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How did the Vikings fight?


Viking warriors fought using long swords and axes. A good sword was handed down from father to son, but Vikings also buried weapons with their owner when he died. Vikings did not wear much armour. Some chieftains wore chain mail coats, but most relied on a round wooden shield for protection.


Some Viking warriors went into battle wearing wolf or bear skins. These warriors were called ‘berserkers’ because they went ‘berserk’ (out of control) and charged fearlessly into battle. Berserkers believed that Odin, the god of war, gave them superhuman powers and that they didn't need to wear battle armour for protection.

How did the Vikings attack?

The Vikings did not send many ships on their first raids. They made surprise attacks on places like Lindisfarne.

There was no English navy to guard the coasts so it was easy for small groups of Vikings to land on a beach or sail up a river. But it was not long before larger Viking armies attacked Britain.


In AD892, 300 Viking ships invaded Britain to fight King Alfred of Wessex. No one knows how big the Viking army was but if there were 20 men in each Viking ship, the army of AD892 numbered 6000! That was a huge army for the time. Most Viking armies were smaller, perhaps 1000 to 2000 men.


Viking Shields 

The battlefields of the Viking Age were terrifying places where a warrior faced hails of arrows and multiple attackers armed with deadly weapons.  Not all Vikings had access to armor, and even the best armor of the era would not stand up to many direct hits.  The shield was perhaps the most important tool the Viking carried.  The shield was both a defensive and offensive weapon. Once decorated and it was sometimes painted with runes or symbols to bring victory. 

Task: Today you are going to design your own shield. You can either use the template below and examples to help you draw a shield or use recycled materials in your house to create a life sized shield.

Why not post a picture of you modelling your Viking shield on your Class Dojo and share it with your teacher?

How to Make a Viking Shield

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