In addition to seeing a Viking village last weekend, my husband participated in Viking battles. He came home with the bruises to prove that while these are mock battles the fighting is competitive, real and intense. The group uses real viking battle techniques that have been documented.
My Husband, Wulfgar ("Wolf Spear") the Viking!
The shield wall, the idea of which was to create an impregnable line against the enemy. The shield wall with its hedgehog of bristling spears also was effective in defending against a charging horse.
Testing the shield wall to see if it would hold against someone trying to crash his way through.
This is demonstrating a technique to crash the shield wall called "the boar snout", where people form a wedge that uses the force of the people behind the leader to crash through the wall. The technique dates back to ancient times, but was still well in use in my husband's historical period.
This is a practice technique called a "bridge game" where two lines of shields delineate the sides of a hypothetical bridge. Two groups of spearmen try to see which one can manage to defeat the other side and cross the bridge victorious. Being able to assault or defend a bridge in this period was important, as many battles took place at or near crossing points for rivers or streams.
The battle! These guys fight to win, which is determined by whether you can hit the other person on the allowed areas (torso, upper arms, upper legs). Blows to the head, lower arms, or lower legs are not allowed because of the danger of concussion or breaking bones. Depending upon a person's demonstrated skill level and the type of armor they are wearing, a person may have one to three hits before they would be "dead" and then are out of the fight.
The main battle, where the men on both sides take it as a point of honor for their side to win. The battles are not scripted, and the winning side is determined by which one has the last warriors left standing.
The battlefield can be quite chaotic, and in an actual battle (which was very much a close and personal contest), any means necessary to stay alive and kill the enemy would have been used. My husband's group allows techniques such as kicking the opponent's shield, as long as they are safe.
The death scenes. Some of the men get really animated for these scenes.
Alas, Wulfgar did not make it through the battle alive!
At the end of the battle the last warrior standing then has to take on the children attacking. It is the favorite part of the game for the kids and they can be a bit rough with their wooden swords:)
If you have gone on a field trip consider sharing your adventure on the Field Trip Hop!
Also it is a new month at the NOBH