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Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev

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Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev

Vasily Grigoryevich Zaitsev (Russian: Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев) (March 23, 1915 in Yelino - December 15, 1991 in Kiev), was a Soviet sniper during World War II who between November 10 and December 17 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad annihilated 225 soldiers and officers of the enemy, including 11 snipers (in Junior Lieutenant military rank). Prior to November 10 he had already killed 32 Nazis with the ordinary Mosin rifle ("tryokhlineyka", three line rifle) [1] (http://www.warheroes.ru/hero/hero.asp?Hero_id=481). His popularity spread by word of mouth to the front boosting morale of the tired, hungry and ill-equipped Soviet Red Army. The highest scorer identified only as Zikan killed 224 Germans by November 20. It is estimated that the 28 snipers he had trained killed more than 3000 enemy soldiers. Zaitsev served until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his eyes. Professor Filatov restored his sight. After that he returned to the front and finished the war on the Dniestr river in the military rank of Captain. After the war, Zaitsev managed a factory in Kiev. Zaitsev's actions during the Battle of Stalingrad are depicted in a fictionalized film, Enemy at the Gates.

According to Anthony Beevor's book, some Soviet sources claimed that the Germans brought in the chief of their sniper school, Colonel Heinz Thorvald (or some say his name was Major König ), to hunt down Zaitsev, but Zaitsev outwitted him. Zaitsev, after a hunt of several days, apparently spotted his opponent hiding under a sheet of corrugated iron, and shot him dead. The telescopic sight off his prey's rifle, allegedly Zaitsev's most treasured trophy, is still exhibited in the Moscow armed forces museum, but this dramatic story remains essentially unconfirmed. It is worth noting that there is absolutely no mention of it in any of the reports to Aleksandr Shcherbakov, even though almost every aspect of sniperism was reported with relish.

Zaitsev grew up in the Ural Mountains and learned marksmanship by shooting deer. Zaitsev means of hare in Russian. The snipers he trained were nicknamed zaichata, meaning "leverets" (baby hares). Anthony Beevor writes in his book, that this was the start of the "sniper movement" in the 62nd Army. There were conferences that were arranged to spread the doctrine of 'sniperism' and exchange ideas on technique and principles that was not limited to marksmanship skills.

Awards and honors

References


External links

sl:vasilij Aleksandrovič Zajcev pl:Wasilij Zajcew

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