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Most interesting link there.

Thanks Bastables.

Note the comments about the use of AT rifles and their inaccuracy for sniping compared to the usual snipers rifles used but clearly they were used occasionally.

To return to the original subject.

".........I do not think there was any subject about which there was so much balderdash printed and published during the whole course of world War II than Russian sniping."

"............I think that the printed Russian figures of sniper casualties should be divided by a hundred and the result taken as something like the number of Germans accounted for by russian snipers."

Capt. C. Shore. (With British Snipers to the Reich. 1948.)

It has always been my view that the kill figures quoted were greatly exaggerated as the Russian snipers were raised to the status of icons by the Press to divert the public from grimmer news in much the same way that air aces were likewise treated in WW1.

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Bastables, thanks for the link as well.

Doodlebug, let's refrain from comments based on political ideologies, and keep it on the military. As stated, I'm looking for comparative data for German snipers - or any army in WWII, for that matter. Do you have anything to offer to this discussion?

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Originally posted by Grisha:

Bastables, thanks for the link as well.

Doodlebug, let's refrain from comments based on political ideologies, and keep it on the military. As stated, I'm looking for comparative data for German snipers - or any army in WWII, for that matter. Do you have anything to offer to this discussion?

I hardly consider a couple of quotes taken directly from a book published by a trained sniper and serving officer from the period as "political ideology". The fact that the press and propaganda machines fasten onto individuals is also a fact and not an ideology. Perhaps you could enlighten us to the source of your figures? I can heartily recommend the book I quoted from should you care to read it which looks at weapons, training, tactics and a few personal reminiscences. Written as it was, immediately after the officer's demobilisation, it is a useful period piece based upon his perceptions and experiences. I genuinely hope that your comments are based upon your inability to understand quotation marks and your consequent mis-reading of my original post and nothing more unpleasant than that.
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Originally posted by Grisha:

Bastables, thanks for the link as well.

Doodlebug, let's refrain from comments based on political ideologies, and keep it on the military. As stated, I'm looking for comparative data for German snipers - or any army in WWII, for that matter. Do you have anything to offer to this discussion?

Hmmm. Keeping it on the military is a tough old thing on the ideological bare-knuckle fight that is the Russian Front. Neither side wanted to tell the truth overmuch. Not much fair-minded 'operational analysis' there I would think.

Data you're looking for? Good luck. I think you will have a long. And who knows? Pointless hunt. I'm a bit suspicious of the 'German Sniper' site. Call me an old urban myth cynic. Reads to me a bit like somebody regurgitating 'FM-Sniping' in the syle of A, B, C. It would be nice to see the real article. A bit like Uday and Qusay.

Common sense suggests to me that the claimed sniper score is far too high. Got that from reading about the concept of the 'empty battlefield'. Chaps hiding whenever possible because they don't want to be shot by snipers. Makes it a bit tricky to 'destroy AG Centre by sniping' as suggested by the Sov claims.

And here's the real deal. Stalingrad. The besieged city. I think that it was the Soviet tanks behind and not the Soviet snipers in front that destroyed 6th Army. Is that wrong? Still I'm sure they played their part. But why NKVD snipers? Why not credit to the Red Army snipers? Let's keep it on the military.

Toodle pip.

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Originally posted by Determinant:

It's an American site that has replicated/translated version of the interview carried out by a Captain Hans Widhofner of the Austrian army; it even gives the title and year of publication, bit dangerous if one is trying to pull a fast one.

The article it self has yet to be discredited unlike the Konig duel with Zaitsev of Stalingrad inspite of being a oft quoted and referred piece while including the two top snipers of the German army of WWII.

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Doodlebug,

My source was Voenno-Istoricheskii Zhurnal, or "Military History Journal," No.9, 1985. It was a restricted journal put out by the Soviet Army. I was looking for comparative data to estimate the relative validity of the statement. Ideological phobia resided in as effective a commander as Patton, so a professional sniper should not be exempt from suspicion - especially since you've placed nothing to corroborate his quotes. Claiming inflated figures due to Soviet popular sniper worship directs me to ask just how big was luftfliegeren 'worship' in wartime Germany? Not that I generally contest German fighter aces scores, but that argument does set a shaky precedent.

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Originally posted by Grisha:

Doodlebug,

My source was Voenno-Istoricheskii Zhurnal, or "Military History Journal," No.9, 1985. It was a restricted journal put out by the Soviet Army. I was looking for comparative data to estimate the relative validity of the statement. Ideological phobia resided in as effective a commander as Patton, so a professional sniper should not be exempt from suspicion - especially since you've placed nothing to corroborate his quotes. Claiming inflated figures due to Soviet popular sniper worship directs me to ask just how big was luftfliegeren 'worship' in wartime Germany? Not that I generally contest German fighter aces scores, but that argument does set a shaky precedent.

Good source material there but not beyond the possibility that it is "pushing" a certain line. Can you clarify the NKVD sniper description which has me intrigued? In my mind at least NKVD and Red Army are pretty much two separate organisations. Does the article make any reference or differentiation to army snipers?

My quotes are pulled from what is essentially a statistic-less memoir and therefore completely unsustainable in a number driven discussion.

Given the huge numbers of kills claimed by Soviet snipers and given also the relative anonymity of other nations snipers are we arguing from a level piece of ground? Is there an element of over and under estimation going on? The link given by Bastables gives some details of kill confirmation procedures for the German snipers. Are details available for the Russians? Perhaps by examining the frameworks to which each nation worked then a comparison can be made of the other factors involved - numbers of snipers, equipment, tactics, natural ability and any other factors that interested parties can dig up and throw into the mix?

So perhaps we could start by asking the question.

"How were Soviet kills confirmed? Is the procedure equivalent to that of the Germans?

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Doodlebug,

To be honest, I know little of snipers. It was the KIA/WIA figure posted that caught my eye, and I wanted to get a bearing by comparative data. The NKVD was separate from the Red Army, being classified as "internal troops." Their primary job was State security. NKVD troops were politically reliable and highly motivated. Through special reconnaissance-diversionary formations, such as OMSBON, NKVD troops conducted many types of special operations. These included intelligence gathering and reconnaissance-diversionary missions. NKVD also had a large role in coordinating Soviet partisan activity with the Red Army throughout the war. Opportunities for sniper activity were likely more varied with NKVD snipers than their Red Army counterparts - the exception being the special troops under Red Army Military Intelligence (GRU).

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Hmmmm. NKVD were independent of the Army and presumably(?) drawn from politically reliable elements of the population to act in the state police role and the protection of party interests. Of course, national and party interests co-incide nicely under a one party system.

I have always been lead to believe that the centres of Communist support were first and foremost the large towns and cities and it was from that power base that the remainder of the population in the villages and hamlets were brought into line. I would therefore have thought that the NKVD would be more likely to have been drawn from the educated and politically active urban supporters of the regime and that the men with most natural aptitude for sniping, the hunters and peasants and so forth would have been fed into army units. I would also have thought that another prerequisite for sniping success is a continued and close proximity to tne enemy such as Stalingrad would have offered. Special ops would have offered sniping opportunities but so would day to day contact in favourable conditions with enemy soldiers. Does anyone have any data regarding numbers of Army snipers compared to NKVD snipers?

[ August 10, 2003, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: Doodlebug ]

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Originally posted by PatAWilson:

Grisha:

The numbers that you posted show an AVERAGE of over 100 kills per sniper across thousands of snipers. I do not question that the Russians fielded some superb snipers, but I have to question that the thousands of snipers fielded by the Russians averaged 120 kills each.

Obviously it is difficult to possitively refute that figure, but it does seem excessive.

I think you got the decimal point wrong somewhere in the calculation. I think it works out at 12 from the data above.
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Originally posted by Doodlebug:

I have always been lead to believe that the centres of Communist support were first and foremost the large towns and cities and it was from that power base that the remainder of the population in the villages and hamlets were brought into line. I would therefore have thought that the NKVD would be more likely to have been drawn from the educated and politically active urban supporters of the regime and that the men with most natural aptitude for sniping, the hunters and peasants and so forth would have been fed into army units. I would also have thought that another prerequisite for sniping success is a continued and close proximity to tne enemy such as Stalingrad would have offered. Special ops would have offered sniping opportunities but so would day to day contact in favourable conditions with enemy soldiers.

I confess that I don't know diddly about the subject at hand, but I am having a thought that I will just toss out for the consideration of the cognoscenti.

Greg posted this:

NKVD also had a large role in coordinating Soviet partisan activity with the Red Army throughout the war.
Now then, IF some of the NKVD troops assigned to co├Ârdinate with partisans were snipers, THEN it occurs to me that they might be kept pretty busy setting up ambushes to knock off a RAMF or two and then fade back into the folliage. This would of course tend to keep the surviving RAMFs pretty tense, hurt morale, etc.

That's my thought. Bye for now...

Michael

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Originally posted by Doodlebug:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by PatAWilson:

Grisha:

The numbers that you posted show an AVERAGE of over 100 kills per sniper across thousands of snipers. I do not question that the Russians fielded some superb snipers, but I have to question that the thousands of snipers fielded by the Russians averaged 120 kills each.

Obviously it is difficult to possitively refute that figure, but it does seem excessive.

I think you got the decimal point wrong somewhere in the calculation. I think it works out at 12 from the data above. </font>
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Doodlebug,

Regarding NKVD recruitment, many of the personnel in OMSBON were actually formerly employed in athletic clubs (ie football clubs and whatnot), and other occupations requiring extreme physical fitness. Having recruits who were from intellectual backgrounds was also sought to a degree, but it could be a double-edged sword - since a knowledgeble person continually reassesses their environment (hence, where dissidents are born). I'm not trying to say that people of intelligence were kept out of the Komsomol (you had to be in your mid-thirties to be eligible for Communist Party membership), but they didn't have any special status politically.

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Originally posted by Grisha:

Doodlebug,

Regarding NKVD recruitment, many of the personnel in OMSBON were actually formerly employed in athletic clubs (ie football clubs and whatnot), and other occupations requiring extreme physical fitness. Having recruits who were from intellectual backgrounds was also sought to a degree, but it could be a double-edged sword - since a knowledgeble person continually reassesses their environment (hence, where dissidents are born). I'm not trying to say that people of intelligence were kept out of the Komsomol (you had to be in your mid-thirties to be eligible for Communist Party membership), but they didn't have any special status politically.

Ok. I'm trying desperately to recall when Glasnost and Perestroika(forgive the spelling if it's wrong) kicked in. Wasn't it around '90 or '91? For some reason I cannot remember :(

Now if your source is '85 then could it be a case of being subject to some sort of party influence even though(or because) it was intended for official comsumption? I wonder who did the research and what sources were utilised?

I suspect that a quantative truth will be impossible to derive. As a sniper I guess you take a shot, see the target vanish but rarely see a body if you are in a positional type of war. You probably only have an instinctive feel for whether it was a good kill or not. I genuinely wonder if the statistics you give are capable of cross analysis to some other source. Hasn't there been some statistical work done on the breakdown of casualties and sources eg. artillery, small arms fire,tanks etc.? If there is, then it ought to be possible to check the figure against the total casualties inflicted to see if it's in the ball park. Anyone know of any such work being published?

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Originally posted by Doodlebug:

Ok. I'm trying desperately to recall when Glasnost and Perestroika(forgive the spelling if it's wrong) kicked in. Wasn't it around '90 or '91? For some reason I cannot remember

Earlier. Probably began around '85-'86 but didn't really get into the swing until a couple years later.

Michael

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