View Full Version : Female snipers of the Great Patriotic War

01-21-2005, 06:08 AM
Overall some of the most dedicated and accurate weapons of the Second World War, the Russian female sniper is mostly an overlooked aspect of the conflict.

Here is some information on one of these sharp eyed ladies of doom:

taken from: Sniper's Paradise (http://www.snipersparadise.com)

On 12 July 1916, a girl was born in Ukraine in the small village of Belaya Tserkov . She became a bright student in her elementary years. By the time she was fourteen, her parents moved to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. At that time she joined a shooting club and developed into a sharpshooter. She also worked at an arsenal as a grinder. Her name was Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko; the greatest female sniper who every lived.

In June of 1941, the Germans launched Operation Barbarosa attacking the Soviet Union. Lyudmila was studying at the Kiev University. She was 24-years-old and majoring in history. Many of the Russian students rushed to join the military. Lyuda was an exceptionally beautiful young girl. When she went to the recruiter, she requested to join the infantry and carry a rifle. The recruiter laughed at her. She pulled out a marksmanship certificate to prove her worth. He wanted her to become nurse. Being strong willed, she refused. She signed up with the 25th Infantry Division. She became one of the two-thousand women Soviet snipers of which only about 500 survived the war. As a sniper, she made her first two kills near Belyayevka. Her rifle was a Mosin-Nagent Russian sniper rifle with a P.E. 4-power scope. The Mosin-Nagent was a 5-shot bolt action rifle. It fired a 148gr bullet at a velocity of 2800 fps. It was effective out to 600 yards.

Pvt. Pavlichenko fought about two and a half months near Odessa. There, she recorded 187 kills. The Germans gained control of Odessa, and her unit was pulled to be sent to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. In June 1942, she was wounded by mortar fire . In May 1942, Lieutenant Pavlichenko was cited by the Southern Red Army Council for killing 257 German soldiers. Her total confirmed kills during WWII was 309 enemy. Lyudmila killed 36 enemy snipers. She found the kill logbook of one of the Nazi snipers she killed. He had taken the lives of over 500 Soviet snipers.

Because Lyudmila was a hero, less than a month after receiving her wound, she was pulled from combat. She was sent to Canada and the United States. She became the first Soviet citizen to be received by a U.S. President. President and Mrs. Roosevelt welcomed her at the White House. Lyudmila was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to tour America relating her experiences. She was invited to appear before the International Student Assembly being held in Washington, D.C., where she received a heros welcome. Later she attended C.I.O. meetings and made appearances and speeches in New York City. In Canada, she was presented with a Winchester rifle with an optical sight, which is now on display at the Central Museum of the Armed Forces in Moscow. When she left for her return to the Soviet Union, she was presented with a Colt semi-automatic pistol.

Having attained the rank of Major, Pavlichenko never returned to fighting but instead became an instructor. She trained hundreds of Soviet snipers until the wars end. In 1943 she received the Gold Star of the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Lyudmila returned to Kiev State University. From 1945 to 1953, she was a research assistant of the Chief HQ of the Soviet Navy. She also was involved in numerous international conferences and congresses. She was active in the Soviet Committee of the Veterans of War.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko died on 10 October 1974 at age 58 and is buried at the Novodevichiye Cemetery in Moscow.


Any information you've got, post it!

01-21-2005, 07:45 AM
Have you seen Enemy At The Gates, Boosher?

01-21-2005, 07:53 AM
I read a very interesting account about a female sniper who was shot out of a tree by a German sniper... I can`t rememeber the exact story, but somehow she turned the situation around and shot him dead instead!

I`ll see if I can find the book with the exact details.

01-21-2005, 08:47 AM
Didn't like Enemy at the Gates so much. Though the action was good, and it was based on real events, I tend to like movies more for historical accuracy rather than the action.

Though Tanya herself when "War of the Rats" was published was originally going to be a Russian female sniper, they made the author change her to an American woman to appeal to a greater international audience. Most of Russia was very upset by this because it gets rid of the progress that Russia made in the areas of women's rights and freedom in the 20's to 40's. They still had to overcome a lot, however, including male sexism.

01-21-2005, 08:48 AM
Were all Russian female snipers as cute as Rachel Weisz?

01-21-2005, 09:16 AM
Male sexism....

01-21-2005, 10:25 AM
Hey, just cos she`s a good sniper, doesn`t mean we can`t ask if she was good-looking too! Besides it`s tongue-in-cheek. Chill out. There`s no such thing as absolute non-sexism, both males and females use it conscously and unconscously and for a reason that`s been there for Miliions of years!

01-21-2005, 10:29 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SeaFireLIV:
I read a very interesting account about a female sniper who was shot out of a tree by a German sniper... I can`t rememeber the exact story, but somehow she turned the situation around and shot him dead instead!

I`ll see if I can find the book with the exact details. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hah! that was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this thread...I think that was on the history channel.

01-21-2005, 11:17 AM
Huh? Wha? Oh, I mis-read. I thought the topic was Female Strippers Of The Great Patriotic War. Sorry. Carry on.

01-21-2005, 11:24 AM
Good post, lame replies http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

01-21-2005, 11:37 AM
think shes in the hero's of russia book i got.

german sniper had 400-500 kills in his logbook, from dunkirk mostly.

think she said stuff like "i have personaly destroyed 300 of the nazi invader" and "i hope u will stop hiding behind my back soon"

she looks like a council flat mid 20-30's woman who pours scorn on everything, and is always angry at something, usealy male. u see a pic of her and u very much belive she could kill 300 men http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

01-21-2005, 02:35 PM
Cant really blame her for being cranky. After all. Very harsh environment she had to endure. I wish American woman had the same balls as the Russian woman. Well, not real balls. but you get my drift. LOL. It was interesting that Sniping, (a British term) was something that help "The Colony" free itself from King George V, and being important part of revolutionary warfare, that the US didnt have any sniping school at the beginning of WWII. didnt think it was impotant in "modern" military planning........................................BT W;.I own a Remingtom Model 700, 30-06 which is a favorite sniping tool................. With a good scope you can hit a pumpkin at 400yds. Easy. LOL. Cheers

01-21-2005, 03:59 PM
uh, no in real life the sniper wasn't as good looking as you would think. But Lilya Litvyak was! Some of those other female pilots were, too!

Oh, I'm so ashamed of myself now.

01-21-2005, 04:10 PM
Oh, and who posted that "glamour shot" of Lilya on their post? I need that pic.

I was telling my daughter about the pilots of the planes I build models of but couldn't find that pic of Litvak. My daughter is 11 and she was amazed at Russian female pilots and their stories.

Since she (she is only 11 after all) kept commenting on how pretty some of them where I told her, "Wait, here's the most heroic and beautiful of the killer Soviet Aces" as I searched the net, but I couldn't find anything but the pic of her standing on the wing of the Yak. I know it was a propaganda shot but these days you have to use every means possible to keep girls interested in the had, "uncool" subjects like math, scienc, and history and this is one way I do for Caitlyn. She's brilliant but at that wavering age.

01-21-2005, 04:23 PM
The Russian snipers are perfect examples of heroes for todays girls to look up to.

I know only 1/4th of them survived the war, not a good tally. But remember that the German rifles were able to put thier shots out more accurately, and to greater distances.

Still, an impressive feat, something we should make a greater example of.

01-21-2005, 08:44 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Blackdog5555:
...I own a Remingtom Model 700, 30-06 which is a favorite sniping tool...With a good scope you can hit a pumpkin at 400yds. Easy. LOL. Cheers <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Blackdog, can I borrow that over the weekend? WITH the adequate ammo? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif

01-22-2005, 01:13 AM
Who was the German with 500 kills? Thats ridiculous.

01-22-2005, 01:29 AM

01-22-2005, 01:58 AM
The German SS sniper in the legend of the Great Stalingrad Sniper Hunt may have been a legend only, or real.

The Nazis might have really had a guy like that...who supposedly made most of his kills at Dunkirk and in Poland, taught at the SS sniper school, and was a civilian rifle champion, may really have existed. But since the Germans made such a big deal about how this guy was going to go kill the Soviet supersniper and lost the duel, they might have destroyed the records and let it die off quietly. I think that he really existed and this is my theory of why there are no physical records of this guy except his rifle in a Moscow war museum.

It just smells like something they would do for a couple of reasons: first, the whole Stalingrad battle had become such a meatgrinder because Hitler had sworn to take the city which Stalin swore would never fall. It could have been pocketed and bypassed easily, especially since the Germans had already bombed it to rubble and then bounced the rubble before they charged into it. Once the river had frozen they could have crossed it just as easily as the Russians and at this time the Germans still had air superiority.

Second: there are German records of a man with the name and rank of this sniper having been sent to Russia. He was an SS Major and was a sniper. But his official trail then ends. The Russians made a big deal out of the outcome of the duel long after it ended, yet the Gemans, who were also cranking out the propaganda on this guy, suddenly shut up after the Russians said they bagged him.

The Germans hid all kinds of things that were still coming to light into the 90's: Himmler's personal appointment book for his visits to Auschwitz and Russian territories was only just discovered in 1999. So it seems logical that if they lost the supersniper duel they had been crowing about they would just sweep it under the rug like lot's of far worse things.

Also: part of this legend is that the SS sniper was so good he could make shots at farther distances than most so that he could shoot from farther behind his lines. Therby making it easier to rack up kills without risking himself. That would help make up such a huge kill tally. He also was a very very fast shot because he was not just a champion target shooter, but a champion biathalon shooter. So he knew how to quickly aquire a target, hit it, and move to the next one faster than the average sneak and shoot sniper would.

The Russian Snipers tried, on the other hand, to get closer to the enemy lines, if not penetrate them, so they could hit rear-area personnel. The Moison-Nagant, while a superb weapon for the battlefield wasn't as accurate out to ranges the modified Kar98s used by German snipers. So that mean't the Russians had to place themselves in greater danger to get thier kills than the Germans did. So they often didn't live long enough to rack up a lot of kills, but every kill was supposed to be an officer, forward observer, enemy sniper, or some other really important target. Not just some regular infantryman.

I think in a way that makes the Russian sniper kills more significant than this SS super sniper's. He had more, but they worked a lot harder for their's.

Also as a sidebar: people often doubt the kill tallies of pilots like Graf, Grislawski, and Hartmann for the same reason...they are soooo high. But the Germans awarded medals in the Luftwaffe based on kill numbers and they had a far more rigorous confirmation system than anyone else. They fought in a target rich environment and in 2,3,4 sorties a day. So there is lots of proof that those guys made those kills, plus some unconfirms, yet there are always the doubters.

German snipers worked in pairs and had to daily present their kill diaries to their commanders for evaluation. Both the observer and the shooter had to confirm the kill, and if the observer didn't see it, it didn't happen. They also fought in a target rich environment, using different tactics and target priorities than the Soviets did...to a German sniper anyone was a target...the Russians prioritized their's and stalked them more. So here are similar reason's that 500 kills are not unrealistic. Don't forget, like the Luftwaffe pilots this German sniper (and the others) had been doing this since the war started. So they had a lot of time to rack up kills.

01-22-2005, 03:11 AM
War's a nasty business http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

01-22-2005, 04:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by p1ngu666:
german sniper had 400-500 kills in his logbook, from dunkirk mostly.
Well, no german sniper exceeded 400 kills. And this 'Enemy at the gates' was total ****, that sniper-duel never happened.

And the top sniper of the world is, of cource, Finnish, Sim¶ H¤yh¤.


Also, russians exaggerate those kills alot, like in aerial kills. Official russian airkills in Finnish front was more than total number of planes in Finnish airforce in EVERY WEEK http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

01-22-2005, 05:04 AM
Yep! Simo H¤yh¤ is the top man but the most incredible thing is that he didnt even use a scoped rifle. He just had a normal ironsight rifle. I almost started laughing when I heard a comment that he made when asked how he became so good at shooting. He simply answered "practise"

BTW good post Boosher ,its always nice to read good stuff like that.

01-22-2005, 05:42 AM
I hate snipers.

I used to fight online in a Squad-based tactical shooter like Counterstrike (but more realistic) called StrkeForce. You`d always get a couple of sniper guys park right on the opposite side of the map. As soon as you deployed and started running - BANG! Your dead. Actually you never heard anything except a dull thud.

Me and a couple of m8s would go on personal hunter-killer missions just to find and destroy the snipers. I remember that I once caught 2 snipers from the back, they had no cover (cos they didn`t expect anyone to get that far round). I so slaughtered them with my HK it was laughable (and nice revenge)

I hate snipers.

01-22-2005, 08:14 AM
Ha ha, yeah, rings a bell SeaFire. Before I saw the light and started playing flight sims online I used to indulge in the occasional bout of Unreal Tournament (not UT2003).

Always used to love the sound of... "Headshot!". The weapons in UT2003 were never as much fun, so that interest soon died.

I still fire up TacOps every now and again. The weapon sounds are awesome. Has anyone played Counterstrike Source? Is it any good?

01-22-2005, 01:46 PM
JG52Uther ..."War's a nasty business"

Not picking on you, mind you, but you hit a point I bring up in these forums once in a while that seems to fly right over most people's heads:

"War's a nasty business"...and yet we all seem to enjoy playing at it. So much so that we get into vicious little flamewars over our favorite planes that we "fly" and how much we hate "kill-stealers" and now some on this thread about how we hate online snipers in games.

Anyone actually get shot at by a real sniper? I have and I wasn't even in a war, and it gives the the online pretend situation a laughable perspective to me.

Don't get me wrong, I've played wargames of every description and air sims longer than it sounds like most players have been alive and enjoy them the same.

I just like to remind myself where all this entertainment was originally sourced from and, when I do, it is sobering enough that it stops me from whining.

For instance: after watching the PBS 3-part series from earlier this week on the development on Auschwitz-Birkenau and the plans made in as early as 1940 to starve off the Russian populace to make room for the German settlers later made from recently discovered documents (including architectural drawings of what the town and camp would look like after the war made by the firm that designed it's original layout and witness testimony----the SS EinsatzKommando, he was one of the original riflemen in the first executions in the woods in '41, interview was gut wrenching in his unrepentence when juxtapositioned with that of a survivor of the executions who hid as a 10 year old in those woods with his mother until all 3 days of killing were over and escaped)....well, It just makes me think about "flying" on the German side a more thoughtful experience.

I think that's why I prefer overall to fly on the Allied side and get pretty incensed at times over some of the issues raised in these forums about realism, German planes not being good enough, ..and don't get me started on anything about why the Allies did anything within their power to end that war.

Just had to get that out of my system after Uther's comment versus the ones on how scary pretend snipers are.

We now return you to the original topic...

01-22-2005, 01:57 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Aimosika:

And this 'Enemy at the gates' was total ****, that sniper-duel never happened. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The movie version was ****. Zaitsev and Koenig did hunt each other in the actual battle. And Zaitsev did kill him.

01-22-2005, 01:58 PM
But.....the movie was pretty crappy. Gawdawful actually.

01-22-2005, 02:17 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by CivilDog:
the SS EinsatzKommando, he was one of the original riflemen in the first executions in the woods in '41, interview was gut wrenching in his unrepentence when juxtapositioned with that of a survivor of the executions who hid as a 10 year old in those woods with his mother until all 3 days of killing were over and escaped)....well, It just makes me think about "flying" on the German side a more thoughtful experience.

I think that's why I prefer overall to fly on the Allied side and get pretty incensed at times over some of the issues raised in these forums about realism, German planes not being good enough, [QUOTE]

I haven`t been shot at yet (and I hope it never happens). But believe you me, I never, ever take war lightly even in a war simulation online or off. Every time I fly/fight I am reminded of the TERRIBLE reality of it all and even in Strike Force the thought of taking a bullet for real scares me...

It reminds me of how bloody lucky we all are.
Flying IL2 is for me a homage to what happened in WWII and the courageous fight of the men and women of the time. I too have watched this programme you mentioned, I too still only fly Allied offline and have flown Axis online only to even sides (although we must remember not all Axis were Nazis, they were just pilots mostly)...

Sure, someone we`ll pipe up and tell me not to take it so seriously, but I do, because it was real...

01-22-2005, 03:31 PM
CivilDog, you were shot by a Sniper and not in war...Do live in East LA?..what happened. Are you ok? I have had gun pointed at me several times. Mexican Federalies, Robbers, Upset husbands, and i have heard the sound of bullets whistling by my head. I have physically disarmed gun carrying as@holes and have the scars to prove it. All very scary. But being shot..I hope your ok. And on your comments. I also feel wierd when I fly for the axis. Not because i dont like flying BF109s but because i cant stand the though of shooting at (some) allied pilots. My father was a WWII vet (navy), My step dad on Intredid in 45 etc. so i grew up around his friends who were all vets..so i have real people and stories of Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, Army Ski Division in the Alps, etc. The War is not ancient history to me. But, I do enjoy flying the Bf109f-4. in the eastern front against Russian planes, No problem. LOL. I cant help it..I'm American. The whole thing reminds me of the Movie "Chintown" where john houston has the famous line..paraphrase "under the right circumstances anyone is capable of doing anything." He was talkin about the rape of his daughter. but its pretty much true. at least it seems. I just hope people will move further up the evolutionary scale before something really bad happens......Cheers

01-22-2005, 03:34 PM
Just want to add that "Enemy at the Gates" THE BOOK is the best book I've read about Stalingrad, much better than Beevor's. It really makes you emotional about that enormous battle. And the sniper duel fills only THREE pages in the book!

01-22-2005, 05:07 PM
About the super-sniper with above 400 kills versus Zaitzev story, Antony Beevor, in Stalingrad, says:

"Indeed, the whole story of the sniper duel is fiction. There is absolutely no trace in the German military archives or SS records of SS officer Heinz Thorwald.
Also there is absolutely no report of the duel in the Red Army files which concentrated on sniper activities (the daily reports of the Political Department of Stalingrad Front to Moscow).
This great story can be classified as Sovjet propaganda."

And this is from a BBC News article:
"Mr Beevor, whose acclaimed tome Stalingrad is rapidly becoming the definitive text on the battle, said while Zaitsev was a real figure there was no evidence to support the existence of Koenig.
He said: 'I've been through the Soviet Ministry of Defence's archive in Podolsk and there is no record of such a duel.'
'If it had taken place the Soviet propaganda machine would have leapt on it.'"

Also I am pretty sure that German snipers were never officers, always enlisted men. So I dont see how he could be an SS officer.

01-22-2005, 08:59 PM
SeaFireLIV----I agree, there were heroes on both sides, as there is in any war. Patriots are not exclusive only to the "good guys." When I was younger I never gave it much thought even when wargaming and moving small lead panzers around a sandtable to recreate something my friends and I had seen on "The World at War."

Now, as an older, and hopefully wiser http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif, man I think maybe more than I should about these things when I play a game. Maybe some of it is because of the line of work I'm in, maybe some is because I come from a very long line of both law enforcement and military careerists, I dunno. I still get teary-eyed whenever I hear Taps.

When I first heard the game was even under development I wanted it because I wanted to play with the Soviet planes. I tend to fly Allied because partly out of a romantic's sense of tribute, like you, but when I just want to feel downright "I wish I could just go out and kill something" mean then my guilty pleasure is the Late model G-6, Stuka G-2, or a Ki-61.

I'm fine...he missed! A nut job wanted to kill a cop and go out in a blaze of glory. "Suicide by cop" it's called. He put on his cammies and started shooting out streetlights with a rifle. No cops showed up.
But, he saw me driving down the street towards his intersection and he took a couple shots at me as I approached. He missed and was so demoralized by that he just walked into the office he was standing in front of and asked them to call 911 because he wanted to give up. That and he was out of bullets. If he hadn't shot at those streetlights first, it might've gone bad for me...40 cal Glock vs. scoped rifle at about 50-75 yards...hmmmmmm? I'm not that good!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

I didn't really "feel" it until a couple hours later when I was off duty and at home. Then I shok like a leaf, threw up, and went back to work the next day. Training takes over if you are trained and we get good training for these kind of situations: don't stop if shot at, look for cover, get help on the way, don't be a hero if the odds are against you. But when you are just driving along and BANG, BANG! it makes an indelible impression.

The only other time I've actually been shot at was by someone I was investigating for insurance fraud when I was doing that before this job. But I didn't have a gun myself then so i ran like a jackrabbit and tore outta there in my car.

And, nope...I live in as peaceful a place as you could imagine, just here in Portland, Oregon. I grew up in L.A. and that's where my uncle is a cop. The other 8 uncles on my Mom's side are in Montana, Wyoming, and Iowa,..all but one are or have been cops. My brother is a cop here in Oregon, too. I tried to avoid it, what with my mastering biology and all, but "They keep dragging me back!" http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

01-22-2005, 09:24 PM
"It's just Chinatown, Jack. Forget it."

My favorite is, "You know what happens to nosey people?" slice!!!

01-23-2005, 11:48 AM
very interesting read, thx for sharing http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

01-23-2005, 12:39 PM
Civildog: I was born and grew up in Portland OR. Lived in San Diego for a while too. Right on. Yes, Portland is Peaceful. I live on Maui now but miss ole P town. BTW, im happy the guy missed.
PS; Yes, I know, having a gun pointed at you is something you never, never forget. The "click" of the hammer going back. I just gave myself the chills.

01-23-2005, 12:49 PM
Forgot to mention, after i made that reference to the movie Chinatown, I turn on the TV. and boom Chinatown was playing. creepy.
"Oh dear. Im your fa... Er Grandfather". LOL. Roman Polanski slicing Jacks nose. Definately Jacks best movie IMO.

01-23-2005, 03:38 PM
Pity that he couldn't just leave it alone and made Chinatown 2.