The White Rose of Stalingrad: The Real-Life Adventure of Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, the Highest Scoring Female Air Ace of All TimeBy: Bill Yenne , Mark Styling
eBook Publisher: Random House
Imprint: Osprey Publishing
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Format: ePub Encrypted (DRM)
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Of all the major air forces that were engaged in the war, only the Red Air Force had units comprised specifically of women. Initially the Red Air Force maintained an all-male policy among its combat pilots. However, as the apparently invincible German juggernaut sliced through Soviet defenses, the Red Air Force began to rethink its ban on women. By October 1941, authorization was forthcoming for three ground attack regiments of women pilots. Among these women, Lidiya Vladimirovna “Lilya” Litvyak soon emerged as a rising star. She shot down five German aircraft over the Stalingrad Front, and thus become history’s first female ace. She scored 12 documented victories over German aircraft between September 1942 and July 1943. She also had many victories shared with other pilots, bringing her possible total to around 20. The fact that she was a 21-year-old woman ace was not lost on the hero-hungry Soviet media, and soon this colourful character, whom the Germans dubbed “The White Rose of Stalingrad,” became both folk heroine and martyr.
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|Title of History eBook: The White Rose of Stalingrad: The Real-Life Adventure of Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, the Highest Scoring Female Air Ace of All Time|
|Release Date: 03-19-2013|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Osprey Publishing|
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The White Rose of Stalingrad: The Real-Life Adventure of Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, the Highest Scoring Female Air Ace of All Time
Born Into a Season of Darkness and Promises
The little girl whose parents named Lidiya but called Lilya or Lil’ka was born into a chaotic epoch, and into a land racked by violence, war, revolution, and famine. It was a time of immense upheaval in which an established order, entrenched for three centuries, was overthrown by forces that were unique to history in the scale of what they did and what they brought into being.
Also born into this turbulent time was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the renowned chronicler of this period in Russian history. Recalling that it was also a season of grand promises, he wrote of his and Lilya’s generation that “we marched in the ranks of those born the year[s] the Revolution took place, and because we were the same age as the Revolution, the brightest of futures lay ahead.”
Within the darkness, there were promises.
The Russian Empire that had been ruled by the Tsars of the Romanov Dynasty since 1613 crumbled, fragmented, and finally coalesced into an entity unlike any that had existed on such a scale before. It was that place that nationalist Vasily Shulgin would call “a form of state with no name.”
It all began early in 1917, and when it ended nearly six years later when Lilya was barely a year old, the vast empire was unrecognizable as the state into which her parents had been born.
After humiliating defeats by the Germans in World War I and a general economic collapse, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated in March 1917. In November of that year, the ensuing provisional government was itself overthrown by a band of determined revolutionaries called Bolsheviks, in the tidal wa...