​Introducing Lyudmila Pavlichenko – The Coolest Female Sniper You’ve Never Heard Of

Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a badass. In fact, badass probably doesn't cover it. By the age of 25 she had killed 309 soldiers - probably more - in World War II, including 36 enemy snipers. She became one of the most successful snipers in history and also did more than her fair share for gender equality.

Pavlichenko was so good at what she did that the Nazis tried to bribe her with chocolate to get her to switch sides, and had nicknamed her 'The Russian Bitch from Hell'. Pretty strong nickname, that.

After she was injured by a mortar blast, she travelled the world as a poster girl for the Soviet Army and gave speeches in the UK and USA, including one where she attacked American men for what she thought was cowardice.

She said: "Gentlemen, I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist invaders by now. Don't you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?"

See, badass.

Born in what is now Ukraine in 1916, Pavlichenko's family moved to Kiev when she was a teenager, which was about when she developed an interest in shooting. She won many awards as an amateur shooter while studying history at the University of Kiev.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

When her university was bombed, she decided to do something about it and went to join the Red Army. They wanted her to join up as a nurse, but once she showed them her awards - and shot a couple of Romanians working with the Nazis, just to prove that she could - they let her become a sniper.

It turned out to be a pretty solid decision, and in a very short time Pavlichenko established herself as one of the best in the business. In her first 75 days at war she killed 187 enemies (more than two every day) - of which most were officers.

Being a sniper was not an easy job. Russia is really cold, and they had to be in no-man's-land for days at a time, keeping really still until exactly the right moment. She used to set up mannequins as distractions to lure out other snipers, which is pretty damn smart.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eventually she was injured and her war was over, she was then used as a propaganda campaign to get the Americans to join the war. Whilst in the US, she became tired of the sexism she was receiving from the press, and attacked them for it.

"I wear my uniform with honour. It has the Order of Lenin on it," she told Time magazine.

"It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms.

"What the uniform stands for, they have yet to learn."

Sources: Business Insider, The Smithsonian, Rebel Circus

Words: Tom Woods

Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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