Revered by some as the ultimate warrior and condemned by others as ruthless assassins, the combat sniper is more than just a crack shot. This collection of biographies, written by leading military historians, explores the careers of the top snipers of World War II. Snipers are highly disciplined, calm professionals skilled in marksmanship, reconnaissance, and camouflage. During World War II, these lethal fighters were deployed by both sides to deadly effect. Because they were condemned as cold-hearted killers who took lives without risking their own, sniper veterans often concealed their wartime duties. However, modern snipers, and those of the past, are recognized today as representing the peak of combat skills.
The remarkable stories of ten combat snipers of the Second World War are told by military men aptly skilled to do so. Drawing on firsthand accounts that have never been published, the authors supply details of their subjects to give graphic insight into each sniper’s skill. As well as providing incisive technical information, authors offer a glimpse of the character and personality of their chosen snipers, giving them a human face. The list of snipers includes World War II’s most accomplished fighting figures such as Finland’s Simo Häyhä; Germany’s finest shooter, Sepp Allerberger; Russia’s famed Vassili Zaitsev and Lyudmila Pavlichenko; and America’s Bert Kemp. These stories detail the bitter cold in which Eastern Front snipers Zaitsev and Allerberger often fought; the stinking, steaming jungles where Japanese snipers lost their lives atop palm trees; tales of personal revenge that drove Pavlichenko; how Häyhä applied his skills as a moose hunter and skier to become World War II’s deadliest sniper; and how West Tennessee farmer Bert Kemp used his amazing ability for precision and almost supernatural marksmanship to become one of America’s unsung heroes. These gripping, in-depth narratives go beyond the cursory treatment in existing histories and are essential reading for anyone wanting to learn about the role and technique of the sniper during the Second World War.