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Simo Hayha was a Finnish sniper who gained notoriety during the Winter War of 1939-1940 between Finland and the Soviet Union. Known as the “White Death,” Hayha is credited with 505 confirmed kills during the conflict, making him one of the most lethal snipers in history. In this article, we will explore the life and legacy of Simo Hayha, and examine how he became such a legendary figure in the annals of military history.

Simo Hayha


Hayha was born in the small Finnish town of Rautjärvi in 1905. He grew up in a farming family and was an avid hunter from an early age. When he was conscripted into the Finnish Army in 1925, he was a skilled marksman, and he quickly rose through the ranks to become a sergeant in the army’s 6th Infantry Regiment.

During the Winter War, Hayha served as a sniper for the Finnish Army. He was given a Mosin-Nagant rifle, and he quickly became one of the most deadly snipers on the battlefield. Simo Hayha had a number of tactics that made him particularly effective. He would use the snow to his advantage, wearing all white clothing and packing snow around his position to blend in with his surroundings. He would also remove the snow from the area around his rifle, so that the muzzle blast wouldn’t kick up a telltale cloud of snow.

Hayha was so successful as a sniper that the Soviet Army sent their own snipers to hunt him down. They were unsuccessful, however, and Simo Hayha continued to rack up kills. In March of 1940, he was shot in the jaw by a Soviet soldier, and he was evacuated to a military hospital. He survived his injuries, but his face was permanently disfigured, and he was never able to return to combat.

After the Winter War, Hayha returned to civilian life in Finland. He lived a quiet life, working as a farmer and a hunter. He didn’t talk about his experiences in the war, and he avoided publicity. It wasn’t until the 1990s, long after his death in 2002, that Häyhä’s story began to receive widespread attention.

Today, Hayha is remembered as a hero in Finland. His exploits during the Winter War are celebrated, and he is considered a symbol of Finnish resistance against Soviet aggression. Simo  Hayha’s tactics as a sniper have been studied by military historians around the world, and his name is mentioned alongside other legendary snipers such as Vasily Zaytsev and Carlos Hathcock.

In conclusion, Simo Hayha was a remarkable figure in military history. His skill as a sniper during the Winter War made him one of the deadliest soldiers in history, and his tactics and techniques have been studied and emulated by snipers ever since. Hayha’s legacy as a hero of Finnish resistance is secure, and his story continues to inspire people around the world.


  1. Source – https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/simo-hayha-sniper.html
  2. History On The Net

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"Simo Hayha: The White Death of the Winter War" History on the Net
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June 12, 2024 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/simo-hayha-the-white-death-of-the-winter-war>
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