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This article is about the battle itself. For the 2014 film, see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

" ... 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"

The Battle of Five Armies was a battle waged between the Orcs and the Wargs of the Misty Mountains and the Grey Mountains against the Lake-men, Elves, and Dwarves, on and near the Lonely Mountain.[1]



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 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, such as Röac the Raven, that lived on the Lonely Mountain. These reached Dáin Ironfoot of the nearby Iron Hills, and he marched to the Lonely Mountain with 500 heavily armed Dwarves, mostly skilled veterans of the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.[2][3] When Dáin's forces arrived, a 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.

Battle of the Five Armies

Men and goblins in the battle

The battle

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, the Ravenhill, where Gandalf also had withdrawn to.

Soon the Orcs, Wargs, and a cloud of Bats "like a sea of locusts" arrived, 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.

DwarvesInBOFA JustinGerard

Moments after Beorn rescues Thorin, depicted by Justin Gerard

As the battle was turning fully against the Free Folk, a number of Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains arrived. 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 Orcs from above on the Mountain, and he passed out. With the support of the Great Eagles, the battle turned back against the Orcs. Then Beorn himself arrived at the battle, apparently having heard the 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 scattered the ranks of the bodyguard of Bolg, 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 forest of Mirkwood.[1][4]


Death of Thorin

Thorin death

Thorin II expired from his wounds sustained in the battle.

When Bilbo regained consciousness, the battle was already over. Thorin II 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.[5]

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.[5] 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.


Very few Orcs survived the battle, which had the effect of breaking the power of the Northern Orcs. Consequently they were not able to field vast numbers in the War of the Ring, reducing the strength of the attacks on Lothlórien and Thranduil's realm and preventing an invasion of Eriador. With the re-founding of the Kingdom under the Mountain and the Kingdom of Dale the Western Lands gained a bastion in the North, blocking the expansion of Sauron's power westwards.

In adaptations

In the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated version of The Hobbit, not as many of Thorin's followers survive. After the battle, a critically injured Bombur delivers Bilbo the news of the victory, then expires. Later, Bilbo asks Gandalf, "Of our original thirteen, how many are left?"

"Seven," the wizard replies.

"And Thorin?"

"Soon there will be only six."

In the third film of The Hobbit film trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Battle of Five Armies is presented as a five-way battle between the five Armies: the Dwarves of Erebor, Elves of Mirkwood, Lake-men (along with the Wizard Gandalf, the Hobbit Bilbo, the skin-changer Beorn and the Great Eagles) versus the two Orc armies of Dol Guldur and Gundabad.

The battle was a prelude to the War of the Ring.


Quest of Erebor

In TA 2940, Gandalf intercepted a message promising payment for the head of Thorin Oakenshield. This aroused his suspicion of rising darkness and he intercepted the Dwarf exilarch and hatched the idea of the Quest of Erebor.

The wizard claimed to Thorin that such darker minds could turn towards Erebor, possibly sway the dragon, who took it from Thorin's people, to their side and maybe use the location and riches of the Mountain itself to their advantage.

Quest of Erebor

Skirmish in the TrollshawsChase to Rivendell – Battle of the Stone Giants – Battle of Goblin-townAttack of the WargsAttack of the SpidersAmbush of MirkwoodAttack on Lake-townBattle in EreborDestruction of Lake-townAttack on Dol GuldurBattle of Five Armies (Siege of DaleSkirmish on Ravenhill)

Unable to muster a great enough force without the support of all seven Dwarf kingdoms, Thorin assembled twelve of his compatriots to undergo a quest to retrieve the Arkenstone of Thráin from the dragon. With it, he could command all seven armies against the dragon Smaug. Gandalf suggested Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, as a burglar to sneak past Smaug and take the stone and the Quest was under way.

Unknown to Gandalf, a Necromancer had settled in Dol Guldur. This sorcerer was in league with Azog (who set the price on Thorin's head) and with Smaug, and intended to stop the quest at all costs, sending Azog to hunt the company. Gandalf later uncovered the Necromancer as a returned Sauron, but not before the Dark Lord sent out his secret army under Azog to secure the Mountain. It was his intention to use Smaug in the War of the Ring, as well as to use the Mountain to secure the lands of Angmar and use them to harass the Northern kingdoms of Middle-earth.

Meanwhile, the company awoke Smaug and failed to slay him in the forges. The dragon, mistaking Bilbo for a man of Lake-town, went out to burn the city in revenge.

Destruction of Lake-town

As he burnt the city, Smaug was confronted by Bard, a descendant of Dale (itself conflagrated by the dragon) wielding the black arrow which would penetrate the dragon's weak-spot.

Smaug was slain, but the town of Lake-town was burnt and the survivors led by Bard had to resettle, choosing the ruins of Dale.

Siege of Erebor

The company was reunited, but Thorin's grief and failure led him to spiral into madness. Blinded by greed and consumed by the dragon's curse, he refused to share his treasure with the Lake-town refugees to help alleviate their hardships. Instead, the Elvenking Thranduil came to their support, seeking to reclaim his own heirlooms: The White Gems of Lasgalen from Thorin's hoard.

Seeing that Thorin is beyond reason, the Elves and Men assembled an army to besiege the Dwarves inside Erebor until Thorin relinquishes some of his gold. The Dwarf, however, sent Roäc the Raven to call upon Dáin Ironfoot from the nearby Iron Hills. Thranduil was so bent on reclaiming the gems that he ignored Gandalf's warnings of the approaching of the Dol Guldur army. Unbeknownst to any of them, Azog's army was marching in secret through Rhûn using tunnels dug by Were-worms, while Bolg mustered yet another army from Mount Gundabad.

As the siege was underway, Dáin arrived at the head of a Dwarven army from the Iron Hills, and the warring parties came to blows just before the Dol Guldur Army arrived.

The Battle


Dáin made the first move, sending forth a division of goat cavalry against the Elves. As the Dwarves galloped down the hill, the Elves opened fire with a volley of arrows; seeing the danger, Dain and the Dwarves returned fire using the Dwarves' spinning ballistae, which completely shredded the cloud of arrows and came crashing down among the Elven ranks. Shocked and furious, Thranduil ordered another volley but the Dwarves simply adjusted their aim and fired back with their ballistae again. With their archers now useless and the goat cavalry closing in, the Elves formed a shield-wall and braced for the impact.

Just as the Dwarves met the shield-wall, the Elves suddenly lowered and angled their shields, causing some of the goat cavalry to go up and over the shield-wall rather than through it, whereupon their mounts were shot down by archers waiting at the rear. As a result, most of the Dwarven goats were killed or the Dwarves simply dismounted from them and began fighting with the Elves hand-to-hand.

The Enemy Arrives

Suddenly, a massive earthquake struck the area, causing all fighting to cease immediately. All eyes were pulled over to the mountainous foothills at the valley entrance, whereupon three massive Were-Worms burst forth from the earth then withdrew, leaving behind three massive tunnels. Seconds later, thousands of orcs came marching out as Azog himself took up a high position overlooking the battlefield and gave the command to charge.

Seeing the danger, Dáin ordered his forward units out onto the plain where they set up their own shield-wall to block the Guldur Orc charge while Thranduil and the Elves remained motionless. Just before the Orcs collided with the Dwarvish forces, Thranduil sent in hundreds of Elves jumping over the Dwarven shield-wall to strike deep into the enemy lines, blunting the Orc charge and giving the Dwarves a chance to mount a ferocious 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 down 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 Dwarven "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. In response, the men of Lake-town in the valley along with Bard, Gandalf, and Bilbo made their way back 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 plains.

On the hills outside Dale, a squad of 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. Further inside the city, garrisons of Lake-town guards, well-armed militiamen and citizen-soldiers 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 on Main Street. Soon the fight degenerated into a series of vicious street skirmishes locked into tight corners.

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. Realizing 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 Elvish armies 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.

Turning of the Tide

Knowing that his people were on the verge of being overrun, Dáin ordered a retreat towards 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 remaining Elvish forces, numbering no more than 6,000 at this point in the battle, were steadily withdrawn by Thranduil towards the city of Dale and the outskirts of the valley itself for an imminent retreat from the battle altogether, intent on leaving the Dwarves and the Men of the Lake 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 left standing. 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 armored 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, Dáin's forces charged with him, smashing headlong into Azog's forces and punching a large hole in the Orcish forces. Farther out in the valley and within Dale itself, the men of Lake-town and the Elvish forces too found fresh resolve and charged back into battle. The fighting 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, Fíli and Kíli. 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 Fíli and Kíli to scout the upper levels. Fíli 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 on Ravenhill. Bolg later finds Tauriel and injures her but before he can finish her, Kíli 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 Fíli 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 apologizes 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.


With their commanders dead, their back-up forces destroyed 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.

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, Dáin 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.


Along with a formidable legion of Gundabad Orcs, and Bats, the film added the appearance of Were-Worms and Trolls and Ogres. In the film, the Dwarves, Elves and the Lake-men are more numerous than in the book. Additional combatants in the battle are Legolas, Tauriel, Radagast, Feren, and Percy.

Estimated strength of the Dwarves, Elves, and Men:

Estimated strength of Azog's army:

(Source: Weta Digital VFX: Hobbit Botfa)

Other namesakes

  • 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.



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
Asturian Batalla de los Cinco Exércitos
Azerbaijani Beş ordunun döyüşü
Belarusian Cyrillic Бітва Пяці Воінстваў
Bengali পাঁচ সর্বশক্তিমান যুদ্ধ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Битката на петте армии
Cambodian សមរភូមិនៃពិភពទាំងមូលប្រាំនាក់
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 Femhæreslaget
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 חמשת הצבאות
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
Japanese 五軍の合戦
Javanese Pertempuran Lima Mahakwasa
Kannada ಐದು ಸೈನ್ಯಗಳ ಬ್ಯಾಟಲ್
Kazakh Бес Aрмия шайқасы (Cyrillic) Bes Armïya şayqası (Latin)
Korean 다섯 군대 전투
Kurdish Şer de ji Pênc Ordiyan (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Беш Себайот согуш
Laotian ຮົບຂອງຫ້າກອງທັບ
Latin Pugna Quinque Exercitus
Latvian Kaujas Pieci armiju
Lithuanian Mūšis Penkių kareivijų
Lombard Batalia di Cinch Esercit
Luxembourgish Schluecht vu Fënnef Arméien
Macedonian Cyrillic Битка на пет армиите
Malaysian Pertempuran Lima Tentera
Marathi पाच सर्वशक्तिमान लढाई
Mongolian Cyrillic Таван Түмэн цэргийн тулаан
Nepalese पांच सेनाहरु को लडाई
Norwegian Femhærerslaget
Occitan Batalha de las Cinc Armadas
Pashto د پینځو پورې لښکرو جګړه
Persian نبرد پنج ارتش
Polish Bitwa Pięciu Armii
Portuguese Batalha dos Cinco Exércitos (Brazil)
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
Swedish Femhäraslaget
Tahitian Aroraa o Mataivalu Pae
Tajik Cyrillic Батл панљ лашкари
Tamil ஐந்து சேனைகளின் போர்
Telugu ఐదు సైన్యాలు యుద్ధం
Thai สงครามห้าทัพ
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


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Hobbit, Chapter XVII: "The Clouds Burst"
  2. The Hobbit, Chapter XVI: "A Thief in the Night"
  3. The Hobbit, Chapter XV: "The Gathering of the Clouds"
  4. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Hobbit, "The Battle of the Five Armies"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Hobbit, Chapter XVIII: "The Return Journey"