Tuesday, 25 May 2010

DiD : Battle Of Stalingrad 1942 ~ Vasily Zaytsev

"For us there was no land beyond (the) Volga."

This city... is not Kursk, nor is it Kiev, nor Minsk. This city... is Stalingrad. Stalingrad! This city bears the name of the Boss. It's more than a city, it's a symbol. If the Germans... capture this city... the entire country will collapse. Now... I want our boys to raise their heads. I want them to act like they have balls! I want them to stop shitting their pants!
~ Nikita Khrushchev.

Vasily Grigorevich Zaytsev (March 23, 1915 – December 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 6 enemy snipers.
Prior to November 10, he had already killed 32 Axis soldiers with the standard-issue Mosin-Nagant rifle. Between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev is claimed to have made 242 verified kills, although this is impossible to verify due to exagerations. Zaytsev himself claims to have only become a sniper on October 21st, after the intensity of the fighting had waned, how he managed to get so many kills remains a mystery. Zaytsev was nearly killed by an enemy sniper. His military rank at the time was Junior Lieutenant.

Zaytsev was born in Yeleninskoye and grew up in the Ural Mountains. His surname is based on the Russian word zayats (заяц) meaning "hare". Before serving at Stalingrad, Vasily served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk in Vladivostok but upon reading about the brutality of the fighting in Stalingrad, volunteered for front-line duty arriving in the city on October 21st, 1942 (after the most brutal fighting had already concluded). Zaytsev served in the 1047th Rifle Regiment of the 284th Rifle Divisionheaded by General Nikolai Batyuk. He is notable for having been elevated to a virtual status of hero via the use of propaganda and served as an example and inspiration to other soldiers. There, his skill as a sniper allowed him to establish a snipers' training school in the Metiz factory; it was run by Zaytsev. Zaytsev trained apprentices were nicknamed zaichata, meaning "leverets" (baby hares). Antony 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 took part in the battle for Stalingrad until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his eyes from a
mortar attack. He was attended to by Professor Filatov, who is credited with restoring his sight. On February 22, 1943 Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He then returned to the front and finished the war on the Dniestr River with the military rank of Captain. After the war, Zaytsev managed a factory in Kiev, and remained in that city until he died in 1991 at the age of 76 just 10 days before the final dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In 2001, a feature length film,
Enemy at the Gates, starring Jude Law as Zaytsev, was loosely based on the Battle of Stalingrad, most notably displaying an fictional ongoing rivalry with a Nazi marksman, Major Erwin König. Although Zaytsev really took part in the Battle of Stalingrad, the movie was mostly a work of fiction. It is unlikely that a three-day duel between Zaytsev and a talented German sniper actually took place. Although Zaytsev himself indicates that a three-day duel did indeed occur in his own memoirs it was without a doubt written with the aid of Soviet propaganda experts. Most telling of all is that there is no evidence of a duel being reported on by the Stalingrad Front political department which would have capitalized on its usefullness as propaganda. There is no evidence that any Major Erwin König ever existed, despite the claim made by the Armed Forces Museum of Moscow that they are in possession of his telescopic sight, which remains there to this date.

In recent years within the notebooks of Vasily Grossman, a war correspondent present at the Battle of Stalingrad, has revealed an interesting passage concerning Vasily Zaytsev. Grossman had an interest in weapon specialists and interviewed Anatoly Chekov, another famous sniper from the same battle. Within Vasily Grossman's notes the following passage was found:
"Murashev and medical orderly Zaytsev had been sentenced to be executed. Murashev for shooting himself through the hand, the other, because he had killed a famous pilot, who was coming down from parachute from a shot-up aircraft. [The sentence of] execution was commuted for both of them. And now they are both the best snipers in Stalingrad. (Murashev is nneteen"
Considering that Zaytsev was the only well-known sniper of that name in Stalingrad Grossman may have been the only person to record this story about Zaytsev before the Soviet propaganda machine rewrote his life. We may never discover the truth concerning this passage.

~ Wiki.

Ah, finally the famous Soviet marksman arrived from HK shortly after his nemesis. Honestly, I think I am hooked on selected DiD stuffs, most likely due to the accesorries they churned out with each box. Heavy metal and wood. The only setback is when I am required to change the uniforms, buttoning it up and so forth. Only dainty little fingers can deftly apply those darn little buttons and drawup strings and what not. Causing aches to my manly fingers for countless days ;). Head sculpt, again, is nearly there, but not true to the pics I had been seeing on its boxes and promo pages. Come to think of it, Jude Law, whom the HS is based upon from that, sigh, Enemy at da Gate movie, kinda look like a villian by DiD. Maybe because of the arched eyebrow. Currently I am having a fun time re-imagining how he would end up in Kerberos alternative history universe. Would he survive the Wehrmacht onslaught and would he confront the Panzer Heavy Division's Wolfpeltz armor during his duty on the front line? Hhhmmm.

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