Marie Ljalková was born in Poland to a family of Volhynian Czechs. She lost her parents at a young age and went to live with her Aunt in Stanisławów, Poland where she met her first husband.
After the start of Operation Barbarossa, Marie joined the First Czechoslovak Independent Field Battalion in March 1942 as a volunteer, and graduated the three month sniper course at the school in Buzuluk.
Her first taste of action came at the Battle of Sokolovo where she was credited with seven kills, promoting her to Ace status. She saw further action in the Lower Dnieper Offensive and the Battle of Dukla Pass.
Ljalková finished her service as a sniper with 30 confirmed kills. After the war she received the Order of the White Lion, Second class, the second highest military honor in the Czech Republic. She passed in 2011.
#5. The 73-Year-Old Man Who Played Chicken With the Entire Soviet Union
In 1968, Leonid Brezhnev, general secretary of the Soviet Union (the highest position in the land – basically the king of Russia) was in his office minding his own business when Ludvik Svoboda, the president of Czechoslovakia (a symbolic position lacking real power, like “employee of the month” or “Joe Biden”), burst in and demanded that Brezhnev release the 26 Czechoslovakian political prisoners he was holding. Brezhnev said no, because Svoboda was 73 years old and had no authority – what could he possibly do?
The Badass Moment: Svoboda pulled out a pistol, held it to his own head, and said, “If I kill myself, my blood will be on your hands, and no one in the world will believe you did not murder me.”