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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Who had the most powerful navy in the third age?


Dec 13 2007, 5:35pm

Post #1 of 7 (244 views)
Who had the most powerful navy in the third age? Can't Post

Some people say that Gondor had the most powerful navy in middleearth, yet for me at least there seemed to little or no defence against the easterlings navy,were it not of course for the intervention of Aragorn, Gondor would have been completley defeated.



Dec 13 2007, 5:40pm

Post #2 of 7 (147 views)
When in the Third Age? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm assuming you mean at the end of the Third Age, during the War of the Ring. The Corsairs apparently had a better navy than Gondor at that time. But then the Corsairs used to be a part of Gondor, earlier in the Third Age. The Corsairs are not the Easterners, by the way, although they ally with them and various other enemies of Gondor in the War of the Ring.


Dec 13 2007, 7:10pm

Post #3 of 7 (150 views)
It was those darn fords at Osgiliath [In reply to] Can't Post

After the loss of Osgiliath to amphibious forces of Morgul and Harad, most of Gondor's navy was based at Cair Andros and the Crossings of the Poros. Control of the River was thus hotly contested even though the land battle for Ithilien had been lost. What no one expected was that when the Easterlings' navy showed up for the final assault, their wains would be watertight enough to serve as barges, which doubled their strength on the water.

This put tremendous pressure on the Cair Andros flotilla, and the Poros force, having forced the Haradrim's light skiffs and inflated-skin-pontooned troops back, raced upstream to reinforce. Just as things began looking up for Gondor, the Easterlings unexpectedly withdrew back to the eastern shore, moved south, and simply rolled their wains across the fords at Osgiliath! The Gondorian commodore was under the impression that the presence of a major bridge over Anduin at that point precluded the possibility of fords being there as well. He was thus caught between water-wains to the east and land-wains to the west. He fled north to the Entwash, which effectively removed him from the rest of the campaign. (RotK, Appendix H, pp. 721-22)

As this account reminds us, the problem was not that Gondor's navy had "
little or no defence against the easterlings navy." Rather, the easterlings, perhaps tutored by the Wizards of the Blue, had mastered true amphibious warfare while conservative Gondor remained "moored" to traditional naval tactics.

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Dec 13 2007, 8:02pm

Post #4 of 7 (162 views)
Duck Boats! [In reply to] Can't Post

In the Fourth Age, the Easterners opened up Duck Boat Tours, Inc. At Osgiliath, they started on the bridge, and ended on the fords.

Beren IV

Dec 13 2007, 8:34pm

Post #5 of 7 (134 views)
The competition [In reply to] Can't Post

ironically enough, is Lindon. Clearly the navy of the Corsairs exceeds that of Gondor. Lindon has a navy, and we really don't know what enemies in the Sea the Elves have to deal with.

That said, the Elven navy functions so differently from its Haradrim counterpart that they arguably aren't directly comparable. THe Elven navy no doubt depends heavily on magic, being otherwise probably very lightly armed, and that magic depends upon their grace with the Valar. If Lindon and Umbar were to get into a naval confrontation and the Elves had grace, then they could easily conjure a storm that would sink the entire Corsair fleet without losing a single one of their own ships. On the other hand, without that grace and therefore that magic, the Elves would be quite simply overwhelmed. THey would lose to Gondor, let alone Umbar!

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


Dec 13 2007, 8:45pm

Post #6 of 7 (140 views)
I thought of Cirdan, but it is unclear [In reply to] Can't Post

whether he has enough ships to call them a navy, or whether they are built for any kind of combat.

Beren IV

Dec 14 2007, 8:08am

Post #7 of 7 (145 views)
Indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien really gives us so little information on what the people of Lindon are like that it's all just guesses. I'm sure they could put together a navy in a hurry, but they may well have no standing military force of any kind.

Once a paleontologist, now a botanist, will be a paleobotanist


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