6 of the Most Heartwarming Stories Ever (Happened in Wars)
When your grandpa gets in "that" mood and starts telling old war tales, you don't expect your reaction to be "awwww, so cute" -- you cover the ears of any children present and brace yourself for a sleepless night. And yet, there are plenty of real stories of war so ridiculously adorable that they make a Disney movie look like Vietnam. For instance, there's the time when ...
The U.S. Air Force Bombs Berlin ... With Candy
Apparently it kinda sucked to live in Germany for a while. In 1948, after the country was split up among the winners of World War II, Russia decided to cut all rail and transport routes to Berlin in the hope that a little food deprivation would convince the democratic side of the city that communism is awesome. That's when the U.S. and the other Allied nations remembered that they had things called airplanes -- thus began Operation Little Vittles, also known as the Berlin Airlift, in which military planes spent a year dropping sweet democracy (also food) on the city as a huge "fuck you" to Stalin.
Berlin was now getting everything it needed, except one essential thing -- candy.
"I bet it's Skittles this time! Wait ... nope, more grain. Dammit."
Utah-born Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen was moved by the sight of a bunch of candyless children in Berlin and gave them a pack of gum he was carrying, promising he'd return the next day with sweets they could actually swallow. So Halvorsen began dropping chocolate on the children with (hopefully unused) handkerchiefs as adorable little parachutes. He'd wiggle the wings of his plane so the kids would recognize him and brace themselves for the chocolate rain, earning him the name "Uncle Wiggly Wings." The whole thing was like something out of a children's book.
"Sorry, kids, ran out of handkerchiefs and went with TP today. That's not chocolate."
Of course, "magical deeds out of children's books" are strictly against regulation, so Halvorsen was told to cut that shit out ... until his bosses realized how much Germany loved them for doing this. That's when the Air Force deployed a bunch of planes whose sole purpose was to shower West Berliners with tons and tons of candy donated by the American Confectioners Association.
Stalin panicked and ordered that they drop hot borscht on the kids to compete.
Even when the airlift ended in 1949 after the Soviets finally gave up, the now zit-filled and hyperkinetic Berlin children never forgot about Uncle Wiggly Wings. Halvorsen is still known throughout Germany for throwing candy at kids from high altitudes and had a couple of schools named after him. This is how Santa-like legends get started.
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George Washington Returns a British General's Dog
If George Washington had a nemesis, that was probably British general William Howe. During the Revolutionary War, Howe's forces defeated Washington's a bunch of times and forced the future president to retreat from New York to New Jersey and then to Delaware. Whenever you see a painting of General Washington in battle, chances are he's screaming "HOOOOOOOOOOWE!"
Or "God dammit, not New Jersey again."
In October of 1777, Washington and Howe met again at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Both sides fought hard, but Howe led a flood of British and Hessian troops and annihilated Washington's forces, killing over 100 and taking over 400 prisoner, winning the battle. Which is probably why you don't read so much about this one in the textbooks at school.
However, despite the loss, the Americans still managed to take a prisoner -- a dog. More specifically, General Howe's terrier managed to flee during the fight and ended up in the rebels' camp. On the other side, Howe worried for two days just what those barbaric Americans were doing to his pet.
"We're not barbaric! Anyway, set up the barbecue. Dibs on the heart."
But two days later, the dog came out of the woods and went right to Howe, with a note attached. It simply said, "General Washington's compliments to General Howe. He does himself the pleasure to return him a dog, which accidentally fell into his hands, and by the inscription on the Collar appears to belong to General Howe."
"P.S. Eat a dick."
You see, Washington was a big dog lover himself, and even though Howe had literally killed hundreds of his men, he just didn't have the heart to take advantage of the situation -- like, say, sending over the dog's turds with a plate and a note that said "Let's see how much you want it back. Bon appetit!" (We're just spitballing here.) Washington even called a cease fire to get the dog back in a touching moment of common love for man's best friend. Then they went back to killing each other.
England Saves a Dog by Enlisting Him in the Royal Navy
Just Nuisance was a Great Dane who lived on a British naval base in South Africa during World War II. He got that particular handle because he had a habit of lying down in the narrow bridges leading between the ships and the docks, and at 6 feet 6 inches, he wasn't exactly easy to avoid.
A second later, he snapped the man's neck -- the guy was a Nazi spy.
Still, the sailors loved Nuisance and let him follow them off base and onto the local trains. Sometimes Nuisance would guide the sailors back to base when they'd had too much to drink or intervene when fights broke out between them (presumably by licking his own balls and distracting everyone). The problem was that the local train workers didn't share the sailors' appreciation for the large, noisy sack of fleas -- the sailors would try to sneak him onto the trains undetected, but it probably would have been easier to get away with bringing in an armed torpedo.
Despite offers from local passengers to simply pay the dog's fare, the train dicks were adamant that the pony-size dog had to go, one way or another. It got to the point where they said that if he was caught on the train again, they'd have to put him down.
The navy's solution? Well, we'll just show you:
"Dogs with hats" is the answer to a surprising number of life's problems.
The Royal Navy simply enlisted him. Like enlisted in the same way as a person. This meant not only that the train dicks couldn't kill one of His Majesty's sailors, but also that as a service member he was entitled to ride the trains FREE. Nuisance even "signed" his enlistment forms (which listed his religion as "Scrounger") with his paw, had to pass the routine medical examination, and got to sleep in the sailors' beds from that point on. He later served as an admiral during the Falklands War and was buried with military honors.
Yep, that part was true.
The U.S. Navy Starts an Ice Cream Fleet
In 1945, U.S. Navy forces spread across the South Pacific were facing three major problems: a hot climate, low morale, and Japanese soldiers trying to kill them all day, every day. That's when Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal came up with a solution to the second and third most pressing of these problems. That solution was called "free ice cream." Literally tons and tons of free ice cream.
Two out of three ain't bad.
Forrestal was aware of the importance of these delicious bundles of calories. The man knew his ice cream and took it seriously. He once said, "Ice cream in my opinion has been the most neglected of all the important morale factors" (after porno mags and booze, but he couldn't say that). It was so important to the war agenda, in fact, that Forrestal somehow managed to convince the government budget people to give him $1 million for ice cream.
"But not one damn cent for toppings."
Designing a barge, the Navy pretty much built a floating ice cream parlor with huge freezers on board ready to be sent anywhere in the South Pacific. And the servicemen ate it up: The ship produced 10 gallons of ice cream every seven seconds. It proved such a success that the Navy soon had a whole fleet of ice cream ships sailing around the Pacific like floating Dairy Queens, probably blasting the ice cream truck jingle from giant speakers.
"I still remember the day they ran out of vanilla. It was hell."
A Cat Gets a Medal for Killing Commie Rats
Don't worry, Internet: The Royal Navy loved cats, too (just not enough to make thousands of gifs of them). Take Simon, a tuxedo cat who was living aboard the HMS Amethyst, a British Royal Navy frigate, just after World War II. Simon had been adopted by the ship's kind captain, who let him sleep on his cap when it wasn't on his head. Because that would have been awkward.
But then the shit hit the fan. On April 20, 1949, the ship was on its way up the Yangtze River in Asia when it was caught in the middle of the Chinese civil war -- communist shells smashed through the hull, killing 22 men, including the captain. The Amethyst was stuck on the shore and prevented from retreating by more commie guns. The surviving men were trapped there for over three months with nothing to do but make up new ways to curse Karl Marx's name.
"More like Butt Marx! We're so tired."
On top of that, the Amethyst had developed a bit of a rat infestation since becoming stuck, with the little bastards multiplying all over the ship and trying to eat what food remained. This was a serious problem, since the injured and exhausted crew couldn't exactly ask the Chinese to let them take a quick trip to England for more supplies.
Even Simon was starting to look delicious.
This is when Simon the cat stepped the fuck up. Despite being badly hurt by the explosions (he'd been left with shrapnel all over his body), the death of his friend, and getting unceremoniously kicked out of the main cabin by the new captain (not a cat lover), Simon recovered and set about tirelessly exterminating all the rats on the ship, one by one.
Between his slaughter of rats and his company while the new captain was sick, Simon saved the ship from starvation and, perhaps more impressively, won the hard man's heart. The captain wrote that Simon "rose nobly to the occasion" and kept the morale up. On the captain's recommendation, Simon won the Dickin Medal, which is kind of like a Medal of Honor for animals, and became a celebrity. It's safe to say he spent the rest of his days drowned in mad pussy.
On the other hand, he's seen as one of the greatest mass murderers ever by rat enthusiasts.
"Gunner" Learns to Be a Canine Air Raid Siren
In 1942, Australia could practically feel Japan looking at them across the Pacific and salivating at the thought of all the bizarre, hilarious animals they could suddenly own if they expanded their empire. And so, in February of that year, Japanese forces began bombing the Australian city of Darwin.
Actual Japanese attack plan for the Pacific.
The first time Japan bombed the city, Leading Aircraftman Percy Leslie Westcott's dog, Gunner, was wounded by one of the explosions, and the experience had a profound effect on the little dog (which isn't surprising, considering that even a vacuum cleaner traumatizes them). What no one suspected was that, like in a comic book, the explosion also gave the dog superpowers.
It gave a lot of people superpowers, too, assuming "PTSD" counts as a superpower.
You see, one day Gunner began freaking out for no apparent reason and tried to get Westcott to go with him to shelter. Being kind of on duty in the military, Westcott was unable to just drop everything and head in for a break ... until, that is, the Japanese showed up and started bombing the place again. A few days later, the same thing happened -- Gunner started going apeshit for no reason and, like before, Japanese planes were soon overhead dropping death from the skies.
That's when Westcott figured it out: Gunner could hear the Japanese planes coming, like 20 minutes before their instruments picked them up. This would have been impressive enough if the dog didn't live in the middle of an airbase, which he did. Either Gunner had exceptionally discerning ears (he didn't seem to be bothered by non-enemy planes coming and going all the time), or the fucker had psychic powers.
So the next time your dog starts barking for no reason, take heed: The Japanese might be about to bomb your backyard.
After confirming his dog's abilities, Westcott told his superiors about them in what must have been an interesting conversation. Gunner proved to be so good that they gave Westcott a portable air raid siren for him to activate when the dog told him to, saving many lives in the process. Think about that: With all the strange and magical animals they have in Australia, in the end they were saved by a regular dog.
Step up your game, platypus.
Related Reading: War actually has an extensive history of being adorable. Did you know Robert E. Lee once risked his life to save a wounded bird, mid-battle? And at one point in World War 2, squads of Nazi and American soldiers wound up sharing a lovely Christmas dinner. And surprising tales of compassion aren't limited to battling armies. Violent crime syndicates can do great things too.