Marina Raskova and the Soviet Women Pilots of World War II
Marina Raskova (1912-1943)
On June 22, 1941, Hitler's Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union, and Operation
Barbarossa was under way.
By November, the German army was just 19 miles from Moscow. Leningrad was
under siege, three million Russians had been taken prisoner, a large part of
the Red Army was wiped out and the air force was grounded. The situation
In the summer of 1941, Marina Raskova, a record-breaking aviatrix, organized
the 588th night bomber squadron - composed entirely of women, from the
mechanics to the navigators, pilot and officers.
Most of them were around 20 years old. The 588th began training in Engels, a
small town north of Stalingrad. In a few months, the women were taught what
it takes most people four years to learn.
One June 8, 1942, three planes took off on the first mission. The target:
the headquarters of a German division. The raid was successful, but one
aircraft was lost. The 588th fought non-stop for months, flying 15 to 18
missions a night. "It was a miracle we didn't lose more aircraft", recalls
Nadia Popova. "Our planes were the slowest in the air force. They often came
back riddled with bullets, but they kept flying." Germans feared them,
calling them Nachthexen--night witches.
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
There are many beautiful women in different nations, but Russian beauty has its own peculiarities and distinctive features.
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Russian girls are able to downcast eyes like delinquent children, it seems they are about to cry, their eyes barely restrain turquoise tears that came out of the permafrost, centuries of grief.
Many ordinary Russian traditions evoke surprise and incomprehension of foreigners.
Russian women love to dress up. For example, a nice dress and high heels they consider appropriate attire for a simple stroll or even for ordinary trip to the store.
Russian girl is a flower, leaning over the weak men, they forgive them and twirl them as they wish.
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