This is Part Two of an occasional series of recollections, excerpted from Yegorova’s memoir, posted 70 years after the events in question. In this excerpt, young flight instructor Yegorova takes the train to Moscow after she learns of the Nazi invasion:
Camouflage shrouded the buildings on Three Station Square like a theatrical set…People in soldier’s blouses stepped briskly through the great station halls, and the booming sound of barked orders ricocheted off the stone walls…Massive anti-aircraft guns stood like long-legged storks on the roofs of multi-storied apartment buildings.
Moscow was beginning to look like a front city. With each passing day, the city grew gloomier and grimmer. Levitan’s daily broadcasts delivered increasingly alarming reports: “After stubborn and fierce battle…” The…reports followed us everywhere. We could scarcely believe them.
I remember sitting on the bus, my face pressed against the window, wondering why we were moving so slowly. I noticed with surprise a girl in a military uniform energetically waving a small red flag to clear the way for a huge column of Red Army soldiers. Such things would soon seem terribly ordinary…
– Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, Red Sky, Black Death, A Soviet Woman Pilot’s Memoir of the Eastern Front