“You need to lie in one position for quite a long time. Sometimes absolutely without movement. This requires a high level of physical fitness, equipment, rifle, and quick withdrawal.”
A Russian sniper seems to take this lesson to heart and kills his legendary counterpart after the latter commits one basic mistake by breaking cover. His rifle is the “pride of Soviet industry.”
This isn’t a young Vasily Zaitsev’s grandfather teaching him the tenets of sniping, which he used to kill German sniper Erwin Konig when he grows up, or Sacha Filipov praising the robust sniper rifle from the movie ‘Enemy at the Gates.’
It is from the frontlines in Ukraine – where the traditional and lionized form of combat has emerged and might characterize the war for the coming few months.
Dreaded Ukrainian Sniper Killed!
You can’t help but hark back to the movie when you hear about how the crack Ukrainian marksman – who also, like Ed Harris’s Erwin Konig, was a top sniper instructor in Ukraine – was killed.
Vladimir Rogov, Chairman of the ‘We are Together with Russia’ movement, and a member of the council of Zaporizhzhia announced late on January 19 about how Russia’s snipers got Oleg Nebuvaylo.
“On the Zaporizhzhya Front, an enemy sniper instructor of the highest class was eliminated during the counter-sniper struggle and a range of measures. He rarely approached closer than a kilometer using modern Western sniper systems, always working from a great distance.
But this time, it did not help him. The technical advantage is over. Oleg Nebuvaylo was destroyed from the latest Russian-made LAR-10 ‘Counter Sniper System,'” Rogov said. Rogov even posted the military identity card of the slain Ukrainian.
The war now has taken a turn where it is sharing not only all the elements from the star-studded 2001 war drama but even the situation of the Second World War itself.
A dreaded enemy sniper (not German but a Ukrainian nevertheless); a Russian protagonist carrying the weight of patriotism on his shoulder, the way the average Soviet soldier fought the Nazi Wehrmacht with exemplary courage; and a deadly sniper rifle (not the bolt action Mosin-Nagant, but a 7.62×51 mm semi-automatic Lobaev LAR-10 ‘Counter’).
President Vladimir Putin even believes this to be another Great Patriotic War (as Russia officially calls World War 2), as it fights neo-Nazis too in Ukraine.
It was also around this time Russia began publicizing achievements by its snipers and new sniper rifles. A video on a leading Russian Telegram channel five days before Rogov’s announcement showed the same system in action. It showed a thermal imaging view of a Ukrainian soldier moving at a distance of 553 meters.
The first-person view, presumably a Russian sniper, shows him removing a camouflage net to reveal the same gun which would go on to kill Oleg a few days later – the LAR-10.
A two-round burst takes down the Ukrainian soldier. Whether the Russian shooter fired in semi-automatic or fully automatic modes is unknown, but it is unlikely for a sniper rifle to fire like an assault rifle. A photo claiming to be of Oleg was posted on Twitter, but it could not be independently verified.
Russia Training Special ‘Counter Snipers’
That it has been explicitly described as a counter-sniper system indicates Ukrainian snipers must have wreaked havoc on Russian units. Russian industry is working overtime to provide rifles that help take out the Ukrainian snipers.
Vladislav Lobaev, the founder of Lobaev Arms, on the Crimea24 channel, talked about the formation of a counter-sniper unit underway in Crimea. “The unit will perform tasks in the hottest sectors of the front, where enemy sniper activity is very high.”
Lobaev is ready to provide the unit with the “full range of appropriate weapons” apart from what it already has. Why Russia would choose a semi-automatic sniper for detecting and killing other snipers is unclear, as bolt-action rifles are more suited in plains and open fields.
Less moving parts and usually more accurate than semi-automatics, which are preferred in restrictive urban environments, bolt-action weapons’ inability to have quick follow-on shots is possibly what is influencing the Russian infantry and small arms thinking.
The LAR-10 is ironically based on the ubiquitous American AR-15. With a barrel of 60cm, Lobaev Arms guarantees 100% accuracy at ranges between 250 to 600 meters, with a rate of fire of 6 rounds in 10 seconds.
It can also accommodate Western-made 7.62x51mm cartridges. It was announced to enter limited serial production in late December 2022 for some units participating in Ukraine.
Rifle Inspired By Greatest WW2 Battle
But the LAR-10 isn’t the only sniper weapon Russia has publicized. RIA Novosti interviewed a Russian soldier undergoing sniping training, where he presents both the heroic status and yet exacting and lonely world of snipers.
Introducing his multi-caliber rifle TSVL-8 M1 Stalingrad, he said how a casual interest in shooting led to him being drawn into the profession, which he considers an imperative towards the country.
The rifle is named after the erstwhile city of the Soviet Union, where the greatest battle of WW2 took place, marking the turnaround of the war against Nazi Germany – also on which the movie is based.
This sniper says, “You need to lie in one position for quite a long time…without movement…with a high level of physical fitness.” The bolt-action Stalingrad can fire .338 Lapua Magnum or .300 Winchester Magnum rounds at a range of 1,600 meters with a 5-round magazine capacity.
It is only serendipitous that Vassili Zaitsev (played by Jude Law) in ‘Enemy at the Gates,’ too, takes out senior Wehrmacht officers, and the sniper here talks about eliminating the “commander” of the group.
“This is a temporary disorientation that gives an element of surprise and creates room for maneuvering of the group, which the sniper covers. Most commanders have certain habits. When you work for a long time, you start to notice it,” he says.