The Badass of the Week.

Regarding Simo Hayha

Hi. First of all, I'm honestly happy that you know that who is "Belaya Smert", Simo Häyhä.  After all, I'm pleased that you even know that where Finland is.  I once met some british people that thought that Finland is in Africa.  Nice going, wankers.

And, to the point.  You have some errors in that "badass"-article.

Simo did not use Mosin-Nagant 1891-model. He used M28/30, made for Civil Guard (Suojeluskunta).  It was based on 91-model, but it was "Finnish Mosin-Nagant".  And rifle was his own, he got it soon after he got out of army.  So, he had used it for many many years.  He knew the rifle well and was able to practice with it.

Simo Häyhä got that custombuilt rifle as present. But, he never used it.  It had a scope, so he would have to raise his head more than with his "Pystykorva"-rifle.

Finnish use:  One of the main Finnish rifle types of World War 2.  Mainly issued to front-line infantry, known for its accuracy.

Military rifle M/28-30 was third Mosin-Nagant rifle version designed by Suojeluskunta (Finnish Civil Guard).  Just adding a new part to old Russian rear sight (Konovalov m/1910), like with M/28 rifle, had proved less than best possible solution.  Adjusting the rear sight of M/28 to exact distance setting was not easy and the whole rear sight proved too vulnerable.  So Engineer Harry Mansner working in Ordnance Department of Suojeluskunta General Staff developed an improved back sight by autumn of 1931.  This new rear sight became standard for M/28-30 rifle.

M28/30 was used widely and was one of the best servicerifles in WWII.  One of the reasons why Russkies were in major troubles even against small group of Finns;  Finns were able to shoot frow far away, their weapons were reliable as hell and that was important in -30 or -40 degrees.

Also, you could mention that in some cases Häyhä is credited with 542 kills, which is more likely.  And, over 200 with Suomi-SMG. And, that doesn't count kills from first week of Winter War, the kills that couldn't be confirmed (due that Häyhä was hunting alone, or there were several Finns shooting Russkies, etcetc.).  So, total body count might be far over 800.


There is also the story about one man, Viljam Pylkäs, who fought in Winter War.  But he is remembered for his bravery in "Continuation War".

Pylkäs was somewhere in Karelia (eastern part of Finland, stolen by commies in Winter War) with his regiment.  They were defending, it was rather quiet.  Attacking Russkies got slaughtered almost everywhere.  He noticed that somethings wrong.  There should be more Russkies.

Pylkäs and one private took a look around.  They met swedish (volunteer) officer who said that "Enemy here".  Russians had attacked the Swedes with rage, the line was breaking.  Pylkäs knew that Finns would be surrounded if the Russkies would break the line.  Well, Pylkäs ran to Swedes, gave couple of commands.  And took one of the Suomi-SMG's.

Pylkäs killed alone about 90 russians, with his Suomi-SMG.  The line didn't break and Russians got fucking scared.  I think that those survived that slaughter are still running, somewhere near Ural.

One more true story about Häyhä:

Aarne "Marokon Kauhu" Juutilainen (Aarne "Terror of Morocco" Juutilainen) was in Kollaa with his company.  One russian sniper had shot several officers and some sergeants that got promoted.  Juutilainen tried to take the Russkie out, but failed.  Juutilainen knew that the commie-sniper was really good.  He decided that it's time to see just how good that Russkie is.  He sent his best corporal after this sniper.  So, Häyhä got the job.  "Take that Russkie out", Juutilainen said.  "I'll try my best, sir" Häyhä replied.

Well, next morning Häyhä went looking for our Russian friend.  After several hours he noticed Russkie.  He shot at him, but missed. He decided that it's time to move away from positions.  And right after that, grenades started hammering the position that Häyhä just left.  Russians where desperate, they knew that Belaya Smert ("White Death" in Russian) is around and tried to take him out with mortars and artillery (as you said in your article, one of the things that most people don't know.  Nice work).

The next morning Häyhä tried again.  He had breakfast, took some sugar with him and went after Russkie.  Again, after several hours Häyhä noticed a place where the Russian might be.  Then, he noticed something.  The same thing you noticed in your article:  the scope lens was reflecting sunlight.  Amateur mistake.  The Russian was sloppy, he didn't know that Häyhä was around.

The Russian raised his head and chest just little, to take a look around.  But it was all that Häyhä needed.  He shot.  "Laaki ja vainaa" as we say in Finland.  "One shot and dead".  Distance was over 450 meters.  Over a quarter mile.

Might be good to mention what Häyhä replied when asked what made him such a good sniper.  The answer was "practice".

Keep up the good work, I really appreciate your work and interest.  Not just this article, but those other "non-american"-articles also.

I'd also like to recommend you one movie and maybe book (if you can find it).  "Unknown Soldier" is written by Väinö Linna and movie is directed by "Edvin Laine" (1955) and later by Rauni Mollberg (1985).

It tells the story of one regiment in Continuation War.  In that movie is also Viljam Pylkäs, and many other true characters.  This time his name is "Antero Rokka".  You can find info about it on IMBD.  I myself think that older version, made in 1955, is better.  They aren't really "serious" warmovies, neither any humor-movies.  In that movie is scene where Rokka guns down the russians, but it's modified.  Väinö Linna, the guy who wrote the book, served with Pylkäs and other guys in same company.

- Ari


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