Soldier of the Week – Lyudmila Pavlichenko

27 Feb 2018, by Firestorm in Incredible Soldiers

As our first choice in our new multi-part series Incredible Soldiers, we look at one of the most famous snipers the world has ever known. Even more amazing? She’s a woman. There is a valid argument over women in combat in general, but no one could argue against Lyudmila. With 309 confirmed kills, 36 of which were enemy snipers, some highly decorated, she is arguably in the top 5 of all time. While 309 kills is a lot, and she managed to kill 187 in just her first 75 days at war, her actual total is probably much higher since a confirmed kill must be watched by a third party.

Lyudmila was born in Ukraine in 1916. At the age of 14, her family moved to Kiev, where she worked as a metal grinder. A neighbor boy boasted about his proficiency at a shooting range, so she decided to try herself. She practiced. A lot. She wanted to show that a girl could perform just as well as any boy.

On June 22, 1941 Hitler invaded Russia. Lyudmila Pavlichenko rushed to join the Russian mililtary, but she was denied for being a woman.  Even after she presented her marksmanship certificates, she was denied Did she give up? No. After the Red Army realized she wouldn’t just go away, they gave her an audition. The Red Army unit handed her a rifle and asked her to shoot two Romanians that were working with the Germans. “When I picked off the two [with ease] I was accepted,” said Pavlichenko. From that point she was part of the 25th Chapayev rifle division.

Her longest face-off lasted more than 3 days against an enemy sniper. She was wounded several times during her tour, but she was never out of the fight for long. After the war, she became an instructor at a sniper school.


Lyudmila Pavlichenko was also the first Russian soldier to be openly welcomed to the White House. She met with Franklin D Rooselvelt and toured the White House with first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. She became very frustrated with the American media, their decadence, and their sexist questions. She was asked if she wore makeup into battle. “There is no rule against it, but who has time to think of her shiny nose when a battle is going on?” she questioned. She was quoted in Time Magazine in 1942 to say, “I wear my uniform with honor. It has the Order of Lenin on it. 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.”

Lyudmila Pavlichenko immortalizes both patriotism and the desire to be successful no matter what the cost nor what others may think. Her rifle of choice was the Mosin Nagant. It fired a 30 caliber round, held 5 shots, was bolt action and had quite a kick. While the Mosin Nagant was a great weapon at the time, here at Conflict Colorado we have a few different sniper rifles to choose from such as the Russian SVD-Dragunov or the bolt action German Mauser. Man or woman, take one of these outstanding rifles into battle to get your performance certified and earn your sniper badge and the country of origin flag.