The Soviets’ need for good snipers arose as far back as the Winter War, when Finnish “cuckoos” could take down Red Army soldiers without the slightest chance for them to get revenge.

Shooting experts in the USSR were primarily recruited from experienced hunters, people who knew how to track down and kill a target.

They were originally armed with an SVT-40, a weapon that was widespread but often criticized for its shorter shooting range and accuracy compared to the Mosin-Nagant rifle. It was also criticized for its excessive susceptibility to dirt and frost and its poor reliability.

Soviet snipers were unique in that there were a lot of women in their ranks. This was in no small part due to the lack of men with skills and talents fitting for this kind of activity.

In addition to directly performing combat tasks, these girls were a symbol of the universal struggle against the enemy. One of them, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, even played an important part in opening a second front with the Western Allies and was personally acquainted with Eleanor Roosevelt.