In this episode we discussed the battle against PTSD and Veteran suicide…We discussed chasing those demons within and the war that still exist at home.…..The most lethal sniper to ever shoot is someone you probably never heard of, has a name you probably can’t pronounce correctly, and fought in a war you probably don’t remember. Yet in the space of 10 months, he racked up 505 confirmed kills, with another 200 unconfirmed. He was only 5’3”, but was nicknamed “the White Death.”
Simo Häyhä was a Finn who fought in the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1939-1940. Stalin feared a German invasion of his cold weather port, Leningrad, so he planned to head off such a maneuver by invading Finland.
The Russians, at the time, were poorly trained and poorly equipped conscript army, many of whom were did not have formal military training, especially in leadership roles. The Finns were outmanned and outgunned even so, so they took to guerrilla tactics, raiding, sniping, and so forth, using the environment to the utmost advantage.
Häyhä had his own technique. He relied on his environment, which was mostly snow. He would make his already small frame as small and as invisible as possible. He would conceal his breath by keeping snow in his mouth. He would take shots up to 400 yards, but refused a scope, as the lens would fog up. He even dug holes in the snow to allow himself the most protection while enabling himself to sit, a position he favored.
The Soviets, who had their own roster of highly skilled snipers, set out to get him, and on March 6, 1940, one did hitting Hayha in the lower left jaw with an explosive bullet that tore half his face off. Before he lost consciousness, Hayha managed to kill the man that shot him, losing his rifle and never seeing it again. While the Finns lost 26,000 men, the Soviets lost between 49,000 and 170,000. Their poor performance convinced Hitler to invade Russia after all, which was a fatal mistake.
When asked how he became so deadly, Häyhä simply said “practice.”
We can learn from such a deadly yet dutiful man. Always be aware of your surroundings. Always play to your own advantage. And practice, practice, practice. You are useless if you cannot use your firearm……Today I want to disuss the battle at home…. 22 veterans commit suicide per day….So if you think the war is over once our veterans come home you are highly mistaken….Let me bring into the conversation a warrior of our time, Zach McGuffey….Zach welcome to Come And Talk It Sir……