Breaking

Simo Hayha, The White Death in his winter camouflage, 1940


Simo Haiha, also known as "The White Death", was a Finnish sniper who is credited with killing 505 enemy soldiers within 100 days during the Winter War against the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1940.

Simo Haiha's participation in the Winter War was exceptional. With his Mosin-Nagant M91 rifle, he dressed in white winter camouflage, and carried only a day's supply and ammunition with him. Hiding in the snow, he would take out any Russians who entered his killing area.

They were used to present a smaller target to the enemy (a sniper must raise his head high when using a telescopic sight), to increase accuracy (the glass of the telescopic sight can easily fog up in cold weather). Preferred iron sites. Aid in concealment (sunlight in binocular vision lenses can reveal a sniper's position).

As well as these tactics, he often packed dense mounds of snow in front of his position to conceal himself, to provide padding for his rifle, and to reduce the distinctive puff of snow provoked by muzzle blast. They were also known to put ice in their mouth when sneezing, to prevent steamy breath from clearing their position in the cold air.



Soviet attempts to kill Haiha included counter-snipers and artillery strikes, and on March 6, 1940, Haiha was struck by a counter Soviet sniper with an explosive round in his lower left jaw, blowing his lower left cheek. went.

He was picked up by fellow soldiers, who said "half of his face was missing", but he did not die, regaining consciousness on 13 March, the day peace was declared. Haha it took years for him to recover from his wound. The bullet had crushed his jaw and touched his left cheek.

Nonetheless, he made a full recovery and became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder after World War II. When asked in 1998 how he became such a good shooter, Heha replied: "Practice". Asked whether he regretted killing so many people, he said, "I only did my duty, and I could do as well as I was told to do".

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