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Battle of Dale

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Battle of Dale
Jan Pospisil - Dale units vs. Rhun.jpg
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: March 17th - March 27th, T.A. 3019
Place: Outside Dale and then the Lonely Mountain
Outcome: Easterlings were driven out of Dale after a long siege.

Kingdom of Dale, Kingdom Under the Mountain


  • Unknown Easterling commander

Brand, Dáin Ironfoot, and many Dwarves and Men

Not stated, though likely a large amount.

War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Siege of Gondor · Dale · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater
"When you think of the great Battle of the Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valour of Durin's Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador! There might be no Queen in Gondor."

The Battle of Dale and the subsequent Siege of Erebor were decisive battles in the northern theatre of the War of the Ring. Even though it cost the lives of Kings Dáin Ironfoot and Brand of Dale, it was a decisive victory for the Free peoples.




The Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale refused to acknowledge the overlordship and alliance of Sauron.[2] While his southern armies menaced Gondor, the Dark Lord sent an army north to extend his dominion to prevent the armies of his enemies joining together under one banner, which could have proved disastrous for Mordor.

The Battle

Steamey - King Brand and King Dáin Ironfoot
On 17 March 3019, Sauron sent a large contingent of Easterlings to attack Dale. The combined forces of the Men of Dale under King Brand and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain under King Dáin Ironfoot marched out to meet the Easterlings in battle. After three days of heavy close-quarters fighting, they were forced to retreat towards the Lonely Mountain.[3]

The armies fought bravely before the Gate of Erebor, which was not taken. In the end, Dáin was killed as he stood defending the body of his ally Brand.[1] Meanwhile, the defenders of the Mountain were able to withstand the siege.[3]

However, the forces of Gondor and Rohan defeated the main power of Sauron in the Morannon theatre on 25 March, causing the northern army to lose hope. Seeing the morale of their foes being sapped by news of victory in the south, the Army of Dale under the new Kings - Bard II and Thorin III Stonehelm - managed to lift the siege on 27 March and drove the Easterlings out of Dale.[4]

Aftermath and Repercussions

The battle was incredibly important in the course of the War of the Ring: if Sauron's Easterling armies had beaten the Dwarves and Men of Dale, they would have been able to join up with Sauron's forces from Dol Guldur in their attacks on the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood and Lothlórien, tipping the scales in favor of Mordor. This would have enabled Mordor's armies to flank the forces of Gondor and Rohan from the North and rear. Gandalf himself commented that had the Battle of Dale been lost in this way, the forces of the West would have been crushed regardless of the victory at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.[1]

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

In the Extended Edition, while the army of Rohan is mustering at Edoras, Gimli comments to Legolas that he wishes they had a legion of Dwarves to help. Legolas responds that the Dwarves of Lonely Mountain and Elves of Mirkwood cannot march south to war against Mordor, for he fears that war is already marching upon their own lands. In the DVD commentary, Peter Jackson explained that this brief exchange was a nod to the Battle of Dale, as well as Sauron's attacks on the Woodland Elves and Lothlorien in the northern theatre of the war. However, Jackson explained that while he wished to show these other battles and that the War of the Ring was a truly global conflict, they simply didn't have the resources or time to construct entirely new sets and film more expansive battle scenes. Reluctantly Jackson could not show these events, but wanted to somehow acknowledge why the Elves and Dwarves aren't coming to aid the besieged Minas Tirith.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

The Siege of Erebor is the penultimate level of the good campaign. The forces are Mordor are led by the Mouth of Sauron, and originate from Dol Guldur rather than the East. Groups of Corsairs and Haradrim first attack Dale, before the main host attacks. The first of three waves is led by a horsed Ringwraith, and the third (made up almost entirely of trolls and siege weapons) by a Ringwraith on a Fell beast. After the third wave is broken, the Mouth of Sauron enters Erebor via a hidden entrance, and has to be killed. Almost simultaneously, Glorfindel, Glóin and Thranduil arrive with reinforcements from Mirkwood. At the level's conclusion, they are credited with defeating the enemy.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age"
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, "Erebor"