AncientPages.com - At the height of their success Viking covered the British Isles, modern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, North India, China and North America. There is no doubt that the Vikings were skilled warriors, but their fighting ability was not the main reason why they managed to conquer and plunder so many countries and places.
The longships gave the Vikings several advantages when they went to war or raids.
So, why were the Viking raids so successful?
Now, we have to remember that a Viking raid nearly always came as a total surprise. The Vikings were very skilled navigators with excellent knowledge of the coasts of Europe and they planned their raids very carefully.
There was no room for mistakes. Although mistakes did sometimes take place, like for example when the famous Viking Bjorn Ironside captured Luna instead of ancient Rome as planned.
Vikings had very sophisticated ships, called longships. The strength, maneuverability and speed of the longship gave the Vikings vital key advantages. The choice between sail and oars allowed the Norse warriors to row until land was sighted and then proceed silently, under sail, during the night or in the early morning. This gave their attacks the element of surprise.
The shallow draught allowed them to land virtually anywhere on a sea shore or deeply inland on a river. This meant they could operate almost anywhere they chose.
Another important aspect of course is that Vikings were in fact great warriors who were trained in various fighting techniques from early age. Many successful Norse warriors spent their youth in competitive fighting games in preparation for the life of a warrior.
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They had good armor, shields and a plethora of weapons, including double-edged swords. Your prestige as a man was manifest in the fine craftsmanship of your weapons which were so much part of you, that they had personal names like “leg-biter” or “bone-crusher” or “golden-hilt”.
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