This Girl Was A Real Killer
|Roza Shanina. Some of these pictures, like this one, have been colorized.|
|Roza Shanina in 1944.|
|This shot likely was taken when Roza was awarded one of her medals.|
|Rosa posing with her sniper rifle.|
|Roza Shanina with Lydia G. Vdovin and Alexndra Maksimovna Ekimova.|
|A colorized version of the shot above.|
|Shanina showing her decorations.|
|Snipers Sergeant Roza Shanina and Junior Sergeant Alexander Maksimovna Ekimov.|
|Roza showing her commander her sniper rifle.|
Shanina enrolled in the Central Female Sniper Academy. She did well in training and requested a front-line unit. Roza joined the 184th Rifle Division.
The Soviet leadership, contrary to some pre-war propaganda, was not eager to send women to the Front to be killed, but Roza demanded the chance. It is said that she snuck out to join the forward troops.
|While this photo, which is a colorized version of one above, does not really show it, the skirt was actually dark blue. She is wearing a male issue field shirt.|
|Roza, described as having a mild manner and demure smile, in the Washington Examiner in 1944.|
While usually armed with a sniper rifle, on occasion Roza used a submachine gun. She used "blinds," hidden spots near the German lines which were specially camouflaged. She also was adept at taking out German snipers hidden in trees by waiting until the light was just right for her to spot them.
As Operation Bagration proceeded, Shanina advanced with the troops into East Prussia. She often had multiple-kill days, once recording five in one day. She was awarded the Order of Glory 2nd Class on 16 September 1944.
|Notice the wear on the scope, which helps to spot authentic shots of Roza.|
|Stepping back a pace, Roza Shanina with her spotter.|
|Leningrad 1944: Snipers Faina Yakimova, Roza Shanina, and Lidia Volodina.|
According to her diaries (which were prohibited by Soviet law), published long after the war, Shanina had an urge to be on the front lines even though her head told her it was a bad idea. She also at times engaged in hand-to-hand combat, along with other female snipers. Her diaries also allude to some unfulfilled romantic longings for fellow soldiers. Her last diary entry, just before her death, was very dark on this score.
|Roza Shanina profiled by the AP on 23 September 1944 calls Roza Shanina "the unseen terror of East Prussia."|
|Roza Shanina with fellow sniper "Dusya" Krasnoborova.|
While serving in the 144th Rifle Division, she was mortally wounded by a shell fragment on 27 January 1945 near Richau Estate (later Telmanovka) in East Prussia (near Novobobruysk in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia).
|Roza Shanina with Alexndra Maksimovna Ekimova.|
|Roza Shanina showing her gun to Alexndra Maksimovna Ekimova and Lydia G. Vdovin.|
War correspondent Pyotr Molchanov somehow kept Roza's diaries in Kyiv for decades after the war. Her story began to circulate with the publication of excerpts from her three-notebook diary and letters in the magazine Yunost in 1965. Several streets have been named after her, her high school has a commemorative plate, and there is a museum dedicated to Roza in the village of Yedma.
|Roza Shanina (left) with Evdokia Fedorovna Krasnoborova and war correspondent Fridlyansky.|
Despite dying at the tender age of 20, her fame is immortal. After her death, she received numerous accolades and awards, some quite recent. She became even more of a national heroine than she had been in life, though during her life she was honored as well. You may never have heard the name Roza Shanina before, and may never again, but in Russia, she is a legend.