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Simo Hayha, the 'white death', was one of history's greatest soldiers.

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

Simo Häyhä, also known as “The White Death” is widely regarded as the most skilled and successful sniper there ever was, with over 505 kills to his name, the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills in any major war. He helped defend Finland from Soviet Russia in 1939, when the Soviet Union attempted to invade Finland during World War II. Soviet Russia possessed more than three times as many soldiers as the Finns (almost a million), thirty times as many aircraft, and a hundred times as many tanks. Despite these overwhelming odds, Finland fought bravely for more then three months and managed to inflict hundreds of thousands of casualties on the red army and destroyed over 3,500 tanks.

Simo Hayha during the Winter War.

With his old Mosin-Nagant M91 rifle, he would dress in white winter camouflage, and carry with him only a day’s worth of supplies and ammunition. While hiding out in the snow, he would then take out any Soviet soldier who entered his killing zone. Hayha preferred to use old school iron sights on his gun instead of scopes, as scopes had a tendency to glare in the sunlight and reveal his position. While he may sound like an ordinary sniper, this was far from the case: over the course of 100 days during the winter he racked up over 700 kills, earning him the nickname “The White Death”. The Soviets feared him so much that they mounted numerous counter sniper and artillery attacks to get rid of him, all of which failed miserably. However, on March 6th, 1940, he was hit in the jaw by an explosive round from a counter sniper. He fell into an 11-day coma, awakening on the day that the war ended.

Simo Hayha in 1998.

Nobody in history has ever been credited with more confirmed kills than Simo Häyhä. He was an unlikely war hero who used patience, cunning and precision to defend his country, his home, his people and his freedom from communist totalitarian oppression. He was also an unstoppable killing machine the likes of which the world has never known before or since. However, unlike some other war "heroes", Simo only used his deadly skills to defend his country from invasion. The term "badass" doesn't even begin to describe Simo Hayha, but "Hero" does.

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