7 Legendary Snipers of World War II
7 Legendary Snipers of World War II

7 Legendary Snipers of World War II

Stephanie Schoppert - February 17, 2017

7 Legendary Snipers of World War II
Ivan Mikhailovich Sidorenko. Imgur

Ivan Mikhailovich Sidorenko

Ivan Mikhailovich Sidorenko was a Hero of the Soviet Union and one of the best snipers in the Red Army. He is credited with 500 confirmed kills, and is another sniper who was mostly self-taught and did not go through the Soviet sniper training.

He was born in 1919 in Smolensky Oblast and went to school until 1939 when he dropped out of college. He was conscripted into the Red Amy and sent to training at Simferopol Military Infantry School. He started fighting with the army, and in 1941 during the Battle of Moscow he taught himself how to snipe. He went on hunts for enemy soldiers and was so successful that Sideorenko’s commanders requested that he train others. Men were chosen to train with Sidorenko if they had strong eyesight, weapons knowledge and endurance. He and the men he trained did so well that the Germans started sending their own snipers to try and take care of the threat.

Sidorenko was eventually made assistant commander of the Headquarters of the 112nd Rifle Regiment where he mostly worked with instructing other men in sniping. He would only occasionally fight, taking a trainee with him to teach them how to perform in battle. It was on one trip with a trainee that he was able to destroy a tank and three tractors by using incendiary bullets. Throughout his time with the Red Army he was wounded several times but the worst incident came in 1944 when he was wounded in Estonia.

He remained in the hospital until the end of the war, at which point he was told he was too valuable as a teacher to ever be allowed to see combat again. Sidorenko then retired from the Red Army and worked instead as a foreman at a coal mine.

7 Legendary Snipers of World War II
Fyodor Matveyevich Okhlopkov. OVGuide

Fyodor Matveyevich Okhlopkov

Fyodor Matveyevich Okhlopkov does not get the same recognition as many other snipers with high kill counts in the Soviet Union. Despite having 429 confirmed kills in World War II, it was not until 1965 that he was granted the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, an honor most high count snipers received during the war. Okhlopkov was overlooked for many years because of his status as an ethnic Yakut.

As in many countries, the indigenous people of the Soviet Union were often treated as lower class when compared to the rest of the population. Okhlopkov was born in Krest-Khaldzhay village in the Far Eastern Soviet Union in 1908. He enlisted in the Red Army with his brother and it was not until the death of his brother that Okhlopkov took up sniping. He used both a rifle and a machine gun but his machine gun kills are not included in his official count.

At times his commander would send him out alone with his machine gun and Okhlopkov was said to “mow down Germans like a farmer cutting grass with a scythe.” It was because of his machine gun kills that his family claims that his kill count is over 1,000.

Okhlopkov was seriously wounded 12 times during combat, with his injuries on June 23, 1944 being the worst. He spent months in a hospital recovering and was discharged from the military. He’s remembered as one of the most effective snipers in the Red Army and he lived until 1968, just a few years after finally being named a Hero of the Soviet Union. In 1975, he was given the Order of Lenin and a cargo ship was named after him.