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A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II

Noggle, Anne

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ISBN 10: 089096601X / ISBN 13: 9780890966013
Published by Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX, 1994
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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Sewn binding. Paper over boards. xiv, 318, [4]. Pages. Illustrations of Airwomen Maps. DJ has slight wear and soiling. Introduction by Christine A. White. Anne Noggle (1922 August 16, 2005) was an American aviator. She served as a WASP during World War II and later made a career for herself as a photographer. Noggle was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1922, and died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on August 16, 2005 at the age of 83. She set a goal of becoming a pilot after seeing Amelia Earhart at an air show in Chicago. At 21, Noggle traveled to Sweetwater, Texas, to train to become one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She graduated in the class of 44-W-1. She flew missions in 1943 and 1944. After the war, she became a crop-duster in the Southwest and flew stunts in an aerial circus. When the Air Force offered commissions to former WASPs in 1953, she applied and was a pilot during the Korean War. She developed her skills as a photographer and developed an interest in documenting the aging process of women including her own witty and challenging self-portraits. "Night Witches" is the English translation of Nachthexen, a World War II German nickname for the women military aviators of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, of the Soviet Air Forces. Though women were initially barred from combat, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin issued an order on October 8, 1941 to deploy three women's air force units, including the 588th regiment. The regiment, formed by Colonel Marina Raskova and led by Major Yevdokia Bershanskaya, was made up entirely of women volunteers in their late teens and early twenties.The regiment flew harassment bombing and precision bombing missions against the German military from 1942 until the end of the war. At its largest, it had 40 two-person crews. The regiment flew over 24,000 missions and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. It was the most highly decorated all-women unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty of its members died in combat.The regiment flew in wood-and-canvas Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, a 1928 design intended for use as training aircraft and for crop dusting, and to this day the most-produced biplane in aviation history. The planes could carry only six bombs at a time, so 8 or more missions per night were often necessary. Although the aircraft were obsolete and slow, the pilots made daring use of their exceptional maneuverability; they had the advantage of having a maximum speed that was lower than the stall speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and as a result, German pilots found them very difficult to shoot down. An attack technique of the night bombers was to idle the engine near the target and glide to the bomb release point, with only wind noise left to reveal their location. German soldiers likened the sound to broomsticks and named the pilots "Night Witches. Due to the weight of the bombs and the low altitude of flight, the pilots carried no parachutes.From June 1942, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment was within the 4th Air Army. In February 1943, the regiment was honored with a reorganization into the 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment and in October 1943 it became the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. "Taman" referred to the unit's involvement in two celebrated Soviet victories on the Taman Peninsula during 1943. First edition. First printing [stated]. Presumed first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 71503

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World...

Publisher: Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Illustrator: Noggle, Anne

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: very good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


The women members of the Soviet air force recount their efforts against the German forces in World War II. The first ever to fly in combat, proved that women could be among the best of warriors, and downing the enemy.

About the Author:

Anne Noggle, herself an American Woman Airforce Service Pilot in World War II, has made lengthy visits to Moscow to conduct more than seventy interviews and to photograph the Soviet airwomen. Noggle is a captain in the U.S. Air Force (retired), a former curator of photography and now adjunct professor of art at the University of New Mexico, and recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has also written other articles and books, including For God, Country, and the Thrill of It: Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II, published by Texas A&M University Press.

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