Home :: World War II Snipers

World War II Snipers

By the time the second world war erupted across Europe, the nations involved had long since discovered the important part a well trained sniper force can play in turning the tides of war. Snipers, when properly employed, can cause mass panic and loss of morale in the enemy's forces. However, most countries had no formally trained snipers and had no training program with which to train them. Most W.W.II snipers were simply avid hunters and sharpshooters equipped with high-powered and accurate weapons. Despite their lack of formal training, the snipers with the highest numbers of kills were active during the Second World War.

Snipers were an important tool during the Siege of Stalingrad, particularly in the propaganda war. The Russian hunter,Vassili Zaitsev, became infamous with German troops after 114 enemy kills. His activities during the Siege of Stalingrad are depicted in the film "Enemy at the Gates." The most kills by a female sniper in W.W.II was by Lyudmila M. Pavlichenko, a Ukrainian. She killed 309 enemy soldiers, including 36 enemy snipers. When she was retired, she was awarded the "Gold Star Of A Hero of the Soviet Union, and commemorated on a soviet postage stamp. the 200 female snipers trained by the Soviets, 500 survived. In fact, a majority of the snipers that achieved fame in the second world war were Russians shooting German targets. Another Soviet sniper of interest is Fyodor Okhlopkov. An ethnic Yakut, he achieved as many as 429 kills during the Winter War.

German snipers were also a major force in W.W.II. Helmut Wirnsburger was a German sniper who operated on the Eastern front. He was credited with 64 kills before being wounded, and retired.