Roza Georgiyevna Shanina (Ро́за Гео́ргиевна Ша́нина) – WWII Sniper

I sort of started this last year (well, really at the end of 2017) with the bio of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the deadliest woman sniper in history. But she wasn’t the only woman sniper that the Soviets recruited during WWII.

Roza ShaninaRoza Shanina joined the Soviet Army in 1943, after her brother was killed by the invading German army in 1941. (Part of that time was that the Soviets were not accepting women into the military at the start of the war, and then she had to convince the local military commissariat.)

The image is of Sniper Roza Shanina, holding a 1891/30 Mosin–Nagant with the 3.5x PU scope. 1944. As always, click the image for a larger view.

In 1944 a Canadian paper described Shanina as “the unseen terror of East Prussia.”

The History Collection describes her career as follows.

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.

She died in 1945 at the age of 20, having been disemboweled by an artillery shell. Her confirmed kills stands at 59.

On a related subject see the photo of the Belorussian Front Sniper squad, as provided by Rejected Princesses. (Well behaved women rarely make history.)

775 confirmed kills represented in this one picture. Female snipers of the 3rd Shock Army, 1st Belorussian Front, WW2. Not pictured: Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who would have boosted the count to 1083 just by standing there.

Rejected Princesses doesn’t have the listing of people in that photo, but the names are known. You can find the info at Rare Historical Photos.

The snipers in the picture:
First row – Guard Staff Sergeant, VN Stepanova: 20 kills, Guard Sgt JP Belousova: 80 kills, Guard Sgt AE Vinogradova: 83 kills.
Second row – Guard Lieutenant EK Zhibovskaya: 24 kills, Guard Sgt KF Marinkin: 79 kills, Guard Sgt OS Marenkina: 70 kills.
Third row – Guard Lieutenant NP Belobrova: 70 kills, Lieutenant N. Lobkovsky: 89 kills, Guard Lieutenant VI Artamonova: 89 kills, Guard Staff Sergeant MG Zubchenko: 83 kills.
Forth row – Guard Sergeant, NP Obukhova: 64 kills, Guard Sergeant, AR Belyakova 24 kills.

So why Roza Shanina and not these others? Because she kept a diary during the war, and an edited version of that diary was published in the magazine Yunost in 1965. Largely as a result of that she was awarded the Order of Glory 1st Class by the Supreme Soviet in 1985.

Rejected Princesses also has a list of notable women in combat dating to the 16th Century BCE.

UPDATE: A short (6 minutes) video on Roza Shanina, with a few more details about her career.

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