Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a Ukrainian Soviet sniper during World War II. She is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history with 309 kills. She is still one of the top ten deadliest snipers in history. She was known as ‘Lady Death’.
Pavlichenko was a student in her fourth year of college when Germany invaded the Soviet Union. She was among the first volunteers to enlist and requested to join the infantry despite the fact that women weren’t easily accepted there. She became one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army and in the first few months of war took out 187 Nazi targets. Pavlichenko was a dedicated and careful sniper, in one instance she waited 3 days before she could take the perfect shot.
Pavlichenko and her spotter Leonid Kutsenko were eventually caught by German artillery, Pavlichenko risked her life to drag a fatally injured Kutsenko back to camp. After this experience the Soviet Union decided to send her as a diplomat to the US and she was the first Soviet Citizen to ever be welcomed into the White House. She toured the country with Eleanor Roosevelt, advocating the equal treatment of women.
After the war Palichenko completed her college degree at Kiev University and began working as a research assistant of the Chief HQ of the Soviet Navy. She was later active in the Soviet Committee of the Veterans of War. Pavlichenko was awarded the Gold Star Medal (the USSR’s highest honour) and given the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”.