Nineteen-year-old Tanya Chernova had once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. But after serving as a partisan in her native Belorussia, she made her way to Stalingrad, grimly determined to kill as many Germans as possible. The bitter warfare and the savage German reprisals had led her to totally dehumanize her enemy. She no longer thought of the Germans as enemy soldiers, but referred to them as 'sticks', fit only for breaking. Tanya and her companions, intent upon joining a Red Army unit, evaded the Germans by working their way through the sewer system of Stalingrad. Utterly lost in the maze of tunnels, they emerged from a foul passage behind German lines. Hiding their weapons, they brazenly joined the meal queue at a Wehrmacht field kitchen, hoping to get a bowl of soup. Fresh from the sewers, their stench quickly attracted attention. One German soldier exclaimed 'What is that horrible smell?' Tanya and her friends were saved by a Hiwi who claimed that they were working for him. Despite his help, Tanya made no attempt to hide her loathing for him or for any other Hiwi who worked for the Germans. She wolfed down the bread and soup he gave them, and quietly determined to kill this man at the first opportunity. To her, he was worse than the 'sticks' she was intent on breaking. Alleged Picture of Tanya Chernova (Left), the American born Russian woman who broke many "sticks" in Stalingrad. Later, she was part of a five-man fighting patrol tasked with dynamiting a forward German command post in the Krasny Oktyabr Factory area. Following at the rear of the patrol, she was grabbed by a German soldier who had spotted her moving through the rubble. In the ensuing struggle she kicked him in the groin, cracked his face on her knee and began to strangle him before one of the patrol turned back and smashed in her assailant's skull. Tanya eventually became a student at the special school for snipers under Vasily Zaitsev. She continued her vendetta against the Germans remorselessly, until she herself was wounded. She awoke in a field hospital, recovering from surgery for an abdominal wound that left her unable to bear children.