A Viking warrior of the early 10th century. This man wears an iron helmet, padded with wool and leather. His chain mail byrnie reaches to the elbows and below the waist. It is probably backed by a quilted shirt with thick padding, the skirts of which can be seen below the mail. His shirt and leggings are of wool, the boots of leather. His shield is of wood faced with toughened leather. The central boss is of iron and covers the handgrip. He has a pair of light javelins to throw at the enemy at the start of a battle. His main weapon is a hand axe. Wielded single handed this weapon was effective in battle, but could also be thrown. He has a sword as a reserve weapon, the scabbard being seen behind the shield.
from "The Sieges of Leicester" by Rupert Matthews.
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The sack of Leicester in 1645 was the worst war crime of the English Civil War. The town was left a heap of smoking ruins inhabited by the dead, the dying and the mutilated. Yet this was neither the first nor last time Leicester would be under siege.
Leicester was largely a Viking town when King Edmund of Wessex attacked in 943. The siege proved to be short and had a surprising ending. The terrible siege of May 1645 was far more destructive. Leicester was left in ruins by the siege, the assault and the brutal sacking that followed. No other event in the English Civil War shocked contemporaries so much as the bloodshed and brutality that took place here at the hands of Prince Rupert’s cavaliers. The siege of June 1645 was short and almost pleasant by comparison.
This book brings an exciting new look to the study of English warfare, and to the sieges of Leicester in particular. The emphasis is on the sieges and the men who fought there. There are analyses of weapons, tactics and strategies, tactical diagrams explain how the defences were constructed and the way the attackers set about overcoming them. The courses of the sieges are followed with the aid of maps, relating to the ground today. The aftermath of the sieges are followed and the fatal consequences of failure for King Charles are explained.