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Old December 14th, 2012, 06:46 AM   #21

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Sophie Scholl.

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The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent
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Old December 14th, 2012, 07:34 AM   #22

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She was the first female tanker to be awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union award; the Soviet Union's highest award for bravery during combat.After the death of her husband in 1941 she sold all of her possessions to donate a tank for the Red Army. Her only requirement was that she would be allowed to drive it. Mariya took part in a five month tank training program immediately after the donation.After she completed her training, she was posted to the 26th Guards Tank Brigade in September 1943 as a driver and mechanic. She named her tank 'fighting girlfriend' and emblazoned these words on the turret of the T-34. Many of her fellow tankers saw her as a publicity stunt and a joke, but this attitude quickly changed when Mariya began fighting in her first tank battles in Smolensk. Her first tank battle began on 21 October 1943.

Her first battle involved Mariya manoeuvering her tank about the battle like a veteran. She took part in the bitter fighting; destroying several muchine-gun nests and artillery guns. She was the first of her brigade to breach the enemy positions. When her tank was hit by gunfire, Mariya, often disregarding orders not to, would leap out of her tank and repair the tank, amidst heavy fire. During this action, she was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. A month later, on 17–18 November, the Soviet forces captured the town of Novoye Selo in the region of Vitebsk during a night battle. During this attack, Mariya further improved her reputation as a skilled and fearless tank driver. On the 17th, Mariya began to assault the German positions near Noveoye Selo. However, a German artillery shell exploded into her tank's tracks, halting her advance. Mariya and a fellow crewman jumped out to repair the track, while their fellow crew members gave the covering fire from the tank's turret. After a while, Mariya fixed the tank track, and her tank rejoined the main unit several days later.

A year later, on 17 January 1944, Mariya fought in another night attack that would be her last. The attack happened near the town of Fastov in Vitebsk. During the battle, Mariya drove her T-34 about the German defences. She destroyed resistance in trenches and machine-gun nests. She also destroyed a German self-propelled gun. Her success didn't last long however, her tank was hit by a German anti-tank shell, again in the tracks. Her tank stalled. Mariya immediately got out of the tank and began to repair the track, amid fierce small arms and artillery fire. She ignored orders to remain in the tank. She managed to repair the track, but she was hit in the head by shrapnel and was knocked out. Her T-34 tank was hit by shell-fire shortly after, killing the entire crew. After the battle Oktyabrskaya was transported to a Soviet military field hospital where she remained in a coma for two months, before finally dying on 15 March.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #23

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Yekaterina Zelenko,Soviet aviatress. She is the only woman ever to have performed an air ramming. Following the German invasion, Zelenko made forty flights (also at night) and participated in twelve air combats with enemy fighters On September 12, 1941, Zelenko's Su-2 was attacked by seven Me-109s. After Zelenko ran out of ammunition, she launched a top-down air ramming which tore an Me-109 into two as the propeller hit the German aircraft's tail. The Su-2 she was piloting exploded though, and Zelenko was pulled out of cockpit. The air combat was observed by local residents who identified her body. On May 5, 1990 Zelenko was awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union posthumously. Zelenko's husband Pavel Ignatenko also died in air combat in 1943.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 08:29 AM   #24

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Manshuk Mametova, a gunner, Hero of USSR (posthumously)

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She was a secretary of SovNarKom in KazSSR when in 1942 she voluntereed to Red Army. Started there as medic first, but then she was stubborn enough to become a soldier. Maybe it helped that she obtained her "Voroshilov's sharpshooter" badge back in the institute, or maybe she used 'leverage' from inside the party. In her final battle, she happened to become the last operational unit of her detachment defending a strategic height in Pskov region, with the last remaining Maxim machine gun. She destroyed at least 70 nazis in that battle before being killed by grenade.

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Old December 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #25

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Ada Zanegina

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This young lady started a campaign among Soviet children to build their own tank. Being evacuated from Smolensk region before nazis to Siberia, she sent a letter and her money to local newspaper, saying that she doesn't want a doll, but she wants to return back home. This sparkled in campaign which gave birth to this T-60:

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This light tank, which nickname obviously was 'Babe', had its war and its victories in Stalingrad itself, and among its crew was another WW2 lady, Ekaterina Petlyuk, one of 19 Soviet tank women:

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Later, this lady was fighting in Kursk and in the same battle was killed Ada's father.

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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #26

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The Red Army and it's ideological opponent - the Polish underground Home Army (AK) had one thing in common: a quite high percentage of women serving in a military (not merely medical or auxiliary) capacity.

Women constituted 10% of the Home Army.

Maria Wittek:

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Awarded the Virtutti Military (highest Polish military award) for service in the 1920 Polish-Bolshevik war, served professionally in the army prior to WWII.

During the German invasion 1939 she was the commanding officer of the Women's Military Assistance Battalions. In October 1939 she joined the underground AK, where she was head of Women's Army Services on the staff of general “Grot” Rowecki. She fought in the Warsaw Uprising and was promoted to Lt.Colonel.

Elżbieta Zawadzka:

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Second of two female generals in the Polish army. As a member of the resistance AK she repeatedly risked her life crossing the borders of German-occupied Poland on false documents to carry reports about the Nazi atrocities and the resistance to Poland's government-in-exile in London.
On one such trip, in early 1943, she traveled though Germany, France and Spain to Gibraltar, where she was airlifted to London.

In September of the same year, she was the first and only woman to be dropped by parachute into Poland, bringing orders and instructions for the Home Army. She also fought in the Warsaw Uprising Imprisoned by the Soviet-installed Communist government for “treason”, she was given a 10 year long prison term.

Krystyna Wittuska:

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Intelligence worker for AK, arrested by Gestapo, sent to Moabit prison in Berlin, spent one year on death row before being guillotined at the age of 24.

Danuta Sedzikowna “Inka”

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Served in the 5th Vilnus Brigade of the Polish Home Army, fighting first against the Nazi and then the Soviet occupant. Arrested in 1946 by Soviet-headed communist secret police, tortured and beaten in prison, refused to give up any information about her contacts in the anti-communist underground and their meeting points.

She and a friend from the brigade were executed in the basement of the prison, tied to wooden stakes. They both refused blindfolds. When the prosecutor gave the order for the execution squad to fire, both simultaneously shouted "Long Live Poland!" Danuta was still alive however, and the coup de grace was delivered by the present prosecutor (the members of the firing squad refused to do so) She was 17 years old.

Wanda Gertz

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Served in Pisudski’s Polish legion during WWI, masquerading as a man “Kazimierz Zuchowicz”, also fought in the subsequent Polish-Bolshevik war 1920.

In WWII created and command the AK unit Dywersja i Sabotaz Kobiet ("Women's Diversion and Sabotage"), as part of the
Kedyw Kedyw
. Members of DISK carried out attacks on German military personnel, airfields, trains and bridges.

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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:19 AM   #27

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Very informative Putzi.
I don't think that many of us on the left-hand side of the map know much about Russia's women soldiers of WW2. They certainly have received as much coverage as the mainly non-combatant American and British women.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:29 AM   #28

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
Very informative Putzi.
I don't think that many of us on the left-hand side of the map know much about Russia's women soldiers of WW2. They certainly have received as much coverage as the mainly non-combatant American and British women.

Yes the Russians didn't mind having women combatants on the frontline. They had women flying front line aircraft, of course their snipers are well known too. I'm glad this thread has taken off so well as I was expecting a lot of information on the West.

The Germans also had women on the frontline near the very end of WW2.

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I've always thought this one was quite pretty, something to do with the indefatigable glare in her eye. I never found out what her story was, I expect she didn't have much of a chance seeing as she was in the SS.

I must confess reading some of this troubles me a bit psychologically, must be my old fashioned upbringing. Women being beaten to death and guillotined proves there's not much chivalry left in warfare. Mind you the Taleban are still shooting 14 year old girls today.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:40 AM   #29

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Originally Posted by antonina View Post
Extraordinary story. I've heard of British missionaries (male and female) displaying great courage in China and India, but guerilla warfare isn't often associated with Britain - and never with British ladies.

There's a rare book called 'The Jungle In Arms', about a British Officer who fought with the Naga Hill tribesmen against the Japanese. Proper Indiana Jones stuff, I recommend it.


Jungle in Arms: Amazon.co.uk: Lewis Balfour Oatts: Books
Jungle in Arms: Amazon.co.uk: Lewis Balfour Oatts: Books


Quote:
"An extraordinary story, revealing the contribution of the Burmese hill tribes to the Allied victory.

Colonel Oatts was given command of the Western (Chin) Levies, a remarkable fighting force drawn from the head-hunting tribes of the Chin Hills, situated along the Burmese-Indian frontier. They were responsible for the defence of three hundred miles of front during 1940, stretching from Manipur State to Arakan. Japanese patrols were already probing the area when Oatts took command and all the regular battalions were being pulled out - the Chins could expect very little outside help. From then on it was total war.

Operating almost entirely without supplies, they harassed and delayed the enemy until the British victory at Imphal forced the Japanese to retreat. But then the Chins did not return to their hills, but continued the offensive, covering the flank of the advance to the Irrawaddy. The Chins' loyalty to the British and their great military value, are at last fully revealed in this exciting account."

A memoir by a British irregular soldier of his service in the Burma Campaign of the Second World War.


As for guerilla warfare and the Brits, there were plenty of SOE and sneaky weasel type stuff going on in Yugoslavia and the Balklans with Tito.


Special_Operations_Executive Special_Operations_Executive

Quote:
SOE operated in all countries or former countries occupied by or attacked by the Axis forces, except where demarcation lines were agreed with Britain's principal allies (the Soviet Union and the United States). It also made use of neutral territory on occasion, or made plans and preparations in case neutral countries were attacked by the Axis. The organisation directly employed or controlled just over 13,000 people, about 3,200 of whom were women.[1] It is estimated that SOE supported or supplied about 1,000,000 operatives worldwide.[citation needed]

BBC - WW2 People's War - With the S.O.E. in Yugoslavia January 1944 Part one.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 10:50 AM   #30

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Germans in WWII tended to regard woman-soldiers (in active service) as something freakish and abnormal.

AK women who fought in the Warsaw Rising 1944 were killed on capture, like their male brothers in arms. In the last days of the Rising they were finally granted POW rights along with the rest of AK. In oflags and stalags German guards would stare at them as if they were oddities.

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