Apart from the night bomber regiment, what else did the women of the USSR do during the war?
Women were more heavily involved in the USSR’s armed forces than an other nation’s female population;
Over 800,000 women served in the Soviet armed forces in World War II, mostly as medics and nurses, which is over 3 percent of total personnel; nearly 200,000 of them were decorated. 89 of them eventually received the Soviet Union’s highest award, the Hero of the Soviet Union, they served as pilots, snipers, machine gunners, tank crew members and partisans, as well as in auxiliary roles. Few of these women, however, were promoted to officers.
For Soviet women aviators, instrumental to this change was Marina Raskova, a famous Russian aviator, often referred to as the “Russian Amelia Earhart”. Raskova became a famous aviator as both a pilot and a navigator in the 1930s. She was the first woman to become a navigator in the Soviet Air Force in 1933. Raskova is credited with using her personal connections with Joseph Stalin to convince the military to form three combat regiments for women. The Soviet Union was the first nation to allow women pilots to fly combat missions. These regiments with strength of almost hundred airwomen, flew a combined total of more than 30,000 combat sorties, produced over twenty Heroes of the Soviet Union, and included two fighter aces. This military unit was initially called Aviation Group 122 while the three regiments received training. After their training, the three regiments received their formal designations as the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment, the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment and the 125th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment.
The Soviet Union also used women for sniping duties, and to good effect, including Nina Alexeyevna Lobkovskaya and Ukrainian Lyudmila Pavlichenko (who killed over 300 enemy soldiers). The Soviets found that sniper duties fit women well, since good snipers are patient, careful, deliberate, and should avoid tactical hand-to-hand combat. Women served also in non-combat roles as medics, nurses, communication personnel, political officers, as well - in small numbers - as machine gunners, tank drivers. Manshuk Mametova was a machine gunner from Kazakhstan and was the first Soviet Asian woman to receive the Hero of the Soviet Union for acts of bravery.
Women constituted significant numbers of the Soviet partisans. One of the most famous was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, who earned the Hero of the Soviet Union award (February 16, 1942).
The youngest woman to become a Hero of the Soviet Union was also a resistance fighter, Zinaida Portnova.