Vasily Zaitsev

June 13, 2011
By , York, PA
Vasily Zaitsev was a Soviet soldier who fought during the Battle of Stalingrad. And when I say fought, I actually mean that he hid in cramped, elevated places and shot Nazis on the ground from half a mile away. With a gun that looks slightly more modern than a musket (the Soviets weren’t exactly well equipped at this time).
Not only did he end up killing almost 250 enemies with a hunk of wood, but he also probably scared the heck out of the Nazis. I, for one, would not venture onto the street if I knew an invisible man with the accuracy of an action hero was trying to kill me.
So how did he get to Stalingrad to begin with? He’d been working as a naval clerk, and he read about the brutality of the fighting there. Immediately deciding that his current position did not involve nearly the amount of violence he was suited for, he signed up to get shipped out to the front lines.
Here’s an interesting statistic: soldiers were expected to live roughly 24 hours upon arrival. These are the conditions in which Zaitsev volunteered to fight. But then again, considering that he made an average of two kills a day, for four months straight, I’d bet that he was a big contributor to that statistic.
By the way, his last name actually comes from the Russian word for rabbit. I thought this was kind of cool, because rabbits aren’t traditionally associated with shooting people in the face from 1,000 yards away.
After the battle of Stalingrad was over, Zaitsev established a training school for snipers; the soldiers he trained were known as “baby rabbits.” Eventually, an estimated 3,000 enemies were killed by these soldiers. To put that into perspective, the average person can maintain about 150 social relationships. In other words, Zaitsev himself killed more people than you know, and then his trainees did it 20 times over.
And that is what I call a successful military career.





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