Zaytsev served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk in Vladivostok. When Germany invaded the Soviet

Union, Zaytsev, like many of his comrades, volunteered to be transferred to the front line. He was a

chief petty officer in the Navy, and was assigned the rank of senior warrant officer upon transfer to

the army.

On 22 September 1942, while still in training, Zaytsev and a comrade were hidden in one building,

with a German sniper in another building. When Zaytsev's friend was shot by the German, Zaytsev

found himself locked into a duel with the German sniper over the next three days. When Zaytsev

finally killed his opponent, he examined the body expecting that the German was of high rank, but

instead discovered that his victim was a regular soldier.

During Zaytsev's career as a sniper, he would conceal himself in various locations – on high ground,

under rubble, in water pipes, etc. After a few kills, he would change his position. Together with his

partner Nikolay Kulikov, Zaytsev would exercise his hide and sting tactics. One of Zaytsev’s common

tactics was to cover one large area from three positions, with two men at each point – a sniper and

scout. This tactic, known as the “sixes”, is still in use today, and was implemented during the war in


Zaytsev took part in the Battle of Stalingrad until January 1943, when he suffered an injury to his

eyes from a mortar attack. He was attended to by Vladimir Filatov, who is credited with restoring

his sight. On 22 February 1943, Zaytsev was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. He then

returned to the front and finished the war in Seelow Heights in Germany with the military rank of