Timeline

Childhood

1921 (officially; more likely 1922-1923): Lily is born in Moscow
1937-1938: the Great Purge—Lily’s father is arrested and convicted as an “enemy of the people”

War

1941

June 22nd, Germany invades the Soviet Union

• 800,000 women volunteer to serve in Soviet forces.
• Moscow is bombed.

October – December

• Marina Raskova, a famous pilot and navigator, recruits volunteers for 3 women’s air regiments: a night bomber, a dive bomber, and a fighter regiment, which requires the most skill.
• Lily volunteers and is accepted as a pilot.
• Training is in the town of Engels, on the Volga River, 840 kilometres southeast of Moscow.
• After the initial training, Lily is selected as a fighter pilot for the women’s air regiment designated as the 586th Fighter Regiment, Air Defence.

1942

February-March

• Yak-1s, newly designed fighter planes, are delivered to the Women’s Air Regiment.
• They receive advanced training in the fighter planes.

Saratov (an important industrial region near Stalingrad):

April to August

• The 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment is mobilized and put into active duty defending Saratov from bombing attacks on the factory and railroads.

Stalingrad

September – October

• Pilot casualities are high in Stalingrad and Air Defence is ordered to transfer pilots as replacements; among those transferred are Lily and her best friend, Katie Budanova.
• In the 437th FAR (fighter air regiment), they see action from dawn to dusk
• When the regiment is sent to the rear for rest, Lily and Katie are transferred to an elite fighter unit

October – January 1943

• Lily and Katie fight for Stalingrad, flying in the 9th Guards FAR, an elite fighter regiment. Katie sees action here, but it seems that Lily–small, young, feminine–is less well accepted.

1943

Southern Russia/Ukraine

Jauary – August 1943

• Lily and Katie transfer to another fighter regiment in the same division.
• This is the 296th, later renamed 73rd Guards, which is famous for achieving the first air victory against the German Luftwaffe in the war.
• This regiment is Lily and Katie’s true home; here they are accepted and valued sisters to their brothers in the regiment and their commander, whom the pilots call Papa.

August 1, 1943

• Lily is shot down, her fate unknown.

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