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Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev
March 23, 1915(1915-03-23) – December 15, 1991 (aged 76)
Vasily.Zaitsev.jpg
Vasily Zaytsev in Stalingrad, October 1942.
Place of birth Yeleninskoye, Russian Empire
Place of death Kiev, USSR
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Years of service 1937–1945
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Great Patriotic War
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner, 2 times
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class
Medal for the Defence of Stalingrad
Medal For the Victory Over Germany

Vasily Grigorevich Zaytsev (Russian: Василий Григорьевич Зайцев, IPA: [vʌˈsʲilʲɪj ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲjevʲɪtɕ ˈzajtsɨf]; March 23, 1915 – December 15, 1991) 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.[1]

Prior to November 10, he had already killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard-issue Mosin-Nagant rifle.[1] Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev had made 242 verified kills, but the real number may be much higher.[2]

Zaytsev was nearly killed by an enemy sniper.[3] His military rank at the time was Junior Lieutenant.

Contents

Early life and World War II

Zaytsev's rifle on display

Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye and grew up in the Ural Mountains. His surname is based on the Russian word zayats (заяц) meaning "hare". Before going to Stalingrad, he served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk but upon reading about the brutality of the fighting in Stalingrad, volunteered for front-line duty. Zaytsev served in the 1047th Rifle Regiment of the 284th Rifle Division of the 62nd Army. 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.

Zaytsev took part in the battle for Stalingrad until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his eyes from a mortar attack. He was attended to by Professor Filatov, who is credited with restoring his sight. On February 22, 1943 Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He then returned to the front and finished the war on the Dniestr River with the military rank of Captain. After the end of the war, Zaytsev visited Berlin, where he met friends who served with him. After the war, Zaytsev managed a factory in Kiev, and remained in that city until he died in 1991 at the age of 76 just 10 days before the final dissolution of the Soviet Union.

In 2001, a feature length film, Enemy at the Gates, starring Jude Law as Zaytsev, was loosely based on the Battle of Stalingrad, most notably displaying an ongoing rivalry with a Nazi marksman, Major Erwin König. Although Zaytsev really took part in the Battle of Stalingrad, the movie was mostly fiction. While it is likely that a three day duel between Zaytsev and a talented German sniper did actually take place, since Zaytsev himself indicates this in his own memoirs, there is no evidence that any Major Erwin König ever existed.

Commemoration

On January 31, 2006, Vasily Zaytsev was reburied on Mamayev Kurgan with full military honors. Zaytsev's dying wish was to be buried at the monument to the defenders of Stalingrad. His coffin was carried next to a monument where his famous quote is written: "For us there was no land beyond (the) Volga."

The telescopic sight from Heinz Thorvald's (aka König's) rifle, allegedly Zaytsev's most treasured trophy, is still exhibited in the Moscow armed forces museum today.[citation needed] Zaytsev claims in his memoir Notes of a Sniper that he stalked Major Konig for a week and eventually found the so called "Konig" under a sheet of metal. Zaytsev then slid a glove over a plank of wood and exposed it, upon which the German sniper shot right through it. Then Vasily's partner, Nikolay Kulikov, raised a helmet on a stick and the German sniper shot that, too. This time, however, Vasily saw where the German sniper was located and shot him, killing him. Vasily and his partner Kulikov went to the German sniper's body and took his documents and rifle. The alleged duel is depicted in David L. Robbins' book War of the Rats and fictionalized in the film Enemy at the Gates, which drew its inspiration from approximately three pages of the nonfiction book Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, written by historian William Craig. Whether this duel actually took place is disputed by some historians, due to lack of any evidence as to whether there was a German sniper of such name or rank who ever existed during World War II.[4] Zaytsev himself did make mention of the duel in his own autobiography, Notes of a Sniper, in which he commented that he had been up against a very skilled German sniper named Herr Koning from Berlin. In the documentary, Russia's War: Blood upon the Snow, Zaytsev says he never would have guessed that such a bigshot had flown to Stalingrad but when he and his men dragged the German out, they found him to be the head of Berlin's sniper school.

References

  1. ^ a b Biography (in Russian) at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia
  2. ^ Top WW2 Snipers
  3. ^ World War II Snipers
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony (1998). Stalingrad. London: Penguin Books Ltd. p. 204. ISBN 0-14-100131-3

Further reading

  • Zaitsev, Vassili (2003). Notes of a Sniper. Trans. David Givens, Peter Kornakov, Konstantin Kornakov. Ed. Neil Okrent. Los Angeles: 2826 Press Inc. ISBN 0615121489.
  • Beevor, Antony (1998). Stalingrad. London: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-14-100131-3.
  • Robbins, David L. (2000). War of the Rats. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-58135-X.
  • The Reader's Digest Illustrated History of World War II (1989). London: Reader's Digest Association Limited. ISBN 0-89577-333-3

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The arrival of the Nazi sniper set us a new task. We had to find him, study habits and methods, and patiently await the moment for one, and only one, well-aimed shot.

Captain Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev (March 23, 1915December 15, 1991) 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. On January 31, 2006, Vasily Zaytsev was reburied on Mamayev Kurgan with full military honors.

Sourced

  • The arrival of the Nazi sniper set us a new task. We had to find him, study habits and methods, and patiently await the moment for one, and only one, well-aimed shot.
    • Quoted in "The Sniper at War: From the American Revolutionary War to the Present Day" - Page 67 - by Michael E. Haskew - History - 2005
  • There was no ground for us beyond [the] Volga.
    • Quoted in "Notes of a Sniper: For us There is no Land Beyond the Volga" - Zaytsev,Vasily - Vladivostok:Moscow/2826 Press Inc
  • The duel went on for three days, but it ended in our victory in a matter of seconds. The German was well prepared for it. He had liquidated two Soviet snipers before that. But, with the help of my comrades-in-arms, also snipers whose positions were next to mine, I managed to slay him. I did not know what kind of sniper had been brought to Stalingrad, but when we pulled him out of his shelter we discovered that he was the chief of the school for snipers based in Berlin. On the whole I liquidated 242 Nazis in Stalingrad. My friends and pupils also eliminated many of them. I had trained 30 snipers who killed 1126 Nazis during the war.
    • The German that Zaytsev is referring to is Heinz Thorvald, also known as Erwin Koenig. Quoted in "The Voice of Russia," Copyright 2002.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev
March 23, 1915(1915-03-23) – December 15, 1991 (aged 76)
File:Vasily.
Vasily Zaytsev in Stalingrad, October 1942.
Place of birth Yeleninskoye, Russian Empire
Place of death Kiev, Ukraine
Allegiance Template:USSR
Years of service 1942 — 1943
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Great Patriotic War
Awards Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class
Medal for the Defence of Stalingrad
Medal For the Victory Over Germany

Captain Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev (Russian: Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев, pronounced [vʌˈsʲilʲɪj grʲɪˈgorʲjevʲɪtɕ ˈzajtsɨf]) (March 23, 1915December 15, 1991) was a Soviet sniper during World War II. He is particularly notable 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.[1] Before the 10th November, he had already killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard Mosin-Nagant rifle.[1] Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev had made 242 verified kills,[2] but the real number may be much higher;[3] some argue it might have been as many as 500.[4] His military rank at the time was Junior Lieutenant. A film called 'Enemy At The Gates' is based on his achievements during WW2.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 (Russian)Biography at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia
  2. About Vassili Zaitsev
  3. Top WW2 Snipers
  4. World War II Snipers

Books

  • Zaytsev,Vasily (1956-1971) "Notes of a Sniper:For us There is no Land Beyond the Volga" Vladivostok:Moscow/2826 Press Inc.
  • Beevor, Antony (1998). Stalingrad. Penguin Books Ltd.: London. ISBN 0-14-100131-3.
  • Robbins, David L. (2000). War of the Rats. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-58135-X.
  • (1989). The Reader's Digest Illustrated History of World War II. Reader's Digest Association Limited.: London. ISBN 0-89577-333-3
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