Heinz Thorwald

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PPoS
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Heinz Thorwald

Post by PPoS » 01 Dec 2004 20:47

Does anyone have any personal history/information about the SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Heinz Thorwald. Presumably sent to Stalingrad to "take care" of the problem with soviet snipers in the city. He was a skillful sniper who had trained SS snipers. He was tipped of by a POW who told the russians about his mission.

Zaitsev outfoxed Thorwald by having another sniper set up a trap. First one of the soviet snipers fired to attract the Thorwald's attention to himself, but Thorwald ignored this trick. The next trick was made by Zaitsev's other companion, the sniper positioned himself and lifted his helmet over a wall, where Thorwald put a bullet through it. The sniper cried out as if hit; Thorwald made the fatal mistake of exposing himself to confirm the kill, and Zaitsev killed him instantly.

And one question:
Was there a sniper school at Zossen, Germany?

IMPORTANT: I would also want a picture of Heinz Thorwald if there is any avaible

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 01 Dec 2004 21:01

There wasn't a sniper school in Zossen. This story has been thoroughly de-bunked in the past on this forum and Feldgrau. No one has ever found a trace of "Thorwald" and even Chuikov's memoirs about this incident reveal that his sources were extremely "shaky".
Zaitsev was a great sniper, it's a pity that people will always connect his name with this fictional "duel" instead of his actual exploits.
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~Commissar D, the EviL

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maxxx
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Post by maxxx » 01 Dec 2004 21:14

PPos, i am afraid you have seen one lousy WW2 flick to many (and we all know which one I mean- why did the director not stick to the neanderthalers he did portrait before?) and our dark red commissar is absolutely right...

This is the 10+ sniper threat on this forum and I still cannot understand the fascination with this sort of killers.

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PPoS
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Post by PPoS » 01 Dec 2004 21:17

I know that the "Enemy at the Gates" story is false. But in Zaitsev's own memos he wrote about a "german super sniper" (he never named him) and the so-called duel was true, atleast the part when Zaitsev killed him.

"his actual exploits" ?? What, do you think he made a good work?

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PPoS
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Post by PPoS » 01 Dec 2004 21:36

Here is what Zaitsev wrote:

FROM THE POSTWAR MEMOIRS OF VASILI ZAITSEV

Every sniper put forward his speculations and guesses arising from his days observation of the enemy forward positions. All sorts of different proposals and baits were discussed. I knew the style of the Nazi snipers by their fire and camouflage and without any difficulty could tell the experienced snipers from the novices, the cowards, from the stubborn, experienced enemies. But the character of the Head of the School was still a mystery to me. He presumably altered his position frequently and was looking as carefully for me as I was for him.Then something happened: my friend Morozov was killed and Sheykin wounded - by a rifle with telescopic sights. Morozov and Sheykin were considered experienced snipers; they often emerged victorious from the most difficult skirmishes with the enemy. Now there was no doubt. They had come up against the Nazi super-sniper I was looking for.For a long time I examined the enemy positions, but could not detect his hiding-place. From the speed with which he had fired, I came to the conclusion that the sniper was somewhere directly ahead of us. I continued to watch. To the left was a tank, out of action, and on the right was a pillbox. Between the tank and the pillbox, on a stretch of level ground, lay a sheet of iron and a small pile of broken bricks. It had been lying there a long time, and we had grown accustomed to it being there. I put myself in the enemys position and thought - where better for a sniper? One had only to make a firing slit under the sheet of metal, and then creep up to it during the night.Yes, he was certainly there, under the sheet of metal in no mans land. I thought I would make sure. I put a mitten on the end of a small plank and raised it. The Nazi fell for it. I carefully let the plank down in the same position as I had raised it and examined the bullet-hole. It had gone straight though from the front; that meant that the Nazi was under the sheet of metal.Now came the question of luring even a part of his head into my sights. I was useless trying to do this straight away. Time was needed, but I had been able to study the Germans temperament. He was not going to leave the successful position he had found. We were therefore going to have to change our position.We worked by night and were in position by dawn. The sun rose. Kulikov took a blind shot; we had to rouse the snipers curiosity. We had decided to spend the morning waiting, as we might have been given away by the sun on our telescopic sights. After lunch our rifles were in the shade, and the sun was shining directly on the Germans position, at the edge of the sheet of metal something was glittering: an odd bit of glass or telescopic sights? Kulikov carefully - as only the most experienced can do - began to raise his helmet. The German fired. For a fraction of a second Kulikov rose and screamed. The German believed that he had finally got the Soviet sniper he had been hunting for four days, and half raised his head from beneath the sheet of metal. That was what I had been banking on. I took careful aim. The Germans head fell back, and the telescopic sights of his rifle lay motionless, glistening in the sun...

I don't know, but I don't think that he wrote that because he thought that someone could do a cool movie of it in the future.

Here's a site that covers the story:
http://www.russian-mosin-nagant.com/Zaitsev_story.htm

AND AGAIN: I DON'T BELIVE IN THE ENEMY AT THE GATES SCENARIO!!!!! :P

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Post by David C. Clarke » 01 Dec 2004 21:53

Chuikov wrote that the information he received about a German super-sniper being sent to kill Zaitsev came from a captured German soldier under interrogation. When the Soviets began to lose snipers, they put 2+2 together. This does not mean that ther source was correct.

Zaitsev's number of kills was remarkable, particularly remarkable considering he was fighting in Stalingrad, which was hell on earth. I have no doubt he did fight and kill a German sniper, but "Thorwald" seems to be an invention, with no documentation from the German side to back it up.

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~D, the EviL

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Post by PPoS » 01 Dec 2004 22:09

I also read that there was a (or more) german snipers named Thorwald and Koening in Soviet War Records, BUT not in the german..

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Post by David C. Clarke » 01 Dec 2004 23:10

Chuikov, The Battle for Stalingrad, page 142:

One night our scouts brought in an identification prisoner, who told us that the head of the Berlin school of snipers, Major Konings, had been flown in from Berlin and given the task, primarily, of killing the leading Soviet sniper."


Once again, the "Thorwald" story is a myth and the Konings story is based on a questionable source.

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Post by khazmodan » 05 Dec 2004 15:21

Something bothers me about this story, something is wrong.
If the German Sniper was an 'Super-Sniper' or an Master Sniper who has taught other 'Soldiers' to become 'Snipers' as 'Enemy at the Gates' shows (i know this movie isn't accurate also, and there is no proof that existed an Sniper School etc... but if he was just an 'Super-Sniper' he would shot someone's glove on a piece of wood? Like it's said in Vassili's history).
Would the German 'Super-Sniper' reveal his position (wich is very dangerous) to shoot someone in the hand?
Come on please...
If it were helmet or a hat i could almost believe, but seeing that it was always used, to pop up a 'empty' helmet to see if the enemy is going to shoot it and reveal it's position it's acceptable if 'he' was an novice Sniper or if he is a pretty stupid 'Sniper' but not for an 'Super-Sniper'.
Something is wrong.
I saw on THC it has some months already i think, but it was about 'SharpShooters' history, and it showed that in WW1 Germans were the first ones to use 'Snipers' or 'Sharpshooters'. (it's true, anyone knows more about?).
So it said that in The Trenches the Britanics had suffered a lot with that, no one could raise its head in The Trenches.
For me they were already experienced with this kind of stuff, and wouldn't make the deadly-mistake to reveal it's position like that or shoot everything that moves.

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Re: Heinz Thorwald

Post by Hans_Rudel » 08 Dec 2004 03:02

PPoS wrote:Zaitsev outfoxed Thorwald by having another sniper set up a trap. First one of the soviet snipers fired to attract the Thorwald's attention to himself, but Thorwald ignored this trick. The next trick was made by Zaitsev's other companion, the sniper positioned himself and lifted his helmet over a wall, where Thorwald put a bullet through it. The sniper cried out as if hit; Thorwald made the fatal mistake of exposing himself to confirm the kill, and Zaitsev killed him instantly.


I have heard so many different versions of this so called 'duel' and Zaitzev's killing of 'Thorwald' that it has lost all credibility in my mind.

And, the entire 'duel' story lacks a credible stance, most of all being that there is no evidence of either Konig or Thorwald ever existing, that I don't know why the thought of this duel actually occuring still persists today.

Well, that's Hollywood (movies) for you. Who would have thought that Tigers, from Das Reich none the less, battled against Americans around July 13th, 1944. Who would have thunk it? Will, Hollywood did, but I guess 'Hollywood' in this sniper duel story would have to be London.

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Post by R-Bob The Great! » 28 Apr 2005 02:52

Double post, sorry.
Last edited by R-Bob The Great! on 28 Apr 2005 02:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by R-Bob The Great! » 28 Apr 2005 02:52

In William Craig's Enemy at the Gates he mentions this Major Konings, not Koenig (if that makes a difference), as being the one who dueled with Zaitsev.

Here is when he talks about Koning's arrival
On September 20, 1942, the broad-faced Zaitsev came to Stalingrad with the 284th Division NOw he was a national hero, and as his fame spread across no-man's0land, the Germans took an inordinate interest in him. They called a Major Konings out from Berlin to kill him.


His sources are

SNIPING AND ZAITSEV'S DUEL WITH MAJOR KONINGS
From an interview with Tania Chernova. Also V. Zaitsev's Notes of a Sniper and V. Yuriev's The Great Victory of Stalingrad; V.I.Z., no. 8, 1966; Chuikov's The Battle of Stalingrad.


His account of the Sniper Duel however is nearly identical to that posted earlier PPos, (I would rather not type it, it is relatively long) so it is clear that he relied on Zaitsev's account for the Sniper Duel and not the others mentioned. Hope this helps, although it seems you ahve already settled the discussion.

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Post by Hans_Rudel » 28 Apr 2005 19:47

R-Bob The Great! wrote:In William Craig's Enemy at the Gates he mentions this Major Konings, not Koenig (if that makes a difference), as being the one who dueled with Zaitsev.

Here is when he talks about Koning's arrival
On September 20, 1942, the broad-faced Zaitsev came to Stalingrad with the 284th Division NOw he was a national hero, and as his fame spread across no-man's0land, the Germans took an inordinate interest in him. They called a Major Konings out from Berlin to kill him.


His sources are

SNIPING AND ZAITSEV'S DUEL WITH MAJOR KONINGS
From an interview with Tania Chernova. Also V. Zaitsev's Notes of a Sniper and V. Yuriev's The Great Victory of Stalingrad; V.I.Z., no. 8, 1966; Chuikov's The Battle of Stalingrad.


His account of the Sniper Duel however is nearly identical to that posted earlier PPos, (I would rather not type it, it is relatively long) so it is clear that he relied on Zaitsev's account for the Sniper Duel and not the others mentioned. Hope this helps, although it seems you ahve already settled the discussion.


When did Craig write his book?

The 1970s?

No wonder he never questioned the validity of the so called 'duel', the Soviet Union was a closed door and all he was Soviet propaganda to work with.

Unlike Beevor, who had extensive access to various old Soviet War Ministries to help him write his book, about the battle of Stalingrad. They were written 30 years apart, and a lot happened in those 30 years.

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Post by R-Bob The Great! » 28 Apr 2005 23:24

Yeah I have Beevor's book too but I didn't remember it mentioning the duel. I just checked and he says the evidence for it is "unconvincing" and he does not name the German sniper by name. Oh well, it made for a good movie.

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