One of my favorite parts of writing is research. I know a lot of people actually don’t like this part, but whenever I end up needing to do research, I end up spending hours reading. I’ve learned so much more from researching than I ever ended up actually including in any of my stories.
My most recent work in progress takes place in an alternative magical universe during the Second World War. My main characters are both Russian pilots that are part of the 588th Women’s Night Bomber regiment. The Germans called this regiment the Nachthexen, or, the Night Witches.
The Night Witches flew old wooden biplanes called the Polikarpov Po-2. These planes were very maneuverable and able to fly at very low altitudes, even skimming the treeline in order to evade the German Luftwaffe and anti-aircraft fire. They could take a lot of damage before being taken down, and their highest speed was still lower than the stalling speed of German planes. German pilots were told they would receive an Iron Cross if they managed to shoot down a Po-2 plane.
The reason the Germans called this bombing regiment the Night Witches is the noise the planes made when they swooped down to drop their bombs. The Russian pilots would cut their engines, so all those on the ground would hear would be a whooshing noise. The Germans thought it sounded like a witch’s broomstick and were terrified of the sound.
The best thing about my story about badass lady pilots is that the Soviet Army was comprised of more than just female pilots. There were female snipers, sappers, anti-aircraft gunners, nurses and field technicians. One of my main character’s younger sister is a radio comm officer that is sent to the front lines.