“The elder of the family, who had been so interested in my saddle, tried to ask a series of questions, but our poor Mongolian left us hanging. I was fluent in Russian, but like communism itself, it was a language that had never really held currency among a people who had remained more or less self-reliant through the centuries.“
-On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope
A description of the journey from the beginning of the book: “The world expanded with every new challenge, from frostbitten toes to the dark clouds of mosquitoes that came with summer in Siberia. But most of all it was the people who left an impression on me….I found it astonishing that in the midst of an adventure I experienced more comradeship and connection with many of these people than with those where I had grown up in Australia.“
“The Nazis called them “Night Witches” because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. The Russian women who piloted those planes, one-time crop dusters, took it as a compliment.”
“Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an Iron Cross.”
“The pilots’ skill prompted the Germans to spread rumors that the Russian women were given special injections and pills to “give us a feline’s perfect vision at night,” Ms. Popova told Mr. Axell. “This, of course, was nonsense.”” [Emphasis mine]
“I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes,” Ms. Popova said in 2010. “I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber. And I ask myself, ‘Nadia, how did you do it?’ ”
Interviews with Ms. Popova appear in Operation Typhoon: Hitler’s March on Moscow, October 1941 and Flying for Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War II.