Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Warrior Wednesday: Natalya & Mariya

Warrior Wednesday: Natalya & Mariya

Warrior Wednesday: Natalya & Mariya

(Disclaimer: The following story is NOT to be taken as support for or against the current Russian-Ukranian Conflict. This is strictly for historical education and entertainment because we can all agree that it’s good to put Nazis six feet in the dirt)

Time to tell you folks about the tragic and explosive tale of two best friends, a 21 year old Sniper & 19 year old Spotter who turned their hatred for Nazis into a dedicated art of killing. Let's go.

     Natalya Kovshova was born November 26th, 1920, in Ufa, Russia. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Moscow. After graduating from high school, Kovshova began work at the National Institute of Aviation Technologies while waiting to be accepted into an Aviation University where Kovshova hoped to become an aircraft designer. She met a girl named Mariya Polivanova at the Institute. Mariya Polivanova was born to a working Russian family in the Tula Governorate on October 24th, 1922, and also wanted to design planes for a living. Kovshova and Polivanova quickly became best friends at the Institute and were inseparable.

     Unfortunately, their dreams of designing airplanes were cut short in 1941 when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. These two bad b*tches joined the 3rd Moscow Communist Rifle Division, a self-defense group that was started when German planes bombed Russian cities and towns. After proving their aptitude for killing dudes with Mosin-Nagant rifles they were both sent to the Central Women's Sniper Training School. After graduation they were deployed with 528th Rifle Regiment, 130th Infantry Division, 1st Shock Army to the North-western front. In January 1942 the 528th began fighting the German forces on the frontline. Both Polivanova and Kovshova established themselves as the regiment's resident snipers and respected instructors in the battalion. Kovshova was the shooter and Polivanova was her spotter. As a team they were unstoppable.

     They both fought bravely in the Battle of Moscow when the 528th Rifle Regiment was ordered to defend the city. During the battle, Kovshova and Polivanova proved to be a lethal force. Their sniper attacks killed dozens of German soldiers and pinned down entire platoons. They also dug multiple AT emplacements, MG nests, and trenches during the defense. They also trained new conscripts how to use rifles. From these recruits, they selected the best students to become snipers. By running their own internal selection process Kovshova and Polivanova taught others and passed on their sniping skills and increased the overall lethality of the 528th. For her actions in the battle of Moscow, Kovshova was awarded the Order of the Red Star, which is somewhat similar to our Silver Star/Bronze star with V device.

     In February 1942, Polivanova and Kovshova were deployed to help capture Novaya Russa. During the attack they were able to disable multiple enemy machine-gun positions by shooting all the gunners in their f*cking faces. In the battle of Rutchevo, while under heavy enemy fire, Polivanova carried multiple wounded soldiers to safety before she was wounded. She recuperated and went back into action. Kovshova found great delight in killing German soldiers. She wrote to her mother on 7 July 1942:

"My dearest Mama! Please don't be angry that I didn't write to you about being wounded. But I didn't want to worry you, since nothing serious happened. Mariya [Polivanova] and I are working with the young snipers. Their statistics are looking good. In the last two weeks of June our students took down 3 Germans each, not bad!"

     By August of 1942, only 8 months after passing Sniper school, the Kovshova/Polivanova sniper team had already accounted for almost 300 confirmed kills, trained up other snipers, dug multiple fighting positions, and kept the Wehrmacht very worried of having their skulls ballistically deformed with 7.62 projectiles. In comparison, 8 months after Infantry school I was still drinking bottom-shelf whiskey and praying that I didn't knock anyone up over the weekend.

     In August of '42, the machine gunners and snipers of the 528th, including your favorite female sniper duo, seized the village of Sutoki-Byakovo and dug in for a brutal counter-attack by German forces. Not long into the battle the CO was killed, and with no competent leader to take charge, Kovshova took command of the unit even as she and Polivanova continued with their sniper mission. They were both privates by the way, let that sink in.  After multiple Nazis starting getting their chests and faces blown out with unerringly accurate rifle rounds, the Germans realized that snipers were in the area, and started to bombard positions with mortar fire. During a lull in the fighting one soldier asked if they could retreat. Kovshova quoted Stalin's 227th Order. "Not One Step Back" and the beleaguered defenders let loose and started to cut down the Wehrmacht in droves. but with no hope for resupply or reinforcements, the emplaced Russian defenders were killed one by one by overwhelming firepower and fanatical Wehrmacht assaults on their position.

     Eventually the last 3 members of the Russian defenders lay wounded and bleeding. One was an unnamed sniper who was too wounded to fight, and the other two were Kovshova and Polivanova. They continued to snipe out encroaching Nazis until they too ran out of ammo. They knew all too well what the Nazis would do to young female POWs. Rather than suffer the ignominy of rape and torture, the two fearless snipers laid in wait in their hide site with several grenades. As the Nazis moved up to their position, the two young women exchanged an embrace. When the Wehrmacht piled into their position to capture them, Kovshova and Polivanova detonated the grenades that they clutched, the ensuing explosion set off their other grenades and killed the Nazis and themselves. They had over 300 confirmed kills as a Sniper/Spotter team. Not bad for a couple of college kids who wanted to build airplanes.

     6 months later during February 1943 they were posthumously awarded the title Heroes of the Soviet Union, the highest award within the USSR's Military. Natalya Kovshova was 21. Mariya Polinova was 19. If you got to go down, go down swinging. 

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

All comments are moderated before being published.

Read more

SHOT Show: The Annual 2A Gathering

SHOT Show: The Annual 2A Gathering

It's SHOT Show season, once again! The ultimate “Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade” show, held in the sparkling city (and new home of The Musa Store) of Las Vegas, is the annual event for gun-sl...

Read more
Two Towers, One Hero: The Valorous Voyage of Rick Rescorla

Two Towers, One Hero: The Valorous Voyage of Rick Rescorla

You know Rick Rescorla was a total badass when he's front and center on the cover of Moore and Galloway's book "We Were Soldiers Once...And Young." Rick Rescorla was born in England on May 27, 1939...

Read more