“Night witches“. Why so called our women-pilots?
A days 65 - y should be remembered anniversary of the Great Patriotic War women - soldiers who side by side battled near men and practically did not concede to them in anything. Women-pilots 46 - go a Guards night easily bombing aviaregiment passed in the years of war a nice fighting way from the mountains of the Caucasus to fascist Germany. 23672 times rose in the sky crews of a regiment, they dumped nearly three million kilograms of bombs on the enemy!
In 46 - men were not m Guards, all his soldiers - from pilots and navigators to technicians - were women. Yesterday`s students, pupils of aero clubs, workers of factories and plants. Young, fragile they for soul got up in a soldier`s system and with honor passed hard expensive war till a great Victory Day. 23 of them ranks of the Hero of the Soviet Union received. Among them there is Marina Raskova, Vera Byelik, Tatyana Makarova, Evgenia Rudneva, Marina Chechneva, Olga Sanfirova, Marina Smirnova, Nadezhda Popova.
46 - y the aviaregiment flew on easy night-intruders U - 2 (On - 2). Girls gently called the cars “swallows“, but their widely famous name - “A heavenly slow mover“. Plywood samoletik with a small speed. Each departure on On - 2 was accompanied by dangers. But neither enemy fighters, nor the antiaircraft fire meeting “swallows“ on the way could stop their flight to the purpose. It was necessary to fly at the height of 400 - 500 meters. In these conditions it was possible to bring down low-speed On - 2 just from a large-caliber machine gun. And quite often planes came back from flights with the honeycombed planes. Technicians patched them quickly, and further wings of many cars began to resemble scrappy blankets. Not to unmask airfield, technicians had to work in complete darkness, in any weather under the open sky. Girls worked just wonders as quite often it was required to return to a system the crippled car in, appear, impossible terms. Technicians and mechanics - Galya Korsun, Katya Broyko, Ania Sherstneva, Masha Shchelkanova and others - laid the work on the earth the foundation of fighting achievements in the sky.
Once two women-pilots returned from a task by absolutely broken plane: as soon as their “swallow“ held on to airfield?. Thirty holes, are killed by the chassis, damaged tsentroplan and a fuselage. Girlfriends were sure that day three they should be horseless. But what their surprise when the plane was restored in 10 hours was!
Our small On - 2 haunted Germans. In any weather they appeared over enemy positions at small heights and bombed them. Girls had to do 8 - 9 departures in a night. But there were such nights when they received a task: to bomb “to the maximum“. It meant what departures has to be so much, as much as possible. And then their number reached to 16 - 18 for one night as it was on Oder. Women-pilots literally took out from cabins and bore on hands, - they were ready to drop. Courage and courage of our women-pilots were estimated also by Germans: fascists called them “night witches“. One captured German officer on interrogation complained that “russfaner“ haunt them at night and called our women-pilots “night witches“, from - for whom they cannot sleep.
It was necessary to fly generally at night, approached the purpose with the muffled motor. It were dangerous flights in the night sky which is cut up by blades of searchlights, stitched by tracer shells. It were the risk and courage, overcoming of own weakness and fear, the indispensable will to win. Each flight for them was in own way difficult, and therefore is memorable. But there were among them those that are remembered especially, such when minutes stand weeks and months of life, flights after which the first gray hair appears. For years of war the regiment lost 32 women-pilots.
Now, looking back, it is difficult to present that these young fragile girls brought down deadly freight on the enemy, destroyed aim fire of fascists. Each flight was examination - test for flight ability, for courage, resourcefulness, endurance. They handed over it on “perfectly“.