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Saruman's legions as viewed from above

In the years building up to the War of the Ring, Saruman assembled a large army of more than 10,000 soldiers, which he sent from Isengard in order to conquer Rohan.

Description and history

The army of Saruman consisted of Uruk-hai and some wild men from Dunland. There were also quite a few Half-orcs. Their primary symbol was a white hand, named the Hand of Saruman.

This force was equipped with siege ladders, a battering ram, and the "fire of Orthanc", an explosive apparatus of unspecified form. Saruman used this army to attack the people of Rohan, most notably at the Battle of the Hornburg. They also fought at the Battles of the Fords of Isen, and a small band fought at the Skirmish at Amon Hen, though this group was destroyed by the Riders of Rohan on the outskirts of Fangorn Forest. The majority of Saruman's army was defeated in the Battle of the Hornburg and then wiped out by Huorns as they fled.

Uruk-hai bearing the White Hand of Saruman

A small portion of Saruman's warriors stayed at Isengard during the attack on the Hornburg, and fought in the Destruction of Isengard. By the next day, March 3 of TA 3019, this remnant was utterly destroyed by Treebeard, Pippin, Merry, and the Ent host, save for an unknown number of Dunlendings who surrendered to the victors.

Portrayal in adaptations

Saruman's Warg-riders attack the people of Rohan in The Two Towers film.

In Peter Jackson's The Two Towers film (2002), the culvert of the Hornburg was breached by a group of exceptionally strong Uruks called "Berserkers", one of whom rushes forth with a flaming torch in hand, undeterred by an wave of arrows piercing him from above. He throws himself into the culvert, and thus ignites the bomb that explodes and breaks the Deeping Wall - called only the "fire of Orthanc" in the book, by Aragorn.

Many Uruk-hai in the host are shown using crossbows, which were not mentioned by Tolkien.

None of the Uruk soldiers at Helm's Deep speak with Aragorn (or to anyone) in the film, as some do in the book.