Nachthexen

Night Witches, indeed.

They flew low-and-slow in their wood and fabric biplanes during the dark of night with only basic instrumentation. The instrument panel had airspeed, altimeter, compass and turn-and-bank indicators. Add in a timepiece and it’s called “dead reckoning” for a reason, particularly in the middle of the night.

Some of them flew eighteen missions a night. By the end of the war, each and every one of them left alive had flown 1,000 or more missions. If you don’t know what that entails, read the article.

“We simply couldn’t grasp that the Soviet airmen that caused us the greatest trouble were in fact women. These women feared nothing. They came night after night in their very slow biplanes, and for some periods they wouldn’t give us any sleep at all.” –Hauptmann Johannes Steinhoff, Commander of II/JG 52, Oak Leaves to the Knight’s Cross, September 1942.

They were the women of the Russian 588th Night Bomber Regiment. You can read more about the bravery of these women and how they operated and survived at The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Addition.

2 thoughts on “Nachthexen

    • Indeed. As a former aviator, I can appreciate the flight logistics of accomplishing everything they did in the dark of night. All of it was amazing.

Leave a Reply