At the beginning of World War II, women were not allowed to join the Russian Army, but as time passed and the need for soldiers to stop the German offensive grew, women became eligible to the draft. Natalia Peshkova was one of the women who ended up drafted into the Russian Army when she was just 17. She trained with weapons that rarely worked as part of a unit that was poorly supplied. At one point a horse ate one of her boots as she slept. Her unit was so poorly equipped that she was forced to go without a boot for an entire month. Her unit was also poorly fed with little more than pea flour and a piece of horse sausage as her daily ration.
Despite this, she did everything she could to protect and help soldiers that were wounded on the front lines as a combat medic. She was trained to protect wounded soldiers from the front and get them safely to hospitals. While she was trained to apply first aid, her main duty was always to remove wounded men from the front line.
She herself was wounded three times for her efforts. But Peshkova had strength and determination that was unmatched, and she kept returning to the front. Once she found herself behind enemy lines when the Germans took over territory that had been held by the Soviets. Peshkova was completely separated from her unit, and in order to get past the German forces she had to disguise herself. Her disguise was hampered by the fact that she had to hide her gun within it because, despite the poor quality of the gun, she would have been executed for losing her weapon.
Peshkova made it back to her unit and survived three years on the front lines. She rose through the ranks to become Sergeant Major, and was then given political education duties that finally relived her from life on the front lines. She was awarded the Order of the Red Star for Bravery.