World War 2


Lighthearted Moments in the Middle of WWII Warzones

American Soldiers

Lighthearted Moments in the Middle of WWII Warzones

For anyone who has ever fought in the middle of a war, they know lighthearted moments are hard to come by. Between the bullets, bombs, and the deaths of your fellow countrymen, it’s hard to crack a smile. However, sometimes these are the exact moments when you need to remember that the world isn’t all evil. With this in mind, let’s look at some lighthearted moments that took place during the middle of World War 2.

Shark Face Planes

Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, ca. 1942. The shark-face fighters of the 'Flying Tigers' had a 12-to-1 victory ratio over the Japanese planes during World War 2.
The Shark Face plans were a lighthearted way for American P-40 pilots to keep up morale.

To give a morale boost before flying into battle, American P-40 pilots would paint shark faces on their fighters. This image shows Chinese soldiers guarding the planes before the Americans would fly their assignment. The pilots of these planes had remarkable results throughout World War 2 with a 12-to-1 victory ratio against the Japanese during the war.

Italian Christmas

Christmas Italy
American soldiers celebrate Christmas in Italy after ending the Axis hold on the country.

In this photo, two members of the 13th Corps Signals stationed out of Chicago, Illinois, celebrate the Christmas holiday with two Italian boys. With this photo captured on December 25, 1944, the Allies had already liberated Italy, and Italian residents were well known for thanking Allied soldiers with food and hospitality.

British Beer Drinking

British Soldier
It was very infrequent for soldiers to enjoy any type of alcohol in the field.

During the middle of the war, soldiers rose to the challenge of helping their fellow countrymen. In this image, British soldier Driver J Chalmers enjoyed a bottle of beer after giving blood in December 1943. As these men donated blood to help out injured soldiers, rewards were given in the form of beer. For the soldiers on the front line, a beer would go a long way to motivate them to donate.

Opening Presents

Presents Italy
American soldiers opened presents a few days before Christmas in 1943.

Sitting around a miniature “Christmas tree,” American soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division are opening packages. It’s hard to know if these are presents from home or things they’ve found along the way. Either way, these troopers were stationed in Italy on December 16, 1943, when a break from fighting allowed them to enjoy a wholesome moment.

English Rugby

Rugby World War 2
British soldiers enjoying a game of Rugby in France on some downtime.

Right in the middle of World War 2, sports just never got away. This undated photo shows members of the Royal Air Force playing a game of rugby. It’s these little moments that take their mind off the destruction the war was bringing to much of the world. This match was part of the Inter-Unit championships played amongst the Advanced Air Striking Force that was stationed in France.

Military Christmas Games

Christmas games World War 2
It’s hard to know exactly what these soldiers are doing but they are having fun.

It’s difficult to know what’s really going on in this photo, but the soldiers look like they are enjoying themselves. Taking place on Christmas Eve 1942 in North Africa, the soldiers look to be playing some type of game while filming it for posterity.

It’s a wonder what the soldier on the far right is doing with a “hammer” or “mallet”, but that’s okay. What’s important is that these soldiers are enjoying themselves amid a grueling campaign against the Axis powers.

Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols
Christmas Carols always help bring up the spirit, especially during wartime.

No matter what your day has been like, sometimes Christmas carols can make it all better. This is likely what these soldiers from the 24 Engineers, 4th Armored Division told themselves. Using a little musical instrument, these soldiers were enjoying a break in the battle. It’s unclear if they were able to go door-to-door, but sometimes it’s the thought that counts.

Papuan Native Christmas

Papuan Dancing
American soldiers enjoying a Papuan native dance right before Christmas day.

For soldiers that were fighting in the Pacific, they received a true welcome in Papua New Guinea from the natives. To help the Americans celebrate Christmas, Papuan natives put on a native dance show in front of a few dozen soldiers. As many of these soldiers were unlikely to travel to various parts of the world on their own, the chance to see these lighthearted native displays was a real respite from everyday horrors.

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