Extract from THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY “Ivar the Boneless and the Viking invasion of Britain”
Ivar “The Boneless” now the head of the formidable Ragnarsson clan gathered together a large coalition of Viking warlords under his father’s sacred Raven Banner. The objective of the fore coming campaign was to conquer and settle the Island of Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England would face the initial Viking onslaught. Out of the fog of the North Sea Ivar’s massive fleet of some 10,000-15,000 battle hardened Norsemen landed on the East Anglian shore. East Anglia may have been chosen for strategic reasons, being a much smaller Kingdom than that of Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex.
It would have been unable to resist the Great Heathen Army without help from the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. Also it may also have been an easier rendezvous point for the Viking contingents coming from Frisia and the other parts of continental Europe.
The East Anglian landings fooled King Ælla that he was not the target of Viking aggression. Ivar’s heathen host spread out across the land and forced the King of East Anglia, Edmund to negotiate and provide the Vikings with horses and provisions.
Ivar and the army wintered in East Anglia and gathered intelligence on events in Northumbria. All was not well in the Northern Kingdom for King Ælla was in the midst of a civil war with Osbert, another contender for the Northumbrian crown. With the Northumbrians divided, Ivar “the Boneless” decided the time was right to launch a surprise attack.
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