Pe-2 Female Pilot and Navigator

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by Nightwitch, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    This is a picture of Lt. Elena Kulkova (on the right) with her navigator, standing in front of their Petlyakov Pe-2, somewhere on the Eastern Front. I don't know the date. I did some digging to look up the name of the navigator, as I'd only heard she was also named Elena. That turned up three names of Elena's who served in the 587th BAP/125thGvBAP during the war - Elena Azarkina, Elena Iushina, and Elena Ponomareva. Elena Ponomareva died during the war, and Lt. Kulkova never mentioned the death of a navigator to me, so I suspect it was one of the other two, but I'm not certain. Anyway, this picture was given to me by Elena Kulkova herself, and she autographed it for me, though the autograph was at the very bottom and clipped out by the scanner.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. eddie_brunette

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    Vey nice, thaks

    edd
     
  3. Krabat42

    Krabat42 Member

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    Great pic, and a rare topic. Not the 1.000th Mustang-Ace picture. :lol:

    Krabat
     
  4. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, I definitely enjoy studying the East Front side of things, largely because the Soviets were the only ones in the war smart enough to let women fly in combat.
     
  5. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Girl flying the Pe2 probably had some strength to her. Have heard the Pe2 was a bear to handle. Seems to be common with twin tailed, no assisted controled airplanes.

    Good for her.
     
  7. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Actually, it's funny you should mention that. Most of the women flying the Peshka had a very hard time on takeoff because the fully-loaded bomber, with no assisted controls, was also a plane with poor low-speed handling characteristics. So, getting it in the air required a lot of strength to yank back on the yoke. Because of this, the female pilots would often get their navigators to help them, and both women would pull back on the yoke to get the plane initially airborne. Afterwards, the Peshka became much easier to manage and the navigator could resume her usual duties.
     
  8. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Hey, thanks for the excellent link, Micdrow. I also had the pleasure of meeting half a dozen or so WASP not too long ago, which is the USAAF side of the story. They were really cool ladies, and it was neat to hear about them flying all of the different fighters and bombers that they had a chance to fly. It wasn't quite as exciting as the combat stories the Russian women were telling, but it was very cool all the same.
     
  9. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Good for you! We need more of this around here, where so many people seem fixated on the Western Front, not the Eastern Front, where the war in Europe was really won. I'm not blaming the people here - it's natural. Most forum members are American, British or Commonwealth, or West-European, so you'd expect them to focus on the war's history from their country's viewpoint. Still, it is nice to focus on the Soviet side sometimes, if just for a little balance.

    Venganza
     
  10. Milos Sijacki

    Milos Sijacki Member

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    There is a pretty good info to be found on wikipedia about women pilots in USSR during the Second World War and elsewhere on the net. I did a presentation on them once on my faculty. Everyone liked it, especially when I told them about the famous White Lilly of Stalingrad.

    Cheers
     
  11. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Wikipedia is a pretty good cursory overview. However, there are more and more books coming out on the subject as well. The seminal work in English is probably Anne Noggle's book "A Dance with Death: Soviet Airwomen in World War II." It's eminently readable and contains lots of personal interviews with the pilots in question. Another one, that's fairly recent is Reina Pennington's "Wings, Women, and War: Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat." I'd rate Pennington's book as second to Noggle's because Noggle has more personal interviews, but Pennington's work is of a more scholarly nature, and her appendices are invaluable. Wings, Women and War includes lists of all the personnel associated with Raskova's regiments throughout the war, and I've found that very useful. Also, there is a new book out in English this year that I'm ordering directly from the publisher, but that I haven't read yet. It's called "Red Sky, Black Death" and it is the memoirs of Anna Yegorova edited and translated into English by Kim Green. Anna Yegorova was an IL-2 pilot and the leader of an IL-2 regiment (or maybe just a flight leader, I'm fuzzy on the details as I haven't read the memoirs yet). At any rate, she was shot down, captured by the Germans, sent to a concentration camp, freed, interned by the NKVD, and finally released. I think it'll make for a compelling story and I can't wait to get my copy.
     
  12. Krabat42

    Krabat42 Member

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    Interesting stuff, Micdrow.

    Krabat
     
  13. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Thanks!!!
     
  14. GhostBlue

    GhostBlue New Member

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    Hey gang,

    The Anna Yegorova memoir is hot off the press as of 2/25. Along with being a great story, it has many photo from Anna's private collection. It also has a pull-out, four page battle map in a pouch at the back. Here is the link to the translator/editor's webpage about the book.

    Red Sky, Black Death

    Ghost Blue
     
  15. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Excellent, I'll order my copy this week.
     
  16. Krabat42

    Krabat42 Member

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  17. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Nice article, Krabat. It's interesting to see the conflicting reports on the kill tallies of Litvyak and Budanova. I've heard anything from 5 to 20 for Budanova, with 8 being a common figure as well. 12 individual victories seems to be the more common tally for Litvyak, but it seems that this article implies 5. The Soviet sources definitely seem to be difficult to sort through, especially in the rough early years of the war.
     
  18. Krabat42

    Krabat42 Member

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    Very true. I'm an archivist and historian and I very often find that in difficult times records are seldom kept and even then they are incomplete and contradicting. But history is not what happened then, but what has been written down then. :twisted:

    Krabat
     
  19. Nightwitch

    Nightwitch Member

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    Yeah, well put. Then again, my formal training is in Medieval History, so the WWII records look huge and fantastically well-kept by comparison! :lol:
     
  20. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Why was she interned by NKVD?
     
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