Battle on the Green Fork
|Battle of the Green Fork|
|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
|Place||Green Fork, Trident, Riverlands|
Tactical Lannister victory |
Strategic Stark Victory
The Battle of the Green Fork was an early battle in the War of the Five Kings and the first to involve forces of House Stark. The battle occurred along the Green Fork of the river Trident in the Riverlands.
With the Riverlands forces scattered, most of their land under Lannister control, and Riverrun besieged by Jaime Lannister's host, Tywin Lannister marches his host from Harrenhal to the ford over the Green Fork, to intercept the Stark host in the only crossing available to them over the Trident, other than the Twins, where Lord Walder Frey remains neutral in the conflict and unlikely to join them.
However, despite Tywin's estimation, Catelyn Tully has persuaded the Freys to join Robb's side, opening the way over the Twins. Robb splits his host in two, the foot and some horse under Roose Bolton marching down the Kingsroad to the Ruby Ford as a diversion, while he commands the main cavalry and crosses at the Twins and moves on Riverrun in the hope of taking the besiegers unawares and lifting the siege.
The Stark army, commanded by Lord Roose Bolton, marches throughout the night in an effort to take the Lannister army by surprise. They arrive in the early morning and launch their attack. However, the Lannister army arrayed itself in time to meet them.
The Western order of battle:
- The Center: Ser Kevan Lannister commands, with Lords Lefford, Lydden and Serrett at his side with 300 heavy horse. The rest of the centre is a mixed infantry force including pike, archers, axemen, swordsmen, and spearmen.
- The Right: Ser Addam Marbrand commands 4,000 knights and other heavy lancers, among them Ser Flement Brax and members of houses Crakehall and Swyft.
- The Left and the Van: Ser Gregor Clegane commanding. The vanguard is entirely mounted, but consists of Tyrion Lannister and his clansmen, freeriders, sellswords, and raw recruits.
- The Reserve: Personally commanded by Tywin Lannister, as is his wont. 5,000 men, half mounted, half afoot.
Lord Tywin puts his undisciplined men on the left, so to tempt the Northern commander (whom he believes will be the untested Robb Stark) to overcommit should the undisciplined clansmen rout, as he expects. He then intends for Ser Kevan and the center to wheel to the left and take the northerners in the side. However, the commander, Lord Bolton, proves to be cautious and fails to fall for the trap. Once he sees the battle is lost, he retreats.
Although Lord Tywin achieves a tactical victory, strategic damage was done; Lord Roose stalls the Lannister army long enough to allow Robb Stark the chance to fall upon Ser Jaime Lannister's force unmolested in the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
Lord Roose's host loses a few thousand men; he, Robett Glover, Ronnel Stout, Kyle Condon, Ser Aenys Frey, Elmar Frey and most of the army are able to retreat to the Twins after Lord Tywin failed to give chase. During the battle, Lord Halys Hornwood and Ser Pate of the Blue Fork are killed. Lord Medger Cerwyn is captured and dies later from a wound taken in the fighting. Other captives taken are Harrion Karstark, Ser Wylis Manderly, Ser Donnel Locke, Ser Jared Frey, Ser Hosteen Frey, Ser Danwell Frey and Ronel Rivers.
TV Series Portrayal
The Battle of the Green Fork in the HBO adaptation was altered, with Robb Stark sending a diversionary force of two thousand bannermen — instead of the larger host commanded by Roose Bolton (who is absent himself) — against the much larger Lannister army of 30,000. The battle is not explicitly shown, though it is shown to be a complete massacre of the Northern army. No Stark leaders or nobles are present in the army either. Later in the same episode "Baelor", Robb Stark laments his decision to sacrifice two thousand of his men to capture Jaime Lannister at the Whispering Wood.