Battle tactics of Mordor

Aldarion

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Tolkien generally avoided discussing military matters in too much detail, so where does he show Sauron's battle tactics (beyond the obvious such as Battles of Pelennor and Morannon).
 

.matthew.

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Well lets begin by separating the armies out. The elves won't mix with the humans, the humans won't fight with the dwarfs, and the dwarfs would rather go get drunk without hearing all the short jokes. So stick all those into three big blocks and move them forward against the horde of Mordor. I guess you can send the Ents in a line at the front because nobody cares if any of them survive...
 

Overread

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I think the obvious ones you're removing are basically the two major battles we have with Sauron and thus are where we see most of his battle tactics come into play. After that its mostly small skirmishes and fights that we see. Unless there's more in the Silmarillion, though my experience is that he doesn't go into great detail in that book.

I think he more paints a picture of the battle and leaves the tactics as a less developed entity up to the readers imagination. He does the big bits on how the Orks dig in for "trench warfare" style siege when attacking the White City. Honestly I think that overall you get the sense that his tactics are divide and conquer with superior numbers.

Many of his efforts are to help divide the peoples of Middle Earth. Through his agents he drives a wedge between Gondor and Rohan. Through pirates he strikes at key settlements up and down the river to deny Gondor reinforcements. He knows the Elves are leaving and that the Dwarves are isolationist just like the Elves; plus previous events have weakened dwarves already. Balrog and Dragon have done for much of the Dwarven unity and power.

As he divides the peoples of middle Earth his unruly packs of orks can strike. They are not an advanced warrior, they seem to rely heavily on brute strength and weight of numbers to overwhelm their opponents.
 

Venusian Broon

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Well lets begin by separating the armies out. The elves won't mix with the humans, the humans won't fight with the dwarfs, and the dwarfs would rather go get drunk without hearing all the short jokes. So stick all those into three big blocks and move them forward against the horde of Mordor. I guess you can send the Ents in a line at the front because nobody cares if any of them survive...
As he divides the peoples of middle Earth his unruly packs of orks can strike. They are not an advanced warrior, they seem to rely heavily on brute strength and weight of numbers to overwhelm their opponents.
Problem is that the Orcs/Goblins/Uruk-hai is that they seemingly hate each other almost as much as the other races of Middle Earth. They get into bloody, brutal fights to the death just with different clans of the same race and seem to require bigger orcs with whips to keep them in line.

Frankly most of Sauron's magic and loyal servants must have been spending most of the time just trying to keep their own army in shape, never mind attack human, elves and dwarves.
 

Aldarion

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I think the obvious ones you're removing are basically the two major battles we have with Sauron and thus are where we see most of his battle tactics come into play. After that its mostly small skirmishes and fights that we see. Unless there's more in the Silmarillion, though my experience is that he doesn't go into great detail in that book.
Yeah. I removed those two because a) they are obvious and b) I had already covered them here (albeit not in detail). But even these do not really show much - Tolkien really was not interested in specifics of battle tactics, George Martin goes into much more detail, albeit GRRM somewhat misses out on psychological side of things from what I have seen.

I think he more paints a picture of the battle and leaves the tactics as a less developed entity up to the readers imagination. He does the big bits on how the Orks dig in for "trench warfare" style siege when attacking the White City. Honestly I think that overall you get the sense that his tactics are divide and conquer with superior numbers.
Agreed. In fact, strategic side of things is really well developed in Lord of the Rings, it is tactical which is missing - where in most of fantasy it is the opposite, you have well-described and even realistic tactics coexisting with teleporting perpetuum mobile armies with mechanic horses and military leaders who have strategic aptitude of a lobotomized snail. But that appears to be a conscious decision on Tolkien's part, as he was aiming less for a feel of a history book or a Byzantine military manual, and more for a feel of Illiad or Beowulf.

Problem is that the Orcs/Goblins/Uruk-hai is that they seemingly hate each other almost as much as the other races of Middle Earth. They get into bloody, brutal fights to the death just with different clans of the same race and seem to require bigger orcs with whips to keep them in line.

Frankly most of Sauron's magic and loyal servants must have been spending most of the time just trying to keep their own army in shape, never mind attack human, elves and dwarves.
Actually, a) bigger orcs with whips are Uruks, and b) Uruks also kill each other (see Shagrat and Gorbag). However, they do seem to have group/unit pride and cohesion, even if their warped and treacherous nature gets into way of that (but not always - that however would require a whole essay to discuss - which I already did here). So I am not sure Mordor's army is that inefficient.

--------------------

Also, I remembered that Battle of Gladden Fields is described in Unfinished Tales, but I am not sure how applicable that is to Third Age - orcs there do lack both Uruks and Trolls, after all. Same goes for Siege of Helm's Deep (one where Helm Hammerhand died), which is also against just orcs. And in neither battle, IIRC, are orcs actually from Mordor. There may be a couple of others I am missing.
 

.matthew.

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He did just survive WW1. I imagine most of the vagaries were a deliberate distancing from the horrors of the Somme. At the same time, his vision of battle would have been influenced by this - massed forward movements, lacking in any real tactics aside from the odd cavalry flanking.
 

Venusian Broon

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Actually, a) bigger orcs with whips are Uruks, and b) Uruks also kill each other (see Shagrat and Gorbag). However, they do seem to have group/unit pride and cohesion, even if their warped and treacherous nature gets into way of that (but not always - that however would require a whole essay to discuss - which I already did here). So I am not sure Mordor's army is that inefficient.
There's a clear distrust/argy-bargy with the Uruks and normal Orcs after they take Merry and Pippen, and also a camaraderie between the Uruk as you state, (I think I remember that!)

However I'm also thinking about the murderous fight that took out most of the troops in Circith Ungol (conveniently!) that are, again from memory, between two distinct tribes of orcs, and then when Frodo and Sam pretend to be 'short Orcs' and slip in with the evil forces marching closer to Mount Doom that's when they meet the 'whipping orcs'. I could be wrong, but I don't think there are any Uruks in Mordor (I thought they were an invention of Saruman?!)

But I don't claim to be a Tolkien expert, so happy to be corrected! :)
 

Aldarion

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There's a clear distrust/argy-bargy with the Uruks and normal Orcs after they take Merry and Pippen, and also a camaraderie between the Uruk as you state, (I think I remember that!)
You are correct there, actually.

However I'm also thinking about the murderous fight that took out most of the troops in Circith Ungol (conveniently!) that are, again from memory, between two distinct tribes of orcs, and then when Frodo and Sam pretend to be 'short Orcs' and slip in with the evil forces marching closer to Mount Doom that's when they meet the 'whipping orcs'. I could be wrong, but I don't think there are any Uruks in Mordor (I thought they were an invention of Saruman?!)
Saruman's are Uruk-hai. First Uruks are stated to have come out of Mordor in T.A. 2475. It is those Uruks who overwhelmed Ithillien and took Osgilliath, although Boromir defeated them and liberated Ithillien, though Osgilliath remained a ruin.

"Two tribes of orcs" are actually two different commands - it seems that Minas Morgul is an independent command not directly under Barad-dur, and there is some friction between Morgul orcs and Mordor orcs. I discussed it at some length here, but basically 1) Morgul orcs have different sigil, 2) orcs at Cirith Ungol answer to Barad-dur directly, while Morgul ones seem to be part of a different command chain. But this does seem to translate into some sort of tribal loyalty, such as when Snaga states that he “fought for the Tower against those stinking Morgul-rats”. Mind you, it is unlikely that forces of Gondor are much different in that regard, seeing how their organization is based on Byzantine thematic system - but there at least regional loyalties do not translate into mutual murder.
 

Venusian Broon

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You are correct there, actually.



Saruman's are Uruk-hai. First Uruks are stated to have come out of Mordor in T.A. 2475. It is those Uruks who overwhelmed Ithillien and took Osgilliath, although Boromir defeated them and liberated Ithillien, though Osgilliath remained a ruin.

"Two tribes of orcs" are actually two different commands - it seems that Minas Morgul is an independent command not directly under Barad-dur, and there is some friction between Morgul orcs and Mordor orcs. I discussed it at some length here, but basically 1) Morgul orcs have different sigil, 2) orcs at Cirith Ungol answer to Barad-dur directly, while Morgul ones seem to be part of a different command chain. But this does seem to translate into some sort of tribal loyalty, such as when Snaga states that he “fought for the Tower against those stinking Morgul-rats”. Mind you, it is unlikely that forces of Gondor are much different in that regard, seeing how their organization is based on Byzantine thematic system - but there at least regional loyalties do not translate into mutual murder.
I bow to your expertise! I am much more a SF reader, although I've read a lot of fantasy, including LotR of course, so my comments were from my recollections just a couple re-readings of that book and quite a lot of viewings of the films. :)

In the writers sense, rather than worldbuilding sense, I feel Tolkien just needed something to help Sam get Frodo back after encountering Shelob, and as he was a classic pantser writer he came up with the two groupings of orcs practically wiping each other out. To my plotter eyes this is a bit of a cop out and a tad unsatisfactory. ;)
 

Aldarion

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In the writers sense, rather than worldbuilding sense, I feel Tolkien just needed something to help Sam get Frodo back after encountering Shelob, and as he was a classic pantser writer he came up with the two groupings of orcs practically wiping each other out. To my plotter eyes this is a bit of a cop out and a tad unsatisfactory. ;)
It is indeed possible that that was the case, but I would not call it a cop out. The groundwork was there, even before that particular scene - we already knew that different groups of orcs do not work well together.

And I don't think Tolkien was a complete pantser. It is true that he did not have completely outlined plot in mind; but his world was so well thought out that plot would evolve naturally from it. Which OTOH also led to some problems. Especially since he also had two or three plots to synchronize in terms of timeframe in which they happened, so his "pantsing" often required significant reworking.
 

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Given who Sauron is and (I'd suspect) his view that all other lives are essentially worthless other than that they can serve him, I'd say that tactically, he'd be likely to employ the Human Wave technique often used before and in WW2.
 

reiver33

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The Uruk(-hai) fought in formation, forming wedge and cutting down several riders as they attempted to reach the Forrest. Their large shields would suggest a fyrd style shield wall capability.
 

Aldarion

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The Uruk(-hai) fought in formation, forming wedge and cutting down several riders as they attempted to reach the Forrest. Their large shields would suggest a fyrd style shield wall capability.
Agreed, though I do not recall mention of large shields?
 

Overread

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You could say that Sauron was using WW1 tactics and Sarumon was using WW2.

Sauron was focused on waves of unruly mobs, trench warfare and generally throwing more bodies at the enemy than the enemy could deal with. Coupled to his divide and conquer strategy it meant that he could basically use his agents and influence to break alliances and then throw his sea of orks at the enemy, overwhelming them without any major strategic prowess. Which fits as orks are shown to be violent and unruly and thus not predisposed to cleaver and complex tactics as a whole (though I'm sure there are those at the top who were smarter than average).

Sarumon was using industry and science to produce a new kind of ork warrior. He bred and armed them with his industry of war fuelled by his advanced understanding of the sciences. His troops were far more elite, better fed, better bred and educated. Whilst just as violent they were far more ordered in how they approached things. I think that he also had fewer of them and whilst he was breeding a large army, he still had a numerical disadvantage against most. So he relied heavily upon better and smarter troops to achieve his goals.

Both shared the same weakness in that they put all their eggs into one central site, Sarumon more than Sauron though as feral orks are littered about the land in general. That and Sauron's land was country sized whilst Sarumon was a single location that wasn't anywhere near as heavily fortified. Sarumon didn't expect attack and certainly hadn't expected it to come from Ents. He'd likely assumed any assault would come from men which in that region was Rohan. Where he'd already been using Sauron's same divide and conquer approach.
 

Aldarion

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Sauron was focused on waves of unruly mobs, trench warfare and generally throwing more bodies at the enemy than the enemy could deal with. Coupled to his divide and conquer strategy it meant that he could basically use his agents and influence to break alliances and then throw his sea of orks at the enemy, overwhelming them without any major strategic prowess. Which fits as orks are shown to be violent and unruly and thus not predisposed to cleaver and complex tactics as a whole (though I'm sure there are those at the top who were smarter than average).
What is interesting is that Sauron actually had much better developed long-term strategy than Saruman. After he got shanked by The Last Alliance, Sauron actually used attrition, stealth and misdirection to wear his enemies down. All those hordes of Easterlings, and - some say - even plagues, they were there simply to chop at Gondor bit by bit. Likewise, instead of outright conquering Arnor, Sauron let them kill each other in their feuds and then simply got rid of the remainder. Saruman? His best hope was that he could find the ring, although what he did in Rohan was actually adequately throught out and may even have worked if not for Gandalf and Treebeard (but yeah, forgetting about a Maia and a ten-thousand-years-old walking tree is not exactly a recommendation of a strategic prowess).
 

Overread

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He didn't so much forget as didn't expect Gandalf the White to appear in Rohan. Once revealed Saruman struck with full force and fast. His intent clearly to maximise what damage he could do and shatter Rohan before Gandalf could reunite the various groups under one banner. He'd likely have won too, even though his army broke and ran in the end. He could breed new warriors at an insane speed and equip them with weapons and armour and training faster too. He'd also clearly got no problems using his advanced knowledge and might well have pushed development of more gunpowered based weapons and other assorted technological gains to give his forces every edge.

Indeed the Ents were the key part that broke his fortress when his armies were away. That the Ents went to war was a surprise for all including the Ents and even then it was a very close call that they chose to war instead of choosing to retreat further into their depression (its clear that the loss of their womenfolk and the changes in the world had driven the Ents into a kind of depression that was resulting in more and more of them going to sleep and never waking - becoming feral trees).
Ents were also more likely to be something Radagast was "supposed" to be working with in his role as the Brown Wizard; however he'd clearly also somewhat fallen from his original mission. So Saruman never thought that the Ents would be a threat, nor indeed any creatures of the wilds. Gandalf I think ends up steadily walking the path of three wizards in one, even though he might be grey and then white its clear that he tries to do the task of many to overcome the failings of his brothers.
 

paranoid marvin

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Sauron was fighting a war of attrition; he could keep 'manufacturing' orcs and eventually he would wear down dwarves men and elves (who could not so easily be replaced). As for conflict between them, well Saruman had a very uneasy partnership with Sauron (and likely would have been fighting him if he gained the Ring). Uruk-hai thought they were better class than the orcs of Mordor, and they do have been superior in all respects. The orcs thought they were superior because they followed the more powerful master. As for the orcs in the tower; they were fighting over a mithril shirt valued at more than the value of The Shire). Even if there weren't various factions, they would have been clawing each other to pieces over it.
 

Boaz

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@Aldarion Interesting topic. I'll toss in my two cents....

I believe Tolkien took great pride in presenting the big picture. His vision for Middle-earth was grand. He sought to present major themes regarding culture, government, and theology and then delve only into specifics in certain areas. For example, Tolkien presented us with the major themes of friendship, family, and language... and in the area of language he gave details (hundreds of words and working alphabets) on the workings of Quenya, Sindarin, and Adunaic.... while only teasing us regarding Hobbit-ish (Hobbit-ese... if there is a real name, it has escaped me), Khuzdul, The Black Tongue, and Rohirr -ish (Is that a word?). He gave us no information on the wedding and funeral rites of the Shire, but gave us more than enough information on birthdays.

Obviously, he was greatly intrigued by alphabets, calendars, birthdays, and songs/poetry.

In the area of government, he did not go into great detail... but he was very concerned with justice. I think his opinion was that the only reason for war is to establish justice and peace for the people. Overall strategy was necessary to discuss, but he really enjoyed presenting individuals fighting to do justice. Sam vs Shelob. Theoden's charge. Gandalf vs the Balrog. Beregond vs Denethor's servants. I can't find my books, but doesn't Aragorn say something to Eowyn like, "Your place is here. If we fall, you will still have to fight. That fight will be no less honorable though there will be none left to sing of it." I think that shows that Tolkien does not really care about the tactics... and that the strategy is included because it has to be... but what is of vital importance is that the effort is made. Boromir's defence of Merry and Pippin is not descibed... only it's aftermath... but the attempt was undertaken, the sacrifice was made is not any less for failing.

I say all that to merely agree with the comments of Overread and Aldarion.

@Foxbat I semi-agree. Sauron's strategy was to avoid the shanking by the Last Alliance, as Aldarion mentioned. But I'm not sure that he always felt comfortable in using the human wave as a tactic... as a strategy, yes. Aldarion and Overread mentioned above that Sauron's strategy was long term. The build up to the War of the Ring was three thousand years in the making. The realms of the Noldor, the Numenoreans, and their various allies needed to be dealt with piece meal.

The Witch-king accomplished the destruction of half of the Numenorean realms. A balrog and dragons dispersed and lessened the power of Durin's descendants and Laketown. Sauron himself befouled southern Greenwood drove Thranduil's folk north. A long series of raids and invasions by Easterlings and Southrons gradually wore down Gondor. And the Noldor of Ered Luin gradually grew weary and withdrew physically to Aman or emotionally by isolating themselves from Rivendell and Lothlorien.

Speaking in broad terms, Sauron had greatly weakened the Free Peoples since the Last Alliance while greatly growing in strength of numbers and geography. Yes, Gondor had acquired two new allies in Rohan and Isengard, but Sauron had secretly turned Saruman to directly oppose Rohan.

Didn't Gandalf say something about Saruman to the effect of... "...I perceive only a finger of Mordor"...?

Anyway, regarding battle tactics I don't know that Sauron used waves. It can be presumed that the Uruk-hai employed this to bring down mighty Boromir and to try to break out of Eomer's trap. I can't say he did not either because the commander of the assault on Minas Tirith was the Witch-king... and the chief weapon of the Nazgul was terror... to their enemies... and probably to their own troops as well. I do agree that Sauron had little to no regard for any of his troops. The appendices say that Sauron lauched three distinct assaults from Dol Guldur to Lothlorien.

Also, Aragorn was concerned about Sam's wound in Moria because orcs sometimes poisoned their blades. Poison usually takes longer to act than a battle so why poison if your troops are attacking in banzai charges?

Even if his five assaults (Easterlings againstDale and Erebor, Dol Guldur against Lothlorien, Dol Guldur against the Elves of Mirkwood, (a defensive army to separate Rohan and Gondor), the Witch-king against Minas Tirith, and the Corsairs against southern Gondor ) failed (which they did), Sauron's plan was that he could breed and recruit new armies faster than Elves, Dwarves and Numenoreans. That was always his plan.

So.... strategically steam roll his enemies, yes... tactically use human waves, maybe.

So one tactic I have not seen mentioned is night fighting. Orcs did not like the sun, trolls could not endure it, and even wargs seem to prefer the night. The fellowship was attacked at night by wargs. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were confused when the orcs traveled through Rohan by day. Sauron's blotting out of the sun allowed his legions of orcs to be bolder and for his trolls to be used as beasts of burden at Minas Tirith.

Outnumbering the opponent usually means your line can overlap and envelop his. I assume Sauron liked this. Presumably this is what happened at the ambush at Gladden Fields.
 

Boaz

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That post was getting long... and I did not even comment upon the theology of Sauron's strategy.

Sauron was a fallen angel. As a Maia, created by Eru, Sauron was there for Melkor's first and second songs. He was sent to Arda with the Valar. But at some point he joined Melkor against the Valar. He escaped destruction and judgement in Melkor's defeat in the unnumbered years and in Melkor's defeat in the First Age. He achieved the destruction of Numenor, the defeat of Ar-Pharazon, the subversion of the Noldorin revival in Eregion, the death of Celebrimbor, the death of Gil-galad, and the deaths of Elendil and Anarion all in the Second Age.

The Rohirrim, the Hobbits, the Dwarves and most others (notably Boromir and Denethor, and probably Saruman and Radagast as well) viewed the clash with Sauron as geo-political. Only a few, like Elrond, Galadriel, Cirdan, and Gandalf attempted to keep a holistic view of things.

Why would a fallen angel who used to live in the very presence of his creator attempt to hold temporal power? He watched his old master, the mightiest angel ever, attempt the same thing and fail, defeated by the angels of the creator. How could he think he could do better? What is his end game? What does he get out of it? To rule as a mortal king... that's stupid because he's an immortal super powerful being. Wealth? No. Women? No. Worship? Not exactly.

The men of the White Mountains swore allegiance to Isildur in the Second Age. When he called them to uphold their pledge and join the Last Alliance, they reneged. The Return says something like... "...they worshiped Sauron in the dark years..."

I think in The Akallabeth it says something about Sauron being both god and king to the men of Middle-earth.

I think he partly reveled in watching people abase themselves before him and fooling himself that he was the greatest, but I think secretly he enjoyed knowing that he was continuing to corrupt Eru's plans and thwart the efforts of the Valar. Sauron had become thouroughly evil. Misery loves company.

If Sauron could achieve a total victory over the Eldar, the Dunedain, and the Khazad, then maybe he thought he'd be left alone by the Valar.

But even with Melkor's victories over the Noldor, and the destruction of Doriath, Hithlum, Nargothrond, Gondolin, and the havens, and the deaths of Finwe, Feanor, the sons of Feanor, Fingolfin, Fingon, Turgon, Finrod, Luthien, Beren, and all the heroes of the Edain, and the departure of Melian... the Valar did not leave him alone. Earendil and Elwing (their ancestors combined all the royalty of the Noldor, the Teleri, and the Edain) escaped and pled their case before Manwe.

All of Sauron's victories still could not quench the line of Elros. Elendil survived the foundering of Numenor. Valandil was not present at the Gladden Fields. Aranarth did not flee to Forochel with Arvedui, Last King. (When Ondoher of Gondor and his sons were slain by Easterlings, his third cousin thrice removed, (I don't really know if that's the correct degree) Earnil assumed the throne, but his son Earnur was lured into a trap by the Witch-king and was never seen again.) Arathorn II impregnated his wife, Gilraen, a month or so before he was killed by orcs.

How do the descendants of the kings of the Noldor, the Teleri, the chiefs of the Edain, and the kings of the Dunedan continue to survive in the face of direct targeting by Morgoth, Draugluin, Glaurung, Sauron, and the Witch-king? It's supernatural. Call it the will of Eru. Call it the blessings of the Valar. Call if Providence. I see it as evidence of the continued subtle involvement of the Valar.

The Valar sent the Istari (Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, and two unnamed others) to help rally the Free Peoples and stir hope and courage in their spirits. It was this supernatural battle that Sauron could never win. Even though Sauron's assaults failed, he could recruit faster than his enemies and do it again... and again... and again until he won. Like Grant versus Lee and the Soviets versus the Nazis, Sauron's enemies could not endure their pyrrhic victories for long.

Sure, the Valar could always come over and defeat the evil overlord du jour, but what about the next one? I think they found it better to encourage the people of Middle-earth to stand up for themselves. "Just fight the good fight... while we sneak the Ring right past Sauron's wandering eye."

Sauron understood might. That's why his armies are like sledgehammers. He understood the danger that mighty Numenorean could pose.

Who among the mighty of the Third Age was born to the ruling family of the strongest opponent to Sauron? Boromir.
Who was educated to command on the battlefield? Boromir.
Who was educated to lead a nation in it's continuing age long struggle? Boromir.
Who was leading men in battle at a young age? Boromir.
Who was commander in chief of his nation at a young age? Boromir.
Who held the symbolic horn of the heir of the rulers of Gondor? Boromir.
Who held the bridge at Osgiliath from Mordor's assault? Boromir.
Who undertook the quest to save Gondor? Boromir.
Who was the most qualified person to oppose Sauron by bringing Frodo and the Ring to Mount Doom?

Sauron certainly thought the answer to the last question was Boromir. Once Boromir fell, his minions targeted Faramir. When Aragorn showed himself to Sauron in the palantir, Sauron suddenly changed the answer to all of these questions to Aragorn, Isildur's Heir. Fearing Aragorn (maybe with Arwen at his side) might sneak up on him like Beren did to Morgoth or challenge him directly like Feanor or Fingolfin or bring about his demise by some errand to the Valar like Earendil or set himself up as King of Arda as Ar-Pharazon. Saruron confounded by the revelation of Strider as Aragorn Telcontar, Elessar the Renewer, the Elfstone orders his assaults before he's fully prepared.

So who was the most qualified person to oppose Sauron? Samwise Gamgee.

The wise could not have forseen it...

Yes, Sam embodies British common sense. But he's also the chosen champion of Varda Elentari, Queen of the Valar, Queen of the Stars, Elbereth, Gilthoniel, Fanuilos... her gifts are light and grace. Just like Athena, Ares, and Apollo endowed their Greek and Trojan champions with courage and strength, Varda does this for Sam... and Sauron never saw it coming.

I think Sauron was so caught up in focusing on the descendants of his enemies and the ways that the Valar might use them, that he forgot that they could use anyone. And this is why I don't think Tolkien is a pantser... I don't see it as deus ex machina at all. I see the continual success of Frodo and Sam against insurmountable odds as the blessings of the Valar, the will of Eru, or Providence.
 

Boaz

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One more comment about infighting.

I played organized basketball from ages eight to twenty-one. In one game in the mid-eighties, my college team fell behind by twenty points at half time. We reorganized and played better in the second half and were only down four points with five minutes to go. Everyone sensed we were going to pull off the comeback. The other team's coach called a time out and began to berate his biggest player by jabbing his finger into the player's chest. The player responded by using both hands to choke the coach. While he bent the coach backwards over the bench some players joined in the assault upon the coach while other players started pummeling the player. They had a full scale brawl between their own team. Their fans and parents finally broke it up. Half of their players went to the locker room while the coach continued (sans voice) with only seven players (a few had bloody noses and black eyes). We won by fifteen.
 
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