The Russian All-Female ‘Battalion Of Death’, And What Historical Impact Did They Have?
World War I and the Ever Sinking Morale Of The Male Russian Soldier saw a new incentive, to raise morale of the sunken-heart and even ‘shame’ many male ‘potential’ soldiers into joining the fight.
A Battalion Of Female Soldiers were banded together to create new inspiration for ‘Mother Country’. This group of women would be known as – ‘The Battalion Of Death’. Although many women were already trying to sign up and fight in an official capacity, until now mainly refused/ignored. The government of this time latched onto this notion and reasoned – this would be perfect for raising enthusiasm in the low morale of the Russian (Male) Soldier. Great potential new spin for the propaganda mill on many levels and not much of a shortage of willing women to fill these shoes.
5,000 Russian Women by Estimation, served in these newly formed units around the country. A considerable chosen amount of these women making it to the front lines of battle no less.
Maria Bochkareva, originally a peasant from Siberia, who had already been actively serving (with military honours) since 1914, was put in charge of establishing this – Battalion Of Death. Initially attracting 2000 women volunteers. (This number dramatically sunk, as many of these volunteers could not stand the harshness of Maria Bochkareva’s cruel and intolerant leadership).
These women’s diehard fortitude and courage was clearly illustrated in the trenches against the Germans, an instance when Russian (male) soldiers hesitated out of the trench and the (women) soldiers however did not. Later these women being heavily praised for their initiative and unwavering courage. Unfortunately, many of these displays of untamed mettle eventually worked against these women, as their male counterpart’s attitudes were to darken negatively against such a wrongful and competitive use of mis-placed women. Many instances, the unfounded and unwavering courage of these women consequentially causing unnecessary and untimely loss of the many male soldiers agitated to prove themselves as manly.
Although the discontent that had risen from such a niche forged, many of these female heroes of The Battalion Of Death went on and fought in The Russian Civil War with that same dauntless mettle.
Aviation Group 122
1930’s – Marina Raskova, Soviet Woman Aviator.
Many parallels of the time aligned her to another Amelia Earhart. A Russian Female Pilot and Aviator – a true pioneer in many fields. Once World War II broke out Marina Raskova used her links and connections with Joseph Stalin to organise combat regiments for women pilots to fight in the skies for their country. About a hundred of these air-women taking to the skies and notching up roughly 30,000 combat missions.
(The Soviet Union was indeed the First Nation in the world to permit lady-aviators to bravely fight in the skies for their country).
Along with Ground Military, Marine and Air Services, there were also ‘Women Snipers’ Of World War II. Almost 2,500 Female Soviet Snipers and from all their combined service claimed a sum of an estimated 11,000 kills for their beloved nation.
Meet Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Lyudmila Pavlichenko (Pictured), She single-handedly took down 36 German Snipers with her 303 Rifle during World War II. (309 Kills Overall). Up until becoming one of Hitler’s greatest threats she was a History Student at Kiev. Her first 75 days of war she managed to shoot and kill 187 Germans. Lyudmila Was one of 2000 female snipers who fought for The Red Army, and one of only 500 to survive.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko at The White House with Mrs. Roosevelt and Justice Robert Jackson after the war.
The Philosophy Of Stoicism in an Atmosphere of the Highest Stakes.
Whether man-soldier or woman-soldier in bygone war-years or present war-years, the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint = Stoicism This is adhered to by soldiers on any side of the battlefield and will always linger.
This Stoicism, however useful or appropriate by the individual soldier most definitely has it’s blessings and surely has it’s long-lasting curses. Stoicism for the soldier can quite easily be confused with ‘Invincibility’. All boiling down to – ‘the only things that matter are the sure things I can control – in my control in a very out of control exterior’. One of these sure elements in my control is ‘Virtue’ in surroundings that are a constant threat to me and those around me.
With this Armour of Stoicism and Virtue comes a new ability to turn emotions on and off at will, or when need be. Emotions need protecting for survival, emotions can make us slow down and grieve. Things we get extremely good at ‘not missing’ such as a hot shower, a hot meal, a very loyal friend who has had his or her head blown off, a loving family, a general grasp of a sense of compassion.
These ‘not missing’ abilities run far and wide and inadvertently leave many a soldier ‘dead to the world’ in a world they were setting out to Conquer OR Save.