Second Battle of the Fords of Isen

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Second Battle of the Fords of Isen
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: 2 March, T.A. 3019
Place: The Fords of Isen
Outcome: Isengard victory, scattering of the Rohirrim




Unnamed Uruk-hai captain


About 2,000 men

Over 10,000 Uruk-hai, Orcs, Dunlendings, Wargs, and evil men




The Second Battle of the Fords of Isen was the second of two conflicts at the Fords of Isen, of which no clear accounts were ever made. It occurred on March 2nd, T.A. 3019, just seven days after the first battle and the death of Théodred.


After the end of the First Battle of the Fords of Isen, Erkenbrand of Westfold assumed command of the West-mark on the next day when a message of the fall of Théodred reached him in the Hornburg. He sent errand-riders to Edoras asking that Éomer should be sent at once with all help that could be spared, but nothing was done because of Gríma.[1][note 1]

The forces of the West-mark commanded by Grimbold while Erkenbrand gathered more forces in Hornburg, and the Muster of Edoras, commanded by Elfhelm, fought Saruman's forces at the Fords of Isen. Elfhelm wanted to abandon the fords and to hold up the enemy on the eastern side of the fords, because it could also come down from Isengard on the east of the river Isen, but Grimbold was not willing to abandon the Fords.[1]

Therefore, Grimbold remained with the rest of his men on the east bank while Elfhelm withdrew his Riders and took up his position East of the Fords.[1]

All went ill and, being severely outnumbered, the forces of Grimbold were forced to pull back and got reunited with Elfhelm forces. At night, the whole remaining forces of Saruman reached their location, and the Rohirrim formed a shieldwall, which held for a long time.[1]

However, seeing that the shieldwall woundn't last for long and that as many men that could retreat to Hornburg the better, though it might seem inglorious, Grimbold ordered his troops to retreat. In a sudden manoeuvre, purposefully breaking the shieldwall, Grimbold gathered his force as best he could and made for the road southward during the night. So it was that the greater part of his men survived.[1]


Thus ended the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen. The Rider Ceorl was sent to report to Éomer about the defeat. On his way Ceorl met Théoden's band who were already on their way to their support, only to be told about the defeat. This report made Théoden to retreat to Helm's Deep.[1]

When they received news from Ceorl, Gandalf rode towards Isengard with the greatest speed that Shadowfax could command. He must have met Grimbold and Elfhelm, whom he advised and ordered to go southward to join Erkenbrand and Théoden in Hornburg.[1]

See also


  1. The reinforcements with Éomer and the King himself set out in the afternoon of March the 2nd, but that night the Second Battle of the Fords was fought and lost, and the invasion of Rohan began.


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