World War II History: The Female Russian Sniper that Planted Over 300 Germans


The 2015 film Battle for Sevastopol is the true story of how Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a female Soviet sniper who killed more than 300 Axis soldiers during World War II, became a gal-pal of the first lady of the United States.

That’s a topic so compelling in and of itself that it’s worth putting up with Battle for Sevastopol’s often clunky dialogue and uneven story-telling in order to appreciate its tale of feminism, violence, war-time love triangles and post-traumatic stress.

The doomed Soviet struggle to hold onto the besieged Crimean port is not actually the focus of this Russian-Ukrainian film. The original Russian title, Indestructible, is far more appropriate.

Over the course of just one year, Lyudmila killed at least 309 enemy soldiers. That’s more deaths than in all of the Rambo films combined. And these were just the confirmed kills observed by a third party. Pavlichenko also doesn’t count her first two victims, as they were “test shots.”

Pavlichenko was wounded four times in battle and evacuated by submarine from the fall of Sevastopol to rally support for a second front in the United States. It was there that she developed a close friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt — leading the first lady to reciprocate with a Moscow reunion in 1958.

Read the Remainder at War is Boring


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