One of the last of the Red Air Force's "Night Witches", Nadezhda Popova, died earlier this month. She was 91. She was one of the first women to serve in the Soviet Air Force, she flew over 800 missions
"Night Witches" was the German term for the. The Russian pilots adopted it as a badge of honor. They flew Po-2 biplanes over German lines at night, engaging in harassment and interdiction missions to disrupt the sleep of the German soldiers. The Po-2 flew so slowly that enemy fighters trying to pace them would stall and crash (the Po-2s flew rather low). They also flew supply missions to drop supplies to Soviet troops who were cut off at Malaya Zemlya and Stalingrad.
The debate over whether women are capable of serving in combat should have been settled in 1945.
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