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The Night Witches: the Soviet Women who helped win the war
Episode 1119th May 2020 • Demons and Dames • Demons and Dames the Podcast
00:00:00 01:12:01

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“I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes. I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber. And I ask myself, ‘Nadia, how did you do it?’ ”

So reminisced Nadezhda Popova, one of the legendary "Nitght Witches" and pilot for the Soviet's 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. The 588th was the only all-female bomber unit to be active throughout WWII and the Night Witches flew 30,000 missions over four years of warfare and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. They destroyed 17 river crossings, 12 fuel depots, and 176 armored cars. Join Sarah and Ash as they explore the formation and success of this legendary air force unit that so terrorised the Germans that they took on the mantel of the supernatural.


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Peniston-Bird, C., & Vickers, E. (2017). Gender and the Second World War : Lessons of war (Gender and history (Palgrave Macmillan (Firm))). London. 

Myles, Bruce. Night Witches : The Untold Story of Soviet Women in Combat (1981). Print.

Alfonso, Kristal L. M. The Soviet Female Fliers of World War II. Air University Press, 2009, pp. 21–38, Femme Fatale: An Examination of the Role of Women in Combat and the Policy Implications for Future American Military Operations, Accessed 7 May 2020.

TIPPNER, ANJA. “Girls in Combat: Zoia Kosmodem'ianskaia and the Image of Young Soviet Wartime Heroines.” The Russian Review, vol. 73, no. 3, 2014, pp. 371–388., Accessed 7 May 2020.

Campbell, D'Ann. “Women in Combat: The World War II Experience in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union.” The Journal of Military History, vol. 57, no. 2, 1993, pp. 301–323. JSTOR, Accessed 7 May 2020.

Documentary, Nattens Häxor (2008) A Swedish Television production. Produced by Roda Leppar. Directed, written by Gunilla Bresky.