May 9th is Victory Day in Russia.

And from a historical perspective nothing means more to them then the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War 2.

I’ve always been fascinated by the role that Russian Women played in this epochal conflict.   I’ve always heard various stories of the endurance and heroism they demonstrated not just in supporting roles but in actual combat.

When I think about what the world is like now it’s hard for me to imagine what these women went through to defend their country.   Because in this conflict where over 20 million soviets became casualties..  nothing was spared and nothing was left off the table in this theater of war.

Although there are countless stories of female heroism in this struggle, here are some highlights which illustrates the magnitude of their contributions and sacrifices.

Overview

Women played a large part in most of the armed forces of the Second World War. In most countries though, women tended to serve mostly in administrative, medical and in auxiliary roles. But in the Soviet Union women fought in larger numbers in front line roles.  Over 800,000 women served their Motherland in World War II; nearly 200,000 of them were decorated and 89 of them eventually received the Soviet Union’s highest award, the Hero of the Soviet Union. They served as pilots, snipers, machine gunners, tank crew members and partisans, as well as in auxiliary roles. Very few of these women, however, were ever promoted to officers.


Lydia Litvyak

August 18, 1921 – August 1, 1943  (age:21)

Also known as Lydia Litviak or Lilya Litviak, was a female fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during World War II.

With 12 solo victories and either two or four shared, gained in 66 combat missions, she is one of the world’s only two female fighter aces.

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