The story was not written in accordance to historical development of the world as we know it. Hence even though military precision came after the middle ages, we have to view it from a separate point of view.
Right, I acknowledged that (clumsily).
Can we say that the Elves, wisened beyond any person we know in the real world and who have lived for so many years are incapable of exercising a simple concept of discipline???
Well, why and how do you train an army to be disciplined? I mean, think of boot camp. Do you see elves going through boot camp? Having their independence crushed out of them? I mean, they aren't professional soldiers, they are all like medieval knights or men-at-arms, in a way, learning to fight at leisure over their long, long lives. Knights were notorious for their indiscipline.
Then, take into account the intelligence and wisdom of the elves. Discipline in armies was to make ordinary, if not stupid, people do stupid things (like stand in rows a hundred feet apart and shoot at each other...) without a second thought. Now, first, since elves are smart enough to each grasp the overall importance of their individual role in battle, they don't need to be pounded into a brainless troop of robot-soldiers by their drill-sergeants in order to be an effective fighting force. I suppose it's the difference between discipline (doing what you are told/need to do) and discipline (marching in step, wearing the same thing, not looking to right and left, acting like automatons). The two do not necessarily equate--the elves could be the greatest fighting force on ME without resorting to military discipline as we have had in our history.
About the strength issue: I know men are just as strong, often, as elves, and the riders of Rohan are great warriors, but we're talking about people who live for a very, very long time. After a thousand years of even infrequent practice, wouldn't you think they'd get pretty good at fighting? And they would practice, especially in closely-guarded Lorien. Anyway, that's not my main point anymore, but I did think it was a little injust to have them show up, shoot a few arrows, and die.
I was thinking of Silmarillion battles where the piles of orcs corpses left by the elves reach to the sky! 10,000 would be nothing! But then, there are a lot of Uruk-hai in there (not all, but lots).
Lastly, yes, I see why PJ put them there, though maybe it isn't true to the books (I mean, they pretty much were leaving men and the rest of the world "in the lurch"), but as you and others said there are battles in Lorien and up north during LotR that we don't really hear about, so this is possibly PJs way of acknowledging that, too. Now, I'm just upset about how they were portrayed. But I'll have to watch it for a third time, too...
Why am I arguing for Elves anyway! I'm a dwarf! I usually have to argue against all the elf-fans (the millions of them)!