In June 1941, Pavlichenko was 24 and Nazi Germany were invading the Soviet Union. She was among the first volunteers and asked to join the infantry. she was assigned to the Red Armies 25th infantry Division. From there she became one of 2000 female snipers of the soviet.
Her first 2 kills were made near Belyayevka using a Mosin-Nagant bolt action rifle with a P.E. 4-power scope. The first action she saw was during the conflict in Odessa. She was there for 2 and a half months and notched 187 kills. When they were forced to relocate, she spent the next 8 months fighting in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula. There she recorded 257 kills and for this feat, she was cited by the Southern Army Council. Pavlichenkos’ total confirmed kills during WW2 was 309. 36 of those were enemy snipers.