Viking Raids of Plunder

Weapons and Warfare

Attacks on France and Ireland increased greatly during the last ten years of the 8th century. England avoided the first big series of attacks. That changed suddenly in the 9th century, however, when for many people in northern Europe, Viking attacks became as regular as the cycle of summer and winter.

The first raiding bands consisted of anything from a single ship’s crew of 30–40 men, up to groups of 400. There is no record of larger groups than that. Most of the participants in the early raids were relatively young men. Even though they had good weapon training, these men were not skilled in strategy and tactics. They operated as independent collective groups on the hunt for slaves or booty. Despite the lack of tactical knowledge and the apparently chaotic organisation, the raids gave good returns of wealth and honour. In fact, the lack of formal military training may…

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