In June 1941, when Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, Lyudmila Pavlichenko left her university studies and ignored the offer of a position as a nurse to become one of Soviet Russia's 2000 female snipers.
Less than a year later she had 309 recorded kills, including twenty-nine enemy sniper kills. She was withdrawn from active duty after being injured. She was also regarded as a key heroic figure for the war effort.
She spoke at rallies in Canada and the U.S., and the folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote a song, "Killed By A Gun," about her exploits. Her U.S. trip included a tour of the White House with FDR. In November 1942 she visited Coventry and accepted donations of 4,516 from Coventry workers to pay for three X-ray units for the Red Army. She also visited a Birmingham factory as part of her fundraising tour.
She never returned to combat but trained other snipers. After the war, she finished her education at Kiev University and began a career as a historian. She died on October 10, 1974 at age fifty-eight, and was buried in Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery.
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