In 1917, the Russian army created an all-woman battalion, which comprised 250 women, some as young as seventeen. According to Swiss observers, the women's battalion did well in its baptism of fire near Smorgon. The experiment proved so successful that several other all-female "battalions of death" were later formed in Moscow, Odessa, Ekaterinodar, and Perm. Maria Baktscharow, nicknamed "Yashka" captain of the first battalion of death, won medals for heroism on the front lines. In one of her most famous exploits, she crawled into the face of withering machine-gun fire to rescue several fallen comrades. Vera Butcharev, a captain in the Battalion of Death, achieved fame for her reckless courage in the face of enemy fire. Zoya Smirnow joined a group of twelve Russian girls, some as young as fourteen, who disguised themselves as boys and, emulating the Battalions of Death, went into battle as infantry. They killed numerous enemy soldiers in battles.