USSR Female Aviation Regiment Night Witches
USSR Female Aviation Regiment “Night Witches” – a bomber regiment of the USSR troops, consisting exceptionally of women. The Regiment was an unusual phenomenon in the Air Forces of the USSR. During the years of the World War II, or the Great Patriotic War, its pilots made many sorties, covering the flag of the regiment with military unfading glory. Brave women of the 46th Guards Taman Red Banner Order of Suvorov of third degree Night Bomber Aviation Regiment flew in tiny fighters in the remote areas to fight the Germans at night. They were armed and trained better than the German Air Force. During the fighting pilots of regiment made 23,672 sorties, many of which helped win important battles, both in Russia, and later, and in Germany. Women were so good and subtle, that German soldiers gave them the nickname «Nachthexen», or “Night Witches.” Their tactic was to fly up to the goal at a certain distance, and then turn off the engine to reduce the noise emitted by aircraft. They gradually reduced height and dropped bombs on the enemy, before anyone had time to notice them.
From the very first days of the Great Patriotic War, many girls and women were in the military, demanding to send them to the front. They wanted an equal footing with men in arms to defend their homeland. In October 1941, following a call for the formation of the Komsomol female aviation units started in Moscow. Management was entrusted to the well-known across the country pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail Raskov. Single and in groups, to the building of the Central Committee of Komsomol came the pilots of civil aviation flying clubs, students, young workers of Moscow factories, institutions and enterprises.
A few months after the war, women’s regiment was disbanded, the girls have returned to civilian life, many have continued their interrupted studies. But their front-line friendship still lives. They meet in the park of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow every year on May 2nd and November 8 th – as decided at the last meeting of the regiment. During these meetings, the former guards tell each other about their lives, about the successes and difficulties in life. They remember battle friends, and the days of their military youth.