History

Lady Snipers of the 3rd Shock Army

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After a recent battle near Odessa that lasted two months and a half, Ukrainian Lyudmila Pavlichenko was recorded with 187 confirmed kills; Soon, the Romanians gained control of Odessa and Lyudmila’s group was forced to retreat to the seaside of Sevastopol.  On a quiet morning when rations are being distributed, a cadet approaches Lyudmila with questions regarding her new nickname. “You know what they’re calling you now right? Lady Death?”

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Lyudmila Pavlichenk lowered the spoon in her hand, normally the kulesh-a soup made of the usual, millet and other vegetables would get cold quickly if she left it unattended for a while.  However, that was not her concern for right now. The young soldier that sat beside her offered a warm smile, and a small bowl filled with what seemed to be Borscht. The concoction in the bowl was mushy and slimy. Judging by the soft red resilience she concluded that the gelatinous substance was supposed to resemble Borscht. Not that Lyudmila was complaining, she accepted that being in the army was ambitious.  Most of the cooks were unfortunate women who didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of nurse’s position that Lyudmila was offered . Those were the only positions offered to them when they first entered the recruitment facility. She had entered the Red Army’s rifle division when women were not accepted, and  Lyudmila wouldn’t forget that anytime soon.

“Do they really?” A small laugh releases from her lips, albeit the statement was humorless.  Lyudmila shook her head and brushed her hair away from her face. She was truly unsure about her feelings regarding the soldier’s statement.  It was difficult, accepting what she did and what she still had ro do in the future. The harsh reality was that it had to be done, someone had to be the soviet’s defense when the German were already had the unfair advantage of newer technology and resources. What the Soviets did have, was a strong sense of nationalism and 8 million women for various positions. Any female sniper  was lucky to have a job that w did not rely on physical strength like a factory worker. She preferred to work meticulously as a sniper. She had to exercise her skills with patience and precision.

She hadn’t gotten acquainted with the young lady quite yet considering the newest move from Odessa to the sandy beaches of Sevastopol. The area had been previously evacuated due to heavy fighting.  Unfortunately, war leaves much devastation in its path. It eats everything in its direction like a ravenous animal. After the fall of Kerch the men that numbered the island were about 35,000. Lieutenant VI Artamonov had said that even if it was peaceful for a short time, it was something to be thankful for.

“It’s funny actually! I would call the men jealous if I didn’t know any better! You’re pretty admirable, Pavlichenk!” The girl tilted the bowl to her lips and slurped a large gulp of her probably now cold Borscht.  Shortly after her sentence, Lyudmila quietly sat beside her. The female soldier’s mouth open and flapped like a fish without its much-needed oxygen supply. Oh! Lyudmila was not new to praise, and approval from her more prestigious superiors like Staff Sergeant Zubchenko or Lieutenant Lobkovsky. The conversation with this soldier made her feel uneasy.  They all had a family like connection, your given unit was your family-and being a part of the same mother country meant that you fought under the same just cause.

“I honestly have to thank those who have fallen for where I am today. My first time on the battlefield, I was too scared to shoot or even raise my weapon my hands were shaking. The boy next to me had been shot dead by the Germans.” He was such a happy, nice boy.  Lyudmila could never remember his name. Consequently, he had left a daunting impression on her, even during the grim exchanges of war. “Seeing him dead face down in the dirt, showed me that I wanted to live. I could lose everything if I didn’t raise my weapon and fight. After happened , I realized that nothing could really stop me.”

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