Ukrainian Army: Women at war

The Soviet Union army showcases female war heroes as battle for gender equality still haunts the Western World.

The world is changing. Society is branching in unexpected directions, new countries are formed and people are getting more and more aware of their surroundings. One of the most active transformations of today is none other than the decades-long battle for gender equality, with women all over the world once again standing up for their rights.

In September this year, a controversial decision took the West by surprise – the United Arab Emirates allowed a woman to lead the air strikes against the newly formed Islamic State in Syria. It was a huge step for the Muslim world as women there are still conforming to rules and restrictions not present in the West, but that difference makes the progress even more destinctively recognizable.

In the light of this developing transformation of today’s society, let’s look at three of the most famous war heroines from another country, reknown for its controversial ideas and methods – the Soviet Union.

1. Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Ukraine.

Fought for: The Soviet Union in World War II.

Military expertise: Sniper.

Famous for: Lyudmila Pavlichenko is considered the most successful female sniper in history with 309 recorded kills during her career. She was only 24-years-old when she joined the Soviet Army, after Germany began the invasion. She refused to take the usual female role of a nurse, instead joining the Rifle division, which resulted in her being cited for killing more than 250 German soldiers during the war. After sustaining a life-threatening injury, she was pulled out of the Army and instead became a Soviet ambassador, traveling to the United Kingdom and the United States, where she met with the then-president Franklin Roosevelt.

Rank achieved: Major, carrying the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, highest award for bravery during combat.

2. Aleksandra Samusenko, Russia.

Fought for: The Soviet Ukrainian Army in World War II.

Military expertise: Tankman.

Famous for: Aleksandra Samusenko is reported to be the only female tank operator in the First Guards Tank Army, consisting at one point of nearly 800 tanks. One of her most famous credits is defeating three German Tiger I tanks, one of the most dangerous weapons, designed by Germany in responce to the Soviet Union’s defence against the invasion. She was killed in battle in occupied Poland in March 1945.

Rank achieved: Commander, carrying Order of the Patriotic War 1st Class and the Order of the Red Star.

3. Mariya Oktyabrskaya, Crimea.

Fought for: The Soviet Union in World War II.

Military expertise: Tankman.

Famous for: Mariya Oktyabrskaya is the first female tanker to be awarded with the highest honour of the Soviet Union. Coming from a humble background, her life changed when she married an armyman. She began her training as a nurse, but soon moved to weapons and eventually, specialized in tanks. During the entire war, she fought to avenge her husband’s death in the hands of the Germans, which is the reason for her tank’s name – the “Fighting Girlfriend.” During a night attack in 1944, her tank was immobilized. Defying a direct order, she tried to repair it, which cost her her life as shell fire from the German resistance put her in a coma, leading to her death, two months later.

Rank achieved: Hero of the Soviet Union for bravery during combat.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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