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Women In The Russian Air Force

Discussion in 'Women at War' started by Jim, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim Active Member

    Sep 1, 2006
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    via War44
    Stalingrad was as much the turning point for the air force as it was for the Red Army, and Soviet flyers shot down approximately 900 German aircraft in the battle. They flew over 45,000 sorties over the area and dropped 15,240,000kg (15,000 tons) of bombs, and 10 Air Divisions of the Tenth Air Army were nominated as 'Guards Air Divisions', a distinction given to units who had excelled in battle.

    One of the more remarkable features of the Stalingrad battle was the appearance of the 586th Fighter Air Regiment, equipped with the latest Yak-7B fighters, an all-female organization, from the CO to the mechanics. The women of this regiment claimed 20 enemy aircraft between them, the Soviet scoring system was the toughest of all, which only credited a 'kill' if the victim fell within Soviet lines and could be positively confirmed.

    Marina Raskova


    The 586th was part of the all-female 122nd Air Group that included the 587th Bomber and 588th Night Bomber Regiments. These units operated from 1942 until the end of the war and inflicted considerable losses on the Germans; by the end of the war 586th Fighter Regiment had flown 4419 sorties and had shot down 38 German aircraft. When back in October 1941 Marina Raskova, a vivacious 28-year-old pilot and navigator, who had won the Gold Star of the Soviet Union for her pioneering work in 1938, proposed that women should fly and service combat aircraft, large numbers of women came to Moscow. She took command of the all female 125th Bomber Regiment but following her death was succeeded a man, Lieutenant-Colonel Valentin Markov.

    Remembering Raskova, who he had encountered at Kamyshin airbase, Konstantin Simonov wrote in his diary: 'I had never seen her close to and I did not realize that she was so young and beautiful. Maybe I remember it so well because soon afterwards I heard that she was killed.' During the war 15 women were killed in action and five became Heroes of the Soviet Union. Women also flew with male formations. One of them, Senior Lieutenant Anna Timofeya-Yegorova, was the deputy commander of the 805th Ground Attack Regiment flying the heavily armoured Ilyushin Shturmovik.

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