With at least 500 confirmed kills during the Winter War of 1939–40 between Finland and the Soviet Union, Simo Häyhä has been recorded the deadliest sniper in history.
Throughout the Winter War, which lasted roughly 100 days, Häyhä killed between 500 and 542 Russian soldiers, all with his antiquated rifle. While his comrades were using state-of-the-art telescopic lenses to zoom in on their targets, Hayha was fighting with an iron sight, which he felt gave him a more precise target. He also noted that several targets had been tipped off by the glint of light on the newer sniper lenses, and he was determined not to go down that way.
He’d also developed an almost foolproof way of not being sighted. On top of his white camouflage, he would build up snowdrifts around his position to further obscure himself. The snowbanks also served as padding for his rifle and prevented the force of his gunshots from stirring up a puff of snow that an enemy could use to locate him.
As he lay on the ground in wait, he would hold snow in his mouth to stop his steamy breaths from betraying his position. Hayha’s strategy kept him alive, but his missions were never easy. For one, the conditions were brutal. The days were short, and when the sunset, temperatures rarely rose above freezing.