A question about the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Original artifacts, written sources, historical art work. Ancient to c.1900.
Open to public view.

A question about the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Postby LordRamsay24 » 27 Oct 2016 23:09

For those of you who do not know, The Battle of Stamford Bridge was a key victory for the English in 1066. The Norweigen Vikings were caught completely by surprise, and were ill-equipped to deal with the Anglo Saxons. An Anglo Saxon record states that a single Viking (most likely armed with a Dane axe) held the Bridge all by himself, and held back the English army on the bridge for just long enough for the Norweigens to regroup, and form a shield wall slaying 40 men. He apparantly was slain only when a spearman floated on a barrel under the bridge, and speared the Viking by stabbing between the wooden planks.The Anglo Saxons still won decisevely, but how realistic is this? Couldn't a few archers have just shot him? I also find it unlikley that he could have killed 40 men without getting tired. 10-20 men I could understand but 40 seems like a little much as most people would get fatigued by this point, even a strong Viking. Basically my question is, based on what you know about the weapons how realistic is the account. (I would think that a few archers could have just lined up and shot him but maybe they were out of ammo.)
LordRamsay24
Cadet
 
Posts: 2
Joined: 05 Oct 2016 17:46

Re: A question about the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Postby Lidsman » 31 Oct 2016 08:14

Most likely this story is just a story. They are many tales about a single man holding back an army. A late example from Swedish history is a poem about the war of 1808-1809 when a young soldier by the name Sven Dufva (who is described as "not the brightest soldier in the Swedish army") holds a bridge against the Russians long enough to let his comrades regroup.

Here is a contemporary picture:

Image

About the archers. In a battle its not so easy to withdraw the infantry (when involved) and line up some archers.
Ulf Ulfson Lidsman
----)--------------------
"Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
Benjamin Franklin
Lidsman
Sergeant
 
Posts: 136
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 12:55
Location: Upland, Sweden

Re: A question about the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

Postby tea » 31 Oct 2016 19:02

On the other hand, this story turns up in the English sources, who are perhaps the people least likely to want to tell it if it's a myth.

Fighting 40+ bouts back to back is hard, but not impossible. People do it as a challenge these days. On a narrow bridge where your opponents can't just surround you, it's also less of a faff because you don't need to run around so much.

Regarding archery, between a shield (possibly) and a mail coat, you're not impervious to arrows but you have a pretty good chance. It's also quite possible that the English didn't turn up with a large (or pretty much any) archery contingent: the sort of force Harold will be taking on the march to Stamford bridge is mostly going to be relatively elite, most of whom will be melee fighters.
Scholar, Cambridge HEMA
tea
Corporal
 
Posts: 40
Joined: 18 Mar 2014 12:16


Return to Arms & Armour, History, Militaria, Archaeology, Art

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests