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Women at War Part II: In Uniform by Joel Kindrick


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World at War #40 Feb-Mar 2015

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Women at War Part II: In Uniform by Joel Kindrick

  1. 1. wwwkw.The Strategy & Tactics of World War ll #40 FEB-MAR 2OI5 ^,:: t::. ! R/NIIDN)II: The Allied Drive Across France, , August-September 1944 &. a't - .i". ,i - -1,, .: tn w.;: 'l -"{ . llllil[[illllililililllll tililt -H.. .f 'r:-^- 1 K:1,
  2. 2. WORIIT"IITf,R #4O I FEB-MAR 2O15 34 Women atwaL Paft l: ln theWorkforce Women atWar, Part ll: ln Uniform Working women played a vital part in the war effort, just as they had in the First World War, but in far greater numbers. Further, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the US each had unique political, institutional and cultural challenges that determined how women were accepted in uniform during World War ll. by BlaineTaylor & Joel Kindrick 44 Tanks in the New Guinea Campaign [.lth"w employed in formations containing as few as four tanks and never moTe than eight, turned the tide of several key battles. Their decisiveness was proven not only in the battles in which they were employed, but in those in which they weren't. The jungle island of New Guinea, home to some of the Second World War's most ferocious battles, attested to armor's value under even the most adverse of circumstances. by RobertYoung .tl The Strategy &Tactics of World War ll [}EPA'lTNfiEluTS 32 Design Comer by Joseph Miranda 58 Game Preview Pacific Battles: Shanghai 61 Obs Post . Behind the Lines Japanese Atrocities in Nanking by Alexander G. Lovelace o Historical Perspective Omaha Beach lmponderables by Raymond E. Bell, Jr. o Beneath the Seas Unrestricted Air & Submarine WarJare by Ken Brown 76 Media Reviews fi FEATUREs 5 Rampage: Building & Breaking theWestWall On 7 March 1936, Hitler sent three battalions into the Rhineland to see if it would elicit a reaction from France. French troops rushed to their positions in the Maginot Line, but they did nothing to overturn Hitler's bluff. He immediately ordered the army to prepare a western border defense line that would be ready before he implemented his plans for conquest in Central and Eastern Europe. bV J.E. & H.W. Kaufmann with John Walker 18 Stalingrad Cauldron: Operations Uranus & Ring ln the early hours of 19 November 1942,1he weeks of preparation were over and the Red Army counteroffensive around Stalingrad began with an 80-minute barrage into the positions of Romanian Third Army. The barrage began to the sound of trumpets and, as soon as it lifted, over 200 tanks of Frfth Tank Army and the infantry of Twenty-First Army attacked by David March WOql DdrWARd0 I FFB- MAq20l5
  3. 3. Arnerican interrogators questioning some recently captured nTenTbers oftlrc Ltritwafib'sfenuile atuiliary early itt 1945' Women atWar' PartII: In lJniform Bv Joe, Kindric,< he Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, GermanY, lapan and the US each had unique political, institutional and cultural challenges that determined how women were accePted in uniform dr.ringWorldWar II. Each of those countries' governments made deci- sions about placing women in hann's way. Among them, the Soviet Union did the most in terms of assimilating women into the rnilitary and combat roles within it, and the US did the least. Since the start of World War I the Russians had been through h,vo revolu- tions, a civil war, and series of political purges and executions lasting until the beginning ofWorld War II' It was in that way already a society exposed to war and mass violence. Though the USSR didn't have in place a Plan for the large-scale military mobilization of womenwhen the Germans invaded on 22 June 1941, tens ofthousands of females immediately volunteered. Byrvar's end a million Soviet fernales had participated, halfofthem in loles that took them to the combat front. As in other combatanr countries, Soviet rvomen were also involved in .o..D". 0 . Fr0l
  4. 4. Tltis Tthoto, stt14tosed.Iy showing a Souiet infantrywoman lqte in the uar, ntay be arecentfake. auxiliary services such as signals, traf- fic control, medical, kitchen, clerical and administrative work. Unlike other countries, however, Soviet women were often directly involved in combat. For example, the air force started three all- female combat regiments fully staffed in that way with pilots, mechanics, bomb loaders and other personnel. Even though most women in the Soviet military weren't combatants, theywere all trained to use weapons, and those who did use them did so effectively. A platoon of 50 female snipers was in Third Shock Ar"my, led by Nina Lobkovskaia, and the unit was credited with 3,112 kills. L1'udmila Pavlichenko was the most famous female sniper, with 309 kills. Women also served as scouts, machinegunners and sappers. In some cases women were even placed in command over men, as was the situation with Klavdia Konovalova, who found herself made commander of a gun crew consisting of two women and four men. Great Britain, like the Soviets, had partially included women in the FirstWorldWar, but had only gotten as far as home-country factory jobs and an arxiliary corps that served as nurses and ambulance drivers. British conceptions of the inappropriateness of females in combat changed only slightlyin the SecondWorldWar. In preparation for that new warJ Britain had lormed the Auxiliarv Telritorial Aboutamillionsouietuomen,500,000Britishwomen (includittgeueenElizabethlt),200,000 Anrcricanuomen, and tens ofthousands from otherAlliett nations serued in unifornt. (usNA.) Service (ATS) in 1938 as a female auxiliaryto the military. In 1941 those women were elevated to full military status-meaning they received military pay but only at two-thirds of the rates men of equal rank received. The commander of Britain's anti-aircraft (AA) defenses, Gen. Sir Frederick Pile, seeing the need for and enthusiasm of female recruits, convinced the government to deploy women within AA units in England. Prime Minister Winston Churchill supported the program and stated any general who could, in effect, provide the country with 40,000 additional "flghting men' had accomplished a great feat. On 25 April 1941 regulations were passed that allowed women to enter the AA. Because male soldiers were generally perceived as being wary of serving with females, it was decided mixed-sex units would be set up onlywith completely new recruits from both sides of that divide. The assumption was, men r'r,ho hadn't yet been in the service wouldn't 11' WOFLD at WAF 40 I FEB lvlAF 2015
  5. 5. r. -' ,{, Fsi,i=i!:,i t d.-1r K It nll -fennle unil of the French resistance, 1944. Js: th'. d"d .* already have preconditioned nega- tive ideas about female soldiers. What separated British from Soviet women was the fact the former wele forbidden by a RoyalWarrant from personally using weapons in combat. Women could set ranges and bearing dials; they could load weapons, and they could adjust the fuses on the shells. They could do eve4thing except actually pull the trigger to fire the weapon. Only men were allowed lo fire at other human beings. The mens acceptance of the wom- en was mlred. Surveys showed that, as had been anticipated, new male recruits without prior military experi- ence accepted the females more easily than those men with traditional mili- tary experience already behind them. The French military provided yet a different story, in that its war was effectively over almost before it . began. The resistance movement that sprouted throughout the country then Red..lnttt, MP in Berlin shortly ajterv-E Day. qilr
  6. 6. came to contain women (Resistantes) in everyrole imaginable. Though Gen. de Gaulle didn't favor lhe mass partici- pation of women in the military he did authorize the formation of a women's corps among Free French forces in 1940 that was modeled after Britain's ATS. Atren partisan warfare took place within occupied France, women were accepted in all roles including combat. On the Axis side, Hitler believed women should stay home and raise loyal children. Even so, as the war pro- gressed and the available manpower diminished, German women were called on to join auxiliary units to work in such roles as nurses, clerks, accoun- tants, interpreters and administrative assistants. Soon the Germans, like the British, also allowed theirwomen to join the AA. Also as in Britain, German women weren't allowed to actually fire the guns they serviced. Within Germany's armed forces, however, their oum male soldiers became so used to encountering female Soviet soldiers the term "Gewehr Frau" (gun woman) became a common expression on the eastern front. Surveys showed that much of the public, including the male soldiers, didn't want to employ German gunwomen. Hitler issued an order in November 1944 that prohibited women from being trained to use personalweapons, even as the remaining manpower was being mobilized into the home guard militia (Uolksturm) in order to undertake the final desperate defense ofthe Reich against the encroaching Allies. The situation eventually did become so desperate Hitler reverse dhis dictat. Even the tradition-bound Iapanese werent above placing their females into combat roles when necessity called for it. A/hen the fighting reached Okinawa, the "Lilly Brigade," an all-female infantry unit, fought there. The Japanese also drafted high school girls and boys into that island's militia, where many fought to the death. No doubt, had the war not endedwhen it did, manymore female combatants would've been encountered when the flghting progressed to the home islands. The Americans did the least in terms of assimilating women into the armed forces. As it was, Army Chief of StaffGen. George C. Marshall decided to conduct an experiment to see if a mixed-gender unit could The RedArmy's np-scoring female sniper Lyudmila Mykhailivna Paulichenko, WORLD at WAR 40 j FEB MAF 201 5 Russian femalc partisan fi.ghters late in 1941.
  7. 7. Sonte personnel o.f the USSR'I all-female 47th Fighter Regiment. perform as well as an all-male forma- tion. For the project, women were recruited from among those who had already volunteered for the Women's Au-xiliary Army Corps (WAC). The experiment lasted four months, and the result was a report that concluded mixed-gender units could perform as efflciently as all-male units. A plan to recruit and train more women was proposed, but Marshall felt he had to view the idea through a political lens. He knew if women started to be drafted alongside men, a large contingent of congress- manwould be against it. If that hurdle were overcome, along with the general public's distaste for the idea, he believed the male recruits would react unfavorably, which could cause an even bigger problem. With those unknornns in mind, Marshall's staff advised he simply ter- minate the project without comment, which he did. American militarywom- en thereafter were only used in nursing and clerical positions. Had Germany or Japan started bombing the continental US, women would've likely been called up for AA duty. Because that threat was never more than minimal, however, the men already in the AA units were more than enough to handle it. & SOURCES Carnpbell, D'Ann. "lvornen in (bmbatr l he Vorld War II Expcicnce in the I Initcd States, Great Britain, Germirrr-1., and the Soviel UDion." The Journnl oI Milira4t Histoty 5 t- , no. 2 (19931: 306. Dc Groot, Gerard J. "'T T,ove thc scent of Corditc in Your llair': Gender Dlnarnics in ML{ed Atti-Aircrall tsattcries During the SccondWorld War." 7 he His I o ri cal Association, no. 265 11 997) : 7 4. Perrnington, Rcinir.,4 Titne to KiLl: Tlte Soldier's Erperience ( in theWest 1939 -/945. llandorn Hotlse, 1997. Rossiter, Margaret L. Women iD the ResistttLtce. Praeger, r 985. Slockdale, N'lelissa K. "'N{y Death for the Nlotherland Is Flappiness': Women, Pirtriotisnt, and Soldiering in Rrlssian's Great War. I91 4-l 91 t-." Amet ican Historical Rcuitt', t to. I 0q, ('U04): B I. Wcitz, N4arliare( Collins. Sisters lr, tfte Resistalrce: How wonetrFotLght to l;ree Frailce, 1940 l9'15. JohnWilev & Sons. I 995. l' WORLD at WAF 40 FEB IVIAR 2015