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Old February 26, 2019, 07:32 AM   #1
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Any WW2 history buffs here?

I was reading about the Russian snipers in the battle of Stalingrad. Russia's premier sniper was Vasily Zaytsev who learned to shoot from his grandfather. He and his grandfather hunted together.

Question 1: Zaytsev grew up after the communists took over. I thought Stalin confiscated all privately owned firearms?

Question 2: Also, some historical accounts have Russian snipers taking a serious toll of Germans. But other accounts have the Russian snipers woefully inadequate?
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Old February 26, 2019, 10:49 AM   #2
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Since Vasily Zaytsev allegedly shot at his first wolf with his grandfather's M1870 Berdan II Infantry Single Shot Long Rifle...I'm assuming that his grandfather was or still in as a soldier for the Russian infantry at the time.

I know that the Germans...during WWII, had a woeful lack of sniper rifles, with some of them using their own scoped hunting rifles. Might have been the same shortage of sniper rifles for the Russians...only more so; till they mass produced the M91/30 sniper rifles around 1943 or so.

I do own a M91/30 "IZZY" 1943 sniper rifle --- with all matching numbers except for the 3.5x PU scope
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Old February 26, 2019, 05:57 PM   #3
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I know that the Germans...during WWII, had a woeful lack of sniper rifles, with some of them using their own scoped hunting rifles
I have read that about WW1, but I have not about WW2. I do know that to most of the world's armies (including the USA) snipers were considered sneaky cowards and not given much official attention until the shooting actually started. After that, sniper rifle development and production kicked in in specialized units that selected, produced and issued sniper rifles to the best shooters in special units like Waffen SS, SAS, Airborne and such. There were rifles issued to special units, but towards the later war years servicing and repairing sniper rifles fell to dismal levels in Germany because of parts shortages. I have seen a number of wartime original sniper rifles with receiver-mounted scopes that generally fall into a few types of mounts that were not similar to civilian "claw mount" scopes common to that era. There are also stories about skilled snipers using their own personal rifles out of preference.
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Old February 26, 2019, 06:09 PM   #4
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The Soviets confiscated all privately owned firearms (and all private property) that they could reach. An old rifle in a small village in the back of beyond that wasn't in evidence when the local Commissar came through might easily be missed.

Alternately, its also possible the rifle and his Grandfather were legally "blessed" as the state's local predator control "officer".

As to question #2, accounts differ, but anything published before the fall of the Soviet Union would have to have met the State's approved version.

Its a long established fact that the Soviets didn't approve of anything that showed the Soviet Union and their brand of Communism in anything less than the best possible light.

US aid was never officially admitted to by the Soviet Union.

There is "new" evidence that the massive destruction of Hitler's Panzer armies at Kursk wasn't as massive as we have been led to believe.

So, anything from the Soviet Union era should be considered suspect.

ALL nations do it to a degree, and often the real truth doesn't come out until decades or even generations afterwards.
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