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Russian Women in Combat Positions

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  • Russian Women in Combat Positions

    I know that there were women serving as snipers and pilots and partisans in WW2, but what was the official policy of the time? What positions besides the ones mentioned could they do?

  • #2
    On the Road to Stalingrad: Memoirs of a Woman Machine Gunner (Paperback)
    by Zoya Matveyevna Smirnova-Medvedeva (Author), Z. M. Smirnova Medvedeva (Translator), Kazimiera Janina Cottam (Author):
    http://www.amazon.com/Road-Stalingra...1746324&sr=8-6

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    • #3
      I believe that they also served as mortar crews.
      “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

      Max Sterner

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      • #4
        Cannot remember the name, but the US paratrooper who was captured on D-Day and kept escaping and moving further and further east in Germany finally escaped and ended up with a Russian tank battalion that was commanded by a woman.
        Boston Strong!

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        • #5
          Osprey also has an interesting little book I read some time ago on the whole subject of Russian Heroines in WWII.

          http://www.ospreypublishing.com/titl...hp/title=S5988
          Boston Strong!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Col. Dyess View Post
            I know that there were women serving as snipers and pilots and partisans in WW2, but what was the official policy of the time? What positions besides the ones mentioned could they do?
            Nurses and doctors, pilots, mechanics, navigators, snipers, partisans, machine gunners, tank drivers, tank commanders, AA gunners, etc.
            Last edited by Kunikov; 14 Jun 07, 15:30.
            "This isn't Paris, you will not get through here with a Marching Parade!" Defenders of Stalingrad
            "Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" - with his mouth". Mark Twain
            "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Voltaire

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            • #7
              About the participance of the Soviet women in WWII.

              The official policy was to use women in the duties where women could be better or at least not worse than men.

              First of all, it is about medical staff. Red Army contained a lot of girls-combat medics and they fought excellently. Fragile girls pulled over wounded soldiers from battlefields right during a battle. There were girls-medics who saved hundreds, thousands of wounded.

              If it was necessary those girls fought with weapon in arms. There were cases when such girls-combat medics raised soldiers in an attack when it looked like nothing was possible to do it and the men raised because it was shameful to lie while a woman raised.

              Also military hospitals contained a lot of women-doctors.

              At second, the most of rears duties that could let to use men in a frontline. Girls served as road traffic controllers (even Churchill driving along Berlin streets saw one such girl and was amazed by her beauty and how well she did her job), telegraphists, radio-operators, signalers, interpreters, laundresses, cooks, crewmen of rears flak batteries, soldiers of barrage ballons units, searchlight crews, air defense sentries, and so on.

              The Soviet intelligence sent a lot of recon groups in enemy rears, usually such groups contained a “grandfather” and his “grandson” and “granddaughter” who was a girl-radio-operator.

              Especially it is necessary to say about snipers. A sniper should be patient and the patience is a woman’s ability. So Red Army contained a lot of girls-snipers.

              Also many women replaced men and worked in rears. There were villages when NO ONE man was as all the men were drafted and fought so women were tractor drivers, workers in plants and so on.

              Some women who had necessary training were mobilized (for example, doctors). Some women were mobilized to rears works.

              But many women went to local Military Commissariats and demanded to let them to fight with Nazies. Usually members of Military Commissariats spoke: “Sorry, the war is a man’s duty. Wait and if we need we’ll call you.” Many girls voluntarily went on courses of combat medics to be sent in frontline, some girls were sent on such courses or in courses of radio-operators or others.

              It is about official position.

              In some cases women had extraordinary posts and duties. A fighter-pilot was a rare woman’s duty as it was very difficult to them. To be a crewman of a light night bomber was easier and they did such duties. Some famous girls who were famous pilots before the war requested to organize women air units and such units were organized. Practically all their pilots and crewmen were women.

              There were a few women-tank drivers.

              In some cases girls joined to passing by units and fought there as ordinary soldiers in any duties. Usually such cases were if a girl could say the reason to join to the unit “Germans killed all my relatives and burn my home, I don’t know where to go and want to revenge” and so on or if a girl joined to a retreating unit as an auxiliary medic and then accidently changed her post on a combat one, for example, during an enemy attack replaced a killed machine gunner and continued to do his duties later.

              In memoirs of Popel an episode described when a few soldiers came to him (he was a large scale Commissar) and requested: “Let Galia, our combat medic, command our company. A few days ago our company commander was heavily wounded during a German attack. There were no officers more. And Galia took the command and commanded by us so we repelled that attack. From that time we are under her command. Comrade Commissar, let her stay to be our commander, she is a very good commander.”

              I read also memoirs of a girl who was a commander of a sapper unit (platoon or a company).

              There were many women in partisan detachments, women even commanded by a few partisan detachments. In partisan struggle girls often were partisan messengers to/from occupied settlements. Also many girls were sent as partisan or Soviet intelligence agents in pro-German administrative local institution – they were interpreters, girl-typists, housemaids and so on and often they were despised by the local Soviet population as collaborators.

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              • #8
                Hey, both of these stupid Stalingrad movies had chicks in them, so there

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Redwolf View Post
                  Hey, both of these stupid Stalingrad movies had chicks in them, so there
                  Haven't understood...

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                  • #10
                    Thank you Andrey for reply to my question.
                    I didn't realize they were in so many different jobs.

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                    • #11
                      Several links:

                      www.iremember.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid =2

                      www.iremember.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=278&Item id=25

                      www.iremember.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=288&Item id=26

                      And this lady was a pilot on Il-2 and later became a navigator-operator of her regiment! :
                      www.iremember.ru/misc/books/egorova.jpg

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                      • #12
                        Respect to all the Soviet women who took part in combat in whatever role.
                        Cultural and political differences of the time prevented British women from taking such roles but I would like to think they would have been equally capable given the opportunity and the same threat presenting. This thread prompts me to think about the German situation in the closing stages of the war. So far as I'm aware, German women didn't take any combat roles - or did they?

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                        • #13
                          Well it brings up a whole can of worms with women in combat in ancient times until today. I remember I did that as a controversial topic for research writing.
                          The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

                          Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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                          • #14
                            I believe that German womens served as nurses at field hospitals , and telephone operators at HQ:s .
                            Far away from the front and combats.
                            The closest they came to battle was probably when the hospital was bombed or attacked by partisans.
                            The Germans thought that womens place was at home racing children.
                            “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

                            Max Sterner

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                            • #15
                              At the moment I'm reading 'Russian combat methods' written in the late 1940's by German veterans of the Eastern Front. I suggest taking it with a grain of salt if you decide to read it, mainly I'm reading it to see where myths about Red Army soldiers, amongst other things, began. But, I came across this one passage which might be interesting to the creator of this thread:

                              "It was also not unusual for women to fight in the front lines. Thus, uniformed women took part in the final breakout struggle at Sevastopol in 1942; medical corps women in 1941 defended the last positions in front of Leningrad with pistols and hand grenades until they fell in the battle. In the fighting along the middle Donets in February 1943, a Russian tank was apparently rendered immobile by a direct hit. When German tanks approached, it suddenly reopened fire and attempted to break out. A second direct hit again brought it to a standstill, but in spite of its hopeless position it defended itself while a tank-killer team advanced on it. Finally it burst into flames from a demolition charge and only then did the turret hatch open. A woman in tanker uniform climbed out. She was th wife and cofighter of a tank company commander, who killed by the first hit, lay beside her in the turret. So far as Red soldiers were concerned, women in uniform were superiors or comrades to whom respect was paid."

                              I've seen this tank story here and there in other literature.

                              Page, 16. "Russian Combat Methods"
                              "This isn't Paris, you will not get through here with a Marching Parade!" Defenders of Stalingrad
                              "Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man" - with his mouth". Mark Twain
                              "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” Voltaire

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