Sunday, July 28, 2013

Night Witches

A friend alerted me to this recent article in The Atlantic about Russian women pilots of World War II. 

The asinine comments at the bottom of the article are best ignored but the video link is really worth watching. The English sub-titles are strange but you’ll get the gist of it. Extraordinary what these brave young women barely out of school accomplished and in such flimsy aircraft.

Some more details here. (Note: this is an archived website and the links in it don’t work.)

Although one might expect most books about these women to be in Russian, such as We were Called Night Witches by Irina Rakobolskaya and Natalya Kravtsov, there are a surprising number of others in English on the subject. 

These include Wings, Women & War by Reina Pennington, Night Witches: The Amazing Story of Russia’s Women Pilots in World War II by Bruce Myles and another another by one of the pilots, Anna Yegorova, entitled Red Sky Black Death.

Two Russian stamps featuring Marina Raskova

And with the serendipity of such research, I came across another fascinating woman - Anne Noggle who also wrote a book A Dance with Death about these Soviet women pilots and had been a Captain in the US Air Force. 

Later Noggle became better known as a photographer, specialising in images on ageing women and the “saga of fallen flesh”.

This is another of Noggle’s striking images called Vertical Stance and it has an undeniable flying/feminist message!  (New Mexico Museum of Art)

 Vertical Stance (from the series Earthbound - plate 26), 1979. Anne Noggle.
Chromogenic print; 12 7/8 x 9 inches. Collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art. 
Gift of Patrick Nagatani, 2008

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