History POTD: 775 Confirmed Kills

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This photo of Belorussian Soviet Snipers was taken in Germany on May 4, 1945. These woman had 775 confirmed kills between themselves, out of  the 12,000 confirmed kills credited to female snipers in the Soviet Army.

Female snipers of the 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front.

1st row – Guard Staff Sergeant, VN Stepanov: 20 kills. Guard Sgt JP Belousov: 80 kills. Guard Sgt AE Vinogradov: 83 kills.
2nd row – Guard Lieutenant EK Zhibovskaya: 24 kills. Guard Sgt KF Marinkin: 79 kills. Guard Sgt OS Marenkina: 70 kills.
3rd row – Guard Lieutenant NP Belobrova: 70 kills. Lieutenant N. Lobkovsky: 89 kills. Guard Lieutenant VI Artamonov: 89 kills. Guard Staff Sergeant MG Zubchenko: 83 kills.
4th row – Guard Sergeant, NP Obukhov: 64 kills. Guard Sergeant, AR Belyakov 24 kills

Read about woman at the Whale Oil blog.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Dave

    ooh, Artamonov, third row second from the right, dibs!
    89 kills too!
    Beauty and brains (those she shot, anyway)

    • John Yossarian

      > Yeah baby, you can give me a head-shot anytime!

      Uh, I’m not sure if you understand what that means.

      • Jon

        Who Dave or the Russian woman?

    • Blake

      Please show some respect for veterans.

  • whodywei

    Sgt AE Vinogradov is one scary looking lady.

    • KestrelBike

      her name means “Of Grapes” like the sour kind.

  • archer73

    FYI “1st Belorussian Front” is a “geo-tagged” name of front segment, it has no relation on soldier’s nationality. Just like a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ukranian fronts is a name of southern segments of the whole Eastern front, 1st to 3rd Belorussian is a central front segments, 1st and 2nd “Pribaltian” front segments were northernmost ones, “Leningrad-ian” front segment is between Baltics and Belorussian segments. there were several other front segments. All numerous nationalities of the Soviet Union fought on every segment of the big front despite of geo tag.

  • blr1a

    I would be afraid of them even now!
    They would be a hell of a babushka!

  • Bill

    Women are far better killers than men, just watch any pride of big cats, or any mother defending an off-spring. They don’t have the Chuck Norris bullshit macho mentality, muscle composition makes them better at “fine motor skills,” and attention to detail that often exceeds ours.

    As if these ladies weren’t proof enough, look at Israel.

    • “Women are far better killers than men”.
      All of history, that is to say the totality of every civilization that has ever existed on this planet contradicts you.

      • Bill

        And that’s because males have done everything possible to subjugate and suppress this ability. These women prove my point. But nothing threatens the male ego more than a powerful woman, as your response proves 😉

        In all seriousness, we’ve trained woman to be helpless over the centuries, and now with the proliferation of CCW etc, that may be slightly changing.

        • Jesus Bill, do not quit your day job and get into anthropology.

          • Vitsaus

            He’d do well at Berekley though…..

        • damien

          “we’ve trained women to be helpless” – hmm, have you considered the possibility that they have chosen to be helpless, and that it is they who have trained you to be helpful: as their soldiers, servants, and slaves?

          • Bill

            No. Have you asked a woman how much she’d like being helpless? You didn’t make sure that your wife and daughter could change a tire or jump-start a car? You don’t want them to CCW?

        • buzzman1

          Thats a load. There will always be a genetic oddball but the overwhelming majority of women are no match for a man. The army has been trying to disprove that for 40 years and each time has had to lower the standards for females.

    • buzzman1

      You need to read about lions. The females do the hunting and males do the defense of the pride.

      • Bill

        Actually, I’m pretty familiar with big cats: the males fight to protect their ability to mate with their choice of females, the superior fighters strengthening the gene pool. Being apex predators, there really isn’t much to “defend,” except for the male’s social status.

        I’d recommend “Lions of Tsavo” by Phillip Caputo for an insight into lion behavior.

        Besides, aren’t snipers essentially hunters?

  • Lance

    Again don’t mess with Russian Women!

    • Boris

      Technically some female snipers weren’t all ethnically Russian. Pavlichenko was Ukrainian.

  • mosinman

    it would have been cool to chat with these ladies and hear their stories

  • 11A

    Women still don’t have a place in the infantry though.

    history proves it.

    /Sarc

  • Blake

    A few excerpts from the Wiki article on Lyudmila Pavlichenko:

    “Pavlichenko was sent to Canada and the United States for a publicity visit and became the first Soviet citizen to be received by a US President when Franklin Roosevelt welcomed her to the White House. Pavlichenko was later 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”… In Chicago, she stood before large crowds, chiding the men to support the second front. “Gentlemen,” she said, “I am 25 years old and I have killed 309 fascist occupants by now. Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?” Her words settled on the crowd, then caused a surging roar of support. The United States gave her a Colt automatic pistol. In Canada she was presented with a sighted Winchester rifle now on display at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow.”

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Pav-1976-stamp.jpg

    • Blake

      Thanks to her diary, Roza Shanina is perhaps the best documented Soviet sniper woman of The Great Patriotic War (as it is called in Russian).

      “Shanina was capable of precisely hitting moving enemy personnel and making doublets (two target hits by two rounds fired in quick succession).” She volunteered just after her 18th birthday & died from a shell explosion while shielding a wounded artillery officer.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Roza_Shanina.jpg

      • Blake

        My favorite Soviet WWII female combat unit story is that of the “Night Witches”.

        Basically, Soviet policy was that women soldiers were a necessity, but that they should be spared front-line duty whenever possible. As part of the complex duality of being officially equal to men while in reality being treated as second-class soldiers, female aviation units were relegated to using obsolete Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes.

        This actually worked out rather well for them. The max airspeed of a Po-2 is significantly lower than the stall speed of most German light fighters, so they were extremely difficult to shoot down.

        The harassment technique that earned them the name “Night Witches” was particularly effective as part of the effort to destroy German morale during the terrible winter of the Battle of Stalingrad. In the middle of the night they would load up their biplanes with as many munitions as they could carry (often forgoing the use of parachutes in order to carry more ordinance), including hand grenades or other non-aerial combat weapons, fly to the Po-2’s service ceiling, and cut the engine. They would then glide-bomb enemy camps, the only warning being the sound of the wind through their canvas wings (which the Germans said sounded like a flying broom, thus “Night Witches”).

        Few casualties were inflicted by these harassment raids, but the end result was that the Germans feared lighting campfires and got little sleep. Cold & disease took care of the rest, & their already-low morale suffered greatly as a result. What was left of the German 6th Army eventually surrendered when they ran out of ammo & food.

        See also http://www.seizethesky.com/nwitches/nitewtch.html .

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Polikarpov_Po-2_28_%28G-BSSY%29_%286740751017%29.jpg

        • crisara772

          From the depths of Hell in silence
          Cast their spells, explosive violence
          Russian night time flight perfected
          Flawless vision, undetected

          • iksnilol

            Sabaton?

          • Iggy

            Yep

          • iksnilol

            Aw yiss. Sabaton is one of the easiest ways to learn history.

    • Herr Wolf

      The jokes on us- the Marxists won WWII and have infiltrated every level of govt of the Western World today- enjoy!

      • UCSPanther

        Neo-nazis are just butthurt over an event that was set in stone 70 years ago because their brand of socialism is now languishing in the trash heap of history.

        • Marxism died in the East because it flourished in Western Academia. Visit your local humanities department if you don’t believe me.

  • Grindstone50k

    Well this is a total 180 from that pulled-post about the “NSFW” women with guns.

    I’m just poking fun. Good article, nonetheless.

  • The_Champ

    I always use caution when judging Soviet claims about kill counts and what not, but no doubt some of these women were extraordinary soldiers.

  • Boris

    I hate to be language Nazi, but the names should have “a” on the ends, like Stepanova (Степанова), Belousova (Белоусова) that signifies that person is female. Most last names in Russian have to indicate sex of the owner, otherwise the last name is carries male connotation.

  • Herr Wolf

    Sure – because the Soviets never exaggerated- these Marxist b*tches probably wouldn’t know which end of a rifle to hold

    • UCSPanther

      Take your long dead empire and go back to Stormfront.

      Thank you.

    • Max Popenker

      Yeah, true Arian fighters are only ones known to be 100% truthful, like this German fighter ace who shot down 10 Soviet fighters during one sortie, with all of them falling down to the bottom of the lake and disappearing. After all, who would question the word of the true German gentleman?

    • Vince

      “SS,” changed his name and didn’t think TFB regulars would notice.

    • guest

      Why not add some other cliches while you are at it:
      1) Russian winter and NOT the counterattack of several tank divisions stopped Wehrmacht at Moscow
      2) Again, winter, not the well executed encirclement defeated Wehrmacht in Stalingrad
      3) “human wave attacks”
      4) Stalin repressions… something something… bloody communists… something something…

      Or just add the more modern piece of recently popularized historical sci-fi: Soviet Union attacked the Third Reich and started the war, and “ukraine” liberated Auschwitz.

      Go back to whatever cave of ignorance, cheap apologetic nonsense and trolling arguments that you crawled out of.

  • derfelcadarn

    Regardless of sex, religion, skin color or other mitigating factor sniping is still murder.

    • Max Popenker

      probably yes, but no more than any other military action that involves shooting at the enemy. And you have to take into account that there’s always are people who had to be killed. Preferable with minimal amount of collateral damage.

    • avconsumer2

      From what I gather, harsh language was an ineffective deterrent to the majority of the Wehrmacht.

    • iksnilol

      Well, good thing a part of us aren’t so worried about our souls.

      Besides, I don’t really see the moral issue. Soldiers killing soldiers, that’s what they are for. Now if they were targeting civilians (like in another country) then I would see the problem.

    • Hywelbane

      Then so was the cavalryman as he ran down the foot soldier. You have warfare confused with mutual dueling.

    • Tassiebush

      If it kills someone who will otherwise kill you or your people, how could you justify not killing them by as effective a means as possible?

  • Zebra Dun

    Babushka what did you do in the war?
    Oh nothing I polished a rifles trigger.

    • buzzman1

      Remember the US sniper that was asked what he felt when he shot an enemy. He answered “Oh just a little recoil”.

      • Zebra Dun

        I recall a liberal reporter asking a Marine who had made a confirmed kill that day, “Just what does it take to kill a man?” the Marine paused while eating his C-rat peaches and then said, “Seven and one half pounds of trigger squeeze sir.”
        No more questions from that reporter.

  • avconsumer2

    Wow. It’s like a Soviet, female, all-sniper version of the Basterds!! Thanks for your nazzi killin’ ladies. (in my best Lt. Aldo Raine voice)

  • Fruitbat44

    I am surprised nobody has come out with the old quote about “The female of the species . . .”

    And jumping ahead several decades anyone with a connection to the British military during the Cold War will recognise the words “Three Shock Army” and possibly feel a chill down their spine.

    But jumping back to a time when the Western democracies and the Soviet dictatorship shared a common enemy; well done ladies, rest in peace.

  • Savage

    reported, not confirmed…

  • Bill

    Ohhh, touched a nerve I see.

  • Zebra Dun

    A whole new spin to Hen Party.