Friday, 5 August 2011

A Viking Battle

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


  1. Thanks for linking up, love Ren Faire type stuff :D

  2. These are great pictures and comments about the Viking battles! So sorry "Wulfgar" didn't make it! :( I bet things can get really intense on the battle field even though they are just pretending! I'm not sure I would be brave enough to get in one of these mock battles! Looks like fun and I bet the kids love watching and participating also! :) Clicked a vote for you! Happy Saturday!

  3. Alas, poor Wulfgar! I would not want to be the leader of the the boar snout move. It seems like it would be a short-lived position.

  4. Great photos and descriptions. It looks like a lot of fun for your husband. Men will be men, it's somewhat like a football game here in the US. Thanks for all the encouragement and help these past few weeks and months. You are a wonderful friend Anna-Marie.

  5. This looks like so much fun! (For the spectators, I don't know about the participants!) Can't wait to show this to my kids! They requested a Viking study so we started school a bit earlier than I'd planned!

    Hope Wulfgar wasn't too bruised and sore at the end of battle!

  6. Have I mentioned how much I love your blogs? This looks like such fun! Oh, sorry about your Wolfgar . . . I feel your pain . . .

  7. @Maureen--you would want an experienced warrior at the tip of the boar snout; he's been there before and knows what to do without panicking. It would have been a position of honor.

    @Lynda--they describe it as being "no more dangerous than playing rugby." Having seen rugby matches, I'd much rather be out on the battlefield. We actually take safety very seriously, but there's always an element of danger.

  8. This is mainly my hubs hobby, I go to support him and learn all the crafts but I am not one for going out on the battle field however their are women who love to fight on field too. My daughter can't wait to be old enough to fight with her Dad.:)

  9. This is so fantastic! It looks like so much fun that I even want to join in. I know my boys would adore such an event.

    Thanks again for letting me peak in!

  10. What an exciting thing to see and I'm sure your husband has lots of fun with it.