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The girls who blew their brains out to the Nazis

Lyuba Vinogradova revises the history of Soviet snipers in World War II

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The girls who blew their brains out to the Nazis

They were mostly very young, some offspring. They came from all over Soviet Union. The Red Army recruited m to thousands in Second World War to use m as snipers: y had to point ir weapons in distance and blow ir brains out to enemy soldiers, literally. That was his mission, that was craft for which y prepared m meticulously, and although y killed Nazis who had invaded and devastated ir country and many got long lists of victims and even some came to enjoy it, re was virtually none that was not Desmoronora and mourn his first time, by reaching his weapon to a human being. Neir one of m was fought, surrounded by a large mass of sexually hungry comrades, of having to endure harassment and abuse of ir commanders and male comrades, mostly drunk: a real fight on two fronts. Although several became very popular and y even got title of heroines of USSR, y could not make n career in army and on ir return home y denostó often like viragos or prostitutes.

It is counted by Russian researcher Lyuba Vinogradova (Moscow, 1973) in her lurid and at same time poignant story of those snipers Angels Avengers (recently published in Past Present). Vinogradova, recognized collaborator of Antony Beevor and Max Hastings and of which same publisher and published his work on no less astonishing Soviet aviators of same contest ( Witches of night, 2016), includes in his book The Direct testimonies of Some snipers she met and interviewed. As Yekaterina Térejova, of 90 years and with a slight limp result of a war wound in Sebastopol, which had killed thirty Germans. Although it seems a tremendous score, figure pales to those of some of his comrades, as legendary Liudmila Pavlichenko, considered best sniper of all time, which is credited 309 fatal victims (Vinogradova questions fact), Most of it with its semi-automatic rifle Tokarev SVT-40 with telescopic sight of 3.5 magnifications (most of snipers, however, preferred simpler Mosin-Nagant, more precise) lock rifle.

Duels with German rifle aces

Vinogradova refers to numerous cases of sniper duels with his German counterpart (always men), even with rifle aces. Like one who was credited to Pavlichenko, who would have charged, after stalking him 24 hours, to a guy who had begun to hunt in Dunkirk and carried (according to booklet that recovered from corpse) 500 enemies charged. That would be one of 33 German snipers liquidated by Ukrainian.

Tosia Tinguinova had her duel at age of twenty. They shot at same time. He killed German sniper. She was saved by recoil of rifle that pushed her a few inches, so that enemy's bullet was to pierce butt of his weapon instead of reaching it in head.

The snipers were, with aviators, elite of Soviet women soldier, of which Red Army, in face of shortage of males by indenting of contest, sent to front more than half a million (many more if we include partisans and militias (civilians) to serve in all positions, from simple infantry to sappers, gunners and tankers. The initiative contrasts with Hitler's absolute opposition to Germans taking up arms.

To snipers, that forced thousands of German soldiers to go to Gatas, y trained as ir male colleagues and suffered like m rigors of a savage war, to which y added specific hardships like that y cut braids, not To dispose of appropriate clothing and footwear, specific sanitary facilities or hygiene measures required. The rule was a nuisance when you were hunting Nazis. Many, says Vinogradova, wore panties and bras that y had brought from home under statutory underwear of man. He taught m to shoot, to camouflage, to remain motionless long periods of time. Vinogradova quotes that some studies pointed ( word) that y could have more performance in hunt by being more calm and patient. Against him y had difficulty of fitting violent receding of rifle.

"It was of course much more difficult and traumatic to kill a person with rifle than from an airplane," he says. "At 200 or 300 meters, through optics, you see perfectly face of your victim, you know very well who you are killing." They all explain that first dead was a big shock. "Some were accustomed, some were not." By killing his first German, Lida Lariónova jumped out of horrified trench and ran to his ranks screaming, "I've killed a person!" Tonia Majliaguina, who was an orphan, lamented after knocking down first of hers: "He was someone's far, and I killed him!" Death was m to impress gradual mana. "A cartridge, a fascist!" animated Roza Shánina when he was already more than twenty Germans. He died almost at end of war, with belly open by shrapnel, trying to contain with his hands intestines that spread and asking his companions to kill her quickly. When he was given medal he had won, Bella Morózova did his best to teach only one side of face. One bullet had entered him through or's temples through nasal cavity and leaving it without an eye. I was only 19 years old. and returned to front. The soldier who had fallen in love with her did not change her mind after seeing her disfigured and after war y formed a family and lived many years toger; A rare happy ending.

The snipers fought in pairs and death of companion, very habitual, used to represent a terrible trauma. Some lost up to four.

Liudmila Pavlichenko, lurking.

Vinogradova pursues career of a good number of snipers throughout war. Very notable cases such as those of Natasha Kovshova (able to give her objectives on bridge of nose, her signature) and Masha Polivánova, one of most notable pairs of snipers. In 1942, in Toki-Byakovo, y lent support to a male sniper and an attack left m isolated to three. They were wounded and girls — ir companion was able to crawl and escape — were sworn in to ir pit of marksmen not to fall alive in hands of enemy (which meant invariably for a sniper rape, torture and execution). They took insurance out of ir grenades, y waited for attackers to arrive and n y blew m up and drove ahead to a few Germans.

There are cases like that of Sasha Shlíajova, to which flirt of preserving a nice red scarf during its missions it cost him to kill it a German sniper. Tania Baramziná, chosen as a sniper although she was short-sighted and wearing glasses, captured, tortured and killed with a grenade launcher.

He dedicates a Vinogradova chapter to Pavlichenko, who visited United States in Loor de multitudes, to which Woody Guthrie dedicated a song and was admired by Chaplin, who kissed his fascinated fingers, said, that y had killed hundreds of Nazis. "I find his story very strange," says author. "I actually consider that any star with more than 300 dead, female or masculine, is false." "Propaganda needed heroes." Well, what about Záitsev, great shooter who appears on enemy's doorstep? "A lot of snipers I've met were very skeptical about ir scoring." Lídiya Bakieva, who killed 76 Germans said, ' You were super lucky if you gave one a day. "Killing ten, well, that would have required m to put mselves in line waiting for you to shoot m!"

The snipers Kiseliova, Bulátova and Morózova and a male colleague, in 1944.

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