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The Rus Invasion of Scandinavia was a military operation led by Prince Oleg of Kiev along with his ally Ivar the Boneless to capture Scandinavia and most especially Norway. The invasion led to the first military engagement in the kingdom of Vestfold-Rogaland, during which the combined Kattegat - Vestfold forces were severely defeated and routed by the Rus forces.

Background[]

Oleg, the regent of Kiev, planned to conquer Scandinavia, believing it rightfully to belonged to the Rus as they were Vikings in the past too. In preparation for this, he sent out scouting parties and planned to attack in the spring. A raiding party meanwhile sacked Istrehagan after planting their flag to stake claim over Scandinavia.

Erik the Red meanwhile patrolling Kattegat's borders along with some Vikings came upon a Rus scouting party. The two groups engaged in a clash and the Rus later retreated after killing many of them. Kattegat's king Bjorn learnt the people who attacked his forces were the Rus and anticipated they would invade.

Norway's king Harald also learnt from Erik, who had been sent by Bjorn to propose an alliance to him, about the identity of the men who sacked Istrehagan and had already been warned by Olaf earlier that they planned to invade. He agreed to ally with Bjorn on condition that he'll come along with his forces to defend Vestfold instead of Kattegat.

Battles[]

Battle for Vestfold[]

Main article: Battle for Vestfold

The Rus warriors engage the Viking coalition somewhere on the coast of Vestfold. The Rus forces are divided into two, one force attacking the beach where the bulk of the Viking forces are stationed, and another force attacking at the rear near a river to outflank the Viking forces, under Ivar's command. This strategy effectively succeeds, the Vikings being pushed back by the weight of rus numbers and the vigour of their assault and also being attacked in the rear by the remaining Rus forces. 

The battle is a severe and crippling defeat for the Vikings, as Bjorn seemingly dies and King Harald is badly injured, paving the way for further Rus progress towards Norway. Both sides suffered relatively heavy losses.

Battle Outside the Walls of Kattegat[]

Oleg, after having executed King Olaf and learning of Bjorn's death by the turncloak King Hakon, prepared his forces for an assault on Kattegat. The Rus forces deployed in a valley beyond a hill outside of Kattegat, numbering over 10,000 troops. Suddenly, Bjorn Ironside emerged from the hill, badly wounded but still breathing and fully armoured. The Rus troops began questioning this almost supernatural apparition. Ganbataar, the Rus capatin, then shot three arrows in Bjorn's chest to prove that the king of Kattegat was dead. However, a few moments later, Bjorn drew his sword, signalling for his troops to advance, and panic began to spread among the Rus ranks. As Bjorn breathed his last, thousands of Viking warriors emerged behind the Rus forces, almost encircling them. These were the armies of the kings and earls of Norway who had heed the summons of Bjorn Ironside to defend their country against invasion. The Rus forces abandoned the field by their thousands. Those who stood their ground were quickly cut down and overrun by the Norse forces, who utterly triumped without many casualties. The Rus army, depleted, routed,and with many wounded, and without its captain Ganbataar who was beheaded by Gunnhild during the battle, then fell back to Kiev.

Aftermath[]

And so it happened, as my saga will tell... the Kings and Queens, the Jarls and Earls of Norway answered the summons of Bjorn Ironside, and came to save their country. For he was truly the King of all Norway, and no one else could have united all his people and brought them to victory over the Rus.

Gunnhild

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