Alfred the Great’s Navy

Interesting piece of Anglo-Saxon History.

For all who are interested Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales recount this amazing period of history (from a fictional standpoint but still very historically accurate) including this amazing battle.

The Last Kingdom TV series are closely based on the novels, so I recommend those also!

 

Weapons and Warfare

The treaty with Guthrum gave Alfred the breathing space he needed to fortify and revitalize Wessex. As the last outpost of independent England, it was essential for Wessex to have an efficient military.

Alfred the Great reorganized Wessex’s army, keeping half of the men on duty at any given time. And although Alfred is famous as the father of the English Navy, kings before Alfred had used war ships. Nonetheless, recognizing that swift ships were just one more advantage the Vikings held over the English, Alfred brought over from Frisia (modern-day Holland) skilled shipwrights to build his new navy.

Guthrum gave Alfred seven years to rebuild his kingdom, but then the double-dealing Viking broke the treaty and invaded Wessex in 885 and laid siege to Rochester. But Alfred’s new military defensive measures worked. Mobilizing his standing army, his burh garrisons, and his navy, he broke the Danish siege easily, then…

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Know Your WW2 History: Panzerturms: The Gothic Line

At the Hitler Line, a single Panzerturm had systematically knocked out thirteen North Irish Horse tanks in minutes. Fighting defensively, and sited to take best advantage of the terrain, a Pantherturm had several advantages over tanks, artillery or standard bunkers. It’s low silhouette made it easy to conceal and, once located, difficult to target from […]

Panzerturms: The Gothic Line — Weapons and Warfare

Viking Vessels

Weapons and Warfare

The Hedeby 1 and Hedeby 3 Viking ships. DRAWN BY SUNE VILLUM-NIELSEN. THE VIKING SHIP MUSEUM, DENMARK

The Viking ship was perfectly adapted to the needs of these hardy adventurers. Swift, with a draught shallow enough to enter rivers and creeks, it gave the Vikings the same advantage of mobility over their opponents and victims as the camels of the Bedouin and the ponies of the Turks did over theirs.

The name Vikings has an immediate resonance for most people in the English-speaking world. Whereas the Huns, Arabs and Mongols seem to belong to the ‘other’, remote and inaccessible in both their culture and geographical location, the image of the Vikings is clear enough. They are part of the folk memory of western culture that has been handed down from generation to generation. And what an image it is: the Viking warrior, often with his horned helmet (for which, sadly…

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Berserkers

Weapons and Warfare

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Individual Viking warriors known during the eighth through eleventh centuries for their ferocity.

The berserkers are one of the most interesting and least understood aspects of the Viking warrior society. These were individuals who fought in such a blinding fury that they lost all sense of self and became unconscious killing machines without dis crimination.

The term berserker has a disputed derivation. It has been suggested that it comes from the term “bare-sark,” meaning “bare of shirt,” or without armor. Many references to the berserkers mention their lack of body armor. The other primary suggestion is “bear-sark,” describing the wearing of animal skins. Bear skin would seem to be the logical choice of fur, but in some of the sagas the berserkers are called “Wolf Skins” or “wolf-coats” (ulfhedinn). The berserkers are often associated with the Norse god Odin, or Wodan, whose name possibly comes from the German “wut,” meaning…

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RHODESIAN COIN TACTICS

Excellent piece on Counter-Insurgency Tactics.

As a follow-up I recommend reading up on the British vs. The Chinese Communist in Malaya in 1948 aka “The War of the Running Dogs.”

Weapons and Warfare

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While the Rhodesian forces never really developed a successful antidote to the guerrillas’ mobilization of the masses, they displayed consummate skill in defeating the guerrillas in combat. Even low-calibre units such as the Police Field Reserve could easily repel guerrilla attacks, though the insurgents tended to be more aggressive against units such as Guard Force and Internal Affairs.

In the years 1966-72, guerrilla activity, no matter how small the group, would invite the full attention of regular units and the Rhodesian Air Force. Insurgents were rapidly followed up by helicopter-borne patrols, and if they failed to re-cross the frontier were almost invariably hunted down. But from 1972 both the size and geographical spread of guerrilla incursions rapidly expanded. From 1976 every area of the country became affected by guerrilla operations. There were simply not enough well-trained Rhodesian soldiers to cover all the ground, and as increasing reliance was put on…

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