- " ... in all the mountains there was a forging and an arming. Then they marched ... until around and beneath the great mountain Gundabad of the North, where was their capital, a vast host was assembled ready to sweep down in time of storm unawares upon the South."
- —The Hobbit, "The Clouds Burst"
After Bard killed the Dragon Smaug, the Men of the Lake and the Wood-elves both laid siege to the Dwarves in the Lonely Mountain, the thirteen Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain under Thorin II Oakenshield having refused to share any of the treasure that they had recaptured from Smaug.
Thorin and Company were then trapped in a bloodless siege, with Thranduil and Bard hoping to wait them out. However, Thorin had sent messages of his plight to his relatives using talking messenger Ravens that lived on the Lonely Mountain. These reached Dáin II Ironfoot of the nearby Iron Hills, and he marched to the Lonely Mountain with 500 heavily armed Dwarves, most skilled veterans of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs. When Dáin's forces arrived, battle was almost joined between the two sides (now three armies were on the field) but at the last moment Gandalf intervened between the two and revealed that while they were bickering amongst themselves, the Goblins of the Misty Mountains and Grey Mountains under Bolg were using the opportunity to march against them. They had been incited by Gandalf's earlier slaying of the Great Goblin, but had now mobilized for a full-scale attack after hearing news of the death of the Dragon and the now relatively unguarded treasure hoard.
The three commanders agreed that the Orcs, Wargs, and Bats were the enemies of all, and previous grievances between them were put on hold in face of the greater threat. They arranged their forces on the two spurs of the Mountain that lined the valley leading to the now-sealed off great gate; the only entrance to the Mountain. The 500 Dwarves and 200 Lake-men formed up on one spur and over 1000 Elves on the other, while a light rear-guard lined across the mouth of the valley to lure the Orcs between the two, and thus destroy them. Bilbo Baggins, while invisible due to the Ring, tried to sit out the battle on the spur held by the Elves. Bilbo Baggins tried to sit out from the battle on Ravenhill which was held by the Elves and where also Gandalf had withdrawn to.
Soon the Orcs, Wargs, and a cloud of Bats "like a sea of locusts" arrived (and now four armies were on the field), and at first the plan worked: they were lured into the choke point and took heavy losses. However, due to the Orcs' superior numbers, the allied Free Folk did not hold the advantage long. The second wave was even worse than the first, and now many Orcs scaled the mountain from the opposite side, and began to attack the arrayed forces from above and behind, as the main wave pressed forward. The battle raged across the Mountain, and then a great noise was heard: Thorin and his twelve Dwarf companions inside the mountain had thrown down the stone wall they had erected across the mouth of the gates, killing many Orcs. Thorin and Company then charged out to join the battle, covered from head to toe in the finest armour and weapons contained in the treasure hoard of the Lonely Mountain. Thorin advanced through the Orcs ranks all the way up to the gigantic Orcs that formed the Bodyguard of Bolg, whom he could not get past. The battle degenerated into a chaotic close quarters melee, no quarter asked or given.
As the battle was turning fully against the Free Folk, a number of Giant Eagles of the Misty Mountains arrived (the fifth army), led by the Great Eagle. Bilbo was the first to spot their entrance on the scene and began shouting that "the Eagles are coming!", a shout that was then continued among the other troops of the Free Folk. At this point Bilbo was knocked in the head by a large stone thrown by a Orcs from above on the Mountain, and he passed out. With the support of the Giant Eagles, the battle turned back against the Orcs. Then Beorn himself arrived at the battle, apparently having heard news that a large army of Orcs was on the move. This time he did not appear in his former shape of a giant Man, but had changed his skin to that of a gigantic bear. Beorn drove through the Orc lines, but paused to carry the wounded Thorin out of the battle. Beorn then returned to the battle with even greater wrath and smashed the ranks of Bolg's Bodyguards, ultimately killing Bolg himself. The Orcs eventually panicked and scattered, to be picked off by hunting forces from the victors later; many of the Orc survivors died in the Mirkwood forest.
Death of Thorin Oakenshield
When Bilbo regained consciousness, the battle was already over. Thorin II Oakenshield had been mortally wounded on the field, and his nephews Fíli and Kíli died defending him as he lay on the ground. Thorin died soon after the battle, but had time to say a last goodbye to Bilbo.
Distributing of the Treasure Hoard
After defeating the Orcs and Wargs, the victors divided the treasure. Bard took Bilbo's fourteenth share of the gold and silver in return for the Arkenstone, whereupon he shared his reward with the Master of Lake-town and gave the Elven-king Thranduil the emeralds of Girion. Bilbo, despite having forfeited his share, was offered a rich reward but refused to take more than two small chests of gold and silver which was still enough to leave him a wealthy Hobbit back in The Shire for 60 years.
Portrayal in adaptations
In the third installment The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Orc army led by Azog attacked the Lonely Mountain and the conflict between the Dwarves, Men and Elves was quickly averted. In the Extended Edition, Dain sent forth his goat cavalry and spinning ballistas upon the Elven forces, who tried to counter with shield wall and archer formations; during this early conflict, most of the dwarven cavalry was killed or the dwarves dismounted from their goats and elves were killed until the Were Worms burst forth from the earth and the fighting stopped instantly in the face of the new enemy.
Seeing the danger, Dáin ordered his forward units to rush out onto the plain and set up a phalanx formation to counter the Guldur Orc charge while Thranduil and the elves remained motionless. Just before the Orcs collided the Dwarvish forces, Thranduil sent in hundreds of elves jumping over the Dwarven lines to strike deep into the enemy lines, blunting the Orc charge and giving the Dwarves a chance to mount a counter-charge that skewered hundreds of Orcs, followed soon after by the rest of the Elvish and Dwarvish forces. Determined to regain the initiative, Azog sent in his "War Beasts", a cohort of huge armored trolls who smashed into the left flank of the allied armies and began wreaking havoc. Thranduil's Elven archers countered some of the trolls by letting lose several volleys of thousands of arrows which took out several of the beasts and hundreds of orcs, which in turn allowed Dáin's war-chariots the opportunity to charge into the orc lines and cut many of the orcs down. Azog furiously countered the "war machines" with his ogre shock-troops who charged against the chariots, brought them down and slaughtered the drivers and goats.
Satisfied that the allied armies were now pinned down, Azog sent the other half his army against Dale in a flanking move to cut off their escape and force them to fight on two fronts. Seeing this, the men of Lake-town in the valley along with Bard, Gandalf, and Bilbo made their way to the city to regroup with the rest of the Lake-Town forces and defend it while the Dwarves and Elves continued to engage Azog's forces on the plain.
On the hills outside Dale, huge catapult trolls launched volleys of rocks against the defending walls while a large troll equipped with a stone headpiece charged the north wall and bashed through it, creating an opening for the orcs to enter. Within the city, garrisons of Lake-town guards, well-armed militiamen, and citizens were joined by Bard entering the city with rest of his army, Gandalf, and Bilbo. Taking stock of the situation, Bard rallied his forces and personally lead the primary defense against the orcs in Main Street. Soon the fight became a vicious street brawl, locked into tight corners of one-on-one fights.
As the battle raged on for several hours, the allied forces became increasingly demoralized and exhausted as Orc reinforcements continued to pour out of the tunnels onto the battlefield plain and into Dale simultaneously. Realising that Bard was in trouble, Thranduil and a large contingent of elves charged into Dale to aid it; though during the charge, Thranduil lost his Elk mount. Out on the plain, Dáin along with the Dwarvish and remaining elvish forces found themselves caught in a deadly battle of attrition; the numerical advantage of the orcs was proving more decisive than the superior soldiery skills of the allied forces. In the chaos, Dáin lost his war pig and helmet as he and his remaining forces were being rapidly pushed back. About to be overrun, Dain ordered a retreat to the walls of the mountain and temporarily disengaged Azog's forces. Inside the walls of Dale, Bard too ordered a retreat further into Dale. The surviving Elvish forces, numbering no more than 6,000 left standing at this point in the battle, were withdrawn by Thranduil from the gates of Erebor and ordered to move closer towards the city of Dale and the outskirts of the valley itself for an imminent retreat from the battle altogether, leaving the Dwarves to to their fate.
Drunk with the prospect of victory, Azog regrouped his forces on the plain for a final destructive charge against the remaining Dwarvish forces, which had been whittled down to just 4,000. Locked out of the mountain itself and bereft of any other choice, the Dwarvish army turned to face the orcs, aligned into a crescent-phalanx formation with Dain at its apex and prepared to make its final stand.
Azog waited for a moment until a team of armoured trolls came to the front of the orc lines and then ordered the charge. As he did so, another horn blast sounded from the mountain, causing the orcs to stop in their tracks as the doorway to the mountain was cleared by a huge bell, out of which ran Thorin and his companions, causing the Dwarvish soldiers to shout and cheer at the sight of the king. Roaring a defiant Dwarvish war-cry, Thorin charged the Orc lines and, emboldened by his bravery, Dain's forces charged with him, smashing headlong into Azog's forces and taking out large groups of the orchish forces. Farther out in the valley and within Dale itself, the remaining men of Lake-town and the Elvish forces too found fresh resolve and charged back into battle also. The battle raged on harder than ever only now the allied forces began to evenly match their enemies blow for blow.
During the battle, Thorin decides to kill Azog in Ravenhill and is followed by Dwalin, Fili and Kili. At first they are aided by Balin heading a dwarven war-chariot. On their journey towards the peak; they are chased by ogres, wargs, and a huge armored battle troll, but even among all the chaos around them, they successfully make it towards their destination. When they reach the peak, Azog is nowhere to be found so Thorin sends Fili and Kili to scout the upper levels. Fili is then captured, impaled by Azog and thrown off a tower. Bilbo arrives to warn the Dwarves of Bolg's army which is near but is knocked out by Bolg in Ravenhill. Bolg later finds Tauriel and injures her but before he can finish her, Kili arrives to save her but is impaled by Bolg's mace and dies. In anger Tauriel throws Bolg off a hill but she is dragged down with him. Legolas then spots Bolg and engages in a climactic duel with him in which the giant Gundabad Orc is killed when Legolas plunges a shortsword into his head. After Bolg's death, the Great eagles arrive, led by Radagast and Beorn who quickly demolish the Orc army.
Thorin confronts Azog in an epic fight to avenge Fili and he gains the upper hand by throwing Azog off a hill but the Defiler sends Orc soldiers to kill Thorin but this fails. Azog then returns with a flail but Thorin breaks the ice on the river and Azog falls in the water due to the weight of his weapon. Thorin follows Azog's body but is stabbed in the foot and while he is incapacitated, Azog stabs him in the chest, mortally wounding the Dwarf but Oakenshield plunges Orcrist through Azog's chest and stabs him into the ice, killing the Orc. Thorin later apologises to Bilbo for almost killing him and dies having made peace with Bilbo. Despite Bilbo's efforts to keep him alive, Thorin succumbs to his wounds and dies. He is found dead when the rest of his company arrive.
Along with a formidable legion of Gundabad Orcs, and Bats, the film added the appearance of Were-Worms and Trolls and Ogres. As in the film the entire forces are changed, with the Dwarves, Elves and the Lake-men are more numerous that those in the book. Additional combatants in the battle are Legolas, Tauriel, Radagast, Feren, and Percy.
Estimated strength of the Dwarves, Elves, and Men:
- 10,000 Silvan Elves of Mirkwood
- 7,000 Dwarves of the Iron Hills
- 3,000 Lake-town Militia (including 1000-2,000 Lake-town Civilians), and (200-500 Lake-town guards).
- 10 Great Eagles
- 2 Wizards
- 1 Beorning
- 1 Hobbit
Estimated strength of Azog's army:
- 30,000 Guldur Orcs
- 10,000 Gundabad Orcs
- 40 Orc Berserkers
- 100 Wargs
- 900 Gundabad Bats
- 450 Goblin Mercenaries
- 25-30 Trolls and Olog-hai
- 55-60 Ogres
- 3 Were-worms
(Source: Weta digital VFX: Hobbit Botfa)
With their commanders dead, their back-up forces gone and Allied reinforcements closing in, the Guldur-Gundabad forces were now trapped in the Erebor valley between three armies with no way out. The allied armies pressed home their advantage and commenced a terrible slaughter of Sauron's forces that lasted for countless hours while only a bare few managed to escape back into the tunnels from whence they came. They left behind tens of thousands of corpses and left the battered but victorious Allied forces in complete control of Erebor and Dale. Helpless to interfere, Sauron abandoned his conquest of Erebor and retreated into himself within Mordor to bide his time.
The Allied victory had however come with a terrible price; the Allied forces had suffered heavy losses including the loss of the Dwarven king Thorin Oakenshield.
In the wake of the battle, the mountain was garrisoned by the Dwarves of the Iron Hills and portions of its wealth were distributed to various parties like the Men of the Lake, who set up permanent residence in Dale and elected Bard as the new Lord of Dale. The Elves of Mirkwood stayed just a short time to receive their share of the treasure before returning to their forest homeland. With Thorin and his immediate family members dead, Dain succeeded him as King under the Mountain. His job done, Bilbo Baggins parted ways with the Company and returned home to the Shire with Gandalf with his secret magic ring always close at hand.
Repopulated with Dwarvish colonists from each of the seven Dwarf kingdoms, Erebor was soon restored to its former glory and flourished once more as did its neighbor-city Dale. In time, Erebor retook its place as the most powerful Dwarf kingdom in Middle-Earth.
- The Battle of the Five Armies was also the name of a war game to replay this battle made by Games Workshop. The game uses 10-mm miniatures and is heavily based on their Warhammer system.
- The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the title of the third and final film in Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy.
Translations around the World
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Afrikaans||Stryd van Vyf Weermagte|
|Albanian||Beteja e Pesë Ushtrive|
|Amharic||አምስት የሠራዊት ውጊያ|
|Arabic||معركة الجيوش الخمسة|
|Armenian||Ճակատամարտը հինգ զօրքերու|
|Azerbaijani||Beş ordunun döyüşü|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Бітвы Пяці Воінстваў|
|Bengali||পাঁচ সর্বশক্তিমান যুদ্ধ|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Битката на петте армии|
|Catalan||Batalla dels Cinc Exèrcits|
|Cebuano||Gubat sa Lima ka panon|
|Chichewa||Nkhondo ya makamu asanu|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||五軍之戰|
|Corsican||Battagghia di Cinque Asèrciti|
|Croatian||Bitka pet vojski|
|Czech||Bitva pěti armád|
|Danish||Slaget ved Fem Hære|
|Dutch||De Slag van de Vijf Legers|
|Esperanto||Batalo de Kvin Armeoj|
|Estonian||Viie väe lahing|
|Fijian||Na ivalu ni lima na mataivalu|
|Filipino||Labanan ng mga hukbo ng limang|
|Finnish||Viiden armeijan taistelu|
|French||Bataille des Cinq Armées|
|Galician||Batalla dos Cinco Exércitos|
|Georgian||ხუთი ლაშქრის ბრძოლა|
|German||Schlacht der fünf Heere|
|Greek||Μάχη των Πέντε Στρατών|
|Gujarati||પાંચ સૈન્યોનો દેવ યુદ્ધ|
|Haitian Creole||Batay nan Senk gen tout pouvwa|
|Hebrew||קרב חמישה צבאות|
|Hindi||पांच सेनाओं का युद्ध|
|Hungarian||Az öt sereg csatája|
|Icelandic||Bardaga af Fimm heri|
|Indonesian||Pertempuran Lima Pasukan|
|Irish Gaelic||Cath na Cúig Airm|
|Italian||Battaglia dei Cinque Eserciti|
|Javanese||Pertempuran Lima Mahakwasa|
|Kannada||ಐದು ಸೈನ್ಯಗಳ ಬ್ಯಾಟಲ್|
|Kazakh Cyrillic||Бес Әлемнің Иесі шайқас|
|Korean||다섯 군대의 전투|
|Kurdish||سهر ده جی پێنچ ۆردییان (Arabic script) Şer de ji Pênc Ordiyan (Latin)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Беш Себайот согуш|
|Latin||Pugna Quinque Exercitus|
|Latvian||Kaujas Pieci armiju|
|Lithuanian||Mūšis Penkių kareivijų|
|Luxembourgish||Schluecht vu Fënnef Arméien|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Битка на пет армиите|
|Malay||Pertempuran Lima Tentera|
|Marathi||पाच सर्वशक्तिमान लढाई|
|Mongolian Cyrillic||Таван Түмэн цэргийн тулаан|
|Nepalese||पांच सेनाहरु को लडाई|
|Pashto||د پینځو پورې لښکرو جګړه|
|Persian||نبرد پنج ارتش|
|Polish||Bitwa Pięciu Armii|
|Portuguese (Brazil)||Batalha dos Cinco Exércitos|
|Punjabi||ਪੰਜ ਸਰਬ ਸ਼ਕਤੀਮਾਨ ਦੀ ਲੜਾਈ|
|Romanian||Bătălia de Cinci Armate|
|Russian||Битва Пяти Воинств|
|Scottish Gaelic||Blàr de Còig Armailtean|
|Serbian||Битка на пет војски (Cyrillic) Bitka Pet vojski (Latin)|
|Sesotho||Ntoeng oa Mabotho a mahlano|
|Sindhi||پنج فوجن جي جنگ|
|Sinhalese||බලැති පහ සටන|
|Slovak||Bitka piatich armád|
|Slovenian||Bitka petih vojska|
|Somalian||Dagaalka Shan Ciidammadu|
|Spanish||Batalla de los Cinco Ejércitos|
|Tahitian||Aroraa o Mataivalu Pae|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Батл панљ лашкари|
|Tamil||ஐந்து சேனைகளின் போர்|
|Telugu||ఐదు సైన్యాలు యుద్ధం|
|Turkish||Beş Ordular Savaşı|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Битва п'яти армій|
|Urdu||پانچ الافواج جنگ|
|Uzbek||Беш Сарвари жанг (Cyrillic) Besh Sarvari jang (Latin)|
|Vietnamese||Trận chiến của Năm đạo quân|
|Welsh||Brwydr o Pum Byddinoedd|
|Xhosa||Imfazwe wemikhosi ezintlanu|
|Yiddish||שלאַכט פֿינף אַרמיעס|
|Yoruba||Ogun ti Marun-ogun|
|Yucatec Maya||Batalla jo'op'éel waacho'ob|