View Full Version : The White Rose of Stalingrad and her Mechanic

11-09-2010, 05:41 AM
Just wondered how much is known about The White Rose of Stalingrad i.e Liyla Litvak the female fighter ace. I'm really interested too in her mechanic Sgt Pastportnikova who it seems spent years searching for her body and plane which he found (maybe!) in 1979. Anyone know what drove him in this search? What was his motivation?
What do people think about whether or not it was her body that was exhumed and these storesis of her having been seen interviewed on Swiss TV in the 1980's?

I'd be most interested to hear any info anyone might have on these two as it's quite an interesting topic to say the least!!

As an aside I Used to log in as signalnorth but no longer can for some reason hence my new title newsignalnorth in case you think I'm just visting here as a one off in order to glean info!

11-09-2010, 06:16 AM
Pick up a copy of Anne Noggle's A Dance With Death, published by Texas A&M University Press. The story as told by her mechanic (who was a woman, btw) is in there in the chapter on the 586 IAP, although Lilya was only in the 586 for a short time.

I've also compiled a decent group of photos of Litvyak from sources I've found on the net. I can't be sure all of them are her, but there are a few that look right. I'll post some here. Sorry if they're not the greatest quality.

From the top down:

L-R: Litvyak, Budanova and Kuznetsova, possibly discussing waypoints for an upcoming flight, though that's just conjecture.

Litvyak on the wing of what looks to be a Yak-1.

Portrait of Litvyak




11-09-2010, 07:00 AM

11-09-2010, 07:08 AM
BOOSHER, thanks, nice one! I'll go out and order that book today. Brilliant!

11-09-2010, 07:09 AM
Forgot to say, that she looks rather beautiful in that last shot does she not?

11-09-2010, 08:47 AM
Hmm I can add a bit of material, although I can not say much about the pictures as they are from a Russian book, but I can not read Russian even though my mom is from that corner of the world, so sorry if I can only supply pictures:

http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m290/RSS-Martin/Flugzeuge/eee77f3d0f71d07ffd854cc1546b6952_image_document_la rge_featured_borderless.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m290/RSS-Martin/Flugzeuge/553533b08482c6a90f1459b6d0a04b68_image_document_la rge_featured_borderless.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m290/RSS-Martin/Flugzeuge/a3a7e632d6ab69841b1c817f032f10b9_image_document_la rge_featured_borderless.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m290/RSS-Martin/Flugzeuge/6bc39b8df59771a4d7d5a720d477a4ff_image_document_la rge_featured_borderless.jpg
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m290/RSS-Martin/Flugzeuge/3c0f6d4ea155c8e16447562d72e28d13_image_document_la rge_featured_borderless.jpg

11-09-2010, 09:28 AM
Good group of photos, RSS-Martin, although these women were not part of Litvyak's regiment. These photographs are the women of the 46th Taman Guards Night bomber regiment (formerly 588 NBAP) and flew Po-2 (U-2VS) aircraft for harassment bombing duties during the Great Patriotic War. Offhand I know that the first picture you posted is of Natalya Myeklin. Their story starts out very similarly to Litvyak's, but ends up in a very different direction. Again, Noggle's A Dance With Death contains fascinating interviews from many of the surviving women, and is worth the read.

11-09-2010, 11:29 AM
Those ladies look....sturdy.

11-09-2010, 04:16 PM
Well, those flight jackets aren't exactly "flattering"


The view is better in the Summer http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

http://static.skynetblogs.be/media/149064/dyn010_original_509_700_jpeg_2551150_b87583e309d8a 1bf58c718bf3cd0eb7b.jpg





http://static.skynetblogs.be/media/149064/dyn003_original_700_736_jpeg_2551150_b6f4a7c5f4fc3 f332543990fd3e7e61e.jpg


11-10-2010, 01:24 AM
Originally posted by newsignalnorth:
I'm really interested too in her mechanic Sgt Pastportnikova who it seems spent years searching for her body and plane which she found (maybe!) in 1979. Anyone know what drove her in this search? What was her motivation?

Lilya's mechanic, Inna Pastportnikova, was also a lady. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Since Litvak had never been found, she became a suspect of have been killed while trying to defect -don't forget those were Stalin's times- which prevented her of being decorated posthumously as HSU. Her body, apparently unceremoniusly dumped by locals in an unmarked grave after her plane crashed, had ammo wounds in the head, proving she had died in combat -if it was really her. I guess Pastportnikova wanted to prove her comrade and friend deserved an untarnished memory.

11-10-2010, 03:38 AM
Hi newsignalnorth,

Like you I've been trawling for information on Litvak and her contemporaries for some time. I'd particularly like to know if she flew the later types of Yak with the cut down rear fuselage and what markings these displayed. Some say she had a white rose on the side of her cockpit, but I'm a bit sceptical of that.

I uploaded a pdf book called Night Witches by Bruce Myles that I found on the net. It's got a lot of anecdotes on Litvak that you will surely find interesting (no substitute for a printed version, but it should let you get a gist of what it contains). Also there is a BBC radio documentary of the same name included in there too. It has some very interesting interviews with several surviving women. Hope you'll find them as fascinating as I did. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Linky (http://www.filefront.com/17499684/NW.rar)

And is it just me, or does the story of the female pilots just cry out for a motion picture or what? There are enough Yaks, MiGs and Polikarpovs around Peter Jacksons doorstep for him to make a proper go of it. Never mind the Dam Busters.

11-10-2010, 03:01 PM
Hey Feathered_IV. Good to see you again! Litvyak flew the Yak-1b, the later versions of which did have a cut down rear fuselage and bubble canopy. The last -1B she piloted is supposed to have been White 23 of the 296 IAP. She also flew La-5's before joining the 296 in a different squadron. The white lily painted on the side of her Yak is a fable, a nice one, but nothing more than that.

11-10-2010, 03:19 PM
There were also the famous female Russian pilots known as the Nachthexen. Here is a link to an IL2 movie about them. http://www.flightsimmachinima....chthexen-by-snatchio (http://www.flightsimmachinima.com/nachthexen-by-snatchio)

11-10-2010, 06:34 PM
Nachthexen was supposedly the nickname of the 46 Taman Guards Night Bomber regiment, though I believe the nickname was just as true as the Japanese calling the Corsair 'Whistling Death.'

11-10-2010, 09:46 PM
Well there is a bit more to that name "Nachthexen" or "night witches" than that, as it is the name the Germans gave them. Mainly due to their night attacks, coming in very low and since they put the engine on idle as they where over the target they where fairly quiet. Also there was speculations amongst the Germans how they could see, as it would be pitch dark. That is why they where given that name. Well they caused many a sleepless night amongst them. This I have heard personally from two German veterans.

11-11-2010, 08:52 AM
FEATHERED thanks for that link!

11-16-2010, 04:22 AM
Thought you might like those http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The relationship between Litvak and Salomatin is given an almost Caidin-esque drama in the book. I'd probably take that with a pinch of salt.

One aspect of Litvak's career that I found incredible was that she was wounded twice and even did a runner from hospital to return to her unit. An amazing feat at a time when NKVD were stringing soldiers up wholesale on the merest suspiscion of desertion.

08-12-2012, 03:31 AM

I'm science fiction writer, Chris Berman and I have brought Lydia Litvyak, along with Greg Boyington, Adolf Galland, Saburo Sakai and Douglas Bader, 340 year into he future to train the outcasts of a de -militerized human race in the air of air combat, to fight in space against an alien threat. I hope that you will keep an eye out for Ace of Aces by Chris Berman, to be released in early 2013.

08-13-2012, 02:10 PM
Wow, never thought someone is in that stuff... cool.:cool: