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White Death: The Finnish sniper who killed 700 Red Army soldiers in 100 days

Discussion in 'Winter and Continuation Wars' started by PzJgr, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Ensconced in the snow, his white camouflage uniform made him invisible to the invading Soviet soldiers he stalked, Simo Häyhä braced himself to fire. During the 1939–1940 Winter War, in temperatures as low as –40 °C, the Finnish sniper single-handedly killed at least 700 men in less than 100 days. Over 500 of these he shot using a standard bolt-action rifle (an M/28 or M28/30 Soviet Mosin-Nagant) with non-telescopic sights. The sharpshooter - nicknamed The White Death - was later be credited with the highest number of confirmed kills in any war in history came from humble rural beginnings.

    White Death: the Sniper Who Killed 700 Soviets in 100 Days | Environmental Graffiti
     
  2. Christian Snyder

    Christian Snyder Member

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    That is just incredible! Nuff' said.
     
  3. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    How does one 'confirm' a kill during war? I've always been perplexed by this - especially for snipers, who engage targets at such range that you usually can't tell if you hit the person or not.

    I have heard that snipers would often take the rifles of snipers they've killed as proof (at least in Stalingrad) but is that even possible?

    Not discounting the claims - just wondering how they confirm a kill for an individual.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Skipper likes this.
  5. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    Imagine what this guy felt later on in life, knowing how many people he had killed singlehandedly. It is one thing to be up in a plane so many thousand feet in the air never really seeing your bomb impacts, but to be a sniper and to see each and every man would be a hard thing to live with I think.
     
  6. ksugeeth

    ksugeeth Member

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    Reference: The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts. Pages 30 - 34.

    These pages give a clear cut explanation of the campaign that would have turned disastrous for the Red army, if not for its numbers. Though, the Red Army was much more advanced in terms of its technological weaponry, it was in for a brutal shock, as it suffered lots of casualties at the hands of the rugged Finns. The Finns were nicknamed Bielaja Smert( White death) by the russkies. The annhilation of the Russian 163rd and 44th divisions of the Red army are well explained. Underestimation of the enemy, unpreparedness for the severe cold weather and freezing of the gun oil lubricant of the 7.62 mm 1902 model, the standard russian rifle. Eventually, when it boiled down to a battle of attrition, the Russkies seemed to have more men than their Finnish bullets. Finland eventually had to agree for a deal of peace.

    Casualties: 27000 Russians + 1000 Prisoner
    Finns: 900

    The ratio is almost a staggering 30:1, much more than what the Germans could achieve at the initial stages of Barbarossa.

    1. The world prepared to watch another small nation being crushed by a totalitarian monolith.
    2. Finnish Army: 10 divisions, with only 36 artillery pieces/ division, while Red Army had 1500 tanks, 3000 aircraft and an assumption of a quick victory, as in Poland.



    Quotes:

    1. An officer to Colonel Siilasvua(Finn): The wolves will eat well, this winter.
    2. Winston Churchill: Finland has exposed for all , to see the incapacity of the Red army.
     
  7. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Didn't you copy/paste this from your other thread? And what relevance does it have with the topic of this thread?


    I am still wondering about confirming kills by having a 2nd man with him. It'd be hard to tell a kill shot from a wound at distance, especially if the target falls behind cover. Short of checking the body and taking a dog-tag I imagine it would be hard to 'prove it'. I suppose post-war you could compare reports in various areas to confirm them, I just find it hard to believe anyone claiming to kill large amounts of people with no solid proof.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I am not gonna say anything against that as it definitely is true that you cannot get 100% proof. However I can only say that there were no one else that capable otherwise we would have had ten top snipers if we only made propaganda. Also it is approximated that Häyhä had killed some 100 before they put an officer with him to check about the kills so they started from zero then.
     
  9. ksugeeth

    ksugeeth Member

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    This reply is entirely for Mussolini who i feel has been badly rude to me , for no reason at all.


    Didn't you copy/paste this from your other thread?
    No way. This is the first topic regarding the Russo-finnish war in this forum from me, so no chance. :D

    And what relevance does it have with the topic of this thread? I hope you can see, read and comprehend things. The topic is "
    White Death: The Finnish sniper who killed 700 Red Army soldiers in 100 days",
    and my reply is based on the very same war. I have not made any assumptions regarding the number of kills/sacrifices, as i have very clearly mentioned the source of my reference - Reference: The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts. Pages 30 - 34.

    I hope this reply is good enough for you to stop your nonsensical forms of bossing around. ;)
     
  10. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    The information you posted is still severely off topic and irrelevant to the discussion of the 'White Death' Finnish Sniper. Check your PM's in regard to this matter.

    Kai - I do not mean to suggest that he is a 'liar' or that propaganda had anything to do with it - well, it probably did have a little to do with it (why else assign a captain to confirm his kills?). Its certainly impressive that he did not use a scope of any sort during combat (I think you'd be hard pressed to find any other sniper who could replicate their number of kills with out a scope).

    Is there any information on what he did after the war? It sounds/looks like he suffered a horrific injury and one can only wonder what both killing that many people and suffering such an injury had on him post-war.
     
  11. edhunter76

    edhunter76 Member

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    This is one thread that I wrote some time ago. Häyhä's official proven "kill ratio" is 505, or 545 from some sources. But, as Kai wrote he made huge amounts of kills before they started to count them. He had gained huge reputation as a master sniper and they decided to officially count the kills. So, the number 700+ might be near the truth, but it might be also a little bit exaggerated. We must also remember that he is said to kill +200 russians with his submachine gun, so are these kills within the +700?


    Simo Häyhä is the number one regarding proven kills. According to Petri Sarajanen's book "White Death":

    Corporal Simo Häyhä was legendary Finnish war hero who was better known as the white death or belaja smert. During the fights as a sniper Häyhä recorded 505 enemy kills which is still today unreachable. Some sources claim that the kill ratio was 545, but this cannot be verified. Häyhä killed also over 200 russians with his submachine gun. Häyhä was one of those soldiers that created that famous winter war spirit to the Finnish troops.

    Among the soviet troops Häyhä was feared and hated. There are stories how the red army sent their own snipers to take care of Häyhä, but they never returned. During the winter war Häyhä developed some famous sniper tactics which are in use even today. He for example freezed the front of his position, so the enemy couldn't see the snow puff when he fired his rifle.

    Häyhä was badly wounded in 6th of March at 2pm when a exploding bullet hit his jaw to the left side. He was taken to the hospital and for some reason in 7th April the news on the home front told that he is dead. Häyhä saw these news himself from the newspaper and responded that stop the funeral, you're missing a dead body.

    Simo Häyhä died at the age of 96 in 1st of April 2002 in Hamina.


    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  12. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Heh, gotta love 'publicity' shots like that last one of him in the snow. Beyond the fact that that ski mask makes him look really creepy, I highly doubt he would have used his rifle with a bayonet attached on the end!

    Nonetheless, the man certainly deserves respect! Lived a pretty long life too given the nature of his injury.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Simo Häyhä- the cold blooded sniper

     
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  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    This is the part I'm curious about. A sniper in a hide popping targets one a time from several hundred yards away would be hard to spot, but that's hardly true of a man engaging at submachine gun range.
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    When you are hiding you can shoot one or two, and then change your position. If you had a mg they would notice you straight away. Häyhä always went to his shooting place early in dark, put water on the snow so it would not make any move when shooting and changed position after he thought he was about to be noticed. He did not have a scope like the story tells because otherwise his head would be too high and would be noticed. In civilian life he continuously was shooting forest animals. Besides he had a second man to count the kills.
    I read of a German unit that was losing men after Soviet attack and they had to get the kitchen people etc take weapons but the author said they died soon because they would not change position between shootings. The enemy saw their position from the gun rounds and shot them there in the position they would not change.
    Häyhä killed 500+ Soviets not 700, and only used the rifle.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Simo Häyhä museum

     
  18. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....hiding in those temps!!!! ..my dad fought at the Chosin where it got down to -30 F.....the humans adapt to it, though
    ...really have to take care and know how to take care of a weapon in -40 C
    Tips for Cold-weather Gun Care | OutdoorHub
     
  19. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    His score is probably closer to 542. Only two hundred something was with his rifle. The other three hundred or so was with a smg or belt fed machinegun.

    Most of his kills were uncofirmed. It's the same issue with Canadian Francis Pegamabow of WW I fame. He often operated alone without an overserver.

    I discuss "kills" and scoring in a book that will be released in 2022.
     

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