Simo Häyhä file photo [19510]

Simo Häyhä

Given NameSimo
Born17 Dec 1905
Died1 Apr 2002


ww2dbaseBorn in the municipality of Rautjärvi, Finland, Simo Häyhä joined the Finnish militia in 1922 while retaining his primary profession as a farmer and a hunter, the latter of which honed his skills as an expert marksman. During the Winter War which began in late 1939, he served with 6th Company of Finnish Infantry Regiment 34 in the region of the Kollaa River. In cold weather during days which daylight time lasted only a few hours, as a sniper using a White Guard M/28 "Pystykorva" rifle (a variant of the Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle) he scored 505 confirmed kills (plus 37 unconfirmed kills) in less than 100 days; the score of 505 made him the most successful sniper in any major war. As an infantryman using a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun, he claimed an additional 200 kills. He preferred using iron sights due to the more technologically advanced telescopic sights as they were easy to use and iron sights allowed him to keep a lower profile. Among his favored secrets was to hold snow in his mouth so that this breathing would not fog, which might betray his position. He was given the nickname of Belaya Smert, or "White Death", by the Russian troops. Häyhä was severely injured in the lower left jaw in combat in the final days of the Winter War. After the Winter War, he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim for his achievement. Recovery from his jaw injury took years, causing him to play no further part in WW2. After the war, he became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder. He passed away in 2002.

Robert Stirling, Special Forces Sniper Skills

Last Major Revision: Nov 2013


Simo Häyhä posing with his honorary M/28-30 rifle, 1939-1940Simo Häyhä, 1939-1940Portrait of Second Lieutenant Simo Häyhä, 1940s; note facial deformity caused by combat wound

Simo Häyhä Timeline

17 Dec 1905 Simo Häyhä was born in Rautjärvi, Finland.
6 Mar 1940 Simo Häyhä was shot in the lower left jaw by a Soviet soldier in combat in Finland.
13 Mar 1940 Simo Häyhä regained consciousness after being severely injured in the face in combat a week prior in Finland.
28 Aug 1940 Simo Häyhä was promoted from the rank of corporal directly to the rank of second lieutenant by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.
1 Apr 2002 Simo Häyhä passed away in Hamina, Finland.

Did you enjoy this article or find this article helpful? If so, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 per month will go a long way! Thank you.

Share this article with your friends:


Stay updated with WW2DB:

 RSS Feeds

Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Paul markham says:
29 Aug 2014 07:12:22 AM

Just shows,all the"best" league of snipers hardly ever give a mention to him.
2. Kellion Harris says:
19 May 2023 08:23:59 AM

though he had over 200 confirmed kills, he had admitted to little over 500 and had provided a large amount of detail about the deaths.

All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.

Posting Your Comments on this Topic

Your Name
Your Email
 Your email will not be published
Comment Type
Your Comments


1. We hope that visitor conversations at WW2DB will be constructive and thought-provoking. Please refrain from using strong language. HTML tags are not allowed. Your IP address will be tracked even if you remain anonymous. WW2DB site administrators reserve the right to moderate, censor, and/or remove any comment. All comment submissions will become the property of WW2DB.

2. For inquiries about military records for members of the World War II armed forces, please see our FAQ.

Search WW2DB
More on Simo Häyhä
Event(s) Participated:
» The Winter War

Simo Häyhä Photo Gallery
Simo Häyhä posing with his honorary M/28-30 rifle, 1939-1940
See all 3 photographs of Simo Häyhä

Famous WW2 Quote
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

George Patton, 31 May 1944

Support Us

Please consider supporting us on Patreon. Even $1 a month will go a long way. Thank you!

Or, please support us by purchasing some WW2DB merchandise at TeeSpring, Thank you!