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Women In Combat Banner, image 11k
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Marina Raskova photo, 55k   During the four years between 22 June 1941 and 18 May 1945, over 58,000 Soviet women endured the harshness of frontline combat, fighting alongside their male counterparts for the very life of their homeland. What could have driven these "volunteers-all" into first seeking, and then enduring the deprivations of individual combat?
   What these women suffered for were two vastly different ideas, one ideological, the other emotional. Both of these were very strong base motivators. Patriotism, the love of one's country's political system, was based on these women's firm conviction of the political necessity to defend Communism. Nationalism, the defence of one's way of life, home, family, or area, was ineffably linked to these women's actions in their ultimate actions.
   Mayor (Major) Marina Raskova, a navigator in the VVS (Soviet Air Force), was instrumental in setting a number of long distance records in 1938. When was broke out with Germany on 22 June 1941, Marina Raskova used her personal relationship with Ioseph Stalin, and her position on the People's Defence Committee, to ask him to allow the formation of all female combat units. This request was at the behest of thousands of requests from Soviet women who wished to engage the enemies of Rodina, Mother Russia.
   With offical Stavka (Shtab Glavnogo/ Verkhovnogo Komandovaniya, Headquarters/Supreme High Command) approval, and vetted from Komsomol (Young Communist League) roles, Marina Raskova formed three all female aviation regiments during October 1941. These three aviation regiments were numbered in the "500" series of numbered units, and they were to be assigned to the sole reponsibility of the GKO (Gosudarstvennyy Komitet Oborony, Soviet State Committee for Defense).
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