the right moment for one, and only one well-aimed shot"
Next lines are taken
from Antony Beevor's Stalingrad, The fateful siege : 1942 - 1943.
The telescopic sight
of his prey's rifle, allegedly Zaitsev's most treasured
trophy, is still exhibited in the Moscow armed forces museum, but this
story remains essentially unconvincing. It is worth noting that there is
no mention of it in any reports.*
Indeed, the whole
story of the sniper duel is fiction. There is absolutely no trace in
the German military archives or SS records of SS officer Heinz
Also there is absolutely no report of the duel in the Red Army files which
on sniper activities (the daily reports of the Political Department of
Stalingrad Front to Moscow)
This great story can be classified as Sovjet propaganda.
Zaitsev - W.W.
II - Russia - about 400 kills.
(149 Kills at the battle of Stalingrad, some sources telling me he shot 232
Zaitsev years after the battle for Stalingrad.
Biography of Vasily Zaytsev
Other snipers at
-The highest scorer only identified as "Zikan" killed 224 Germans
by 20 November 1942.
-Sergeant Passar of 21st Army was credited with 103 kills.
-Kucherenko, an Ukrainian, killed 19.
-An Uzbek from 169th Rifle Division killed five Germans in three days.
-Anatoly Chekov killed
(picture) 17 Germans in two days !
-Corporal Studentov killed 170 Germans.
"Noble Sniper" Ilin, a commissar from a Guards rifle regiment, was
with 185 kills.
Sniper V. Kozlov, just being decorated for his 30th kill.
A sniper reaching
forty kills would receive the "for bravery" and the title of "Nobel Sniper".
The fictive Zaitsev - Thorwald story :
The ruins of
Stalingrad were the natrual habitat of snipers, and each army had its
champions. For the Russians, Vasily Zaitsev was the onetime shepherd who had
marksmanship hunting deer in the Ural foothills. In one ten day period, he
had killed no fewer
than 40 Germans and his fame had spread into enemy lines. The Germans
retaliated by flying
to the scene SS Colonel Heinz Thorwald, head of their snipers' school near
soon heard talk of the deadly Thorwald, and he set down a tense account of
their dual to
"The arrival of
the Nazi sniper set us a new task," wrote Zaitsev. "We had to find
habits and methods, and patiently await the moment for one, and only one,
For two days,
Zaitsev stalked his rival, trying to locate his precise whereabouts. On the
day, Zaitsev was accompanied in his search by a political instructor named
Danilov. As the
two lay hidden, peering intently through their telescopic sights, Danilov
suddenly said: "There
he is! I'll point him out to you!" Recalled Zaitsev: "He barely,
literally for one second,
but carelessly, raised himself above the parapet, but that was enough for
the German to
hit and wound him.
long time I examined the enemy positions, but could not detect his hiding place.
To the left was a tank, out of action, and on the right was a pillbox. Where
In the tank? No, an experienced sniper would not take up position there. In
perhaps? Not there, either - the embrasure was closed. Between the tank and
on a stretch of level ground, lay a sheet of iron and a small pile of broken
bricks. It had
been lying there a long time and we had grown accustomed to its being there.
I put myself
in the enemy's position and thought - where better for a sniper? One had
only to make a
firing slit under the sheet of metal, and then creep up to it during the
To test his
theory, Zaitsev rasied a small plank with a mitten attached to its end. A shot
rang out and a bullet smashed into the plank. "Now," wrote
Zaitsev, "came the question of
luring even a part of his head into my sights." Before that could be
done, however, Zaitsev
would have to change his own position, which had clearly been marked by the
Zaitsev and a fellow sniper, Nikolai Kulikov, spent much fo the night
working their way
to a new vantage point. By dawn they were ready.
rose," Zaitsev recalled. "We had decided to spend the morning waiting,
might have been given away by the sun on our telescopic sights. After lunch
were in the shade and the sun was shining directly on the German's position.
edge of the sheet of metal something was glittering: an odd bit of glass -
sights? Kulikov carefully, as only the most experienced can do, began to
raise his helmet.
The German fired. For a fraction of a second Kulikov rose and screamed. The
believed he had finally got the Soviet sniper he had been hunting for four
raised his head from beneath the sheet of metal. That was what I had been
careful aim. The German's head fell back, and the telescopic sights of his
lay motionless, glistening in the sun until night fell." Russian
sources credited Vasily
Zaitsev with killing 149 (232 ?) Germans before the end of the battle of
Chuikov and Zaitsev.