Battle Strategy IX: The Battle For Esgaroth

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Flastur 08/Dec/2006 at 07:02 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 608 Posts: 384 Joined: 07/Feb/2005
The purpose of this thread is to discuss the various tactics and strategies that each race and/or fraction would employ in battle. Previously this has been done through the use of strategies given in response to a given scenario. While that will be kept in this thread, a greater emphasis will be placed on discussion of the scenario and strategies. This will not affect judging, but it is discouraged to not participate after you have posted your strategy.

Here’s how it will work. People will give possible strategies to the scenario posted below. Strategies should be highly detailed and clearly written. After about ten strategies have been posted, they be judged and the winners will be tributed ten, five, or three points based on placement. Thanks to Brandy for giving tribute. After judging the thread will be open for general discussion of the scenarios and strategies. Here you may talk about flaws in each others strategies, discuss alternative strategies, refine your tactics, etc. Keep in mind that this is a lore post and as such, discussion should be detailed and well written. You do not need to participate in the first part of the thread to participate in the rest.

1. Strategies should be kept within the confines of the scenario.
2. Details, details, details!
3. Believability is a must.
4. This is based on the books.
5. One judged strategy per person per scenario.
6. Post the strategy you wish to be judged in red.

Here’s the scenario, originally posted by Tamin Monsar

A horde of Easterlings has come up the River Running and threatens to burn
Laketown. Scouts had told of only a band of bandits, so the Men of Esgaroth did not bother to alarm the Dwarves of Erebor or the Men of Dale. But when the Easterlings crossed the River Running south of the great falls at the southern end of the lake, it became obvious that it was not a mere band of bandits but rather a marauding army that had chosen Esgaroth to be their next target. Hastily, word has been send to Dale, Erebor and King Thranduil of the woodland Elves to send reinforcements.

The lay of the land is as follows: Esgaroth upon the Long Lake lies slightly south of the mouth of the Forest River on the western side of the lake. There are a few buildings on the shore and a big wooden bridge runs out into the lake where the town is built upon great wooden floats about a bowshot from the shore. The town is full of people that have retreated to the town and many boats are about. The edges of Mirkwood lie about 2 miles to the east and there is sparsely wooded land with small thickets to the south with a wide clearing around the town. In the North are the marshes around the Forest River and crossing the river is difficult although there has been a road established after the resettlement of Dale.

Your forces are:

50 soldiers of Esgaroth (longsword, 9’ spear, shield, boiled leather tunic, leather helmet)
100 archers of Esgaroth (longbow, dagger, no armor)
100 elvish spearmen (boiled leather tunic, leather helmet, 9’ spear, short sword)
100 elvish archers (longbow, dagger, light leather tunic)
100 swordsmen from Dale (longsword, round shield, chainmail shirt, boiled
leather pants, steel helmet)
100 Dwarves from Erebor (chainmail shirt, chainmail leggings, steel helmet,
battleaxe, round shield)

The enemy’s forces are:

150 raiding cavalry (leather tunic, longsword, small cavalry shields, some with shortbows or lances)
300 spearmen (chainmail shirt, boiled leather pants, steel helmet, 9’spear, short sword)
200 swordsmen (chainmail shirt, boiled leather pants, steel helmet, longsword, square shield 3’x4’)
200 archers (leather tunic, longbow, shortsword)

The latest news you got were as follows:

The sun is just rising and the enemy has apparently begun to move towards
Esgaroth along the shore of the lake. He has sent his light cavalry out in
advance to try the defences of the city. The cavalry will reach the town in
about 2 hours and the main host will most likely arrive in 3 hours. The men
from Dale are coming south with boats and will arrive in 3 hours. Elves and
Dwarves have taken the route by land and are expected to arrive in 4 hours.

How will you defend Esgaroth?
Ristin 09/Dec/2006 at 04:49 AM
Thief of Mordor Points: 289 Posts: 553 Joined: 28/Aug/2006
question- are the 100 dwarves and 200 elves there yet? or are they part of the host of eleves and dwavres coming?
Rílthoron Alarion 09/Dec/2006 at 08:01 AM
Minstrel of Lothlorien Points: 2717 Posts: 2311 Joined: 13/Jun/2005

Time: 0:00 (2 hours before Easterling cavalry arrives)
I would set several of the many civilians of the town to demolish the few buildings on the shore.  True, it will lead to the loss of a few homes, but we want that land to be clear. I will make my stand on the bridge later.  The few shore buildings are unimporant and can be rebuilt- I will have everyone who cannot work pull back onto to the "island" of floats where the main town is.

1:00 (cavalry arrives in 1 hour)
Gradually pull all civilians back ans the demolition of the shore buildings is completed.  This leaves a wide, open expanse of territory in front of the bridge where the enemy’s cavalry could be vulnerable to archers.  Position the soldiers , with spears out, in a long line across the whole bridge, with archers behind them ready to fire.

2:00 (enemy cavalry arrives)
The wall of spears will provide protection for the archers against the crowd of horsemen now charging against them.  If the cavalry do charge them, the long space of open ground around the bridge will allow the archers to shoot down many.  Their small shields will not provide adequate protection against a storm of arrows, and their archers are only armed with shortbows, and so have less range than mine.

3:00 (enemy’s main force and my swordsmen from Dale arrive)
I would continue to keep my Esgaroth soldiers in the same positions on the bridge, but if the enemy’s swordmen marched to attack instead of cavalry, I would have them draw their longswords instead of spears.  The enemy can only bring so many troops at a time acroos the bridge, and my archers could hopefully keep them in check.  Meanwhile, the men of Dale could attack the foe in the rear (coming from the north) and I would have them target the enemy’s archers first.  In the open field, they could hopefully scatter the light archers, because if they were destroyed first then the archers could come up and shoot arrows at my archers over the wall of my soldiers between them, and my archers would be outnumbered 4 to 1, and I would have to retreat to the island itself..  Assuming that the archers were destroyed, the men of dale could then fight their way through to join my swordsmen on the bridge.

4:00 (Elves and Dwarves arrive)
With this reinforcement, my archers and swordsmen on the bridge could hopefully stand until the Elves and dwarves arrive.  When they show up, I would have the elvish archers send a massive barrage of arrows into the enemy.  If the cavalry charged, the Elvish spearmen would stop them (spearmen excel agsinst cavlary) and I could them have my spearmen draw their short swords and have them and the Dwarvish axemen attack the enemy infantry (now weakened by the archer volleys) in a full melee and hopefully scatter them which little further trouble.

Tulcahyanda 09/Dec/2006 at 08:34 AM
Winemaker of Lothlorien Points: 910 Posts: 618 Joined: 09/Mar/2003
Well the first 2 hours are spent preparing, I have my soldiers and all able bodied men or women of the Lake put wagons across the bridge so as to block the path of the advancing calvary. 5, 6, 7 rows deep as many as possible, just to halt their advance. 50 men cannot hold the bridge for long against calvary, even with a spear wall. By blocking their path I can halt them until the Men of Dale arrive and their infantry arrive. The calvary have two options, mull around until the rest of the Easterlings get there, or attack through the wagons, the wagons should slow them down enough for the archers to have a rather good time with them, (AKA kill them, alot of them). Of course my infantry is behind the wagons in a spearwall formation, just in case they do get through.

Okay, so the Men of Dale should get here along with the main Easterling host. The enemy must know I have reinforcements coming, or must suspect as much, regardless, their host is there, the are not equipped for a siege or they would have brought more men, they must attack now. When they come forward my archers continue to shoot at them. While my men and the men of Dale take up defensive positions on my end of the bridge. My spearmen in front back up by the men of Dale. All my men have to do is hold for an hour, simple since they have spent some of that time taking out the wagons.

When the Dwarves and Elves arrive, they will attack from behind, my men attack out from the city, advancing across the bridge, while the elves and dwarves attack from behind, catching the enemy between them. I have to trust in my warriors and hope they can beat the odds, if they cannot then the battle is lost, but I have confidence in them that they will be victorious.
Tamin Monsar 09/Dec/2006 at 12:23 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005

two posts already, but remember: posts that you want to be judged should be posted in red , (just tell if you want your posts to be judged, Tulcahyanda and Rilthoron Alarion)

Ristin: in the beginning there are only the soldiers and archers of Esgaroth in the town, all other forces will arrive as has been described


Ristin 09/Dec/2006 at 01:54 PM
Thief of Mordor Points: 289 Posts: 553 Joined: 28/Aug/2006

Obviously by strategy here is to fight for time, unless i want to be Alexander the Great here.  As i am outnumbered about 5.5 to 1 at the beginning my men will take a defensive posture. While i allow some people in the town continue to collect their things and head off into the boats i conscript most them to work building some rough fortifications. Mostly just wagons, carts and anything else that can be put in place quickly to stop the horseman.

Since mobility is there greatest advantage i design my defence accordingly. i allow no straight lines into the town, and i bend my line as far i can to stop them from just merely going around. I strengthen my line until the horseman arrive. 

i deploy the spearman in front to fill the larger holes between the wagons and other bits of the line. i have my archers behind them in places where their field of view is still good. i give them permission to fire as soon as the horseman start to arrive. while this lowers accuray it will most likely slow the enemy calvary down, which is the point of the whole exercise. While i realize that a line of only 50 spearman cannot hold out for long against 150 horseman my enemy does not know my exact strength and i will reinforce his worries by showing off as many of my men as possible.

While all of this is going on i have the civilians that have not left build another line across the neck of the bridge as soon as it leaves the shore. i wait as long as i can however because i once i move there my enemy will know how small my force is.

i can reasonably be able to hold out for the one hour that i need to. neither my side or theirs has really lost that many men unless they try to force a major push which will cost them and i would hold. they would most likely not try again, which would break me, because once again they are not sure of my numbers. it is safer for them to wait until the main host arrives.

Soon however i am forced to retreat to the bridge and put in place, which the easterlings think is a last stand. I try to buy some time as i light the buildings on shore on fire. This slows the enemy horde down as it pushes through the burning wreckage and gives the men of Dale enough time to get to the town and disembark and began to arrive on my line.
Note- this is the three hour mark. (just wanted to make that clear)

My numbers now stand somewhere close to 250 men. i am still outnumbered a good bit here but my forces are in good condition and in a very defensive position, on the bridge which narrows down his advantage of numbers. it would be suidical for their light calvary to assault my somewhat entrenched men so, for now we can take them out of the equation. We must hold for 1 hour till the elves and dwarves arrive. while my men are in good condition about stopping any brute force assault, although it will come, they are somewhat vulnerable to archers although the burning town deprives their archers of the best place to stand so they are not in optimum range while my archers are and can keep them mostly at bay.

As he must, the enemy will try to force the bridge by sheer force. if the bridge is of reasonable width however my men should be standing two to three ranks deep and will be hard to dislodge by pure force, at least at first. the first one or two assaults will be survived although with a goodly loss of life. we can expect however since most of my enemy is spearman and i have more swordsman i will kill more of them then they of us.

While i can not hold this position forever, i don’t have too. After 1 bloody hour the elves and dwarves arrive. this alone would not be enough to scare them off because while i have somewhere around 200 hundred men they are in a weak position for offense so the easterlings send the horseman, and some of the swordsmen to deal with the elves and dwarves. leaving the spearman and archers with me since the archers can stop most moves i can make because i am exposed.

however the dwarves and elves would align with elvish spearman in squares with bowmen in the center with dwarvish axemen between the squares to deal with the swordsman. The light calvary would not be able to break this squares and soon would start taking large casualties from the elvish archers. the calvary would be forced to flee the field leaving their swordsman to hang which would be killed by the dwarves and elvish spearman.

the easterling horde now consists of about 300 spearman, 150 archers, and a few disorganized swordsman. About 100 dwarves and 200 hundred elves are advancing on them from the south while i am still positioned on the bridge to the north. Unless he wants to fight a two front battle he will retreat now. if he doesn’t he will be caught between two forces with fury in their eyes. the outcome is predictable.

Tulcahyanda 09/Dec/2006 at 03:56 PM
Winemaker of Lothlorien Points: 910 Posts: 618 Joined: 09/Mar/2003
I forget about the red EVERY time, everytime. Yes I want mine judged, I hate how I forget, sorry.
Ristin Pretty good strat.
Ristin 09/Dec/2006 at 05:06 PM
Thief of Mordor Points: 289 Posts: 553 Joined: 28/Aug/2006
are we allowed to discuss tactis now or until they are judged?
Tamin Monsar 10/Dec/2006 at 06:07 AM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005

Ristin: let’s wait with the discussion until we have a reasonable number of strategies (around 10) and they were judged. this ensures that people that post later are not influenced by any analysis that you come up with now.

Aikanár 12/Dec/2006 at 06:10 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2464 Posts: 1771 Joined: 14/Sep/2005
bump. I’ll hopefully have something up soon. And believe me, it’s gonna blow discussion out of the water!! : P
Wood Walker 12/Dec/2006 at 07:00 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 803 Posts: 1185 Joined: 27/May/2006
Is there a gate where the town and bridge meet? That is a vital key to my forming plan so I would like to know one way or the other. Also if there is a gate what is it made out of. Thanks
Tamin Monsar 13/Dec/2006 at 08:30 AM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005
WW: there is no gate, the bridge runs directly from the shore to the town.
Wood Walker 13/Dec/2006 at 07:29 PM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 803 Posts: 1185 Joined: 27/May/2006

What kind of self-respecting town is this?! No gate! Why do they think that every bum can just walk right through and take over the town?! They need to keep the bums out ( the the hordes of bad dudes) with gates, that is the problem right there!  

Oh Tamin Monsar: Thanks for the info, * goes back to the drawing board*

Tamin Monsar 17/Dec/2006 at 05:19 PM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005

keep it coming, people


Tamin Monsar 23/Dec/2006 at 02:43 AM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005

anybody out there who cares about the fate of Esgaroth?


Wood Walker 23/Dec/2006 at 06:50 AM
Messenger of Minas Tirith Points: 803 Posts: 1185 Joined: 27/May/2006
Me but I am busy visting RL people over Christmas break.
King Gothmog 23/Dec/2006 at 10:57 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 1082 Posts: 506 Joined: 27/Jul/2006
I will get to this.  It’s on my to do list.  But so is all my Christmas shopping that I have left for the last minute,
King Gothmog 23/Dec/2006 at 10:57 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 1082 Posts: 506 Joined: 27/Jul/2006
I will get to this.  It’s on my to do list.  But so is all my Christmas shopping that I have left for the last minute, to
King Gothmog 23/Dec/2006 at 10:57 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 1082 Posts: 506 Joined: 27/Jul/2006
I will get to this.  It’s on my to do list.  But so is all my Christmas shopping that I have left for the last minute, to the
Aikanár 24/Dec/2006 at 05:20 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2464 Posts: 1771 Joined: 14/Sep/2005
er, King Gothmog??, was thet intentional??
King Gothmog 24/Dec/2006 at 09:52 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 1082 Posts: 506 Joined: 27/Jul/2006
no, my computer is acting horrid.
Tamin Monsar 02/Jan/2007 at 07:26 AM
Mercenary of Minas Tirith Points: 580 Posts: 252 Joined: 06/Jun/2005