Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko in a stamp in 1944.
Born July 12, 1916 and died at the age of 58 in October 10, 1974.
She was a Soviet sniper during World War II, credited with 309 kills, and is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history.
Allegiance: Soviet Union
Service/branch: Red Army
Years of service: 1941–1953
Unit: 25th Rifle Division
Battles/wars: World War II, Battle of Odessa, Battle of Sevastopol
Awards: Order of Lenin, Hero of the Soviet Union
Second Soviet Union-issued postage stamp dedicated to Pavlichenko, 1976.
Born in the Ukrainian town of Belaya Tserkov (Bila Tserkva) on July 12, 1916, Pavlichenko moved to Kiev with her family at the age of fourteen. There she joined a shooting club and developed into a sharpshooter, while working as a grinder at the Kiev Arsenal factory. In 1937 as a student of Kiev University she successfully defended her master-thesis on Bohdan Khmelnytsky.
In June 1941, 24-year old Pavlichenko was in her fourth year of studying history at the Kiev University when Nazi 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 to become a nurse but refused; "I joined the army when woman were not yet accepted". There she became one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army, of whom about 500 ultimately survived the war. As a sniper, she made her first two kills near Belyayevka, using a Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle with 3.5 telescopic sight.
Pvt. Pavlichenko fought for about two and a half months near Odessa, where she recorded 187 kills. When the Germans gained control of Odessa, her unit was pulled to be sent to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, where she fought for more than 8 months. In May 1942, Lieutenant Pavlichenko was cited by the Southern Army Council for killing 257 German soldiers. Her total confirmed kills during World War II was 309, including 36 enemy snipers.
In June 1942, Pavlichenko was wounded by mortar fire. Because of her growing status, she was pulled from combat less than a month after recovering from her wound.
Pavlichenko was sent to Canada and the United States for a publicity visit and became the first Soviet citizen to be received by a U.S. President when Franklin Roosevelt welcomed her at the White House. Later, Pavlichenko was invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to tour America relating her experiences. While meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C. she was dumbfounded about the kind of questions put to her. "One reporter even criticized the length of the skirt of my uniform, saying that in America women wear shorter skirts and besides my uniform made me look fat". Pavlichenko appeared before the International Student Assembly being held in Washington, D.C., and later attended CIO meetings and made appearances and speeches in New York City. The United States gave her a Colt automatic pistol, and in Canada, she was presented with a sighted Winchester rifle, the latter of which is now on display at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow. While visiting in Canada along with Vladimir Pchelintsev (fellow sniper) and Nikolai Krasavchenko (Moscow fuel commissioner), they were greeted by thousands at Toronto's Union Station.
Having attained the rank of major, Pavlichenko never returned to combat but became an instructor and trained Soviet snipers until the war's end. In 1943, she was awarded the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, and was commemorated on a Soviet postage stamp.
After the war, she finished her education at Kiev University and began a career as a historian. From 1945 to 1953, she was a research assistant of the Chief HQ of the Soviet Navy. She later was active in the Soviet Committee of the Veterans of War. Pavlichenko died on October 10, 1974 at age 58, and was buried in the Novodevichye Cemetery in Moscow.
Pavlichenko’s war record was recognized in the Soviet Union by two commemorative stamps with her portrait and, in the United States, by a song composed during World War II by folk singer Woody Guthrie as a tribute to her war record and to memorialize her visits to the United States and Canada. It was released as part of the Asch Recordings.
Nickname: White Death
Born: December 17, 1905 (Rautjärvi, Finland)
Died: April 1, 2002 (aged 96) (Hamina, Finland)
Years of service: 1925–1940
Rank: Alikersantti during the war, promoted to Second Lieutenant afterwards 
Unit: Infantry Regiment 34
Battles/wars: Winter War
Awards: Cross of Liberty, 3rd class and 4th class;
Medal of Liberty, 1st class and 2nd class;
Cross of Kollaa Battle
Simo Häyhä after being awarded with the honorary rifle model 28.
Using a modified Mosin–Nagant in the Winter War, he has the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills — 505 — in any major war. Häyhä was also credited with over 200 kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, for a total of 705 confirmed kills.
Häyhä was born in the municipality of Rautjärvi near the present-day border of Finland and Russia, and started his military service in 1925. Before entering combat, Häyhä was a farmer and a hunter. At the age of 17, he joined the Finnish militia suojeluskunta and succeeded with his sniping skills in shooting sports in the Viipuri province. His farmhouse was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship.
During the Winter War (1939–1940), between Finland and the Soviet Union, he began his duty as a sniper and fought for the Finnish Army against the Red Army. In temperatures between −40 and −20 degrees Celsius, dressed completely in white camouflage, Häyhä was credited with 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers.
A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was conducted for the Finnish snipers. Besides his rifle kills, Häyhä was also credited with over 200 kills with a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun. Remarkably, all of Häyhä's kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days–an average of 7 kills per day–at a time of year with very short hours of daylight.
Häyhä used a Finnish militia variant, White Guard M/28 "Pystykorva" or "Spitz", of the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, because it suited his small frame (5 ft 3 in/1.60 m). He preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present a smaller target (the sniper must raise his head higher when using a telescopic sight), for more reliable visibility (a telescopic sight's glass can fog up easily in cold weather), and aid concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper's position). Another tactic used by Häyhä was to compact the snow in front of him so that the shot would not disturb the snow and reveal his position.
He also kept snow in his mouth, so that the vapor of his breath would not give him away.
The Soviets tried several ploys to get rid of him, including counter-snipers and artillery strikes. On March 6, 1940, Häyhä was shot in the lower left jaw by a Russian soldier during combat. The bullet tumbled upon impact and exited his head. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his head was missing", but he was not dead: he regained consciousness on March 13, the day peace was declared. Shortly after the war Häyhä was promoted from alikersantti (corporal) extraordinarily to Vänrikki (Second Lieutenant) by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim; no one else has gained rank so quickly in Finland's military history.
Simo Häyhä in 1940 with his jaw deformed due to injury from an enemy bullet
It took several years for Häyhä to recuperate from his wound. The bullet had crushed his jaw and blown off his left cheek. Nonetheless, he made a full recovery and became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder after World War II, and hunted with Finnish president Urho Kekkonen.
When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good shooter, he answered, "practice." When asked if he regretted killing so many people, he said "I did what I was told to as well as I could." Simo Häyhä spent his last years in Ruokolahti, a small village located in southeastern Finland, near the Russian border.
Click on the image to view it at its original size
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum