The deadliest ever snipers battled bounties, freezing temperatures and mortar attacks to kill over two thousand enemy soldiers between them – with one slaughtering 505 in just 100 days.
These ace shots racked up 2,000-yard headshots as they took out whole platoons from trees, snowdrifts and even moving boats.
One legendary marksman even killed an enemy sniper by shooting directly through his scope – while another killed 429 soldiers after joining the army to avenge his fallen brother.
Here's our lowdown on history's most feared snipers.
9. Chuck Mawhinney (103 kills)
Former US Marine Charles Benjamin “Chuck” Mawhinney is credited with 103 sniper kills in the Vietnam War.
The son of a Marine veteran, Mawhinney’s battlefield exploits became the stuff of legend when he took out an entire platoon of Viet Cong soldiers in one sitting.
He is believed to have racked up several kills from over 1,000 yards with an M40 sniper rifle.
After returning to the US with “combat fatigue”, he spent several decades working for the US Forest Service – and didn’t even tell his wife about his Vietnam exploits.
In 1991 he was officially recognised as having the most kills in Marine History.
8. Henry Norwest (115 kills)
Henry Norwest was a Canadian sniper who claimed 115 kills during World War One.
He was frequently sent into the depths of No Man’s Land where he slaughtered German troops by the dozen disguised as a bush.
He was killed by a German sniper just weeks before the end of World War I.
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7. Chris Kyle (160 kills)
Chris Kyle was a US Navy SEAL sniper who killed at least 160 enemy soldiers during four tours of Iraq.
He joined the Navy after suffering a career-ending injury as a rodeo rider.
He served in Ramadi, Fallujah and Baghdad – once recording a 2,100-yard kill with a McMillan TAC-338 sniper rifle.
Iraqi insurgents put a £60,000 bounty on his head after nicknaming him “The Devil of Ramadi”.
He was murdered by maniac ex-veteran Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range in Erath, Texas, in 2009.
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6. Vasily Zaytsev (242 kills)
Soviet marksman Vasily Zaytsev is credited with 242 kills in World War II.
Taught how to shoot by his grandfather in Russia’s Ural mountains, he enlisted in the Soviet Army in 1937.
His ability to switch positions and shoot with stealth allowed him to kill over 200 enemy soldiers at the Battle of Stalingrad.
In 1991 he died aged 72 at home in Kiev.
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5. Lyudmila Pavlichenko (309 kills)
Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko is believed to have killed over 300 people during World War Two.
Among her 309 victims were 257 German soldiers and 36 enemy snipers.
She died aged 58 at home in 1972 after a massive stroke.
She is regarded as the deadliest female sniper of all time.
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4. Carlos Hathcock (93 kills)
Carlos Hathcock only has 93 confirmed kills – but modern estimates put his kill count between 300 and 400.
His exploits led to the North Vietnamese Army putting a £20,000 bounty on his head.
Enemy tropes dubbed him “The White Feather Sniper” because of a distinctive white feather he kept in his hat.
He took out a number of high-profile targets, and once managed to kill an enemy sniper by shooting directly through his scope.
He died in 1999 from Multiple Sclerosis in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
3. Francis Pagahmagabow (378 kills)
Canadian sniper Francis Pagahmagabow killed 378 soldiers in World War One –and managed to take a further 300 alive.
He once crawled across no man’s land to retrieve ammunition from dead soldiers after his company ran out while surrounded by German troops.
He died on Parry Island Reserve in 1952 at 61.
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2. Fyodor Okhlopkov (429 kills)
Red Army legend Fyodor Okhlopkov is believed to have killed 429 people during World War II.
Little is known about the reclusive marksman, who was born in a remote Siberian village in 1908.
He is believed to have joined the Soviet Army to avenge his brother’s death in combat.
He is credited with 429 kills with a sniper rifle, and many more with a machine gun.
He died in May 1968 after a short illness.
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1. Simo Hayha (505 kills)
Finn Simo Hayha is regarded as the greatest sniper of all time.
Dubbed “The White Death”, he would hide in deep snow dressed in an all-white smock before slaughtering enemy soldiers with a SAKO M/28-30.
He racked up his 505 kills in less than 100 days of combat, often taking out opponents in -20C temperatures and stuffing his mouth full of snow to stop his breath giving away his position.
He died aged 96 in 2002.
- World War 2
- World War 1
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