first published on September 15, 2015 by Funker
In June 1941, 24-year old Pavlichenko was in her fourth year of studying history at the Kiev University when Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union. Pavlichenko was among the first round of volunteers at the recruiting office, where she requested to join the infantry and subsequently she was assigned to the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division; Pavlichenko had the option of becoming a nurse but refused; “I joined the army when women were not yet accepted”. There she became one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army, of whom about 500 survived the war. She made her first two kills as a sniper near Belyayevka, using a Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle with 3.5X telescopic sight.
Pvt. Pavlichenko fought for about two and a half months near Odessa where she recorded 187 kills. When the Romanians gained control of Odessa her unit was sent to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, where she fought for more than eight months. In May 1942, Lieutenant Pavlichenko was cited by the Southern Army Council for killing 257 German soldiers. Her total of confirmed kills during World War II was 309, including 36 enemy snipers.
Pavlichenko was sent to Canada and the United States for a publicity visit and became the first Soviet citizen to be received by a US President when Franklin Roosevelt welcomed her to the White House. Pavlichenko was later invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to tour America relating her experiences. Pavlichenko died on October 10, 1974 at age 58, and was buried in the Novodevichye Cemetery in Moscow.