Barter, Chess, Drink, Cards And Other Things That Go On During Battlefield Truces.

by Daniel Russ on December 1, 2010

British And German Troops Barter During WWI Truce.

“Pickets constantly arranged for informal truces, meeting between the lines to trade knives, tobacco, newspapers, and other small valuables, as they traded they talked things over.” Bruce Catton writes this about Cold Harbor. There are numerous other examples of unofficial truces between fighting armies. One of them of course has been debunked but new research tells it as a true story. On December 24th 1914, all along the Western front between Germany and Britain, German soldiers started decorating their command posts and trenches, and similarly, so did the British. Before long there was no artillery fire and people were walking back and forth across the no mans land between the trenches.

One of the biggest rivalries amongst generals in the Napoleanic wars was that between Napolean and the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington notes with some consternation that British and French troops often congregrated near the battlefields between actions. They chatted and they smoked and they bartered.

The Wilson Boer Truce During The Battle Of Game Tree Fort.

One of the funniest cases of fraternization between troops in between engagemenst as during the Crimean War when Russian sentries would leave vodka bottles for the French and the French would leave baskets of baguettes in return or as signals to begin bartering.

During the Second Boer War, Boers and British played soccer and Boxing Day and Christmas Day. Then they drank and smoked together. And then they returned to the bloody business of killing each other.


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