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  • For most soldiers, combat means bullets whizzing past as they battle to survive in a firefight

  • against enemy forces.

  • But for an elite group, combat is very different.

  • It's slower, and every bullet counts.

  • These skilled fighters lie in wait, hidden and watching until their target comes into

  • view.

  • And then they strike.

  • A good sniper can turn the tide of a war with just one shot - and some have racked up shocking

  • body counts.

  • These are the ten most lethal snipers in history.

  • #10.

  • Chuck Mawhinney

  • Growing up in the mountains of Oregon, Chuck Mawhinney was always destined for military

  • success.

  • Not only was he the son of a World War II Marine, but from an early age he was out there

  • in the woods practicing his aim with a rifle on the local deer.

  • By the time he graduated high school in 1967, he was an expert marksman and wasted no time

  • enlisting in the US Marines just like his father.

  • The Vietnam war was ramping up, so it wasn't long before he was shipped off to southeast

  • Asia.

  • And it didn't take his instructors long to see they had a talent on their hands.

  • He was quickly sent to Scout Sniper School, and spent sixteen months in Vietnam.

  • He soon became known as one of the best snipers in Marine Corps history, setting a then-record

  • of 103 kills - although many people say he may have taken out upwards of three hundred

  • enemy soldiers.

  • Regarded for his accuracy, the only miss he's known to have made is shortly after his trusty

  • rifle was serviced.

  • After he was sent home, he kept his accomplishments secret and didn't tell anyone about his

  • time as a sniper - until a fellow serviceman wrote about his exploits in a Vietnam memoir.

  • Now known as one of the all-time great snipers, Mawhinney still speaks to new classes at sniper

  • school more than sixty years after his time in the war.

  • #9.

  • Henry Norwest

  • Many of the best snipers come from isolated locations where they have time to practice

  • their trade in the wild.

  • That was also the case with Henry Norwest, the most feared sniper to come out of Canada

  • in World War I.

  • The son of indiginous Metis parents, he worked as a ranch hand, a rodeo cowboy, and even

  • a Mounted Policeman before joining the Canadian military in 1915.

  • But it wasn't a smooth ride - he was kicked out of the military for drunken fighting before

  • re-enlisting under another name.

  • This one would stick - and he would soon become one of Canada's greatest military heroes.

  • Norwest grew up hunting in rural Alberta, and that made him a deadly sniper.

  • He knew camouflage and could use the natural terrain to hide, and moved stealthily as he

  • stalked his enemy and got the drop on them.

  • That allowed him to rack up a shocking 115 kills witnessed by other soldiers, and he

  • soon became the military's go-to man for reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines.

  • He earned the Military Medal in 1917, but the legendary sniper wasn't invincible.

  • On August 18th, 1918 a German sniper was just a little bit faster, and Henry Norwest became

  • one of Canada's many WWI casualties.

  • The next WWI hero came from all the way across the world.

  • #8.

  • Billy Sing

  • Born in Queensland, Australia to a Chinese father and English mother, Billy Sing grew

  • up on a farm.

  • But things weren't easy for a mixed-race boy - there was a lot of anti-Chinese racism

  • in Australia, and Sing learned skills to help him defend himself.

  • He worked as a timber-hauler and joined local shooting clubs, winning prizes for marksmanship

  • as a teenager.

  • At just 18, he answered the call after war was declared and joined the Australian Imperial

  • Force - impressing a recruiter who disregarded the rule that only white Australians were

  • eligible to enlist.

  • It would be the smartest decision that recruiter ever made.

  • Sing was deployed in the Gallipoli campaign in modern day Turkey.

  • The mountainous regions were ideal for snipers, and Sing's expert marksmanship led to him

  • becoming notorious among the Turkish enemy forces.

  • A famous sniper nicknamed Abdul the Terrible was sent out to hunt Sing, but Sing outdueled

  • him in a sniper battle and shot him dead.

  • While Sing was injured several times and sickened by poison gas, he fought in the war until

  • 1918 and racked up at least 150 kills - but historians say he may have sniped as many

  • as 300.

  • His injuries in the war led to his retirement, and in the aftermath of the war he lived a

  • quiet life until his death in 1943.

  • #7.

  • Chris Kyle

  • Growing up in Texas, Chris Kyle learned to hunt at the age of eight and spent his childhood

  • shooting deer and birds.

  • He worked briefly as a professional rodeo rider before enlisting in the elite Navy SEALS,

  • graduating in March 2001 - only six months before the world would change leading to the

  • United States entering two wars in the Middle East.

  • Kyle was assigned to Seal Team-3, where he would become an elite sniper.

  • But in the Iraq War, he would frequently face gut-wrenching choices - often having to decide

  • whether to shoot someone who looked like a civilian but could actually be a suicide bombing

  • in disguise.

  • The war took its toll - but it couldn't slow him down.

  • Over his four tours in Iraq, Chris Kyle would rack up a shocking 160 kills, a confirmed

  • record for a US military member.

  • He received a Silver Star and multiple Bronze Stars for his valor, and was discharged honorably

  • in 2009.

  • He would go on to write an autobiography, American Sniper, where he talked frankly about

  • the impact of the war.

  • He also worked with other veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, something that would eventually

  • lead to his own death, when he was fatally shot by a disturbed veteran in 2013.

  • A year later, a film based on his life was released and went on to become the top-grossing

  • film of the year.

  • #6.

  • Vasily Zaitsev

  • The Russian front was one of the most brutal locations of World War II, a notorious killing

  • field that spelled the end for countless Russian soldiers and invading Germans alike.

  • But in Stalingrad, one Russian soldier would become a legend.

  • Vasily Zaitsev grew up in a family of peasant farmers and was shooting deer and wolves from

  • a young age.

  • His initial work in the military was anything but glamorous as he worked as a clerk, but

  • this humble clerk would soon turn out to be a deadly shot.

  • Zaitsev volunteered to be transferred to the front lines, and was assigned to a rifle regiment.

  • The army soon discovered that he could shoot from locations that seemed impossible.

  • He would be stationed under rubble or even in water pipes, sniping German troops before

  • they even knew he was there.

  • Prior to the Battle of Stalingrad, he had only been credited with 25 kills, but during

  • the battle he killed a stunning 225 enemy soldiers until a mortar injured his eyes.

  • His eyesight was saved by a talented Russian eye surgeon, and Zaitsev returned to the front

  • and retired with the rank of Captain.

  • After the war, he would briefly be imprisoned as a suspected spy in 1951 under Stalin - a

  • shocking fate for a war hero - but he was eventually cleared and lived until 1991, dying

  • only eleven days before the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • He wasn't the only famous Russian sniper - but this next one had something different.

  • #5.

  • Lyudmila Pavilchenko

  • Women weren't a common sight on the front lines in World War II, but the invasions into

  • Russian meant that all option were now on the table - and one Soviet woman became a

  • legend of war.

  • Pavilchenko was a tomboy who grew up in Kiev, and just like many of the men on this list,

  • she showed talent with a rifle from an early age.

  • When Germany invaded, she quickly headed over to the recruitment office - where they promptly

  • tried to send her to the nurses' division.

  • It was only when she showed them her papers from multiple shooting classes that they let

  • her join the rifle division, and she became one of 2,000 female snipers in the Red Army.

  • In 1941 she picked up a fallen soldier's rifle and took her first enemy life, but it

  • would be far from the last.

  • The siege of Odessa was her finest hour, where she killed 187 enemy soldiers.

  • She would soon become a Lieutenant, marry a fellow sniper, and eventually notch a kill

  • count of 309 enemies - the highest number ever recorded for a woman.

  • After being injured in combat, she worked as a propagandist and trainer and gained the

  • nickname Lady Death.

  • She would even visit the United States and meet with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • Although she would survive the war, her husband fell in combat, something that haunted her

  • until her death in 1974.

  • #4.

  • Abu Tahsin al-Salihi

  • The man who would be known as the Sheik of Snipers started out as a humble Iraqi shepherd

  • who carried a rifle to protect himself.

  • By 1973 he was an expert shot, and he would put that to work when war broke out between

  • Israel and the Arab States.

  • The Yom Kippur War was one of the region's most brutal conflicts, and al-Salihi was stationed

  • in the Golan Heights where he became a feared sniper.

  • He would next fight in the Second Kurdish-Iraqi War only a year later, and then again in the

  • Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

  • But he was far from done.

  • Surviving all these wars, he would fight against American forces in both the Gulf War and the

  • 2003 Iraq War.

  • When Iraq fell into a civil war involving the terrorist group ISIS, the now sixty-something

  • Sheik of Snipers picked up his rifle yet again - and in his finest hour, would rack up a

  • stunning 384 confirmed kills of ISIS members.

  • But his time as a member of the Popular Mobilization Forces would eventually run out and so would

  • his luck.

  • In 2017, he was killed in action in the battle of Hawija, bringing an end to almost fifty

  • years of sniping.

  • #3.

  • Francis Pegahmagabow

  • Born on a First Nation reserve in Ontario, Francis lost his father at a young age and

  • was later abandoned by his mother.

  • Raised by a First Nation elder, he learned traditional medicine and hunting as a boy

  • - skills that would serve him well when he volunteered for service in World War I.

  • Those skills won over the recruiters and led to him being admitted despite a policy that

  • was in place that didn't allow First Nations members to serve.

  • He became known for his tent being decorated with traditional Native symbols - and for

  • his scary accuracy with a rifle.

  • But he would soon encounter one of the worst horrors of the war.

  • He fought on the Western Front, and was caught in the middle when the Germans first deployed

  • Chlorine gas.

  • Despite being injured, he managed to take out many German soldiers and was promoted.

  • In addition to his work as a sniper, he made several trips into no man's land to retrieve

  • ammunition, and by the time the war ended in 1918, he had managed to take out 378 German

  • soldiers - and assisted in capturing 300 more.

  • Highly decorated after the war, he dedicated the rest of his life to First Nations affairs

  • and was highly regarded as an activist when he died in 1952.

  • #2.

  • Fyodor Okhlopkov

  • The Yakut people, a Turkic ethnic group in Russia, mostly live in rural areas.

  • Fyodor Okhlopkov grew up poor and was working in mines and factories from the age of twelve.

  • But it was his hobby of sharpshooting that would pay off for him when he was drafted

  • into the Red Army in 1941.

  • His regiment was mostly composed of Siberians, and he lost his brother early in the war.

  • While he rose in the ranks, it wasn't until he was injured in combat that he found his

  • true calling in war.

  • While he was recovering, his unit lost most of its men, and he was sent back to the front

  • line as the new unit sniper.

  • He would exact a terrible cost on the enemy.

  • During the next two years, he racked up at least 429 enemy kills, and would be nominated

  • for the award of Hero of the Soviet Union.

  • He barely survived a chest wound near the end of the war, and by the time he had recovered

  • the war was nearly over.

  • He didn't actually receive the award he was nominated for until 1968, near the end

  • of his life, but rose to prominent positions in the Communist party all the same.

  • While his military career didn't continue after his close call with death, he remains

  • one of Russia's greatest war heroes.

  • But one sniper racked up an even higher kill count.

  • #1.

  • Simo Hayha

  • The Winter War was a little-known conflict outside of the countries directly involved

  • in it, since it was overshadowed by the growing fronts of World War II.

  • But the Soviet invasion of Finland led to brutal fighting, and it was also the birthplace

  • of the deadliest sniper of all time.

  • Simo Hayha grew up in a small Finnish town near the Russian border where he learned farming,

  • hunting, and skiing.

  • Only a teenager when he joined the volunteer militia, he quickly racked up sharpshooting

  • awards and was later drafted into the army.

  • He displayed an amazing talent for accuracy, once hitting a target sixteen times from 150

  • meters away in only a minute!

  • The Soviets would soon find out about his talents the hard way.

  • Dressed entirely in white clothing that made him blend into the frozen north, Hayha made

  • short work of the invading Russian troops.

  • Joseph Stalin had eliminated most of his military experts in the 1930s, and Russian troops weren't

  • camouflaged, which made them easy targets for the master shot.

  • He became known as the White Death, an invisible soldier who brought death from the snow.

  • Propaganda was made about him, making him seem like a mythical figure.

  • But one thing was very real - his shocking death toll of over five hundred Russian soldiers,

  • the greatest confirmed kill count of all time.

  • Although he was seriously wounded in battle, he survived the war and went on to live a

  • quiet life as a moose hunter and dog breeder.

  • The man known as the White Death chose a very different path after war and died peacefully

  • over 60 years after he fought on the battlefields in 2002 at the age of 96.

  • For more on how to join their elite ranks, check outHow To Become a US Army Sniper

  • or watch this video instead.

For most soldiers, combat means bullets whizzing past as they battle to survive in a firefight

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Top 10 Most Lethal Snipers in History

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    Summer posted on 2021/07/29
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