A true sniper is an operative who gathers intelligence for the command structure (law enforcement or military) and occasionally takes the one, well-aimed shot that, if done properly, will save lives. However, if the shot missed or wasn't fatal, it is either resulting health insurance leads or increasing the threat from the respective party.
Simo Häyhä (December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002), nicknamed "White Death" by the Red Army, was a Finnish soldier. Using a standard iron-sighted, bolt action rifle in the Winter War, he has the highest recorded number of confirmed kills in any major war.
Häyhä was born in the municipality of Rautjärvi near the present-day border of Finland and Russia, and started his military service in 1925. Before entering combat, Häyhä was a farmer and a hunter. His farmhouse was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship. It was during the Winter War (1939–1940), between Finland and the Soviet Union, that he began his duty as a sniper and fought for the Finnish Army against the Red Army. In temperatures between −20 and −40 degrees Celsius (−4 and −40 degrees Fahrenheit), dressed completely in white camouflage, Häyhä was credited with 505 confirmed kills of Soviet soldiers, and 542 if including the unconfirmed deaths. The unofficial Finnish frontline figure from the battlefield of Kollaa places the number of Häyhä's sniper kills over 800.
Ivan Mikhaylovich Sidorenko (born September 12, 1919) is a former Red Army officer, who served during World War II. He was one of the top Soviet snipers in the war, with over five hundred confirmed kills.
Ranked a Major, he was the most successful Soviet sniper of the Second World War, and used the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle, equipped with a telescopic sight. Sidorenko's feat was not unique, however: several other Soviet snipers scored nearly as many kills, and Simo Häyhä of Finland is credited with having 505 confirmed kills.
William Edward Sing DCM (1886 - 19 May 1943) was an Australian soldier of World War I, and distinguished sniper during the Gallipoli Campaign.
On October 24, 1914, two months after the outbreak of war, Sing enlisted as a trooper in the Australian Fifth Light Horse Regiment of the Australian Imperial Force. Sing won international fame as a sniper during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915-1916. Serving as dismounted infantry in the Gallipoli campaign, Sing partnered with his spotter Ion Idriess (later author of "Desert Column", "Cattle King", "Lassetter's Last Ride"), and later Tom Sheehan. Regimental records list Sing as having taken 150 confirmed 'kills'. However, on October 23, 1915, General William Birdwood, commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, issued an order complimenting Sing for his 201 unconfirmed 'kills'.
Erwin König, aka Heinz Thorvald (died c. 1942), was a highly skilled Wehrmacht sniper allegedly killed by the legendary Red Army sniper Vasily Zaytsev during the Battle of Stalingrad. König is mentioned both in Zaytsev's memoirs Notes of a Sniper and William Craig's 1973 non-fiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad. The 2001 movie Enemy at the Gates portrays a fictional account of the sniper duel between Zaytsev and König during the final days of the Battle of Stalingrad.
Vasily Grigorevich Zaytsev was a Soviet sniper during World War II, notable particularly for his activities between November 10 and December 17, 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad. He killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, including 11 enemy snipers.
He is notable for having participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. There, the Soviets set up a snipers' training school in the Metiz factory; it was run by Zaytsev. The snipers Zaytsev trained were nicknamed zaichata, meaning "leverets" (baby hares). Antony Beevor wrote in Stalingrad that this was the start of the "sniper movement" in the 62nd Army. Conferences were arranged to spread the doctrine of "sniperism" and exchange ideas on technique and principles that were not limited to marksmanship skills. It is estimated that the snipers Zaytsev trained killed more than 3000 enemy soldiers.
A former ranch-hand and rodeo performer, he served for a short time with the Northwest Mounted Police until September 1915 when he joined the Canadian army. In his nearly three years of service with the 50th Canadian Infantry Battalion, the lance-corporal achieved a documented sniping record of 115 fatal shots. While Norwest was an outstanding marksman, the thing that set him apart from others was his superb stealth tactics and his expertise in the use of camouflage. As a result of his exceptional abilities his superiors frequently sent him on reconnaissance missions into "No Man's Land" or behind enemy lines.
Carlos Norman Hathcock II
Carlos Norman Hathcock II (May 20, 1942 – February 23, 1999) was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills. Hathcock's record and the extraordinary details of the missions he undertook made him a legend in the Marine Corps. His fame as a sniper and his dedication to long distance shooting led him to become a major developer of the United States Marine Corps Sniper training program. He has, in recent years, also had the honor of having a rifle named after him: a variant of the M21 dubbed the Springfield Armory M25 White Feather.
Hathcock said in a book written about his career as a sniper: "I like shooting, and I love hunting. But I never did enjoy killing anybody. It's my job. If I don't get those bastards, then they're gonna kill a lot of these kids we got dressed up like Marines. That's just the way I see it."
Lyudmila Mikhailivna Pavlichenko (Ukrainian: Людмила Михайлівна Павліченко; Russian: Людмила Михайловна Павличенко Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko) (July 12, 1916 – October 10, 1974) was a Soviet sniper during World War II, credited with 309 kills, and is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history.