Vasily Zaytsev

Vasily Zaytsev

Infobox Military Person
name= Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev
born= birth date|1915|3|23
died= death date and age|1991|12|15|1915|3|23
placeofbirth= Yeleninskoye, Russian Empire
placeofdeath= Kiev, Ukraine

caption= Vasily Zaytsev in Stalingrad, October 1942.
serviceyears= 1942 — 1943
rank= Captain
battles= Great Patriotic War
*Battle of Stalingrad
awards= Hero of the Soviet Union
Order of Lenin
Order of the Red Banner
Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class
Medal for the Defence of Stalingrad
Medal For the Victory Over Germany

Captain Vasily Grigoryevich Zaytsev ( _ru. Васи́лий Григо́рьевич За́йцев, pronounced|vʌˈsʲilʲɪj grʲɪˈgorʲjevʲɪtɕ ˈzajtsɨf) (March 23, 1915December 15, 1991) was a Soviet sniper during World War II, notable particularly for his activities between November 10 and December 17, 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad. He killed 225 soldiers and officers of the Wehrmacht and other Axis armies, including 11 enemy icon [ Biography] at the website on Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia] Prior to 10 November, he had already killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard-issue Mosin-Nagant rifle. Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev had made 242 verified kills, [ About Vassili Zaitsev] ] but the real number may be much higher; [ Top WW2 Snipers] ] some argue it might have been as many as 500. [ World War II Snipers] ] His military rank at the time was Junior Lieutenant.

Early life and World War II

Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye and grew up in the Ural Mountains. His surname "Zaytsev" has the same root as the word "hare" ("zayats") in Russian. Before going to Stalingrad, he served in the Russian Navy as a clerk but upon reading about the brutality of the fighting in Stalingrad, he volunteered for front-line duty. Zaytsev served in the 1047th Rifle Regiment of the 284th Rifle Division of the 62nd Army. He is notable for having participated in the Battle of Stalingrad. There, the Russians set up a snipers' training school in the Lazur chemical works; it was run by Zaytsev. The snipers Zaytsev trained were nicknamed "zaichata", meaning "leverets" (baby hares). Anthony Beevor wrote in "Stalingrad" that this was the start of the "sniper movement" in the 62nd Army. Conferences were arranged to spread the doctrine of "sniperism" and exchange ideas on technique and principles that were not limited to marksmanship skills. It is estimated that the snipers Zaytsev trained killed more than 3000 enemy soldiers.

Zaytsev served until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his eyes from a landmine. He was attended to by Professor Filatov, who is credited with restoring his sight. He then returned to the front and finished the war on the Dniestr River with the military rank of Captain. After the end of the war, Zaytsev visited Berlin, where he met friends who served with him. After the war, Zaytsev managed a factory in Kiev, and remained in that city until he died at the age of 76 after suffering a disease.Fact|date=July 2008


On January 31, 2006, Vasily Zaytsev was reburied on Mamayev Kurgan with full military honors. Zaytsev's dying wish was to be buried at the monument to the defenders of Stalingrad. His coffin was carried next to a monument where his famous quote is written: "There was no ground for us beyond [the] Volga."

The telescopic sight from Heinz Thorvald's rifle, allegedly Zaytsev's most treasured trophy, is still exhibited in the Moscow armed forces museum. However, the entire story remains essentially unconfirmed.vague There is no mention of it in any Soviet military reports, including those of Aleksandr Shcherbakov, even though almost every act of sniperism was reported with relish. The supposed duel is depicted in David L. Robbins' book "War of the Rats" and fictionalised in the film "Enemy at the Gates", which drew its inspiration from approximately three pages of the nonfiction book "" written by historian William Craig. Whether this duel actually took place is in dispute among historians, however, due to lack of any evidence as to whether there was a German sniper of such name or rank who ever existed during World War II.Fact|date=April 2007 Zaytsev himself did make mention of the duel in his own biography "Notes of a Sniper", although it was a brief description occupying less than a chapter, in which he commented that he had been up against a very skillful sniper.

Popular culture

*Zaytsev's story was portrayed in the films "Ангелы Смерти" (Angels of Death) and "Enemy at the Gates".
*Zaytsev's story is portrayed differently in the book "War of the Rats".
*Zaytsev is mentioned as the top Soviet Sniper on the Military Channel's show "Weaponology".



*Zaytsev,Vasily (1956-1971) "Notes of a Sniper:For us There is no Land Beyond the Volga" Vladivostok:Moscow/2826 Press Inc.
*Beevor, Antony (1998). "Stalingrad". Penguin Books Ltd.: London. ISBN 0-14-100131-3.
*Robbins, David L. (2000). "War of the Rats". Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-58135-X.
*(1989). "The Reader's Digest Illustrated History of World War II". Reader's Digest Association Limited.: London. ISBN 0-89577-333-3


*Enemy at the Gates (2001)

External links

*ru icon [ Vasily Zaytsev war hero biography] – On the website dedicated to the Heroes of the Soviet Union/Russia
*ru icon [ Василий Зайцев "За Волгой земли для нас не было.Записки снайпера"] — Vasily Zaytsev's book (Zip archive)
* [ Vasily Zaytsev's autobiography] – English translation available for purchase

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