The Soviet Union was much more egalitarian and far less sexist than any Western Ally during WWII. Women were allowed to do almost anything a man was allowed to do all in the spirit of equality as dictated by Communism. That was a good policy for them, because when Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Russia was going to need all the help it could get. Thousands of women trained as tankers and front line pilots and even snipers. Russian women snipers were brutally lethal in the traditional sense, sowing terror among Wehrmacht officers, and pinning down Nazi regulars in the cold of Stalingrad.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko was born on June 12, 1916. At the age of 14, her family moved to Kiev and there she joined a youth marksman club. She excelled as a marksman and before she was even qualified in the sniper role, she pretty much had the shooting part itself down pat.
She was 24 and studying history at the University of Kiev when Germany invaded Russia on June 21st, 1941. She quit school and rushed to join the Red Army where she was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. She served from 1941 until 1953 and left the Red Army a Major.
At the Battle of Odessa she was so successful, she was moved to participate in the Battle of Sevastopol. She is said to have killed 309 Nazis. She received the Order of Lenin, and the Hero of the Soviet Union.
By the time the shoutin’ and the shootin’ was over, she had killed more people than the Rambo character in all his movies (309 to his 210).
After the war she taught at sniper school, and later became a historian for the Soviet Navy.Woody Guthrie is said to have written but not recorded a song about her called Miss Pavlichenko. She died at the age of 58 in Moscow on October 10, 1974.
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