The words on her tank: Боевая подруга means Fighting Girlfriend [x]
While living in Tomsk, she learned that her husband was killed fighting the forces of Nazi Germany near Kiev in August 1941. The news took two years to reach her. The news angered her extremely, and she became determined to fight the Germans in vengeance for her husband’s death
Most of the men fighting alongside Mariya just saw her as a publicity stunt and didn’t take her seriously. However, their doubts were quickly laid to rest when Mariya drove her tank straight into battle and was the first tank to breach the German lines. In doing so, she destroyed several machine gun nests and German artillery. It wasn’t long until the Germans figured out that her tank was the one they needed to really worry about.
The Germans immediately started focusing their gunfire on her medium Mariya-Vasilievna-Oktyabrskayasized tank, temporarily crippling it. Mariya didn’t sell all her worldly possessions just so she could sit around in a crippled tank. She was determined to get her vengeance. She leaped out of her tank into a hail of gunfire and started patching it back together so that she could charge even further into the enemy lines.
A month later Mariya found herself in the middle of night raid when her tank was hit by an artillery shell severing the tracks on her tank. She once again jumped out of her tank and started repairing the tracks while her gun crew provided covering fire. A few days later and a little worse for wear, she rejoined the fight.
Mariya Vasilyevna Oktyabrskaya was the first female tanker to be awarded the Hero Of The Soviet Union award; the Soviet Union’s highest award for bravery during combat.
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Source: Ultra Facts