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Over Fields of Fire: Flying the Sturmovik in Action on the Eastern Front 1942-45

Title:Over Fields of Fire - Flying the Sturmovik in Action on the Eastern Front 1942-45
Writer:Timofeeva-Egorova, A.
Published in:2015

The Soviet Union was one of the few countries that allowed women to directly participate in combat during the Second World War. These women could serve as a sniper, as a partisan, or as a pilot. One of these pilots was Anna Timofeeva-Egorova and she has written about her experiences after the Second World War.

During the Second World War Egorova operated various aircraft, predominantly the Polikarpov Po-2 and the Ilyushin Il-2. The Po-2 was a wooden biplane, mostly used for ferrying passengers or carrying messages. Later she flew the Il-2. This was a groundattack aircraft, used for engaging targets on the ground. At first she flew single, but later a tailgunner was added for additional support.

In the last year of the war her plane was hit and she jumped from the burning aircraft. Just above the ground her parachute opened and she was severely injured. She was captured by German troops and placed in a prisoner of war camp. There she managed to keep her medals and documents, also during her imprisonment. Finally, she was liberated by advancing Soviet forces.

However, the fact that she had managed to retain these possessions caused her trouble. It was viewed with suspicion, because usually such matters were confiscated. After her release she was mistrusted; usually prisoners of war were seen as traitors or cowards. She writes about the trouble she experienced in order to be redeemed. In the case of Egorova there was even a rumor that she had jumped from her plane to carry a secret message to the naziís. She wanted to be restored as a member of the communist party. After a lot of effort, she succeeded.

This autobiography is unique, and contains two remarkable aspects. First of all, it is fascinating to read about the perspective of a woman who participated in combat. Secondly, since she was a prisoner of war, she has experienced the rigidity of Soviet justice. This caused her severe problems in the postwar society. Itís a well written autobiography that provides insight into two lesser known aspects of the Second World War.

Rating: (Good)


Article by:
Samuel de Korte
Published on:
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