The feat of brave women was actively covered in the Soviet press. The mere fact of finding fragile girls on the front line, where they risked their lives every minute, spending hours in ambushes in the heat, cold, rain and snow blizzard, evokes genuine admiration and immense respect for their feat. In total, during the years of World War II, more than two thousand Soviet women underwent special training in sniper courses and subsequently went to the front. Unfortunately, the most famous and productive female sniper in Russia stories passed away early - 27 of October 1974 of the year at the age of 58 of years. However, 45 years after her death, the memory of this brave woman is still alive.
The path of a student of the history faculty to sniper business
Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko (nee Belova) was born in the Ukrainian city of Bila Tserkva on 29 on June 1916 of the year in a family of ordinary workers. The father of the future heroine of the war was an ordinary locksmith Mikhail Belov. During the Civil War in Russia, he supported the Bolsheviks and was able to build a prominent military career, having risen to the regimental commissar. After the end of the Civil War, he continued to serve, but already in the internal affairs bodies of the young Soviet republic. Until 14, Lyudmila lived the life of an ordinary Soviet teenager and studied at school No. 3 in her hometown, until the family moved to live in Kiev. After graduating from the 9 classes of a comprehensive school, the girl began to work, getting a job at the famous Kiev factory "Arsenal" as a grinder. At the same time as Lyudmila, she continued to study at evening school in order to receive a completed education.
In 1932, Lyudmila fell in love with Alexei Pavlichenko. The girl met her future husband at a dance. Quickly enough, the couple played a wedding, in a marriage the newlyweds had a son - Rostislav. Despite the birth of a child, the marriage soon broke up, after which Lyudmila Mikhailovna returned to live with her parents, leaving the name of her ex-husband, under which she became known throughout the world.
In 1937, the 21-year-old Lyudmila Pavlichenko decided to get higher education and successfully entered Kiev State University. Studied the future female sniper at the Faculty of History. Like many girls and boys of the 1930's, Lyudmila was engaged in sports, gliding and shooting. Glider and shooting sports in those years were especially common throughout the Soviet Union. Lyudmila was seriously fond of shooting and when visiting the shooting gallery she surprised her friends with accuracy. In one of the OSOAVIAHIM shooting galleries, they even drew attention to her, recommending snipers for admission to the Kiev school. Most likely, the father taught the girl to shoot, who fought back in the Civil War and worked in the internal affairs bodies.
One way or another, Lyudmila was in no hurry to leave the university and try on a military uniform. She wanted to finish her education. Before the start of the war, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a fourth-year student, went to the Black Sea to graduate practice at the Odessa Museum, where she was going to seriously engage in historical research. During the trip, she left her son with her parents. It was on the Black Sea coast that the news about the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union was caught by the museum work of Lyudmila. Already in the first days of the war, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who even before the start of the war managed to take short-term courses of snipers, without thinking twice, enrolled as a volunteer at the front. Trained snipers were needed even then, so quickly enough, the newly-minted fighter of the Red Army ended up in the 25th rifle division named after Chapaev.
The combat path of Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Together with the fighters and commanders of the 25th Infantry Division, Lyudmila participated in battles in the territory of the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and in the south of Ukraine, took part in the defense of Odessa and Sevastopol. In 1941, the girls were reluctant to take the army and Lyudmila was initially planned to be recorded as a nurse, but she managed to confirm her accuracy, and besides her, there were sniper courses in Kiev behind her. The girl had initial training and natural accuracy, so she was entrusted with a sniper rifle and the opportunity to participate in real battles.
It is worth noting that already on 8 of August 1941 of the year, the Romanian troops reached the Dniester estuary, where they were temporarily stopped by the 12 Army, despite the heroic defense of the Soviet troops by the 13 of August 1941 of the year Odessa was completely surrounded by Nazis from land. As part of the Primorsky Army, the city was defended by the famous 25-I rifle division named after Chapaev. For ten weeks of fighting near Odessa, Lyudmila Pavlichenko officially chalked up 179 or 187 of Romanian and German soldiers and officers. And the girl opened the score for her well-aimed shots even at the distant approaches to Odessa, in the first battle she destroyed two Romanian soldiers in the vicinity of the town of Belyaevka.
By October 1941, the Soviet command decided that the defense of Odessa was no longer practical, from October 1 to October 16 the garrison of the city was evacuated. Approximately 86 of thousands of soldiers and officers, as well as 15 of thousands of civilians, artillery and ammunition were transported to Sevastopol, in addition, in August-September, 125 of thousands of citizens were taken out of the city. The troops exported from Odessa strengthened the garrison of Sevastopol, taking part in the heroic defense of the city. At the same time, the 25th Infantry Division was evacuated by one of the latter. The division managed to take part in repelling the first assault on Sevastopol, which ended in failure for the Nazis.
It was near Sevastopol that Lyudmila Pavlichenko officially brought the account of the killed enemies to 309 enemy soldiers and officers, among them there were 36 enemy snipers who intensified their work near the city after the front stabilized and the fighting acquired a positional character. In the battles near Sevastopol, Lyudmila suffered a severe personal shock. In December of 1941, she met junior lieutenant Alexei Kitsenko, who was also a sniper. The couple became close and struck up a relationship, snipers went on missions together. In the end, the couple filed a report to the marriage command, but fate decreed otherwise. In March 1942, during a mortar shelling of a sniper position, Kitsenko was mortally wounded, his arm was torn off by a fragment of a mortar shell. 36-year-old Alexei died in front of his beloved 4 on March 1942.
And already in early June, Pavlichenko herself was seriously injured, which saved her life. They managed to evacuate Lyudmila from the besieged city to the Caucasus, among the last wounded after the start of the next offensive by German and Romanian troops. The last assault on Sevastopol, which began on 7 on June 1942, ended for the Nazis with success. After 10 days of continuous fighting, the enemy captured a number of important artillery positions, heights and went to the approaches to the dominant height over the area - Sapun mountain. On July 1, the organized defense in Sevastopol ceased, resistance to the enemy was provided only by isolated groups and blocked garrisons. 25-I rifle division, which served as Lyudmila Pavlichenko, ceased to exist. The fall of the city became a tragic page in the history of World War II, only the highest and part of the middle command could be evacuated from Sevastopol, tens of thousands of Soviet soldiers were captured. At the same time, the troops of the invaders suffered very heavy losses under the city. During the last assault in the advanced German companies, often no more than 25 active fighters remained.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko gives a speech in London
Lyudmila Pavlichenko and Eleanor Roosevelt
After long-term treatment in the Caucasus, Lyudmila Pavlichenko was summoned to Moscow to the Main Political Administration (GPU) of the Red Army. In Moscow, they decided to make a brave woman a symbol of the fight against the invaders, and also include Lyudmila in the Soviet delegation, which will go to the UK, USA and Canada. In the West, the delegation was supposed to talk about the state of affairs on the Eastern Front, the struggle waged by the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany. It was assumed that members of the Soviet delegation would meet not only with journalists and the public of the countries, but also with politicians. This was an important propaganda and enlightenment mission, the main purpose of which was to open the eyes of the Western inhabitants, primarily Americans, to the horrors of the war that unfolded on the territory of the Soviet Union.
It was in the United States at one of the speeches that Pavlichenko uttered a phrase that went down in history. Addressing American viewers, Lyudmila said:
“I am 25 years old; at the front, I managed to destroy the 309 fascist invaders. Do you not think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long? ”
The hall after this phrase first froze, and then exploded with a standing ovation. The trip was very successful, much was written about the Soviet heroes in the newspapers, and journalists competed in the epithets awarded to Lyudmila Pavlichenko. In the Western press she was called "Miss Colt", "Bolshevik Valkyrie" and "Lady Death". It was recognition and world fame, while many Americans took a fresh look at the war in the Soviet Union, about which before that they had very distant ideas.
Members of the USSR delegation: Senior Lieutenant V.N. Pchelintsev, junior lieutenant L.M. Pavlichenko and Secretary of the Komsomol Committee of the Komsomol N.P. Krasavchenko in Washington, 1942 year
During a trip to the United States, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who knew English well, met the wife of American President Eleanor Roosevelt and even lived for some time in the White House. The first lady and the most famous Soviet woman sniper became real friends and carried this friendship through their whole lives. Despite the fact that they lived in different countries, which after the end of the war again became irreconcilable ideological opponents within the framework of the outbreak of the Cold War, they maintained friendly relations and corresponded with each other for a long time. In 1957, they met again in Moscow during the visit of Eleanor Roosevelt to the USSR.
Feat is not measured by the score of killed enemies
Today there is a lot of discussion about whether Lyudmila Pavlichenko really wrote down 309 killed enemy soldiers and officers at her own expense. Indirect evidence casts doubt on this figure, since in 1941 the soldiers and officers of the Red Army were presented to government medals and for lesser exploits, at the same time Pavlichenko received the first award only on 24 on April 1942 of the year - it was a medal for military merit. And already after the evacuation from Sevastopol, she was introduced to the Order of Lenin. The title Hero of the Soviet Union, the famous female sniper was awarded in October 1943 years, after almost 1,5 years, as the fighting near Sevastopol died down. At the same time, they were represented for the similar rank of Soviet snipers for much lesser merits.
The debate about the number of Nazis killed by Pavlichenko will continue. But it is clear that this brave woman deserves all-round respect, regardless of what kind of image Soviet and then Western propaganda made of her during the war. This work during the difficult war years was also of great importance for victory; the country needed heroes and leaders whom it was possible to follow, and which it was possible to equal.
Lyudmila Pavlichenko in Odessa, 1971 year
Regardless of the number of enemies killed, Pavlichenko earned her fame and fame for the courage and courage shown at the front during the very difficult battles of the 1941-1942 for the entire Red Army. The brave girl voluntarily went to the front in the 1941 year, which in itself was already a serious challenge, in the 1941 year women were taken into the army in almost exceptional cases, especially in combat units. Lyudmila Pavlichenko with honor carried out heavy battles on her fragile shoulders during the defense of Odessa and Sevastopol and never sat out in the rear. During her time at the front, she was seriously shocked four times and was injured three times. The wounds, concussions and severe trials that fell to her lot led to the early death of Lyudmila - at the age of only 58 years. Today we can only bow to the courage, courage, self-sacrifice of this woman, who in the difficult time of the country took on her fragile shoulders the task of protecting our Motherland and did everything in her power to bring victory over the enemy closer.