Lyudmila Pavlichenko is the most successful female sniper in history. But she almost couldn’t bring herself to make her first kill!
Being a woman in the war was difficult. According to an interview of the Russian sniper in 1942, American journalists constantly badgered her. One even criticized her uniform, saying that American women wore shorter skirts and besides her uniform makes her look fat.
But this difficulty was nothing compared to the first time Pavlichenko had to take a life. Prior to the war, the only thing she had shot where sparrows when she was a child. “I knew my task was to shoot human beings,” she told a Russian paper. “In theory that was fine, but I knew that the real thing would be completely different.”
During her first day on the battlefield, Pavlichenko could see the enemy from where she was crouched but couldn’t bring herself to fire. Then suddenly, a German shot a young Russian soldier set up near her. “He was such a nice, happy boy,” she said. “And he was just killed next to me.”
After that, Pavlinchenko didn’t think twice; she fired the first of many shots that would make her the most successful female sniper in history. “Nothing could stop me,” she says.