Warfare History Network
These 7 Heroes Turned the Tide of Battle (And Changed History)
Warfare brings about great deeds and dire circumstances. In the aftermath of the world’s greatest conflicts, some soldiers and commanders become footnotes in the history books, whereas others are able to rewrite the book itself.
Here is a brief list of our historical greats: leaders and the commanders who, for good or ill, changed the course of world events forever.
“Yasha” Botchkareva and the Battalion of Death
In May 1917, Duma (the Russian parliament) President Mikhail V. Rodzianko summoned Maria “Yasha” Botchkareva, a Siberian peasant, to St. Petersburg to hear her plea to organize a women’s battalion for the coming summer offensive. During her lifetime, Botchkareva had fled from her drunken and abusive husband, enlisted in the Russian Imperial Infantry, suffered two wounds in combat, and won three decorations for bravery under enemy fire.
“You heard of what I have gone through and what I have done as a soldier,” Botchkareva stated to Rodzianko’s assembly of soldiers’ delegates to the Duma. “Now, how would it do to organize three hundred women like me to serve as an example to the army and lead the men into battle?”
Botchkareva later recalled that she was granted authority then and there to form the First Russian Women’s Battalion of Death.
Howard W. Gilmore
On February 7, 1943, while on patrol in the South Pacific, U.S .Navy Commander Howard W. Gilmore, commander of the USS Growler and his crew carved out a place for themselves in navy legend, and set a standard of duty that is remembered in the submarine service today.