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If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....

 Post subject: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:41 am 
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If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia, what would their army (and ships) look like?
I am thinking the Bayeux tapestry may be of inspiration?

Though I understand why vikings could raid the coast of Normandy I can't understand how they could get such a strong foothold and occupy such large areas and get so much power there. Strength by numbers? Wouldn't the feudal Normans be able to raise a French / Norman army with lots of knights? Vikings even laid siege (unsuccessfully) to what we know as Paris today. Were the Normans too poor and their armies so small? Did they war on many fronts?

What would Norman ships be like? Would they be likely to bring many horses?

Finally who else could imaginarily (though somewhat realistically) have invaded Denmark?
First I think of is the Anglo-Saxons, as a revenge move from being owned by Danish vikings for like a 100 years. Next is the Germans as they had many tribes, then there is the Rus (from Slavic / Russian territory), maybe some Hun remnants? Poles? And of course other vikings? More far-fetched Constantinoble - as some sort of punishment for what they verangian vikings did in Constantinoble? Or maybe the Moors circumvented main Europe and sailed for the North to gain a foothold there?

Any history buffs out there? O0

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:55 am 
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I don't understand the question...

The Normans were one of several different groups of Vikings.

They took over Sicily too.

And the Byzantines did have dealing with the vikings through the Rus, who may have also been vikings.

The biggest problem with the question is that it's like asking why the British army that checked the Kaiser in WWI couldn't beat a bunch of American colonists in the 1770s. They are from two different time periods.


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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:13 am 
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That is way of track to say it is not same time periods. Viking rule in Denmark lasted from roughly early 800s to late 1100s. And while it is true that Normans were partly of Viking descent there were other people they mixed with. The Norman feudal society was not equal to the vikings from Scandinavia. Rather the vikings got partly assimilated into that society.
So your example of WWI and 1770s is just ... well I will leave it at that.

Also the Rus were invaded by vikings but they were not the same people. Or rather one can discuss what sources to believe.
And the byzantine had not just dealings with the Rus but with travelling vikings from Scandinavia as well. You can walk into Hagia Sofia and go to the upper level and still see a few viking runes carved into the rails there... So yeah verangians are probably vikings from Scandinavia that settled there, but there were still the slavic people there. The Kiev Rus were quite strong and only grew in power over time..
None of this of course has much to to do with my questions of what an invading Norman force would be like and why the indigenous people (franks, gauls, merovingian and others) of Normandy did not collectively throw out the vikings. Which was partly what I mused over.
The main point being though, that I wanted to discuss "what ifs" scenarios of invaders in Scandinavia...

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:52 am 
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The Normans had no real interest in Viking Scandinavia at the time. They were interested in their part of France, their parts of the Med...and England.

Besides, a Norman invasion of Viking Scandinavia would look just like it did when they invaded England, it only needed to be much larger to achieve any sort of consistent success, and I highly doubt that would happen.

Varangians is the Greek name given to ALL Vikings during those times--be they Rus, Danes, Swedes, or whoever. The Varangian Guard were those specifically used by Byzantine emperors as mercenaries. These mercs weren't just Rus; they came from all sorts of Viking descendants AND real Vikings. Harald Hardrada served in the Varangian Guard for a while, and he's no Rus.

But, anyway, Vikings were always outnumbered by the locals. Not only did they succeed through strength of arms, but it was mostly due to the infighting between said locals that they just couldn't get organized enough to deal with them. And the Vikings always cultured a reputation of fierceness, which only helped. Locals would just pay-off the Vikings instead of fighting them, in most cases.

But it wasn't all roses for the Vikings, either. Most of their holdings were in England and some in Ireland, where the local populace wasn't organized well enough to stop them. In England, they became very English-ized over the centuries, so by the time William and Harald invaded, they couldn't really be considered Vikings at all (similar to the Normans). Though they still fought as Vikings for the most part (shield-wall and all that).

But back to your invasion what-if; the Normans would be sorely pressed to hold the land they took in Scandinavia. Their best bet would be to form alliances with other Viking leaders, as well as haul in their own mercenaries from France and Italy. When winter hits, though, they had better be prepared. And getting there in the first place would be a bit more difficult. Normans were as good as sailors as any, but traversing the North Sea in force would be a difficult task for them. Their Viking cousins had it down and were masters of the sea. Plus, supplying an army that far from home would be killer (see finding allies as stated above). Norman nobility would need additional supplies for their horse; they couldn't just supplant them with Scandinavian ones, they were not as well-suited to carry a big knight in full mail for very long.

So, in short, the deck is stacked against a Norman invasion of Scandinavia.

The Moors attacking Scandinavia is completely out of the question. Complete unfamiliarity with the area is the worst part of it, not to mention way too long of a supply chain through WAY too much hostile seas and lands. Not only would they have to fight the Vikings, they would have to deal with the English and French and Normans as well in between.

Anglo-Saxons and their ilk could conceivable muster enough force to threaten Denmark (and, I think, without grabbing my books, warfare in that area was a constant anyway). The only thing keeping that from happening would be the fighting amongst themselves.

Constantinople couldn't send a force to Scandinavia. The distance over land was too great through too much hostile country. Constantinople was rich, and they had much closer and more threatening problems than conquering a far-away, cold and hostile land.

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:53 am 
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Now you've got me interested in playing Late Dark Ages wargames. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:13 am 
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splash wrote:
Now you've got me interested in playing Late Dark Ages wargames. Thanks!

Now I want to play AH's Britannia. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:00 am 
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Dwarf Supreme wrote:
splash wrote:
Now you've got me interested in playing Late Dark Ages wargames. Thanks!

Now I want to play AH's Britannia. 8)


Ha! That's how I feel. I want to create a viking force and build a viking ring fortress. These ring fortresses where built towards the end of the viking age and some of them were quite large.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_ring_fortress

The largest one was Aggersborg and had this lay out:
Image
Mind you the buildings were about 30 meters long.
A "regular" size ring fortress looked like this:
Image

But what's the fun of building a Warmaster Viking force and a fortress if no one's come to play thus I have to build one or two other opposing forces. Now even if they haven't been found one could imagine such a fort being built in England or Normandy as well which opens up the choices a bit.
So I guess I am down to either having other Viking opponents, germans (not so different in look and feel from vikings) or stretch the imagination a bit and use Normandy or Anglo-Saxons. Or just say to hell with history and do an Araby / Moor or something else entirely.
I might just go with Normans to introduce more cavalry, armour and different opposing play styles. At the end of the viking age they weren't really considering themselves vikings anymore but fully assimilated into French culture.
And it is make-believe with toy soldiers after all...

It's either that or Troy... hmm....

P.S. What Warmaster Viking range is good (10 mm)?

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Last edited by Draccan on Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:05 am 
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@Splash - thanks for the input btw.

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:36 am 
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You're welcome.

At one point, I was collecting miniatures for a 10mm Viking force (well, dabbled, I was busy collecting minis for an Imperial Roman force as well). And it would have been for Warmaster Ancients. No one around here showed any interested, so it died off. I think I still have the minis somewhere, and I don't remember the range.

Come to think of it, everything I want to play doesn't get played around here. And that's why I am never able to follow through with anything. If it's not Warmachine, it's virtually ignored after a brief period of feigned interest.

For your wargame, the factions could be as follows: Normans, Vikings, English, Norse-Irish, and maybe early Scots and some interested Frenchish parties. Set in the Isles, of course--that's a fine place for all of those chaps to meet and have a violent disagreement. Sort of an alternate-history thing starting in the late 1060's.

But, if you can't find players, none of anyone's advice is worth much.

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:16 am 
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I think the key to find players with niche or new games is to have opposing armies as well to introduce them to it. At least that's how I do it (though sadly it is twice as expensive and more time consuming...)

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:36 am 
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My first action is to try regular Warmaster in about a week's time with my Empire vs. a friends Chaos or Dwarves.
(edit: Have played many, many years ago but want to get back into it)

Let me know if you find out what those vikings were..?

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:00 pm 
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AFAIK the various 'invasions' of Angle-land were triggered by the geo-political situation of the time (the rise of the Godwinsons, the death of Edward the Confessor, political marriages and off-spring etc.) all of which triggered great interest in the 'English' throne. Read "The Norman Conquest" by Marc Morris for an informed and detailed description of the events leading up to the battle of Hastings, and how William's dreams for a united Anglo-Norman realm were then dashed within a few years.

To Draccan's question about the Normans invading Denmark or the Vikings invading Great Britain, don't forget that the Danish Vikings ruled a significant part of 'Scotland' from the 8th to 13th centuries and the Orkneys and Shetland were only transferred to Scottish rule in the 15th century. But for the intervening Kingdom of Scotland ruled by King Malcolm (who defeated MacBeth - yes that one), the Normans might have conceivably fought the Vikings on 'British' soil. However the politics and especially the distances involved made that physically impossible - but a nice 'what if' scenario.

Stretching the imagination *much* further, it seems that the Normans of this period were almost entirely motivated by gaining land / territory - whether in conquering Normandy and Northern France, England, Italy and Sicily or the subsequent Crusades and the Outremer states of Edessa and Antioch. So Deccan asks 'What if' William raised an army to invade Norway under the plausible counter-claim to the throne of Harald Hardrada, or even the throne of Denmark (which Harald had unsuccessfully tried to claim in 1064)? The 'Normans' were after all essentially Vikings themselves, whose Leader (Rollo) was allowed to settle in northern France by the Carolingan King Charles the simple.

To do this, William would have made promises of territory to those that supported him and they would have been expected to provide arms and transport etc. (which was what he did to mount the 'Norman conquest'). Assuming he could rally enough willing nobles to his cause, they would then have sailed along the coast of northern Europe stopping at various ports etc to pick up supplies (or raiding if necessary) until they got to the intended destination. This advance would be widely known to the opponents, though the timing would be dependant on the weather and especially the winds. And yes, the boats would have been the same. Again, a nice 'What-if'.

Other 'What if' scenarios are much less likely, not least because the Norman invasion of Italy was one of the events that triggered the Crusades, encouraging European leaders like Frederick Barbarossa to go south rather than north. Equally the Moors were much more interested in nearby southern France / Europe rather than distant (and cold :D ) Britain.

This period makes for *very* interesting campaigns because of the numerous factors involved both political and logistical. There were claims and counter-claims to geographical areas, political marriages and murders were rife. Combats were usually skirmishes - pitched battles were very rare, not least because of the far reaching consequences of losing. And on top of this, the Church was also going though 'interesting times'.

Finally, in this period leaders were only as powerfull as the nobles or factions they could rally / bribe to support their cause. This was ultimately one of the main reasons for the subsequent problems experienced by William; the isolated Norman nobles were often unable to subdue the local populations of the 'fiefs' they had gained through supporting the conquest. As a whole, Norman nobles were also usually reluctant to risk what they had gained, so would only help their leader if it was in their interest to do so, whether it was William or the various Crusades.

Indeed King Harold suffered similar problems; his nobles had stationed troops along the south coast all summer and Harold only disbanded them when the invasion season was 'over'. But within one or two weeks Harald Hardrada had invaded near the Humber forcing Harold to race north gathering what troops he could. He released these from their duties after the Battle of Stamford Bridge only to be told of William's arrival in the south. Racing back south, Harold was again unable to raise sufficient troops to beat William in a full battle, so tried to catch William by surprise like he did the Vikings - but this time the strategy failed 'and the rest is history' as they say.


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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:40 pm 
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Good stuff Ginger. More detailed than mine. Together, I think we've swamped Draacan with a flood of useful info. :)

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:50 pm 
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England in that period with these rulers makes for excellent wargaming possibilities. Just throw in some Norse-Irish, maybe some Welsh, some native Scots...not to mention other factions on the continent that might be interested. Pretend Hastings didn't/couldn't happen and the opposing factions decided to settle on raiding instead.

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 Post subject: Re: If Normans invaded Viking Scandinavia....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:02 pm 
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splash wrote:
Attachment:
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England in that period with these rulers makes for excellent wargaming possibilities. Just throw in some Norse-Irish, maybe some Welsh, some native Scots...not to mention other factions on the continent that might be interested. Pretend Hastings didn't/couldn't happen and the opposing factions decided to settle on raiding instead.


Some great ideas for sure. Taking the fight to England (where the Vikings were aplenty anyways) and building my viking fort there (there may have been some we just didn't find, they weren't really discovered before 1930s anyways, I believe)..

Now I just need a good range of Vikings, Normans, Saxons and the like ....

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