The Deadliest Sniper - Lyuda Pavlichenko
Lyudmila Pavlichenko of the Russian, Soviet Red Army is regarded as the most successful and deadliest female sniper in the history of military warfare.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko was born in a small Ukrainian village on July 12, 1916. The village of Belaya Tserkov, where Lyudmila grew up, is located along the Ros' River in the agricultural district of the central Ukraine. Lyudmila, Lyuda for short, was a bright and inquisitive little girl with an independent personality and a propensity to voice her opinions. When Lyuda graduated from the ninth grade, at the age of fourteen, she moved with her family to the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev where she found a job in a weapons factory.
As a child Lyuda, always a bit of a tom boy, had developed a love for sport shooting and joined a shooting club in Kiev where she excelled as a marksman. In June 1941 when Nazi Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union , Lyuda was in her fourth year at Kiev State University, majoring in history. Like many of her classmates, she was eager to join the military to fight for her country and was among the first in line at the recruiting office.
Lyuda was a very attractive 24 year old college girl dressed in stylish clothes with polished nails and a trendy hair style. So, when she told the recruiter that she wanted to enlist as a rifleman in the infantry he explained politely that he didn't think the infantry was right for her and that he thought nursing would be more suitable. But, Lyuda insisted and produced marksmanship certificates from her gun club and was reluctantly assigned to the Red Army's 25th Rifle Division.
In August 1941, Private Lyuda Pavlichenko scored her first two kills near the village of Belyayevka when her unit was ordered to defend a hill of strategic military importance. Lyuda knew that shooting human beings would be difficult for her and for the first few days on the battlefield she couldn't bring herself to fire. That all changed that day when a German shot a young Russian soldier near her. "He was such a nice, happy boy," she said. "And he was killed just next to me. After that, nothing could stop me."
In June of 1942 , Pavlichenko was wounded by a mortar blast and removed from the front lines with a confirmed kill tally of 309. It's much more likely that her kill tally was above 500 but because Lyuda worked alone much of the time there was no one to confirm the kills.
Although Lyuda was a deadly sniper and a valuable weapon for the Soviet Army they felt she would be an even better poster girl. After Lyuda recovered from her wounds the Russians sent her to tour Canada and the United States and she became the first Soviet citizen to be a guest of the White House. When she returned to Europe she was promoted to the rank of major and became the first female sniper instructor in history. In 1943 she was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The highest award given by the Soviet military. After the war Lyuda went on to finish college and became a historian and worked for the Russian navy.
Miss Pavlichenko – More Than 300 Natzi's Felled By Your Gun.
In the United States, Woody Guthrie, a famous activist and folk singer, wrote a song about Lyuda called Miss Pavlichenko – More than 300 Natzi's felled by your gun. Lyuda died in 1974 at the age of 58.
Lyuda And Other Famous Snipers
Vasily Zaytsev, another Soviet sniper, who was made famous by the movie “Enemy At The Gates” and the siege of Stalingrad, had only 242 confirmed kills with an estimated non-confirmed number of upwards of 500.
The most prolific sniper of all time was a Finnish soldier by the name of Simo Häyhä, also known as the “White Death”, with a confirmed kill tally of 505.
The most famous shot in history by a sniper was made by a man that I served with, Carlos Norman Hathcock, a US Marine serving in Vietnam. Hathcock, known as the “White Feather Sniper” by the North Vietnamese, Shot the sniper that was sent to kill him. He was scoping a distant hill when he saw sunlight glint off medal. He fired and his bullet went straight through the scope and into the eye of his would be assassin killing him instantly. Hathcock had 93 kills..