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Women tank drivers ?


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#1 Jet

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 02:22 PM

I was in an english lesson a few days ago and my teacher was giving a debate about what jobs women can or can't do. Suddenly a question popped up asking 'are there any women soldiers'.
The teacher then said that there was and that Russian women actually drove tanks during the Eastern conflict in ww2.
Now i've neverheard of this before, and I know very little about the Russian theatre anyway. I'd just thought id ask if there were any women tank drivers? And also why. I mean, Russia didn't really have a massive shortage of man power, did they? Any help would be great. Thanks

Jet
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#2 charlie don't surf

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 06:19 PM

They did indeed, I can also name a handful of legendary russian women snipers. Russia has a matriarchic history but to explain that would take a lot of time. One could also explain it by pointing at ideoligical reasons- communism. I can imagine that there was a shortage of people with driving skills.

I'll get back with more information later, in the meantime I suggest you enjoy reading these articles. I especially find the sniper articles interesting.

http://www.iremember.ru/index_e.htm

Best regards/ Daniel smile.gif

PS. What was the conclusion of the debate, what jobs can't women perform?

#3 VYACHESLAV

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Posted 16 February 2003 - 11:38 PM

Soviets also had very good women pilots

#4 Heartland

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 07:40 AM

Originally posted by charlie don't surf:
They did indeed, I can also name a handful of legendary russian women snipers.

It's worth pointing out, that in one of those articles a female sniper mentions fighitng as an ordinary infantry(wo)man for extended periods. I believe she mentions fighting with a submachinegun during urban fighting where the environment is too enclosed for good sniping.
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#5 Jet

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Posted 17 February 2003 - 08:36 AM

Wow thanx guys. I had heard about women soldiers in the first world war but not in the second. You've all been a great help, thanx.

Jet
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#6 J.Jence

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 11:28 AM

http://wio.boom.ru/aces/gal-f.htm

There are some pictures of soviet women pilots.

http://wio.boom.ru/tank/sniper.htm

Some Snipers (women snipers too) vasili zaitsev photo


http://wio.boom.ru/

#7 Kai-Petri

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:45 PM

Indeed. I think in WW2 women did quite alot especially as men were needed in the front, but women as well ( guess mostly in Russia ) were fighters at the front.

I remeber reading on Stalingrad as the Germans were entering the city there were women soldiers with AT guns against them. And as we well know, Russian women were snipers and pilots as well.

Here´s a site for this, and some data:

The Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) had 1,700 members at the outbreak of WW2 and 180,000 by 1943. In 1949 it became the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF).

Collette Nirouet, disguised herself as a man and joined the French army. She was posthumously awarded the Croix de guerre. WW II (Wow!)

Alma Allen, a Danish resistance fighter led men and women in WW2

During the Greek Civil War (1943-1947) at least 20% of all combat troops were women.

Elaine Mordeaux, a French Resistance commander in WW2, led a unit of two hundred guerrillas, about a third of them were women.
(sse also Women Warriors Around the World)

Tito's Resistance Army in Yugoslavia included more than 100,000 women (partizanka) At least 2,000 women were promoted to officer ranks The first all woman partisan unit in Yugoslavia was formed in the Serbian village of Lika on August 25, 1942, 700 women volunteered for the 110 positions available.

Liza Ivanova organized and led a group of 68 men and women guerillas in Russia, 1941

Vera Krylova commanded an impromptu guerilla band of refugees in Russia. She was awarded the Order of the Red Banner and later fought with a battalion of ski troops

70% of the 800,000 Russian women who served in the Soviet army in WW2 fought at the front. One hundred thousand of them were decorated for defending their country.

Soviet Union had 1,000 women aviators were trained as fighter and military transport pilots, 30 of them were awarded the Gold Star of a Hero of the Soviet Union for their heroism in combat.

Maria Baide, a scout in the Crimea was awarded Russia's highest honor, Hero of the Soviet Union.


http://www.lothene.d...rs/women20.html
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#8 Jet

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 05:30 PM

WOW. These links are great, thanks guys. I think ill research about Russian women on the front. The story about the Germans comming up against women with AT guns is amazing.

Jet
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#9 Kai-Petri

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 08:49 AM

Jet,

The story on those Russian women AT Gunners can be read in Beevor´s book on Stalingrad. It happened as the German troops just were entering the city, so you can check it up in a book store if you don´t want to buy the whole book for that part. But anyway, a great book so maybe you should...

;)
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#10 Jet

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 09:43 AM

Thanx Kai-Petri. I think I probably will buy the book. It sounds pretty intresting.

Jet smile.gif
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#11 TheRedBaron

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 02:17 PM

I have an account from Otto Carius on the Russian Fighting women, that tells of an attack by a womens battalion on the eastern front, will dig it out and post it. There was a large influx of female volunteers to the Red Army at the start of the war and many served in combat roles. It was not uncommon to find husbands and wives crewing the same tank... smile.gif
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#12 Jet

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 09:33 PM

I have heard of Otto Carius before. I think it was on about a year ago. Wasnt he a very decorated leader and was wounded several times but returned to the front?
Thanx Red Baron. I was surprised to hear of husband and wives crewing the same time, thats quite extraordinary.
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#13 bill hartley

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 10:16 PM

When The Great Patriotic War started, Mariya was evacuated to Tomsk in Siberia. While living in Tomsk, she learned that her husband was killed fighting the German forces around Kiev in August 1941. The news took two years to reach her. The news extremely angered her. After hearing the news she was convinced that she should sign up to fight the Germans in vengeance for her husband's death. She sold all of her possessions to donate a tank for the Red Army. Her only requirement was that she would be allowed to drive it. The State Defense Committee agreed to this, realizing the publicity opportunities they could gain. The tank Mariya donated was a T-34 medium tank. By this time Mariya was 38 years old. Mariya took part in a five month tank training program immediately after the donation. These five month's training were unusual for tank crews at the time, usually tank crews were rushed straight to the front line with minimal training. After she completed her training, she was posted to the 26th Guards Tank Brigade in September 1943 as a driver and mechanic. She named her tank 'fighting girlfriend' and emblazoned these words on the turret of the T-34. Many of her fellow tankers saw her as a publicity stunt and a joke, but this attitude quickly changed when Mariya began fighting in her first tank battles in Smolensk. Her first tank battle began on the 21st October 1943.
Her first battle involved Mariya manouvering her tank about the battle like a veteran. She took part in the bitter fighting; destroying several machine-gun nests and artillery guns. She was the first of her brigade to breach the enemy positions. When her tank was hit by gunfire, Mariya, often disregarding orders not to, would leap out of her tank and repair the tank, amidst heavy fire. During this action, she was promoted to the rank of Seargent. A month later, on the 17-18 November, the Soviet forces captured the town of Novoye Selo in the region of Vitebsk during a night battle. During this attack, Mariya further improved her reputation as a skilled and fearless tank driver. On the 17th, Mariya began to assault the German positions near Noveoye Selo. However, a German artillery shell exploded into her tank's tracks, halting her advance. Mariya and a fellow crewman jumped out to repair the track, while their fellow crew members gave the covering fire from the tank's turret. After a while, Mariya fixed the tank track, and her tank rejoined the main unit several days later.
A year later, on the 17th January 1944, Mariya fought in another night attack that would be her last. The attack happened near the town of Fastov in Vitebsk. During the battle, Mariya drove her T-34 about the German defences. She destroyed resistance in trenches and machine-gun nests. She also destroyed a German self-propelled gun. Her success didn't last long however, her tank was hit by a German anti-tank shell, again in the tracks. Her tank stalled. Mariya immediately got out of the tank and began to repair the track, amid fierce small arms and artillery fire. She ignored orders to remain in the tank. She managed to repair the track, but she was hit in the head by shrapnel and was knocked out. Her T-34 tank was hit by shell-fire shortly after, killing the entire crew. After the battle Mariya was transported to a Soviet military field hospital. Mariya remained in a coma for two months, before finally passing away on the 15th March. The following August, Mariya was posthumously awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union award in recognition for her bravery at Fastov.


[wikipedia material]

#14 thecanadianfool

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:19 PM

Well Communism was more accepting towards woman then the democratic countries back in the day, because in Communism everybody is supposed to be equal. So that means that both men and woman were accepted in the armed forces. You see alot in old photographes, pictures of woman on the battlefields especially as partisans. So I'm not surprised that Russian woman manned Soviet tanks in WW2

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#15 brndirt1

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:53 PM

Tank drivers and commanders might be a bit of a stretch. Females were used as locomotive drivers, snipers, and truck drivers but the physical effort needed in the tanks of the time might have been to far over the top for them, simply as a physical effort. The T-34 didn't have either synchronized gear boxes, nor power assisted track control. It was all brake and clutch work, and very strenuous according to those who did the job in those T-34s at the time.

Not that one or two couldn't have done the "job", but the Red Army was nothing if not searching for efficient use of the work-force. I think one would be hard pressed to find a a female "tank driver" in the records, there are numerous records of them driving trucks, locomotives, cars, and motorcycles to great effect. Not tanks.
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#16 Biak

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 01:24 AM

Did a quick search and found a couple. Very little mention of women tank commanders/drivers.
Irina Nikolaevna Levchenko (1924-1973), lieutenant colonel and author. Levchenko was the daughter of a former minister of transportation and victim of Stalin’s terror. Appointed as a noncommissioned officer (NCO) at the age of seventeen, senior lieutenant at twenty-one, and major at twenty-eight, Levchenko became lieutenant colonel at thirty-one. She was skilled in tank driving, firing the tank gun, handling small arms, and dispensing first aid. Levchenko received her basic tank training with the 39th Tank Brigade in the Crimea, where she served as a medical NCO. After graduating from the Stalingrad Tank School in July 1942, Levchenko became a tank platoon commander. She also served as assistant tank battalion chief of staff and was liaison officer of the 41st Tank Brigade of the 7th Mechanized Corps. Levchenko ended her army career as a tank corps liaison officer, an appointment granted to the bravest, most resourceful, and most proven in combat. A participant in a reunion of Soviet and U.S. soldiers on the Elbe in 1945, Levchenko graduated from the Moscow Academy of Armored and Mechanized Troops in 1952. The first Soviet recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, she was decorated twelve times. She was awarded the HSU on May 6, 1965.

Mariia Vasil’ievna Oktiabrskaya (19051944), Guards sergeant. Oktiabrskaya served as tank driver-mechanic with the 26th Tank Brigade of the 2nd Tatsinsky Guards Tank Corps on the 3rd Belorussian front. As the wife of the political commissar of an infantry regiment before the war, Oktiabrskaya became an expert driver and Voroshilov sharpshooter. After evacuation to Tomsk, Siberia, and on learning that her husband, parents, and two sons had been killed, Oktiabrskaya sent all her savings to the authorities in Moscow to cover the cost of manufacturing a tank she wished to drive. Eventually, the authorities complied with her wishes. After training in tank driving, she distinguished herself in her first battle by maneuvering her tank onto enemy positions. Mortally wounded in the head while repairing a damaged track on January 17, 1944, Ok-tiabrskaya was buried in Kutuzov Gardens in Smolensk with other famous war heroes. She became a posthumous HSU recipient on August 2, 1944.

Soviet Union/Russian Federation, Women Heroes of the (Military Awards)

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#17 George Patton

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:00 AM

Its been a quite a few years since I read it, but I recall there being a Soviet woman tank commander (she was a major) mentioned in Thomas Taylor's book "Behind Hitler's Lines". I don't have my copy handy, but maybe someone can check theirs.

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#18 Triple C

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:59 PM

Its been a quite a few years since I read it, but I recall there being a Soviet woman tank commander (she was a major) mentioned in Thomas Taylor's book "Behind Hitler's Lines". I don't have my copy handy, but maybe someone can check theirs.


I wish I knew this from reading an honest book, but I didn't. Steel Panthers 1 had a scenario named in her honor ("Heroes of the Soviet Union"). I believe she was the commander of a tank regiment.

#19 Triple C

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:04 PM

Tank drivers and commanders might be a bit of a stretch. Females were used as locomotive drivers, snipers, and truck drivers but the physical effort needed in the tanks of the time might have been to far over the top for them, simply as a physical effort. The T-34 didn't have either synchronized gear boxes, nor power assisted track control. It was all brake and clutch work, and very strenuous according to those who did the job in those T-34s at the time.

Not that one or two couldn't have done the "job", but the Red Army was nothing if not searching for efficient use of the work-force. I think one would be hard pressed to find a a female "tank driver" in the records, there are numerous records of them driving trucks, locomotives, cars, and motorcycles to great effect. Not tanks.


I am pretty sure the Red Army actually used women in some tank units. They were desperate for warm bodies and it was a propaganda stunt used consciously to shame people into joining up. Ivan's War mentioned a husband-wife pair that donated a tank and then operated it in combat. There were also Germans who found dead women in Russian tanks.

Edited by Triple C, 06 June 2012 - 11:27 PM.





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