to the [[Houses of Healing]] in the city.  Command of the Rohirrim then passed to Théoden's nephew and heir, Third Marshall Éomer.
  
When the Witch-king's fell beast attacked King [[Théoden]] of Rohan, the king's horse [[Snowmane]] lost control, and was hit by an arrow. Snowmane fell with the king atop him, and the horse landed on him, which proved fatal. The warrior [[Dernhelm]], defending the king's body, slew the fell beast and challenged its rider. The Witch-king mocked him, telling him that no living man might slay him, but the [[hobbits|Hobbit]] [[Meriadoc Brandybuck]] (Merry) wounded him with a sword that had been forged centuries before during the war between [[Arnor]] and [[Angmar]] and which contained spells against the Witch-king. The spells finally found their target, for the Witch-king was distracted and possibly seriously weakened. He was then slain by Dernhelm, now revealed as Théoden's niece [[Éowyn]] and thus no ''man'' at all. The [[Black Breath]] caused both Merry and Éowyn to become gravely ill, and they were sent to the [[Houses of Healing]] in the city.  Command of the Rohirrim then passed to Théoden's nephew and heir, Third Marshall Éomer.
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At the same time, [[Faramir]], son of [[Denethor]], Steward of Gondor, was also gravely wounded. Despairing at the visions of defeat that [[Sauron]] had sent him via his ''[[palantíri|palantír]]'', and believing Faramir to be beyond aid, Denethor prepared to burn himself and his son upon a funeral pyre. Only the intervention of [[Peregrin Took]] and Gandalf saved Faramir, but Denethor immolated himself before they could prevent him.
 
+
At the same time, [[Faramir|Faramir]], son of [[Denethor II|Denethor]], Steward of Gondor, was also gravely wounded. Despairing at the visions of defeat that [[Sauron]] had sent him via his ''[[palantíri|palantír]]'', and believing Faramir to be beyond aid, Denethor prepared to burn himself and his son upon a funeral pyre. Only the intervention of [[Peregrin Took]] and Gandalf saved Faramir, but Denethor immolated himself before they could prevent him.
+
  
 
Meanwhile, the battle turned against the Rohirrim.  The Southrons charged with their Mûmakil and wherever they went horses went wild with fear or were trampled underfoot, and the forces of Mordor rallied around them like islands of defense that the Rohirrim cavalry could not overtake.  Éomer, grim after the death of Théoden but shocked by the unexpected (seeming) death of his sister Éowyn, the last living member of his family, flew into a [[berserker]] rage and charged his cavalry headlong into the larger enemy forces.  So great was the wrath of the outnumbered Rohirrim at the death of their King that they broke through the superior Mordor forces, hammering deep wedges into the Mordor legions' front lines.  However, this soon turned against Éomer:  his cavalry had pierced the Enemy front lines so quickly that his company was now cut off from the other two, and surrounded between Mordor's front lines and their reserves.  Fighting their way to the docks near the Harlond south of the city, Éomer desperately circled up his men on a hill and prepared to fight to the death, when he saw enemy reinforcements sailing up the River [[Anduin]], and let out a defiant cry at his approaching end.
 
Meanwhile, the battle turned against the Rohirrim.  The Southrons charged with their Mûmakil and wherever they went horses went wild with fear or were trampled underfoot, and the forces of Mordor rallied around them like islands of defense that the Rohirrim cavalry could not overtake.  Éomer, grim after the death of Théoden but shocked by the unexpected (seeming) death of his sister Éowyn, the last living member of his family, flew into a [[berserker]] rage and charged his cavalry headlong into the larger enemy forces.  So great was the wrath of the outnumbered Rohirrim at the death of their King that they broke through the superior Mordor forces, hammering deep wedges into the Mordor legions' front lines.  However, this soon turned against Éomer:  his cavalry had pierced the Enemy front lines so quickly that his company was now cut off from the other two, and surrounded between Mordor's front lines and their reserves.  Fighting their way to the docks near the Harlond south of the city, Éomer desperately circled up his men on a hill and prepared to fight to the death, when he saw enemy reinforcements sailing up the River [[Anduin]], and let out a defiant cry at his approaching end.
[[Image:Anke Eissmann - The Black Serpent founders.jpg|right|thumb|300px|''The Black Serpent founders'' by [[Anke Eißmann]]]]
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[[File:Anke Eißmann - The Black Serpent founders.jpg|right|thumb|300px|''The Black Serpent founders'' by [[Anke Eißmann]]]]
One of the visions that Denethor had seen was of a fleet of enemy ships with black sails arriving at the landings to the south of the Pelennor in the Rammas, but what he had not seen was that they were actually manned by [[Aragorn]] and other [[Rangers of the North]], [[Gimli]], [[Legolas]], [[Elladan]], [[Elrohir]] and many reinforcements from southern fiefdoms of Gondor. As Aragorn's army drove north a great part of Mordor's forces were pinned between Aragorn and Eomer's cavalry, and were "caught between the hammer and the anvil".  Aragorn's army then linked with Eomer's, and with their aid the tide of battle was finally turned, and a brief respite was won until the [[Last Battle]] before the [[Morannon|Black Gate]].
+
One of the visions that Denethor had seen was of a fleet of enemy ships with black sails arriving at the landings to the south of the Pelennor in the Rammas, but what he had not seen was that they were actually manned by [[Aragorn]] and other [[Rangers of the North]], [[Gimli]], [[Legolas]], [[Elladan]], [[Elrohir]] and many reinforcements from southern fiefdoms of Gondor. As Aragorn's army drove north a great part of Mordor's forces were pinned between Aragorn and Eomer's cavalry, and were "caught between the hammer and the anvil".  Aragorn's army then linked with Eomer's, and with their aid the tide of battle was finally turned, and a brief respite was won until the [[Battle of the Morannon|final battle]] before the [[Morannon|Black Gate]].
  
 
=== Aftermath ===
 
=== Aftermath ===
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==Portrayal in Adaptations==
 
==Portrayal in Adaptations==
 
'''2003: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]]'':'''
 
'''2003: ''[[The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King]]'':'''
:The battle is the major centrepiece of the last film, although some of the events described above are simplified or altered for cinematic purposes. Importance is given to the charge of the Mûmakil, the death of Théoden and the Witch-king's demise at the hands of Eowyn.
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:The battle is the major centrepiece of the last film, although some of the events described above are simplified or altered for cinematic purposes. The Gondorian forces from the kingdom's fiefs are absent, replaced only by the Rohirrim. These are joined by Aragorn leading the "[[Oathbreakers|Army of the Dead]]" (instead of the Gondorian reinforcements) at the very end of the battle. Importance is given to the charge of the Mûmakil, the death of Théoden and the Witch-king's demise at the hands of Eowyn.
  
:The battle begins with Sauron's forces marching on city and firing a volley of severed heads over the walls (as in the book). Initially, both Sauron's army and the defenders of Minas Tirith exchange fire by way of catapults and trebuchets. The flying Ringwraiths then descend from the skies, spreading fear throughout the city and destroying many catapults. Seeing Mordor's overwhelming army, Denethor despairs and Gandalf assumes command of the defenders. He helps them hold out until Théoden and over six thousand Rohirrim arrive, decimating the invading orcs. However, Sauron's reserves soon arrive with several Oliphaunts, commanded by the Haradrim, who turn the tide against the Rohirrim. Fortunately, Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead (see [[Paths of the Dead]]), who crush Sauron's forces. This is an alteration from the book, in which the Dead depart after they defeat the Corsairs and liberate Pelargir, after which Gondor's Southern Army is now free to rally to Aragorn. Peter Jackson likely wanted to make the Army of the Dead more of a focus in the story, giving them greater impact in the overall scheme of events and, thus, giving greater significance to Aragorn's decision to take the Paths of the Dead, as well as his trials therein. In the theatrical cut of the film, the scenes at Pelargir are cut entirely. The filmmakers felt that tension would be better maintained by not letting the audience know whether or not Aragorn was successful in recruiting the Dead Army. The Pelargir scenes were restored for the extended cut of the movie.
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:The battle begins with [[Sauron]]'s forces marching on the city and firing a volley of severed [[Gondorians|Gondorian]] heads over the walls (as in the book). Seeing [[Mordor]]'s overwhelming army, [[Denethor]] despairs and Gandalf assumes command of the defenders. Both Sauron's army and the defenders of Minas Tirith exchange fire by way of catapults and trebuchets: many orcs, and a few dozen Gondorian soldiers, were killed whilst some catapults and siege towers were destroyed. Then the [[Nazgûl|Ringwraiths]], mounted on top of their fell-beasts, descended from the skies, spreading fear throughout the city and destroying many catapults. Meanwhile trolls bring forth the siege towers and engage the Gondorian troops and [[Gandalf]] in combat throughout the night. As the battle wages continues in the dark the [[orcs]] bring forth a giant battering ram named [[Grond (battering ram)|Grond]] and with it the [[Great Gate of Minas Tirith]] are shattered allowing the orcs, [[trolls]] and [[wargs]] to invade the city. In the book the populace was almost entirely evacuated before the battle.  In the movie, the women and children remained, and many were slaughtered in the lower levels.
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:By morning the Gondorian soldiers had taken heavy casualties and retreated to the higher levels of Minas Tirith, there Gandalf helps them to hold out until [[Théoden]] and six thousand [[Rohirrim]] arrive, decimating the invading orcs and routing the Witch-king's right flank; however, Sauron's reserves soon arrive with several [[Oliphaunts]], commanded by the [[Haradrim]], who turn the tide against the Rohirrim. Fortunately, [[Aragorn]] arrives with the [[Oathbreakers|Army of the Dead]] (see [[Paths of the Dead]]), who crush Sauron's forces.  
  
 
{{references}}
 
{{references}}
 
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[[Category:Conflicts of the War of the Ring]]
 
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[[Category:Conflicts of the Third Age]]
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[[de:Schlacht auf dem Pelennor]]
 
[[de:Schlacht auf dem Pelennor]]
 
[[fr:encyclo:evenements:3a:guerres:bataille_des_champs_du_pelennor]]
 
[[fr:encyclo:evenements:3a:guerres:bataille_des_champs_du_pelennor]]
 
[[fi:Pelennorin kenttien taistelu]]
 
[[fi:Pelennorin kenttien taistelu]]

Revision as of 22:30, 11 October 2012

The name Battle of the Pelennor Fields refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Battle of the Pelennor Fields (disambiguation).
"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
This article or section needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of article quality.
"Who told you, and who sent you?" — Gandalf
This article or section needs more/new/more-detailed sources to conform to a higher standard and to provide proof for claims made.
Battle of the Pelennor Fields
Per Sjögren - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields.jpg
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: 15 March T.A. 3019
Place: Minas Tirith and fields of Pelennor, Gondor
Outcome: Victory of Gondor and Rohan
Combatants

Gondor, Rohan

Mordor, Harad, Rhûn, Khand

Commanders
Strength

In Minas Tirith: Minas Tirith Garrison (strength unknown); possibly around 4000+ troops. Around 1000+ survivors from Osgiliath and Causeway Forts. Approx. 3,000+ auxiliary troops from Southern Gondor in Minas Tirth.[source?]
6000+ Rohirrim cavalry[1]
Unknown number of Men of Southern Gondor under Aragorn arriving from the south (possibly 2-4,000)

Unknown total strength, but vast numerical superiority to Gondor's forces in Minas Tirith; possibly over 75,000. Forces consisting of Orcs, Trolls, Wargs, Oliphaunts, the Nazgûl, 6000+ Haradrim, and thousands of Easterlings (Men of Rhûn, Variags of Khand, etc.)

Casualties

Heavy

Almost Complete destruction of attacking 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

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields was the greatest battle of the War of the Ring, and indeed the largest of the entire Third Age.

Contents

History

Prelude

See also: Siege of Gondor

After the fall of Osgiliath there was no longer a barrier against the forces of Mordor, which moved on the Pelennor Fields before the city on 15 March T.A. 3019 as the Great Darkness blotted out the sun.

Opposing Forces

Mordor's troops consisted of more than 30,000 Easterlings and Haradrim,[source?] numerous oliphaunts, and tens of thousands of Orcs; The defenders' numbers were considerably less. the city's garrison likely was no more than 2,000, the survivors from Osgiliath probably numbered around 1,000 (One third of that garrison were killed), there were about 2,800 men from southern Gondor who arrived just before the siege commenced.

Battle

The attackers used catapults not only to attack the city, through bombardment and flames, but also to fire the heads of slain men from Osgiliath and other places Mordor's armies had passed through into it.[source?] Later on, the great battering ram Grond (named after Morgoth's weapon from the First Age) was put into action.

Before dawn Grond was used to break the city's main gate, and the Witch-king rode into the city unchallenged, save by Gandalf. Before Gandalf's strength was put to the test, however, the cock crowed and the horns of Rohan were heard as around 6,000 of their riders joined the battle. Mordor's strategy for keeping Rohan out of the battle had failed twice, both through the defeat at Helm's Deep and the blockade in Anorien. So the Witch-king was forced to ride out and attack them instead of fighting Gandalf and destroying the city.

King Théoden's charge drove the Mordor forces from the northern half of the field, and charging the Haradrim cavalry he slew the Southron chieftain, the Black Serpent, and cut down his standardbearer.

Éowyn (Dernhelm) and the Dwimmerlaik.

When the Witch-king's fell beast attacked King Théoden of Rohan, the king's horse Snowmane lost control, and was hit by an arrow. Snowmane fell with the king atop him, and the horse landed on him, which proved fatal. The warrior Dernhelm, defending the king's body, slew the fell beast and challenged its rider. The Witch-king mocked him, telling him that no living man might slay him, but the Hobbit Merry wounded him with a sword that had been forged centuries before during the war between Arnor and Angmar and which contained spells against the Witch-king. The spells finally found their target, for the Witch-king was distracted and possibly seriously weakened. He was then slain by Dernhelm, now revealed as Théoden's niece Éowyn and thus no man at all. The Black Breath caused both Merry and Éowyn to become gravely ill, and they were sent to the Houses of Healing in the city. Command of the Rohirrim then passed to Théoden's nephew and heir, Third Marshall Éomer.

At the same time, Faramir, son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, was also gravely wounded. Despairing at the visions of defeat that Sauron had sent him via his palantír, and believing Faramir to be beyond aid, Denethor prepared to burn himself and his son upon a funeral pyre. Only the intervention of Peregrin Took and Gandalf saved Faramir, but Denethor immolated himself before they could prevent him.

Meanwhile, the battle turned against the Rohirrim. The Southrons charged with their Mûmakil and wherever they went horses went wild with fear or were trampled underfoot, and the forces of Mordor rallied around them like islands of defense that the Rohirrim cavalry could not overtake. Éomer, grim after the death of Théoden but shocked by the unexpected (seeming) death of his sister Éowyn, the last living member of his family, flew into a berserker rage and charged his cavalry headlong into the larger enemy forces. So great was the wrath of the outnumbered Rohirrim at the death of their King that they broke through the superior Mordor forces, hammering deep wedges into the Mordor legions' front lines. However, this soon turned against Éomer: his cavalry had pierced the Enemy front lines so quickly that his company was now cut off from the other two, and surrounded between Mordor's front lines and their reserves. Fighting their way to the docks near the Harlond south of the city, Éomer desperately circled up his men on a hill and prepared to fight to the death, when he saw enemy reinforcements sailing up the River Anduin, and let out a defiant cry at his approaching end.

The Black Serpent founders by Anke Eißmann

One of the visions that Denethor had seen was of a fleet of enemy ships with black sails arriving at the landings to the south of the Pelennor in the Rammas, but what he had not seen was that they were actually manned by Aragorn and other Rangers of the North, Gimli, Legolas, Elladan, Elrohir and many reinforcements from southern fiefdoms of Gondor. As Aragorn's army drove north a great part of Mordor's forces were pinned between Aragorn and Eomer's cavalry, and were "caught between the hammer and the anvil". Aragorn's army then linked with Eomer's, and with their aid the tide of battle was finally turned, and a brief respite was won until the final battle before the Black Gate.

Aftermath

There is no clearly stated final death toll for the Battle of Pelennor Fields. There is a definite figure for the cavalry of the Rohirrim that came to Gondor's defence; it consisted of 6,000 riders, and a full 2,000 were killed in the battle, including Théoden. Of the 5 to 6 thousand Gondorian defenders of Minas Tirith, and the large relief force of Gondor's southern provinces led by Aragorn, no definite figure remains. Two days after the battle, Aragorn led an army out to attack the Black Gate that consisted of 7,000 men (When he reached the Black Gate he had less than 6,000); 2,000 Rohirrim and 5,000 Gondorians. The size of Aragorn's relief force may have been over 5,000 or as little as 1,000, it is never stated. However, even a conservative estimate would place total Gondorian losses at 3,000, and more probably 5,000.

As for enemy losses, again, the size of Sauron's great army is not definitely known. There were at the very least 60,000, and this is almost surely an overconservative estimation. In Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, the enemy numbered over 200,000, and this may be accurate with the number present in the text. It is known that there were some 18,000 Haradrim. (The Rohirrim, consisting of 6,000 riders, were "thrice outnumbered by the Haradrim alone".) The Enemy's army was utterly destroyed on the field: all War Mûmakil were killed, the Lord of the Nazgûl was slain, numerous Trolls, and perhaps all of the Orcs (which composed the majority of the army) were killed, those that retreated drowning in the River Anduin. Many Easterlings and Haradrim proudly fought to the death when the tide turned, even as the Orcs were cowardly running away, with few escaping to send news of the power and wrath of Gondor to lands east and south.

Although a great and almost miraculous victory, at the subsequent Last Debate, Gandalf counseled that militarily, Sauron would still defeat them. The Free Peoples had managed to destroy an army outnumbering them at least 10 to 1, but lost almost a third of their own forces. Sauron had suffered a defeat, but he still had other legions and the force that attacked Minas Tirith, while substantial, was but a fraction of his total strength. Rohan and Gondor had been able to secure their flanks, eliminating the threat of Isengard and the Corsairs on the southern coasts, but Gandalf counseled that even with all of their forces concentrated in the main front near Minas Tirith, it would simply be enduring wave after wave of siege like a sandcastle being worn down by the ocean. Thus, it was agreed that it was impossible to achieve a conventional military victory through strength of arms, and instead to risk all on a last throw of the dice by Aragorn leading a diversionary attack on the Black Gate, to aid Frodo's passage in Mordor.

Portrayal in Adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

The battle is the major centrepiece of the last film, although some of the events described above are simplified or altered for cinematic purposes. The Gondorian forces from the kingdom's fiefs are absent, replaced only by the Rohirrim. These are joined by Aragorn leading the "Army of the Dead" (instead of the Gondorian reinforcements) at the very end of the battle. Importance is given to the charge of the Mûmakil, the death of Théoden and the Witch-king's demise at the hands of Eowyn.
The battle begins with Sauron's forces marching on the city and firing a volley of severed Gondorian heads over the walls (as in the book). Seeing Mordor's overwhelming army, Denethor despairs and Gandalf assumes command of the defenders. Both Sauron's army and the defenders of Minas Tirith exchange fire by way of catapults and trebuchets: many orcs, and a few dozen Gondorian soldiers, were killed whilst some catapults and siege towers were destroyed. Then the Ringwraiths, mounted on top of their fell-beasts, descended from the skies, spreading fear throughout the city and destroying many catapults. Meanwhile trolls bring forth the siege towers and engage the Gondorian troops and Gandalf in combat throughout the night. As the battle wages continues in the dark the orcs bring forth a giant battering ram named Grond and with it the Great Gate of Minas Tirith are shattered allowing the orcs, trolls and wargs to invade the city. In the book the populace was almost entirely evacuated before the battle. In the movie, the women and children remained, and many were slaughtered in the lower levels.
By morning the Gondorian soldiers had taken heavy casualties and retreated to the higher levels of Minas Tirith, there Gandalf helps them to hold out until Théoden and six thousand Rohirrim arrive, decimating the invading orcs and routing the Witch-king's right flank; however, Sauron's reserves soon arrive with several Oliphaunts, commanded by the Haradrim, who turn the tide against the Rohirrim. Fortunately, Aragorn arrives with the Army of the Dead (see Paths of the Dead), who crush Sauron's forces.

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Muster of Rohan"; quote from Théoden, "Yet six thousands at the least shall ride behind me."