Battle of the Fords

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Battle of the Fords
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 299 AC
Place Red Fork of the Trident
Result Tully victory
Commanders
Lord Tywin Lannister
Ser Flement Brax
Ser Gregor Clegane
Ser Addam Marbrand
Ser Lyle Crakehall
Lord Leo Lefford+
Ser Edmure Tully
Lord Jason Mallister
Lord Karyl Vance
Strength
20,000[1] 11,000[1]
  • 8000 infantry
  • 3000 cavalry
Casualties
Heavy
Leo Lefford
Robert Brax
Unknown

The Battle of the Fords was a series of engagements fought between the forces of House Tully and House Lannister during the War of the Five Kings that took place on the fords of the Red Fork of the Trident.

Prelude

Lord Tywin Lannister was attempting to return to the Westerlands to defeat King Robb Stark there. In order to do so, he had to cross the Red Fork of the Trident. Ser Edmure Tully learned of Lord Tywin's advance and called his banners to prevent Lord Tywin from crossing the river.[1]

Robb Stark marched his army west, where he bypassed the Golden Tooth using a secret mountain path. The northmen surprised the newly-raised host of Stafford Lannister near Lannisport when the Lannister army neglected to post enough sentries. They won an easy victory at Oxcross which devastated Lannister power in the westerlands.[2][1] Stafford and Rupert Brax were killed in the battle, while several Lannister bannermen were captured.[3] Next, the northmen captured Ashmark, after which they continued to scour the westerlands.[1][4]

By personally leading his northmen west,[5] Robb hoped to lure Lord Tywin Lannister west, away from King's Landing.[6] He left Ser Edmure Tully, his uncle, in charge of Riverrun,[1] but decided not inform him of his intentions. Robb's plan to lure Lord Tywin west proved succesfull when Tywin began his march west from Harrenhal. However, upon learning of Tywin's movement, Edmure Tully called his banners once more and prepared for battle.[1]

The Battle

Ser Edmure Tully organized his forces so that every crossing both north and south of Riverrun was defended by a strong force. Lord Jason Mallister was commanded with the defense of four fords, while Lord Karyl Vance commanded the defense of fords to the north of Riverrun. The west bank of the Red Fork is higher than the east and wooded. The defenders used those trees to hide archers and placed scorpions as support. Ser Edmure kept his best knights as a reserve, to ride where they were needed most.

Initially Lord Tywin probed the defenses, attempting to find an unguarded ford. Ser Flement Brax was sent south to attempt a breach there, and there was also fighting to the north of Riverrun. After two days of skirmishing, Lord Tywin attempted to force a crossing in a dozen places. The most heated battle was at Stone Mill, where Edmure faces Gregor Clegane. Although Clegane and his men managed to gain the west bank, they suffered terrible losses. Edmure turned back Clegane and his men with his reserve. Clegane is wounded by a dozen arrows. Elsewhere, Ser Addam Marbrand was thrown back three times, Lord Leo Lefford drowned, Robert Brax is killed, and Ser Lyle Crakehall is taken captive. Unable to cross the river, Tywin is forced to retreat. At the end of the day, Tywin's army was seen marching south-east.[4]

Aftermath

The Battle of the Fords has great influence on the outcome of the war. Although Edmure Tully's tactical victory is celebrated at Riverrun at first, it soon proves to be a huge strategic loss. Due to the battle, Lord Tywin's advance to the westerlands is delayed just long enough for riders out of Bitterbridge to reach him with word of Stannis's threat to King’s Landing. Tywin immediately turns his host south to join up with Lords Mathis Rowan and Randyll Tarly near the headwaters of the Blackwater Rush. From there a forced march takes them to Tumbler's Falls, where Lord Mace Tyrell and his sons wait with their huge host and a fleet of barges. Together, the Lannisters and Tyrells float down the river to disembark half a day’s ride from the capital.[6]

Quotes

Tell Father I have gone to make him proud.[4]

- Ser Edmure Tully to his sister, Catelyn Stark, before riding out to battle


He is probing, feeling for a weak point, an undefended crossing. If he does not find one, he will curl all his fingers into a fist and try and make one.[4]

- Brienne of Tarth on Tywin Lannister's strategy


We were all horsed. The Lannister host was mainly foot. We planned to run Lord Tywin a merry chase up and down the coast, then slip behind him to take up a strong defensive position athwart the gold road, at a place my scouts had found where the ground would have been greatly in our favor. If he had come at us there, he would have paid a grievous price. But if he did not attack, he would have been trapped in the west, a thousand leagues from where he needed to be. All the while we would have lived off his land, instead of him living off ours. [6]

- Ser Brynden Tully


Robb: Lord Stannis was about to fall upon King’s Landing, He might have rid us of Joffrey, the queen, and the Imp in one red stroke. Then we might have been able to make a peace.

Edmure: You never told me.

Robb: I told you to hold Riverrun, What part of that command did you fail to comprehend? [6]

- King Robb Stark and Ser Edmure Tully

References

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