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The Night Witches

Marina Raskova convinces Stalin to allow her to form the first all-women air combat regiment who serve as bomber and fighter pilots in WWII to help defend the Motherland against Hitler's surprise attack.  These regiments include the elite Night Witches so dubbed by the German troops they attack.  


Under equipped, the women fly through frigid nights  in open cockpits with their bombs in their laps.  They sometimes buzz the German troops, sometimes bomb them, and always create havoc in their camps wearing the Germans down for an easier defeat by their Soviet comrades.  

They would sleep in their cockpits between sorties at night. They would wash their hair with warmed radiator water and put the bombs in their laps because the airplane would have sunk in the soggy ground had they strapped them on the wings.

Marina Roskova is killed in action and receives the first state funeral of the war eulogized by Stalin and buried in Red Square with a plaque in the Kremlin Wall. By the end of WWII, the Night Witches had flown 30,000 bombing raids, delivered around 23,000 tons of munitions, and had lost 30 pilots. Twenty-three female pilots were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

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