There are a lot of amazing snipers out there, some have gotten books written about them or movies made based on their exploits. However, the thing about history is that it can be sketchy at best. Some things great stories slip through the fingers of time because they were never recorded or because no one was around to see it.
The stories of the following legendary snipers are often overlooked and are dangerously close to slipping into the shadows of history. The stories of each and every one of the following three snipers are awe-inspiring.
Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow
378 Sniper Kills
300 German Captures
Francis Pegahmagabow was an Ojibwa warrior, which was a native tribe located in Ontario. When World War I started, Pegahmagabow was enlisted in 1st Canadian Division which consisted of the first Canadian troops to enter the war. Pegahmagabow was overseas for almost all of the first World War, he first distinguished himself as a sniper during the Second Battle of Ypres where the Germans first released their devastating chlorine gas.
Pegahmagabow also gained quite the reputation as a legendary scout and messenger. He braved the no-man's land to deliver messages not once, but many times to get important messages to the other battalions. His biggest slip through death was during the Battle of the Scarpe where his company was fighting off German attack. They were running dangerously low on ammunition, so Pegahmagabow ran out into no-man's land to fetch enough ammunition for his company to survive the assault. It is heroics like this that earned him the second bar on his military medal, an honor that only belonged to 38 other soldiers.
Throughout World War One, Pegahmagabow was severely injured twice, killed 378 Germans with his Ross Rifle and captured 300 more.
He returned home to have a rather rocky political career as chief of his tribe. Canada appointed and Indian Agent in which all correspondence between the tribes and the government had to go through first. Pegahmagabow, as well as other native soldiers that severed in the first World War we strongly displeased with this. The Indian Agents labeled Pegahmagabow a "mental case" because of his activism to free his people from "white slavery", thus perhaps why his heroics during the first World War were hushed up.
Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko
309 Sniper Kills
Pavlichenko would have been a rather unremarkable sniper with a somewhat high kill count, however what makes Pavlichenko extraordinary is that she is a woman sniper. In 1941 when Germany began their invasion of the Soviet Union, Pavlichenko was 24 years old and in her fourth year at Kiev University. She was one of the first round of volunteers at the army recruitment office and requested to join the infantry. She was encouraged to become a nurse, like many women around the world but valiantly refused. She became one of 2,000 Soviet women snipers and one of 500 that survived the high kill count that the Soviets endured.
Pavlichenko made her first two kills near Belyayevka and moved onto Odessa for almost three months to gain another 187. When they were pushed from Odessa from Romanians, her unit set up in Sevastopol for 8 months where she slayed 257 more men with her Mosin-Nagant rifle. She racked up 309 confirmed kills during her time of the war and 36 of those were other snipers.
Pavlichenko was injured by mortar fire in 1942 and returned to duty briefly, however because of her reputation as a top notch female sniper, she was pulled from combat to go on publicity tours.
She was one of the first Soviet citizen to be received by President Franklin Roosevelt, however she was greeted by reporters in America as more of a sideshow. Ever the tactful country, one American reporter remarked that American women wore shorter skirts than she wore and that her uniform made her look fat.
After the war, Pavlichenko became a historian and received several prestigious medals for her contributions to World War Two and had her face memorialized on a stamp.
505 Sniper Kills
200 Kills via Submachine Gun
During the Winter War of 1939 to 1940, Finland was posed to be absolutely bulldozed by the might of the Soviet Union. However, those Russians underestimated the might of neutral Finland. One of Finland's most famous soldiers and snipers is Simo Häyhä, who earned the nickname of "The White Death" for his impressive exploits.
Häyhä is probably the most impressive sniper on this list and perhaps ever. Unlike the other snipers, he earned his high kill count using the iron sites on his rifle to avoid lens flare, in temperatures between −40 °C (−40 °F) and −20 °C (−4 °F), in his white camouflage. His remarkable kill count was accomplished in fewer than 100 days, and considering that the day in a Finnish winter are extremely short, this is quite the feat.
Häyhä, like many most of the Finnish army, made good use of the terrain in the mountainous region between their country and Russia. Häyhä was stationed near the Kollaa river, an area he was native to. So he had a distinct advantage over the overwhelming numbers of the Soviet army.
He became quite the menace to the Soviet army that they attempted to rid the area of The White Death. This included counter-snipers and artillery strikes. Eventually their attempts succeeded when a Russian soldier shot him in the face. He was dragged away by his fellow soldiers and things looked grim for the legend, as half his face was missing. Häyhä slipped into a seven day coma to awaken the day the Winter War ended.
For his heroics, he was promoted from Corporal to Second Lieutenant, a rise in military rank that no one else has achieved in the Finnish military. Häyhä recovered particularly well from his face being half blown away considering his left cheek was blown off and his jaw was crushed. He went onto live the rest of his life as a successful hunter and dog breeder.