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Discussing: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

I'm adding new Resource Library entries for The Wars of the Wainriders, and need to estimate some dates for the final Invasion of Gondor in 1944 III. Specifically, I'm trying to figure out how long it would take Eärnil to march his Southern Army of Gondor, after its victory of the Battle against the Haradrim at Poros to the area where the Battle of the Camp was fought. Here are the facts (or the best info I can find... ): The BatHaP was fought about 40 miles north of the Crossings of Poros, presumably on or near the Great North Road of Ithilien, which was fully maintained and repaired (and under Gondor's control) in those days. The army then marched, again presumably on the North Road, up to the area of North Ithilien between Cair Andros and Ephel Dúath. This is three thumbs' length on the map, or about 180 miles, maximum. Now, they were in a hurry, because Eärnil was apparently aware of the disastrous Battle against the Wainriders at the Morannon, and was trying to cut off the enemy's approach from Ithilien to Minas Tirith. So, the question is, how many days does it take an army that has just fought a battle to hurry 180 miles on good road by foot and arrive ready to fight again? Thanks in advance for any insight you can share! - Barbara

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Barbara, IIRC there's a passage re: Isildur's march north in The Disaster of the Gladden Fields that could provide some helpful insights. Can't get at it for you right now, but I think you will find there is some notation of time and distance that could be used to calculate the speed of Eärnil's forces. HTH ~Nessime

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

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Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Thank you, Nessime! I know just the passage & have it handy (since UT is where I'm getting all the juicy Wars of the Wainriders tidbits...) - B

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Wow, thanks Blue!! It's a wonder Minas Tirith survived... or maybe the Wainriders just got rrrreeeeeaaaalllllllyyyy drunk after their first victory... - B Am I the only one who, when reading about the Battle of the Camp, thinks about the Christmas Eve attack on the Prussians at, um, er, Yorktown (or someplace like that... over on the right-hand coast) in the US Revolutionary War? - Barbara, who never gave a **** about wars and battles before becoming a Tolkien Research Geek...

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

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Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Gulp... Okay, so it was the wrong city, wrong state, and wrong enemy... But I got the day and the war right! - Barbara

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

But I got the day and the war right!
That you did - and the point of the reference wasn't lost (even though you had taken us on a wrong turn down I-95). There's nothing like a good hangover - especially if it's the enemy who has it. ~Nessime

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

I gakked the following info on Roman foot soldiery from www.totalwar.com:
B. Iris, this is great! I haven't looked yet, so I'm wondering; do you know if this URL is included in the Resource Library? If not, I think it would be useful to have it there. Thanks. ~Nessime

 

 

? re: Historic location (was Re: How long does it take...?)

Longer time battle research geek here. Dated several soldiers/sailors (married to one once) and did historical reenactments as well.
Another history buff... There can't be enough as far as I'm concerned. You might be someone who can tell me if I'm imagining this or not (I'm really hoping you can). In the movie The Patriot with Mel Gibson, there is a very distinctive manor house (brick construction, massive curved entrance stairway, four clustered chimneys at either end) that was used as Cornwallis' headquarters at one point (for the movie a palisade had been constructed surrounding it). I was certain that the house was Stratford Hall, where Robert E. Lee was born as I don't recall there being another like it - IIRC there was a comments about its uniqueness in one of the books I had borrowed from the library when I was doing research on early American manor houses (I think it was titled American Villas, but don't quote me on that - it's been awhile since I read it). Yet the credits at the end of the movie stated that the movie (in it's entirety IIRC) had been shot on location in the Carolinas, with no mention of Stratford Hall (which is, of course, in Virginia). I don't know if you're familiar with the movie, but do you know of another house similar to Stratford Hall anywhere in the Carolinas? That question has been niggling at me ever since I saw the movie. TIA ~Nessime *who loves historic houses - I'd love to live in one*

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Hey all ~ Coming late to the party with just a wee tuppence worth of nothing. During the American Civil War, Confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became famous for moving his men remarkable distances in short times. During his Shenandoah campaign he marched his 17,000 men, (soon dubbed "Jackson's Foot Cavalry") 400 miles and fought and won 5 major engagements - in just 38 days. His men were reported to sometimes make 30 miles in a 24 hour period - thereby shocking the socks off the enemy. Caesar making 50 miles in 48 hours is equivalent to one of Jackson's own achievements - marching his men 50 miles in two days to reach Bristoe Station. - And yes, the men would be *very* worn when it was over, and probably traveled very light, food and ammo only, with baggage likely left behind or left to catch up sometime later. It takes a tough commander, keen officers and dedicated men to get that sort of performance. Important to remember, too, is that an army cannot move any faster than its slowest part. Thus baggage trains might be left behind for a forced march, with the men taking only the bare essentials. And if you're still conscious after all my babble, LOL, I'd say 20 miles per day is probably the max that could be maintained for a forced march between battles, by foot soldiers, with Blue Iris' estimate of 15 mpd likely being the better guess. So I'd guess anywhere from 9 to 12 days to go 180 miles is about the best one could hope for, with the longer time most likely. Cheers ~ Erin Edit:One of Jackson's fellow generals, John D. Imboden, left this quote on how Jackson successfully moved his men so hard: 'His celerity of movement was a simple matter. He never broke down his men by too-long-continued marching. He rested the whole column very often, but only for a few minutes at a time. I remember that he liked to see the men lie down flat on the ground to rest, and would say, "A man rests all over when he lies down." ' Maybe Eärnil knew this, too. ;-)

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

I'd say 20 miles per day is probably the max that could be maintained for a forced march between battles, by foot soldiers, with Blue Iris' estimate of 15 mpd likely being the better guess So I'd guess anywhere from 9 to 12 days Thank you, Erin! I've ended up using 9-10 days, but partly because the Wainriders "poured" into Northern Ithilien, so it is possible that the army marching up from Southern Ithilien didn't have to go the full 180 miles. Entering the history of the Wars with the Wainriders has been more interesting than I expected at first -- partly because I get to make up the names of some of the wars and battles! Mwahahaha! - Barbara

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

I don't know if this will be useful or not to you, as it is relevant to mounted troops, but Erin's post brought to mind something from both my experiences and research while riding cav and artillery as a civil war reenactor. They had mounted troops move in a cycle of a mounted walk, mounted trot, dismount and walk. We participated in a 20 mile horse-a-thon ride a couple of years, and I can say that this works very well... especially the walking for the rider part.

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

I don't know if this will be useful or not to you, as it is relevant to mounted troops, but Erin's post brought to mind something from both my experiences and research while riding cav and artillery as a civil war reenactor. They had mounted troops move in a cycle of a mounted walk, mounted trot, dismount and walk. We participated in a 20 mile horse-a-thon ride a couple of years, and I can say that this works very well... especially the walking for the rider part. Oh wow, you do/did Civil War Reenacting, too? I also do, but just as a foot sojer - would love to do cav, but have neither horse nor money. Easier to just put together a kit that stays in a metal box all winter and doesn't have to be fed. *G* That sounds really cool, though. At an event in northern California the last two years we also got to see a "flying battery" with their gun and cassion. First year was gorgous - very dramatic as they thundered onto the field. Last year, LOL, they had a couple new horses so things weren't going quite as smoothly - but still wonderful to watch. Sounds like your outfit did some very cool things - and practical, as well. Good on ya! Cheers, and keep your powder dry ~ ~ Erin *in Nevada, USA*

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Thank you! This question has gotten much more interesting replies than I imagined it could when I asked it... - Barbara

 

 

Re: How long does it take an army to march 180 miles?

Neat! It's amazing how many other reenactors I've run into through Tolkien interest, most of them out west... My husband was in the infantry. I used to say to him 'why would I want to walk when I can ride.' I can't afford a horse either, I'm been lucky enough to find people with more horses than time... a surprisingly common occurrence. I was a very active reenactor in New Mexico. Not so much though since I moved back to Georgia. There's unfortunately a very strong mentality of "We don't want girls in our treehouse," sort of thing here. The funny thing is when I first started I hadn't any intention of getting in uniform. But I have admit it looked like fun and I dearly wanted to ride again. The guys said they got tired of me staring longingly at the horses and drafted me. At one point we had a four up. We never did make it to six. Though our sister-unit in Denver did. I certified as an artillerist and then became an artillery driver, diverging in to cavalry as needed. At one point we had enough horses and artillery trained riders that we could mount an entire artillery crew! (admittedly not period, but loads of fun!) If it was horse-related we did it, we refurbished a late 1900 buggy, buildt a covered wagon, stuck me on a side saddle (that was interesting... in a period riding habit though it's a death-trap.) Oops, I seem to have run on... Always happy to meet a fellow reenactor!! (obviously) Éile

 

 

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