Soviet Super Sniper: A Woman at War

The ‘Guerrilla Queen’ of Soviet Russia became a role model for women in combat.

Promotional photo of Lyudmila Pavlichenko ‘defending Sevastopol’, 6 June 1942 © Ozersky/AFP/Getty Images

In 1942, Lieutenant Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Soviet frontline sniper, was sent on a mission to convince US and British allies to open up a Second Front against Hitler’s forces. The ‘Guerrilla Queen’ was feted at sites of bomb damage, munitions factories and shipyards, entertained at the White House and in Whitehall, addressing thousands. Her arrival in Washington DC coincided with a historic moment of American-Soviet friendship, even while the press found the female sniper, with her claimed tally of 309 German kills, rather shocking. She sneered at their questions about make-up and clothes, asked why women factory workers were paid less than men and protested when barred from boarding a Royal Navy warship.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.