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.