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Duel of the master snipers, by Vasily Zaitsev

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posted on Nov, 7 2011 @ 06:09 PM
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Here are a few of Vasily Zaitsev quotes from: The Deadly Game at Stalingrad- [made into a major motionpicture - Enemy at the Gates.]

Soldier of Fortune magazine - Sept./ 1979

This article is reprinted from the October 1972 Soviet Military Review, published by the Krasnaya Zvezda [Red Star] Publishing House of the Soviet Defense Ministry.

Vasily Zaitsef was the USSR's leading World War 2 sniper, credited with some 300 kills at the Battle of Stalingrad. In his article, Zaitsev describes his duel with Major Konings, chief of German snipers school in Berlin, during that battle.

"At night recce men dragged up an idendification prisioner in a sack. During the interrogation he said that the Nazi Command was seriously concerned with the actions of our snipers. Major Konings, chief of a school of snipers, was flown from Berlin with the assignment, as the prisoner put it, to kill the 'chief hare, [Zaitzef, Russian surname, derived from zayats - hare.]


Colonel Batyuk, the divisional commander, was in high spirits.

'A major is small fry for our boys,' he said jokingly. 'The Fuhrer himself should have come. It would be much more interesting to hunt that bird. Right, Zaitsev?'

'Quite right, Comrade Colonel,' I said, but in my minds eye I thought: ' It's easier said than done - after all he's the chief of the school and, in all probability, an experienced beast.'

At dawn I went with Nikolai Kulikov to the positions where our comrades had been the day before. The enemy's forward line of defense was well known to me, for I had studied it for days on end. I saw nothing new. The day was ending.

But suddenly a helmet rose up over the enemy trench and slowly moved along the trench. Should I shoot? No, that was a ruse: the helmet swung unnaturally. It was evidently carried by the sniper's assistant while the sniper himself was waiting for me to betray myself by a shot. We waited in vain for darkness.

'Where can the bastard be hiding?' Kulikov asked as we left the ambush under the cover of the night.

'That's the point,' I snapped back.
'And if he is not here? Maybe he went away long ago?' Kulikov doubted.

But by the patience which our enemy showed by not revealing himself the whole day, I realized that the Berlin sniper was there. This called for special vigilance. Another day passed. Whose nerves would prove stronger? Who would outwit whom? Nikolai Kulikov, my true frontline friend, was also carried away by this duel. Now he did not doubt that the enemy was in front of us, and was firmly confident of success.

The morning began as usual: the dark of the night was melting away and the enemy positions were becoming more and more visible with each passing minute. A battle started nearby, shells whistled through the air but we, our eyes glued to the optical instruments, uninterruptedly observed what was happening in front.

'There he is, I'll show him to you with my finger,' suddenly shouted a political instructor who came to the position with us. He rose above the breastwork for a split second, but that was enough. Fortunately, the bullet only wounded the political instructor.


Of course, only an experienced sniper could fire like this. I scrutinized the enemy positions for a long time, but could not find his liar. During many days I had studied the enemy's forward edge so well that I immediately noticed every new shell crater and every breastwork that appeared.

Now I could see nothing new or suspicious. But by the speed with which the shot had been fired, I concluded that the sniper must be somewhere in front of us. I continued observation. To the right was a disabled tank and to the left a pillbox. Was the Nazi in the tank? No, an experienced sniper would not take cover in that. Then in the pillbox? Again no - the gun-port was sealed tightly.


Between the tank and the pill-box, on a flat surface just before the Nazi's line of defense, lay a sheet of iron with a small heap of broken bricks. It had been there for a long time, and I had got used to it. I placed myself in the enemy's shoes and asked myself: where is the best place for a sniping post? Why not dig a foxhole under the iron sheet? Then dig communication trenches to it at night..... Most likely he was there, under the sheet of iron in no man's land.

I decided to check this. I put my mitten on a small plank and raised it. The Nazi swallowed the bait! Very well. I cautiously lowered the plank into the trench in the same position in which I had raised it, then examined the bullet hole. There was no slant, the hit was dead straight! This meant I was right - the Nazi was under the sheet. Now the job was to lure him out.

I had to see at least the edge of his head. It was pointless to try to do this right away. But he was unlikely to abandon this convenient position - I knew his character well enough now.

At night we equipped a post and took up positions there before dawn. The Nazi's were firing sporadically. Enemy mortars were firing at the crossing over the Volga. Flares were soaring into the air. Then our artillery opened up and the Nazi mortars were silenced.

German bombers appeared. The sun rose. Kulikov fired a random shot to draw the snipers's attention. We decided to lie in waiting during the first half of the day, for the brilliance of the optical instruments could betray us.


In the afternoon our rifles were in the shadow, while direct rays of the sun were falling on the Nazi's position. Something glistened near the edge of the sheet. Was it an accidental splinter of glass or a telescopic sight?

Kilikov started to raise a helmet as cautiously as only the most expert of snipers can do. The Nazi fired, Kulikov rose for an instant, gave a loud shout and fell...


The German must have thought that at last the Soviet sniper, the 'chief hare' he had been hunting for days, was killed, and he protruded half of his head from under the sheet. I fired. The Nazi's head sank, but the optical sight of his rifle continued to glisten in the sun.

As soon as it grew dark, our forces launched an offensive on this sector. At the peak of the fighting Kulikov and I dragged the killed Nazi major from under the iron sheet, took his documents and delivered them to the divisonal commander."
edit on 7-11-2011 by Erno86 because: spelling

edit on 7-11-2011 by Erno86 because: ditto

edit on 7-11-2011 by Erno86 because: ditto




posted on Nov, 7 2011 @ 06:23 PM
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here are 10 sniper tactics used by zaitsev:

1. Do not create a basecamp or  fixed positions.
A sniper is a nomad. You must pop up where least expected. Never remain long in one position: it might be observed.

2. Be meticulous about gathering intelligence.

Where, when, and under what circumstances are our own soldiers being killed by enemy snipers? Then reconnoitre the ground and work out how the enemy snipers may be operating.

3. Work closely with ordinary soldiers deployed nearby.
They can provide intelligence, decoys, and distractions. They have awareness of events around them.

4. Always use a trench periscope for scouting and surveillance.
Never assume it is safe to expose yourself to gather intelligence. Always assume apparent quiet harbours danger. Work slowly, cautiously, and methodically. The successful sniper ‘measures seven times and cuts once’.

5. When you must expose yourself, you should expose the barest minimum, be totally camouflaged, and as still as possible.
Lie like a stone and merely observe. Aim to be completely invisible, even to the trained eye.

6. Yours is a war of nerves, concentration, and endurance.

Create distractions, exasperate him with diversionary movements, and exhaust his ability to concentrate.

7. Use a dummy close to your own position.

The dummy is designed to draw the attention and  fire of an enemy sniper, so that he reveals his position.

8. Alternatively, allow the enemy sniper to get used to a dummy until he becomes careless about it.

Then take its position, and get the enemy sniper in your cross-hairs.

9. Do not fire until you are absolutely certain of a kill.

If you fire without a clear target, you reveal your own position.

10. Everything depends upon exhaustive intelligence, meticulous preparation, careful attention to detail, and endless patience.

Impatience is death. taken from military times website.


edit on 7-11-2011 by randomname because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 7 2011 @ 06:26 PM
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Good thread really interesting ! S&F !
Its strange that just the other day I was reading another fantastic sniper story here :-

www.environmentalgraffiti.com...

Amazing guys !

Peace



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 04:08 AM
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reply to post by randomname
 


At the end of the film "enemy at the gates,"Vasily Zaitsev is seen reuniting with his girlfriend.
In truth he never found her and they both lived out their years believing each other had died during the battle for Stalingrad.
A tragic tale.

A great book which covers a lot of the work of Vasily Zaitsev,and the battle for Stalingrad :

www.amazon.co.uk...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320746805&sr=1-1

Good thread!




posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 05:43 AM
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reply to post by Erno86
 


Great piece of history...

...almost felt like being there, apart from the extreme tedium of waiting and waiting.

Does anybody know what Major Konings full name was, i suspect there are a few stories about him prior to this final engagement.

Cosmic..
edit on 8-11-2011 by Cosmic4life because: Brain fade



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 09:35 AM
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reply to post by Cosmic4life
 


I believe his full name was Major Erwin Konig.
I found a link with a picture of him,but it has a yellow "WOT"rating(which means the page could be dodgy)so I won't post the link.



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 10:26 AM
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reply to post by Silcone Synapse
 


After a bit of searching it becomes clear there was no Major Koenig as he is a creation of the film Enemy at the Gates.

There were however several German marksmen but the top three at least were not SS and survived to the end of the war.

Who knows, it would require accessing German death certificates and finding war records of units operating in that area at the time, sadly my German isn't that good.

It may be true just altered, the snipers body would have been retrieved by the Germans at night as it lay in their own positions, so the identity is a fiction, the action is probably factual, if not then it's a great training story.

Cosmic..
edit on 8-11-2011 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 03:02 PM
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I had to edit the story on my first post, so here is the rest of Vasilys story; starting with the continued conversation between Colonel Batyuk and Zaitsev after "experienced beast."

'Well, this super-sniper must be done away with,' the divisional commander said, this time in a strict voice. 'But be cautious and use your brains.'

"I had already learned to guess quickly the Nazi sniper's 'hand' and distinguished without any particular difficulty, by the character of fire and camoflage, more experienced riflemen from novices, cowards from those who were obstinate and determined. But the character of the chief of their school was an enigma for me for a long time.


Our observations carried out from day to day produced no definite results. It was even hard to say on what sector of the front the Nazi was operating. Most likely he frequently changed positions and was seeking me just as cautiously as I him.

Without discontinuing the search for the Berlin super-sniper, I tried to analyze my personal experience and the experience of my comrades in order to find the most correct decision. And experience told me that I could not count on success without the aid of my friends in the trenches --- riflemen, machine gunners, sappers,and signalmen.

Usually after a Nazi sniper had been discovered and his location determined, I called, let's say, a machine gunner, gave him a spy glass, myself took a trench periscope, indicated the most noticeable object and started to lead the machinegunner's eyes from one reference point to another. And when the machinegunner saw the Nazi sniper and realized how craftily he had camoflaged himself, he became my competent assistant.

Moreover, when preparing sham positions, installing and camoflaging a dummy. I managed to study each soldier, to see what he was capable of. Sometimes a man may have initiative and be bold in action, but he will not make an assistant for you: he is too hasty, he'll flare up and then cool off. Such a man cannot be relied on in a prolonged struggle."

To be continued



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 03:35 PM
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And now.... The rest of the story


"The characters of enemy snipers were more difficult to see through. It was clear to me that they were all stubborn men. And I found my own method for them: I prepared a good dummy, erected it unnoticeably and started to move it.

A dummy, like a man, must change its poses. Beside the dummy is your well camoflaged position. The enemy sniper fires at the dummy, but it remains 'alive,' and then the show of stubborness begins. The sniper fires a second shot, prepares for a third but, as a rule, he himself is caught in your sights before he can fire it.

Experienced enemy snipers come to their positions under cover of fire, accompanied by two or three assistants. Before such a 'wolf,' I usually pretented to be a novice or rather an ordinary soldier and thus lulled his vigilance, or simply began to make fun of him: after each shot I showed him the results of fire by conventional signs as is done at a firing range during practice firing.


The Nazi sniper would quickly get used to this trick and pay no attention to my target. And as soon as he switched his attention to other targets, I instantly took the place of the target. For this I needed only a few seconds. I would throw the target away and catch the Nazi's head in the crosshairs of my telescopic sight."

To be continued, for I have to cope with a weak computer server.
edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: typo



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 04:11 PM
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[Almost done]


"I had subdivided detection of a target in the enemy camp into two stages. The first stage started with studying the enemy defenses. Then I learned where, when and under what circumstances our fighting men have been wounded.

The medical orderlies helped me alot in this. They said where a wounded man had been picked up. So I went there, found eye-witnesses, learned from them all the details of the wound and in this way I discovered the enemy's scheme of fire.

This I include in the first stage of determining where to look for the target. The second stage I call for search for the target. In order not to get caught in the sights of the Nazi sniper, I reconnoitered the terrain by means of a trench periscope or a battery commander's telescope.

The optical sights of a sniper's rifle or field glasses are no good for this purpose. Experience shows that where previously the enemy showed animation, and now you cannot notice a single useless movement, there must be an experienced hunter.

Thats was why I kept telling my colleagues: unless you have studied the situation and talked to the men, don't kick against the goad. In sniping one has to live according to the popular saying: look before you leap. And indeed, to prepare an accurate shot, one has to put in much effort and ingenuity, study the enemy's character and strength, find his weak points and only after this set about solving the mission by one shot."

[To be continued]
edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: typo

edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: ditto

edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: spelling



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 04:24 PM
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His story is totally fictionalized in the movie. Simo Häyhä had far more kills using iron sights plus a pile of kills with a SMG. There are others with even more, but I'm partial to Häyhä as he fought with my grandfather and I had a chance to talk to him a couple of years before he died.
/biased post



posted on Nov, 8 2011 @ 04:56 PM
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[Finishing up]


"The success of observation is achieved only by practical training directly on the terrain. It is far from easy to aquire this skill in a combat situation. Taking up a position must be secured by strict camoflage. A sniper who cannot observe from hiding is not a sniper but a mere target for the enemy.

As soon as you come to the forward edge, conceal yourself, lie like a stone and observe, study the terrain, compile a chart and plot distinctive marks on it. Remember that if in the process of observation you have revealed yourself by some careless movement of the head, betrayed your presense to the enemy and not managed to hide in time, you made a blunder and you will recieve a bullet in the head for it.

Such is the life of a sniper. That is why in training snipers, I personally gave top priority to concealment and camoflage.

Each sniper has his own tactics, his own technique, inventions and ingenuity. But both beginners and experienced snipers always remember that they face a tactically mature, resourceful, industrious, and very accurate shooter.

He must be outwitted, drawn into a difficult struggle and thus tied up to the chosen position. What is the way to achieve this? You have to think up sham moves, distract the enemy's attention, annoy him by some intricate movements, tire his eyesight, get him muddled up. I'm against organizing a permanent sniping post even in a sustained defense. A sniper is a rover; he appears suddenly where the enemy does not expect him.


Fire initiative must be fought for and won. Merely solving the enemy's riddles will yield no results unless you have confidence in your ability to pay back these ruses by accurate fire, quickly and resolutely.

Thus, reappraising and analyzing my experience, I sought with my comrades the way to the decisive duel with the super-sniper from Berlin, who had so far outmatched us. But one day the sniper broke the telescopic sight of my friend Morozov and wounded Shaiken. Both Morozov and Shaiken were experienced snipers and quite frequently won the most complex and difficult engagements.

Now there was no longer any doubt --- they had come across the Nazi super-sniper I was looking for."


Above text ties into --- "At dawn I went with Nikolai Kulikov....."
edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: added a few missed words

edit on 8-11-2011 by Erno86 because: spelling



posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 05:35 AM
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Originally posted by Cosmic4life
reply to post by Silcone Synapse
 


After a bit of searching it becomes clear there was no Major Koenig as he is a creation of the film Enemy at the Gates.

There were however several German marksmen but the top three at least were not SS and survived to the end of the war.

Who knows, it would require accessing German death certificates and finding war records of units operating in that area at the time, sadly my German isn't that good.

It may be true just altered, the snipers body would have been retrieved by the Germans at night as it lay in their own positions, so the identity is a fiction, the action is probably factual, if not then it's a great training story.

Cosmic..
edit on 8-11-2011 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)

I have dug out the book I posted a link to in my earlier post.
Major Koning is mentioned by name in the book.
His duel is described in the book just as in the OP-right down to where he was hiding(under the metal sheets)when he was killed.
But-He is not mentioned by name in another book "Stalingrad" by Antony Beevor.
In that book it states that some Soviet sources claim that the Germans brought in the chief of their sniper school to hunt Zaitsev.
Zaitsev killed him,and took his sniper scope as a trophy which is still on display in the Moscow armed forces museum today.
The author doubts this story's authenticity,as no mention of this "sniper cheif" was ever mentioned in reports to the Commisars.
If the story was true,there would certainly have been a report of the sniper cheif's death,as he would have been a very high value target.
So I think you are correct-The Major did not exist,he was a myth.



posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 07:03 AM
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Very interesting story. I have seen the movie so it's good to hear from the man himself.


Originally posted by Magnivea
Simo Häyhä had far more kills using iron sights plus a pile of kills with a SMG. There are others with even more, but I'm partial to Häyhä as he fought with my grandfather and I had a chance to talk to him a couple of years before he died.
/biased post


Isn't he the guy who got shot in the jaw? I read about him once and was fascinated that he didn't use a scope. Must have been an honour talking to him.
edit on 9/11/11 by NuclearPaul because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Silcone Synapse

Originally posted by Cosmic4life
reply to post by Silcone Synapse
 


After a bit of searching it becomes clear there was no Major Koenig as he is a creation of the film Enemy at the Gates.

There were however several German marksmen but the top three at least were not SS and survived to the end of the war.

Who knows, it would require accessing German death certificates and finding war records of units operating in that area at the time, sadly my German isn't that good.

It may be true just altered, the snipers body would have been retrieved by the Germans at night as it lay in their own positions, so the identity is a fiction, the action is probably factual, if not then it's a great training story.

Cosmic..
edit on 8-11-2011 by Cosmic4life because: (no reason given)

I have dug out the book I posted a link to in my earlier post.
Major Koning is mentioned by name in the book.
His duel is described in the book just as in the OP-right down to where he was hiding(under the metal sheets)when he was killed.
But-He is not mentioned by name in another book "Stalingrad" by Antony Beevor.
In that book it states that some Soviet sources claim that the Germans brought in the chief of their sniper school to hunt Zaitsev.
Zaitsev killed him,and took his sniper scope as a trophy which is still on display in the Moscow armed forces museum today.
The author doubts this story's authenticity,as no mention of this "sniper cheif" was ever mentioned in reports to the Commisars.
If the story was true,there would certainly have been a report of the sniper cheif's death,as he would have been a very high value target.
So I think you are correct-The Major did not exist,he was a myth.



I beg to disagree.

"His real name is Herr Koning, head of Berlins sniper school, and killed by Vassili Zaitsev in 1942."

Zaitsevs video on YouTube, claims "that after he killed the sniper at the waterhole, he found out that he was the head of the German sniper school."

Major Koenig Proof of his existence: on YouTube --- " The only evidence people show that Koning didn't exist is that his name does not show up on any records --- Simple explanation.

Almost all the Wehrmacht personnel records that survived the war are now stored in the archives of the Deutsche Dienst [WAST] in Berlin.

In fact, under German law, you can access to information about a particular individual only with the individuals consent. If the individual is still alive, or with the consent of the individuals immediate relatives if the individual is deceased.

This helps explain why no one knew that Nobel laureate Guenther Grass had served in the Waffen-SS, until he revealed it himself about a year ago. As you see no historian could have been granted access to the files in WAST, and if any documents of Koning exist thats where they would be.

In post war Berlin, Zeitsev confronted the daughter of Major Koning.


Heres some good proof to Konings existence in the Moscows armed forces museum, there is a scope from Konings sniper rifle --- Zaitsevs most prized trophy from the war.

The documents that were removed from Zaitsevs kill, went through Soviet intelligence officers, who proved them reliable according to Zaitsevs wife."



edit on 9-11-2011 by Erno86 because: typo

edit on 9-11-2011 by Erno86 because: ditto



posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 10:21 PM
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Wow just wow... the skill of these men is frightening and fascinating at the same time. I have a profound respect for sniper, they do a job not many people are capable of doing.



posted on Nov, 9 2011 @ 11:20 PM
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Zaitsev was a propaganda tool

Even the top female Soviet sniper, Lyudmila Mikhailivna Pavlichenko, had more kills then him.

I guess it is similar to Hathcock in Vietnam, didn't have the most kills, just a better story.



posted on Nov, 10 2011 @ 08:56 AM
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Originally posted by Cosmic4life

After a bit of searching it becomes clear there was no Major Koenig as he is a creation of the film Enemy at the Gates.



Why doesn’t this surprise me ? That film was the biggest POS
I have ever seen. I bought the dvd, watched it, then proceeded to throw it directly in the trash where it belonged.
It just ‘reeked’ of being a fantasy created by Hollywood Liberals.

In the movie – poor little underdog commie ( Vasily ) is deathly afraid of the German über sniper. He admits “ I cannot win.”

Yet somehow, (perhaps with the spirit of Lenin at his side ) he pulls it off ! amazing !

What a veritable inspiration this movie must be to all the oppressed commies of the world ….( Like the Occupy Wall Street parasites )

Here’s how the movie would turn out if I was allowed to rewrite it.

Ten minutes into the movie – Ed Harris (Major Koenig) ‘Caps’ both
Vasily and his homely girlfriend with a couple well placed 7.92mm rounds.

Movies Over !!!

What a ’Great’ (albeit short ) movie it would then be !

Ted



posted on Nov, 10 2011 @ 02:31 PM
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Originally posted by TheOven
Zaitsev was a propaganda tool

Even the top female Soviet sniper, Lyudmila Mikhailivna Pavlichenko, had more kills then him.

I guess it is similar to Hathcock in Vietnam, didn't have the most kills, just a better story.



"Even though he doesn't hold the records for most confirmed kills or longest shot, the legend of Carlos Hathcock endures. He's the Elvis of snipers, the Yeager; he's Yoda.

And he was the best, Hathcock had 93 confirmed kills during his two tours of duty; the actual count may be higher, [ 'he went on his sniper missions almost always by himself.'] Hathcocks unconfirmed kills are believed to be in the 100's; including a confirmed kill of a Vietcong shot dead from a scope-mounted Browning M-2, 50 BMG machine gun, rigged up as a single shot at the unbelievable range of 2,500 yards.

Nevertheless, his confirmed tally was so high that North Vietnam once put a bounty of $30,000 on his head."



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