Save Middle-earth on the cheap.

That would be my mother. But she thinks she’s a mortal Christian woman this time around. Dad’s still got two eyes, and his Ravens are missing. I am so kicking Loki’s ass when I find him.

Orc psychology not only permits mutinies and defections, it requires it. You’re not going to increase your edge by encouraging dissension in their ranks, because they’re already dissenting faster than you can encourage it.

Just be careful, Skald might confuse you for an ent.

I still have to get the ring from Frodo. Sam and Gollum won’t be too happy about that. There’s going to be a scuffle.

And of course once I bring it back to our world, thus destroying Sauron and and all of his evil, I’m going to be mighty tempted to bring the ring back to Middle Earth to see if I have the right stuff to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

Oh, so you’re the one who set up this timeline! I’m not sure the Professor was ever able to establish how much the history in the Red Book deviated from our own past. The book came here cross-time, you see, which we suspected as of course it had to step outside the timestream to avoid decomposition. Apparently it came from the timeline you averted, while you have set up what we now know as the real past. Or don’t know, as it were.

The archaeological evidence from underneath the present floor of the Mediterranean has cast serious doubts on the restoration of a unified Adûnaic kingdom under Elessar. Previously, the dominant assumption was that the Red Book was a fantasy of triumph, & Elessar a hoped-for but never arriving Messiah.

In light of this evidence, we have to decide whether to intervene on behalf of Arnor & Gondor, changing our own timeline, or just to leave well enough alone. Our future descendants probably will intervene, resetting the late Third Age timeline to its condition prior to your interference. This may reestablish the Red Book timeline, but as part of a stable cross-time loop, each timeline influencing the other & indirectly itself.

You don’t really have the numbers to pull this off; you run the risk of failing just like these fine ladies who tried scorched-earth tactics against larger forces.

Cite for orcs not farming? Industrial nations are not typically hunter-gatherer. They presumably do have farmers.

The key word you’re missing is “hobbit.” A tiny person with invisibility can evade a noisy tank battalion or a few platoons of marines indefinitely. you’d have to capture but not kill one hobbit (not easy) & entice the other hobbit to come after him (not definite).

Numbers matter most when you’re engaging the enemy - if my Marines have motor vehicles, they can probably avoid engaging the Orcs until their logistical problems have crippled them. For that matter, my Marines can probably do this even if they need to rely on local transport (horses and such). Smaller armies are faster, all else being equal, than larger ones - even limited to local transport, my Marines can probably outpace any force large enough to threaten them and kill any force light enough to catch up to them. Technology and modern tactical doctrine gives my forces advantages that your examples lacked.

Evacuating civilians is painfully slow, of course - but with careful planning, the Marines should be able to keep motorized (and possibly radio-equipped) scouts sufficiently far forward of the relevant borders to provide some warning. And, frankly, complete evacuation is not necessary in order to defeat the Orcs - so long as local industry and farms are destroyed, civilians left behind are just extra mouths to feed. (Or possibly food themselves, but that’s not a resource that can last forever).

Your point regarding orc farmers is well-taken - it was, frankly, racist of me to assume that Orcs cannot farm. I apologize. However, it’s true that soldiers in the field generally don’t farm, which means my plan to stretch and break the Orc supply line is still a reasonable one.

ETA: I’d also point out that any argument against scorched-earth tactics on the grounds that I don’t have enough men is probably an even stronger argument against fighting the enemy at a time and place of his choosing (that is, by actively defending a besieged city), or attacking the enemy on ground he has had time to fortify. The Russians used scorched-earth tactics precisely because they didn’t (at first) have the forces to fight an active defense against Germany, let alone wage aggressive war. Scorched earth buys you time to strengthen yourself and exhaust your enemy.

Hmm, exactly how much access to we have to specialized equipment? Do all of our mercs get nightvision scopes, for instance? I’m assuming that we’re the only guys who have large numbers of troops who are capable of sustained night operations, it seems like that could be a pretty big force multiplier.

What about specialized equipment for snipers? Could I have 8-10 Surveillance and Target Acquisition teams identifying and prosecuting enemy officers? Even a small number of snipers and designated marksmen engaging targets of opportunity would be a huge advantage, since I have to assume that we can successfully engage the enemy from much greater distances than they can engage us.

What about mortars, do we have any mortar teams? If I have to hold Helms Deep, I’m going to want as much ongoing indirect fire as humanly possible.

What about interoperability and specialized assets? Could I trade 40 of marines for two SEAL Troops to deploy traps, sap enemy fortifications and train the locals?

Speaking of training, how much materiel can we bring? Could each of our 5,000 mercs carry an extra rifle or two and train an elf in its use? Because an elf sniper would be freaking badass, and I don’t even wanna contemplate what the dwarves would do with C4.

Anyway, I’m suddenly struck with a sudden urge to go play Warhammer 40k or Arcanum, so those are my suggestions. ^^

I’d do a B’rer Rabbit - “Oh, please, Mr. Nazgul…please don’t throw this hobbit into Mt. Doom!” Then the nazgul takes the whiny hobbitses to the fiery mountain just to be spiteful.

Skald - I heard that Aragorn was saving Aowyn’s pure, unsullied love for you.

StG

If the 1st Marines would have it and it’s not a helo, plane, or non-communications drone, you can have it.

What are you training the natives in, exactly? You’re not getting resupplied, so I don’t think you have ammo or whatnot to spare.

Anything y’all can carry is fine. But no help from Evil Inc. once you’re in Middle-Earth.

Where do you want to be let out of the portal? Seems an important decision to me.

Hatcha! We have massive amounts of transport then. Not so much for initial mobility, but for hauling all the ammo and fuel we’ll need later. We have organic mortars and artillery! (Never underestimate the power of artillery.) We have amphib capability. Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith get the heavy weapons. Most of the rest operate as mobile strikeforces to provide the necessary distractions.

I’d do it by the book. Or at least as close to the book as I can do it without the main characters.

I guess a lot of it would depend on gaining Elrond’s trust.

So I’ll start land in Rivendell, talk to Elrond

Glorfindel would rush to The Shire, pick up Frodo and Sam, bring them to Rivendell where we’ll party a few nights then hold a Very Important Council.
So Frodo, Sam, Glorfindel and Boromir head off together. They sneak through the Mines of Moria, Boromir eventually goes to Gondor and Glorfindel to Rohan. Since Boromir can’t be trusted with the hobbits and Glorfindel is a big glowing LOOK AT ME I’M A SUPER ELF, the hobbits have to infiltrate Mordor alone.

I’ll pay the dwarves to make a few mithril bullets. That way we can kill Sauron with some [del]bling[/del] style.

Celeborn get’s to go on some sort of suicide mission.

I’ll send about 75% of the troops to Rohan and the rest can go to Gondor. Once Rohan has successfully been defended, I’ll move my troops and Glorfindel to Gondor then eventually have them knock at Sauron’s gate for a perfectly timed distraction. You know, book type stuff.

Sorry, just didn’t feel like I needed to do anything fancy when I have automatic weapons.

Once we’re all set, I’ll take the widow, Galadriel as my wife!
Also, can I mount miniguns on some eagles? That would be fairly badass.
Also, hand grenades and explosives will do a number on the movie orcs at Rohan.

“Oh look at us, we can bang our weapons on the ground really hard!”
“Nice! Hey, catch this”

The reason I referenced Dahia al-Kahina & Boadicea is that they tried scorched-earth tactics against geographically large empires who already had logisitical advantages, thus actually undercutting their own food supply in the long term. If the Professor’s perception of the extent of Sauron’s empire is valid, you are perhaps not Russia to their Germany, but Berbery to their Caliphate.

That said, I suppose Mr. Excellent’s approach might work short-term, long enough for the hobbits to make Mount Doom.

Sam and Frodo are not in the Shire. They’re in Mordor, or close enough, by this point. Gandalf et al didn’t get RPGed until Fangorn Forest.

Someone more knowledgeable about ballistics will be along to explain why mithirl, like silver, makes for poor bullets.

I foresee some aiming and recoil issues here.

Ah - yes, I see your point. I haven’t read the books, and assumed (perhaps wrongly) that modern Mordor was a relatively modest rump state, greatly reduced from the last war. On the flip side - Mordor did lose the last war. How did it retain a sizable empire?

Lack of air support is definitely a problem, but you’re putting up a mobile infantry regiment with automatic weapons, artillery, tanks and Humvees against spear chucking primitives wielding swords and riding wolves. And this is an enemy considerate enough to mass in front of walled cities – a tactic that works against bows and arrows, but is suicidal when the people in the city have sniper rifles, mortars, and light artillery. An Oliphant is mighty scary, up until the point when someone puts a 50 caliber sniper bullet through its brain pan from a mile away.
Assuming the regiment brings enough ammo and fuel, I’m only seeing one problem, and that’s the Nazgul. Creepy flying bad guys who can drive seasoned warriors into panic with their terrible cries might be a problem. Unless those earmuffs that tankers and artillerymen carry can block out the sound. In which case, we know those flying dragon things are vulnerable to mortal weapons (in the movie, Eowyn cuts the head off one, mightily pissing off the head Nazgul). So a few SAM should take care of the Nazgul, or at least put them out of the fight long enough to take out the bad guy’s army.

So basically, your regiment has four missions – take out Saruman at Isengard (an alliance with the Ents would be helpful, except for the OP’s inconsiderate actions), win the battle of Helm’s Deep, ride to the aid of Gondor, and then perform the last act of distraction in front of the gates of Mordor.

Assuming you can win the trust of the locals (Behold, this is the M-16 that was broken!), all this should be pretty easy. But contrary to the OP, it won’t be cheap. Outfitting a marine regiment with tanks, artillery, and resupply for a couple of week’s campaign is probably going to run into some serious money – I’m guessing on the order of 100 million or so. Tanks run $4,000,000 more or less, and you’ll want several of them. Mercs don’t work for free, and then there’s death benefits, inter-dimensional relocation expenses, medical benefits for vets suffering from post-Nazgul-stress-disorders, and so on. You might end up wishing you’d hocked the Ring to pay for it all.

Also: This is precisely why I love the Dope. Wacky hypotheticals lead to real-world learning!

Sabots, Skald. Sabots. Make them up for a Barrett. No huhu.

eta: For that matter, who cares? Depleted uranium kinetic penetrators will take out anything.

Does the 1st use Strykers?

I’ve always wondered what they did (in the books) with all that bad meat.

Even without a mount, the Pelennor Fields Witch King is a force to be reckoned with, as his simple presence inspires terrible fear. You’ll need a spell llwrought for Sauron’s bane blade to break the spell protecting him; Merry & Pippin’s are somewhere in the waste of Fangorn forest, under a whole lotta Ent/Huorn ash. I suppose Anduril might do it but the same issue obtains. Plus all my mercs are dudes so you need a feisty female warrior. I’m not sure Eowyn will be available under these circumstances.

Of course, Gondor doesn’t have a king and may well not have a Steward. You haven’t saved Middle-earth till you deal with that issue. Rohan’s in trouble too; I’m not sure what happens to Theoden when you kill Saruman (you’re planning on doing that right?) if he hasn’t been released from the spell.

Oh, those are all sunk costs. Evil Inc. had the hardware on hand for another, (already concluded) op, and it’s not like any of it will be useful if Olympus and/or Asgard attacks. And the mercs are on salary. Frankly I’m sick of paying them to train all day and wench all night.

ETA: I mean RELATIVELY cheap. Everything you’re naming doesn’t cost as much as one quantum torpedo.

GONDOR was on the wane, not Mordor. Mordor was on the rise. Orcs reproduce in rapid and extremely unpleasant ways.

Screw the aiming and recoil issues. I want a damn eagle with a damn minigun on it!