I can tell you guys don't have a zombie survival plan. Ok calling someone's "what if" strategy out because it's not what the written character did is pointless. It's also extremely difficult to say ANYTHING here without it seeming obvious since we know the story. Sorry guys, like I said, even without hindsight I stand firm in my belief that if I were in Sauron's position, the second I finished making those rings I would've set up a sentry or built a door into Mt. Doom, or both. After my return in the 3rd age, I'd replace them. ESPECIALLY after I'd already been defeated once. It just seems obvious to me. I'm one of those people who thinks about everything though. Literally. I have witnesses who will vouch for this!
So you can keep writing paragraphs about why Sauron didn't have it guarded, but if I've already explained I know why he didn't, I'm not sure what you're trying to tell me. Are you saying putting a guard up is a bad idea? Or pointless? Isn't that thread topic "If I were in his place, what would I have done different?" Put up a guard. The point of the thread is basically to point out where he went wrong and what he should have done, and NOT what he already did. If you don't see this as a mistake, then I look forward to destroying your ring of power! You'll certainly never make it to my fires...
"He didn't keep the entrance guarded because of his lack of knowledge about the Fellowship's purpose, so he had no reason to - Sauron humbled himself before the King of Numenor for his own purposes, so arrogance was not one of his most established traits and not a reason for Mount Doom not being guarded. From his perspective, it looked as if the Fellowship were trying to take the Ring to Gondor to use it in the war."
Fornad if you don't realize arrogance as one of the primary traits of Sauron you're looking in the wrong place. Forget the Fellowship for a second, I would've guarded it out of principle. Even if I already ruled the world. The only excuse I would give him is if he himself didn't know it was the only place the ring could be destroyed, which seems unlikely. He "humbled" himself by blatantly lying to the greatest of men because he knew he could get away with it and that in the end he would win and they would end up in the sea. It wasn't out of fear or respect, it was out of spite, as he worked out their demise in the shadows. That is the epitome of arrogance. The guy was a Class A narcissist. Maybe it wasn't the only reason, but it was 100% without a question a reason of not having it guarded.
"The point is Sauron didn't even see it as a weakness, as he never once even imagined the possibility that they would attempt to destroy the Ring. If he did, then a Maia as powerful and as cunning as he would of course have surrounded Mount Doom with walls, orcs, trolls, and a triple set of gates bound shut by steel and his own dark magic."
If it's the only place the ring can be destroyed, I just don't understand how Sauron wouldn't see it as a weakness. I REALIZE WHY HE DIDN'T IN THE BOOK. I just don't understand it. You guys keep saying Sauron didn't guard it because he thought others would try and use the ring against him, implying he plans on being attacked at some point. Is this not MORE reason to place at least one guard outside? Even if he plans on striking first....he knows they're out to get them. If he knows HE doesn't have the ring, his enemies might have it, they defeated him before, and there's only one place it can be destroyed......uhhhh, hello! Perhaps Sauron isn't as cunning as we all thought.
So it doesn't matter if his train of thought was either "nobody would use it" or "nobody could use it against me," both hold a strong degree of arrogance and neither seem reason enough not to put 1 guard up. Or build a wall. I give Sauron more credit than you in that I don't think he was blind enough to think the enemy would try and use the ring against him and be clueless about the repercussions. The story is proof. 90% of the inhabitants realized it was evil and most of them didn't want it (willingly). Only a small number wanted to try and use it without fear of corruption. So if a great and powerful military general decided to focus on the 1% chance of 10% of the population, then it's no wonder he lost.
Moving on, Vale this is mostly for you. I like most of your ideas but I see a few flaws. Firstly, "If Saruman find the ring, he will probably be able to master you. He is the chief threat and must be destroyed." Are you implying Sauron believed Saruman would have a strong enough will to control it or that Sauron was unaware the ring corrupted people? If the palantir corrupted Saruman why wouldn't the ring? If he feared Saruman could get the ring and use it, then isn't that even MORE reason to set up guard outside Mt. Doom? After meeting Gollum it should seem obvious enough that even though the ring corrupts, it's not necessarily enough to mean they'll just bring it back if they did try to use it. So let him assume his enemies would use it against him, if he felt someone out there could EFFECTIVELY use the ring against him...why wouldn't he take every precaution? Interesting point about it being destroyed though. I actually believe it was Elrond who said it must be destroyed at Mt. Doom first, wasn't it? Gandalf said it to Frodo in Chapter 1 or 2 or LOTR yes but chronologically Elrond knew this before Gandalf even arrived in ME. So, I trust Elrond enough to not say something so presumptuous. Because, lol, this is a big deal. It's no easy feat breaking into Mordor. And he doesn't seem the type to just "assume" that's where it HAD to be destroyed without good reason. But I don't believe we have any specific record of why. Maybe if Galin reads this he knows of a relevant text??
Ok next, so obviously the men of Dunharrow are what saved the day. With the men of Umbar not even having arrived yet, I believe Sauron had sufficient forces to carry out all these plans of attack (I dunno about 10,000 mountain trolls though Glorfindel, sorry!) without spreading his forces too thin. He probably didn't even need Saruman. So really, assuming he knew about the oath which I don't think he did, all Sauron had to do was beat the clock and PUT UP GUARDS around Dunharrow before Aragorn arrived. If he could manage to defeat Aragorn before, then pretty much every plan of the West would fail. Also I HIGHLY doubt they would join his cause too. The oath was nobody could command them but the King of Gondor. True they worshipped Sauron in the past, but if they didn't help him when victory was almost certain, why would they now? Though if they did, that means they wouldn't be bound by an oath to stop, so win them over and you automatically win the world. There's still some good left in them though. So instead of recruiting them, he just needed to make sure no heir of Isildur reached them. Whether or not he knew of Aragorns bloodline at this point is unclear, so he would just be on the lookout for....anyone really. However if he could prevent that meeting....game over man, game over.
I also don't think you take geography into account enough. 90% of the Dark Armies are foot soldiers. Armor, spears, broad swords, air assault and siege machines. The only ones trained in the ways of the wild are going to be the Wildmen. Orcs, Easterlings, and Umbar are all standing armies. So I don't think it's as easy as sending large numbers into the forests. In fact many, many, many armies throughout history have been destroyed like this. Plenty of proof for this is the American revolution. They were outnumbered something like 6 to 1, English advantage. However because of guerilla warfare, they ultimately won out. I'd say elves are more skilled as both foot soldiers AND forest dwellers than any of the others. So you can send 10,000 Umbar into Mirkwood against 500 elves, and the fight would still be pretty even. So what you'd have to do is destroy it from the outside-in. Biological warfare is a good way to start. Just like the Mongols, you could launch decaying bodies or rotten foods into the forests to contaminate it. As those take effect just slowly chip away at the trees. Fire is of course another option. But it would definitely take careful planning. But in this way you could use an army of 2,000 and designate the rest elsewhere, probably to fight the dwarves who arguably could be your biggest challenge. However your forces would be spread pretty thin eventually. Even if you win most battles, by the time you defeat Gondor you'll have taken heavy loss. So it's important to either use geography to your advantage or their disadvantage.
Ok this is long enough. Lets hear some thoughts on this and we'll go from there