Nazi-Held Norway, 1941:
I woke up while it was still dark outside. Crawling out of my tent I went towards the edge of the mountain we were camping on and looked out unto Narvik, once a proud coastal city, now under German control. As I stood there I heard footsteps behind me, turning I saw my brother Ubbe walking towards me, his hair and beard ruffled.
“Can’t sleep Ulfir?” He asked.
“You know how I get before battle” I replied “All my nerves get jumbled together and I can’t sleep, even if I tried”. Ubbe shrugged and sat down beside me and the two of us watched the sun rise over Nazi flags.
By the time breakfast was called the rest of our platoon had woken up. We were 56 in total including me and my six brothers; Ubbe, Sigurd, Ivar, Hvitserk, Bjorn and Thorfinn. We were part of the Norwegian Army and were a Special Forces unit. Our mission was to retake the city of Narvik from the clutches of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Army. Just then, Bjorn called out.
“The Brits are here!” And marching up the mountain came two platoons waving the Union Jack. We were to meet up with them before proceeding to attack the city by land, while the British and French navies attacked from sea. Their commander was a sturdy, mustached man who carried with him an air of confidence, until he saw us, that is.
“Bloody Hell! What have they given us?” He exclaimed the color draining from his face.
“Yeah” chimed in a soldier “Looks like they came straight from the dark ages.” He was right, we were dressed in an assortment of tunics, furs and breeches although quite a few were bare chested, their many tattoos visible to all. We were all bearded, our hair either very long (like Ivar, Thorfinn and Sigurd) or with the sides shaven and the middle tied in a long braid. But perhaps the most shocking was that we were wielding swords, axes, spears and bows.
“Who are you people?” said the commander. At that Ivar stepped forward and looked the commander in the eye.
“We are Ulfhednar, warriors of Odin” he said. This was met with a collective groan from the British.
“We stick to the old ways, we don’t use guns because guns are for cowards. A real man uses a sword or an axe.”
“But you will get slaughtered.” Replied the Commander.
“No we won’t, soldiers do not wear armor anymore so our swords will cut through them like butter.” And he made a cutting motion with his axe to emphasize his point.
“And it takes a lot more than a few bullets to kill us.” Said Thorfinn.
“Very well then” said the commander, sort of dejectedly “Might as well get this show on the road”.
Before we set out we made a sacrifice of a goat to the gods much to the dismay of the British. After the sacrifice we smeared the blood that we collected in a bowl on our faces. When it was my turn I dipped my fingers into the bowl and made vertical lines on my face; above my eyes and nose. I put my two axes in my belt and held my sword in my hand.
“Ok” said the commander, whose name I learned was Robert. “36th division, take the artillery with you and attack from the front, but do not fully engage, just draw their fire. 35th division is coming with me and the…. Uh…”
“Ulfhe?nar” corrected Sigurd.
“Yes yes, Ulfhednar. We will attack from the side while they are distracted. Understood”
“Yes Sir” came the reply from the British platoons.
“Well then off we go” said Robert “God be with you”
“And Thor too” called out Hvitserk, and laughter rippled across our men. Then we made our way down the opposite side of the mountain.
As it turned out we really didn’t need that much of a distraction. Narvik was already being heavily bombarded by allied ships. However the 36th division wasn’t looking too good. A great bulk of the German forces had assembled across from them and were steadily moving forward while many dead already littered the battle field. Robert voiced my fears.
“They are going to be over-run” he said.
“Then we best be hurrying up, heh.” Said Bjorn who unsheathed his sword and started to make his way out of the woods towards the city.
“No no no! Wait you can’t just charge in their like that, you’ll get shot.”
“Then I’ll go to Valhalla.” Said Bjorn matter-of-factly.
“Buts that’s not gonna do us any good.”
“Yes I agree” said Ubbe “We shouldn’t throw away our lives unnecessarily”
“Exactly” said Robert “We’ll stay in the shelter of the trees and shoot the roof men. Then we’ll go from building to building-”
“Bah! That doesn’t mean we hide like cowards either.”
“Than what do you suppose we do?”
“We’ll sneak up to them through the long grass over there” said Thorfinn “Your gunmen will provide us cover while we charge the city. If they want to follow us it is their choice, but I think my brothers and I will be more than-“
“Of course we’ll come” exclaimed Robert “We’re not…cowards are we” Just then, a misfired grenade went off five feet away. Robert let out a shrill shriek and hid behind Ivar, who erupted into a fit of laughter, like everybody else. After much guffawing the red-faced commander dusted off his uniform and said “That’s quite enough thank you. I wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”
As the sun approached its zenith, we snaked our way along the long grass. Ivar was twitching and whirling his axe in small circles, growling and snarling like an animal.
“What is wrong with him?” Robert asked me.
“He is preparing to go berserker” I said “A state of battle fury.”
As we got closer we realized this front was not as deserted as it seemed. A healthy guard of about 20 men were mulling around the main road with a few on the rooftops as well. However their attention was fixed on the action going on the other side of the city. On their helmets were what looked like two lightning bolts. But I knew they were runes.
“Why do they have the sowilo rune on their helmets?” I asked.
“They are the Schutzstaffel” Robert answered “Special German forces.”
“Alright then” said Bjorn “Let’s have a go at these special troopers.”
“Men, into position” barked Robert, and his men kneeled or lay in the grass their guns aimed at the guard.
“Wait what are you doing?” asked Thorfinn.
“What do you think, we are attacking.” He snapped.
“You call that attacking?” I said. Robert let out an exasperated sigh.
“I give up, do what you want.” He said. Grinning we made our way towards the guard. When we were around twenty feet away, Ubbe signaled to Bjorn.
“Take out the ones on the roof.” He said.
“Archers” hissed Bjorn, and with that he pulled out his bow, nocked an arrow and fired. A guard on the roof clutched at the arrow sticking out of his neck and, gurgling blood, he fell to the floor.
“ACH DU MEINE FRESSE!!!” yelled out a german as more men continued to fall from the roof tops, arrows stuck in them. Then he himself was shot in the chest, and toppled to the ground, which was now stained red.
At that moment Ivar ripped of his shirt, took a spear shouted
“Ó?INN A Y?R ALLA!!!” and threw his spear before drawing his axe and charging into battle. The rest of the men shouted the same and followed him (except for some who shouted “TYR!!!” instead). I looked back and saw the awed look in the faces of the british, most of which who were following us. Then I unsheathed my sword and charged into the fray. The SS had only fired one or two shots before we were on them, and at that point they didn’t stand a chance. Their rifles weren’t made for melee combat so they were hacked and sliced with little to defend themselves from the frocity of our attack. As the last man went down we just stood there. Ivar was laughing, covered in blood, eyes bloodshot.
“Well, what are you waiting for!” shouted Bjorn “CHAAARGE!” and we swept into the city. However wind of our attack had reached the Nazis and they had sent reinforcements.
“FÜR DEN FÜHRER!!” they shouted as they ran towards us guns blazing. Many of our men went down before the British stepped in and returned fire. We continued or charge and smashed into the foe. I slashed my way towards the middle. But the Germans still had snipers in the building, which were taking a toll on us.
“Sigurd!” I yelled. My brother turned towards me and I pointed towards the building with the snipers. He nodded and we made our way there, followed by five of our comrades.
I kicked open the door and we made our way upstairs as stealthily as possible. We peaked at the top floor and saw ten snipers positioned at various windows. They didn’t notice us and I thought that we could silently kill each one without the others noticing. Sigurd however, had other ideas and charged, yelling ans screaming with the fury of, well, a berserker. We killed three before the others realized we were there. They tried to aim at us, but it was too late. Sigurd turned towards me laughing but the expression on his face changed as he yelled “ULFIR!!” and pushed me out of the way as I heard a resounding bang. I looked up saw Sigurd, a circle of red on his forehead, collapse to the floor.
“SIGUUUUURD!!” I screamed in anguish. I turned and saw my brother’s killer, a skinny tall man with light eyes and a smirk on his face as he realized he killed somebody important, someone who mattered. Rage took over as I screamed a gutteral cry of pain and fury. I took one step and stabbed the swine in the abdomenn. As he went down I continuously hacked at his body furiously untill my face was streaked with blood. I stood up panting like a wild animal, looking for more enemies. Then I looked out the window and saw the battle raging below. Taking a few steps back I shouted “FJ?RLAG!!!” and jumped out the window.
I landed on the heads of upturned Germans. I crashed into the ground, though not hard and in an instant I was back on my feet swinging my sword in deadly arcs that bit deep into my opponent’s flesh. My men followed suit and soon we were like a storm of death.
“YAAAAAAAARRGH” I roared as we hacked our way through the city streets. Soon enough the main forces caught up with us. Suprisingly, Robert was on the front lines, a wild look in his eyes as he fired away with his gun. As a german came into close quarters he swung his rifle like a club and it smashed on his opponents head. Then he pulled out his pistol and shot him, all the while laughing. I chuckled. “Looks like we made a berserker out of you, huh.”
“You should have seen him brother” said Ubbe “He fought like Thor himself” Robert smiled sheepishly.
“Oh, stop it” he said waving him off with his hand. At that moment Bjorn came running from the other side of the city carrying Hvitserk on his back, followed by 15 men.
“Tanks!” he yelled before he put down our brother, who was bleeding heavily on his side.
“What happened I said” kneeling down besides him.
“He was shot by a tank, I barely got him out alive” gasped Bjorn.
“Tanks? Where?” asked Robert.
“OVER THERE!” yelled Thorfinn pointing to where the armoured vehicles were making their way towards us. Robert quickly signaled to two of his men.
“Get this man behind our lines!” he shouted to them, pointing to Hvitserk “And get some bloody rocket launchers!” Our men were undetered and charged forward howling like wolves. The tanks then opened fire and many men went down,my sword was blown in half,and I was knocked to the ground. Then Ivar came out of nowhere his thick black hair blowing behind him as he ran spear in hand.
“ULLR!” he yelled before he threw his spear. The spear went straight into the nozzle of the tank before it fired and thus the machine burst into flames. Our men cheered and whooped then attacked the tanks in similar fashion. That’s Ivar I thought Always does something when we need him the most. One of our men jumped utop a tank and started to beat the hatch with his axe until it broke and he attacked those inside. Others were not so lucky and were shot by the infantary men that accompanied them. The British fired into the nozzle of the tanks and that worked to the same effect. I took out my axe and howled before running into the fray followed by Ubbe and Robert. I swung at a German cleaving his helmet in two but then another one shot me in the side. I barely felt it, and responded by decapitating the shooter. Across the street five Ulhednar were pushing a tank on to its side and the vehicle crashed into the ground. As the tank crew tried to run away the Vikings lept on them like wolves and hacked them into pieces.
“ THOOOOR!!!” shouted Ubbe.
“YAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!” cried out the men, British included (who I believe are now devout followers of our gods). Then we charged towards the city center.
We got to the capital building (where the Governer of Nazi-Norway was) a large building with a staircased entrance that overlooked the sea. Nazi banners hung all over the place. More importantly, the entrance was barred by about 150 German shock troopers and a few tanks and mounted machine guns.
“KAPITULIEREN WIKINGER!!” Their leader shouted “UND ENGLISCH!” He was tall blonde and blue eyed, dressed in all black. He smugly looked at us, he knew we would surrender or face certain death. My brothers and I stood their growling and snarling in anger. Ivar walked among the men, some of them with fear, evident on their faces.
“If you are fated to die today then nothing can save you!” he said “Not surrendering, not running, not hiding. But if the gods will that you will survive NOTHING can kill you! Not even all the armies of the world assembled against you! NOTHING!!” The men nodded and some of them shouted in assent.
“And if you do die today then you will FEAST…IN VALHALLA..WITH THE GODS! So fear not my brothers, Ullr is with us, Frey is with us,Tyr is with us,THOR is with us and Odin the all-father. ODIN IS WITH US!! OOODIIIIN!!!!” At this the soldiers brandished their weapons defiently.
“OOOOOODDDDDDIIIIIIIIINNNNN!!!!!!!” they all screamed, and then they charged at the German lines. The Germans taken back stood still for a few seconds, staring at us in shock as we wildly ran at them,shouting and screaming. Then commen sense took over and they opened fire. Men were hit by the bullets, but they carried on running, not feeling any pain, not even crying out, they had become berserkers. We came at the enemy forces like a tidal wave but they stood their ground, not yeilding an inch. The shock troopers were staunch soldiers and would go down without putting up a hell of a fight. A sort of a stalemate developed there with eirther side not gaining any ground, but not losing any either. Fierce hand-to hand combat ensued with the Germans fighting with long daggers, or the weapons of our fallen men. Some were even fighting bare handed and soon enough the ground was covered in blood. I hacked and swung my axe with all my strength cutting down many men but the line would not budge. On top of that the machine guns had opened fire on us, and even a berserker can go down with ten bullets in his back, except for Ivar that is. He charged at the machine gun and leapt over it, landing behind the man who was shooting it.
“UYAAAH” he yelled cleaving the man in two with one powefull stroke, blood splattering all over him. But he didn’t care, he was a berserker, this is what he lived for. He then grabbed the machine gun and opened fire on the germans before breaking it in two over a german soldier’s head. But their was still another one on the roof.
“Come on Ulfir!” cried Bjorn “To the roof!” Nodding, I came to the nearest pillar and started to climb, using windows as foot-holds. Their were quite a few men on the roof. Grinning, I turned to Bjorn, his golden hair glistning in the sun and we charged at the roof men. I sliced the first machine gun in half and proceeded to do the same with the man operating it. But he had raised his gun and even though I cut that too he survived and pulled out a long knife. I swung and he parried it. Then he swung his knife, but I grabbed him by the arm the stabbed him with my axe.
Running, I didn’t see the chopped up machine gun and, tripping over it I fell. Lying on the roof I was able to survey the battle field. We were finally moving forward, but the Germans were fighting to the death, dozens of bodies already sprawled across the area. Ubbe, a tactician at heart, had taken a vantage point atop a damaged tank and was directing our forces. Thorfinn was in the middle of our forces, while Ivar and Robert were on the front. The two were able to break through the German lines and made a run towards the Governer, Josef Terboven and his bodyguards. They pulled out their guns and shot Ivar, but he kept on going. Then a soldier hit him over the head with a pistol and the berserker succumbed to his wounds and fell down. The rest grabbed Robert and began to drag the kicking and screaming commander towards a helicoptor on the roof. Bjorn took off, running like the wind to intercept him breezing past the remaining men before they could do anything. I however had to fight my way across, though I didn’t mind.
Bjorn caught up to them right infront of the helicoptor.
“AHHHH!!” he yelled and attacked them. His axe swung in vicious arcs and men went down left and right. The bodyguards then pulled out daggers and attacked. He blocked one with his axe and stabbed him with a dagger with his right hand. Bjorn was a bred warrior, I thought, he’ll handle this in no time. However, the governer, who now stood directly behind my brother fired two shots to his back. Bjorn’s cry of pain rang through the city.
“BJOOORN!!” I cried, but I was being held up by five Germans. Bjorn was on his knees now, facing the governer, a defiant look on his face. The governer put the gun to Bjorn’s head and fired. Over come with rage I pushed back the Germans I was entangled with and ran towards the governer. Robert had gotten up and was engaged with some of the bodyguards, but I knew he wouldn’t make it to the governer in time. Three bodyguards stood in front of me. I threw my first axe at one, it buried itself in his chest and he sunk to the ground before I sliced the chest of the second one. The third charged at me but I ducked under his swipe and smashed my axe into his back. Turning I ran towards the helicopter, its blades already turning. I was was a few feet away when a shot rang out. I looked down and saw blood seeping through a circular wound in my chest. I felt my self slipping off the roof and falling, falling into the cold dark sea.
When I opened my eyes I was lying down on the shores of Narvik, Ubbe and Robert anxiously peering at me.
“He’s alive” gasped Ubbe, eyes tear-rimmed “Thank Frey and Eir!”
“Wha- what happened” I stammered.
“We won” said Robert “But that snake Terboven managed to escape.”
“What about Thorfinn, and Ivar and Hvitserk. Are they alright.”I asked.
“They’re all fine.Thorfinn just had a slight leg wound, and Hvitserk is fine as well, though unhappy that he was taken off the battle field. Ivar had really severe wounds but he’ll live, after all he is Ivar ‘Ironside’ ” he said gesturing towards Ivar, who was in his tent, sharing a joke with Hvitserk, a jug of mead in his hand.
“I’m sorry for your brothers” said Robert hesitantly.
“Do not feel sorry for them.” I said “They are in Valhalla now, feasting with the Gods.”
“So..” he said “What will you do now?”
“We will find another battle to fight” said Ubbe “Perhaps we shall go to Finland, or Russia, I heard there is some great fighting going on over there.”
“Regardless” I said “I hope you will join us.”
“Of course” Robert replied “Though I must admit I was actually scared of you at first, your people have very strange ways.”
“It is the berserker way” I replied.
“Stalingrad” said Ivar from his tent “We shall go to Stalingrad.”
“But that’s a long way from here, over 3,000 kilometers!” cried Robert.
“Then lets make haste” said Ubbe a wolfish grin on his face and we got up to prepare for the long journey.