Siege of Gondor
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For several months, Sauron had been building his forces for the strike against Minas Tirith. But, due to the use of the Orthanac palantir by Aragorn, he struck before he was ready, but, his armies still far excedded the defenders of the city.
Gandalf arrived with Pippin a day before Sauron's forces attacked. Most of the citizens were sent north and west; except those in the arts of healing and boys who refused to leave. The same day, 3,000 men from Belfast, Dol Amorath and other places arrived to assist the garrison. But, it was less then a tenth of what was needed. Most that were needed were holding off the Black Fleet of Umbar.
Gandalf saved Faramir upon the latters return, for he was pursued closely by the Nazgul. Denethor, upon hearing the report of his son on the doings in Ithilin, who allowed the Ring-Bearer go free, reprimended him for his decision. He also did not share his sons' decision when he thought Osgilith was a liability. Faramir accepted the dangerous, perhaps suicidal, charge of defending the ruined city and the Rammas Echor. That night a dark cloud from Mordor covered the entire land.
Battles at Osgilith and the Rammas Echor
The Witch-King led the assualt upon the western side of Osgilith the next morning. Many boats had been built in secret which allowed them to overwhelm the defenders swiftly, who despite thier fierce defense, could only do minimal casualties to the forces arrayed against them. They also could not stand against the Witch-King, for at his approach men fled in terror.
Gandalf, upon learning the Witch-King was on the field, went from the city to assist the belegard forces which had fallen back to the Rammas Echor. It was taken by blasting stones, and on the retreat, Faramir fell wounded while battling against an Easterling champion. Only a charge by Prince Imrahil and the Kinghts of Dol Amroth saved him.
As the defenders retreated to the city, a sortie of calvary sent out by Denethor scattered the prusuit and allowed them to come in unharried. Denethor, upon seeing his son's wounded and unconscious state, lost his will to fight and gave no more thought to the defence of his city.
The defenders of Minas Tirith watched all day as the hosts of Mordor dug pits and set up siege weapons beyond thier range. At first they mocked the supposed foolishness. But, as the Nazgul continued swooping near the city and uttering cries of death, thier will became sapped. Then, then their foes began launching stones at the city, many of which would burst into flame as they came crashing down. Then, the heads of all those that had been slain in battle were flung over the city. The whole first level was soon in flames.
Seeing that the defenders will was already broken, near midnight the Witch-King launched his assualt upon the city. Many defenders fled to the higher levels, but, many stayed at thier posts and many were slain trying to reach the walls. Many towers were also destroyed as they rolled forward.
The hardest thrust was made against the great gate. The Witch-King personally rode beside the battering ram Grond. When it began to strike the gate, the Witch-King cried spells that enforced it and weakened the gate and in only three strikes the gate broke. All but Gandalf fled, who stood steadfast. The Witch-King entered the gate and an epic showdown was about to occur. The Witch-King raised his sword, which lit in red flames when a cock crowed and horn from the west sounded. The Witch-King left to deal with the Riders of Rohan and the battle of the Pellenor Fields commenced. The siege was broken during the battle.
- In both Rankin/Bass's and Jackson's adaptions of the Return of the King, the Siege has been a major center point.
- In Jackson's adaption, the firing of head began the battle and the flaming stones came later.
- In Jackson's adaption, the Nazgul do more then just whittle away at the wills of the defenders, but destroy many of the siege engines of the defenders.