Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev
Vasily Greigoryevich Zaytsev was made famous due to a book called Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad, and the subsequent feature film that was made. He was a skilled sniper who racked up at least 225 kills, many of them at the Battle of Stalingrad. He was born in 1915 and always had a special ability with a gun. When he was 12 he brought home a wolf that he had killed with one bullet using a rifle that he was barely big enough to carry. He joined the Soviet Navy and served as a clerk in Vladivostok.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, he volunteered to be sent to the front to help defend his country. Despite being a chief petty officer in the Navy, he was transferred to the army where he was made a senior warrant officer. He was put in the 1047th Rifle Regiment which eventually joined the 62nd Army at Stalingrad on September 17, 1942.
It was at Stalingrad that his skill with a gun was recognized. He was able to kill 30 soldiers in 10 days using a standard rifle. He was then promoted to a sniper and even helped to develop many of the sniper tactics that are still used today. One tactic that he developed was to cover a substantial area from three different positions. At each position, he would place a sniper and a scout, a tactic which is now known as the “sixes.”
While fighting at Stalingrad he became involved in a “sniper’s duel” which was told in the book and movie Enemy at the Gates. In his memoirs, Zaytsev wrote about the three-day duel with a sniper who was the head of a sniper school in Berlin. The story has neither been proven or disproven. He remained at Stalingrad until January 1943 when a mortar attack damaged his eyes. He recovered and was returned to the front. He survived the war to become an engineer, and lived to the age of 76.