No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Iconic Photo: Photo 6

Raya Surnachevskaya
image circa 1940's

During World War II Raya Surnachevskaya was a fighter pilot for the Soviet Air Force. The Soviet Union had a few all female combat units. Their Air Force Squadrons were so effective the German forces regarded them with fear and nicknamed them "The Night Witches." Raya was a squadron commander for one of these all female units during World War II.

Along with fellow pilot, Tamara Pamyathikh, Raya broke up a 42-plane German bomber attack. The two encountered the formation while out scouting on their own and proceeded to first surround, and then break up the German Squadron. Raya succeeded in bringing down multiple German planes, and defending Tamara's plane from German attack. Thinking that there must be a full Russian fleet close behind, the remaining German planes retreated. Raya and Tamara's actions are still considered one of the most successful Air Force Defenses of a Russian fleet against German planes.

To read more about Raya Surnachevskaya check-out the book WOMEN WARRIORS: A HISTORY by David E. Jones

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