Military Review

V.N. Pchelintsev (1942) Memoirs of a Sniper

V.N. Pchelintsev (1942) Memoirs of a Sniper"Our separate volunteer battalion of Leningraders, in which my combat biography began, fought the entire blockade time in the Nevsky Pyatachka area. The bridgehead was small: a half or two kilometers along the front along the left bank of the Neva and a kilometer in depth. The initiative, originated by the best shooters of the Leningrad Front units came in. It so happened that I was among the first, on September 6 destroyed two enemy motorcyclists on the Dubrovka-Shlisselburg highway, and on September 8 two more Nazis under the Nevskaya Dubrovka d. So passed my formation as a sniper.

I owe my first success first of all to my arms. A rifle for a warrior is his best friend. Give her care and attention - and she will never let you down. To protect the rifle, keep it clean, eliminate the slightest malfunction, moderately lubricate, adjust all parts, target it - this should be the attitude to your weapon.

At the same time, it would not be superfluous to know that, despite the standard, in principle there are no identical rifles. As they say, each has its own character. This character can manifest itself, for example, in the degree of elasticity of various springs, ease of sliding of the bolt, in softness or stiffness of the descent, in the state of the barrel bore, its deterioration, etc. Often hungry, cold from the cold, I returned from “hunting” before I’ve only taken to clean the weapon, put it in order. This is an immutable law for the sniper.

I trained marksmanship before the war. At a sniper training range shot almost daily. At a specially equipped shooting range, “unexpectedly” targets appeared at different distances: machine guns, guns, Tanksenemy running group. Or suddenly the horns of a stereo tube will appear ... Of course, all this was interesting and quite believable. But in all this there was no main thing - danger. The one who accustoms the sniper to vigilance, prudence, cunning, dexterity, that is, to the fact that we were constantly accompanied in the war.

At the front, all my initial skills acquired in the sniper school were subjected to a very strict exam. Here "figurines" also flashed here and there, but for them you yourself were the target. It was necessary to search for the shooting places yourself, to equip, to mask. Do not one position, but several. And besides, to know which and when to take, and which immediately after the first shot, quickly change. Had to adapt to shooting in a variety of conditions. If you make a mistake in choosing a position, you will pay with your life. You make a shot cautiously, sometimes you worry, maybe you are overly cautious, and sometimes you get into a situation where you save. I am not ashamed of this word, but I speak from experience: the feeling of fear can and must be overcome in oneself. The main thing for which it is necessary to overcome your fear and even risk your life is the performance of a combat mission. According to such laws, scouts and snipers lived on the front.

In a combat situation, it was not always possible to cope with their feelings, especially at the beginning, when the "frightened Fritzes" appeared. Once, even at the beginning of my “free hunt”, I saw an enemy officer in the depths of the German defense who was heading towards the trail of his forward edge, that is, he was walking in our direction. Fearing to miss the enemy, I without thinking twice clung to the sight. Shot and missed. Fritz hurriedly jumped into the trench. What is the matter? Why overshot? Not mastered with the nerves? Hurry up? Yes, haste has let down, it should have been calmer.

Calm and composure are needed in different circumstances. Once, after the Nazis intensified the processing of our front edge from the air, when we were pretty piled up with lumps of torn-up land and covered with sand in the trenches, I struggled out of the dam and, shaking off the sand and the earth, picking up a rifle, ran to the shore.

The first shot showed that the sight was shot down. Obviously, all this happened during the bombing, when control over oneself and one’s actions is somewhat lost waiting for the bomb to break. Decided to check the bout rifle. I asked a trench neighbor to help me with this. The stalk of a reed sticking out of the water showed him on the water on the opposite bank. His task was simple - to determine by eye the amount of deviation of my shots from the place of reed out of the water. Accurately aimed the sight at this point and fired. Ricochet from a bullet in the water was clearly visible. Something centimeters 30-35 to the left. Once again a shot - and again the same effect. I figured the distance - about 300-350 meters. The amendment is clear - one division. Twirled the handwheel and after a control shot with a calm soul took up the usual thing.

Here is another example. It was getting dark. Figures of Nazi soldiers flashed somewhere far away in the rear. But his eyes were looking for a target near the shore, where the front line of the enemy’s defense was passing. When it began to get dark, I suddenly saw two soldiers on the path. With buckets, merrily chatting, with cigarettes in their teeth, almost without melting, they walked to the shore.

Finger on the trigger - is about to be heard shot. But I persuade myself: “Calmer, do not hurry! Fritz go to the water, it means they will be even closer, and the shot will be more accurate!” The closer to the shore, the lower they began to bend down. At the very descent to the water, at the path, they hid and almost disappeared from my sight. After a minute or two, I looked, jumped out from behind the knoll, and, throwing the assault rifles behind their backs, rushed one after the other down the hill. And again I suffer, I calm myself down: "After all, they need to run another ten to fifteen meters to the water!" We ran to the water. I am commanding myself: “It's time” - and I press the trigger. Two destroyed fascists - the result of restraint, calm and composure.

Undoubtedly, the correct position of the shooter when shooting - the key to success. But this, as they say, is the theoretical, "peaceful" position of the shooter. At the front, in a combat situation, it was very rarely possible to get settled in this way. Is it only in the long-term defense, with careful equipment of their positions. As a rule, in a combat situation a sniper has to shoot from a wide variety of positions.

I had such a case. There was a crossing of our troops. I was ordered to suppress the fire of enemy machine gunners. The first shots from the bunker, where I settled down, showed the unsuitability of my position: limited review, inconvenient to work with the sight ... Quickly got out - and into the trench. But, as it turned out, it was not the case to start firing from here. He jumped out of the trench, rolled over the parapet and leaned closer to the enemy, to the very edge of the shore. Lying on a handful of branches in the bush. At first, it seemed that I liked it: it can be seen well, very softly, covered with shrubs. And when he began to catch the machine gunner in optics, he felt interference. There was no solid support - elbows fell between the branches, sprung, spread.
Finally, he became more or less affirmed and turned his attention to the fulfillment of his task. Firing streams of machine-gun fire rushed from the opposite bank. In addition to the former Germans rolled out a couple more machine guns. Three-tiered fire prevented the crossing.

Our artillery hit the enemy, but did not harm the machine-gunners, who were attached to the coastal embankment. Unstable position prevented aiming. I remembered involuntarily my school years, when I once shot a target at a competition “on the aisle”, that is, I did not keep my front sight under the edge of the black circle, and I used it to sway lightly for shooting. The challenge was to achieve a slow, steady wiggle. The trigger finger was at a critical point; the slightest click - and a shot! It all flashed through my mind instantly. Opened fire. Gradually, the machine guns fell silent, and soon in my sector there was not a single machine gunner on the bank - the task was completed ...

One winter, I found myself in a rather difficult situation. Ahead of the site area was littered with trunks of trees felled by explosions, heaps of branches. To observe lying down, and even more so it was impossible to shoot, and if you raise yourself up, you will immediately become a target for the enemy. Lying behind the trunk of an old birch. The review has improved slightly. And here the main thing is to cuddle closer to the birch, not to flick behind it, not to stick out from behind the trunk. When you support an attack unit, two or three times you have to change its position. And here you do not look: a puddle or not a puddle, a snag is not a snag - you rejoice in any corner, any mound ...

You might ask, how can snipers work best - together or alone? I will say frankly: practice has shown that the resolution of this issue depends entirely on skill and, of course, on the specific conditions of the battle.

It was in the middle of winter. Not far from Leningrad a railway bridge passed across the Neva. Back in the fall, when our troops departed, they undermined it, but the two trusses of the bridge adjoining our shore were intact.

For a long time I had been eyeing the bridge, assuming that the enemy shore was well visible from it. The benefit is twofold: not only is a good observation point, but it must also be an excellent sniper position. True, if found, nesdobrovat! .. But not only that held back. How unnoticed, leaving no traces, to get on the bridge and, most importantly, how in case of danger to leave it? Can't the Fritz, for their part, climb the bridge? Do they have their own observation point there?

On one of the days before dawn, having stocked up with everything necessary for a long vigil in the snow, I crawled to the railway embankment along a previously inspected route. Choosing a relatively flat area, carefully climbed onto the canvas. Crawling, looking to not leave visible traces. Sometimes it prints too noticeable places and leveled the snow behind him. True, it was reassuring that the closer to the bridge, the higher the embankment and it is hardly visible from the enemy shore.

Having made a dozen or two “strokes” with elbows, he rested and started moving again. And finally, the bridge.

Now a maximum of caution! Where to get settled? First you need to get to the last flight; to the farm that collapsed during the explosion. Only there will be something visible. We had to hurry. The dawn began. I carefully looked at the bridge: did the snow cover break somewhere? Are there any suspicious traces? As if everything is in order. You can get settled ...

The enemy shore was clearly visible. At the very edge of the coastline there were thickly wound rounds of spirals of thin wire - hardly noticeable engineering obstacles. A little further from the shore, meters in 20-25, there was a low barbed wire fence on small posts. Even further - a barbed fence on meter stakes, hung with empty cans - a kind of alarm. Winding trenches, communications, trenches, dugouts, dugouts - all in full view. Here is an observation post! And I also thought then that I would definitely go back along the old trail, with utmost care, especially at my front edge. But for the time being, my task is to keep quiet, giving out nothing.

The sun rose, the frost grew stronger. He worked his fingers to keep warm. Around noon, in one of the message turns, he noticed three nazis. In front was the chief corporal, behind - two soldiers with carbines. I decided to meet the Nazis on one of the turns. At this point, the 10-15-meter-length segment of the trench went exactly in my direction and was viewed in its entirety: every member of it entered, as it were, became fixed in the sight of the sight.

The first appeared ober. Stop! Do not rush! Why shoot now? Let them all come in and stretch out like a chain in front of you! And then shoot at the first, then at the last. And the average is not going anywhere. So did ...

Fifteen minutes later at the same place two were destroyed, then another. And then it went like a conveyor. Where the fascists were going, I don’t know, but each of the passing bodies ran across a pile of bodies and immediately became a victim himself.

And everything would be fine if it were not for the frost ... It happened on the third day of my “hunt” from the bridge. Then, on the first day, I did not attach much importance to the fact that after a shot from the metal structures of the bridge, hoarfrost fell on me. His rainbow pollen slowly subsided, sparkling in the sun. A beautiful sight ... But, apparently, the successful “hunt” to some extent dulled my vigilance. And it would be necessary to figure out that the Hitlerites would increase their observation, increase their attention and be cautious. On the third day, I managed to make only a single shot that struck the fascist. Literally a minute later a hail of shells and mines fell on the bridge.

In the early October morning our units launched an offensive and forced the Neva. Disguised ashore amidst dense vegetation, I observed the battlefield and closely followed all the complications that occurred during the crossing. At any moment I was ready to come to the aid of fire.

Under the flooring of the former boat station, I noticed on the surface of the water a strong swell raised by a powerful jet of powder gases. "Cleverly hiding, I thought evil, I myself could not get it. We must inform the artillerymen ...". A couple of minutes from the flooring there were only slivers. Scared of the first shells, the Nazi machine-gunners jumped out, but they did not have time to get away ...

In the future, I often chose my position near the artillery KNP. But front-line friendship was established not only with artillerymen, but also with representatives of other military specialties. Especially strong contacts were with the scouts. It happened that the tasks we were given were general: snipers were included in reconnaissance groups ...

I have already mentioned our bridgehead on the left bank of the Neva in the area of ​​Nevskaya Dubrovka. Great hopes were pinned on him by our command. The value of the bridgehead and understood the Nazis. In the area of ​​the crossing, the river literally boiled with explosions of shells and mines. It was clear that the fire was adjusted, and, consequently, the observers and spotters were in visual contact with the crossing, saw everything that was being done on the river and on the approaches to it.

When the headquarters raised the issue of reducing the effectiveness of enemy artillery fire across the bridgehead and bridgehead as a whole, it was proposed to use sniper fire. I was called to the army headquarters. The task was clear. At night, aside from the crossing, they secretly transferred me to a bridgehead. They settled together with one battalion commander in the coastal niche. Something incredible was happening. Continuous rumble, explosions, chatter machine guns and machine guns, grenade explosions ...

For nearly two months we have been in this hell. Before each dawn, I was accompanied by two submachine gunners — my “bodyguards” —wind as close as possible to the front edge. For a long time to tell what I experienced during these two months ...

Often a sniper has to shoot at targets, the appearance of which is unexpected. Under these conditions, there is no time to determine distances, and therefore, at the most probable boundaries and directions, it is necessary to choose appreciable landmarks in advance. For them in the future should be kept counting and determine the position of targets and distance.

Since, as a rule, all landmarks are located at the enemy’s location, the distance in them is determined by eye, with an error of about 5-10 percent. Errors are greater than the terrain. But on flat terrain they are not excluded. Especially gross mistakes (with an underestimation of distances) occur when the opposing sides are separated by a flat monotonous terrain - a plain, a desert, a watery surface, or when shooting is conducted in mountain canyons and ravines. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the fact that the installation data of the optical sight often require periodic correction. So there is a need to check the combat rifle. But how to do it in front conditions? No targets, no shooting ranges, no adjusted distances, and sometimes just no tools. Whenever possible, I always looked for nearby ravines, measured 100 meters and made rifle sighting in a standard way. But such cases were rare. We had to look for something else. And this is another found.

I once worked on the shore - destroying enemy machine gunners, firing at the very edge of the water. Shot, he noticed a splash on the water near the shore. There was no doubt - these rebound from my slip. I remember this fact. And soon used it. When the machine-gunners started working again, the mortars rasped, the artillery began to shout, I decided to check the rifle's battle. In the telescopic sight, I carefully examined a section of the water surface not far from the tracks I found near the shore. The twig sticking out of the water attracted the attention. Carefully aiming at the point where he comes out of the water, and shoot. I see a splash - ricochet. His deviation - an error in the combat rifle. She is insignificant, but to make sure I make another shot.

On this day, I did not wait for anything. But the next - my combat score grew by two more units ...

Sometimes the situation changed quickly, targets appeared over a wide area with a range of distance and quickly disappeared. In such conditions, each time to determine the distance and the more so to establish a sight on them simply was not possible. Yes, and it was necessary to react to such goals faster, otherwise the goal will disappear.

In anticipation of this situation, which, as a rule, arose during enemy attacks, I precisely (using the methods mentioned above) shot a rifle at a distance of 400 meters, memorized in the area of ​​this range any subject landmark on the side of the enemy and further oriented on it. I wondered how much closer or farther the target was to the eye, not in meters, of course, but in the magnitude of the “swing” along the vertical of the aiming point. To do this, naturally, the sniper, as the multiplication table, must know (or rather, represent the space) the trajectory of a bullet flight, at least on the same 400 meters, i.e., the distance that the rifle was shot at before the fight.

As a tactical device, the Hitlerites used their firing points along the entire line of defense in such a way that some of them worked during the day and others at night. To identify the points working at night, there was no labor — by fire flashes they “fixed” the direction to the working machine gun (they installed a couple of landmarks on the parapet of the trench at a distance of one and a half meters from one another). In the afternoon, after these short observations, camouflaged embrasures of firing points were found on these landmarks and the weapon was corrected using the methods described above. Sights were memorized and recorded. With the onset of darkness, when firing points came to life, which were silent during the day, the sniper was already on the alert. A rocket will fly into the air, it will freeze in the night sky - and at the same second a shot should follow in the direction of the working firing point, another one.

Finishing my story about an important tactical tactic for a sniper - non-standard shooting, I would like to warn you that you should not get involved in it, but you should use it in the most urgent cases when there is a need to hit the target from the first shot. It is advisable to disguise this adjustment with the noise of combat and to lead it from reserve positions.

In a combat situation, a sniper may be in the most unusual conditions. In order not to be trapped, it is necessary to perfectly master all types of weapons and those qualities, which I have already mentioned above. No less important are cunning, wit, observation.
Once during a combat with a fascist sniper I had such a case.

The sun has risen. Frost krepchal. Monotonous lying became annoying. Disturbed by the ambiguity. We had to do something. And here the thought flashed: it is necessary to deceive Fritz. I found a dry branch and, having fitted a cap with earflaps on it with a visor towards the enemy, I stuck it through the gash in the branches and slowly began to pick it up. My "negligence" was immediately punished. The cap was knocked down. For two holes it was not difficult to determine the approximate direction of the bullet. But the enemy did not calm down: another pair of bullets dug into the barrel near me. Unpleasant feeling.

The flyer went again. Holding the binoculars to the eyes, he carefully moved the fir branches to the left with his left hand. As expected, a shot followed. At the same time in the binoculars I saw a small cloud of snow dust. There were no doubts - a cloud flew away as a result of the departure of powder gases from the barrel. The enemy sniper worked from an unprepared position - in the winter in the sector of shooting it is necessary to sprinkle the snow or lightly press it in order not to unmask the shots. It issued him ...

You probably already understood from the above example that the sniper must be observant, and from all that has been noticed is obliged to draw certain conclusions. Observation and analysis are indispensable qualities of a sniper. They are developed over time. And do not neglect the little things about the battle. Any little thing can be a decisive factor for victory.

What is the secret of a sniper's success, and what saves him from enemy fire? First of all - disguise. He sees everything, remaining invisible to the enemy, and therefore invulnerable.

A sniper needs to remember those rules that are relevant to his future combat work. These rules are as follows: when going to perform a combat task, inspect your equipment and prepare it so that it does not make any sounds that can be indicated by the presence of a sniper; moving along small sand dunes, high ridges, be sure to walk, bending down; in forests and green areas do not cross glades, but bypass them; on rest in the afternoon be located in a shadow of local objects; do not tread new paths on the virgin soil, do not expand the existing ones that are used; all traces of work done during the night must be carefully masked by morning. "
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  1. Floock
    Floock 1 October 2013 09: 16
    A normal Russian man - just did his job.
    And here is the memoir of sniper Joseph Ollerberg, on the other side of the trenches. Pathos, but informative.
    1. aviator_IAS
      aviator_IAS 1 October 2013 15: 28
      No less interesting are the memoirs of our other famous sniper - Vasily Zaitsev. There was no land beyond the Volga for us. Sniper notes
  2. Trailer
    Trailer 1 October 2013 09: 35
    Glory to the snipers! Itself would not have endured!
  3. Betahon
    Betahon 1 October 2013 10: 14
    A good sniper .... nothing prevents!
    1. George
      George 1 October 2013 14: 20
      Thank you for the informative story.
      You just read these stories of men, and you understand what it was like to women, along with all those who accepted all the hardships and deprivations of military everyday life.
  4. Heccrbq .2
    Heccrbq .2 1 October 2013 15: 30
    Cool article!
  5. Kovrovsky
    Kovrovsky 1 October 2013 15: 41
    Good article! It clearly shows that all aspects of the work of a sniper during the war are relevant in our time.
  6. Omskgasmyas
    Omskgasmyas 1 October 2013 19: 11
    A sniper is an artist of war. Draws Death with one stroke (shot).
  7. kush62
    kush62 2 October 2013 04: 42
    As a child, I read the book "At the Walls of Leningrad" about the sniper Pilyushin. Good memories of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War.