Viking Warrior vs Anglo-Saxon Warrior: England 865-1066

Published on
August 22, 2017
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Gareth Williams
Other Publication Information
Soft Bound ; 7.3” x 9.8”, 80 pages
Product / Stock #
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

Gareth Williams has been a curator at the British Museum since 1996, with responsibility for British and European coinage, about AD 500 to about 1180. Within this area he specializes in Anglo-Saxon and Viking coinage. Much of his work focuses on the use of coinage as evidence within broader historical and archaeological studies. Gareth has authored at least fifteen books and led several projects at the British Museum, with a “Viking Voyages” exhibition that recently finished a run from March 2015 through February 2017. He has been actively involved in historical re-enactments. Check him out at the British Museum.

The cover painting by Peter Dennis is a clip of the painting that appears on pages 34 and 35 in the book. It illustrates the legionnaires of Pompey in battle with the Sertorius loyalists in the town of Valencia in 75 BC. Born in 1950, Peter Dennis is an accomplished illustrator having contributed hundreds of books, including many Osprey Publishing titles. Peter studied at the Liverpool Art College and has been working as a professional artist and illustrator since 1991. Peter Dennis is also afflicted with the modeling bug and is a keen war-gamer terrorizing other war-gaming aficionados near Snowdonia Nation Park in North Wales. Check out his website at .

Osprey’s 27th book in the Combat series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. The front cover is a composite of several color paintings by Peter Dennis within the book. The upper painting places a Viking warrior amidst the battle of Maldon. The lower painting places an Anglo-Saxon warrior in the battle for Stamford Bridge. I counted 50 photographs, 45 in color and 5 black and white. There also were eight color paintings, 4 black and white drawings and 5 color maps.

Gareth Williams brings his expertise to the table with this excellent tome on the two centuries of Anglo-Saxon and Viking battles in England. After an Introduction, Gareth dives into a comparison and development of the strategies and tactics, weapons, and general organization of each faction. Using archeology and historical texts, he then presents three major battles: Ashdown, Maldon, and Stamford Bridge. He concludes with chapters on an analysis of the battles and the resulting aftermath. Peter Dennis’ paintings and maps help illustrate these major battles and help put the reader in the thick of the melee.

The sections include:

  • Introduction [Page 7]
  • The Opposing Sides
    • Mustering Military Forces
      • Anglo-Saxon
      • Viking
    • Leadership and Organization
      • Anglo-Saxon [Page 16]
      • Viking
    • Mobility and Logistics
      • Anglo-Saxon
      • Viking
    • Objectives and Strategies
    • On the Battlefield
  • Ashdown 8 January 871
    • Background To Battle
    • The Ashdown Campaign, 870-71[Page 34]
    • Battlefield Environment
    • Into Combat
  • Maldon 10or 11 August 991
    • Background To Battle [Page 45]
    • The Maldon Campaign, 991
    • Battlefield Environment
    • Into Combat
  • Stamford Bridge 25 September 1066
    • Background to Battle [Page 61]
    • Harold Godwinesson
    • Harald Hard-Counsel
    • The Stamford Bridge Campaign, 1066
    • Battlefield Environment
    • Into Combat
  • Analysis [Page 73]
  • Aftermath
  • Bibliography
  • Index

I really appreciated the structure that Gareth Williams provides on each of the three battles he presents. Each battle is broken down with a background focusing on events that led to the battle. I found the color maps, keyed with the progress of the battle, along with a modern day photograph of the battle site to be extremely helpful. Finally, the actual battle itself was described using historical accounts from both sides.

This is also a great reference for the figure modeler for this era. The color plates provide a great depiction of the typical attire, as well as the weapons in use at the time. If you own one the previous releases in the Combat series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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