Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Women's Battalion of Death charges the enemy lines

Members of the Battalion of Death during a physical drill

"On July 9, the 525th Regiment of the Russian army crouched in the trenches. Looking across 800 feet of no-man’s-land, they could see movement in the German trenches. They were awaiting orders to charge. Their mission? To capture specific territory held by the enemy in the forests of Novospasskii and Begushinskii along with some nearby villages. The regiment had waited through a tense night. At three o’clock in the morning, the order to advance finally came. But no one moved. The officers begged their men to act, but they refused. The debate between the officers and their men dragged on for hours, but nothing was decided. The ideal time for an attack was quickly passing.

Suddenly a large group of women in soldier’s uniform, accompanied by 75 male officers and 300 fighting men, leapt from the Russian trenches and charged toward the German line, all of them running straight into a hail of enemy bullets..."

Opening paragraphs from "Maria Bochkareva and the Women's Battalion of Death" from Women Heroes of World War I.

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