The Strike Witches are women with high magic potential. They are enlist in the militaries of the world with the purpose to fight the Neuroi. The Witches have a familiar (some type of animal spirit) and a magic ability. When a Witch activates her powers, she acquires animal ears and a tail.
The Witches's magic abilities are classified in three lineages: "Telekinesis" (Magic that moves things around), "Attack" (Magic that turns magic power into energy to attack with, and "Perception/Detection" (Magic that helps you see what is going on around you). Even among witches, only a handful are able to use special powers. Most witches can only use basic body enhancing and shields. Just being able use a Special Ability makes a Witch part of the elite from the start.
In most cases magical abilties are passed from mother to daughter, However there are witches, who are the first witch to be born in their family. Normally,magical abilities manifest in adolescent girls around the age of 12. Young witches demonstrate particularly strong and effective magic. Over time, this gift is gradually fades. However, much depends on how actively magic is used. For Most Witches their magical ability peaks at around age 16. Due to high loads and regular use of magic in combat, a Witches natural magical energy quickly begins to weaken. By the age of 20 the Vast majority of Witches are unfit for action. They are either dismissed or transferred to Ground/Support Service. While extremly rare some Witches retain strong magical ability beyond the age of 20; It is likely that the daughter of a witch that kept their abilities will also keep her abilities beyond age 20.
Night witches occupy special place even among witches. These girls, capable of using magical energy for radio communication and radar. Using this gift, they play the role of night interceptors used for reconnaissance and patrol,making them highly valued members of any squadron. It is known that the night witches can communicate with each other through the magic of radio, even at very large distances.
There are also a Witch-testers. Their work is not fundamentally different from the original work of test pilots. They are work with aircraft designers and test pilots to test new striker-units, new combat techniques, etc.
Land Witches (Sometimes called Tank Witches) use ground-striker units and are used in direct support of ground forces. They are especially active in North Africa, where the desert can effectively used for ground service. In limited quantities to support the troops are also Bomber Witches.
Finally,after losing their fighting ability, but not retiring from the Military, Witches who take on the roll of instructors, teaching the next generation of Witches. Apparently, a great career they hardly Imagined themselves taking.
Despite their age many witches hold fairly high ranks within their respective militaries,Many witches attain the rank of Sergeant just for entering the military even without any formal Training. The Highest rank a single witch has ever achived is the rank of Air Marshal (Comparative Ranks:Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral)
For a list of Strike Witches visit here .