female pilots killing nazi's, forgotton history, media portrayal of war, Nachthexen, night witches, pockets of history, russian, russian lady bombers, ryabova popova pilot, warfare, world war 2, ww2, WWII
I’m a fan of action and enjoy a good story with plenty of warfare. But I feel like I’ve been bombarded with too much ‘American soldier’ stories of WW2. I want new random perspectives of what happened during those terrible years. I don’t want to just hear about the allied side, the American side, the Jewish side, or even the German side. I want to learn about the perspectives that aren’t commonly shared in Western society. The stories that haven’t been turned into movies (although I wish they were!).
The ‘Night Witches’ (English translation of Nachthexen) are one of those fascinating pieces of history that…seemed to have been very silent. Most people aren’t aware of these amazing, strong, and skillful Russian women.
I discovered their existence only a few weeks ago when a friend shared a black and white image with a group of women dressed in pilot uniform. The text underneath read:
For those not in the know, Night Witches were russian lady bombers who bombed the **** out of german lines in WW2. Thing is though, they had the oldest, noisiest, crappiest planes in the entire world. The engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid flight to restart the props. the planes were also so noisy that to stop germans from hearing them coming and starting up their anti aircraft guns, they’d climb up to a certain height, coast down to german positions, drop their bombs, restart their engines in midair, and get the **** out of dodge.
their leader flew over 200 missions and was never captured.
girl pilots killing nazis.
how the **** is this not taught in every single history class ever?
I had to agre on this last part. How hasn’t this been taught when I learned about WW2? In fact, I don’t know much about the Russians during WW2. The automatic response I have to Russians is ‘thick accent bad guys who try to kill the American agent’. I don’t recall a movie where a story follows a Russian or Russians and show them in positive light (maybe I just need to watch more movies). They usually seem to be the ‘bad guys’. Anything that wasn’t American (thanks Hollywood), Australian (because I live in Australia), Jewish, European (Dutch partner and Spanish family), I know so little about. The Night Witches were daring and inspiring. And still are.
How on earth hasn’t there been a movie made about this? Have there been any fiction novels based on the Night Witches? I’d love to know their stories. I want to find more of these amazing pockets of history that the world has seemingly forgotten about. Do you know any more? What do you think of the Night Witches?
– Ermisenda Alvarez