Period: World War II
Setting: Russian front
Historical fiction from the front lines of the Great Patriotic War. By November of 1941 the German army was threatening Moscow and Leningrad. Millions of Russians had been killed or taken prisoner in the first months and the air force was out of pilots Marina Raskova organized the 588th night bomber squadron, composed entirely of women – mechanics, pilots, navigators, and officers.
At her command, mechanics stepped away from the propeller. She turned ignition on and thumbed the starter button. The engine coughed, belched smoke, caught with a rattle. Prop wash reached around her windshield into the open cockpit, tugged at a flyaway strand of hair. Katya tucked it under her flight helmet. She listened to the engine for a few seconds, then gunned it.
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