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Thread: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

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    Thumbs Up Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    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.

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    Thumbs Up Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    So that is the reason why my Russian-blooded boyfriend gets excited when I play IL2 Sturmovik...

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    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.

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by Pushkin

    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.
    I can inform you that I'm currently surrounded by military men.

    -A comrade from Moscow over the phone

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by Tifilis
    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.

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by Pushkin
    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...
    I can inform you that I'm currently surrounded by military men.

    -A comrade from Moscow over the phone

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by Tifilis
    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.

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by Pushkin
    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..
    I can inform you that I'm currently surrounded by military men.

    -A comrade from Moscow over the phone

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    Post Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    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."

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    Re: Soviet Women Pilots of World War II

    Quote Originally Posted by lg
    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.
    And all my youth passed by sad-hearted,
    the joy of Spring was never mine;
    Autumn blows through me dread of parting,
    and my heart dreams and longs to die.

    - Nikolaus Lenau (1802-1850)

    Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

    - Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

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