THE BATTLE OF NISA – NORSE INVASION OF DENMARK
9th August 1062
This was a naval battle between Harald Hardrada of Norway and Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark. Although the Nowegians were victorious they allowed so many Danes, including Estrithson, to escape that it was no victory at all.
In 1045 Harald Hardrada had returned to Norway intent on taking the throne from Magnus I. He was supported by Sweyn Estrithson, displaced King of Denmark and the King of Sweden. In 1046 Harald reached agreement with Magnus whereby they would jointly rule Norway. In 1047 Magnus died and Harald inherited the throne of Norway. Sweyn Estrithson gained the throne of Denmark. Harald believed that he should have inherited the throne of Denmark and began making a series of raids on Denmark. Having failed to achieve his aim through the raids Harald decided to mount a naval attack on Denmark.
Nissan River, Near Halmstadt, modern day Sweden
King Harald Hardrada
The battle was pre-arranged but when Sweyn Estrithson failed to arrive Harald sent many of his men and ships home. Sweyn had anticipated this and once the Norwegian force was diminished he arrived for the battle. The battle was drawn out with both sides using the tactic of tying their ships together to form a wall. Towards the end of the battle the Norwegians cut loose and began attacking the flanks of the Danish ship-wall. Estrithson jumped off his ship and swam to safety. Other Danes did the same.
A Norwegian victory which had no impact because most of the Danes escaped.
Harald gave up his idea of conquering Denmark and in 1064 made peace with Estrithson