Soviet Chivalry & Witches…

All adults not involved in essential war work were conscripted into the armed forces.

By 1944 there were over two million women serving in the Red Army.

In a small touch of chivalry amidst the carnage and suffering, the government made the soap ration for female soldiers 100 grams more than for the men.

Special all-female units were sometimes formed. One remarkable example was the 46th Guards Night Bomber Regiment, which the Germans nicknamed ‘the night witches’, a reference to the women pilots’ tactic of switching off their engines as they attacked so that they glided in undetected by the enemy air defence crews. They made ‘a whooshing sound, like a witch’s broom stick in the night’.” (Lynch, 2008, p.97).


Lynch, M. (2008) Stalin’s Russia, 1924-53. 4th Ed. London: Hodder Education.


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