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View Diary: When is a Moth a better Moth? When its made of metal…. (19 comments)

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  •  'Night Witches' (1+ / 0-)
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    shortfinals

    I think you already posted about these women pilots in Russia ww2?

    The Night Witches - Russian Combat Pilots of World War Two
    Amazing.

    The Witches' Way

    For a successful bombing run, the Witches would fly a certain distance from their target and then turn off their aircraft's engine. Gliding in, they would release their bombs before the enemy even knew they were there. The Night Witches' downfall, however, was anti-aircraft measures such as searchlights and flak guns. The Germans at Stalingrad developed what the Russians called a 'flak circus': they would bring out anti-aircraft guns that had been hidden during the day and lay them in concentric circles around probable targets, doing the same with searchlights. Po-2s crossing the perimeter in pairs, in the straight-line flight path typical of untrained pilots, were spotted by the searchlights and then completely destroyed by anti-aircraft fire.

    The 588th, however, developed another tactic. They flew in formations of three. Two would attack the target, attracting the attention of the searchlights, and when all the lights pointed skywards, the women would separate suddenly, flying in opposite directions so as to shake off the searchlights. The searchlight operators would follow the two initial bombers, while the third bomber sneaked in through the darkened path made by her two comrades, hitting the target unopposed. She would then get out, rejoin with the other two, and they would switch places until all three had delivered their payload of bombs. It took tremendous nerve and courage to be a decoy and willingly attract enemy fire, but as Nadya Popova said, 'It worked.'

    linked from, Weekend Wings #4: The Last Stand Of The Biplane
    They flew over 24,000 sorties and dropped several thousand tons of bombs.

    The little Po-2 was superb in this application. Its maximum air speed was slower than the stalling speed of the German fighters which opposed it, so it could dodge them with relative ease. Its tiny 100hp engine wasn't very hot, so it couldn't be tracked by infra-red very easily as a heat source, and the plane's wood-and-canvas construction made it very hard to detect on radar.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 01:51:13 AM PST

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