Orcs waylay Isildur's Guard in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields
Event Type: Military/Strategic
Age: 3rd Age - The Kings
Date: October 4, 0002
An event in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields; see that entry for an overview.
'For Isildur was marching north along the east banks of the River, and near the Gladden Fields he was waylaid by the Orcs of the Mountains....'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 2, The Shadow of the Past
[In] the afternoon of the thirtieth day of their journey they were passing the north borders of the Gladden Fields.... The fair day was waning; above the distant mountains clouds were gathering, reddened by the misty sun as it drew down...; the deeps of the valley were already in grey shadow.... To their right the Forest loomed above them at the top of steep slopes running down to their path....
Suddenly as the sun plunged into cloud they heard the hideous cries of Orcs, and saw them issuing from the Forest and moving down the slopes.... In the dimmed light their number could only be guessed, but the Dúnedain were plainly many times, even to ten times, outnumbered. Isildur commanded a thangail to be drawn up, a shield-wall of two serried ranks that could be bent back at either end if outflanked, until at need it became a closed ring. If the land had been flat or the slope in his favour he would have formed his company into a dirnaith1 and charged the Orcs, hoping by the great strength of the Dúnedain and their weapons to cleave a way through them and scatter them in dismay; but that could not now be done. A shadow of foreboding fell upon his heart.
'The vengeance of Sauron lives on, though he may be dead', he said to Elendur.... 'There is cunning and design here! We have no hope of help: Moria and Lórien are now far behind, and Thranduil four days' march ahead.'
'And we bear burdens of worth beyond all reckoning,' said Elendur....
The Orcs were now drawing near.
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields
1 The dírnaith, Quenya nernehta 'man-spearhead,' was a wedge-formation, launched over a short distance against an enemy massing but not yet arrayed, or against a defensive formation on open ground.... [Author's note.]
Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 1, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields: Notes, Note 16
Elena Tiriel 11Nov07