Snipers are the most cost effective weapon in any military arsenal. Despite the massive amounts of training and near one-to-one kill ratio, snipers save the U.S. military about 249,999 rounds of ammunition for each enemy killed.
After extensive training, snipers spend their mission trying to remain invisible while positioning themselves as closely to the enemy as possible. Then they wait, often for hours, even days, if that is what’s required to hit a target.
There are just nine qualified female snipers in the U.S. military today. As that number grows, those women will be comparing themselves to a Russian girl who began working at a munitions factory when she was 15, to bring a pound-and-a-half of bread home to help feed her family.
Klaudia Kalugina remains one of the deadliest snipers ever.
Klaudia volunteered for Russia’s sniper school when she was 17. Accustomed to manual labour, she impressed her trainers enough that she was given special instruction on her shooting. Her keen eyesight, a requisite for all 2,000 Russian female snipers of the time, pushed her abilities to the top.
The women snipers were all members of the Communist Youth, terribly idealistic and very close to the women with whom they served. Klaudia was partnered with her best friend Marusia Chikhvintseva who was killed by a German sniper not long after they joined the war.
That closeness, and the pain following Marusia’s death, may be what helped prompt Klaudia to kill a reported 257 Axis troops. The best U.S. sniper in history, Chris Kyle, claimed an unconfirmed 225 kills.
Klaudia gave an interview prior to her death, reprinted here in English where she casually comments on hits she made at over one mile away.
It’s an impressive story, particularly as the U.S. Armed Forces continue its path to some type of gender equality.
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