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Mercenary Sniper

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Mercenary Sniper

Is a sniper soldier who fights or engages in warfare primarily for private gain, usually with little regard for ideological, national, or political considerations, thus called Mercenary Sniper.

Also a Mercenary Sniper is any person who takes part in an armed conflict who is not a national of a Party to the conflict and "is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party". As a result of the assumption that a Mercenary is exclusively motivated by money, the term Mercenary carries negative connotations. There is a blur in the distinction between a Mercenary and a "foreign volunteer", when the primary motive of a soldier in a foreign army is uncertain. For instance the French Foreign Legion and the Gurkhas are not mercenaries under the laws of war, but some journalists do describe them as mercenaries.

A Mercenary Sniper is not a regular infantry soldier but one who is paid and specializes in shooting from concealment or longer ranges than regular infantry, often with a specially designed or adapted sniper rifle. It requires skill in field craft, camouflage and marksmanship.

Laws of war Art 47. Mercenaries

1. A mercenary shall not have the right to be a combatant or a prisoner of war.

2. A mercenary is any person who:

(a) is especially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

(b) does, in fact, take a direct part in the hostilities;

(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of that Party;

(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.

The term Sniper is attested from 1824 in the sense of a sharpshooter. The verb to snipe originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India in the sense of to shoot from a hidden place, in allusion to snipe hunting, a game bird known for being extremely difficult to locate, approach, or shoot. Those who were skilled at the hunting of this bird were thus dubbed sniper.

  • Military Sniper
  • A Military sniper is a highly trained marksman who operates alone, in a pair, or with another military sniper team to maintain close visual contact with the enemy and engage targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the detection capabilities of enemy personnel. These military sniper teams operate independently, with little combat asset support from their parent units. Military Snipers typically have highly selective and specialized training and use high-precision/special application rifles and optics, and often have sophisticated communication assets to feed valuable combat information back to their units.

  • American Civil War
  • During the American Civil War, the common term used in the United States for much the same function was skirmisher. A Civil war army often protected itself when on the move by using such concealed marksmen, who were deployed individually on the extremes of the moving army. Generally, such skirmishers were selected on the basis of prior proven hunting and marksmanship skills, and they were often older men in their 40s or 50s.

  • 1. The term sniper hence did not reach widespread use in the United States until somewhat later than the American Civil war. In the American Civil war, Confederate troops equipped with barrel-length three power scopes mounted on the then premium British Whitworth rifle had been known to kill Union officers at ranges bordering 800 yards, an unheard-of distance at that time.

    The earliest sniper rifle was little more than conventional military or target rifle with long-range "peep sights" designed for use on the target range. Only from the beginning of World War 1 did a specially adapted Sniper Rifle come to the fore, with one of the first scoped military Sniper Rifles being the SMLE Mk III* (HT).

    Typical World War II -era sniper rifle were generally standard issue rifle (hand-picked for accuracy) with a 2.5x telescopic sight and cheek-rest fitted, with the bolt turned down (if necessary) to allow operation with the scope affixed. By the end of the war, forces on all sides had specially trained soldiers equipped with Sniper Rifle, and they have played an increasingly important role in military operations ever since.

    In the last few decades, the term "Sniper" has been used rather loosely, especially by media in association with police precision riflemen, those responsible for assassination, any shooting from all but the shortest range in war, and any criminal equipped with a rifle in a civil context. This has rather expanded the general understanding of the meaning of the term. It has also given the term sniper with connotations. Alternative terms are usually more specific, especially for police "Sniper" such as "counter-sniper", "precision marksman", “tactical marksman", "sharpshooter" or "precision shooter", some of which have also been in use for a long time but the Mercenary Sniper is the ultimate sniper to Fear.

    They have no remorse but only money gain.

    The First sniper rifle

    First long range Sniper Rifle

    Whitworth rifle, a single-shot muzzle-loaded long-range rifle designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth)

    The Whitworth rifle was arguably the first long-range sniper rifle in the world. Designed by Sir Joseph Whitworth, a prominent British engineer, it used twisted hexagonal barrels instead of traditional round rifled barrels, which meant that the projectile did not have to bite into grooves as was done with conventional rifling. His rifle was far more accurate than the Pattern 1853 Enfield, which had shown some weaknesses during the recent Crimean war. At trials in 1857 which tested the accuracy and range of both weapons, Whitworth's design outperformed the Enfield at a rate of about three to one. The Whitworth rifle was able to hit the target at a range of 2,000 yards, whereas the Enfield could only manage it at a distance of 1,400 yards.

    During the Crimean war the first optical sights were designed for fitting onto the rifles. Much of this pioneering work was the brainchild of Colonel D. Davidson; using optical sights produced by Chance Brothers of Birmingham. This allowed a marksman to more accurately observe and target objects at a greater distance than ever before. The telescopic sight, or scope, was originally fixed and could not be adjusted, which therefore limited its range.

    Despite its success at the trials, it was not adopted by the British Army. However the Whitworth rifle Company was able to sell the weapon to the French army, and also to the Confederacy during the American Civil war. Both the Union and Confederate armies employed sharpshooters, the most notable incident was during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, where, on May 9, 1864, Union General John Sedgwick was killed at a range of about 1,000 yards (910 meters) after saying the enemy "couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

    Afghanistan Mercenary Snipers

    The Sangin Sniper was one, possibly two, mercenary snipers employed by the Taliban insurgency who killed one and wounded two U.S. troops and killed one British Army Engineer, in the town of Sangin in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan during the War in Afghanistan in August 2010.

    On August 13, 2010 the Sangin Sniper fired a single round, killing a Marine that stepped out of his armored fighting vehicle about 100 meters from a secure base. The Marine belonged 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion . His name was SSGT. Michael A. Bock who received a silver star posthumously for his courageous actions performed in Afghanistan.

    On August 13, 2010 the sniper shot Darren Foster, a 20-year-old British army engineer, who was walking in a bunkered pathway. The sniper waited until Foster approached a 9-inch-gap in the post's bullet-resistant glass, put there to allow guards to fire their weapons, fired a single timed shot and killed Foster as he walked past the gap.

    On August 14, 2010 the sniper shot a United States Marine tank mechanic in the torso as he carried sandbags across a small bridge. The mechanic's personal armor prevented the round from harming him. Ironically it was the Marines Birthday, Corporal Logan Kessinger.

    On August 15, 2010 the sniper fired a shot that ricocheted off a tank, and hit but did not penetrate the Kevlar helmet of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Derek Simpson, of the Third Combat Engineer Battalion. Shortly thereafter, the sniper hit a second Marine who belonged to 3/7 Weapons Co. in the leg; he was pulled to cover by Corporal Dustin St. Clair.

    American and British special forces reacted by deploying their own sniper teams . Local Afghanistan civilians located a group of about six foreign-trained mercenary snipers working in the region, including the Sangin Sniper. Special Forces confirmed through close surveillance the precise co-ordinates of the snipers, then called in United States Air Force F-16 jets, which dropped their Joint Direct Attack Munitions and killed the Sangin Sniper.

    "True Sniper Hero's"

    History of some of the true snipers

    History of some of the Best snipers

  • Carlos Norman Hathcock II Story

  • Silver Star medal picture

    Carlos Norman Hathcock II picture

  • Carlos Norman Hathcock II

  • Carlos Norman Hathcock II, was born in Geyer Springs, Arkansas on May 20, 1942. He grew up in rural Arkansas, living with his grandmother after his parents separated.

    He took to shooting and hunting at a young age, partly out of necessity to help feed his poor family. He would go into the woods with his dog and pretend to be a soldier and hunt fake Nazis in his own little Germany. He would "hunt" at the young age with a rifle that his father had brought back from Europe during World war II. Carlos Hathcock dreamed of being a Marine throughout his childhood, and so on May 20, 1959, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

    Carlos Hathcock married Jo Winstead on November 20, 1962. Jo gave birth to a son, Carlos Norman Hathcock III.

    Carlos Norman Hathcock III would later enlist in the marines; he retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant after following in his father's footsteps as a shooter, and became a member of the Board of Governors of the Marine Corps Distinguished Shooters Association.

    Carlos Norman Hathcock II Marine Corps career

    Before deploying to Vietnam, Carlos Norman Hathcock had won many shooting championships.

    In 1966 Carlos Hathcock started his deployment in Vietnam as an MP and later became a sniper after Captain Edward J. Land Jr. pushed the Marines into raising snipers in every platoon.

    Land later recruited Marines who had set their own records in sharpshooting; he quickly found Carlos Hathcock, who had won the Wimbledon Cup, the most prestigious prize for long-range shooting, at Camp Perry in 1965.

    During the Vietnam War Carlos Norman Hathcock was confirmed for killing 93 North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong personnel. (During the Vietnam war, kills had to be confirmed by an acting third party; this was feasible on a battlefield, but snipers usually worked in pairs (shooter and spotter) and often did not have an acting third party present, which made confirmation difficult). He is ranked fourth, behind U.S. Marine Corps snipers Eric R. England and Chuck Mawhinney and United States Army sniper Adelbert Waldron on the list of most confirmed kills for an American sniper.

    The North Vietnamese Army even put a bounty of $30,000 on his life for killing so many of their men. Cash rewards put on U.S. snipers by the N.V.A. typically amounted to only $8. The Viet Cong and N.V.A. called Carlos Norman Hathcock Long Trang, translated as "White Feather," because of the white feather he kept in a band on his bush hat. After a platoon of trained Vietnamese snipers were sent to hunt down "White Feather," many Marines in the same area donned white feathers to deceive the enemy. These Marines were aware of the impact Carlos Hathcock's death would have and took it upon themselves to make themselves targets in order to preserve the life of the true "White Feather".

    One of Carlos Hathcock's most famous accomplishments was shooting an enemy sniper through his scope, hitting him in the eye and killing him. Carlos Norman Hathcock and John Roland Burke, his spotter, were stalking the enemy sniper in the jungle near Hill 55, the firebase Carlos Norman Hathcock II was operating from. The sniper had already killed several Marines and was believed to have been sent specifically to kill Carlos Norman Hathcock. When Carlos Hathcock saw a flash of light (light reflecting off the enemy sniper's scope) in the bushes, he fired at it, shooting through the scope and killing the sniper. Surveying the situation, Carlos Hathcock concluded that the only feasible way he could have put the bullet straight down the enemy's scope and through his eye would have been if both snipers were zeroing in on each other at the same time, and Carlos Hathcock fired first, which gave him only a few seconds to act. Given the flight time of rounds at long ranges, both snipers could easily have killed one another. The enemy rifle was recovered and the incident is documented by a photograph.

    Carlos Norman Hathcock only once removed the white feather from his bush hat while deployed in Vietnam. During a volunteer mission days before the end of his first deployment, he crawled over 1,500 yards of field to shoot an NVA commanding general. He wasn't informed of the details of the mission until he was en route to his insertion point aboard a helicopter. This effort took four days and three nights, without sleep, of constant inch-by-inch crawling. In Carlos's words, one enemy soldier (or "hamburger" as Carlos called them), "shortly after sunset", almost stepped on him as he lay camouflaged with grass and vegetation in a meadow. At one point he was nearly bitten by a bamboo viper but had the presence of mind to avoid moving and giving up his position. As the general exited his vehicle Carlos fired a single shot that struck the general in the chest, killing him. He had to crawl back instead of run when soldiers started searching.

    After the arduous mission of killing the general, Carlos Norman Hathcock returned to the United States in 1967. However, he missed the Marine Corps and returned to Vietnam in 1969, where he took command of a platoon of snipers.

    Carlos Hathcock generally used the standard Sniper Rifle: The Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle with the standard Unertl scope. On some occasions, however, he used a different weapon: the M2 Browning .50-caliber Machine Gun, on which he mounted the Unertl scope, using a bracket of his own design. This weapon was accurate to 2500 yards when fired one round at a time. At one point, he took careful aim at a courier carrying a load of assault rifles and ammunition on a bicycle. He had second thoughts when he saw a 12-year-old boy in his sights, but after considering the intended use of those weapons, he decided to disable the bicycle, hitting the bike frame. The boy tumbled over the handlebars, grabbed a gun, and immediately began firing back, so Carlos Hathcock returned fire, killing him.

    Carlos Hathcock's career as a sniper came to a sudden end outside Khe Sanh in 1969, when an amphibious amtrack (LVT) he was riding on struck an anti-tank mine. Carlos Hathcock pulled seven Marines off the flame-engulfed vehicle before jumping to safety. He was told he would be recommended for the Silver Star, but he stated that he had only done what anyone there would have if they were awake, so he rejected any commendation for his bravery. Nearly 30 years later, he was awarded the Silver Star, the third most prestigious award in U.S. military.

    Carlos Hathcock said in a book written about his career as a sniper: "I like shooting, and I love hunting. But I never did enjoy killing anybody. It's my job. If I don't get those bastards, then they're gonna kill a lot of these kids we got dressed up like Marines. That's just the way I see it."

    After the Vietnam War

    After returning to active duty, Carlos Hathcock helped establish a scout and sniper school at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia. Due to his extreme injuries suffered in Vietnam, he was in nearly constant pain, but he continued to dedicate himself to teaching snipers. In 1975, Carlos Hathcock health began to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an incurable, degenerative nerve disorder. He stayed in the Corps but his health continued to decline and was forced to retire just 55 days short of the 20 years that would have made him eligible for full retirement pay. Being medically retired, he received 100% disability. He fell into a state of depression when he was forced out of the Marines because he felt as if the service kicked him out. During this depression his wife Jo almost left him, but she finally decided to stay. Carlos Hathcock eventually picked up the hobby of shark fishing with the locals, which helped him overcome his depression. Carlos Hathcock often paid visits to the sniper training facility at Quantico, where he was welcomed by students and instructors alike as being "bigger than life" due to his status in shooting circles.

    Carlos Hathcock once said that he survived in his work because of an ability to "get in the bubble," to put himself into a state of "utter, complete, absolute concentration," first with his equipment, then his environment, in which every breeze and every leaf meant something, and finally on his quarry.

    After the war, a friend showed Carlos Hathcock a passage written by Ernest Hemingway: "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and like it, never really care for anything else thereafter." He copied Hemingway's words on a piece of paper. "He got that right," Carlos Hathcock said. "It was the hunt, not the killing".

    After retirement, Carlos Hathcock began training Law Enforcement almost exclusively. Carlos Hathcock instructed the Virginia Beach Police Departmen's SWAT snipers from 1984 until he died in February 1999. This training was done on a weekly basis at no charge to the city. Carlos Hathcock was the chief instructor of the Virginia Beach Police Department Annual Law Enforcement Sniper School, which was established in 1987 and continues to train SWAT officers from all over the country.

    Carlos Hathcock died on February 23, 1999, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis.

  • Adelbert F. Waldron Story
  • Army Distinguished Service Cross

    Adelbert F. Waldron picture

  • Adelbert F. Waldron

    Adelbert F. Waldron was born March 14, 1933 in Syracuse New York. He joined the US Navy in 1953 and left that branch after successful service as an E-5 (GMG2) in 1965.

    Adelbert F. Waldron enlisted in the US Army in May 1968 as a Sergeant, the equivalent rank he held in the Navy. He found himself attached to Company B, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment (Scouts Out!) of the 9th Infantry Division in South Vietnam the same year.

    An expert marksman with a rifle, he was chosen to attend the 9th Infantry's in-country sniper school run by members of the Army Marksmanship Unit and was formed with the blessing of the division commander Lt Gen Julian J. Ewell. The 9th Infantry was the only major U.S. Army combat unit to conduct operations in the Mekong Delta where it was part of the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF).

    Riding shotgun on US Navy brown water "Tango Boats" and PBRs the MRF attempted to clean out the multitude of insurgent units operating in that lawless area. In this high tempo hazardous environment Adelbert Waldron was placed as a sniper.

    In the first half of 1969, 36-year old Sargent Adelbert Waldron was credited with 109 confirmed kills, making him the highest scoring US sniper in history. Unique among the highest scoring US snipers, who were all marines with bolt action rifles, Adelbert Waldron was a soldier with a semi-automatic weapon. He used an accurized M-14 rifle, known popularly as an M-21. The M-21 Adelbert Waldron used was a National Match quality weapon with a Leatherwood 3X-9X Adjustable Ranging Telescope (ART) and the standard leather M1907 sling. Rock Island Arsenal converted some 1,435 of these weapons for use as sniper weapons and sent them to Vietnam in 1969. From then on it was the primary Army sniper rifle until 1988. The M21 was accurate out to 800m and fired the M118 standard NATO 7.62mm round. Adelbert Waldron at times used an early Starlight night vision scope coupled with a suppressor and sniped targets in the middle of the night. On one such night he took no less than nine confirmed targets. He was also credited with making one of the most famous mythical shots in sniper lore.

    From Lt Gen Ewell in the US Army's Center for Military History's archives "..., our most successful sniper was Sergeant Adelbert Waldron, III, who had 109 confirmed kills to his credit. One afternoon he was riding along the Mekong River on a Tango boat when an enemy sniper on shore pecked away at the boat. While everyone else on board strained to find the antagonist, who was firing from the shoreline over 900 meters away, Sergeant Adelbert Waldron took up his sniper rifle and picked off the Viet Cong out of the top of a coconut tree with one shot (this from a moving platform)."

    Promoted to Staff Sargent Adelbert Waldron finished his tour in Vietnam with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation, and two Distinguished Service Crosses. He taught at the US Army Marksmanship Unit as a senior instructor before leaving army service in 1970. In later years he worked for firearms engineer and former CIA operative Mitchel WerBell III. Adelbert Waldron was WerBell’s resident firearms instructor in his private training schools at the “Farm” in Powder Springs GA. It was in that school the Adelbert Waldron's name became linked to such groups as Lyndon LaRouche’s NCLC. WerBell died in 1983 and Adelbert Waldron himself died in quiet obscurity on October 18, 1995 in California. Adelbert Waldron was 62 years old. Notably Adelbert Waldron did not publish a book or lecture as many other noted snipers of the 20th century have.

    Chuck Mawhinney Interview

    Bronze Star Medal

  • Chuck Mawhinney

    Chuck Mawhinney, the son of a World War II Marine Corps veteran, was an avid hunter in his youth. Chuck Mawhinney joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967, spending sixteen months in Vietnam starting in 1968. Although less well known than his more famous counterpart, fellow Marine sniper and legend Carlos Hathcock, Chuck Mawhinney currently holds the record for confirmed kills for Marine snipers, with 103. A US Army sergeant, Adelbert Waldron, holds the record for most confirmed kills by any American sniper at 109. He had another 216 that are listed as "probable" kills by the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Chuck Mawhinney left the Marine Corps in 1970. He slipped into obscurity, and went without notice for his number of confirmed kills for more than two decades, which was his preference. He returned home to Oregon, married, and began working for the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked until his retirement in the late 1990s.

    Chuck Mawhinney never spoke of his exploits as a sniper, and found himself exposed unwittingly in a book titled Dear Mom: A sniper's Vietnam, written by fellow Marine sniper and author Joseph T. Ward. After the book recognized him as having 101 confirmed kills, many disputed the claim. However, research revealed that Chuck Mawhinney actually had 103 confirmed kills and 216 "probable kills", which led to his replacing Carlos Hathcock II, who had 93 confirmed kills, as the leading USMC sniper of all time.

    After this, Chuck Mawhinney slowly came into the limelight. Following his retirement from the Forest Service, he began speaking at conventions and public events, as well as attending national sniper shooting competitions. As of 2006, Chuck Mawhinney continues to speak to classes of professional snipers in training. Chuck Mawhinney's rifle is on display in the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Mawhinney's rifle below that he used during his service in Vietnam is now on display in the Vietnam Gallery of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

    Chuck Mawhinney sniper rifle picture

  • Civil war

  • John W. "Jack" Hinson, "Old Jack" (1807–1874)

    Jack Hinson civil war history marker

    Jack Hinson civil war history marker

    Jack Hinson, was a farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee who operated as a Confederate partisan sniper against Union forces in the Between-the-Rivers region of Tennessee and Kentucky during the American Civil war.

    Jack Hinson a prosperous plantation owner of Scotch-Irish descent, was neutral at the outbreak of the war but took up arms after two of his sons were executed as suspected bushwhackers by Federal troops; their heads were cut off and stuck on the gate-posts to Hinson's home.

    Jack Hinson used a custom made 50 caliber 41-inch barrel Kentucky Long rifle to target Union soldiers more than a half-mile away on land, transports, and gunboats along the Tennessee River and the Cumberland River, killing as many as a hundred.

    Jack Hinson also served as a guide for Nathan Bedford Forrest in his assault on the Union supply center at Johnsonville, Tennessee in November 1864.

    Jack Hinson was the father of Robert Hinson, who served as the leader of a highly effective partisan band in the Between-the-Rivers region until his death in combat on September 18, 1863. Jack Hinson was never apprehended despite the commitment of elements of four Union regiments to pursue him, and survived the war, dying in 1874.

    World War II

    Simo Hayha Story

    Simo Hayha picture

    Simo Hayha picture

  • (December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002), nicknamed "White Death"

    Simo Hayha was born in the municipality of Rautjärvi near the present-day border of Finland and Russia, and started his military service in 1925.

    Before entering combat, Simo Hayha was a farmer and hunter. At the age of 20, he joined the Finnish militia Suojeluskunta and succeeded with his sniping skills in shooting sports in Viipuri province. His farmhouse was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship.

    Winter war

    During the "Winter War" (1939–1940) between Finland and the Soviet Union, Simo Hayha served as a sniper for the Finnish Army against the Red Army in the 6th Company of JR 34 during the Battle of Kollaa. In temperatures between -40 °C (-40 °F) and -20 °C (-4 °F), dressed completely in white camouflage, Simo Häyhä was credited with 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers. A daily account of the kills at Kollaa was made for the Finnish snipers. Remarkably, all of Simo Hayha's kills were accomplished in fewer than 100 days – in other words, approximately five kills per day – at a time of year with very few hours of daylight.

    Simo Hayha used a Finnish militia variant of the Russian-made Mosin-Nagant rifle, the White Guard M/28 early variant "Pystykorva" (literally Spitz, due to the sight's resemblance) chambered in 7.62x54R, the Finnish Mosin-Nagant cartridge, because it suited his small frame (5 ft. 3 in/1.60 m). He preferred to use iron sights rather than telescopic sights to present a smaller target for the enemy (a sniper must raise his head higher when using a telescopic sight), to increase accuracy (a telescopic sight's glass can fog up easily in cold weather), and to aid in concealment (sunlight glare in telescopic sight lenses can reveal a sniper's position).

    A "Swedish donation rifle" Simo later received as gift was a Finnish model M/28-30 but he did not use it in battle.

    Simo Simo Hayha rifle picture

    Simo Hayha in the 1940s, with visible damage to his left cheek after his 1940 wound The Soviet's efforts to kill Simo Hayha included counter-snipers and artillery strikes, and on March 6, 1940 Simo Hayha was shot in his lower left jaw by a Russian soldier. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his cheek was missing", but he did not die, regaining consciousness on March 13, the day peace was declared. Shortly after the war, Simo Hayha was promoted from Alikersantti (Corporal) to Vänrikki (Second Lieutenant) by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. No one else has gained rank so quickly in Finland's military history.

    It took several years for Simo Hayha to recuperate from his wound. The bullet had crushed his jaw and blown off his left cheek. Nonetheless, he made a full recovery and became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder after World War II, and hunted with Finnish President Urho Kekkonen.

    When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good shooter, Simo Hayha answered "Practice." When asked if he regretted killing so many people, he said, "I only did my duty, and what I was told to do, as well as I could. Simo Hayha spent his last years in Ruokolahti, a small municipality located in southeastern Finland, near the Russian border.

    Actor Steven Wiig was cast in the role of Hayha in the 2012 HBO docudrama Hemingway & Gellhorn. However, the scene that included Simo Hayha was cut from the final version of the film to reduce the overall running time.

  • Lyudmila Pavlichenko

  • Lyudmila Pavlichenko picture

    Lyudmila Pavlichenko above

    Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a Soviet female sniper during World war II, credited with 309 kills.

    In June 1941, 24-year old Lyudmila Pavlichenko was in her fourth year of studying history at the Kiev University when Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union. Lyudmila Pavlichenko was among the first round of volunteers at the recruiting office, where she requested to join the infantry and subsequently she was assigned to the Red Army’s 25th rifle Division; Lyudmila Pavlichenko had the option of becoming a nurse but refused; “I joined the army when women were not yet accepted”.

    There Lyudmila Pavlichenko became one of 2,000 Soviet Female snipers in the Red Army, of whom about 500 survived the war. She made her first two kills as a sniper near Belyayevka, using a Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic riflewith 3.5X telescopic sight.

    Pvt. Lyudmila Pavlichenko fought for about two and a half months near Odessa where she recorded 187 kills. When the Romanians gained control of Odessa her unit was sent to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, where she fought for more than eight months. In May 1942, Lieutenant Lyudmila Pavlichenko was cited by the Southern Army Council for killing 257 German soldiers. Her total of confirmed kills during World war II was 309, including 36 enemy snipers.

    Lyudmila Pavlichenko was sent to Canada and the United States for a publicity visit and became the first Soviet citizen to be received by a US President when Franklin Roosevelt welcomed her to the White House. Lyudmila Pavlichenko was later invited by Eleanor Roosevelt to tour America relating her experiences. Lyudmila Pavlichenko died on October 10, 1974 at age 58, and was buried in the Novodevichye Cemetery in Moscow.

  • Vasily Zaytsev Story

  • Vasily Zaytsev picture

    Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev (Russian) (23 March 1915 – 15 December 1991) was a Soviet sniper and a Hero of the Soviet Union during World war II, notable particularly for his activities between 10 November and 17 December 1942, during the Battle of Stalingrad; during this five-week period he killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, including 11 enemy snipers.

    Prior to 10 November, he had already killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard-issue Mosin–Nagant rifle effective range of 900 meters. Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev made an estimated 400 kills, some of which were over 1000 meter.

    Vasily Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye, Orenburg Governorate in a peasant family of Russian ethnicity[2] and grew up in the Ural Mountains, where he learned marksmanship by hunting deer and wolves with his grandfather and younger brother. He brought home his first trophy at the age of twelve: a wolf that he shot with a single bullet from his first personal weapon, a large single-shot Berdan rifle, which he was just barely able to carry on his back, at the time.

    Zaytsev served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk in Vladivostok. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Vasily Zaytsev, like many of his comrades, volunteered to be transferred to the front line. He was a chief petty officer in the Navy, and was assigned the rank of senior warrant officer upon transfer to the army.

    On 22 September 1942, while still in training, Vasily Zaytsev and a comrade were hidden in one building, with a German sniper in another building. When Vasily Zaytsev' friend was shot by the German, Vasily Zaytsev found himself locked into a duel with the German sniper over the next three days. When Zaytsev finally killed his opponent, he examined the body expecting that the German was of high rank, but it turned out that the enemy sniper was a low ranking German soldier.

    During Vasily Zaytsev's career as a sniper, he would conceal himself in various locations – on high ground, under rubble, in water pipes, etc. After a few kills, he would change his position. Together with his partner Nikolay Kulikov, Vasily Zaytsev would exercise his hide and sting tactics. One of Zaytsev’s common tactics was to cover one large area from three positions, with two men at each point – a sniper and scout. This tactic, known as the “sixes”, is still in use today, and was implemented during the war in Chechnya.

    Vasily Zaytsev took part in the Battle of Stalingrad until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his eyes from a mortar attack. He was attended to by Vladimir Filatov, who is credited with restoring his sight. On 22 February 1943, Vasily Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He then returned to the front and finished the war in ”Seelow Heights” in Germany with the military rank of Captain. He became a member of the Communist Party in 1943.

    After the war, Zaytsev settled in Kiev, where he studied at a textile university before he obtained employment as an engineer. He rose to become the director of a textile factory in Kiev, and remained in that city until he died in 1991 at the age of 76, just 10 days before the final dissolution of the Soviet Union. He was initially buried in Kiev despite his final request to be buried at Volgograd.

    On 31 January 2006, Vasily Zaytsev was reburied on Mamayev Kurgan in Stalingrad (now Volgograd) with full military honours. Vasily Zaytsev dying wish was to be buried at the monument to the defenders of Stalingrad. His coffin was carried next to a monument where his famous quote is written: "For us there was no land beyond (the) Volga". Colonel Donald Paquette of the US sniper School was present and laid a wreath as a sign of respect to a legendary sniper. US Army News quoted Colonel Paquette: "Vasily Zaytsev" is a legend and every American sniper must memorize his tactics and methods. He is a legend amongst snipers. May he rest in peace...


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