The period of Anglo-Saxon warfare spans the 5th century AD to the 11th in England. Its technology and tactics resemble those of other European cultural areas of the Early Medieval Period, although the Anglo-Saxons, unlike the Continental Germanic tribes such as the Franks and the Goths, do not appear to have regularly fought on horseback. 
Although much archaeological evidence for Anglo-Saxon weaponry exists from the Early Anglo-Saxon period due to the widespread inclusion of weapons as grave goods in inhumation burials, scholarly knowledge of warfare itself relies far more on the literary evidence, which was only being produced in the Christian context of the Late Anglo-Saxon period. 
These literary sources are almost all authored by Christian clergy, and thus do not deal specifically with warfare; for instance, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People mentions various battles that had taken place but does not dwell on them.  Thus, scholars have often drawn from the literary sources from neighbouring societies, such as those produced by continental Germanic societies like the Franks and Goths, or later Viking sources. 
As Underwood noted, "Warfare in the Anglo-Saxon period cannot be viewed as a uniform whole".  This is because Anglo-Saxon society changed greatly during this period; in the fifth century, it constituted an array of small tribal groups while by the eleventh it had consolidated into a single state. 
There are extant contemporary descriptions of some Anglo-Saxon battles. Of particular relevance are the poems recounting the battles of Brunanburh, fought in 937 AD and Maldon, fought in 991 AD. In the literature, most of the references to weapons and fighting concern the use of javelins, spears and swords, with only occasional references to archery. 
The typical battle involved both sides forming shieldwalls to protect against the launching of missiles, and standing slightly out of range of each other.
Stephen Pollington has proposed the following sequence to a typical shieldwall fight 
Individual warriors would run forward from the ranks to gain velocity for their javelin throws. This made them vulnerable due to their being exposed, having left the protection of the shield wall, and there was a chance of being killed by a counter throw from the other side.[ citation needed ] This is epitomized in the following excerpt:
"So then did Aethelgar's child enbolden them all, Godric to battle. Often he sent forth spears, deadly shaft sped away onto the Vikings thus he on this people went out in front of battle, cutting down and smiting, until he too on the battlefield perished." ( The Battle of Maldon . 320-4.)
If a warrior was killed in the 'no man's land' between shieldwalls, someone from the other side might rush out to retrieve the valuable armour and weapons, such as extra javelins, sword, shield and so on from the corpse. The one best positioned to retrieve the body was often the thrower of the fatal javelin as he had run forward of his shield wall too in order to make his throw. Exposing himself like this, and even more so during his attempt to retrieve the slain's gear, was a great mark of bravery and could result in much valuable personal gain, not only in terms of his professional career as a retainer, but also in material wealth if the equipment were valuable.[ citation needed ]
Due to the very visible and exposed nature of these javelin-throwing duels, we have some detailed descriptions which have survived, such as the following passage. The first part describes thrown javelin duels, and the latter part describes fighting over the corpses' belongings.
"Advanced again to fierce battle, weapons raised up, shields to defence, and towards these warriors they stepped. Resolute they approached Earl to the lowest Yeoman: each of them intent on harm for the enemy. Sent then a sea-warrior a spear of southern make that wounded the warrior lord. He thrust then with his shield such that the spear shaft burst, and that spear-head shattered as it sprang in reply. Enraged became that warrior: with anger he stabbed that proud Viking who had given him that wound. Experienced was that warrior; he threw his spear forward through the warrior's neck, his hand guiding so that he this ravager's life would fatally pierce. Then he with another stab speedily pierced the ravager so that the chainmail coat broke: this man had a breast wound cut through the linked rings; through his heart stuck a deadly spear. The Earl was the better pleased: laughed then this great man of spirit, thanking the Creator for the day's work which the Lord had given him. And so then another warrior a spear from the other side flew out of hand, which deeply struck through the noble Aethelred's retainer. To him by his side stood a young man not fully grown, a youth on the battlefield, who valiantly pulled out of this warrior the bloody spear, Wulfstan's child, Wulfmaer the younger; and so with blinding speed came the shaft in reply. The spear penetrated, for that who on the Earth now lay among his people, the one who had sorely pierced. Went then armed a man to this Earl; he desirous of this warrior's belongings to take off with, booty and rings and an ornamental sword. Then Byrhtnoth drew his sword from its sheath broad and bright of blade, and then struck the man's coat of mail. But too soon he was prevented by a certain sea-scavenger, and then the Earl's arm was wounded. Fall then to the ground with his gold-hilted sword: his grip unable to hold the heavy sword, or wield the weapon." (The Battle of Maldon. 130-58.)
Reconstructions of fighting techniques suggested by Richard Underwood in his book Anglo Saxon Weapons and Warfare suggest two primary methods of using a spear. You can use it over arm – held up high with the arm extended and the spear pointing downwards. Used this way you could try and attack over the enemy shield against head and neck. Or you could use it underarm with the spear braced along the forearm. This was more defensive and was good for parrying the enemy spear and pushing against his shield to keep him away but was not much use offensively.
Sometimes individuals or groups fighting over bodies might come to sword blows between the two shield walls.
Ideally, enough damage would be done to the enemy through the launching of missiles, so that any shield-to-shield fighting would be a mopping-up operation rather than an exhausting and risky push back and forth at close quarters. At close quarters, swords and shields were preferred over thrusting spears. The shield was used to push the opponent in order to create a breach in the shield wall so that the opponent could become exposed to attack. Hacking through shields was a commonly used tactic, so having a strong sword arm and sword were of great benefit.
"An earl belongs on the back of a horse. A troop must ride in company, a foot-soldier stand fast." Maxims I, 62-63
There are numerous references to the horses of warriors in literature and graves with horse burials are known in the early Anglo-Saxon period. By the later period, much of the army may have travelled to war on horseback. There is little evidence of use of horses in battle, except in pursuit of a beaten foe. However, the Aberlemno 2 stone is thought to depict combat between Northumbrian cavalry and a Pictish army and the Repton stone shows a mounted warrior in a fighting pose. 
After the Norman conquest of England the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors became dominated by emigrant Anglo-Saxon warriors, to the extent of the guard becoming known in Greek as the Englinbarrangoi ("English-varangians"). In 1081 in the opening stages of the Battle of Dyrrachion the emperor Alexios I ordered the Varangians to dismount and march at the head of the army, an instance of Anglo-Saxons riding to battle but dismounting to fight. 
Little is known about the way in which Anglo-Saxon armies were supplied. Smaller armies could live off the land but larger forces needed some degree of organised supply. It is possible that troops brought food with them on campaign but there is also limited evidence of the existence of pack horses tended by grooms being used to carry supplies and equipment.  Combined operations involving a fleet and army working together are recorded in the reign of Athelstan against the Scots and again in the 11th century in Wales. It is possible that, like later medieval operations in these areas, part of the role of the fleet was to carry supplies. 
Understanding how battles were fought also helps us to understand why excelling in certain sports was considered the mark of a valuable retainer or war leader. Sports like running, jumping, throwing spears, and unbalancing people (i.e. wrestling) were all critical skills for combat.  Heroes like the legendary Beowulf are described as champions in such athletic events.
Hoplites were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields. Hoplite soldiers used the phalanx formation to be effective in war with fewer soldiers. The formation discouraged the soldiers from acting alone, for this would compromise the formation and minimize its strengths. The hoplites were primarily represented by free citizens – propertied farmers and artisans – who were able to afford a linen armour or a bronze armour suit and weapons. Most hoplites were not professional soldiers and often lacked sufficient military training. Some states maintained a small elite professional unit, known as the epilektoi ("chosen") since they were picked from the regular citizen infantry. These existed at times in Athens, Argos, Thebes, and Syracuse, among other places. Hoplite soldiers made up the bulk of ancient Greek armies.
Medieval warfare is the warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological, cultural, and social advancements had forced a severe transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery. In terms of fortification, the Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which then spread to the Holy Land.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with fire hardened spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as bone, flint, obsidian, iron, steel, or bronze. The most common design for hunting or combat spears since ancient times has incorporated a metal spearhead shaped like a triangle, lozenge, or leaf. The heads of fishing spears usually feature barbs or serrated edges.
Ancient warfare is war that was conducted from the beginning of recorded history to the end of the ancient period. The difference between prehistoric and ancient warfare is more organization oriented than technology oriented. The development of first city-states, and then empires, allowed warfare to change dramatically. Beginning in Mesopotamia, states produced sufficient agricultural surplus. This allowed full-time ruling elites and military commanders to emerge. While the bulk of military forces were still farmers, the society could portion off each year. Thus, organized armies developed for the first time. These new armies were able to help states grow in size and become increasingly centralized.
Knowledge about military technology of the Viking Age is based on relatively sparse archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and laws recorded in the 14th century.
The francisca is a throwing axe used as a weapon during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks, among whom it was a characteristic national weapon at the time of the Merovingians from about 500 to 750 and is known to have been used during the reign of Charlemagne (768–814). Although generally associated with the Franks, it was also used by other Germanic peoples of the period, including the Anglo-Saxons; several examples have been found in England.
A shield wall is a military formation that was common in ancient and medieval warfare. There were many slight variations of this formation, but the common factor was soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder and holding their shields so that they would abut or overlap. Each soldier thus benefited from the protection of the shields of his neighbors and his own.
Comitatus was in ancient times the Latin term for an armed escort or retinue. The term is used especially in the context of Germanic warrior culture for a warband tied to a leader by an oath of fealty and describes the relations between a lord and his retainers, or thanes. The concept is generally considered by scholars to be more of a literary trope rather than one of historical accuracy.
A javelin is a light spear designed primarily to be thrown, historically as a ranged weapon, but today predominantly for sport. The javelin is almost always thrown by hand, unlike the sling, bow, and crossbow, which launch projectiles with the aid of a hand-held mechanism. However, devices do exist to assist the javelin thrower in achieving greater distance, such as spear-throwers or the amentum.
Celtic Warfare was the type of warfare practiced by the various Celtic peoples and tribes, from Classical antiquity through the Migration period.
The spear or lance, together with the bow, the sword, the seax and the shield, was the main equipment of the Germanic warriors during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages.
The Migration Period sword was a type of sword popular during the Migration Period and the Merovingian period of European history, particularly among the Germanic peoples. It later gave rise to the Carolingian or Viking sword type of the 8th to 11th centuries AD.
The angon was a type of javelin used during the Early Middle Ages by the Anglo-Saxons, Franks, Goths, and other Germanic peoples. It was similar to, and probably derived from, the pilum used by the Roman army and had a barbed head and long narrow socket or shank made of iron mounted on a wooden haft.
Despite the rise of knightly cavalry in the 11th century, infantry played an important role throughout the Middle Ages on both the battlefield and in sieges. From the 14th century onwards, there was a rise in the prominence of infantry forces, sometimes referred to as an "infantry revolution".
Warfare seems to have been a constant in Germanic society, and archaeology indicates this was the case prior to the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century BCE. Wars were frequent between and within the individual Germanic peoples. The early Germanic languages preserve various words for "war", and they did not necessarily clearly differentiate between warfare and other forms of violent interaction. The Romans note that for the Germans, robbery in warfare was not shameful, and most Germanic warfare both against Rome and against other Germanic peoples was motivated by the potential to acquire booty.
People have used weapons in warfare, hunting, self-defense, law enforcement, and criminal activity. Weapons also serve many other purposes in society including use in sports, collections for display, and historical displays and demonstrations. As technology has developed throughout history, weapons have changed with it.
Many different weapons were created and used in Anglo-Saxon England between the fifth and eleventh centuries. Spears, used for piercing and throwing, were the most common weapon. Other commonplace weapons included the sword, axe, and knife—however, bows and arrows, as well as slings, were not frequently used by the Anglo-Saxons. For defensive purposes, the shield was the most common item used by warriors, although sometimes mail and helmets were used.
The term "Viking Age" refers to the period roughly from 790s to the late 11th century in Europe, though the Norse raided Scotland's western isles well into the 12th century. In this era, Viking activity started with raids on Christian lands in England and eventually expanded to mainland Europe, including parts of present-day Russia. While maritime battles were very rare, Viking bands proved very successful in raiding coastal towns and monasteries due to their efficient warships, and intimidating war tactics, skillful hand-to-hand combat, and fearlessness. What started as Viking raids on small towns transformed into the establishment of important agricultural spaces and commercial trading-hubs across Europe through rudimentary colonization. Vikings' tactics in warfare gave them an enormous advantage in successfully raiding, despite their small population in comparison to that of their enemies.
The Caetrati were a type of light infantry in ancient Iberia who often fought as skirmishers. They were armed with a caetra shield, swords, and javelins.
The Battle of Chippenham was a January 878 battle between a Viking army led by Guthrum and an Anglo-Saxon army led by Alfred the Great. The Vikings forced Alfred to flee Chippenham and managed temporarily to gain control over most of Wessex.