Second War

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Previous: First War
Next: Invasion of Draenor
Part of: Burning Crusade
Prelude: First War
End: The Great Portal
WC2BnE logo 16x42.png Second War
Second War
Location: Eastern Kingdoms (Continents of Lordaeron, Khaz Modan and Azeroth)
Provocation: Horde offensive in Khaz Modan, Zul'Dare, Tol Barad and Crestfall
Outcome: Alliance victory, physical destruction of the Dark Portal
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
  • Heavy
  • Massive, lacked the numbers to pose a serious threat[6]
Major Battles: Siege of Ironforge, Battle of Hillsbrad Foothills, Burning of Quel'Thalas, Siege of Lordaeron, Battle of Crestfall, Battle of Blackrock Spire

The Second War, also known as the second Great War,[7] was a conflict between the newly formed Alliance of Lordaeron and the Old Horde, engulfing almost all of the lands of the Eastern Kingdoms, and ending with the victory for the Alliance. The events were chronicled in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. The Second War is also used to refer to events of Beyond the Dark Portal in some accounts as well.[citation needed]

From the orcish landings of the Battle of Hillsbrad Foothills to the final Alliance assault on the Dark Portal, the Second War raged on for approximately a year. Countless villages and cities were destroyed in the Eastern Kingdoms.[8]

See also Warcraft II battles and this account of what events from the game campaigns were included in the lore.

Prelude to war

Following the events of the First War, the survivors of Stormwind led by Anduin Lothar made their way through the Great Sea to the northern kingdom of Lordaeron to beseech aid from King Terenas Menethil II. Following Lothar's impassioned speech, Terenas called for an emergency council of war to discuss the orcish threat. Meanwhile, the Orcish Horde pillaged Stormwind city and the surrounding areas, effectively destroying all human holdings south of the Burning Steppes.[9]

In the years between the defeat of the Kingdom of Stormwind and the outbreak of the Second War, it can only be assumed that both the Horde and Alliance went through massive reformations and began huge military build-ups in preparation for war.

King Terenas, through skilled political maneuvering, petitioned the support of the human kingdoms of Stromgarde, Dalaran, Kul Tiras, Alterac, and Gilneas. While most of the human nations banded together and pledged their support for this new alliance, Lord Perenolde of Alterac and Genn Greymane of Gilneas withheld their allegiance; Perenolde because he feared the humans would be defeated by the orcs, and Greymane because he felt that Gilneas was strong enough to stand on its own. However, the human kingdoms also managed to gain the allegiance of the Bronzebeard dwarves of Ironforge, the Wildhammer dwarves of Aerie Peak, and the gnomes of Gnomeregan. Envoys led by King Terenas attempted to gain the allegiance of the high elves of Quel'Thalas, though initially they were uninterested in the coming conflict and sent merely a pittance of their forces. This resulted in the creation of the Alliance of Lordaeron.

In this time of turmoil, Alonsus Faol was worried about the situation a priest was in. Being unable to fight back, the class was meek in battle. To counter this, Alonsus opened a branch in the Church of the Holy Light, where a priest gets trained in the way of the sword and of the Light. This was the birth of the Paladins, a class that would prove important in winning the war. Alonsus introduced the first four to Lothar, to which he accepted them as his lieutenants with Turalyon as his second in command.

In the last days of the First War, the leader of the Shadow Council, the warlock Gul'dan fell into a deep coma attempting to probe the mind of Medivh. Without the machinations of the Shadow Council, the Horde fell prey to infighting. In a coup d'état led by Orgrim Doomhammer to end what he saw as a corrupting influence over the Horde, the Shadow Council was destroyed as well as its puppet Warchief, Blackhand the Destroyer. Doomhammer successfully took control of the remaining Horde forces and began to bolster their devastated armies with orcs and ogres from beyond the Dark Portal. With trolls, ogres and orcs fighting side by side, it was not long before the enterprising goblins saw the potential profit in aiding them.[10] The Horde gained support from goblin machinists and mercenaries, and through use of the Demon Soul managed to enslave the Red Dragon Alexstrasza and the majority of her brood. Prior to the destruction of Stormwind, the Bleeding Hollow clan and the jungle troll tribes (specifically the Gurubashi) of Stranglethorn Vale fought in a brief war before then Warchief Blackhand recalled them.[11] As such the Gurubashi did not join forces with the Horde and stayed apart from the Second War. Upon awakening from his coma and finding himself without allies, Gul'dan "swore" allegiance to Doomhammer and began creation of the first death knights in the service of the Warchief. This was the beginning of the so-called Horde.

The Horde offensive

Pre-war status: Red indicated Horde territory, blue for Alliance, and yellow for neutral nations.

In the 6th year after the fall of Stormwind, the Horde began their northern offensive against the Alliance forces. The Horde simultaneously launched two primary assaults. The first was a land offensive launched out of Blackrock Mountain which moved north to the dwarven holdings in Khaz Modan. The second was a naval assault launched from the ruins of Stormwind, which sailed north taking the islands of Zul'Dare, Tol Barad, and Crestfall and establishing them as primary naval bases. From these launching points, the Horde landed troops along the coasts of the Wetlands, the Arathi Highlands, and most importantly the southern coast of Lordaeron.

The shores of Lordaeron

Southern outposts such as Southshore, Tarren Mill and Hillsbrad were assaulted, and the Horde squeezed a large amount of troops into Lordaeron this way, assisted by the nation of Alterac who provided them with maps and secret routes.

Soon after, Zul'jin and some of his champions were discovered by Horde scouts in a makeshift prison near Tarren Mill. Upon hearing the news, Doomhammer immediately ordered his release from the 40-man raid party that captured him. Now in Doomhammer's debt, Zul'jin agreed to form a pact with the orcish Horde: the plains and valleys of Lordaeron would belong to the Horde, while the trolls would take back their ancestral forests from their mortal enemies, the high elves.[12]

Khaz Modan

The map of the Second War with the main battles and war paths

The Horde's land assault proceeded to lay waste to Loch Modan, pushing the outnumbered dwarf and gnome forces into the city of Ironforge, who sealed themselves from the outside threat. The Bleeding Hollow clan attempted several raids on the mighty dwarven city, to no avail. For the most part, dwarves and gnomes were cut off from the rest of the Alliance, save through air support. Following the ravaging of Loch Modan, the Horde pushed farther north into the Wetlands, taking Dun Algaz, Dun Modr, and Grim Batol and converting them into fortresses for the Horde. Grim Batol became the primary base for the land offensive, and was also converted into a hatchery for the enslaved red dragonflight. Thandol Span was a pivotal battleground in the Second War, constantly shifting in possession between the two factions.

The Northlands

Finally, owing to a diversion of Lothar's main army at Aerie Peak, the Horde succeeded in penetrating Quel'Thalas through the cliffs undetected. Together with the entirety of the Amani tribe under Zul'jin, Doomhammer's troops slashed and burned their way through the elven forests, and made it as far as Eversong Woods before the Alliance reinforcements could arrive.[13]

Counterattacks from the Alliance

Outraged at the attack on their borders, the Elves finally put forth their full strength in the war effort. This included the deployment of elven destroyers south to the Hinterlands and to the shores of Lordaeron. High Commander Anduin Lothar decided to split his army in order to out manuever the Horde. He left half of his army, under command of his second-in-command, to destroy the Horde threat in the elven Forests, while Lothar's half would stay in the Hinterlands to destroy the large number of Horde still remaining there. Lordaeron and Quel'Thalas managed to push back the majority of Horde forces to the shores of Hillsbrad, but not before Gul'dan was able to acquire high elven runestones to use in his effort to create ogre-magi for the war effort. With support from the Elves, the Alliance was able to launch an attack on Zul'Dare and end the invasion of Lordaeron. Though Hillsbrad and Southshore were nearly obliterated, the Horde navies were driven back, presumably to the shores of the Wetlands, Crestfall, and the ruins of Stormwind.

Following the victory in the north, the Alliance concentrated on pushing back the ground offensive on the edge of the Arathi Highlands on the great bridges of the Thandol Span. The first step was a bloody retaking of the Horde fortress on Tol Barad for use as a staging point for an invasion upon Dun Modr, the primary base of support for the attacks upon the Thandol Span. With naval support from Tol Barad, the Alliance ground forces were finally able to push across the Thandol Span and reclaim Dun Modr. The Alliance continued to push south, taking the base at Dun Algaz. Though they were unable to completely take the cursed fortress of Grim Batol, they effectively shattered the armies of the Horde and causing them to retreat from Khaz Modan.

After the defeat of the Horde forces in Khaz Modan, a brief pause in open combat ensued. The Horde attempted to gather more troops from the south, including the newly created death knights. The Alliance began to turn their sights northward to the remnants of the Horde forces in northern Lordaeron, and to that end they sent Uther the Lightbringer and his newly formed Knights of the Silver Hand to lend aid to the victims of the war. However, a minor peasant riot in Tyr's Hand led to a discovery of a plot from Lord Perenolde of Alterac, who was attempting to destroy the Alliance from within. Learning of Alterac's plots, the Alliance forces obliterated the small, treacherous kingdom.

The siege of Lordaeron

Alterac's betrayal had let the entire Horde army through to the walls of Lordaeron, and they began sieging Capital City. Troops from Stromgarde cut off all remaining Horde reinforcements in Alterac and imprisoned Perenolde for his treason. The whole of the Alliance army converged on the Horde, but were unable to defeat them at first. In the midst of this battle Gul'dan withdrew the Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans, dividing the deployed orcish forces and leaving the remaining clans under Orgrim Doomhammer against the armies of the Alliance. Gul'dan had discovered the location of the Tomb of Sargeras, and raised the sunken ruin from the Great Sea in an attempt to claim the Eye of Sargeras for his own. Upon opening the tomb, however, Gul'dan was annihilated by the demons inside.

Meanwhile, Doomhammer withdrew his forces to pursue Gul'dan in order to punish them for abandoning the Horde. The Alliance took this opportunity to defeat the Horde's standing troops in Lordaeron, who were in shambles without their leaders or air support. The Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans were destroyed by Doomhammer's forces, which included his secret weapon: the red dragons.

The Alliance takeover

Lord Lothar, seeing that the Horde was fracturing from within, gathered the his forces and pushed Doomhammer south, out of Lordaeron and Khaz Modan, and back into the shattered heartland of Stormwind. There, the Alliance forces trapped the retreating Horde within the volcanic fortress of Blackrock Spire. With the Horde forces thus weakened, the Alliance laid siege to the fortress of Blackrock. In order to break the siege, Doomhammer and what followers he had left charged out of the Spire and attacked Lord Lothar and his Paladins. After a titanic duel, Doomhammer narrowly managed to kill Lord Lothar. Upon his death, Lothar's second-in-command, the paladin Turalyon took command, bested Doomhammer and made him his prisoner, and chased the retreating orcs to their last bastion of power, the Dark Portal.

Ragged and broken, the remaining Horde forces attempted a defense of the Dark Portal. In what has been described as the bloodiest battle of the Second War, the orcs were finally defeated, their leaders rounded up, and Doomhammer himself had been taken in chains. Shortly thereafter, the wizard Khadgar, flanked by the brave warriors of the Alliance, destroyed the Dark Portal. With the destruction of the Dark Portal, the Second War was ended.


As seen in Warcraft III.

See also