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White Death: the Sniper Who Killed 700 Soviets in 100 Days

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posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 09:21 PM
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Hey ATS, I found this interesting story about Simo Häyhä, a badass Finnish sniper. Hope you enjoy the info it's quite intriguing.




Ensconced in the snow, his white camouflage suit rendering him invisible to the invading Soviet soldiers he stalked, Simo Häyhä steadied himself to fire. During the 1939–1940 Winter War, in temperatures as low as –40 °C, the Finnish sniper undertook a killing spree that saw him single-handedly take the lives of at least 700 men in less than 100 days. Over 500 of these he shot using a standard, bolt-action rifle with non-telescopic sights. Is it any wonder he earned the nickname The White Death among his enemies? Meet the man who would take Rambo to the cleaners.









The sharpshooter who would later be credited with the highest number of confirmed kills in any war in history came from humble rural beginnings. Born near the present day Finnish-Russian border, Häyhä was a farmer and hunter before entering combat, though it’s no shock to learn he already had his share of marksman’s trophies. His skills sharpened by the sort of training only life can offer, this tough little outdoorsman was always going to be a handful, and when the Red Army invaded Finland three months after the outbreak of WWII, Häyhä heard the call of duty.









Little was the operative word. Häyhä stood just 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m) tall, which was one basis for his choice of weapon, an M/28 or M28/30 Soviet Mosin-Nagant rifle that suited his small frame. He also rejected a scoped rifle in favour of basic iron sights for other reasons: it meant he presented less of target as he could keep his head lower; it negated the risk of his position being exposed by sun glare in a telescopic lens; and lastly open sights were not prone to fogging up or breaking which was a concern in the snow and ice of the Winter War. Häyhä was a professional.









Of course an iron-sighted rifle also made aiming more difficult, but with 505 confirmed kills as a sniper – the other 200 he shot using a sub-machine gun – Häyhä clearly had a keen eye. Another tactic this greatest of gunmen used to conceal his own position from the enemy was to compact the snow before him so that his shot would not disturb the snow, and in true commando fashion he also kept his mouth was full of snow so that his breath did not give him away.









Despite such measures, Häyhä’s fearful reputation preceded him, and the advancing Soviets tried several strategies specifically designed to dispose of this deadly lone menace. Teams of counter-snipers and artillery units were deployed with the sole purpose of eliminating The White Death, but the snow-covered forests of Finland were his hunting grounds, not theirs.






Eventually, however, the Finnish sharpshooter’s exploits caught up with him. On March 6 1940, he was shot in the face while on the frontline by a Russian soldier. The exploding bullet went through his jaw and blew off his left cheek, with the soldiers who picked him up and brought him back to base reporting that "half his head was missing". Yet Häyhä – said to be a quiet, affable man – was still able to survive, awakening from his coma on March 13, the day peace was declared.









The heroic stand taken by Simo Häyhä and his fellow Fins against Soviet forces that outnumbered them by as much as 100:1 is often referred to as The Miracle of Kollaa. When the war had ended, Häyhä was promoted straight from corporal to second lieutenant. He went on to become a successful moose hunter and lived to the age of 96. When he was asked about his service, he stated, "I only did what was ordered, and did it as well as I could." Asked what the key to his success was, his short answer was, “Practice... and clear days.”





www.environmentalgraffiti.com...



+1 more 
posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 09:38 PM
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somebody needs to make a movie about this guy.

nice post.



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 09:58 PM
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Damn..............if only i was that good.



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by wrathchild
somebody needs to make a movie about this guy.

nice post.


I agree
Hollywood already did one about Vicilli Zeitseff (spelling)
based around the siege of Stalingrad: Russia vs German.
2 opposing snipers go head to head in a war zone.
The name of that movie was called "Enemy at the Gates".
A great movie. I bought the DVD


As far as this story goes, it was a great article: S&F

If you like this kind of story of war in the snow,
I'd suggest you view "Ski Troop Attack" by Roger Gorman
in 1960. It's a very good B&W Classic film.



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:25 PM
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Originally posted by boondock-saint

Originally posted by wrathchild
somebody needs to make a movie about this guy.

nice post.


I agree
Hollywood already did one about Vicilli Zeitseff (spelling)
based around the siege of Stalingrad: Russia vs German.
2 opposing snipers go head to head in a war zone.
The name of that movie was called "Enemy at the Gates".
A great movie. I bought the DVD


As far as this story goes, it was a great article: S&F

If you like this kind of story of war in the snow,
I'd suggest you view "Ski Troop Attack" by Roger Gorman
in 1960. It's a very good B&W Classic film.


I'll have to check out Enemy at the Gates that sounds like quite a good film.

[edit on 14-4-2010 by TV_Nation]



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:42 PM
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Fantastic post! Thanks.

I'd never heard of this man. I only knew that the Fins were bad ass in the way they fought the Soviets in the Winter War. Had no idea about this man though! WOW!



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:47 PM
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incredible story s&f we need more coo(no pun intended)l threads like this also if your interested in ww2 as much as you seem to be you should check out call of duty world at war



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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One of my favorite war stories. His humility is inspiring, and his skill is amazing.

If you have never been in -40 weather, let me tell you it sucks. Really bad. When you breathe in you can feel your mucous in your lungs start to freeze.



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:58 PM
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Originally posted by ashanu90
incredible story s&f we need more coo(no pun intended)l threads like this also if your interested in ww2 as much as you seem to be you should check out call of duty world at war


If you like this thread you may also like one of my older threads that got a nice response but it got buried quick so not many people saw it.

here is a link it is called a Strange Dream of a Frozen Navy.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

I am also planning on starting another tread that will have the same kind of feel in the next few days.



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 10:59 PM
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Cool story!

My grandfather (my mom's dad) fought the Russians in Finland. He wasn't a sniper, but his unit specialized in ambush attacks in the mountains by attacking downhill on skis, while shooting machine guns. They wore white like this guy and killed many Russians. Eventually he got injured from shrapnel to his head, but lived for about 10 more years before dying from his injury (the shrapnel eventually messed his brain up).

I may not be as tough as my grandfather was, but I can feel that fighter instinct in me.

Those Finns are fierce fighters - as they are tough people. They are like the northern version of Afghani fighters - both tough people.

[edit on 14-4-2010 by harrytuttle]



posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by harrytuttle
Cool story!

My grandfather (my mom's dad) fought the Russians in Finland. He wasn't a sniper, but his unit specialized in ambush attacks in the mountains by attacking downhill on skis, while shooting machine guns. They wore white like this guy and killed many Russians. Eventually he got injured from shrapnel to his head, but lived for about 10 more years before dying from his injury (the shrapnel eventually messed his brain up).

I may not be as tough as my grandfather was, but I can feel that fighter instinct in me.

Those Finns are fierce fighters - as they are tough people. They are like the northern version of Afghani fighters - both tough people.

[edit on 14-4-2010 by harrytuttle]


Great post, that sounds like a very interesting account your grandpa had there. I have to agree the Finns were more than a worthy opponent, very skilled and inventive in their tactics.



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 12:36 AM
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reply to post by boondock-saint
 


Enemy at the Gates was actually based on a book. I have it, somewhere. Last time I tried to read it, I found it a bit dry starting out and never got into it.

Simo Häyhä is probably one of my greatest inspirations in life. NOT because he killed a bunch of people, but because he proves how much of a difference a SINGLE person taking a stand against an enemy force can actually make. 1,000 men like that could win an entire war on their own.



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by mattifikation
reply to post by boondock-saint
 


Enemy at the Gates was actually based on a book. I have it, somewhere. Last time I tried to read it, I found it a bit dry starting out and never got into it.

Simo Häyhä is probably one of my greatest inspirations in life. NOT because he killed a bunch of people, but because he proves how much of a difference a SINGLE person taking a stand against an enemy force can actually make. 1,000 men like that could win an entire war on their own.


I completely agree, this story is a perfect example of how just a single well trained person can cause such big problems for an opposing force. Not to mention he was just a farmer and outdoorsman to begin with.



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 04:52 AM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


Very interesting thread. As a screenwriter-in-training I'm adding this to my list of 'stories to write about if I ever get good enough to attract a reasonable production budget'

Love to hear abstract historical mini-bios of interesting characters. Opens all sorts of imaginative doors. Many thanks..! * and flag



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 05:26 AM
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I've always been amazed by this story, it makes me proud of my finnish heritage and how valiantly they fought against the russians.

S&F



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:17 AM
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I was glad to see this article here in ATS
.
He was one of a kind soldier and a very humble person.
He was also very good skilled using Suomi smg and mg´s.
Been styding him quite a bit and also his commanding officer who was Aarne Juutilainen, nick named "the horror of marocco".

S&F from a Finn



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:19 AM
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amazing story...but..excuse my ignorance....i didnt even know russia invaded finland..were the russians not on 'our' side?



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:22 AM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
One of my favorite war stories. His humility is inspiring, and his skill is amazing.

If you have never been in -40 weather, let me tell you it sucks. Really bad. When you breathe in you can feel your mucous in your lungs start to freeze.


6 years in Minot...spent 10 hours one day in -60 windchill...yuck

I actually recall reading about this guy like a year ago on some other site...but it was only a blurb. Excellent find!

-Kyo



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:22 AM
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Holy polar bear.

Im stunned by this man and his skills.

Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention.



posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:35 AM
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Good for him for helping in the war so much, but killing that many people would mess up a lot of people in the head... I don't know how you kill that many people and feel 'good' about it. I know war is hell, and it's either killed or be killed, but 700 people? Damn!






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