Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Night Witches

The Night Witches was the nickname for a regiment of the Soviet Air Forces that consisted of almost solely female aviators. This group was notorious for taking on night bombings and harassing Germany throughout the entire war. Most of the women that survived to the war's end had flown almost 1000 bombing missions each, and flew in obsolete biplanes called the polikarov PO-2 biplanes. These planes could hold only 2 bombs and were the slowest planes to be in use, often coming back riddled with bullets. They often faced sexual harrassment, discrimination from male colleagues and superiors, the controversy of women in combat, and overcoming extremely demanding tasks to learn how to fly. The women would commit harrassment bombings on the Germans, and would often fly so low to the ground to be concealed by hedgegroves. It was said any German pilot to shoot down one of the Night Witches would earn an Iron Cross. The Witches would perform their raids by turning off their engines and silently gliding to their intended targets, releasing their bombs, then restarting the engines to quickly make their escape before being spotted. These women have a myriad of breathtaking stories about their feats and bravery. One thing is very clear: you did not want to be one of the Night Witches next targets.

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