History 04/01/20 “White death”: how many the Russians killed the most terrible sniper

During the Finnish campaign (“Winter war”) of 1939-1940, the red Army soldiers encountered unexpectedly strong resistance of the Finns. Particularly successful Soviet units opposed to Finnish snipers who found that war to achieve the result, all means are good.

“White death”

Soviet soldiers, not accustomed to fight against snipers, often became easy prey for the Finnish shooters. Among the main weaknesses of the red army – the lack of white camouflage bathrobes at the initial stage of the war and the tactics of massive attack in full growth.

This is best used by the most successful Finnish sniper and one of the most successful shooters in the history of the world Simo Hayha, nicknamed “White Death”, destroyed, according to various estimates, from 642 to 842 red army.

Achievements non-commissioned officer Hayha skillfully used by the Finnish propaganda, inflating his image to the level of a national hero. The press reported that during the first three days of fighting from the well-equipped shelters Simo shot more than fifty Soviet soldiers, and on 21 December 1939 in one of the most successful for yourself days, he killed 25 soldiers.

Accuracy Hayha should not be surprising – he was an experienced hunter and an excellent marksman. Once the competition Simo within minutes from a distance of 150 metres managed 5 times to hit a target the size of a small coin. Also useful to experience a biennial military service in a Bicycle battalion. But still the number of dead Finn the red army can be alerted.

according to Finnish statistics, the day Hayha had on average 7-8 to kill the soldiers of the red Army. The numbers are impressive, but they cannot be reliable verified. Finnish historians have mostly relied on the Hayha, and the words of eyewitnesses. The main difficulty of calculation was the fact that Finn killed by the red army mostly remained unavailable to him. However, even according to conservative estimates Simo Hayha killed at least 500 Soviet soldiers.

Tricks Simo

Most of his well-aimed shot Hayha made from one position – the mount Call in Ladoga Karelia. How he managed for a long time to go unnoticed? For this Simo used a little cunning.

the Arrows in anticipation of the enemy could for hours to lie still in one position, and this despite the fact that frosts sometimes fell to -40 °C. From the cold he was protected by his thick woolen clothes, at the same time aligning pulse, which was necessary for uniform and slow breathing.

Their rookery it is equipped in advance and carefully masked it. Preparing a place of arrows tight Packed snow and doused with water before the formation of ice: in this way during the shots the snow is not scattered in directions, and the rifle barrel had a firm footing. To breath was not given his position Finn was periodically placed in the mouth pieces of snow.

In case of danger Simo masterfully buried in the snow at the very top – due to a small increase – 160 cm – he felt comfortable in the close snow burrows. From the disclosure it insured the so-called “cuckoo” – special platforms in the trees, which were monitored. The soldiers often took them for a sniper position and opened on them a useless flame.

fundamentally Hayha did not use scopes. Several explanations for this. First, in winter time, glass were easily covered with frost; second, the lens itself could Shine and give the sniper’s position; and third, when shooting with optics head should be raised a few inches higher than in the case of conventional sight, which increased the probability of detecting a sniper’s enemy.

it is Noteworthy that Simo was never shot at distances in excess of 450 metres away. On the one hand, without optics it’s hard to count on accuracy with a more impressive range, on the other sniper knew that so close most likely it will not hiccup. Finn was very helpful with the echoes of the sound of the shot, repeatedly reflected between trees and dezorientirovanija attackers.

the Storm of the red army men used for sniper shooting rifle M/28-30 Mosin produced in Finland in 20 years. This unpretentious weapon with a heavier barrel was very useful in the harsh Finnish winters. In addition to rifles at close range Hayha used a submachine gun Suomi M-31 SMG. Because of it, according to some, he killed about 200 soldiers of the red army.

Later, the sniper was asked what was the reason for his successful hunt for the Russians. He calmly replied: “Practice and nice weather.”

the End of the hunting

For a head Hauha the Soviet command had appointed a high reward. On its liquidation was sent a few squads of snipers, who worked in the areas of probable occurrence of “White Death”. In addition, the place where he could hide Hayha regularly handled Soviet artillery. For a long time it did not bring any result: in contrast to red Finn knew the place in which a hunted from an early age.

Though the number of successful shots Simo these days has drastically dropped because he had not so much to shoot, how much to hide. One day a shell exploded a few meters from the shooter: he tore camouflage robe, but he found himself unharmed. Thus passed week after week, until 6 March 1940 Finn not caught unawares explosive bullet. She went through the left side of the jaw, badly mutilated his face. Simo unconscious delivered to the rear – out of the coma he came out a week later when the war was already over.

He survived a dozen complex operations – jaw he restored the material taken from the femur. And soon field Marshal Mannerheim assigned Simo Hayha the rank of Lieutenant. Despite numerous petitions to send to the battlefields of the Second world war the marksman was denied.

a burden

in Autumn 2000, a Resident of Imatra Pertti of Saukkonen along with a search group found a place near the mountains Call, where for several weeks firing position kept Simo Hayha. For this he used the exact coordinates, which he pointed out the legendary sniper. According to Saukkonen, since the war in this place none of the searchers did not happen.

using a metal detector, the researchers found a huge number of cartridges to shoot. “A strange feeling. Simo shot 542 of the enemy, and we found that number of shell casings”, – said Saukkonen. Another fan of the talent of Simo Hayha major Tapio Saarelainen said that the methods used by his idol during the “Winter war”, today is successfully used in the Finnish army in the training of snipers.

And yet despite the accolades, Simo apparently weighed down by the glory of the best Finnish shooter. Familiar Hayha was sure that he suffers greatly from loneliness and fear. Day former hunter worked tirelessly, but at night it was getting nightmares, says Harry Tonder, a villager of Simo Hayha. Perhaps the hero of the Soviet-Finnish war haunted by his many victims?

Eyewitnesses say that Simo had a lot of enemies who disapproved of his methods of warfare. Many of them didn’t like the Advice, but nevertheless believed that to fight openly instead of hiding in the forests, shooting surreptitiously into the unsuspecting enemy. And some even threatened the veteran with violence, saying in person: “if you’re not gone, we will come to you.”

anyway, when the slope of the years the sniper asked, not at all whether his remorse for such a number of victims, he replied: “I tried to do what I was told the best way.”

Taras Repin

© RussianI Seven

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