Thursday, April 14

Snipers of the Soviet Union during WWII

Snipers of the Soviet Union during WWII short documentary with interviews.

Snipers of the Soviet Union played an important role mainly on the Eastern Front of World War II, apart from other preceding and subsequent conflicts. In World War II, Soviet snipers used the 7.62x54R rifle cartridge with light, heavy, armour-piercing (B-30), armour-piercing-and-incendiary (B-32), zeroing-and-incendiary (P3), and tracer bullets. Most Soviet WWII snipers carried a combat load of 120 rifle cartridges in the field. Unlike the militaries of other nations, these snipers could be men or women. In 1943, there were over 2,000 women functioning in this role.

Major Ivan Mikhaylovich Sidorenko (September 12, 1919 – 1987), with over five hundred confirmed kills.

Sergeant Fyodor Matveyevich Okhlopkov (March 2, 1908 - May 28, 1968), credited with as many as 429 kills.

Major Lyudmila Mykhailivna Pavlichenko (July 12, 1916 – October 10, 1974), credited with 309 kills, and is regarded as the most successful female sniper in history.

Captain Vasily Grigorevich Zaytsev (March 23, 1915 – December 15, 1991), between October 1942 and January 1943, Zaytsev made 242 verified kills.

Wednesday, April 13

Knights of the Desert

They call themselves variously Kel Tamasheq or Kel Tamajaq - Speakers of Tamasheq, Imuhagh, Imazaghan or Imashaghen - the Free people, or Kel Tagelmust - People of the Veil. The name Tuareg was applied to them by early explorers and historians, since Leo Africanus (c. 1494 – c. 1554?).

Ahmad Shah Massoud - The Lion of Panjshir

"Lion of Panjshir"
Place of birth:
Bazarak, Panjshir, Afghanistan
Place of death:
Takhar Province, Afghanistan
Years of service:
Commander, Minister of Defense
Commands held:
Prominent Mujahideen commander during the Soviet war in Afghanistan,
Defense Minister of Afghanistan and commander of the anti-Taliban United Islamic Front

Soviet war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan

National Hero of Afghanistan and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Wikipedia about Ahmad Shah Massoud

Ahmad Shah Massoud (احمد شاه مسعود- Aḥmad Šāh Mas'ūd; September 2, 1953 – September 9, 2001) was a Kabul University engineering student turned military leader who played a leading role in driving the Soviet army out of Afghanistan, earning him the name Lion of Panjshir. His followers called him Āmir Sāhib-e Shahīd (Our Beloved Martyred Commander). His followers not only saw him as a military commander but also as a spiritual leader."Lion of Panjshir", is a rhyme and play on words in Persian, which alludes to the strength of his resistance against the Soviet Union, the mythological exaltation of the lion in Persian literature, and finally, the place name of the Panjshir Valley, where Massoud was born. The place name of "Panjshir" Valley in Persian means (Valley of the) Five Lions. Thus, the phrase "Lion of Panjshir", which in Persian is "Shir-e-Panjshir," شیر پنجشیر is a rhyming play on words, with the connotation "Lion of the Five Lions".

Widely seen as a guerrilla genius - his country's Che Guevara, with charisma and beard to match - Massoud successfully played David to the Soviets' Goliath in the 1980s. - Sebastian Junger Under Fire by Ted Chamberlain, National Geographic

Massoud's personal mysticism led him to fight without hatred, bitterness, or spirit of revenge, regarding armed conflict only as an imposed and necessary evil in order to defend his people's freedom, certainly not as an end in itself to be enjoyed as bloodlust or intoxication with power. He always provided protection for humanitarian relief in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances, looked for reconciliation with defeated enemies, and invariably treated his war prisoners with humanity and dignity. To this I was witness ... Such moral integrity in the midst of warfare ranks Massoud as one of the very few « philosopher kings » in history, that is, men who have been forced to wage war so as to protect their nation and people, but who detested war in itself and sought no personal political gain. - Thoughts on Commander Massoud by Princeton University Prof. Michael Barry

Massoud was named "The Afghan who won the cold war" by the Wall Street Journal. He defeated the Soviet Red Army in the Panjshir. The Soviet Union's defeat was not only a defeat in Afghanistan, but led to the collapse of the Soviet system and was followed by the liberation of the Central Asian and Eastern European countries from Moscow's control. His struggle against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan earned him the name "Lion of Panjshir".

Massoud's tomb in Bazarak in the Panjshir Valley.

The mausoleum of Massoud is now a national visiting site located in the Panjshir Valley, north of the capital Kabul.

"For me, north, south, Persian, Pashto is absolutely meaningless. In our home we can talk in every language." - Ahmad Shah Massoud

Monday, April 11

Simo Häyhä - outstanding warrior

White Death
Place of birth:
Rautjärvi, Finland
Place of death:
Hamina, Finland
Years of service:
1925 – 1940
Corporal during the war, promoted to Second Lieutenant afterwards
Infantry Regiment 34
Winter War (1939–1940, between Finland and the Soviet Union)

I. Cross of Liberty, 3rd class and 4th class;
II. Medal of Liberty, 1st class and 2nd class;
III. Cross of Kollaa Battle

Simo Häyhä ( pronunciation: [ˈsimɔ ˈhæy̯hæ]) (December 17, 1905 – April 1, 2002), nicknamed "White Death" (Russian: Белая смерть, Belaya Smert; Finnish: valkoinen kuolema; Swedish: den vita döden; German: der weiße Tod) by the Red Army, was a Finnish sniper. Using a modified Mosin-Nagant in the Winter War, he has the highest recorded number (505) of confirmed sniper kills in any major war.

On March 6, 1940, Häyhä was shot in the lower left jaw by a Russian soldier during combat. The bullet tumbled upon impact and exited his head. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his head was missing".

The bullet had crushed his jaw and blown off his left cheek. Nonetheless, he made a full recovery and became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder after World War II, and hunted with Finnish president Urho Kekkonen.

When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good shooter, he answered, "practice." When asked if he regretted killing so many people, he said "I did what I was told to as well as I could." Simo Häyhä spent his last years in Ruokolahti, a small village located in southeastern Finland, near the Russian border.

Saturday, April 9

Legends in Black and White

They do not need names,they do not need stories, they will remain unknown. But their gaze reveal the structure of the soul and unveil the sorrow and joy of life.

the Falconer

a Kamikaze pilot

Bedouin Sheikh

Love and Courage

Military caravan...

May be a little color...

inside Alger Cafe