Whenever we think of war stories, we always imagine all the horrible stuff— bombs, explosions, guns, wounded, dead bodies, and those were not wrong. However, it wasn’t all just bad things that could happen in the middle of the chaotic conflict. There were also compassion, empathy, respect, and all sort of things that you would not usually associate with war. Here are some heartwarming war stories:

Peaceful Christmas, One WWII Night

In the Western Front in Germany during the Battle of Bulge in Germany, Mrs. Vincken and her son were in their forested cabin, silently celebrating Christmas away from the icy cold weather of the countryside. They heard a knock on their door, and when the mom opened it, she saw a group of American soldiers outside, one of them was wounded. Disregarding the fear that she might actually get herself killed and executed once the Germans knew, she let them in her cabin. She didn’t know how to speak English, and the soldiers didn’t know German, but they were able to communicate in French. It wasn’t too long until she heard another loud and sharp knocking. She was able to confirm her fear that they were German soldiers when she opened the door. Afraid for her and her son’s life, she stepped out and told the Germans that she could serve them hot dinner, but they had to leave their guns in her shed as she had Christmas Eve guests, and they might not like them. The Germans obliged in respect. Mrs. Vincken then took and hid the US troops’ guns.

It was awkward once the Germans stepped inside until one of them, a former medical student, helped treat the wounded American soldier’s wound. They then added more ingredients to the stew, and all sat down for dinner. The mother read the bible and declared that there would be at least one night of peace between enemies in the ongoing war. When they were about to go their separate ways and back to their camps, the German soldiers gave the Americans a compass so they could find their right way. They never saw the soldiers ever again, although the son, Fritz Vincken, was reunited with two of the American soldiers. He said, “I remember mother and those seven young soldiers, who met as enemies and parted as friends, right in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge.”

Fritz’s reunion with one of the American soldiers. (ba-ez.org)

General Grant Stopped To Defend A Horse

General Ulysses Grant of the Union Army was a man of apparent contradictions. The then-future 18th President of the United States had a reputation as a drunkard (probably undeserved) who was known to hate meat with a taste of blood in it and for not accepting any terms of surrender apart from unconditional one.

The tough guy was preparing his army to march on Richmond in what would become known as the Battle of the Wilderness when on the road toward the battlefield, they passed by a teamster whose cart sunk in the mad. The man attempted to get out of it by whipping the hell out of the poor horse. General Grant was triggered by the sight of the poor animal and ordered the man to stop, laced with swears. The man, who obviously was sharp as a circle, barked back, “Who’s driving this team anyhow, you or me?”

General Grant
Lieut. Genl. Ulysses S. Grant: General in Chief of the armies of the United States. (No, this was not that horse.) (Currier & Ives. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, DC), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

At least that was the last thing he managed to say before he found himself tied to a tree for six hours, hopefully swearing to the god of horses that he would never torture his horse again.

Shot down, Shot In The Heart And Then Saved By The Enemy

A US Army Air Force Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber. (USAAF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Richard Carrol was only 22 and a new pilot on his 15th mission in his B24 when it was hit by flak. The aircraft was hopelessly wrecked, so he bailed out, and unfortunately for him, he landed on a Hungarian farm. Rather than help him, the townspeople were inclined to kill him. Upon seeing Carrol, they came running, carrying their shovels, spades, and one with a gun who shot him. The bullet passed through his left lung and into his heart without killing him. The mob then snatched him up, and another villager hit him in the head with a shovel knocking him out cold. Thankfully, the Hungarian police arrived and saved him from the angry crowd, and brought him to a Hungarian military hospital for POWs. Aside from his bleeding heart, he also suffered from a blood clot on his leg. Doctors and nurses worked hard to save him from the 104-degree fever he developed when they could have easily written him off for dead. He had a bullet in his heart, after all. Carrol was taken to a POW camp on the Baltic Sea with 10,000 other captives until the Russian army advanced, liberated them, and sent them all to France. Carrol’s parents thought he was dead, the Red Cross had told them he was shot in the heart, so they figured their young son was gone. He managed to get word that he was alive and carried the fragments of the bullet in his heart until the day he died.