Guthorm's Invasion of Wessex:
Fight or Make Peace?
Should Guthorm continue the fight, or should he make peace? He had a lot to
think about before he made his decision. His army had several advantages over
the English army. First of all, the Vikings had better weapons. They wielded
longswords and battle-axes. They had better discipline and could endure long
campaigns because they did not have to worry about the crops. They did not have
homes to protect. They were seasoned warriors with excellent battle strategies
and they had a fierce reputation. Guthorm would have thought about these
But a good commander also would have considered his army's disadvantages. One
of the biggest concerns was that the army had shrunk in size. No reinforcements
had come to replace the men who had been killed in earlier battles. The warriors
who were left had fought long and were talking about settling down. Guthorm
sensed that if he lost a battle, the army would split. Some men would still
follow him if he wanted to fight again, but he ran the risk of not keeping
enough men. And finally, Guthorm knew that the Vikings had won battles because
the English kings had been too busy arguing at each other, or had just given up.
Alfred's Wessex was not about to give up. The people who lived there were
definitely against the Vikings. They wanted to make a stand and had good
ealdormen who listened to Alfred's commands and worked with him to defeat the
Vikings. Guthorm knew all of this and probably talked it over with his best
warriors. And when all the talking was over, they were ready for a fight.