Notes of a Russian Sniper, Vassili Zaitsev

Notes of a Russian Sniper, Vassili Zaitsev

Vassili Zaitsev and the Battle of Stalingrad

Vassili Zaitsev was one of the most famous Soviet soldiers of the Second World War, a sniper who made his name during the battle of Stalingrad, and whose account of a dual with one expert Nazi sniper inspired the movie 'Enemy at the Gates'.

This is Zaitsev's own account of his time in Stalingrad, starting with his arrival as a volunteer from the Soviet Pacific Fleet. After a period as a normal soldier he was elected to serve as a sniper, at one point leading a team of snipers.

The most famous incident in the book, his duel with an elite German sniper, comes close to the end of the book. Before that we are given a very impressive account of the fighting in the ruins of Stalingrad. Zaitsev gives us a very clear picture of the nature of the fighting where each room could be a battlefield in its won right.

Zaitsev never refers to his education in the main text, skipping from his childhood in the Urals straight to the Pacific Fleet. In the gap he attended a technical college and became an accountant, and after the war he became a professor of engineering. This shows in the text which is both literate and well structured.

This is one of the best memoirs to emerge from the Second World War, and a true classic of military history.

1 - Childhood and Youth
2 - A Sailor's Shirt Under a Soldier's Fatigues
3 - The Crossing
4 - First Combat
5 - Buried Alive
6 - Without Catching my Breath
7 - A Quiet Day
8 - I Become a Sniper
9 - First Steps
10 - A Difficult Position
11 - Find the Sniper
12 - When Patience in Essential
13 - A Soldier's Sky
14 - My Obligation
15 - Trust
16 - Wronged
17 - Tyurin and Khabibulin
18 - Duel
19 - I Serve the Soviet Union

Appendix 1: Sniper's Story: Zaitsev short story published in 1943
Appendix 2: Order No.227: Stalin's 'No Retreat' Order

Author: Vassili Zaitsev
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 193
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2009 edition

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