10

I'd like to know (roughly) how big various armies in the war of the Ring were, and if possible how they were made up.

That includes for example

  • Saruman's Forces
  • Gondor's Soldiers
  • The Rohirrim
  • The Haradrim
  • The Army led out of Minas Morgul

and anything else anyone can think of.

1
  • I wish I could find out more about Sauron's forces
    – MadTux
    May 2, 2013 at 18:26

2 Answers 2

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After some intensive reading I found this:

Chapter: Helm's Deep

The Host passed through the breach and halted on the sloping sward above. They now learned to their joy that Erkenbrand had left many men to hold Helm's Gate, and more had since escaped thither.
'Maybe, we have a thousand fit to fight on foot,' said Gamling, an old man, the leader of those that watched the Dike. 'But most of them have seen too many winters, as I have, or too few, as my son's son here.'

That is how many were in Helm's Deep before Théoden arrived, but not how many riders Théoden had.

Isengard was at least 10000 strong, as witnessed by Merry and Pippin:

'He emptied Isengard. I saw the enemy go: endless lines of marching Orcs [uruk-hai]; and troops of them mounted on great wolves. And there were battalions of Men, too. Many of them carried torches, and in the flare I could see their faces. Most of them were ordinary men, rather tall and dark-haired, and grim but not particularly evil-looking. But there were some other that were horrible: man-high, but with goblin-faces, sallow, leering, squint-eyed. Do you know, they reminded me of that Southener at Bree; only he was not so obviously orc-like as most of these were.'

Then the Gondorian army to support Minas Tirith:

'Forlong!' men shouted. 'True heart, true friend! Forlong!' But when the [axe-]men of Lossarnach had passed they muttered: 'So few! Two hundreds, what are they? We hoped for ten times the number.'

and, a bit later:

The men of Ringló Vale behind the son of their lord, Dervorin striding on foot: three hundreds. From the uplands of Morthond, the great Blackroot Vale, tall Duinhir with his sons, Duilin and Derufin, and five hundred bowmen. From the Anfalas, the Langstrand far away, a long line of men[c. 900] of many sorts, hunters and herdsmen and men of little villages, scantily equipped, save for the household of Golasgil their lord. From Lamedon, a few grim hillmen without a captain. Fisher-folk of the Ethir, some hundred or more spared from the ships. Hirluin the fair of the Green Hills from Pinnath Gelin with three hundreds of gallant green-clad men. And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the Lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses; and behind them seven hundreds of men at arms, tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came. And that was all, less than three thousands full told.

He doesn't write how many were in Minas Tirith in the first place.

Then the Rohirrim come with 6000 riders, as observed by Ghân-buri-Ghân in 'The Ride of the Rohirrim'. They are heavily outnumbered by Orcs in that region.

There are roughly three times as many (18000) Haradrim as Rohirrim:

And if the Rohirrim were at their onset thrice outnumbered by the Haradrim alone, soon their case became worse; ...

The fleet of Umbar encompassed "50 great ships, smaller vessels beyond count"

After the Battle of the Pellenor Fields, the force to attack the Morannon was 7000 strong:

This then was the end of the debate of the lords; that they should set forth on the second morning from that day with seven thousands, if these may be found; and the great part of this force should be on foot, because of the evil lands into which they would go. Aragorn should find some two thousands of those that he had gathered to him in the South; but Imrahil should find three and a half thousands; and Éomer five hundreds of the Rohirrim who were unhorsed but themselves warworthy, and he himself should lead five hundreds of his best Riders on horse; and another company of five hundred horse there should be, among which there should ride the sons of Elrond with the Dúnedain and the knights of Dol Amroth: all told six thousand foot and a thousand horse.

And then, not going:

But the main strength of the Rohirrim that remained horsed and able to fight, some three thousand under Elfhelm, should waylay the West Road against the enemy that was in Anórien.

In the End less than 6000 actually arrive at the Black Gates, because some stayed at the crossroads, and some went to free Cair Andros

I'll write more if I find anything . . .

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  • So basically this war was kind of a minor skirmish... You could fit most of these armies into a football field or something. Man, good publicity sure goes a long way!
    – einpoklum
    Feb 16, 2015 at 23:46
  • 1
    I wouldn't call it minor skirmish ;) Also elves, dwarves and humans in the north fought with Sauron. Combined forces of Sauron and Saruman could be even 100 000 strong.
    – Mithoron
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:04
  • 4
    Pre-industrial age armies were much smaller than modern ones. Surplus money was lacking, logistics for huge forces was impossible on unpaved roads. A million man army would starve.
    – Oldcat
    May 12, 2015 at 18:49
3

The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad provides some helpful tables about the forces present in each battle.

Before each map of a battle, Fonstad first calculates the size of each involved army, using references to the text. The tables here are taken directly from The Atlas of Middle-earth, but I have expanded the footnotes into the full quotes from the sources cited.

The Battle of the Hornburg - 3,800 vs 10,000
(page 148-149)

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10. "At the gate they found a great host of men, old and young, all ready in the saddle. More than a thousand were there mustered." (Book III, chapter 6)
11. "'Maybe, we have a thousand fit to fight on foot,' said Gamling, an old man, the leader of those that watched the Dike. 'But most of them have seen too many winters, as I have, or too few, as my son's son here." (Book III, chapter 7)
12. "Behind him, hastening down the long slopes, were a thousand men on foot; their swords were in their hands." (Book III, chapter 7)
13. "They stand here and there in the wood or under its eaves, silent, watching endlessly over the trees; but deep in the darkest dales there are hundreds and hundreds of them, I believe. ... I think that hundreds more of the Huorns must have been passing by to help in the battle." (Book III, chapter 9)
14. "I have spoken to stouthearted men, and I do not doubt that the main strength of the enemy is many times as great as all that we have here." (Book III, chapter 7) "Well, of all sorts together, there must have been ten thousand at the very least ... You have done much, but I need more. I have about ten thousand Orcs to manage." (Book III, chapter 9)

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields - 11,250 vs 45,000
(pages 151-153)

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14. "Yet six thousands at the least shall ride behind me." (Book V, Chapter 2)
15. "‘I have thirty with me,’ said Halbarad." (Book V, Chapter 2)
16. "a dusty line of men, well-armed and bearing great battle-axes ... But when the men of Lossarnach had passed they muttered: ‘So few! Two hundreds, what are they? ... The men of Ringló Vale behind the son of their lord, Dervorin striding on foot: three hundreds. From the uplands of Morthond, the great Blackroot Vale, tall Duinhir with his sons, Duilin and Derufin, and five hundred bowmen. From the Anfalas, the Langstrand far away, a long line of men of many sorts, hunters and herdsmen and men of little villages, scantily equipped save for the household of Golasgil their lord. From Lamedon, a few grim hillmen without a captain. Fisher-folk of the Ethir, some hundred or more spared from the ships. Hirluin the Fair of the Green Hills from Pinnath Gelin with three hundreds of gallant green-clad men. And last and proudest, Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, kinsman of the Lord, with gilded banners bearing his token of the Ship and the Silver Swan, and a company of knights in full harness riding grey horses; and behind them seven hundreds of men at arms, tall as lords, grey-eyed, dark-haired, singing as they came. And that was all, less than three thousands full told. No more would come. (Book VI, Chapter 1)
17. "the Rohirrim at their onset were thrice outnumbered by the Haradrim alone" (Book V, Chapter 6)

The Battle of the Morannon - 6,000 vs 60,000
(page 154)

Seven thousand men set out from Minas Tirith

This then was the end of the debate of the lords: that they should set forth on the second morning from that day with seven thousands, if these might be found; and the great part of this force should be on foot, because of the evil lands into which they would go. ... all told six thousand foot and a thousand horse. (Book V, Chapter 9)

Six thousand are still around when they reach the black gate

Then some being shamed by his mercy overcame their fear and went on, and the others took new hope, hearing of a manful deed within their measure that they could turn to, and they departed. And so, since many men had already been left at the Cross-roads, it was with less than six thousands that the Captains of the West came at last to challenge the Black Gate and the might of Mordor. (Book V, Chapter 10)

The armies of Mordor outnumber them ten to one.

The men of the West were trapped, and soon. all about the grey mounds where they stood, forces ten times and more than ten times their match would ring them in a sea of enemies. Sauron had taken the proffered bait in jaws of steel. (Book V, Chapter 10)

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