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Sioux Falls Feminists endorse Night Witches for giving us an
accurate history of the Soviet women bombers,
The Night Witches.

Night Witches
A History of the All Female
588th Night Bomber Regiment
By Fergus Mason

Night Witches (2014) - 142 pages
Night Witches at Amazon.com

Near Kalach, Russian Soviet Socialist Republic; July 1942

The heavy, damp air concealed the sound at first.

Since the breakout past Kharkov in May, the men of the Wehrmacht's 6th Army had advanced over three hundred miles through fierce Soviet resistance. Day after day they'd marched hard along the scorched, dusty roads of southern Russia, the long columns of troops following in the wake of the Panzer regiments that smashed each Soviet line and cut the survivors into isolated pockets. It was the modern German way of war, a relentless onslaught with no pauses to let the defender rebuild his strength. And it was working; the lead elements of 6th Army were less than fifty miles from the strategic objectives of Stalingrad and the Volga River. It was hard on the infantry though, and at the end of each day they gratefully seized the chance to clean their equipment, eat and sleep.

The field kitchen was miles behind German lines but light discipline was still strictly enforced. They'd all learned to respect the power of Soviet artillery and knew how much damage a stay-behind observer with a field telephone could inflict. One stray flash of light reaching the wrong eyes and they could be pounded mercilessly by long-range guns. The weary Landser didn't care. They hid the glowing ends of their cigarettes inside their helmets, and crawled under their shelter halves to examine their aching feet for blisters with a red-shaded flashlight. The horse-drawn cooker itself - the "Goulash cannon" - was surrounded with a hessian screen to hide any light from its wood-fired burners. A long line of soldiers straggled away from it, waiting for the surly cooks to ladle a pint of thick pea soup into their mess tins and hand them a thick slab of bread. Sentries patrolled the perimeter, alert but confident; the Soviet armies were falling back once more, and while partisan attack was always a danger, the scouts of their regiment's Aufklarerkompanie had fanned out into the surrounding countryside to set ambushes and observe likely approach routes.

It was one of the sentries who heard it. It sounded like wind in the trees, and he smiled as it brought back memories of the orchards on his parents' farm back home. Then he paused. It was a still night; there was no wind, just the oppressive humidity of the Russian summer that lay on them like an old damp blanket. Still, there was that thin whistle, steadily growing louder. He unslung his rifle and peered out into the darkness. Then he realized that the sound was coming from above. As it rushed overhead he shouted the alarm, but it was too late; the bombs were already falling.

Night Witches
A History of the All Female
588th Night Bomber Regiment
By Fergus Mason

Sioux Falls Feminists endorse Night Witches for giving us an
accurate history of the Soviet women bombers,
The Night Witches.