Friday, October 5, 2007

That’s the way to shoot

That’s the way to shoot – every shell is a foe.
V. Koretsky, 1943

This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy, who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my rifle and myself are defenders of my country, we are the masters of my enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.

US Marine Corps Rifle Creed (Full Metal Jacket)


Amazingly this poster features a real person – this is Vasiliy Zaytsev, a Russian sniper, who made 242 verified kills including 11 snipers between October 1942 and January 1943 during the battle of Stalingrad. He is the protagonist of famous Enemy at the Gates film.

He was born in Siberia, where hunting had always been one of the main sources of food. Since the age of four he accompanied his grandfather during his trips to taiga. His main weapon was a bow which he used to shoot squirrels for its fur. Short firing range and targets’ natural agility required excellent composure, persistence and a quick eye. At the age of 12 he was given his first rifle as a present. The shells were scarce so every shot had to be accurate. These two things – extensive bow shooting experience and lack of ammunition were the keys to Vasiliy’s excellent sharp shooting skills. In the beginning of WW2 he served in the Navy, but soon volunteered for front-line duty. There he gained fame as a perfect sniper and received order to establish a sniper school. Very soon the Germans got seriously annoyed by the sniper success, and sent a famous German sniper to stop Zaytsev. This very duel was portrayed in Enemy in the Gates. It took four days and lots of cunning and persistence of Zaytsev and his fellows to define the hideout of the German sniper and make the final shot.

In 1943 his eyes were seriously injured by a landmine blow. He got blind, but after several surgeries carried out by famous Russian medic Antonine Filatov he recovered and returned to the battlefield. He managed to survive the War and died peacefully in 1991. He was awarded a Hero of the Soviet Union medal for his courage.

On the poster Vasiliy Zaytsev is pictured with SVT-40 rifle in sniper version which replaced his famous Mosin-Nagant. Vasiliy is dressed in a camouflage cloak, which is a standard uniform for winter warfare. In his hand there are several empty shells. In the background the graves of German soldiers are marked with crosses and helmets.

Buy World War II posters at Allposters.com:


17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The scary thing is that, in the poster, he reminds me of Steve Martin.

Stan

Dhalgren said...

Totally Steve Martin.

Have you seen Steve lately, though? Wow. Grandpa!

This is a fantastic blog. I've been looking for a blog that covers Soviet posters. Eureka!

peter said...

1) Zaytsev is pictured with an SVT-40 rifle, not a Mosin one.

2) the story about hunting squirrels with a bow is just ridiculous

3) "Enemy at the gates" is holywood bullshit and has nothing to do with reality

Alexander Zakharov said...

Peter, thanks for the valuable comment - i have corrected the post concerning point 1 - this is definitely SVT-40.
As for the two other points, i have just looked through the book by Zaitsev himself. There he mentiones the duel with the sniper-professional (the one which is pictured in Enemy), but does not mention his name. That's why i didn't mention the name of Major Erwin König http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_K%C3%B6nig - as he may be a fictitious character. But i suppose the duel did take place (although it may have been not so dramatic).

GenerationUA said...

Great person - great poster!

Anonymous said...

A better translation of "что ни патрон - то враг" might be "one shot - one kill".

Also, the Creed can be attributed to an official rifle manual rather than a movie.

Gene K.

Miki said...

Very interesting blog!
I´m a painter from Planet Goodaboom. I have been working for a long time together with a Russian painter in my art gallery & art school... the reason why these posters interest me...

Digital Art Photography for Dummies said...

You know anything about the Soviet statues that used to be all over the place before the wall came down?
http://digitalartphotographyfordummies.blogspot.com/2007/04/riots-in-estonia.html

Blockheadtv said...

Interesting Story.
To watch the most entertainment videos in the web.
go to http://www.blockheadtv.com
"Watch Videos, Play Games"

Skelly's Roommate said...

I like this blog. Congrats on getting Blog of the day.

Anonymous said...

Отличный блог!
Александр, тебе респект и уважуха!

Marcy said...

Omg, he is one scary man...

Marcy

Naivszupermen said...

What a great blog! :)

I learn politics and policy at the Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest, Hungary, and I'm intrested in political posters. Both of soviet, american and nazi propaganda posters, and hungarian social-realism advertisement too.

roentarre said...

This is way too cool!

JKM said...

the article is excellent ,i always like t hear Soviet writing to encourage war at that time, another thing in call of duty 2 their is a russian soldier called Vasily , i get the feeling that they both are the same charercter

Anonymous said...

Hey it's dangerous....

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