The Battle of Dale is a fictional battle in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings during the War of the Ring. An earlier battle in the same location which preceded a re-establishment of the Dwarf-kingdom was called the Battle of Five Armies.
The Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain (also known as Erebor) and the Men of Dale refused to acknowledge the overlordship and alliance of Sauron. While his larger southern armies invaded Gondor, a host of Easterlings advanced in the north to extend his dominion and to prevent the armies of his enemies joining together under one banner.
On 'March' 17 of the year 3019 in the Third Age, Sauron sent a host of Easterlings to attack Dale. The combined forces of the Men of Dale under King Brand and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain under King Dáin Ironfoot marched out to meet the Easterlings in battle. Sauron's forces were probably more numerous, though the armies of Dale and Erebor would have possessed an advantage due to their superior Dwarven-made weaponry. After three days of heavy close-quarters fighting, Brand and Dáin were forced to retreat to the Lonely Mountain. A few sturdy warriors led by Brand and Dáin fought bravely before the Gate of Erebor, which was not taken. Dáin was killed as he stood defending the body of his ally Brand. The defenders of the Mountain were now under siege.
The forces of Gondor and Rohan defeated the main power of Sauron in the southern theatre on 'March' 25 and this caused the northern Easterling army to lose heart. Seeing the morale of their foes sapped, the Army of Dale under the new Kings — Bard II and Thorin III Stonehelm — managed to lift the siege on 'March' 27 and drove the Easterlings out of Dale.
The battle was very important for the future of Middle-earth. Though it could not change the outcome of the War of the Ring, which was tied to the fate of the One Ring, it diverted another portion of Sauron's strength from Lórien and Rivendell, and a quick complete victory by Sauron's Easterling armies would have allowed them to join up with Sauron's forces from Dol Guldur in their attacks on the woodland realm of Mirkwood. This would have enabled Mordor's armies to wreak havoc possibly as far west as Eriador.
Dale was rebuilt following the siege of the Lonely Mountain, and Thorin and Bard sent their ambassadors to King Elessar's coronation. Later, many dwarves were led south by Gimli, one of the companions of Aragorn in the War of the Ring. They colonised Aglarond, the glittering caves in Helm's Deep.
The battle was recounted in one of the appendices of The Return of the King. The battle also appeared on The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, (2nd edition, 1966) pp.375-376, "a host of the allies of Sauron...the Easterlings...". J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien editor, Unfinished Tales, (1980), p.258, Oropher raises a 'host' consisting of his "great army" and the "lesser army of Malgalad" as a part of the "great host" of the Alliance, this indicates that a 'host' is made up of two or more armies. After the Battle of Dale, Sauron's allies are described as "northern army" indicating one of the armies of the host was lost in the battle.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, (2nd edition, 1966) Appendix B, p.375, "Battle of Dale. King Brand and King Dáin Ironfoot fall.".
- In J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (editor), Unfinished Tales, (1980), p. 330, Gandalf says in The Quest for Erebor: "those places (Lórien and Rivendell) might have fallen […] if Sauron had thrown all his power against them first […]".