She had one stipulation: She would be the one driving it.
Via Lock, Stock, and History
It's a sitcom-worthy setup, but Mariya intended to be the only one laughing.
The State Committee of Defense smelled a juicy propaganda stunt and agreed. After a few months of training, 38-year-old Mariya rolled onto the battlefield in her personal tank, which she had named the Fighting Girlfriend.
Motto: "No, really, I'm fine."
Male officers initially suspected that her vagina would impair her tank skills. However, they soon learned never to express doubt in an angry woman controlling several tons of mechanized death, as they witnessed her tear through the Second Battle of Smolensk at the head of her unit, leaving a cloud of smoke and Nazi bits in her wake. She handled her tank like a veteran, driving headfirst into enemy fire and tearing through the opposition with ease. A few weeks later in another battle, a German shell broke her tank's tracks and the Fighting Girlfriend got separated from the rest of the unit. She and her crew jumped out of the tank and started repairing it in the middle of the battle, keeping the enemy at bay with their guns.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Meanwhile, you can't change your windshield wiper fluid.