By: Duncan Holtz April 24, 2012
Snipers are known the world over for their shooting abilities. Able to hit targets at great distance, snipers represent the pinnacle of accuracy. The five that follow are among the most deadly of all time.
#5 Chris Kyle
Kyle was born in Odessa, Texas. After a brief stint as a rodeo rider, which ended due to an arm injury, Kyle enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1999. He initially failed the SEALs’ physical test, due to the pins in his arm, but would go on to join BUD/S.
Kyle was eventually assigned to SEAL Team 3, Sniper Element Charlie platoon, and served in every major engagement during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout his career, he achieved a total of 255 kills, of which 160 were confirmed, making him the deadliest American sniper in history.
#4 Carlos Norman Hathcock II
From Little Rock, Arkansas, Hathcock enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of 17.
Hathcock racked up a total of 93 confirmed kills, and had a bounty of $30,000 placed on his head by the North Vietnamese Army. He also earned the nickname “White Feather” because of the white feather he wore in his hat band.
Hathcock’s most famous shot took place in the jungle near Hill 55. An enemy sniper was terrorizing the Marines in the area, and was believed to have been sent to kill Hathcock specifically. Hathcock and his spotter, John Roland Burke, were stalking the sniper when Hathcock saw a glint of light come from the bushes. Hathcock fired at it, sending the bullet up the scope and through the eye of the enemy sniper, killing him.
#3 Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Pavlichenko is by far the most successful female sniper in history. She was born in the Ukrainian town of Belaya Tserkov.
During her fourth year at Kiev University, Nazi Germany began its invasion of the Soviet Union. Pavlichenko immediately volunteered for military service, and was assigned to the Red Army’s 25th Rifle Division. During a two and a half month engagement near Odessa, she achieved 187 kills. She would go on to make 122 more kills throughout her service, bringing her total to 309, of which 36 were enemy snipers.
#2 Francis Pegahmagabow
Pegahmagabow grew up at the Parry Island Band, near Parry Sound, Ontario. World War I drew him into service, where he was placed with the 23rd Canadian Regiment. He joined the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion of the 1st Canadian Division for deployment.
Pegahmagabow not only showed valor by taking down enemy soldiers, but was instrumental in carrying out several missions: he helped to guide reinforcements to their positions, delivered messages, and braved no-man’s land to gather enough ammunition for his unit to repel German attacks during the Battle of the Scarpe.
He achieved a kill count of 378, and captured another 300.
#1 Simo Häyhä
Häyhä was from the municipality of Rautjärvi, Finland, and joined the military in 1925. Häyhä began serving as a sniper during the Winter War in 1939.
Temperatures stayed around -22° F and the days were short. Despite the conditions, Häyhä managed to achieve the highest confirmed kill count of any sniper in history, 505, in less than 100 days.
The Soviet army sent several teams, and eventually a battalion, looking for the man they had dubbed “White Death”, and never found him. Häyhä wore full white camouflage, and used a rifle with
iron sights to
aid in his concealment. He also packed snow around his barrel so it would remain undisturbed while shooting, and kept ice in his mouth to prevent his breath from condensing.
Häyhä also managed an impressive 200 extra kills with a sub-machine gun, bringing his total kills to 705.
About The Author:
Duncan Holtz is a career soldier in the US Army and contributor for Online Military Education, a site that provides information, reviews and guides on online GI Bill colleges and the various programs available to students.