7 Legendary Snipers of World War II

Roza Shanina. Klimbim

Roza Georgiyevna Shanina

Roza Georgiyevna Shanina was one of several female Soviet snipers, and she is credited with 59 confirmed kills. She joined the Soviet military at a time when they started drafting women into the sniper program under the belief that their flexible bodies and patience made them apt snipers. Shanina repeatedly requested to join the military after the death of her brother, but was rejected several times because the military commissariat in her town wanted to keep her out of the war.

Desperate to avenge her brother, Shanina began training herself at the shooting range. Finally, she was allowed to join the Female Sniper Academy. She graduated from the academy with honors and was even offered a teaching position there but she refused, stating that she needed to go fight.

She got her wish and joined the 184th Rifle Division on April 2, 1944 and got her first kill three days later. By May 1944, she had 17 confirmed kills. The following month, on June 9, she was put on the front page of Unichtozhim Vraga, a Soviet newspaper. On June 22, 1944, Shanina was in Vitebsk when all female snipers were told to withdraw due to Operation Bagration. Shanina and the other female snipers remained in order to help the advancing infantry.

By the end of August, her kill count topped 42, some which were done in German territory. Shanina would crawl through a communication ditch every day at dawn to pick off what soldiers she could. In September, her division was the first Soviet unit to enter into East Prussia. Her kill count only rose, with newspapers reporting 51 kills on September 17. A Canadian paper even gave her the name “the unseen terror of East Prussia.” On January 27, 1945, she was found disemboweled by an artillery shell and despite efforts to save her, she perished. Her official kill count stands at 59.