The Vikings are famed for being fierce warriors, with many films and stories highlighting their fearsome fighting abilities. The Vikings generally fought with longswords and axes.
There were also more specialised Viking warriors known as ‘berserkers’ who are said to have fought in a trance-like fury against their enemies, wearing animal skins instead of protective armour. This meant they could move more quickly and easily in battle, but it also exposed them to greater danger from attacks. The reason they liked to keep agile, was so they could strike at rich monasteries and other targets quickly without being detected, and then leaving before they could be attacked in return.
Over time, as they settled in northern France, England and other regions, they had to become better at fighting in the field. Eventually, this led to them adopting heavy armour and riding horses, which meant they became heavy cavalry fighters who dominated the battlefields of Europe. The Vikings who settled in northern France became known as the Normans, a word which came from ‘Norse’.