A couple of videos that have renewed importance, now that the USA Dimocrats have decided we will Draft Women into the Military.
Folks tend to forget that Women Warriors have been with us forever. From Europe there are very old horse culture graves with women with swords and armor. From Asia (Russia) there are similar graves. Celts were often having mixed gender wariors.
This was even true during the very gender roll specific era of W.W.II when one of the most prolific snipers in Russia was a woman. (Shades of Boris & Natasha…)
But these two groups of Women Warriors I’d not heard about. 28 Minutes each. With subtitles.
The Russian Night Witches Of World War Two
In the 1930s, with the black clouds of war gathering over the skies of Europe once more, the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin pushed to demonstrate its technical prowess to the rest of the world, particularly in the air, where the Soviets established a number of endurance records for aircraft. To demonstrate how far the Soviet Union had come culturally, a number of these record-breaking efforts included female pilots and aircrew, and none were more famous than Marina Raskova. Often credited as the Soviet Union’s Amelia Earhart, Raskova was the first woman to qualify as a navigator in the Soviet Air Force in 1933 and was part of a record-breaking attempt for female aviators that saw her crew fly over 4,000 miles in a converted DB-2 long range bomber. This earned her celebrity status in the Soviet Union and crucially, influence over Stalin himself. For when war would finally break out between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Raskova would come to Stalin with a plan for women to join the men in the fight against fascist tyranny. This plan would result in one of the most famous flying units of World War II – the Night Witches.
Assassins In Skirts – Flirting, With Death
As opposed to the fighting in North Africa or the brutal Eastern Front, prior to 1944 the German soldiers stationed in the west enjoyed good food, wine and the company of the local women. All the while they were unaware that they were often being lured in by those brave men and women who refused to submit to Hitler’s tyranny. In Holland, three young women would wage a secret war against their occupiers using their innocent and youthful looks to lower their enemy’s guard before they struck out like a deadly Black Widow spider. They did not embrace leading their lives this way. They had no blood lust, rather they simply did what had to be done in the cause of freedom. This is their story.
As a minor side note: The Great Gandma of my kids (spousal Grandma), a British Citizen, was Royal Nanny to the King of Belgium. Leopold III.
Her name was Elizabeth Warren. (No, not that one, a proper one.) When the Germans invaded, she was charged with taking the Royal Children to England. In a small boat, they crossed the channel, Elizabeth hovering over her charges. Wearing the Queen’s Pearls under her coat and her own jewelry.
In the story of the fall of Belgium and how King Leopold III declined to leave his country but stayed to fight off the Germans as long as he could, it is omitted that his family was escaping and that he was giving them time to do it.
A sharp conflict with his Prime Minister Pierlot followed, when the defences were breached. The King expected Belgium to be completely crushed by Germany and refused to join the government in exile in France. By this, he violated the constitution.
He preferred to “stay with his troops and people, whatever the outcome, and share their fate.” He would not flee as other royal houses did. The Prime Minister maintained that Belgium was no longer “independent”, after having been invaded by Germany. Thus, it should morally side with the allied forces. The delegation left the King and joined the rest in exile in Limoges, France.
After 18 days, on 28 May 1940, the King decided to surrender the army to prevent further bloodshed among his troops and people. Above all, on this last strip of unoccupied land, hundreds of thousands of fugitives were squeezing together. A final meeting with his Prime Minister could not change his mind; he refused to join his ministers for the later liberation of Belgium. For Leopold, the war was over.
It takes a certain amount of “Pluck” and courage to herd 3 Royal Children out of a country in the middle of an invasion and across a bit of rough ocean channel to freedom. Knowing that all manner of folks would love to get their hands on the kids.
One suspects, but can not confirm, that the current Royal Elizabeth may have been named for the Nanny who saved her grandad, Albert II:
Belgium’s future queen is off to Oxford! Princess Elisabeth, 19, will study history and politics at the University’s Lincoln College after a stint at Hippie Hogwarts in Wales
Eldest daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde is heir to Belgian throne
Princess Elisabeth, 19, will commence three-year course in Oxford in October
The Belgian royals announced the news in a statement on its Instagram page
Princess Elisabeth of Belgium will take up a place at Oxford University to study history and politics, it was revealed today.
The eldest daughter of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, who is heir to the Belgian throne, will commence the three-year course in October at the prestigious university’s Lincoln College.
The Belgian royals announced the news in a statement on its Instagram page, adding that the princess will ‘regularly return to Belgium and remain involved in Belgian public life’ while she studies in the UK.
The Wiki is vague on the escape of Albert II from the German invasion:
Prince Albert was born in Stuyvenberg Castle, Brussels, as the second son and youngest child of King Leopold III and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden. He was second in line to the throne at birth, and was given the title Prince of Liège. Queen Astrid died in a car accident on 29 August 1935, in which King Leopold was lightly injured but survived, when Prince Albert was one year old. The King remarried to Mary Lilian Baels (later became Princess of Réthy) in 1941. The couple produced three children: Prince Alexandre, Princess Marie-Christine and Princess Marie-Esméralda (who is also Albert’s goddaughter). Albert and his siblings had a close relationship with their stepmother and they called her “Mother”.
During World War II, on 10 May 1940, at the time when Belgium was being invaded, Prince Albert, his elder sister Princess Joséphine-Charlotte and his elder brother Prince Baudouin, left the country for France and later Spain. The Prince and the Princess returned to Belgium on 2 August 1940. They continued their studies until 1944, either at Laeken, or at the Castle of Ciergnon in the Ardennes. In June 1944, at the time of the Allied landings, King Leopold, his wife Princess Lilian and the royal children were deported by the Germans to Hirschstein, Germany, and later to Strobl, Austria, where they were liberated by the American Army on 7 May 1945. Owing to the political situation in Belgium, King Leopold and his family moved to the villa “Le Reposoir” in Pregny, Switzerland, when they left Austria in October 1945 and stayed until July 1950. During that time, Prince Albert would continue his education in a secondary school in Geneva. King Leopold III, accompanied by Prince Baudouin and Prince Albert, returned to Belgium on 22 July 1950.
10 May 1940 the Royal Children leave for other countries (via England crossing). Eighteen days later, after 18 days of fighting, the King surrenders. So just about the right amount of time, 2 weeks, to get the kids off to a safe place in England, smuggled across the channel, and get confirmation back in the middle of a war and invasion. Then the Dunkirk evacuation could begin from France to the UK.
I do not know if the Royal Children were evacuated directly from Belgium, or after fleeing to France. All I know is written above. The spouse may have more details and I’ll ask if anyone wants more.