The Nazis dubbed them the 'Night Witches', on account of the way they would cut their aircraft engines to silently swoop in before dropping their bombs. 1/n
The women, most of them barely 20 years old, started training in Engels, a small town north of Stalingrad.
The women aviators made full use of their woefully outclassed converted bombers, and turned the aircraft’s weakness into its biggest strength.
The top speed Po-2 was well below than the stall speed of the German planes (Me-109 and the Fw-190).
The 46th regiment was especially deadly at night.
Because of this, the Luftwaffe soon got to know (and feared) these women fliers.
They fought non-stop for months in 1942 and 1943, sometimes flying 15 to 18 missions on the same night.
By the war’s end, the deadly squadron would lose more than 31 pilots but would produce 23 Heroes of the Soviet Union.