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Timeline Event

Attack on the Orc-raiders at Fangorn: Overview

Event Type: Military/Strategic

Age: 3rd Age - Ring War

Dates: February 27, 3019 ~ March 1, 3019


An event in the Invasion of Westfold by Saruman; see that entry for an overview:

Table of Contents:
The Summary
The Combatants
— Attacking Forces
— Defensive Forces
The Timeline
The Prelude
The Battle
The Aftermath

The Summary
The assault by Éomer's éored on the Orcs encroaching upon Rohan's territory, leading to the escape of Merry and Pippin.

The Combatants

The Combatants: Attacking Forces
[Said] Legolas, 'there are one hundred and five [Riders].1 Yellow is their hair, and bright are their spears. Their leader is very tall.'....

After [Éomer] they rode: a long line of mail-clad men, swift, shining, fell and fair to look upon.

Their horses were of great stature, strong and clean-limbed.... The Men that rode them matched them well: tall and long-limbed; their hair, flaxen-pale, flowed under their light helms.... In their hands were tall spears of ash, painted shields were slung at their backs, long swords were at their belts, their burnished skirts of mail hung down upon their knees.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

The Combatants: Defensive Forces
[Many] of the Orcs were using ordinary language. Apparently the members of two or three quite different tribes were present, and they could not understand one another's orc-speech....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 3, The Uruk-Hai

[Most] of the Northerners broke away and dashed off, over a hundred of them.... The hobbits were left with the Isengarders: a grim dark band, four score at least of large, swart, slant-eyed Orcs with great bows and short broad-bladed swords....

[There] was Grishnákh again, and at his back a couple of score of others like him: long-armed crook-legged Orcs. They had a red eye painted on their shields.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 3, The Uruk-Hai

The Timeline
February 3019
... Meriadoc and Peregrin captured.... Éomer hears of the descent of the Orc-band from the Emyn Muil.

[See: Orc-raid at Parth Galen: Overview]
[See: Merry and Pippin captured]

Éomer against Théoden's orders sets out from Eastfold about midnight to pursue the Orcs.

[See: Éomer pursues the Orc-raiders]
[See: Orc reinforcements from Mordor join the Orc-raiders]

Éomer overtakes the Orcs just outside Fangorn Forest.

[See: Éomer besieges the Orc-raiders at Fangorn]

Meriadoc and Pippin escape and meet Treebeard. The Rohirrim attack at sunrise and destroy the Orcs....

[See: Grishnákh seizes Merry and Pippin at Fangorn]
[See: Grishnákh, Captain of the Mordor Orcs, slain by the Rohirrim]

[See: Orc reinforcements from Isengard arrive at Fangorn]
[See: Merry and Pippin escape the Orc-raiders and flee into Fangorn]

[See: Éomer attacks the Orc-raiders at Fangorn]
[See: Uglúk, Captain of the Isengard Orcs, slain by Éomer]

[See: Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard]
[See: Merry and Pippin rouse Treebeard to action]

Entmoot begins. Éomer returning to Edoras meets Aragorn.

[See: Ents Gather for an Entmoot]

[See: Éomer meets the Three Hunters in the Eastemnet]

March 3019
... Entmoot continues. Aragorn meets Gandalf the White. They set out for Edoras....

[See: Destruction of Isengard by Ents: Overview]

[See: Gandalf Meets the Three Hunters in Fangorn]
[See: Gandalf and the Three Hunters Ride to Edoras]

[See: Éomer imprisoned by the counsel of Gríma Wormtongue]

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age

The Prelude
Boromir opened his eyes and strove to speak.... His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 1, The Departure of Boromir

The Battle
'Indeed in this riding north I went without the king's leave, for in my absence his house is left with little guard. But scouts warned me of the orc-host coming down out of the East Wall three nights ago, and among them they reported that some bore the white badges of Saruman. So suspecting what I most fear, a league between Orthanc and the Dark Tower, I led forth my éored, men of my own household; we overtook the Orcs at nightfall two days ago, near to the borders of the Entwood. There we surrounded them, and gave battle yesterday at dawn. Fifteen of my men I lost, and twelve horses alas! For the Orcs were greater in number than we counted on. Others joined them, coming out of the East across the Great River: their trail is plain to see a little north of this spot. And others, too, came out of the forest. Great Orcs, who also bore the White Hand of Isengard: that kind is stronger and more fell than all others.

'Nonetheless we put an end to them. But we have been too long away.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

The Aftermath
The hobbits turned and fled deep into the shadows of the wood.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 3, The Uruk-Hai

[The] Riders made a great fire and scattered the ashes of their enemies. So ended the raid, and no news of it came ever back either to Mordor or to Isengard....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 3, The Uruk-Hai

At last... they came to the eaves of the forest, and... they found the place of the great burning.... Further away, not far from the river... there was a mound.... about it were planted fifteen spears.

Aragorn and his companions searched far and wide about the field of battle.... By nightfall they had discovered no trace of Merry and Pippin.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 2, The Riders of Rohan

'Much [must be done],' said Gandalf. 'But first send for Éomer. Do I not guess rightly that you hold him prisoner, by the counsel of Gríma...?'

'It is true,' said Théoden. 'He had rebelled against my commands, and threatened death to Gríma in my hall.'2....

'... Wormtongue played dangerously, always seeking to delay you, to prevent your full strength being gathered.... Do you not remember how eagerly he urged that no man should be spared on a wildgoose chase northward, when the immediate peril was westward? He persuaded you to forbid Éomer to pursue the raiding Orcs. If Éomer had not defied [your order], those Orcs would have reached Isengard by now, bearing a great prize. Not indeed that prize which Saruman desires above all else, but at the least two members of my Company.... Dare you think of what they might now be suffering, or what Saruman might now have learned to our destruction?'

'I owe much to Éomer,' said Théoden.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 6, The King of the Golden Hall

The dates are set to encompass the events Éomer pursues the Orc-raiders through Éomer imprisoned by the counsel of Gríma Wormtongue.
1The éored with which Éomer pursued the Orcs... had 120 Riders: Legolas counted 105 when they were far away, and Éomer said that fifteen men had been lost in battle with the Orcs.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 2, Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan: Notes, Note 36

2[The] charge against [Éomer], urged by Gríma, was that the King had in this case forbidden him to take any of the still uncommitted forces of the East-mark from Edoras, which was insufficiently defended; that he knew of the disaster of the Fords of Isen and the death of Théodred before he pursued the Orcs into the remote Wold; and that he had also against general orders allowed strangers to go free, and had even lent them horses.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 5, The Battles of the Fords of Isen: Appendix

Lyllyn 7Jun03
Elena Tiriel15Aug04, 27Dec04, 22Jan05, 24May05

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