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View Diary: Oslo: Viking Longship Museum (Photo Diary) (54 comments)

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  •  Viking's fight like this (6+ / 0-)

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:52:58 AM PDT

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    •  yep, that is a shield wall (6+ / 0-)

      A shield wall is incredibly strong from the front, and is very difficult to get through. The basic idea is to have a couple  layers of shields in front, and spearmen behind. The job of the shield men is to not get killed--their shields protected the guys with the spears who did most of the real poking.

      The weakness of the shield wall is that it has no rear defense, so if anyone gets through (or around) your shield wall and gets behind you, you're all toast.

      The real casualties usually happened when one side broke and ran, exposing their backs.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:05:52 AM PDT

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      •  True throughout most of history (5+ / 0-)

        Once a unit "broke" they could be run down with cavalry.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:08:38 AM PDT

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        •  yes indeed. That worked even if your cavalry (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          California06, ER Doc, Joieau

          didn't have stirrups.

          The Vikings had a particular tactic to get through a shield wall--they called it "The Boar's Tusks", and legend had it that they learned it from the God Odin himself. You would form your guys into a V-shaped wedge which drove against the enemy shield wall at one particular spot. The guys in the front of your wedge would very likely get killed (that's where you'd put the Berserkers), but by consistently pushing against the same spot on the shield wall, you were very likely to make a hole and break through.

          Naturally, there was also a counter to the Boar's Tusks, which consisted of running your own shield wall up against the sides of the wedge, in essence re-forming the wall and preventing the wedge from concentrating on one spot.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:29:03 AM PDT

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    •  well, that wasn't too bad... I prefer Bernard (0+ / 0-)

      Cornwell's written description, however. It's from a bit earlier than this is set, but seems even more horrific. See the Saxon Stories series.

      (I've been collecting this tv series, but can't manage to watch them, have to find sometime teh DH isn't around, since I don't want to lose him to apoplexy, 8-))

      One thing? most of what I've seen of this series subscribes to that ancient canard about the Dark Ages being up to their eyebrows in dirt & filth... there's documentation, from period, of Anglo-Saxon boys whinging that the Viking boys get all the girls because they're so savage they bathe once a week! and shave, and stuff like that! mewl-pule! (this is back when the Christian AS folks looked on bathing as sacreligious, pagan mumbo-jumbo, as like to push you into Hell as not!)

      "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

      by chimene on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:27:14 PM PDT

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      •  The series is quite nicely done. (0+ / 0-)

        Not perfect, a few bits of strangeness and plot contrivances, but they do a fine job humanizing the Norse - their utter fearlessness in battle and in the face of death, their relationship to the gods, their own version of wyrd, etc.  And the main actor is amazing to watch.

        I haven't noticed a preponderance of dirt, except in the aftermath of battle, and then it happens because the dirt sticks to the blood.

        "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

        by DrLori on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:14:02 PM PDT

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