Wars separate people from their loved ones, be it parents, lovers, husbands, wives, or children. Even sadder was that there was no guarantee that you would ever see them again once they started serving, taking them from your arms to the brutal war front. While many were devastated upon receiving the news of their loved ones’ death, a Soviet housewife decided to take a different course. She did not waste time sulking upon hearing about her husband’s death. She instead got herself a T-34 tank to hunt down and kill the Nazis.

Meet Mariya Oktyabrskaya

Mariya Oktyabrskaya was born on the Crimean Peninsula to an impoverished Ukrainian family, one among her parents’ ten children. Before World War II erupted, she worked in a cannery and then as a telephone operator at one point.

In 1925, she met the love of her life, a Soviet army officer named Ilya Oktyabrsky. The two got married in the same year. Her husband influenced her, and she became interested in military matters. She even joined the “Military Wives Council” and received her training as a nurse in the army. She also became familiar with correctly using weapons and driving vehicles, which was very uncommon at that time for women. She said, “Marry a serviceman, and you serve in the army: an officer’s wife is not only a proud woman but also a responsible title.” She was one proud military wife.

The Fighting Girlfriend

In 1941, as the war progressed and closed in on the Soviet Union, Mariya Oktyabrskaya had to evacuate to Siberia, where she would spend the next two years of her life while her husband fought on the front lines. It took a long time before the news of her husband’s death reached her. However, when she read the letter, anger filled her emotions. She was so enraged about her beloved’s death that she wasted no time and wrote a letter to Stalin: