Shared holidays, mutual threats, and strange circumstances all play a part in making enemies agree to a ceasefire during combat. On certain occasions, opposing armies find themselves working together – even if arrangements don’t last for long.
Indeed, war stories aren’t always defined by heroic generals or harrowing combat visuals; sometimes, it’s all about getting along.
A Civilian Asked German And American Soldiers To Be Polite For A Christmas Meal
The Conflict: The Battle of the Bulge was among the most devastating WWII conflicts. The German troops, in their last major offensive attempt, tried to counter Allied incursions through France and Belgium and into Germany.
The Truce: The holiday season inspired a moment of peace amid the destruction of this fight. Lost in the Hurtgen Forest on Christmas Eve, three American soldiers knocked on the door of a rural German home. The family readily invited the Americans inside to share in a Christmas dinner. When a group of four German soldiers showed up later, the homeowner welcomed them too, provided no one fired at each other.
Both sides accepted the truce, ate together, and parted without any incident. The Germans even helped the Americans plot a path back to their own frontline.
Americans And Germans Wanted To Protect POWs From A Determined SS Faction
The Conflict: The Battle for Castle Itter is often described as the last conflict of WWII’s European theater, and it occurred three days before Germany’s official surrender. With Adolf Hitler deposed, many German troops ceased fighting. Some, however, still found motivation.
The Truce: Used as a concentration camp extension, Castle Itter housed a group of high-profile French POWs. A still-loyal SS group planned to recapture the Austrian castle and its inhabitants, but nearby American troops and German soldiers rallied together to oppose the plan.
The soldiers’ collaboration was the only time the two opposing nations joined forces. The allies protected the prisoners until reinforcements arrived.
Russians And Germans Needed To Team Up To Fight Ravenous Wolves
The Conflict: The German forces fought the Russians in satellite regions like Lithuania and Belarus during WWI, and fighting continued through the winter of 1917.
The Truce: After an intense campaign of attrition in a heavily forested area, the participants all briefly agreed to halt the fire to take on an unexpected mutual enemy – roving bands of gigantic Russian wolves. The conflict displaced the beasts, and extreme hunger partially caused by the harsh winter prompted the animals to be more aggressive during their interactions with humans.
The wolves progressed from raiding villages to taking corpses to accosting groups of soldiers outright. Fearful for their lives, both armies agreed to a temporary truce and went on a joint campaign of destruction.
They slew hundreds of the animals before resuming their fight.
German Troops Wanted To Give Americans Enough Time To Gather Their Fallen Soldiers
The Conflict: The Italian Campaign of WWII may not be widely discussed, but it was vital to the conflict’s eventual outcome. Some of WWII’s most vicious fighting occurred across the harsh Italian terrain, and Rapido River became the site of numerous fatalities.
The Truce: American troops crossed the Rapido River to divert their German enemies, but the location was ill-suited. Soldiers attempted to cross the Italian body of water three times, but each time a multitude of troops lost their lives or sustained serious injuries. In fact, the situation became so tragic the Germans signaled across the river to offer a two-hour truce, allowing the Americans time to remove the bodies.
British And German Pilots United To Escape A Norwegian Forest
The Conflict: The Norwegian Campaign of WWII was largely unsuccessful. During the action, Allies attempted to keep German troops from fully occupying Norway, but it didn’t work.
The Truce: During the air fight over Norway, a British fighter took down a German plane over a densely wooded area. Then, the British aircraft crashed as well. Both crews survived and encountered each other in the wilderness.
Struggling against a language barrier, the rival airmen agreed not to turn on each other and teamed up to find safety. They stayed in an abandoned hotel and shared breakfast. Eventually, a Norwegian ski patrol rescued the British soldiers and took the Germans as POWs.
Aaron Burr Declared A Personal Truce To Informally Chat With A British Soldier During The American Revolution
The Conflict: Before Aaron Burr served as the third vice president of the United States, he fought for his country in the American Revolution. He saw much of his action in Quebec, where the Continental Army made several attempts to control Canadian territory owned by the British Empire.
The Truce: While campaigning in Quebec, Burr stopped at a river for a drink and had a chance encounter with a British officer on the other side of the brook. The two made polite conversation and struck up a genuine friendship, agreeing to meet several more times for informal chats before the Americans made their major offensive against Quebec.
The pair instituted an informal truce during their meetings, and the British officer even agreed to put one of Burr’s pregnant mistresses into a Quebec nunnery.
A Soldier Sang A Song That Prompted A 24-Hour Truce
The Conflict: The Franco-Prussian War lasted for six months between 1870 and 1871, and it partially foreshadowed WWI and WWII in the following century. The conflict started when the Germanic states attempted to unify without the French Empire’s approval.
The Truce: Apparently, the song “O Holy Night” has conflict-pausing powers. According to reports, a French soldier abandoned his trench on Christmas Eve and sang the religious song to German troops. Touched by the melody, the Germans agreed to pause the conflict for a 24-hour holiday truce.
Confederate And Union Soldiers Called Unofficial Truces To Smoke Together
The Conflict: One of the most devastating events to ever occur on North American soil, the Civil War caused more Americans to lose their lives than both WWI and WWII combined. The Southern (Confederate) States wanted to separate from the Union and maintain slavery, and the fight to combat that notion didn’t end until 1865.
The Truce: Despite the high stakes, the American soldiers from both sides still had several unofficial truces. Though such ceasefires were usually frowned upon by military superiors, men on either side would frequently call truces at the frontlines so Union and Confederate soldiers could chat, share information, and trade smokes.
Soldiers Called For A Ceasefire To Celebrate Christmas
The Conflict: The Western Front saw a lot of action during WWI. Numerous people lost their lives in 1914, but many still felt relatively optimistic about the conflict’s outcome.
The Truce: The Christmas truce of 1914 was incredibly idyllic, but it likely only happened because the conflict was still in the beginning stages; it had not yet reached full force. When the Christmas season approached, the English, French, and German soldiers fighting near Flanders in Belgium installed Christmas trees at the front of their trenches. The troops wanted to celebrate the first holiday that occurred during the conflict and even serenaded one another with songs.
The mutual Christmas spirit led to the striking of a truce, and soldiers from either side met in “no man’s land” to celebrate together. Friendships were struck, gifts were exchanged, and a few brief games of soccer were played. Then, participants were ordered back to their respective trenches to resume the fight.
Turkish Troops And An ANZAC Unit Stopped Fighting To End A Jordanian Rebellion
The Conflict: The combined Australian and New Zealand troops, known as the ANZAC, often fought for the British Empire during WWI. The united group even fought the Turks. Some of the fighting occurred in modern-day Jordan. While there, both sides had to contend with the local population.
The Truce: The ANZAC unit seriously crippled the Turkish forces, and in 1918, the Arabs in Jordan saw a chance to further punish their former oppressors. They planned an uprising and crushed the Turks. The ANZAC commanders recognized the severity of the situation, though, and agreed to an impromptu ceasefire to help stop the rebellion.
Turkish Troops And ANZAC Soldiers Halted A Conflict To Bury Corpses
The Conflict: Waged by the Australian and New Zealand troops against the Turkish forces, the Gallipoli Campaign of WWI featured extremely intense fighting. In fact, both sides lost more than half a million soldiers.
The Truce: Despite the vicious nature of their conflict, the Turkish soldiers worked with their enemies when nature revolted against them. Bodies piled up during the fight and started to rot in the hot sun. The two sides agreed to a one-day ceasefire to bury all of the fallen.
Updated 2019 Oct 31
(For the source of this, and many other equally intriguing articles, please visit: https://www.ranker.com/list/strangest-military-truces-ever/stephanroget/)