Snipers In History
A sniper is an operative who gets intelligence for the command structure that he works in – be it law enforcement or even the military. Sometimes, he has to take well aimed shots that, if properly done, will save lines. In this article, we shall discuss the most popular snipers in history.
First comes Simo Hayha – born in 1905, he was called White Death by the Red Army. He was a Finnish solder, who uses a standard iron-sighted bolt action-rifle in the Winter War. Today he is credited with having the highest number of recoded kills in any major war. He was born in Rautjarvi, which is near the present-day border of Finland and Russia.
In 1925 began his military service – he was originally a farmer and a hunter, before turning to combat. During the Winter War, which went on between 1939 and 1940, between the Soviet Union and Finland – he began his job as sniper, and fought against the Red Army on the part of the Finnish. He operated in temperatures between -20 and -40 degrees Celsius, dressed in all-white camouflage. It is said he killed at least 505 Soviet solders, and more unconfirmed deaths. He died in 2002, and is considered a sniper legend in Finland even today.
Then there was Ivan Sidorenko – who was born in 1919. He was a former Red Army officer, who served in World War II. He was credited as being one of the top Soviet snipers in the war, and made at least 500 confirmed kills. He was ranked a Major, and was definitely the most successful Soviet sniper of World War II – he used the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, which had telescopic sight.
Billy Sing, too, (1886 – 1943), the Australian solder of World War I, was one of the most distinguished snipers around – he worked in the Gallipoli Campaign. Two months after war broke out, on October 24, 1914, Sing enlisted as a trooper in the Australian Fifth Light Horse Regiment of the Australian Imperial Force. Quickly he became internationally famous because of his sniper work during the Gallipoli campaign between 1915-1916. He served as dismounted infantry in the Campaign, and partnered with his spotter Ion Idriess, and then later Toh Sheehan. He took at least 150 confirmed kills.
Erwin Konig, who was also known as Heinz Thorvald, must be mentioned. He was a very skilled Wehrmacht sniper, who was apparently killed by the famous Red Army sniper Vasily Zaystev during the Battle of Stalingrad. Konig gets mention in both Zaystev’s memories “Notes of a Sniper” and in the 1973 non-fiction book “Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad” by William Craig. In the 2001 movie, we get to see a fictional account of the sniper duel between Konig and Zaystev during the last days of the Battle of Stalingrad.
And then we come to Vasily Zaystev himself. He was a Soviet sniper who worked during World War II, and he was known specifically for his activities between November 10 and December 17, 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad. Reports say he killed at least 225 soldiers and more officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, a well as 11 enemy snipers. Zaystev is famous for his participation in the Battle of Stalingrad – he run the Soviet snipers’ training school in the Metiz factory. Those snipers that he trained were nicknamed “zaichata” – which means baby hares. This basically started the sniper movement in the 62nd Army. The snipers, whom Zaystev trained, killed at least 3000 enemy soldiers. Quite a staggering number, isn’t it?
We must mention Henry Norwest – who was a former ranch-hand and rodeo performer. He served for a short duration with the Northwest Mounted Police, till September of 1915, when he enlisted with the Canadian army. He put in three years of service with the 50th Canadian Infantry Battalion – and he achieved a sniping record of at least 115 fatal shorts, reports say. Today Norwest is still revered for being an outstanding marksman, having superb stealth tactics and amazing expertise in camouflage. In fact, because he was so exceptional in these areas, he was frequently sent on reconnaissance missions into enemy lines by his superiors.
Then there’s Carlos Norman Hathcock II (1942 – 1999) who was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Sniper. He took in 93 confirmed kills. He was a legend in the Marine Corps because of his classy record and the amazing missions he undertook. He got great fame as a sniper, and he was very dedicated to long distance shooting, which eventually made him famous. He became a major developer of the United States Marine Corps Sniper training course – and recently had a rifle named after him. He said that he liked shooting, and liked hunting, however he did not enjoy killing anybody – but it was part of the job.