Five long years after the Neuroi invaded Europe, with setback after setback and loss after loss, humanity's morale is at an all-time low. Determined to continue doing what she can, retired witch Grace Steward has been attempting to get more funding and resources for the Aviation Magic Band, but is making little progress with the disinterested League of Nations Air Force brass. Not willing to give up on her desire to bring some measure of happiness to the war-weary public, Grace sets out to recruit more members for the Band, which will ultimately number nine in addition to herself; the 72nd Joint Fighter Squadron soon earns the name Luminous Witches, and sets out on a world tour.
With a roster of witches who, for a variety of reasons are unable to serve on the frontlines, Luminous Witches is not as combat-focused as other stories in the World Witches universe. Instead, the 72nd JFS is effectively a combination of air demonstration squadron (akin to the more modern Red Arrows, Blue Angels, or Snowbirds) and USO Tour, entertaining civilian and military audiences alike with aerobatics and music. The story begins in March, 1944 as Virginia "Ginny" Robertson makes her way to London from her home in rural Scotland, having until then lived a simple farming life without real appreciation for her talents as a witch. The Luminous Witches visit many locations not before seen in the Witches universe, and encounter many new and established characters during their mission to spread happiness through the power of music. For a world map featuring the Luminous Witches' world tour route, see the Talk Page.
Luminous Witches begins the same month as Strike Witches and takes place alongside as well as after that season, then continues parallel the first half of Brave Witches.
For more in-depth explanations of the lore and setting of the World Witches universe, see the first season's page.
Warning: Some descriptions and images are spoilers for the series, read at your own risk.
The following weapons were used in the anime series Luminous Witches:
An Orussian officer at the LNAF meeting is seen with a holster for a Tokarev TT-33; the other officers, all of various nations, presumably have their own service pistols as well. The continued existence of the League of Nations is an excellent example of how much of the turmoil and political unrest of the real world 1920s/30s never came to pass in this universe.
Tokarev TT-33 - 7.62x25mm Tokarev
Grace Steward gives a passionate speech to the brass, which almost entirely falls on deaf ears. The flags on the far wall are those of (top) Liberion, Britannia, Fuso, Romagna, Orussia, Suomus, Gallia, Karlsland, New Zeeland, Dacia, (bottom) Venezia, Belgica, Ostmark, and Hispania. (Ep.1)
Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III*
The Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* makes two small appearances, more notably in the hands of a Britannian sentry at RAF Heston, as well as what is most likely also an SMLE slung over the shoulder of a Free Gallian soldier in his recently liberated homeland.
Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* - .303 British
A Gallian soldier stands guard in front of a house, the starry sky no longer obscured by a Neuroi hive. (Ep.10)
The sentry with his Lee-Enfield No. 1. The distinctive nosecap and rear sight of the No. 1 can be made out, confirming it's not the later No. 4
In a flashback to Operation Dynamo in 1941, Captain Grace Steward and her two wingmen do what they can to cover the Dunkirk beachhead, armed with BARs. As with all witches, Grace is inspired by a real world military aviator; fitting her role in the story, she's based on actor and B-24 Liberator pilot James "Jimmy" Stewart, who would eventually retire as a brigadier general.
Browning M1918A2 - .30-06 Springfield
Grace surveys the beach at Dunkirk, her M1918A2's flip-up rear sight visible. (Ep.1)
As Neuroi beams cut through the sky, Grace evades in her P-40B Warhawk striker. (Ep.1)
Grace fires back at the geometric invaders, her BAR raining shell casings all around. (Ep.1)
Captain Steward's blue-eyed wingman fires her own M1918, giving an excellent look at its receiver. (Ep.1)
Her purple-eyed wingman returns fire as well. Grace's two wingmen are unfortunately not named, rather unusual for a series with as many characters as World Witches
Several Neuroi explode into fragments as the trio attempts to thin their numbers. (Ep.1)
Another look at the M1918A2's receiver and rear sight, as Grace orders them to turn for home. (Ep.1)
Her wingmen dejected, Grace promises they'll return to cover the evacuation as many times as possible, until every last soldier is safely out of Gallia. (Ep.1)
Grace's BAR spits fire, its rifling visible in this close-up. (Ep.1)
Shards of one more Neuroi falling past, Grace's BAR clicks empty, and the witches head for Britannia. (Ep.1)
Future Luminous Witches member Lyudmila "Milasha" Ruslanova and other Orussian witches are armed with DP-27s in a flashback. It's also standard issue for Free Gallian witches serving on the Eastern Front, such as Rosalie de La Poype of the 503rd Joint Fighter Wing. This marks the animated debut of the Typhoon Witches, which leaves the 505th Joint Fighter Wing as the last of the eight JFWs to not have an anime appearance thus far; the Mirage Witches feature prominently in the Contrail of Witches manga.
Degtyaryov DP-27 - 7.62x54mmR
The barrel of Lyudmila Ruslanova's DP-27 smoking after she manages to hit everything except
the target at the firing range. Milasha's bemused, unimpressed, and/or surprised squadmates all have DP-27s as well. (Ep.1)
Rosalie fires her Degtyaryov at a "singing" Neuroi, its rear sight set to 200 metres. (Ep.7)
Ottilie Kittel, Alexandra Şerbănescu, Fumiyo Kawaguchi, and Rosalie de La Poype above the clouds at sunrise, shortly after destroying the Neuroi. Ottilie flies a Fw 190 D-9 striker. (Ep.7)
Rosalie with her DP-27 and VG.39bis striker in the foreground, as the Typhoon Witches wonder if the mysterious voice that pointed them in the direction of the Neuroi was a night witch. (Ep.7)
The witch-version MG 42, redesigned to use Patronentrommel 34 drum magazines, is held by future Luminous Witches member Aira Linnamaa in another flashback. This flashback was originally captioned as taking place in 1941, which would make the MG 42 anachronistic, however the BD release corrected this to 1942. This correction is further reinforced by official artwork that depicts Aira using a KP/-31 before this, standard among Suomus witches prior to the MG 42. While the other eight performers are inspired by period singers rather than pilots, Aira is based on a pilot (Aarre Linnamaa) due to her combat experience.
MG 42s are also used by Alexandra Şerbănescu and Ottilie Kittel of the Typhoon Witches, while another is seen in the hands of Yoshika Miyafuji in a scene that parallels the sixth episode of Strike Witches.
MG 42 design artwork; the text at top-left describes operation of the magazine release, comparing it to the tab on an aluminum drink can
Recovering from a traumatic injury in 1942, Aira Linnamaa attempts to lift an unloaded MG 42. (Ep.3)
A close-up of the MG 42's pistol grip, as well as Aira's bandaged hands. (Ep.3)
Still not capable of even this much physical exertion, the gun slips from a dejected Aira's grasp. (Ep.3)
Fumiyo Kawaguchi and Alexandra Şerbănescu intercept an unexpected visitor, the Lancaster that serves as the Luminous Witches' transport aircraft. (Ep.7)
MG 42 tucked under her arm, Alexandra introduces herself to Grace, who is operating the Lancaster's wireless. This also gives a good look at her Bf 109 striker and its Dacian roundels. (Ep.7)
Lyudmila and Virginia greet the pair from the Lancaster's astrodome; Ginny's night witch antenna takes the form of a pair of headphones. Fumiyo's Ho-103 is erroneously drawn as an MG 42 in this shot. (Ep.7)
Alexandra with her MG 42, as the 503rd attempts to locate the "singing" Neuroi hiding in the clouds. (Ep.7)
Vectored in by Virginia, Alexandra opens fire on the dark nightingale. (Ep.7)
Yoshika Miyafuji holds Eila Juutilainen's MG 42, as the latter carries Aleksandra Litvyak; Sanya lost one half of her striker unit in a battle which took place just minutes earlier, as seen in Strike Witches
Shot down and injured, Aira holds the KP/-31 she used before the introduction of the MG 42. This is the smaller-resolution version of this piece, as posted on Humikane Shimada's Fantia page. (Art)
The Ho-103 appears in the hands of Imperial Fuso Army witches Fumiyo Kawaguchi and Tomomi Nishisugi. Although the Ho-103 has been seen in various manga, used by other Army witches such as Amaki Suwa (who appeared in Strike Witches and Strike Witches 2, unarmed), this is the gun's first appearance in a Witches anime. Also of note, Tomomi's appearance in the finale episode's night witch sequence is set a fair bit after sunrise, respecting the time zone difference between Europe and Fuso.
The witch version of the Ho-103 features an added pistol grip, off-hand grip, and ammo box, but is otherwise unmodified.
Alexandra and Fumiyo approach the Lancaster under a moonlit sky. (Ep.7)
A closer shot of the pair, Fumiyo armed with her rather large machine gun. They then escort the bomber to Chelyabinsk, the Luminous Witches' destination and the Typhoon Witches' home base. (Ep.7)
As the Neuroi is spotted Fumiyo pulls her Ho-103 on target, giving a good look at the underside of the gun, including its added grips for use by witches. (Ep.7)
Fumiyo prepares to open fire with her Ho-103. This miko-style uniform is worn by many IFA witches. (Ep.7)
Night witch Tomomi Nishisugi patrols the peaceful Fuso skies with her Ho-103 and Ki-43 Hayabusa striker; Fumiyo also flies a Ki-43. (Ep.12)
Tomomi uses her night witch antenna to amplify and rebroadcast the Luminous Witches' performance. The night witches' ability to communicate with each other over extreme distances serves them well, as their solitary patrols would otherwise be a rather lonely affair. (Ep.12)
Waltraud Nowotny of the 503rd JFW is briefly seen flying alongside her fellow squadron members, presumably armed with the MG 131 that she's known to use. Waltraud and the remaining 503rd members not seen in combat (Bronislava Safonov, Huberta von Bonin, and Galina Kostylev) all receive a proper cameo in the final episode.
Alexandra, Fumiyo, Rosalie, Waltraud, and Ottilie search for the Neuroi, the shot deliberately blurred as a representation of Ginny detecting them over a great distance. Waltraud uses a Fw 190 D-9 striker, though in the not too distant future she will become an early adopter of the Me 262 jet striker. (Ep.7)
Official artwork revealing the Typhoon Witches' character designs, for reference. Fumiyo is armed with a pistol sword built from a Type 14
, a very real design tested by the Japanese in the '20s. This fictional variant appears to have gone through further design iterations, notably featuring a straight pistol grip. (Art)
Type 99-2 Model 2 Kai
The iconic witch variant of the Type 99 makes the smallest of cameos, slung behind Yoshika's back. This scene takes place shortly after the climactic fight in the sixth episode of the first season of Strike Witches, which aired fourteen years previous.
For the rather lengthy technical explanation of the witches' Type 99-2 Model 2 Kai variant, see its first season entry.
Type 99 Mark 1, flexible configuration - 20x72mmRB
Type 99-2 Model 2 Kai (13.2x96mm Hotchkiss) design artwork; the text at lower-centre indicates the location of the charging button
Yoshika, Eila, and Sanya under the full moon late on August 18, the shared birthday of Sanya and Yoshika (and Shizuka Hattori
). The Type 99's long barrel is visible poking over Yoshika's shoulder. (Ep.7)
Yoshika with her Type 99 and Eila's MG 42, not long after a mysterious yet familiar piano tune resounded through the night sky. (Ep.7)
Karlsland night witches Heinrike Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and Heidemarie Schnaufer make an appearance in the finale, armed as usual with MG 151/20 cannons.
Heinrike with her MG 151 while on night patrol over northern Gallia. Prinzessin's night witch antenna fittingly takes the shape of a tiara. (Ep.12)
Elsewhere over Gallia or Belgica, Heidemarie's own antenna detects and retransmits the sound of music across the night witches' radio network. (Ep.12)
Aleksandra Litvyak makes a second cameo in the finale alongside the other night witches, armed with a Fliegerhammer. Based on the Fliegerfaust and designed by Ursula Hartmann, the Fliegerhammer is a fictional nine-barrel rocket launcher, its heavy firepower a good companion for a night witch. The finale performance taking place on December 26, 1944 puts her in the skies over Petersburg, as she and Eila were visiting the Brave Witches at this time, covered in the Brave Witches OVA (Episode 7.5). As such, this is almost certainly the same Fliegerhammer Sanya uses in the battle on New Year's Eve later in that same episode.
For additional details, see its first season entry.
Fliegerfaust (replica) with 9-rocket clip - 20mm
Fliegerhammer design artwork; the text at top-left describes the launch order in volley fire (white tubes first)
Sanya on patrol over Petersburg with her Fliegerhammer. Consistent with Brave Witches
, she's still flying a MiG-60 striker. (Ep.12)
Surprised to hear music on her solitary night flight, Sanya joins her fellow night witches in broadcasting the concert around the world. (Ep.12)
Britannian propaganda poster
One of many propaganda posters in London features a stylized depiction of a Britannian witch and her rifle. The gun is difficult to identify due to its simplified nature, but it bears resemblance to the M1 Carbine. Given that the witch is clearly based on Mio Sakamoto (though not in an in-universe sense) it may instead be the Fuso witches' Type 99.
A stitched shot of the poster, its Britannian witch proudly defending her homeland. (Ep.1)
"The present you is a future figure of all the witches who follow after you."
Felicia Louisa Gresley, an aristocrat of sorts, gives advice to Grace Steward after seeing promise in her plans. (Ep.1)
Vehicle-Mounted & Stationary Weapons
Browning .303 Mk II*
For their world tour the 72nd JFS is assigned a Lancaster Mk I, serial number W4113 and given the squadron code LW-A. The Lancaster is armed with eight Browning .303 Mk II* machine guns, two in the nose turret, two in the dorsal turret, and four in the tail turret. The Luminous Witches' Lancaster is not fresh off the assembly line, but rather a war-weary Lancaster that has seen more than its share of combat missions. The bomber's interior gets a rather notable amount of screen time, serving as the setting for many scenes between concerts, and Grace is often seen manning the aircraft's wireless station.
In reality, Lancaster W4113 served with No. 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit RAF and bore the squadron code GP-J, while "LW" was the squadron code for No. 318 (Polish) Squadron RAF.
Browning .303 Mk II* - .303 British
Virginia Robertson and Inori Shibuya form up alongside their Lancaster in the opening credits, giving a good look at its dorsal turret. The Luminous Witches fly Harvard strikers, standard trainer for Commonwealth nations; its original Liberian designation is AT-6 Texan. (OP)
Silvie Cariello, Joanna Stafford, and Manaia Hato follow, the Lancaster Mk I's nose turret seen here. Manaia calls the Harvards nostalgic when they're first seen (sporting their iconic all-yellow paint scheme), prompting Jo to say she thought they were called Texans. (OP)
All nine Luminous Witches form up around the Lancaster. The first two letters of RAF squadron codes denote the squadron, the third for individual aircraft within that squadron; if the 72nd JFS had additional aircraft, they would be LW-B, LW-C, etc. (OP)
The Lancaster Mk I sets off for Roma, skirting the edge of Gallian airspace and the large Neuroi hive that looms over it, seen from a distance later in this scene. The rear quartet of Browning .303 Mk II*s can often look like just two, as each side's pair are mounted close together. (Ep.5)
Aira Linnamaa, Maria Dietrich, Inori Shibuya, Manaia Hato, Lyudmila Ruslanova, Eleonore Gassion, Virginia Robertson, Silvie Cariello, and Joanna Stafford arrive in Romagna, in this stitched shot. The nose Brownings are visible through the turret's plexiglass. (Ep.5)
The bomber departs Roma, onward to Napoli and a dozen other concerts throughout the Mediterranean, Orussia, and Fuso. (Ep.5)
Inori's grandmother waves as they leave Fuso, heading across the Pacific to Liberion. They would have refuelled in Orussia, Alaska, and/or Faraway Land, as a direct route is twice the Lancaster's range. (Ep.8)
A magnificent stitched shot of the Lancaster and its passengers arriving in New York, its Browning .303s again visible inside their turrets. Specifically, this appears to be Newark Metropolitan Airport, with Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge to the right. (Ep.9)
The 72nd Joint Fighter Squadron returns home to RAF Heston. The design of RAF Heston's gate and sign appear to be inspired by those of RAF Scampton, long time home of the real world Red Arrows, who are similarly a nine-member team flying the then-current primary trainer aircraft painted red. (Ep.10)
The Lancaster Mk I sits in its hangar at RAF Heston as Eleonore walks over alone, having mixed feelings about the band's upcoming performance in recently-liberated Paris. (Ep.10)
A photo of the real Lancaster Mk I W4113
, as GP-J. (Photo)
Breda-SAFAT 12.7mm machine gun
During a compilation of most of the characters' assignments before joining the Aviation Magic Band, an airfield in Harwich, Essex is seen serving as the base for the Romagnan 56º Stormo, where Silvie Cariello (or in full, Silvana Adelaide di Carignano) was previously stationed. 56º Stormo being based in Harwich is a reference to the real world Corpo Aereo Italiano, which flew alongside the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain; Harwich and the nearby seaplane base RAF Felixstowe were frequent targets of the CAI.
Several dozen Romagnan fighters are seen at the airbase, and though the specific model of aircraft is uncertain from this distance, due to its ubiquity they are certainly armed with Breda-SAFAT machine guns chambered in 12.7mm. Given their proportionally short wingspan and long fuselage as well as an apparent upper wing, they may be C.R.42 Falco fighters. Entering service in 1939, the C.R.42 was a very modern design despite being a biplane, well-respected as a fighter during the early years of the war; the Falco was indeed flown by 56º Stormo during the Battle of Britain.
Breda-SAFAT machine gun - 12.7x81mmSR
The airbase in Harwich, with its probable C.R.42 Falcos. Although the Falco would be a bit dated by 1944, this itself fits with Silvie always being stationed away from frontline units due to her heritage. (Ep.1)
Rodman Model 1861
The final concert of the world tour is held at Fort Jay, a coastal bastion on Governors Island in New York Harbor, built at the turn of the 19th century. Being by this point a historic landmark rather than a legitimate military fortification, Fort Jay retains just five of its Rodman Model 1861 cannons, specifically one 15-inch and four 10-inch guns. After a photo of the fort is shown to the group by Grace, Maria Dietrich gives a brief explanation of Fort Jay, mentioning it has a history going back well over one-hundred years (in 1944). The five preserved Rodman guns at Fort Jay are still present there in the real world today.
Rodman Model 1861 - 10-inch
Grace provides an aerial photo of Fort Jay; although a bit grainy, all five Rodman guns can be seen here. The 15-inch gun and two of the 10-inch guns are mounted in the north ravelin, facing Manhattan. The two other 10-inch guns are mounted either side of the east entrance gate. (Ep.9)
Fort Jay, with Manhattan in the distance. The further of the two entrance gate Rodman guns is partially visible hiding behind some grass, while the closer seems mostly obscured. The three guns in the ravelin are out of view on the far side of the fort. (Ep.9)
A photo of Fort Jay for reference. The three Rodman guns in the ravelin are easily seen, the larger centre one being the 15-inch, while the remaining two 10-inch guns sit either side of the main entrance. (Photo)
Only one armed military ship appears this season, the Liberian Sangamon-class escort carrier USS Santee, seen shortly after arriving at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. She is armed with two 5"/51 Mark 15 cannons for some degree of anti-surface protection, along with four twin 40mm/56 Mark 1 and Mark 2 autocannons (Mark 1 being the left-hand gun in the pair, Mark 2 the right) and twelve 20mm/70 Mark 4 autocannons for a much more potent anti-air screen. Santee is home to VF-26, Joanna Stafford's then-current squadron.
in Portsmouth. One of the twin Bofors mounts overhangs the stern, a 5"/51 is mounted just forward of this about halfway up the hull, six Oerlikons sit amidships along the flight deck, with the other twin Bofors forward of the bridge at flight deck level. This armament is mirrored on the port side of the ship. (Ep.1)