During World War II when a Russian sailor named Vassili Zaitsev and his friends who already had 5-years of service in the Soviet Navy requested transfer to the Soviet army so they could get in on some of the action, Soviet brass was more that glad to accommodate them.
After basic training these lads were sent directly into what was then called the battle for Stalingrad. What none of them knew then was that the average life expectancy of a new soldier in Stalingrad was 24-hours.
Based on his words this story describes how this sailor-turned-soldier became one of Russia’s most revered sniper heroes. He became so infamous that Germany sent their own crack super-sniper to kill him. From Zaitsev’s sniper notebook we learn how he managed to stay alive and make some of his 242 confirmed kills. Zeitsev himself tells you exactly what his tricks and tactics of this deadly trade were that enabled him to be better than anyone else. Here’s this author’s description of what he said Stalingrad looked like when he first saw it as a greenhorn soldier:
“The men were startled to see the city engulfed in flames. Zaitsev said it was like looking into the mouth of a spewing volcano while above this hellish cauldron layer after layer of German bombers including screaming Stuka dive bombers were feeding that fiery inferno. He could not even imagine that somewhere within that hell men were fighting a war… Vassili said that the city “looked like a smoldering and sulfurous hell, with burned-out buildings glowing like red coals, and fires consuming men and machines. Profiled against the glow of the fires were soldiers on the run. Were they theirs or ours? None of us could tell.”
Better wear your asbestos gloves and flak jacket for this one because Vassili takes you right into the molten core of this blast furnace and tells you how he came out of it as the Soviet’s top ranking sniper hero of World War II