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The Independents: Night Witches

On the Eastern Front of World War II the Russians and the forces of Nazi Germany laid waste to one another in one of the deadliest military campaigns in human history. Having begun the war ravaged by the internecine slaughter of the Great Purge, and having been savaged by the initial German offensives, the Russians were forced to draw from reserves and establish new units. Among them was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. The aviators of the 588th were tasked with  perilous night harassment missions using outdated biplanes, and would go on to fly for 1,100 nights of combat from 1942 until the end of the war.

And every single one of them was a woman.

To each other, they were sisters. To the Red Army Air Force, an infuriating challenge to the ideals of soldiering and womanhood. To the Germans that they fought against, however, they were simply the Nachthexen – the Night Witches.

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