Zach – Welcome back to Minimum Wage Historian and we have a killer program for you today.
Anna – You said no puns.
Zach – I couldn’t help it.
Anna – I apologize for my co-host. His new “glutten free” diet is making him act …odd. Today our topic is Russian Snipers of WWII and we have a fabulous line up of panelists today.
Zach – I’m not acting odd.
Anna – We have with us, Hua Mulan, female soldier of ancient China. Next we have Julius Caesar, Dictator of Rome. Then we have Buffalo Calf Road, woman warrior of the Cheyenne, killer of custer. Then we have Napolean Bonaparte and then we have…
Olga – Me! Olga of Kiev. Or should I say, Saint Ola of Kiev? Yes. It is pleasure to be invited here, especially since we are talking about the Motherland,yes?
Zach – “Invite” is kind of a strong word. “Threatened if we didn’t invite you” comes closer.
Olga – Same thing. At least you still have house.
Anna – So, let’s get started. Mulan has experience as a soldier and officer. Caesar has experience commanding large armies against indigenous people that refuse to surrender, Buffalo has experience as an indigenous insurgent that refused to surrender. Napoleon knows first hand what a great idea it is to invade Russia and Olga… is Russian.
Olga – Dah!
Zach – Let’s take a look at the history leading up to these legendary snipers. As we know, Germany and Russia divided up Poland while the rest of the world stood back. So Russia thought they were BFF’s with Germany. After Churchill strengthened his backhand and pimp slapped Germany during the Battle of Berlin, Germany faced east and thought “Maybe the Russians will be weaker. History shows us that it’s always a good idea to invade Russia….right?”
Napoleon – I had Russia beaten! They could not take my army in the field! I captured Moscow!
Olga – Dah, but what did that get you? You learn nothing, little man. Alexander Nevski beat German invaders. You, little Napoleon, did not like winter there very much, dah? It takes Russian to live in Russia. In WWI, Russia used land as part of strategy. Give land and draw enemy in to trap.
Caesar – Yes, the Russians have a unique form of strategy that takes their massive landmass into effect. They use their own land to their advantage.
Mulan – Never follow a bear into its cave.
Zach – That sounds like good advice in any situation. So, Germany invades Russian and call it “Operation Barbarossa” after a famous Holy Roman Emperor. Just like our chum Napoleon here, H__, er…I almost said the “H” word. He-who-must-not-be-named, invaded Russia during the summer and drove far into Russian territory.
Anna – Russia had a slight problem though, Stalin, being the paranoid, megalomaniac that he is, had purged the army of most of its officers and leaders leaving the Red Army to people who really had no idea what they were doing. (by “purge” I mean “Killed.)
Caesar – That was a brilliant move on Stalin’s part. Who wants men who know how to run an army to, you know, run your army?
Zach – That’s what happens when you give too much authority to one man. Anyway, the Germans drive all the way to a city called “Stalingrad” where Stalin said “They will not capture this city no matter what!” and promptly threw his entire ramshackle, and enormous army at Stalingrad.
Buffalo – Why there? Was that city important?
Zach – Absolutely not. He just didn’t want the Germans taking a city that bore his name.
Buffalo – I actually expected a rational answer. Silly me.
Anna – Yes, both of these armies, which numbered in the millions, met at Stalingrad and fought for several months over what was by then a pile of rubble.
Olga – But now we get to the first sniper on list! Vassili Zaitzev.
Zach – Vassili was a peasant born in the Ural mountains where he’d been shooting wolves since he could hold a gun. One day his officer says “Hey,Vassili, see that German invader over there? Yeah, the one that’s 800 yards away? I bet you can’t hit him!” Vassili takes aim with this standard issue Mosin rifle and kills the German with one shot. Two German solders come over to check on their officer and Vassili takes them out with ease. He’s awarded the “Medal of Courage” for being Bad A, and then gets awarded a sniper rifle like he’s some Warhammer 40k hero. ( A +3 vorpal Mosin Nagant! )
Olga – Wait, wait, wait. You must talk about the Mosin, weapon of the Motherland. The Mosin Nagant is old rifle, from late 1800′s. It fires a 7.62x54r round, is like so-called American .308. Is not “sophisticated” like weapons of Germany and America, but is simple and effective. Rugged, like Russian peasant. Model of 1891. America even made them, Remmington I think, dah?
Zach – Exactly. You can buy a Mosin made during WWII for like $80 at J&G Sales or Aim Surplus. You can even find some Mosins in the hands of Taliban fighters today. They’re not super accurate by today’s standard, but they do their job. How good of a job? Let’s look at the statistics. Vassili killed around 274 enemies with his simple Mosin Nagant rifle. That’s a small army by himself! The top Russian sniper was named Mihail Ilyich Surkov, and he killed 702 people, all confirmed.
Caesar – That’s almost an entire cohort of a Roman Legion! One man??
Buffalo – We could have used him.
Mulan – With a Mosin Nagant?
Zach – Yes, he wasn’t uncommon. Let’s keep going here. Vladimir Gavrilovich Salbiev had 601 confirmed kills. Third is Vasiliy Shalvovich Kvachantiradze with 534 kills. I could keep going.
Mulan – No need. That is overwhelming considering most soldiers kill one or two enemy at most.
Anna – Out of the top 100 snipers of WWII, all but five of them are Russian. Most of those with confirmed kills numbering into the multiple hundreds.
Napoleon – I am glad the Russians did not have this Mosin Nagant when I invaded! This must be mistake. The Russians I met were not this good at marksmanship.
Zach – Well, Vassili was turned into a hero almost overnight for his sniper exploits and the Russian command used this. They had Vassili train many more snipers and those snipers trained more, like the “Fedaykin” from Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”
Caesar – A whole legion of these inhuman snipers! I would not have invaded them.
Buffalo – I need a Mosin Nagant. Zach, are you sure I can’t go back to my own time with one?
Zach – Yes, I’m sure, you’ll make the universe implode or something. It’s like crossing the streams. It’s not a good idea.
Anna – Mulan, Buffalo, I think you two will appreciate this next part as much as I do. Many of these super snipers were women. The Soviet Army didn’t care about gender. If you can pick up a rifle you can fight.
Olga – I too was underestimated for being woman. Never underestimate Russian woman or I burn you house down.
Anna – Let’s see, there was Klavdia Kalugina, who became a sniper at age 17.
Zach – There was Roza Shanina with 54 kills including 12 enemy snipers.
You can learn about the Grimnoir Society here:
And here’s a few more pics of Russian Sniper woman. There were literally thousands of female snipers, each one with a special burning hatred for fascist invaders, anyone wearing a Swastika or just anyone foolish enough to come pick a fight.
Napoleon – (Shudders and looks around nervously.)
Mulan – I’m glad to see that the tradition of Women soldiers did end with me
Buffalo – I’m going to go learn more about these amazing snipers. Maybe I’ll pick up a few tips.
Olga – Yes! See, Russian women are best! I feel very patriotic right now!