Monday, 18 February 2013

Killing from a Distance - The Best Snipers

With the death of Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history earlier this month, and after watching "Enemy at the Gates" yet again, I decided to put together a list of the deadliest snipers in history.

Robert Furlong


Currently a Police Officer, Furlong, a former Canadian Forces sniper, as a member of the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry.  Furlong is known for his record breaking sniper kill in 2002 during Operation Anaconda, during the War in Afghanistan. Furlong, armed with a .50 Caliber McMillan Brothers Tac-50 Sniper Riffle. He killed a Taliban fighter at a distance of 2,430 meters.  Furlong held the record for the longest confirmed kill, from 2002 to 2009.

Craig Harrison 

Harrison, a Corporal of Horse (CoH) for the Blues and Royals of the British Army holds the record for the longest confirmed sniper kill in combat history. In November 2009, Harrison killed 2 Taliban fighters in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan at a distance of 2,475 meters. Harrison was armed with a L115A# Long Range Riffle.

Charles "Chuck" Mawhinney

Mawhinney in action during the Vietnam War 
Charles Mawhinney joined the U.S. Marines in 1967 and served the Corps during the Vietnam War. He holds the record for number of confirmed kills, at 103, for Marine Snipers. His kill rate, exceeds that of legendary Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock. In his 16 month deployment he killed 103 enemies, and another 216 kills were never confirmed.  The average sniper kill was 300-800 yards during the war, Mawhinney have several confirmed kills over 1000 yards, making him one of the most accurate snipers in the Vietnam War.

Adelbert F. Waldron 


Waldron is on this list as he held the highest number of conformed kills for any American Sniper in history until the deployment of Chris Kyle. With a 109 Confirmed Kills, Waldron is also one of the most accurate Snipers ever deployed. Waldron served during the Vietnam War in and around the Mekong River. His most impressive kill came while aboard a Tango Boat where he killed a Vietcong Soldier hiding in a coconut tree with one shot over 900 meters away while in motion.

Carlos Norman Hathcock II ("White Feather")

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With 93 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War, Hathcock was hated by the Vietnamese. The Vietnam Army put out a $30,000 bounty on his life for killing so many of their men, and officers. Compared to other bounty's for other U.S. snipers offered by the Vietnamese, were typically around $8. Hathcock was known for his extremal accurate shot, known for rarely missing and requiring a second shot.  He is most famously known for his kill where he killed an enemy sniper, where his bullet went through the scope of the enemy sniper.  Hathcock also spent 4 days crawling through a meadow to kill a Vietnamese General who was commanding officer of the Vietnamese Army.

Francis Pegahmagabow 

Francis Pegahmagabow

Although virtually forgotten once he returned to Canada after World War I, Pegahmagabow had 378 confirmed kills and lead to the capture of at least 300 Germany soldiers. He was an Ojibwa Warrior fighting for Canada during various battles including the Second Battle of Ypres, Battle of the Somme, Second Battle of Passchendaele, and the Battle of Scarpe. Pegahmagabow was awarded the Military Medal three times and seriously wounded twice during the war. He also volunteered to run through enemy fire to get more ammunition when his unit was running low. After the war Pegahmagabow served a political life.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko 

Lyudmyla M Pavlichenko

Pavlichenko was 24 years old when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. She was one of the first volunteers when Russia asked for women to join the infantry. She was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division. With her shooting accuracy, she became one of 2000 female snipers in the Soviet Union. With 309 confirmed kills, she is the most successful female sniper in combat history. Her first deployment was during the conflict in Odessa, and after 2 months in combat, she had killed 187 Germans.  She spent another 8 months in the Crimean Peninsula, where she recorded another 257 kills. Of her 309 kills, 36 were enemy snipers.

Chris Kyle 

Kyle was a U.S Navy SEAL and was the most lethal sniper in American Military history. He had 160 confirmed kills, with another 95 unconfirmed. Kyle was deployed during the Iraq War, specifically the Second Battle of Fullujah. He was awarded 2 Silver Star Medals, 5 Bronze Star Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, 2 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, A Purple Heart, and other operational medals.  After leaving the military Kyle was helping former soldiers who were struggling with PTSD, and was killed in a Shooting Range shoot-out in February 2013.

Vasily Zaytsev 


Probably one of the best known snipers in history thanks to Hollywood and the film, "Enemy At the Gates." Although it is a fantastic film it is not entirely true, or at least cannot be confirmed. With 242 confirmed kills Zaytsev became a Russian hero and sign of hope during the Battle of Stalingrad. In his memoir, Zaytsev claimed to have spent 3 days hunting, and being hunted by German sniper Erwin Konig (also thought to be Heinz Thorvald). There is no official record of either existing or being present during the Battle of Stalingrad. The book "War of the Rats" by David L. Robbins portrays the battle between Zaytsev and Thorvald, while the film chooses Konig. It is most likely that the event was Zaytsev hunting multiple snipers, not one elite sniper. However, Zaytsev remained firm that he was it was Konig he fought with. Zaytsev was responsible for training numerous other Soviet snipers, who where responsible for more than 3,000 kills.  Zaytsev's kills came between October 1942 and January 1943. As many as 250 kills went unconfirmed, making him one of the deadliest snipers in history.

Simo Hayha 

Simo Hayha-S585X360-11707

Hayha was nicknamed "White Dead" as he was responsible for 705 confirmed kills, 505 of which came from his sniper riffle. He was armed with an Iron Sighted Bolt Action fancy scope like all the others on this list. Hayha was active during the Winter War 1939-1940 between Finland and Russia, where Hayha lived outdoors with temperatures dropping to -40 degrees Celsius. In less than 100 days, he had 505 confirmed kills, and another 542 unconfirmed kills. He was later credited with 200 kills using a Suomi KP/31 Sub-machine gun. Hayha was a master of winter camouflage, doing various things to hide his location, including keeping snow in his mouth so that his breath would not reveal his position. He was shot in the face in March of 1940 but survived, and was in hospital when peace was declared.

Remembering History - The Best Snipers