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Simo Häyhä | The Deadliest Sniper In Military History

When World War II
broke out in 1939, the Soviet Union decided
to invade Finland while everyone else
was preoccupied with the war in Europe. But a sniper named Simo Hayha
came to Finland’s defense. Hayha allegedly eliminated a
staggering 505 enemy soldiers, which if accurate would make
him the single deadliest sniper in history. Today, we’re looking
at the man Simo Hayha, and his unbelievable
marksmanship. But before we get started,
be sure to subscribe to the Weird History Channel. Simo would have
wanted it that way. All right, let’s get sniping. As you might imagine, the
invading Soviet soldiers grew to be straight
up terrified of Hayha. Having to patrol the
blanched Finnish wilderness with the knowledge that Hayha
could be out there waiting dipping them with a
spectacular long distant shot earned him the
nickname Belaya Smert, which is Russian
for White Death. However, Hayha’s
fellow Finnish soldiers had a completely
different name for him. They called him Taika-ampuja– Magic Shooter. Isn’t Magic Shooter
something for salad making? Anyway. While that nickname
may have been as accurate as Hayha
himself, we have to admit it is somewhat less
intimidating than White Death. Simo’s exact sniper count
varies depending on the source. Some suggest he downed as
many as 542 Soviet soldiers with his rifle. But no one claims he
eliminated any less than 505. This makes him the most
effective sniper in any war, with Soviet sniper
Ivan Sidorenko sitting at a close
second with 500 kills. However, Hayha’s count
may even be higher. Rather than stay at a
comfortable distance behind his sniper rifle
for the entire war, Hayha may have also cut
down several hundred enemy combatants with
a submachine gun. If true, that would put his
count at approximately 800. Simo, that is a
frightening number. Impressive sure, but holy cow,
you’re really good at your job. The Winter War lasted
for a single winter, as his name suggests,
which means Hayha was putting in serious work. In order to achieve
his staggering record, Hayha was eliminating
an average of five to six enemy soldiers every day. Of course, some days
were better than others. Hayha racked up a
terrifying 40 confirmed kills in a single day, scoring
25 and 20 on two other record days. The cloud of perpetual
death in which he lived saw him promoted from corporal
to second lieutenant– the biggest rank jump in the
history of Finland’s military. Hayha did not use a scope to
forge his legendary sniper count. He preferred to use the plain
old iron sight on his rifle. Yeah, no scope. He’s just an all around
old fashioned bad ass. Beyond being hardcore, there
was a strategic reason for this beyond just showing off. Hayha recognized that
scopes gave his enemies an easy target. In addition to making the
target slightly bigger, scopes would glint
in the sunlight, allowing Hayha to spot
enemy snipers before they spotted him. At the time, every
Finnish citizen was required to do one
year of military service, and Hayha had done his 14
years earlier back in 1925. That was the extent of
his military experience. He did join the
Finnish Civil Guard as a reservist,
which is essentially the equivalent to the
US National Guard, but he stuck to his civilian
life of hunting and farming right up until the
Soviets decided to invade in 1939,
at which point he was summoned back to service. If his hunting record was
anything like his war record, we suspect the deer
around Hayha’s home had a nickname for him, too. After he completed his year
of mandatory service in 1925, Hayha was given the option to
purchase his service weapon– a standard bolt action rifle. He bought the gun and spent
the next decade and a half mastering it. When he was called back to
duty during the Winter War, Hayha brought his old
bolt action rifle, turning down a more modern
rifle with advanced optics. The extreme cold, which
ranged anywhere from minus 20 to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit,
caused frequent weapon malfunctions among
his fellow soldiers. But Hayha’s experience
with his bolt action BFF allowed him to
keep the gun functional throughout the winter. While only having minimal
military experience, Hayha how wasn’t possessed by
the Lord of incredible aim. He developed his
skill from being a competitive sharpshooter,
having grown up a few miles away from the Civil
Guard shooting range, which held annual contests. Hayha regularly participated
in these competitions, packing his house
full of trophies. Among his accomplishments
was the ability to hit a target with his rifle
16 times in a minute at a range of 500 feet– a talent best described
as supernatural. Hayha was deployed to the
Kollaa battlefield, where he and 31 other
soldiers were tasked with holding off an invading
force of 4,000 Soviet troops. Despite having fewer men on the
roster than a college football team, Hayha’s group managed
to hold their ground for the entire winter. That’s some good goal
line defense right there. He and his fellow Finns
had a few other advantages beyond his angel of
death status as a sniper. For instance, the
Soviet troops all wore bright green
uniforms, which made them stand out
like decorated Christmas trees against the
snowy white landscape. What also didn’t help
the Soviets was they lacked officers with
any leadership skills, mainly because
Stalin had them all executed when he purged the
USSR of any potential political opponents. And even though the
Soviet invasion of Finland was technically
successful, they only managed to capture a
relatively small amount of border territory, leaving
the rest of the country intact. All told, the Soviets suffered
nearly 400,000 casualties during the Winter War compared
to the 66,000 suffered by Finland. Most snipers shoot while
lying flat on their stomachs because it gives enemies a
smaller target to aim at. Hayha fired from
a sitting position because he felt the position
was better for his aim. He didn’t worry too much
about making himself a bigger target, as he was
just a biscuit over 5 feet tall and would conceal
himself in snow banks and put snow in his
mouth to hide his breath. Additionally, Hayha
would pack snow in front of his rifle
barrel or poor water on it to freeze it so that smoke would
not rise from it after he fired and give away his position. And in perhaps the
biggest departure from sniper etiquette, rather
than going for the head, Hayha aimed for the center
mass of his targets, which is effective in
wartime, but won’t do him any favors on the Black
Ops 4 leaderboards. Hayha’s reputation as the
John Wick of Finnish snipers eventually drew the ire of the
Soviet commanders, who finally grew tired of his nonsense and
began targeting him directly. Because getting anywhere near
Hayha was out of the question, they began hammering
his general location with artillery strikes. When those didn’t
work, the Soviets sent teams of counter
snipers to take him out. But Hayha, being
the sniper’s sniper, dispatched them with
bone chilling ease. Finally, one Soviet
sniper got lucky and blasted Hayha in the
jaw with an exploding round. Despite being
described by one friend as having half of his head
missing, Hayha refused to die. And after days of
reconstructive surgery, he finally regained
consciousness the day after the Winter War had ended. Despite getting a portion
of his face blown entirely off his dome in a time
when medicine was still largely experimental,
Hayha survived World War II and went back to
hunting and farming. The Finnish government actually
gave him a farm in 1961, presumably both to reward
him for his service and they probably wanted
to stay on his good side. Hayha took up dog breeding
and continued hunting, winning the Ruokolahti
Hunting Society’s Game Cup five years in a row. In 1970 he moved into
a small apartment, where he lived out
the rest of his days before passing away
at age 96 in 2002. That’s right, the
deadliest sniper in World War II
lived long enough to have witnessed the rise
of popularity of N Sync Simo Hayha left his quiet farm
life in the winter of 1939 to become the most effective
sniper in history, racking up over 500 confirmed
kills without even using a scope before
returning home to live out the rest of
the 20th century in peace. What do you think
of the White Death? Let us know in the
comments, and check out some of these other videos
of our weird history.

100 thoughts on “Simo Häyhä | The Deadliest Sniper In Military History

  1. Was surprised you didn't mention….Simo's favorite trusty ol' shootin' iron, the one he used to dispatch over 500 Soviet troops, was ironically, a RUSSIAN variant Mosin-Nagant rifle.

  2. Love how you narrate this. Made me remember how I looked forward to the lectures of my favorite proffesor when I studied history at the University of Oslo. Well done!

  3. One day there was an enemy sniper taking out his fellow soldiers so he was sent on a mission to kill him. As the enemy soldier was getting up to leave the White Death saw the sun reflect off of the enemy sniper's scope. He took the shot and it went through the enemy's cheek killing him. After that the White Death never used a scope again.

  4. The language you use around the deaths is dangerous and distasteful. This wasn't a video game, so why are you using words like 'scoring' when referring to deaths?

  5. Nice!!. My dad fathers 2 brother went thru this hell!!!.. my grandad waz too young to ww2 but hes brother died by german in so called lapland war!!. body was missing but now hes on soldiers semetary!.

  6. That was not a sub machine gun lol but it doesnt matter I've read this story before and loved hearing it, great video!

  7. Heiha? HEIHA?!!! Bloody hell learn your Finnish. I mean yeah one of the most difficult languages in the world no big deal, easy name Häyhä

  8. ‘“Worst film ever’-Joseph Stalin”
    Full review: you’re supposed to cause massive losses on your own military

  9. Simo Hayha: gets shot in mouth
    Also Simo: Goes in creative mode

    Soviet Soldier, that shot him: Hey hey hey hey wait wait just wait a minute we can talk riiiighhtt?

  10. "You're in the snipers sight, you're his first kill tonight. Time to die. You're in the bullets way, the white death spray. Say goodbye."


  11. Simo Häyhä did not kill all the Russians with his sniper rifle nicknamed "pystykorva", but also with submachine gun. This is confirmed from Simo Häyhä´s own war diarys.

  12. He lived long because bad people, corrupt people, as**les, and idiotic advantage taking bastards live longer.
    Good people always die first

  13. You don’t know Ivan Kulbertinov. From Yakutia. One of the most successful snipers of the Second World War (487 enemy soldiers). He was twice presented to the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, but never received it. Because Soviet propaganda saw the hero precisely as a Russian. He was not Russian

  14. is he a psychopath? many soldiers barely kill a single person and those who do rarely live their lives peacefully after that. how can you kill more than 500 people and still live stress free (if he was stressed or suffering PTSD I don't think his heart would've held out for 92 years)? to me it sounds like if not the war giving him an outlet we would be talking about a serial killer.
    on the other hand holy shit dude, he became anime! even King Bradley only faced one tank, this guy survived a whole artillery squad!

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