Frontline traditions of a peaceful holiday

Source: WoT RU portal

In war, men are especially appreciative of what is reminiscent of peace time and home. Therefore, one of the most important things in the trenches are objects that refer to a happy past: letters from home and any trinkets that you can carry in your pocket or knapsack. It’s no accident that soldiers in the war like peaceful pursuits – from farming to watching performances staged by comrades-in-arms.

New Year’s holidays stand apart: yesterday’s young men, who grow their moustaches for solidity, and the venerable fathers of the families enthusiastically dress up the tree and prepare festive dishes, waiting for Santa Claus. And let the tree be decorated with shot liners and muffin wrappers, the pudding burned, and the beard from the cotton wool was secured by a sergeant bored to the devils – all this is not so important. A holiday is a holiday.

Thanks to the surviving pictures, we can see how the New Year celebrations were marked by fighters around the world at different times. Our today’s photo-collection is about the celebration of Christmas and New Year on the front during the last century.

Before the First World War, for the celebration of Christmas, the military apparently did not need elegant clothes – it was enough simple uniforms. In the photo: the Prussian hussars, Christmas, 1912.


The first Christmas of the First World War in the German still not deep trench. Soldiers who were promised that by this time they will be at home, without special enthusiasm decorate the tree, leaving rifles on the parapet.


Hungarian artillerymen, 305-mm howitzer “Skoda” M.11 and a Christmas tree. Or a few trees. December 1914.


French “poilu” cut a tree. Christmas 1914.


Christmas 1939 with a fir-tree on a German coast battery in Gotenhafen. Only a few months ago it was the Polish Gdynia – it is clear that the position of the gun was equipped quite recently.


Colorful Per-Noel in helmet Adriana congratulates the French soldiers of the 331st Infantry Regiment on Christmas 1939, giving them sausage and other gifts. The inscriptions on the helmet clearly refer to the glorious traditions of the French army, who skillfully confronted the Germans in the last war.


After an air raid conducted by Luftwaffe. The group of British soldiers finished the analysis of the debris in anticipation of the Christmas pudding. London, December 28, 1940.


The Red Army in the first years of war was not up to celebrate the holidays, and as we can see from the photographic materials, things were bad. One of the more valuable rare pictures: the New Year’s meeting at the tree in the famous 8th Guards Rifle Division named after Ivan Panfilov, December 31, 1941.


Santa Claus delivers a Christmas tree to the training camp of the US Army in Virginia, 1941-1942. The “Willy” in the picture is a rare early modification of Willys MA.


Heat, turkey and a traditional Christmas cake with candied fruits – American soldiers on Guadalcanal. Solomon Islands, December 25, 1942 .


The same day on December 25, 1942, but instead with American cake, no less traditional than English pudding. Christmas dinner in the wardroom of the old British battleship Malaya. Scapa Flow, Scotland.


The American soldiers of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division are cleaning potatoes in the regimental kitchen. The shell is crowned with a miniature fir tree. Metz, France, December 1944.


American sailors celebrate Christmas aboard the aircraft carrier Lexington. Given that the main decorations on the festive tree are made of paper, Santa Claus in the suit of a fireman might be very helpful. The second half of World War II.


A South Korean soldier decorates a Christmas tree in front of the headquarters of the 19th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division. The war in Korea, December 25, 1951. Dressed in the usual front-line “toys”: cotton wool and cigarette packs.