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"Military history and capability of Hobbits" Topic

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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2022 9:08 a.m. PST

I found this while looking up halfling armies. I thought it was pretty interesting.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2022 10:47 a.m. PST

Nice work, though I might disagree on fine points. (Did the Bounders report to the Thain of the Shire, or to the Mayor of Hobbiton, who seems to have been the highest elected office, and presumably had access to tax money, for instance?) I doubt there was even a small "standing army" outside of the Bounders, but archery practice, as in Plantagenet and Tudor England, may well have been compulsory.

I'd suggest that outside the Shire, one might see 100-Halfling companies of archers as part of larger forces of Men, but inside the Shire, purely Hobbitic armies would include small mounted contingents on ponies for scouting, and a mixed lot of Hobbitry at arms with melee weapons, and that company commanders and other leaders were probably mounted on ponies for mobility and visibility. Actually invading the Shire would be like wading through the Midgewater, with a climactic battle coming (if at all) only after the invaders had spent days or weeks being picked off by concealed archers.

Better to invade people who have a strong central government and a standing army. They know when they're beaten, and there's someone who can surrender for them.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2022 11:15 a.m. PST

Good points, Robert. Perhaps archery was also a skill to be shown off at local fairs a la Robin Hood.

HMS Exeter03 May 2022 8:50 p.m. PST

Tolkien wrote that Hobbitses were accomplished marksman with thrown rocks. Not perhaps the world's most menacing ordnance, but I'd be pretty wary of a stand of trees.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2022 4:03 a.m. PST

Especially once they started making friends with Ents, I should think.

Tiny Legions04 May 2022 8:36 a.m. PST

@ HMS Exeter:

Perhaps but it worked for the Balearic Slingers pretty well, as well as David.

Zephyr104 May 2022 2:19 p.m. PST

"Tolkien wrote that Hobbitses were accomplished marksman with thrown rocks. "

Really bad luck if you were a rabbit… ;-)

HMS Exeter04 May 2022 2:35 p.m. PST

The Italian Divisions during WWII were all given numbers and names, normally relating to the area where it was raised.

Many affected self congratulatory names to evoke their military prowess. One division styled themselves as the "Lupi di Tuscani." The "Wolves of Tuscany."

After several less than stellar performances, many started calling them the "Lepri di Tuscani." The "Rabbits of Tuscany."

HMS Exeter04 May 2022 2:39 p.m. PST

Slinging ≠ chucking.

Chucking ≠ Atlatling.

Mechanical advantage is a game changer.

Timbo W04 May 2022 3:54 p.m. PST

Also hobbitses are very stealthy when they want to be. Great for recon and ambushes.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP07 May 2022 5:48 p.m. PST

I had to deal with this issue when I was contracted to write a novel for Mantic Games' "Kings of War" dealing with their new halfling army release. Now the Mantic Halflings are NOT Tolkien Hobbits, but they are still pretty close and have the same problem of being a lot smaller than most of their opponents. I had a lot of fun working on the book ("Broken Alliance" available from Amazon) and I think the results are pretty reasonable for a fantasy world.

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