Though Zaitsev was not the best official russian sniper in WW2( like Ilyin,Sidorenko,Kulbertinov with near 500 kills), he was among the best.
Zaitsev was not a professional soldier. He was born in siberian village.
His grandfather was a hunter. When little Vassily asked granny to give him the rifle, granny made bow for him and told that when Vassily will be able
to hit squirrel in the eye with it, he will get the rifle. In a short period of time Vassily got it.
He arrived to Stalingrad in September 1942, first month he used usual Mosin rifle without scope, but his results were so good, that he was brought to
the commander of 62nd Division Gen Chuikov. Chuikov ordered to issue sniper Mosin to Zaitsev.
Then he was fighting till January 1943, when he was wounded badly in a mine explosion. In hospital when group of medics came to take dead soldiers
away, they thought he was dead and brought him outside, put in the pit in a ground and wanted to bury, but Vasily managed to move his hand, one girl
noticed that and they brought him back to the hospital.
Zaitsev was blinded so he was sent to Moscow, surgery was successful, and he was sent back under the Chukovs command.
About Konig-Thorvald, if he ever existed, his task was to kill as many soviet snipers as possible.
“The duel went on for three days, but it ended in our victory in a matter of seconds,” Vassily Zaitsev said describing this duel. “The German
was well prepared for it. He had liquidated two Soviet snipers before that. But, with the help of my comrades-in-arms, also snipers whose positions
were next to mine, I managed to slay him. I did not know what kind of sniper had been brought to Stalingrad, but when we pulled him out of his shelter
we discovered that he was the chief of the school for snipers based in Berlin. On the whole I liquidated 242 Nazis in Stalingrad. My friends and
pupils also eliminated many of them. I had trained 30 snipers who killed 1126 Nazis during the war".
So in 4-5 month he shot 242 germans, though, there can be some exaggeration.
I read interview with his wife where she told that Zaitsev shot over 300 germans during WW2. It is not 400 official, but an excellent result
Zaitsev passed away in 1991.
"There was no land for us over the Volga" writen on his gravestone.
[edit on 27-2-2006 by ArcPeter]
[edit on 28-2-2006 by ArcPeter]