Brave women pilots who bombed Nazi’s

Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 12.43.37 PMThe Nazis called them ‘Night Witches’ because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin.

Any German pilot who downed a ‘witch’ was awarded an Iron Cross. These young heroines, all volunteers and most in their teens and early 20s, became legends of World War II but are now largely forgotten. Flying only in the dark, they had no parachutes, guns, radios or radar, only maps and compasses. If hit by tracer bullets, their planes would burn like sheets of paper.”

So begins a NY Times tribute to one of the most famous “Night Witches,” Nadezhda Popova, pictured here. Popova, who flew 852 missions during the war, passed away in 2013 at the age of 91. To read more about her incredible story, visit

For a fascinating new biography about these courageous women for teen and adult readers, we highly recommend “A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II” at

For a new historical fiction novel for adult readers that also explores the history of the Night Witches, check out “The Huntress” at

For two new historical fiction novels based on the Night Witches, both for ages 13 and up, we recommend “Among the Red Stars” ( and “Night Witches: A Novel of World War Two” (

For adult readers who would like to learn more about the role of Russian women combat pilots during WWII, there are several excellent books including “Night Witches: The Amazing Story Of Russia’s Women Pilots in World War II” (, “Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat” (, “The Unwomanly Face of War” (, and “Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II” (

For a highly recommended book about more courageous women who stood up to the Nazi regime, we highly recommend “Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue” for teens and adults like, ages 13 and up, at

For a fascinating book about American women pilots during WWII, we recommend “Yankee Doodle Gals: Women Pilots of World War II” for ages 10 to 14 at

And, for books for all ages about girls and women living through the WWII period, visit our “WWII & Holocaust” section at

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