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Captured Soviet Female Soldiers - How Did the Germans Treat Them?

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The author is an air warrior, military historian and writer on warfare and military history

Soviet sniper women

Soviet sniper women

captured-soviet-female-soldiers-how-did-the-germans-treat-them

Introduction

World War II is one of the significant features of world history and will remain so forever. In Europe, the battle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia on the Eastern front was the most ferocious. In contrast, the battle on the Western front against the Americans and the British was almost like a cakewalk as the Germans made no significant attempt to hold the Anglo-American force. The Germans positioned 160 elite divisions on the Eastern front while not even half of that number faced the allies on the Western front, and even these troops were actually lower grade as the OKW positioned their best troops against the Soviets.

There was also a fundamental difference between the Soviet concept of women as soldiers and the German idea. The Germans did not believe that women are supposed to be in actual combat and used them only for secondary duties like guarding prison camps, drivers, and other jobs. In contrast, the communist philosophy believes women to be equal to men and threw them into actual combat. Many snipers in the Red Army and pilots of the Russian Air Force took actual part in combat. The Russians threw in almost 1,000,000 women into battle.

captured-soviet-female-soldiers-how-did-the-germans-treat-them

Women in combat

The German army invaded Russia on 22nd June 1941. This was part of Hitler's grand plan to occupy the lands in the east for the benefit of Germany. The Russians were taken by surprise and the Germans were equally surprised when they found that many of the prisoners they captured were woman soldiers. This was a phenomenon that they had not encountered in the battles in Norway, France, and Poland.

The Nazi army felt a sense of disgust when they encountered woman soldiers who were manning field guns and carrying rifles. They were surprised that there were women pilots who they characterized as night witches. For the record 200,000 women were decorated and 89 won the highest award for valor in the face of the enemy- the hero of the Soviet Union.

The German army could not reconcile to the fact that women wore uniforms and on the 29th of June 194i, Field Marshall Gunther von Kluge, commander of the 4th army issued an order that captured women soldiers were to be summarily shot dead.

This was an illegal order and was rescinded but individual commanders continued passing orders and women taken us POWs were shot. This was not the end and in October 1941, when many women were captured from behind German lines indulging in partisan activities, Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau issued specific orders that women along with captured Russian soldiers were to be immediately shot dead. Further down the line, the commander of the 75th division General Earnst Hammer issued another order stating roughly the same thing.

The net result of these orders is that the woman soldiers taken his POW were summarily shot dead though a few were captured and suffered sexual abuse. The sad part is that these orders were not issued by the Gestapo or the SS but by the so-called professional German army for which there is no excuse.


captured-soviet-female-soldiers-how-did-the-germans-treat-them

German atrocities

The Germans took nearly 6,000,000 prisoners during the battles on the Eastern front and it is on record that 3 million of them died. The Russian POWs were not treated as per the Geneva Convention and many hundreds of thousands were allowed to starve to death. Those women soldiers who had not been summarily shot dead after capture suffered tremendous abuse; many of them prepared to shoot themselves dead than to be captured by the German army.

This is a sad history of the German army which prided itself in its professionalism. It just about shows that they were not professional at all but basically a bunch of hoodlums who were swayed by Nazi ideology.

In the East, the imperial army was even crueler and went one step ahead of the Germans when they recruited over 200,000 women as comfort women to look after the troops. The war can certainly be considered a fight between good and evil and thankfully good one. The free world has faced a similar situation in Afghanistan and sadly the United States lost the battle and terror has just begun as BBC has reported that 4 men were recently hung from a crane in Kabul. There is another BBC video of a woman being lashed with a whip in a village.

References

Soviet women in Combat - A history of violence on the eastern front - Anna Krylova

Women in Combat: The Soviet Example -Hayley Noble(Boise state university)

Comments

MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 30, 2021:

Mark, thanks for your comment. Yes, you are right about the Russians.

Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on September 30, 2021:

We have to give the Russians praise for saving our world from the Nazis.

MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 26, 2021:

Bill, thank you for sparing time and commenting.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 26, 2021:

Man's inhumanity towards man...the atrocities of war...let us hope we never forget. Important article, my friend. Well done!

MG Singh (author) from UAE on September 26, 2021:

Thank you Shazmi, your comment is valuable.

Shazia Ilmi on September 26, 2021:

This is a nice article but sadly the same thing is happening in Afghanistan and the world is doing nothing about it.

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