"They made descents in small bodies from their ships or rather boats, and ravaging the coasts, returned with the booty to their families, whom they could not conveniently carry along with them in those hazardous enterprizes."
— David Hume, History of England (Vol I, Cap 1 "Ethelred")
True to their Norse heritage, Vikings are about one of the best units around for an offensive course of action, which is what the Norse are highly specialised in. Although they have little in the way of armour, these fearsome warriors are fast on foot, being capable of outstripping most other light melee infantry in cross-country performance, and with their terrifyingly devastating attack especially against buildings, they are the ultimate raiding force given how they can be obtained for free, yet if used in a combined-arms attack they are no less deadly.
As such, Vikings are extremely dangerous units, and if left unmolested can be used to generate loot from damaged buildings in a short time, but can be countered easily — cavalry will have a field time gaffing the life out of any witless Viking since all they are armed with are just clumsy axes.
- Bersekergang — Vikings are best used as flankers and raiders, and if needed, the frontline skirmishers of your main force.
- Easily Ridden Down — Vikings are best used as part of a combined-arms force — do not let them be ridden down by cavalry.
- Wrecking Crew — Vikings if left unmolested can destroy enemy villages wholesale, thus allowing for added loot to your stockpile.
Living in a cold, inhospitable and hostile environment soon forced the Norse peoples into activities related to the sea — fishing, trading as well as piracy and raiding. These expeditions out on the sea were called víking in old Norse, and in turn the participants were called víkingr, which was then transliterated into English into "Vikings". Fuelled by an appetite for wealth and adventure, their quests took them across all of Europe and even to Byzantium and the Middle East, whose goods were highly sought in the Norse lands and elsewhere in continental Europe. And even though they were fully Christianised by the 12th century, their descendents still continued in their enterprising (and predatory ways): of these, the Normans are the most famous. Originally descended from Viking colonists settled by the King of France at the mouth of the Seine, they eventually moved on to find new homes throughout the British Isles and Southern Italy. It was by the hands of the Normans that the Second Crusade managed to prevail in Palestine at the end of that century.