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I've always wondered why the orc capital never played a part in the War of the Ring and why Sauron didn't utilize them. Is it possible that he didn't know of an orc population residing in Mount Gundabad?

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The Orc stronghold of Gundabad was originally wiped-out during the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs in TA 2793 to 2799, as Appendix A of Lord of the Rings notes:

When all was ready they assailed and sacked one by one all the strongholds of the Orcs that they could from Gundabad to the Gladden.

Presumably it was then repopulated in time for the Battle of Five Armies, at the end of which the Orc population was mostly wiped-out again:

Then dismay fell on the Goblins and they fled in all directions. But weariness left their enemies with the coming of new hope, and they pursued them closely, and prevented most of them from escaping where they could. They drove many of them into the Running River, and such as fled south or west they hunted into the marshes about the Forest River; and there the greater part of the last fugitives perished, while those that came hardly to the Wood-elves' realm were there slain, or drawn in to die in the trackless dark of Mirkwood. Songs have said that three parts of the goblin warriors of the North perished on that day, and the mountains had peace for many a year.

So the answer is that by the time of the War of the Ring there wasn't actually much of an Orc stronghold in Gundabad.

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  • This should really be marked as the right answer...
    – Daft
    Dec 10, 2014 at 11:30

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