LONGSHIP COMBINED THE FUNCTIONS of oceangoing troop carriers and amphibious landing craft. Its remarkably shallow draft enabled a longship to approach almost any beach or to invade deep inland via a waterway only a few meters deep. The more than 60 warriors on the largest ships could jump over the low side of the hull within a few strides of land. A medieval prayer captured the terror: "From the fury of the Norsemen, good Lord deliver us."
Image: Barry Ross