Throughout this campaign, Häyhä basically just ran around doling out head-shots like the ice cream man gives out Dove bars on a hot sunny day in the Sahara desert. His personal best was fucking twenty-five kills in a single day. That's like an entire baseball team!
Put simply, Simo Häyhä was the
deadliest soldier in existence.note
He was born in 1905, and prior to the Winter War of Finland, was an ordinary farmer who had served one compulsory year in the Finnish army. When the war began in 1939, he was called to action, and taking his trusty Mosin-Nagant rifle, became to many an almost legendary figure over the next 105 days.
Using his extensive knowledge of the surrounding forest as well as a knack for camouflage (He dressed in all white and even kept snow in his mouth so as to mask his breathing and avoid giving away his position), he racked up an incredible 704-742 confirmed kills estimate (542 by rifle, and around 200 by submachine gun)
. All the more impressive was that he did all of this without a scope or a spotter
. He instead used the trusty iron-sights on the rifle, as he noticed that using a scope presented a target due to the glint off the lens (when asked later in life how he had become such an incredible shot, Simo answered simply: "Practice. And clear days.").note
The Russian forces were absolutely terrified of Häyhä, nicknaming him The White Death
. They attempted numerous times to kill him, from sending teams of countersnipers after him (none came back alive
) to artillery bombing any place they thought he was hiding
. Needless to say, each of these attempts was met with failure, and Simo continued to utterly stomp any enemy who came within his sights. Eventually, the Russians had a stroke of luck when one sniper, after Simo had pretty much wiped out the whole team, managed to shoot him through the jaw with an exploding bullet
, blowing half of his cheek away. Incredibly, Simo managed to pick up his gun and kill the sniper, and walked back to his nearest unit, where he was sent to the hospital, whereupon he slipped into a coma. A ceasefire was ordered, and eleven days later, on the day Simo awoke
, the Russian army withdrew. While almost certainly a coincidence, it was nonetheless an incredible one. With the Winter War over, Simo returned to farming
, where he spent the majority of his life breeding dogs and hunting moose. When asked if he regretted killing so many people, all Simo had to say was: "I did what I was told to as well as I could"
. He passed away in 2002, aged 96.
Many people consider him to be one of the ultimate examples of a Badass
in real life, having racked up more confirmed kills than any other sniper in history
. However, in real life he was by all accounts a very humble man who only considered his actions to have been doing duty by his country. No matter what, "The White Death" will always be remembered as the greatest sniper in human history.
Tropes Applied to Simo Häyhä
- He is, as of now, the soldier with single highest confirmed body count in history. And he did that with highly limited equipment.
- As mentioned above, the Russian army was so scared of him that they mounted artillery missions just to flush him out and kill him. Recall that Russia has been known in history as one of the great military powers in the world. Simo Häyhä single-handedly managed to scare the living shit out of one of the great military powers on Earth with nothing more than the basics.
- Was put into a 2-week coma after taking an exploding bullet to the face. The day he woke up, the war ended. Coincidence? You decide.
- His entire body count was earned in less than three months, where other soldiers have served in battle for years.
- Boom, Headshot: Dished them out in considerable numbers. Took one as well, and then killed the soldier who did it.
- Boring, but Practical: As noted above, he became the best sniper in history using only a trusty Mosin-Nagant bolt action rifle. It didn't even have a scope because it added a lightshow target.
- Cold Sniper: If we are being strictly literal...
- Conscription: Häyhä was a conscript, not a professional soldier.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: You might think it'd be hard to get headshots without a scope. It is. Simo Hayha noticed that, due to light reflection, his enemy GOT headshot because of the scope. Little wonder he went scopeless, aye?
- Death by Irony: Häyhä shot over 500 Russian soldiers using the Finnish version of the Russian-made Mosin-Nagant. Essentially, all Russians killed by him were Hoist by His Own Petard.
- Determinator: See No One Could Survive That.
- The Dreaded: The Russians were so scared of him that they tried to kill him with artillery missions for crying out loud!
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Conscripted, decided to spend months defending his homeland, gets shot in the face. He survives the war and lived happily till the age of 96.
- Facial Horror: The bullet had crushed his jaw and blown off his left cheek. Through sheer willpower, he managed to kill the man who did this to him and return to base, where he fell into a coma due to this injury.
- Field Promotion: He went from Alikersantti (Corporal) to Vänrikki (Second Lieutenant) in four months.
- Finns with Fearsome Forests: Trope Codifier. Whenever someone thinks of this trope in the future, Simo Hayha is the guy they'll picture.
- Friendly Sniper: He was apparently a very friendly person out of battle.
- I Did What I Had to Do: "I did what I was told to as well as I could."
- Improbable Aiming Skills:
- Oh, yeah. All those kills? Done without a scope, for good reason. Before the war, his home was full of marksmanship trophies. Also, check his entry on One-Hit Polykill
- He even held the record for longest range kill (over 800 yards) until Carlos Hathcock beat it in Vietnam, using an 8x scope mounted to an M2 Browning.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The White Death. It's also Fluffy the Terrible, since Russians also call sugar "the white death".
- Nice Guy: A Friendly Sniper, and quite humble.
- No One Could Survive That: Shot in the jaw with an exploding bullet. Got back up and shot the guy who did it. Walked back to camp. Badass.
- No Pronunciation Guide: His name could be rendered phonetically as "see-mo how-hah" (click the listen button), which is rather counter-intuitive to English speakers (but makes perfect sense in Finnish).
- One-Man Army: Over 700 hundred Russian soldiers vs one Finnish conscript; the conscript wins.
- One-Hit Polykill: He once shot eight Russian soldiers with one bullet. They thought they were being attacked by multiple snipers, and ran away.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Was only 5'3.
- Red Baron: "The White Death."
- Reality Is Unrealistic/Freakier Than Fiction: There is no fictional character who can follow his achievement without using some sort of supernatural power.
- Retired Badass: After racking up the largest kill count of anyone in history, he goes back to farming.
- Simple Yet Awesome: Nothing but two guns, ammos, and basics. He made the army of the largest nation on the Earth kneel.
- Sniper Rifle: His Weapon of Choice. Without a scope, to boot.
- Superweapon Surprise: He was the superweapon.