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Don't you know who I am? You can't kill me! Don't you know who I am? I am IVAR THE BONELESS! I AM IVAR THE BONELESS. You can't kill me!

Ivar yelling to the Saxons, Homeland

The Battle of Yorktown is a decisive military engagement that is part of the Great Heathen Army's First Invasion. It depicts the confrontation between the Great Heathen Army and the Saxon forced led by King Æthelwulf and Bishop Heahmund. The event takes place in Season 5 Episode 3, Homeland.


The Saxons sought to reclaim the town from the Vikings who had sacked it and taken control a few weeks earlier.

The Battle

The Saxons entered the town through a section of the old Roman walls that were apparently purposefully neglected by Ivar to lure the Saxons in the town. Once the army formed up, the Saxon forces were split into two. Æthelwulf's forces, numbering several hundred of his own men and Heahmund's well-trained troops were met by a foglike wall of smoke, out of which Danish arrows started to fly, taking out some Saxons.

Moving out to meet their invisible opponents, the Saxons were then trapped as the Norsemen raised wooden barricades to contain them while the archers continued depleting their ranks. The Saxons were then lured into small streets and alleyways that were laden with low standing spikes upon which dozens of men fell, fatally wounding themselves. The Norsemen finally emerged from cover before engaging Æthelwulf's forces into vicious, close-quarter street fighting. Heahmund's force were likewise trapped in a street where the Norsemen poured oil on the floor before lightning it, which burnt and killed several Saxons.

This battle truly shows Ivar's brilliance in military tactics for the first time. This battle has traps, spikes, burning oil, and more as Ivar screams with bloodlust. During the fighting, Ivar is thrown from his chariot after a Saxon foot soldier hits him with a spear. Ivar is winded and on his back as the Saxon approaches to finish him off. Ivar grabs him, hauls him to the ground, and utterly erases the soldier's face with one of his floor-spikes/war hammers. Then Ivar crawls to the wreck of his chariot. He smiles, his face a mask of another man's blood, then laughs in the faces of the Saxons around him, and roars at them, launching into a terrifying and intimidating speech about who he is and the battle honors he has earned delivered purely in Old Norse that terrifies the Saxons long enough for Ubbe to arrive with reinforcements. Part of Ivar's speech included declaring that the Saxons can't kill him. And sure enough, the Saxons cannot. One man shoot an arrow at Ivar at near point-blank range and misses out of sheer terror. Another soldier manages to hit him in the leg and Ivar simply tears out the arrow. The Saxons probably thought they were facing a demon straight from hell.

Ubbe and his reinforcements engage the Saxons in battle. Bishop Heahmund shows formidable skill, taking out several Norsemen before facing Ivar, who is still sitting on the ground crazily applauding him and laughing. Before Heahmund has time to engage him, a shield-wall forms up between them, and unfortunately for the Saxons, they found themselves unable to break through. Prince Aethelred gets injured in the shoulder by an arrow after killing several Norsemen. The Saxon forces, quite depleted and with their morale now really low, retreated, leaving hundreds of dead but showing the Norsemen that the fight wasn't over.


The battle is a near-total defeat for the Saxons, who are forced to retreat from the city but remain camped in the field outside the walls. The Saxons lose over five hundred soldiers. The Vikings are able to retain York for some time to come. However, their victory was not without great sacrifice. They took heavy losses, with hundreds dead. But it is not enough to deplete the ranks of the Great Heathen Army who are still strong enough to repel the Saxon troops. The Saxons have not given up and seek a way to take back control of the city once and for all.