Army List Notes: Orthanc

Climate is rated Cold, since Rohan and Dunland could suffer periods of snow-covered ground, even if most didn't last as long as the 5 month stretch of The Long Winter (RotK, p430).

Aggression is rated 3 rather than 4, since while Saruman initiated the offensive against Rohan, he was attacked unprepared by the Ents.

The terrain list is based upon Nan Curunir, the Wizard's Vale, in which Isengard (Orthanc) lay (TT, p196). A river is compulsory: the Isen, or its many small tributaries (UT, p356); as are RGo (felled woods, weeds and thorns) and a road (UT, p358). No Wd is allowed, since all the trees had been felled (TT, p196) forcing Saruman to look further afield for lumber (TT, p91). An option for E is allowed, since there were 'acres tilled by the slaves of Saruman' in the valley (TT, p196). The Vale itself was surrounded by peaks, hence the allowed H(S) and H(G) - these are not compulsory, since the vale was wide enough to support a great population. The BUA represents the a portion of the Ring of Isengard itself, and therefore it must be enclosed by PF. The Ring was a mile in circumference, and therefore too large to be entirely represented on the battlefield (TT, p197).

Saruman did not direct his forces himself, letting subordinates take command (UT, p355). The commander of his forces is not identified, but seems to have conducted a quite skillful battle at the Fords of Isen, and is therefore rated as Regular (UT, p361).

Saruman's 'finest warriors' (UT, p355) were Men or orc-men, mail-clad and armed with axes and are therefore classified as Bd (O). I used to rate them irreglar becasue of their ferocity (UT, p355), but regular seems better, given their elite nature, and their permanent embodyment and garrison duties, etc (TT, p205). It is propably these men who are the ones described as carrying 'great shields' (TT, p169).

Another elite were Saruman's Uruks of the White Hand (TT, p55). They used broad-bladed swords (TT, p56), are described as 'heavily armed' and fought in massed formations, and so are classed as Bd (UT, p357); although they were armed with longbows (TT, p61), these were a secondary weapon, as they emphasized close combat, fighting in wedge (TT, p73). As they were trained (UT, p357), and kept in good order even after being tired by battle (UT, p358), they are classified as regular, and as (F) since they moved at great speed for long periods (UT, p357; TT, p63).

Many other men served Saruman, mostly Dunlendings (TT, p162), but some were notionally from Rohan, being of half-Dunlending blood (UT, p364-5). They were generally unarmoured for the Orcs in Orthanc made armour only for their own use (UT, p366). Most were foot (TT, p212), but a few were horsemen (UT, p357). See the Dunlendings army list notes for more details on Dunlendings. Some men appear to have been pikemen (UT, p357). Since these were deployed purely for defensive purposes, I have classified these as (I), and as irregular since Saruman did not have the time to train men long enough in the usage of a weapon that is nowhere else mentioned in Middle-earth. I used to grade these as Pk (I). When DBM version 3 came out, I allowed the option of these men being deployed as Ax (X), and now make this madatory, as such pikemen are likely to have been recruited from Dunlendings, whofought in a more open style than their Rohan opponents who could form shieldwalls; this fits historical hillmen with "pikes", like Picts/Scots, Welsh or Hittites, and also because Ax (X) are not as good against Kn (F) in the open as Pk (I) are - and so might need the help of trenches - whereas Pk (I) have nothing to fear from horse, trenches or not.

The majority of Saruman's forces were Orcs however (UT, p261; TT, p212). Many rode wolves (UT, p357), indeed riderless wolves seem not have been used - the only occasion the wolves are mentioned without riders is in a context that need not exclude riders (UT, p359). See the Goblin army list notes for more details on ridden wolves.

Orcs (for which see the Goblin army list notes) are described as supporting other Orcish )or man-orchish) troops with arrows from behind (TT, p169), and can accordingly support such Isengard troops, but not Dunlendings. [Although the defenders of Helm's Deep were occupying PF (which would normally allow overhead shooting), they were also being attacked frontally, which disallows it, hence the archery there would have to be represented by Ps (O) support].

Trenches were used at the Fords to obstruct enemy cavalry and were manned by pikemen (UT, p357) and they therefore must be used together.

Uruks are described as 'black' (UT, p358; TT, p73). They bore black shields with a white hand in the centre (TT, p15), and bore a white S-rune on their helmets (TT, p15, 55).

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This page last modified 14 may 2006.