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WW2 RUSSIAN BRAVE GIRLS SOLDIERS

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Published on Mar 26, 2012

Soviet women bore their share of the burden in World War II (locally known as the Great Patriotic War). While most toiled in industry, transport, agriculture and other civilian roles, working double shifts to free up enlisted men to fight and increase military production, a sizable number of women took up arms.
800,000 women served in the Soviet Armed Forces during the war.Nearly 200,000 were decorated and 89 eventually received the Soviet Union's highest award, the Hero of the Soviet Union. They served as pilots, snipers, machine gunners, tank crew members and partisans, as well as in auxiliary roles.
At first, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, thousands of women who volunteered were turned away. Two factors changed attitudes and ensured a greater role for women who wanted to fight: the losses to the Germans after their initial success in 1941 and the efforts of determined women. In the early stages of the war, the fastest route to advancement in the military for women was service in medical and auxiliary units.

Pilots
For Soviet women aviators, instrumental to this change was Marina Raskova, a famous Russian aviator, often referred to as the 'Russian Amelia Earhart'. Raskova became a famous aviator as both a pilot and a navigator in the 1930s. She was the first woman to become a navigator in the Soviet Air Force in 1933. A year later she started teaching at the Zhukovskii Air Academy, also a first for a woman. When World War II broke out, there were numerous women who had training as pilots and many immediately volunteered. While there were no formal restrictions on women serving in combat roles, their applications tended to be blocked, run through red tape, etc for as long as possible in order to discourage them from seeing combat. Raskova is credited with using her personal connections with Joseph Stalin to convince the military to form three combat regiments for women. Not only would the women be pilots, but the support staff and engineers for these regiments were women. The Soviet Union was the first nation to allow women pilots to fly combat missions. These regiments flew a combined total of more than 30,000 combat sorties, produced at least thirty Heroes of the Soviet Union, and included at least two fighter aces. This military unit was initially called Aviation Group 122 while the three regiments received training. After their training, the three regiments received their formal designations as follows:

Land forces
The Soviet Union deployed women snipers extensively, and to great effect, including Nina Alexeyevna Lobkovskaya and Ukrainian Lyudmila Pavlichenko (who killed over 300 German soldiers). The Soviets found that sniper duties fit women well, since good snipers are patient, deliberate, have a high level of aerobic conditioning, and normally avoid hand-to-hand combat.
Women served as machine gunners, tank drivers, medics, communication personnel and political officers. Manshuk Mametova was a machine gunner from Kazakhstan and was the first Soviet Asian woman to receive the Hero of the Soviet Union for acts of bravery.
Women crewed the majority of the anti-aircraft batteries employed in Stalingrad. Some batteries, including the 1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, also engaged in ground combat.
In response to the high casualties suffered by male soldiers, Stalin allowed planning which would replace men with women in second lines of defense, such as anti-aircraft guns and medical aid. These provided gateways through which women could gradually become involved in combat, and demonstrate their capabilities. For example, women comprised 43% of physicians, who were often required to carry rifles as they retrieved men from firing zones. Through small opportunities like this, women gradually gained credibility on the battlefield, eventually numbering 500,000 at any given time toward the end of the war.

Partisans
Women consistituted significant numbers of the Soviet partisans. One of the most famous was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. In October 1941, still an 18 year-old high school student in Moscow, she volunteered for a partisan unit. At the village of Obukhovo near Naro-Fominsk, Kosmodemyanskaya and other partisans crossed the front line and entered territory occupied by the Germans. She was arrested by the Nazis on a combat assignment near the village of Petrischevo (Moscow Oblast) in late November 1941. Kosmodemyanskaya was savagely tortured and humiliated, but did not give away the names of her comrades or her real name (claiming that it was Tanya). She was hanged on November 29, 1941. It was claimed that before her death Kosmodemyanskaya had made a speech with the closing words, "There are two hundred million of us; you can't hang us all!" Kosmodemyanskaya was the first woman to become Hero of the Soviet Union during the war

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