Excerpt from Tatyana Chernova’s article “Girls from the Forty-Second” of the Perm Evening newspaper
Katya, Sasha, Tamara, Lina, Lyudmila, Lyuba. Again Katya, Sima and Svetlana, Sonya and Nina. Another Tamara, two Veras and three Lyubas. Two thousand of them left the city that spring. Each of them barely twenty yeаrs old ...
Perm sent its daughters to the front. And the girls didn’t seem to understand where they were going. But what could one expect from them: they had never been in combat, they didn’t really know how to shoot. Digging dugouts, disassembling and assembling the Maxim gun in a matter of minutes, catching a Messerschmitt on sight, sleeping under the whistle of shells — they will learn to do all those things later ...
930 Perm girls ended up in one Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Regiment of the Moscow Special Army. The regiment guarded bridges, factories, locks, military facilities, warehouses and airfields. Days passed, and the girls got used to the sleepless nights, the strict discipline and to their ridiculous appearance: in long stiff uniform overcoats, puttees, and boyish haircuts.
But the first baptism by fire was engraved in their memories for a lifetime. Serafima Shurakova, corporal, combat crew commander, company’s Komsomol leader, recalls: “We saw 14 planes approaching — two “Heinkels” and twelve “Junkers". We prepared for combat. I was then No. 2 in an anti-aircraft macine gun crew. I was sent to a distant site for a spare part. I crawled down. And the aircraft just started pouring down bombs ... It was frightening but I had to keep crawling. I returned to my crew just to be sent to our neigbours for the second time. Again, there and back. So I crawled throughout the entire bombardment... I’m still surprised how I managed to stay alive then."
Almost all of them survived and returned home. They have children, families, but the memory of battlefield episodes of the difficult days of the war remains strong.
Servicewoman of the 22nd Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Regiment Galya Vetoshkina. [not earlier than 1943].
Servicewomen of the 22nd Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Regiment Roza Ageeva and Vera Gustokashina. [not earlier than 1943].
Conscription, Volunteers.See more
Hospitals and Medical Staff.See more
Factories in the Rear.See more