Battle of Dale

From Tolkien Gateway
Battle of Dale
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: March 14th - March 17th, T.A. 3019
(siege lasted from March 17th to March 27th, T.A. 3019)
Place: Outside Dale and before the gates of the Lonely Mountain
Outcome: Pyrrhic victory for the Men and Dwarves

Dwarves of Erebor



Bard II
Dáin Ironfoot
Thorin III Stonehelm








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

When you think of the great Battle of the Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valour of Durin's Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor.

The Battle of Dale and the subsequent siege 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 Erebor and the Bardings refused to acknowledge the overlordship and alliance of Sauron[2] and a host of his allies threatened the borders of King Brand.[3]

The Battle

Sauron had a large contingent of Easterlings to attack the Kingdom of Dale. King Brand held them at Carnen but around 14 March they managed to cross and push him back to Dale.

The combined forces of the Men and the Dwarves, under King Dáin Ironfoot, marched out to meet the Easterlings in battle at the feet of Erebor. The armies fought bravely before the Gate of Erebor, which was not taken. After three days of heavy close-quarters fighting, on 17 March, Brand fell and Dáin was killed[3] as he stood defending the body of his ally.[1]

The Easterlings were victorious and many Dwarves and Men were forced to retreat towards the Lonely Mountain. The defenders of the Mountain, led by crown princes Bard and Thorin Stonehelm were able to withstand the siege.[3]

Jan Pospisil - Dale units vs. Rhun

However, the forces of Gondor and Rohan defeated the main power of Sauron in the Morannon theatre on 25 March, causing the northern army to lose hope. Seeing the morale of their foes being sapped by news of victory in the south, Bard and Thorin managed to lift the siege on 27 March and drove the Easterlings out of Dale and back to the East.[3][4]


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 Mordor's 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.[1]

Bard II became King of Dale and Thorin III Stonehelm became King under the Mountain after the battle. They sent their ambassadors to the coronation of King Elessar. Dale and the Kingdom under the Mountain remained in perpetual friendship with Gondor and they were under the crown and protection of the King of the West.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

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

In the Extended Edition, while the army of Rohan is mustering at Edoras, Gimli comments to Legolas that he wishes they had a legion of Dwarves to help. Legolas responds that the Dwarves of Lonely Mountain and Elves of Mirkwood cannot march south to war against Mordor, for he fears that war is already marching upon their own lands. In the DVD commentary, Peter Jackson explained that this brief exchange was a nod to the Battle of Dale, as well as Sauron's attacks on the Woodland Elves and Lothlorien in the northern theatre of the war. However, Jackson explained that while he wished to show these other battles and that the War of the Ring was a truly global conflict, they simply didn't have the resources or time to construct entirely new sets and film more expansive battle scenes. Reluctantly Jackson could not show these events, but wanted to somehow acknowledge why the Elves and Dwarves aren't coming to aid the besieged Minas Tirith.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

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.[5]

2013: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Dale and Erebor were first featured in a series of group "instances" that depict their invasion by the "Jangovar" Easterlings. The first battle in the series features a race to ring the warning bells of Dale. The next has the players defending the crossing of the River Running so that the folk of Dale can evacuate safely to Erebor. Here King Brand is slain by archers, in a departure from his fate in the book. In the third such instance, players must defend Ravenhill from a smoke-spewing Jangovar machine wrought in Smaug's likeness and powered by a fire-spirit. The final encounter takes place at the end of the siege and pits the players in an arena-style battle against two mighty Olog-hai champions in order to break the attackers' morale once and for all.
Player characters can also visit Erebor and Dale after the War, and assist the two new Kings and their people with recovering. Despite being defeated, some stubborn Jangovar still linger in Dale's territory. One quest points out the inconsistency of Brand's death as well as the unlikelyhood of the Jangovar machine by having such occurrences recounted by an infamous Dwarf rumour-monger and spinner of tales.