I love to read books about obscure World War II incidents. S. J. McCormack has selected just such a true story for Night Witch. The “Night Witches” were a group of women pilots who flew night bombing raids for Russia against German military units’ positions in Russia in WWII. I knew about American women who flew American planes during that time frame but only as ferry missions (not in combat).
In addition to the military aspects of the story is the decision of one pilot to break the rules to save a young “innocent” held in Nazi occupied territory. Raisa (the erstwhile heroine) moves from her rural home in Russia to Moscow State University to the front lines of combat. She and her friends who are bomber pilots and navigators who flew fabric covered, open cockpit, wooden biplanes with top speeds of around 75 miles an hour. They flew only at night. They dropped their two bombs by hand. They had no sophisticated instrumentation, flying by the seat of their pants and visual navigation. And they were generally successful.
I understand there may be one or more books to follow. I certainly hope so because I want to know about this virtually unknown segment of WWII.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired sales rep
One Nightstand is a reader-fueled feature, and you can be a contributor, too. Simply click the “What are you reading?” button in the sidebar and share your thoughts. Tell us your latest great reads or all-time favorites! If you mention your favorite independent bookstore, we’ll link to them.