Nachthexen

Question 1. At the end of WWII 
which group of pilots 
unnerved German infantrymen
so badly they were called the 
Nachthexen?
Choices
a. American Red Tails
b. British RAF
c. A group of barely trained
Russian women in crop dusters

And the answer is, drum roll please, barely trained Russian women flying wood and canvas Polikarpov Po2 biplanes originally intended for crop dusting.

pilots

Russian pilots preparing to scare the crap out of sleeping German infantrymen.

These planes were so shoddily built that they would stop mid-flight and the women would have to climb out on the wings to restart them. However, their top speed was below the stall threshold for a Messerschmitt, Germany’s all powerful fighter jet.  This meant Messerschmitt pilots couldn’t attack them without stalling.

941658-6-20130716064117

These Russian pilots were called Nachthexen or Night Witches because they would cut their engines and glide silently over sleeping troops.  If the soldiers heard anything at all before getting bombarded, it would be the eerie whistling of the guide-wires, a sound the Germans compared to witches flying overhead on their broomsticks.

witchThe physical damage these women caused paled in comparison with the humiliation they suffered.  The mighty Teutonic forces terrorized by women in crop dusters!

Rumors regarding these mighty women were at first dismissed by American pilots but soon came to be revered, most notably by the fictional Captain Wilhelm Umberto Grayson in FLIPKA.  Years after the war he would name his “mistress,” a Po2 biplane, after one of them and oh, the adventures they would have together.

After the war these women became one of the most highly decorated regimens in the Soviet army.  To this date they are still revered:

 

 

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