Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Holy Shit, Snipers!

M40 Sniper Rifle

Who's up for another story about violence? Don't lie. You're interest is piqued. Especially when you saw the word "sniper" in the title. The completely inaccurate ideal of the lone wolf sniper (they always, always travel with a spotter) is one of the most enduring images of jingoistic media, which is why every first-person shooter on the market devolves into half snipers and half people who know that snipers are a bunch of camping noobs who piss everyone off.
The old rage quit table flip
The real life consequences of rage quitting are considerably more severe than this, though.

That's really the point, though. Snipers are meant to demoralize, terrorize, and piss off the enemy. To do that, they have to sit perfectly still, do a shit-load of math (no seriously, they carry cheat sheets like you used to use to get through algebra tests), and perform unfathomable feats of marksmanship from incredible distance.
Sniper app
I was terrified to learn that there is, in fact, an app for that.

One such nefarious miracle worker was known as Carlos Hathcock. Known as The White Feather Sniper to the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, Hatcock racked up a confirmed kill count of 93 over the course of the Vietnam War. That's 93 people he definitely killed and had confirmed by both his spotter and a third party officer. The actual number, as is usually the case, was probably much higher.
Carlos Hathcock
I have no words. Only lightly browned underwear.

Hathcock was most famous for a particular shot he made, though. Remember that part toward the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, when the hillbilly Christian sniper shoots the Nazi in the bell tower?
Oh, did I mention there would be violence?

It turns out that shot is difficult to make.

Really difficult.

Like, so close to impossible that there's no way in Hell anyone could ever do it.

Unless their name is Carlos Hathcock.

You see, the NVA were none too fond of Carlos, so they sent their own favorite sharpshooter with the considerably more dangerous sounding name of "Cobra" to forcibly remove him from service. Carlos and his spotter tracked Cobra down to a patch of jungle after he turned a few heads in the very unfortunately literal sense using the medium of high velocity bullets.

Hathcock saw a flash of light as he was scanning the vegetation and, on instinct, aimed for it and pulled the trigger. When they investigated the spot, they found Cobra lying dead with a bullet in his eye and a shattered scope on his rifle. There is only one way this could possibly happen: Cobra had literally been aiming directly at Hathcock, but didn't have the presence of mind to fire first. Hathcock's bullet went straight through the scope without ricocheting or bursting out of the sides. The shot would go down as one of the most famous in sniper history, which, yes, is a real thing.

Hathcock has nothing on Simo Häyhä, though. Simo Häyhä was a Finnish sniper in the Winter War (that little side story of WWII between Finland and the Soviet Union) whose full story I won't get into right now. Suffice it to say that Häyhä had 505 confirmed kills with a sniper rifle, in addition to at least 200 more with other weaponry. The man was an unstoppable killing machine who racked up more kills than any other sniper in history, and he did it all on Hard Mode by not even using a goddamned scope.
Simo Häyhä
"Those are too cumbersome!" he shouted, gleefully tearing another man's face apart.

I'm fairly certain Simo Häyhä was actually an avatar of death. He certainly seemed immortal. He survived ambushes, other snipers, artillery strikes, and even being shot in  the jaw with an explosive bullet that took half his face off. The lives he took certainly seemed to nourish him. Häyhä died at the comfortable old age of 92. Either he was working for the Grim Reaper or the Reaper knew better than to come within a mile of his presence while he was still in possession of his faculties.

Holy shit.

1 comment:

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