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Evolved
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 11:07 AM
Marina Raskova and the Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

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 looked hopeless.

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."

On August 2, 1942, her plane crashed in the Caucasus. She and her navigator were found alive a few days later. The winter of 1942 was brutal, with the temperature plummeting to -54o F during the battle of Stalingrad. Parts of the aircraft were so cold that they ripped the skin off of anyone who touched them. By January 1943, the women of the 588th were worn out. Sleepless nights, constant stress, the loss of friends and sexual harassment from male colleagues took their toll. Women in the 588th flew up to 500 night raids!

From the battle of Stalingrad to the fall of Berlin, the regiment made 24,000 combat flights and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. It was awarded the Soviet Union's highest collective military honor. Years after the war, Nadia Popova said, "At night sometimes, I look up into the dark sky, close my eyes and picture myself as a girl at the controls of my bomber and I think, 'Nadia, how on earth did you do it?"

Full article with pictures here (http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/soviet_women_pilots.html). :)

Mistress Klaus
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 01:05 PM
:D So that is the reason why my Russian-blooded boyfriend gets excited when I play IL2 Sturmovik... :D

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 05:22 PM
Yes and I remember reading about how the Communist regime overblew their exploits just for the sake of ideological propaganda. And as military historian Martin Van Creveld talks about in one of his books, there are great inconsistencies in the statements given by supposed female veterans.

According to many Red Air Force vets, the female pilots often patrolled quiet areas of the front or got the least dangerous missions. And the fact they were given shit-quality planes is further proof they werent taken seriously by the high command.

The truth of the matter is, females did not play a big combat role(if any combat role at all) in the Soviet armed forces. 1 million women served in the Soviet Armed forces during WW2, and that number is still only 1/12 of total Soviet strength. Of that 1 million only 250 to 500 thousands were actually trained for combat. Yet that still doesnt prove they saw combat(women are trained for combat in the IDF yet dont see action). Even if they did, they would only comprised 0.7% of Red Army strength.

In fact I have yet to see photage of female soldiers ACTUALLY IN COMBAT. The only photage ever shown of female soldiers are them either marching around on the parade ground or target practicing. Thats not combat.



It was awarded the Soviet Union's highest collective military honor.

Yeah? And the largest amount of highest military honors were awarded to Stalin himself. I believe they're referring to the Hero of the Soviet Union, and records show only 0.7% of its recipents were female.

So I highly doubt this proves anything, especially in the way of female participation in warfare.

Tifilis
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 06:15 PM
Yeah? And the largest amount of highest military honors were awarded to Stalin himself.

Stalin was a real weirdo, he gave himself a hell of a lot of orders, without ever beeing in combat. He fled from military duty under WWI, and had never been in the army.

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 06:48 PM
He fled from military duty under WWI, and had never been in the army.

Thats not true really. I remember reading in Radvinsky's biography of Stalin that he did actually try to join the army at one time. But because of his records with the secret police, he was rejected. Oh well, he did see somewhat military experience with guerrilla bands in Georgia. I'll have to recheck Radvinsky's book but I do remember reading about this.

Tifilis
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 07:24 PM
Thats not true really. I remember reading in Radvinsky's biography of Stalin that he did actually try to join the army at one time. But because of his records with the secret police, he was rejected. Oh well, he did see somewhat military experience with guerrilla bands in Georgia. I'll have to recheck Radvinsky's book but I do remember reading about this.

Yeah, maybe. I also remebering Stalin had a "damage" with his left arm, caused by some sickness when he was young, that made the left arm shorter than the other arm, and therefore he couldn't use a gun. But he sure dressed as an officer...

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 07:58 PM
But he sure dressed as an officer...

He understood the aesthetic beauty of military uniforms. To be honest, I always prefer the paintings of Stalin in uniform to his typical peasent suit.

Tifilis
Tuesday, June 1st, 2004, 09:04 PM
He understood the aesthetic beauty of military uniforms. To be honest, I always prefer the paintings of Stalin in uniform to his typical peasent suit.

There isn't anything I love more than Soviet propaganda posters, escpecially of Stalin :) , just look at my signature picture..

Evolved
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004, 10:10 AM
Historical fact after being put through the Pushkin Filter: "No one has done anything of note besides Slavic men with facial hair and the Aryan Jesus."

Phlegethon
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004, 10:33 AM
Historical fact after being put through the Pushkin Filter: "No one has done anything of note besides Slavic men with facial hair and the Aryan Jesus."

...because the Germans let them. ;)

Taras Bulba
Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004, 10:00 PM
There isn't anything I love more than Soviet propaganda posters, escpecially of Stalin :) , just look at my signature picture..

I love Soviet art as well. I especially love the paintings that are more military in theme. But then again I like any great works of art with military themes. :D

Tifilis
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004, 06:19 AM
I love Soviet art as well. I especially love the paintings that are more military in theme. But then again I like any great works of art with military themes. :D

Yeah, Soviet propaganda rocks :D , I'm acctualy making up my own propaganda art for living, trying to sell it.. I'm a good drawer and are doing some you see. I also got a nice set of a Soviet naval officer's uniform, with hat, coat, uniform and trousers :)...

Here is a nice picture for you:

Dr. Solar Wolff
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004, 07:40 AM
:D So that is the reason why my Russian-blooded boyfriend gets excited when I play IL2 Sturmovik... :D


The Sturmovik was a ground attack aircraft. Your boyfriend is getting excited because you are "coming in low".

Evolved
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004, 08:40 AM
Guys like to watch girls play with a joystick. :joystick

Abby Normal
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004, 01:47 PM
Stalin was a real weirdo, he gave himself a hell of a lot of orders, without ever beeing in combat. He fled from military duty under WWI, and had never been in the army.
True, but that did not stop him from looking sexy in military attire. By the way, I love the picture in your signature.;)


Excellent article, lg! Girl power, Soviet power and all that good stuff!

Tifilis
Thursday, June 3rd, 2004, 02:24 PM
True, but that did not stop him from looking sexy in military attire. By the way, I love the picture in your signature.;)


Hehe, thanks :)

Well, here are some more for you ;) :
http://www.all-photo.ru/stalin/photos/13361-0.jpg