Stalingrad: Deadly Battle of WWII - VASILY ZAITSEV

The taiga (forest) is dense in the foothills of the Ural Mountains. This image, of a photo by Sergei Sekachev, reveals a beautiful view of such a forest. Online via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0


Vasily Zaitsev, known as Vasha to family and friends, grew up in the foothills of the Ural Mountains. His grandfather taught him to hunt in the taiga, the nearby Siberian forest.

When he became a man, Zaitsev remembered what his grandfather had taught him:

The man of the forest is without fear.

Soviet commanders also remembered what they had learned two years before: Heavy casualties could be inflicted by one trained sniper.

On the receiving end of such an experience, the Red Army lost at least 500 men when Simo Hayha, a Finnish farmer, fought Russian invaders during the Winter War of 1939/40. Thereafter, the Soviet command placed heavy emphasis on the use of snipers. Vasily, with his natural ability, was perfect for the job.

Used to waiting hours to take his best shot in the taiga, Vasha was patient. He had a famous saying:

Await the right moment for one,
and only one, well-aimed shot.

Legend has it that for his 242 Stalingrad "kills," Vasily took only 243 shots.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Jul 07, 2019

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"VASILY ZAITSEV" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2007. Feb 18, 2020.
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