Simo Häyhä in the Finnish war, the Red Army called the White Death. He was, according to the Finns, the most productive sniper in all wars in the world. According to some reports, during the 100 days of the war, he killed 500-750 people. This means that every day he took the lives of 5-8 Red Army soldiers. Could it be? After all, he was followed by a real hunt, in which more than a dozen of the best counter-snipers of the Red Army participated, and they, by all accounts, were the most productive in the world.
Myth or reality
Probably, the Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä was a good shooter, but Finnish propaganda clearly outdid both the Soviet and the fascist taken together. For the sniper, nicknamed the White Death, there was a real hunt, this confirms his severe wound. The Finnish side simply could not not know this. Most likely, Hyayuhya himself knew about this. So, since the middle of the war, he has been hiding rather than shooting.
No one argues that snipers from the Finnish side really raged in the first days of the war. But this is for the time being. Soviet snipers also worked along the entire front line. If at the beginning, as always, they blundered a little, then by the middle of the campaign there was no such revelry. It is also necessary to take into account the length of the front line. It was insignificant, just a little less than 400 kilometers. Someone will object that the Finns are excellent forest hunters, but Russia is not deprived of them either. There were also taiga dwellers who, without any optics, hit a squirrel in the eye.
And one more important fact. It was the winter war, when any trace was imprinted in full view. In severe frosts, there are no snowfalls that hide traces. And the cold was almost the whole of December 1939. And yet, shooting in the Union has always been given due attention, there were special courses for snipers. Only in the NKVD in the state there were more than 25 thousand of these specialists.
Confirm this "record", of course, no one except the sniper himself could and cannot. In addition to Simo Häyhä, other shooters also worked from the Finnish side. Professionals also worked from the Soviet side. Interestingly, the 100 best Soviet snipers during the years of World War II destroyed 25,500 enemy soldiers and officers, which is an average of 255 people per shooter. There were those who had an account of more than 500 killed, but this, it is worth emphasizing, for four and a half years.
Childhood and youth
The son of a peasant, Simo was born on December 17, 1905 in Rautjärvi, located in Finland (Russian Empire). There were eight children in the family,he was seventh. Together with his older brothers, he went fishing and hunting. These activities were the main occupation of the family. He graduated from the public school in Mietilä. When he was 17 years old, he entered the Shchyutskor security corps, where he was engaged in shooting. He even participated in the shooting competition in Viipuri, where he came first.
Future sniper Simo Häyhä at the age of twenty served in the second bicycle battalion stationed in Valkyarvi. He graduated from the non-commissioned officer school and received the rank of non-commissioned officer of the 1st cyclist battalion in the town of Terijoki. Noting his good marksmanship, he is sent to Kouvola, where he took a sniper course in Utti Fortress in 1934.
War between Finland and the USSR
After training, he served in the 34th Infantry Regiment. During the war, since December 7, 1939, the regiment has been participating in the battles of Ladoga Karelia, near Mount Kolla. During the hostilities, there were severe frosts, the air temperature reached -40 degrees Celsius.
The soldiers of the Red Army at the beginning of the war did not have winter equipment (white coats) and were excellent prey for Finnish snipers. This gap was quickly filled. In addition, myths were launched about the elusive Finnish "cuckoos" who allegedly shot from trees. At first, this played a significant role.
Special tactics of Finnish snipers
Equipped platforms on trees, "cuckoos", which at first were mistaken forsniper positions were a kind of observation posts. Snipers advanced to positions on skis. The rookeries were equipped in advance and carefully masked. Warm woolen clothes protected in the most severe frost and evened out the pulse. Simo Häyhä's small stature made it possible to feel good in cramped snow holes.
Simo's little tricks
As a weapon Hyahya used "Sako" М/28-30 Spitz - Finnish analogue of the Mosin rifle. He did not use a telescopic sight, as it left a glare that could give him away. In addition, the windows "wept", and frost covered them in the cold. When using optics, the sniper's head rose higher, which also made him vulnerable. He also used a Suomi KR/31 submachine gun.
One more nuance: he had his position at a short distance, about 450 meters from the enemy, taking into account the fact that they would not look for him so close. By mid-February, the unit commander recorded 217 Red Army soldiers killed by a sniper rifle on his account. And according to one version, he killed 200 people with a machine gun. Why were Simo Häyhä feared? Because they were afraid not only of him, but of any other human hunter. Everyone wants to live.
The Red Army called him the White Death. On him, as well as on others, the hunt began, to which the best snipers of the Soviet Union were attracted. At the very beginning of March 1940, he was seriously wounded. An explosive bullet hit him in the lower part of the face, turned his cheekbone and shattered his bones. Losing consciousnessthe sniper came to his senses only a week later. The treatment was hard and long. He endured many surgeries and survived. Due to his injury, he did not participate in the war of 1941-1944. But he was promoted to second lieutenant. The post-war photos of Simo Häyhä show that his face is very different from the images in the pre-war pictures.
Hyayuhya's image is a weapon of propaganda
At the very beginning of the military campaign, the Finnish press created the image of a hero who kills a myriad of enemies. The most interesting thing is that at critical moments at the front, when it was necessary to raise the morale of the soldiers, the Finnish command announced that a great sniper was arriving in their unit, who killed 25 Red Army soldiers in one day. Often he actually appeared in this place. This was done to raise the spirit of ordinary and war-weary soldiers. Simo's "achievements" were skillfully used as a propaganda weapon. Most likely, he was in fact a good sniper, but not the way they try to present him to us today.