Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

A Very Short History of Sniping in WWII

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by harolds, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,955
    Likes Received:
    680
    Shooting men, a woman's dream job ;)
     
  2. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    Yes Kai.

    It is standard practice in the Australian army to try for a serious wound rather than an outright kill. This not only pulls up to four men from the action to drag him to safety, but the noise a wounded man makes, particularly a serious wound, can give away the position of your lying up area, the pre designated safe zone where you drag the man to for treatment, and further, the medevac chopper that comes to collect him will expose your mainforce position and also be a target for enemy fire of itself. "Dustoffs" as they are called in the Australian army are an indicator of the general distance from your support element, gauged by the amount of time it takes to evacuate the casualty.

    But when you are hunting other snipers, it's best to shoot for the kill, to eliminate the trained man altogether. A highly trained and experienced veteran with combat time can turn others into better soldiers after he recovers and starts to instruct, using his valuable experience to teach.

    So when hunting snipers, it's often best to eliminate that possibility. Bagging officers is also the best way to avoid them passing on any lessons learnt the hard way from the crucible of the modern battlefield.

    And these days, with all the technology available, there is just nowhere to hide on a modern battlefield.
     
    CAC and Kai-Petri like this.
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    8,011
    Likes Received:
    2,162


    The latest cover of ‘Misandrist Weekly’…
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,263
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Location:
    Finland
    Even better. Russian generals....
     
    Riter likes this.
  5. Riter

    Riter Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    187
    I really don't think anyone other than Germans wore their decorations into combat. All Soviet photos of their bemedaled men show clean uniforms. No dirt, mud, blood, rips or tears on their clothing in any picture I've seen. I think the Soviets were very aware of propaganda and had soldiers clean themselves up for photo ops. I read in one book that Soviets going home for discharge after the war got the better uniforms (at the expense of the new arrival) so they didn't look bad when they returned home. Additionally they weren't allowed to detrain in Moscow to see the victory parade. No Joe-ski or Williski (with apologies to Bill Mauldin) in Glorious Red Army of Peasants & Proletariats. Besides, there is the issue of camouflage and one Russian woman sniper loved her red scarf and wouldn't take it off. She died because of it.

    Despite Chuikov's corroboration, Anthony Beevor questioned the legitimacy of the famous Stalingrad duel in his book.
     
  6. Riter

    Riter Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    187
    NKVD and SMERSH job. Officers beat up their subordinates and that tradition of superiors beating their inferiors date back to the Tsarist Army. Zhukov mentions a blanket party given to an unpopular sergeant.

    Soviet officers could execute their men too. Read about a German woman who was raped by a Soviet in the American sector. The Americans complained and the Soviet officer lined up his men. The German woman scrutinized the Soviets and identified the rapist. The Soviet officer shot him on the spot.

    Sorry off topic.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,866
    Likes Received:
    361
    Regarding Monte Cassino, shooting at varying angles is difficult and it's easy to overshoot a target. The lasered (or measured) distance of a hypotenuse is longer than the horizontal measured distance (if both shooter and target were at the same elevation). Modernly snipers laser the target, figure out the cosine and multiply by the cosine to get the approximate actual distance. Of course there's short cuts like figuring 45 degrees, 22.5 degrees and taking it from there. Like everyone else at one place, I was shooting a flintlock at a silhouette and kept missing. Had to aim 1 foot in front of it to knock it down. (quoting Riter)

    I need to tell you that modern laser range finders do the math for you. You can opt for the straight-line distance between you and the target, but also there is a option for them to calculate the actual horizontal distance. The straight line distance to a target may be 300 yds. but the horizontal distance may possibly only 200 yds., thus holding for 300 would make you shoot over.
     
    Riter likes this.
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,263
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Location:
    Finland
    In the Victory parade Zhukov rode the white horse. Actually it should have been Stalin but due to his left side's atrophy he definitely would have fallen off the horse.. wonder if the crowd had laughed.. no, definitely not...
     
    Riter likes this.
  9. Riter

    Riter Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    187
    Thanks Harald. I was unaware that modern lasers had some sort of chip to calculate the horizontal distance. Which ones?
     
  10. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    It might have depended on the individual in regard to wearing medals into combat.
    As to the legitimacy of Zaitsev's famous duel, Craig's book is certainly well researched, and that particular duel is a well entrenched part of Soviet military history. Possibly too well entrenched to ever be debunked. But I suppose whether it was true or simply apocryphal, it certainly is a good representation of the type of fighting that was definitely prevalent at Stalingrad.

    Perhaps it was just propaganda.

    I don't think you'll find a Russian author that will state as much. And Zaitsev was a Stalingrad poster boy, so judge for yourself
     
  11. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    I remember reading Beevor. I don't remember him questioning the Zaitsev duel, but I don't have any of my books anymore' and am only working by memory. It would be nice if you would type out Beevors stated words regarding the incident, just for my benefit
     
  12. Riter

    Riter Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    187
    Anthony Beevor contacted the Russian authorities and was told that they could not find records of the duel. Additionally Beevor pointed out that no reports of it were submitted to Alexander Shcherbakov, Head of the Political Department of the Red Army in Moscow. If Koning/Thorwald was killed, where's his soldbuch which was claimed to have been recovered? It should be in the Russian archives. Beevor found none of this.

    There was no Berlin sniping school but there was one within 15 miles of Berlin if that counts. The legend may have been born of jealousy as Rodimstev (13th Guards Div)'s sniper, Anatoly Chekov was getting a lot of good PR from Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) and Chuikov wanted some positive press too.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    9,948
    Likes Received:
    2,479
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Riter likes this.
  14. Riter

    Riter Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2020
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    187
    Thanks Takao. Beevor's book (2009) predates Peck and Ellis. Do you know whether Peck mentioned Wilhelm Hoffman? I haven't read his book, Stalingrad Cauldron.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,263
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Location:
    Finland
    Just like Prokhorovka tank battle since 1991...I was disgusted. Dream on.
     
  16. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    Craig stated that the German sniper involved was called either Konig or Thorwald and was an instructor from a school called Zossen, brought to Stalingrad especially to help solve the sniper problem by hunting other snipers and shutting down their activities.

    The duel at the Lazur Chemical works apparently took days of hunting and counter hunting to resolve.
     
  17. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    Boring is certainly a skeptic

    But why wouldn't a skilled hunter let the battle pass over him to obtain a fine position behind lines? Contrary to popular belief, the lines of battle at Stalingrad were in many sectors quite fluid. Remember that by the time of the last German operation to clear the city once and for all and eliminate the landing zones on the west bank of the Volga, ( Operation HUBERTUS), by that time, fully 90 percent of the city was in fact in German hands, and HUBERTUS concentrated on well established strong points in the remaining Soviet areas, like the Chemist Shop at the Lazur Chemical works, or Pavlov's House, which never fell, or the Red Barricades plant in the southern sectors.
     
  18. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    Whatever the case, the Sixth Army was losing 20000 men a week at the height of the fighting, referring to the contest as "Rattenkrieg", or "Verdun on the Volga".

    Hoffman's diary complains of something he and no doubt other German soldiers called "gangster methods".
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    9,948
    Likes Received:
    2,479
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    And he has just cause to be...Remember Otto von Singer?

    Konig/Thorwald would not be the first fictitious German uber-sniper created by Soviet propaganda.

    Not to mention...Absolutely 0 corroboration in Soviet or German records for either of these fictitious German snipers.
     
    Riter likes this.
  20. Bolshevik

    Bolshevik Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2022
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    20
    But God dammit, we are talking about the most famous single person to person engagement in the entirety of WW2!!!!

    It's the one story to come out of Stalingrad that EVERYONE is familiar with!

    If that story is pure propaganda, then one must seriously question nearly every piece of Soviet "journalism" that came out of not only Stalingrad, but of the entire Great Patriotic War!

    Not that I've ever strictly believed Soviet history either, but if that particular story is a figment of Chuikovs vanity, then what the hell can we say about the rest of it?
     

Share This Page