The farmers mobilise

The Danish army landed at Gotland on 22 July. Kung Valdemar and his soldiers sailed from Öland, which they had occupied. On 24-25 July there is a battle at Mästerby. On 27 July, the battle outside Visby’s ringwall takes place.

The Gotland farmers must have known what had happened at Öland. When the Danish were sighted, the alarm was raised across the island. Beacon fires burned as a warning, church bells tolled, messengers spread the word – the Danes are coming! Just how large an army the Gotlanders were able to amass is unclear. One estimate is between 3,000 and 5,000 strong. Perhaps armed with somewhat old-fashioned weapons and armour. Most certainly unaccustomed to warfare.

There is also a great degree of uncertainty regarding the size of the Danish army. Perhaps it consisted of 2,500 soldiers plus 150-200 horses? The majority were likely experienced and well-equipped warriors.