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Great Moments in Sniper History

Of the many great moments during the short but extensive history of sniping, my favorite would have to be the great sniper-versus-sniper battle of Stalingrad, 1942. Stalingrad was the Germans farthest advance point, and it was one of Hitler's main goals to capture the great Southern Russian city named after its leader. By 1942, the German offensive was grinding to a halt, but they had conquered some nine-tenths of the city, that is, what was left of it. Through the years of war, the city had been reduced to rubble and abandoned buildings. A perfect setting for any sniper battle.

It was in these settings that Russian snipers, prized by their commanders, took a heavy toll on the number and morale of the Germans. It was here where Stalingrad's most infamous duel took place, between the pride of Russia, and the pride of Germany. The Russian sniper was named Zaitsev, and by this time in the war he had accumulated over one hundred kills. No German could stop him, but they all knew about him. Enough that eventually someone in the German high ranks set forth the order for Germany's best sniper, Major Koning, to leave his sniper school, where he was an instructor, and kill Zaitsev. The stage was set.

Through rumors and POW interrogations, Zaitsev soon learned that Koning had arrived in Stalingrad. When a Russian sniper team was shot at by a skilled German sniper, Zaitsev knew for sure that Koning was his premier target. For days the two searched for each other. At one point, a Russian general came out with Zaitsev to witness the event, and was wounded by Koning. So the next day Zaitsev and his spotter waited until afternoon, when the sun was behind them, and began their last search for Koning. After a while, the two noticed a shine from under a metal plate and some rubble. The spotter lifted a glove on a stick, and sure enough Koning shot at it. Zaitsev saw that indeed Koning was under that metal plate, and he shot. He killed Koning with one shot.

Zaitsev went on to be Russia's most celebrated sniper.

America's most celebrated sniper is without question Carlos Hathcock II. His sniping exploits in Vietnam are too numerous to list here, and they have been recorded in many books and videos. One movie that struck me as containing events similar to Hathcock's is the movie Sniper with Tom Berenger. In one scene Berenger takes out an enemy sniper by shooting him through the scope. A similar event happened to Hathcock when he too shot a Vietnamese sniper throught the scope. Another incedent is where Berenger dons his ghillie suit ( the best I've ever seen) and crosses an open field, narrowly avoiding guard patrols, to make an important kill. Once again this is similar to Hathcock, who crawled some 1000 yards to make a kill. Anyway, those are the similarities I picked up. I also noticed some references to Rambo in it.

Interesting Article on Carlos Hathcock