Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Die Nachthexen

Posted in Curiosa & Forteana, Historia & Memoria by Suzanne G. on August 10th, 2004 | BBC Wikipedia

© Soviet Women Pilots in the Great Patriotic War
(click on thumbnails for detailed view)

From top to bottom, left to right:
• Lieutenant Natalya Myeklin - Wearing the
Hero of the Soviet Union gold star (I, II)
• Major Marina Raskova - A record-breaking aviatrix (III)
• Nachthexen - Female pilots from the Russian
588th Night Bomber Regiment (IV, V)

In 1942 the Soviet Union formed three regiments of women combat pilots who flew night combat missions of harassment bombing. They flew obsolete Polikarpov
Po-2 biplanes, that were otherwise used as trainers, and which could only carry 2 bombs that weighted less than a ton altogether.
They were so successful and deadly the Germans feared them, calling them "Nachthexen" — "Witches of the Night".

The Soviet women bomber pilots earned in total 23 Hero of the Soviet Union medals and dozens of Orders of the Red Banner. Two women bomber pilots — Katya Ryabova and Nadya Popova — in one night raided the Germans 18 times. The Po-2 pilots flew more than 24,000 sorties and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. Most of the women bomber pilots who survived the war in 1945 had racked up nearly 1,000 missions each. They had served so exemplarily throughout the whole war that they participated in the final onslaught on Berlin.

→ Resources:

Soviet Women Pilots in the Great Patriotic War

Marina Raskova and the Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

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