War of the Ring once more. Andy dropped by with the Orcs of Mordor and we had our planned Ringwraith free clash. His force was led by Gothmog and Druzhag the Beastcaller and featured lots of Morranan Orcs, some ambushing Stalkers (for Druzhag to appear in) and a couple of Trolls. You may not be able to tell from the pics but I had a different army from the usual - Thrydan's Battlehost with Saruman, an Isengard Troll and a unit of Uruk crossbow to back up all the Dunlending Huscarls and the ambushing Wildmen unit. Today's clash used the Maelstrom deployment and Andy's force had the dreaded (well goblin hordes love it....) first go on the first turn.
A new power is rising, our Orcs are breeding in the pits of Orthanc and soon we will have a legion of Uruks to unleash upon Middle-Earth. For now, my Lord Saruman has coddled the witless chieftains of Dunland, and they gather from all sides to fuel his ambitions. Mordor is troubled though - the Witch King's greatest general has spread his Orcs throughout the hills, scattered about and searching, trying to discern the plans of my master. The White Wizard has decided that none must return with word of what he intends....
We espy our first quarry immediately, stunted Orcs - driven by fear from their hiding holes in Ephel Dúath, and now stumbling and blinking in the snows of the Misty Mountains. If this was the quality of Mordor, then my Lord's dominance was assured - they would be no match for the fighting Uruk Hai! For now though, my Lord muttered a guttural chant and scores of the Orcs were immolated by his magics. The Dunlending Chieftain Thrydan had also arrived to the far side of them, with a host of his Huscarls. The pitiful Orc creatures were doomed.
In order to catch all of the vermin in our trap, we enveloped the rabble from the west, as well as the east. However, in the chaos of the battle - somehow a Mordor troll managed to stumble between our lines and behind the Dunlending Huscarls. Clods - useless when so far from Thrydan's 'leadership'.
The White Wizard was just about to ready himself to finish the Orcs with bale fire and brimstone, when a skulking goblin Shaman - who my spies inform me was named Druzhag the Beastcaller - leaped from ambush amongst some nearby trees. Saruman hastily repositioned himself amongst Thrydan's Huscarls and watched on, grinding his teeth, as the Beastcaller ground down his former unit with a charge to the rear.
We were not without guile of our own. Somehow (my Lord is after all accounted the master of persuasion) Saruman managed to counsel guile to the feral Wildmen of Dunland. They lay in ambush, in another wood, and managed to surprise, and down, a Mordor troll as it stumbled toward the center of the battlefield.
There is bloodletting on the East flank too. The Uruk Crossbowmen to the West failed time and again to down the giant troll in their midst but Saruman led Thrydan's Huscarls in furious vengeance on the Mordor Orcs ere Druzhag butchered Saruman's former unit to their rear.
The battle has now escalated to a Maelstrom of blundering units and all about blocks of our soldiers vie for position against the scattered... but gathering, legions of Mordor. Their general Gothmog has arrived and even now he leads two units of his elite Morranon Orcs to clear the Wildmen from their wood. Still more of the armoured brutes make to flank our Uruks. Their movements are forestalled by the bellowing arrival of a mighty Isengard Troll Captain.
After the failure of the Uruk Crossbowmen... who will be punished severely for their ineptitude... The Troll Captain roars and assails the Mordor Troll. That troll already bears flesh wounds from tangling with Dunlending Huscarls and falls to the onrushing behemoth.
Gothmog rushes the Wildmen in the wood but somehow they hold on. It is another turn before the Orc General evicts them. My master is well pleased. In that time, with the Mordor troll seen to, his Dunlendings to the West manage to turn about, step over the corpses of the Isengard Orc archers, and carry out a crushing charge up the hill at the approaching Morranon Orcs.
At the same time, the remnants of the shattered Dunlending unit that Druzhag had given such cruel attention managed to turn about, round the wood and flank the Goblin's unit of bow. He tried to hide in a wood but Saruman and Thrydan cam forth and he was brought to ground like a cur and slain, along with his skulking Orc fellows. My master Saruman then made to cross the stream and join the other half of his army in closing the trap on Gothmog. With him slain, Mordor would be none the wiser of what my master intends....
How was it possible? The Orc Gothmog moved with incredible speed and flanked the White Wizard's band of Huscarls. In the bloody melee that ensued, there were many casualties on both sides but Saruman lived to survive that clash. He took no relish in his reprieve though, the cunning Orc general had made his opening and was able to withdraw. We can only hope that the amount of casualties inflicted upon the Witch-King's prize Morranon Orcs will lead Gothmog to remain silent about what events transpired here.
Bloody, hard fought, and close. When we tallied it up - Isengard came out on top and only because we slew two Trolls and Druzhag. We both lost roughly the same amount of our foot soldiers. Thanks Andy, another good and hard fought battle. I'm just lucky to not lose Saruman!
Thanks for reading.