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The Battle of Ravning Bridge was a turning point in the early stages of the First Viking War. Ravning Bridge was a half-mile long bridge near the Danish city of Vejle. While the battle was not exclusive to the bridge, it was a major landmark and a critical point during the battle. Likely due to a haste invasion by the Franks, supply lines and reinforcements were unavailable, leading to a Frankish defeat.
Following the Raid of Paris in early 845, the Franks declared war on the Danes. The Franks led an army quickly through Jutland, quickly making their way through Jutland. By 846, the Franks had reached the area near Vejle. Choosing to do a frontal assault to scare the Danes into submission, the Franks were forced to reach Vejle by taking Ravning Bridge, a massive, wooden bridge that stretched for half a mile.
The Franks arrived in number near Ravning Bridge. As they made their way to the bridge, the Danes learned of the incoming attack and prepared for the assault. The bridge was reinforced by placing archers and soldiers on the bridge. Skirmishers and more soldiers were placed around the bridge in anticipation of the Frankish invasion.
When the Franks began the invasion, the archers had the high ground, picking off Frankish soldiers as they reached the bridge. Skirmishers scattered the Frankish numbers. Despite Frankish attempts to route the skirmishers, the troops were disorganized during the battle. Frankish archers forced the skirmishers to regroup while Frankish skirmishers moved in to attack the infantrymen under and around the bridge. While both sides succeeded in causing massive amounts of death for the other side, neither made any significant changes on the battlefield.
In the later stages of the battle, a surprise ambush from the west by the Swedes finally broke the Frankish lines, forcing a retreat. The battle was lost, but the Franks set the bridge ablaze as they left, destroying Ravning Bridge.
The Battle of Ravning Bridge was the first of many Frankish defeats. It marked the beginning of the expelling of Francia from Jutland and was another embarrassment for the Frankish armies. The battle was also seen as the entry of the Swedes into the First Viking War. The battle also had a considerable result on the city of Vejle due to the destruction of Ravning Bridge. The wooden bridge wasn't rebuilt until the mid-10th century, when the Franks replaced it with a stone bridge.