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Faramir's defence of Osgiliath

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Faramir's defence 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) · Moria · Isen (1) · Rauros · Isen (2) · Fangorn · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Siege of Gondor · Mirkwood · Dale · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater

Faramir's defence of Osgiliath was a futile attempt to stem the offensive of Sauron's army advancing from Minas Morgul towards Minas Tirith through the ruins of the city on the Anduin.


Two days after the departure of Frodo Baggins from Henneth Annûn, Faramir barely returned to Minas Tirith from Cair Andros, since he was almost caught by fell beasts of the five Nazgûl until Gandalf saved him.[1][2]

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. 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.[1]

The Battle

On 12 March, T.A. 3019,[2] Sauron's army met and pushed 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.[1]


Under the Enemy's pressure, Faramir was forced to retreat with his men back to the Causeway Forts where the ongoing battle resumed. On 13 March,[2] this fight was also lost, while Faramir himself was gravely wounded by a poisonous arrow of the Haradrim and struck down by the Black Breath. Only a sortie by Imrahil and his knights saved him and the rest of the remaining soldiers from that onset.[1] Sauron's army advanced and the Siege of Gondor would begin.

Portrayal in adaptations

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

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. The Pelennor Fields are not protected by the Rammas Echor and there are no Causeway Forts on the road between Osgiliath and Minas Tirith.