Faramir's defense of Osgiliath
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
|Faramir's defense of Osgiliath|
|Conflict: War of the Ring|
|Date: 12 March T.A. 3019|
|Place: The ruins of western Osgiliath|
|Outcome: Victory for Sauron, gaining the crossing of the Anduin River|
Unknown, the men of Gondor
Unknown, forces of Mordor, Southrons, Haradwaith
|War of the Ring|
|Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater|
Two days after the departure of Frodo Baggins from Henneth Annûn, Faramir returned to Minas Tirith. Early in the morning of the next day Denethor ordered his son back to Osgiliath, hoping to make the Enemy pay dearly for the crossing of the river. Faramir had barely returned from Osgiliath (he was almost caught by Fell Beasts until Gandalf saved him). Despite his warnings that Sauron could easily afford to lose ten times Gondor's losses, and that those so far afield would find retreat perilous, Denethor insisted that Faramir defend the ruined city because no army could cross the river north of Cair Andros or southwards towards Lebennin. After the meeting of the Council Faramir took what strength he could to Osgiliath.
On 12 March, T.A. 3019, Sauron's army met and shoved Faramir's scratch forces west out of Osgiliath. Although the Enemy did pay dearly for the crossing, it was less than hoped. In secret, numerous floats and barges had been built in East Osgiliath which allowed Sauron's forces to swarm like beetles upon the defenders.
Faramir retired with his men to the Causeway Forts where the ongoing battle resumed. Soon this battle would also be lost, Faramir was struck down by the Black Breath. Only a sortie by Imrahil and his knights saved him and the rest of the wounded from that onset. Sauron's army advanced and siege of Gondor would begin.
Portrayal in adaptations
The movie version of The Return of the King by Peter Jackson condensed the battle. The Orcs led by Gothmog swarm across the Anduin and engage Faramir's garrison throughout the ruins of western Osgiliath. When his forces begin to be overwhelmed and the city is clearly lost, he leads a retreat back to Minas Tirith, harried by the Ringwraiths along the way. Denethor then delusionally orders Faramir to lead a counter-attack to retake Osgiliath, despite Faramir's complaint that the city is completely overrun. In the book, Denethor did not order Faramir on a suicidal cavalry charge against Osgiliath, although Faramir did regard the order to go to help defend Osgiliath ill-advised. Also, in the movie the Causeway Forts and the Rammas Echor did not exist.