Saturday, January 23, 2010

Best sniper ever. - Simo Häyhä "The White Death"

Simo Hayha (1905-2002) is the best sniper who ever lived, accumulating over 505 (505 confirmed, 800 according to local figures) sniper kills and 200 submachine kills in his less-than-100-day stint during World War 2. He is Finnish, and was a farmer and hunter before joining the war.

What makes Simo Hayha the deadly sniper that he was? (sources 1 and 2)
1. He used iron sights rather than telescopic sights. While harder to aim, Hayha pointed out the benefits during a 2000 interview:
a. the scoped rifle forced him to raise his head a bit more than he liked, and this added profile might have given a Red Army sharpshooter too good of a target
b. sunlight glare in telescopic lenses will give away position
c. iron sights were not prone to breakage or fogging which was a real worry in the snow and ice of Finland during the Winter War.
d. he had always used iron sights and was used to them.

2. He blends in with the snow
a. he compacted the snow in front of him so that the shot wouldn't disturb the snow, thus revealing his position
b. he kept snow in his mouth so that when breathing he wouldn't reveal his position

As a result, read this Listverse snippet:

Of course when the Russians caught wind that a shit load of soldiers were being killed, they thought ‘well this is war, there’s bound to be casualties’. But when the generals were told that it was one man with a rifle they decided to take a bit of action. first they sent in a counter-sniper. When his body was returned they decided to send in a team of counter-snipers. When they didn’t come back at all they sent in a whole goddamn battalion. They took casualties and couldn’t find him. Eventually they ordered an artillery strike, but to no avail.

Eventually though he was shot in the jaw by a stray bullet during combat on March 6 1940. He was picked up by his own soldiers who said half his head was missing. He didn’t die however and regained consciousness on the 13th, the day peace was declared.

(image from this source)
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