The Viking Art of War

The Viking Art of War

by Paddy Griffith, Greenhill Books
     
 

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Until now, the operations of the Vikings have not been examined using the techniques of military analysis. In this innovative and thought-provoking book, Paddy Griffith explores the Viking art of war in theory and practice, addressing such questions as strategic mobility, operational intelligence-gathering and tactical fighting formations. He shows that the Vikings…  See more details below

Overview

Until now, the operations of the Vikings have not been examined using the techniques of military analysis. In this innovative and thought-provoking book, Paddy Griffith explores the Viking art of war in theory and practice, addressing such questions as strategic mobility, operational intelligence-gathering and tactical fighting formations. He shows that the Vikings were normally outclassed whenever they encountered a well-organised military empire, such as that of the Arabs or the Byzantines, but that they could usually make headway whenever they met a divided or disorganised opponent in such places as Russia and England. They were still more successful when they attacked rich, undefended monasteries or established new colonies in such places as Iceland or Greenland - although in the latter country they would eventually be driven off by Eskimo counter-attacks. Contrary to our perception of the Vikings as superlative seafarers, a major part of their strategic problem was the scarcity and even unreliability of their shipping. They had an essentially coastal rather than oceanic navy, and their manpower was limited. For most of the high Viking era they could field only one 'Great Army' at a time, and had to be content with relatively minor raiding operations elsewhere. Nevertheless, the appearance of even few highly-motivated Vikings in an area without good coastal defence could often spread disproportionate chaos and turmoil. This excellent study of their art of war explains why.

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Editorial Reviews

The Herald
...a detailed survey of the Viking raids, covering strategic mobility, causes of Viking expansion and army details...numerous entertaining historical anecdotes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781853673375
Publisher:
Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal, Limited
Publication date:
08/01/1998
Series:
Greenhill Military Paperbacks Series
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Paddy Griffith was a senior lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst for sixteen years, and is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of warfare.

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