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Things of Middle-earth

Rangers of Ithilien

Type: Military Units

Description:

The scouts and "irregulars" of Gondor's army, who primarily operate along the eastern borders of Gondor, especially in Ithilien, using guerilla tactics, and who provide support to other troops in Gondor.

Table of Contents:
Function
Numbers and Recruitment
Uniform and Weapons
Battle Tactics
Quarters and Daily Routine


Function
Rangers of Ithilien... crossed the Anduin secretly... to harry the Orcs and other enemies that roamed between the Ephel Dúath and the River.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

'[We] ever watch the shores nigh Osgiliath, which our enemies now partly hold, and issue from it to harry our lands.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

'It is close on ten leagues hence to the east-shore of Anduin,' said Mablung, 'and we seldom come so far afield.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

[Faramir said:] 'We of Gondor do not ever pass east of the Road in these days, and none of us younger men has ever done so, nor has any of us set foot upon the Mountains of Shadow. Of them we know only old report and the rumour of bygone days.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 6, The Forbidden Pool

Faramir spoke only of the errand upon which he had been sent out ten days before, and he brought tidings of Ithilien and of movements of the Enemy and his allies; and he told of the fight on the road when the men of Harad and their great beast were overthrown: a captain reporting to his master such matters as had often been heard before, small things of border-war that now seemed useless and petty, shorn of their renown.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor

[Faramir told Denethor on his return to Minas Tirith:] 'The rest of my company I sent south to strengthen the garrison at the fords of Osgiliath.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor

[The] Captains of the West were well warned by their scouts, skilled men from Henneth Annun led by Mablung....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 10, The Black Gate Opens


Numbers and Recruitment
The full strength of the Rangers is not known but it appears to be a relatively small unit.
[All] the survivors of the foray were now gathered on the slope nearby, two or three hundred strong.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

They were recruited from families who had occupied Ithilien in former times, apparently with a high proportion of men descended from the Dúnedain rather than from the Men of the White Mountains.
Rangers of Ithilien... were descended from folk who lived in Ithilien at one time, before it was overrun. From such men the Lord Denethor chose his forayers....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

[Mablung and Damrod] were goodly men, pale-skinned, dark of hair, with grey eyes and faces sad and proud. They spoke together in soft voices, at first using the Common Speech, but after the manner of older days, and then changing to another language of their own. To his amazement, as he listened Frodo became aware that it was the Elven-tongue that they spoke, or one but little different; and he looked at them with wonder, for he knew then that they must be Dúnedain of the South, men of the line of the Lords of Westernesse.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit


Uniform and Weapons
Two had spears in their hands with broad bright heads. Two had great bows, almost of their own height, and great quivers of long green-feathered arrows. All had swords at their sides, and were clad in green and brown of varied hues, as if the better to walk unseen in the glades of Ithilien. Green gauntlets covered their hands, and their faces were hooded and masked with green, except for their eyes....

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

[The other Rangers] were hooded and masked, and had gauntlets on their hands, and were armed like Faramir and his companions.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit


Battle Tactics
[Sam] could see them stealing up the slopes, singly or in long files, keeping always to the shade of grove or thicket, or crawling, hardly visible in their brown and green raiment, through grass and brake.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 4, Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

[They] broke up into small groups, and went off this way and that, vanishing quickly into the shadows of the rocks and trees.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Sam] soon became aware also that though they walked alone, there were many men close at hand: not only Damrod and Mablung flitting in and out of the shadows ahead, but others on either side, all making their swift secret way to some appointed place.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Frodo and Sam] marvelled to see with what speed these green-clad men now moved, vanishing almost in the twinkling of an eye.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 7, Journey to the Cross-roads

[On the return to Henneth Annun:] Faramir went about among the men, questioning each as he came in, in a soft voice. Some came back from the pursuit of the Southrons; others, left behind as scouts near the road, came in latest.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Faramir said:] My scouts and watchers have all returned, even some that have crept within sight of the Morannon.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 6, The Forbidden Pool


Quarters and Daily Routine
'[A] secret place we have, somewhat less than ten miles from here. The Orcs and spies of the Enemy have not found it yet, and if they did, we could hold it long even against many. There we may lie up and rest for a while....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Faramir said:] 'it is a command that no stranger, not even one of Rohan that fights with us, shall see the path [to Henneth Annun] we now go with open eyes.'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[The] cave was... filled with great store of arms and victuals.

'Well, here is our refuge,' said Faramir. 'Not a place of great ease but here you may pass the night in peace. It is dry at least, and there is food, though no fire....'

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Food] provided by Faramir: dried fruits and salted meat, enough for many days; and bread enough to last while it was still fresh.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 7, Journey to the Cross-roads

[Men] busied themselves about the cave... Light tables were taken from the walls and set up on trestles and laden with gear. This was plain and unadorned for the most part, but all well and fairly, made: round platters, bowls and dishes of glazed brown clay or turned box-wood, smooth and clean. Here and there was a cup or basin of polished bronze; and a goblet of plain silver was set by the Captain's seat in the middle of the inmost table.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

Now more torches were being lit. A cask of wine was broached. Storage barrels were being opened. Men were fetching water from the fall. Some were laving their hands in basins.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

The hobbits were taken to a corner and given a low bed to lie on, if they wished.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 5, The Window on the West

[Sam saw:] rows of men sleeping on mattresses along the wall.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 6, The Forbidden Pool

Contributors: Tanaqui 6Aug06

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