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Posted: 9/4/2001 8:53:54 AM EDT
I've read about the sniper duel in Stalingrad i books and watched the movie. I'm now hearing that it is all Communist propaganda to bolster their war effort and that there never was a German Maj. Koening(sp?) who headed the German sniper school. With all the paperwork that was required by the Germans, I would think they would have a record of Maj. Koening somewhere. Does anyone have any facts or source references that this "duel" actually occured? TIA
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 9:55:19 AM EDT
[url]http://www.snipercountry.com/sniper.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 2:31:13 PM EDT
Which book you read? Enemy at the Gates or War of the Rats? Both have similiar plots - based upon wartime Soviet propoganda ref Zaitsev vs Koenig (Thorvald in War of the Rats). Zaitsev never admitted after the war of killing Koenig or another "master" German sniper.
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 4:55:05 PM EDT
An account of the sniper duel is found in both "Sniper-The World of Combat Sniping" and "Stalk & Kill". Both books are by Adrian Gilbert.
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 5:21:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2001 5:27:31 PM EDT by 308wood]
Plot? Snipers? Duel? I was watching the girl. She BANGS! i think i remember something from the book "Spetsnaz".
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 5:37:39 PM EDT
This "Sniper Duel" never happened! Soviet propaganda! DaMan
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 5:48:54 PM EDT
The movie is sure not Soviet propaganda, it shows the Ruskies as propaganda masters who butchered their men carelessly.
Link Posted: 9/4/2001 6:30:49 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/5/2001 2:45:44 AM EDT
Here's another link for you : [url]http://www.snipercentral.com/snipers.htm[/url]
Link Posted: 9/6/2001 8:29:53 PM EDT
Zaitsev was a Soviet Sniper, and a good one. There were many. A number of them were even more 'successful' than Zaitsev as far as numbers were concerned. Zaitsev's attraction for the politicos was portrayed in the film -- common sheperd boy meets blueblood fascist (contradiction in terms but true enough in 1940's Germany). 'The essence of class struggle' says the political weanie. Heady stuff for the Soviets. Documentary evidence of the duel is absent, but folks weren't exactly chronicalling such things with any accuracy. The story at the time had Zaitsev detecting 'Koning' by reflection from his scope. (A twist added in the film had Koning nearly bagging Zaitsev via the same means). Koning's 'final' hide was reported to be much like that depicted in the film. Zaitsev supposedly made the shot against the relection at 450+ meters, killing 'Koning' in his hide. I guess Hollywood needed the eyeball-to-eyeball climax. I haven't seen any accounts attributable to Zaitsev after the fall of the Soviet regime. I'd put the duel into the propaganda bucket.
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 7:50:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2001 7:53:04 AM EDT by Jarhead_22]
From research that David Robbins did for "War of the Rats," it appears that the German sniper's name was Thorvald, as Grin&Barrett said, not Konigs. Where are you hearing that it never happened? It certainly wouldn't surprise me if the Soviets made this whole thing up, but I'd like to know where you got your information. Edited to add this, from snipercountry.com: Martin Pegler Curator of Weapons The Royal Armouries, Leeds, UK While researching for a book on sniping, I used some contacts at Russian museums to look into the veracity of the much reported fight between Zeitsev and Koenig [Thorvald]. Despite the fact that Russian company and regimental records were faithfully kept even throughout the worst days of the Stalingrad seige, nowhere is this duel reported in war diaries. This would seem to be an odd omission, particularly in the face of the cult of 'Sniperism' that the Soviet press were so keen to extoll. I tend to agree with Anthony Beevor's opinion that the shooting match never actually happened and was the result of propoganda reporting by the press who were always keen to promote new 'Heroes of the Soviet Union'. Apparently Zeitsev himself never confirmed or denied the event, an odd attitude in view of its apparent historical importance.
Link Posted: 9/7/2001 8:03:12 AM EDT
I placed those links for reading here's what you get w/ the snipercentral link and clicking on Koenig's name: Thorvald and/or Konig There is great debate over wether the legendary WWII German sniper that was sent to Stalingrad to dispatch of Vasili Zaitzev was Konig, Thorvald, or even wether he existed at all. In fact in the actual Soviet war records, it originally showed up as a Maj. Erwin Konig, which is in fact a very basic and plain German Name at the time. In Vasili Zaitsev's war memoirs, he later refers to him as Heinz Thorvald, which was yet another popular German name in that time period. Thorvald seems to be the name that is used more now, and its confusing as to which it was, and if they were the same person, or one was a mistake, or wether the German Super Sniper was fabricated by the Soviet press to represent the German army, or German snipers on a "whole", and that the story was just a means of providing morale for the Soviet troops. The two names are on official Soviet war records, but there is no record of either name in the German record books (not to say they couldn't have removed the name to save grace). Any way you look at it, its confusing and debatable. Since both names appear in Soviet propaganda and war records, Konig in early war records and Thorvald in Zaitsevs memoirs and in later war records, I have included them both on the list until there is concrete proof that one or the other, or both, did not exist. In regards to Vasili Zaitsev, there is no doubt he existed, and was a very accomplished and successful sniper. Mike
Link Posted: 9/8/2001 10:18:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2001 10:33:10 AM EDT by MTweanie]
I would view Soviet records with some circumspection. If Konig/Koning/Thorvald, etc. is/are elusive, what about the purported German sniper school? Was there such an outfit? German archives would most likely contain records of funding, materiel, location, transfer orders for soldiers in/out. German military writing would undoubtedly refer to it, either as personal experience or secondhand knowledge of folks who were trained there. There would probably be sniper manuals, written and updated by the school, to allow lower echelon commands to develop there own snipers without the need to send them to a school. If such a school existed, it would seem logical that records indicating who was in charge and to whom he reported would also exist, at least in part. There certainly needed to be some sort of supporting infrastructure for the sniper troops. I would think that, in addition to specialized training, they would need scopes procured, rifles tuned, and the myriad other odds & ends that distinguish snipers from ordinary riflemen. There would be records. Another source is an historical narrative titled, 'Stalingrad.' It is more of a military history than a personal account. It mentions Zaitsev a couple of times and refers to the supposed duel. It also states that a scope said to belong to 'Koning' is on display at a Moscow military museum. The conclusion in 'Stalingrad' is that the duel is not supported by documentation. To my limited knowledge, no such trail has been documented that leads back to the German master sniper supposedly bested by Zaitsev at Stalingrad. No doubt he dispatched German snipers, but Koning/Thorvald is an enigma. Cheers,
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