Friday, July 6, 2012
Plowing right into the middle of them all, Pamiatnykh (third from the left on the bottom row above) and Surnachevskaia (last one on the right in the third row down above) routed the bombers, forcing them to drop their bombs early and not on their original target. And while they were at it, the women shot down two bombers each just for good measure. Then they flew back to the barracks and continued their afternoon.
When the King of England heard about the feat, he sent the two in-your-face pilots inscribed gold watches. The Soviets, on the other hand, didn't officially recognize their act of bravery at all and after the war, Pamiatnykh's husband (also a military pilot) made her leave the cockpit behind. Sometimes in-your-face women can't win for losing, but that must have been some conversation!