Fierce, feared and female: The WWII pilots known as the ‘Night Witches’

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tags: military history, aviation, Russian history, womens history, World War 2, Soviet history

At the height of World War II, as darkness descended on the battlefields, a nightmare would appear in German skies.

The “Night Witches.”

That’s the name the Germans came up with for their nightly terror — 80 or so female aviators from Russia dropping bombs from rickety wooden planes that sounded like brooms sweeping the sky.

These pilots, who flew more than 30,000 sorties, were among the bravest fighters in that terrible, long war.

“One girl managed to fly seven times to the front line and back in her plane,” Irina Rakobolskaya, chief of staff for the Night Witches, said in a short documentary for the NBC News education division. “She would return, shaking, and they would hang new bombs, refuel her plane, and she’d go off to bomb the target again. This is how we worked, can you imagine?"

Read entire article at Washington Post

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