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View Full Version : Did Konig/Thorvald even exist?



Crosshairs
06-16-2007, 02:40 PM
In the legendary World War 2, of course Russia and Germany both used sniper tactics to cut down the opposing enemies lines. For the Russians, their great leader in sniping was the legendary Vasili Zaietsev. He had such an impact on the german front, that, according to the Russians, the Germans sent either of two snipers: Erwin Konig, and Heinz Thorvald.

But according to records, this was merely a way for the Russians to boost morale along their lines. Because there is no trace of him in the German Records.

Although I have seen the portion of Zaistevs' memoirs; where he describes a sniper that he encountered in Stalingrad as HEINZ THORVALD.

But could this be a case of "IT WASN'T US" scenario. Where one country is so ashamed, that they would completely cover it up?

Now, there is no doubt about it that Zaietsev was a real enough, and successful sniper of WW2. But my question is:

Did Erwin Konig or Heinz Thorvald even exist, or was it propaganda used by the Russians?

Panzerknacker
06-16-2007, 11:43 PM
Neither König or Thorvald exist. Major König is a invention of William Craig in the book "ENEMY AT THE GATES: THE BATTLE FOR STALINGRAD".

Unfortunately for some strange reason some historians had taken this novelesque acconut of the battle as 100 % real. Even I saw there named in a History Channel documentry...ridiculous.

Zaitsev in his memoirs remember Thorvald as a Waffen SS officer, but there is a problem, there was no SS units in Stalingrad at that time.

The better Whermacht sniper was the austrian Obergefreiter Mattheus Hetzenaur wich survived the war with 345 kills.

Crosshairs
06-17-2007, 01:28 PM
yes. That is exactly why I was skeptical about whether they even existed.

Simply because, as you said, there was no SS at that time.
I had also found out this; that the SS did not "tolerate" sniping. They did not see sniping tactics as an honorable way of fighting. --- Snipers were never SS. They were assigned to the Werhmact.


It is clear now that these two "unidentified" snipers were just another tall-tale sent down forth by the russians to boost the fighting spirits of the Red Army

BDL
06-17-2007, 02:03 PM
Simply because, as you said, there was no SS at that time. I had also found out this; that the SS did not "tolerate" sniping. They did not see sniping tactics as an honorable way of fighting

Really? The type of murdering scum who made up the SS thought that sniping was beneath them?


Heinrich Himmler, himself very interested in sharpshooting, had early set up sniper programs for the Waffen SS.

(Source (http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=2031))

http://img12.echo.cx/img12/8828/sscolorsnipers9gw.th.jpg

SS Snipers

Crosshairs
06-17-2007, 03:55 PM
This is where I found the resources on this topic (that the SS did not believe in sniping)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Konig

And these results below are brief bits of content that leads me to the assumption that neither Thorvald or Konig existed

Fact from fiction
Historians have continued to question the existence of this seemingly fictitious character. Listed below are a few of the reasons which suggest that he never existed:

No records of the SS ever being in Stalingrad have been found.

The SS had very few snipers, as they viewed this role as a dishonorable way to fight. Sniping was a task for the Wehrmacht.

No active sniper was ever given a rank as high as Major (Sturmbannführer), as snipers were expected to serve on the battlefield, not to lead.

At the end of the war, Germany's best documented sniper was a 21-year-old Private (Gefreiter) named Matthäus Hetzenauer, with a total of only 345 confirmed kills, compared to König's supposed 400-plus confirmed kills.

Soviet propaganda was rife with fictitious stories to boost morale during a time when the war was so uncertain. The Battle of Stalingrad was the

turning point for the German offensive into Russia.

--source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Konig

Chevan
06-17-2007, 11:48 PM
...... For the Russians, their great leader in sniping was the legendary Vasili Zaietsev.

Sorry Crosshairs but V. Zaitsev was even not among the first 10 of soviet highest snipers:
http://www.wio.ru/galgrnd/sniper/sniper.htm
True, he together with his mate Chehov was a most famouse sniper of Stalingrad due to the soviet propoganda, but his total scope ( untill his wounding in 1943) was no a rteally great about 300.
Althought i agree with you the probably the Major/Koning never existed but the duel of Zaitsev with German hight-experiensed sniper really was.
Not only Zaitsev but also and General Vasiliy Chuykov ( the commander of soviet troops in Stalingrad 62 and 64 Guard army) wrote in his memours "From Stalingrad to the Berlin" about duel of Zaitsev with the Germans sniper.
Certainly the propoganda made its work .... and thus there were born the Thorvald;)
But i think the fact of sniper duel in Stalingrad could be not even disputable.
The history of duel as we know it from the "Enemy of the Gates" sure is no more then the nice patriotic legend ... but the simular nice legend and the "saving private rayn".
Do anybody want to say this is a bad?;):)

BDL
06-18-2007, 12:36 AM
This is where I found the resources on this topic (that the SS did not believe in sniping)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erwin_Konig

To be honest, you'd be as well off reading Commando comics for your historical education as you would be reading wikipedia. Don't know how accurate that page is, but there's some proper balls written on that site.

Chevan
06-18-2007, 01:17 AM
To be honest, you'd be as well off reading Commando comics for your historical education as you would be reading wikipedia. Don't know how accurate that page is, but there's some proper balls written on that site.
:D
Absolutly agree with BDL

Reader
12-25-2014, 06:01 PM
In the book in front of me, "Bruno Sutkus, Sniper Ace, From the Eastern front to Siberia" which I have finished reading this week, on page 59, of the German publisher's Note, it is stated clearly that "...Himmler constantly drew attention to sniper successess and encouraged them...." This is followed by a clear report on his promotion of sniping, and that snipers should be awarded with high decorations, a whole list of them, and ..."that for one hundred confirmed claims the sniper concerned would be recommended for the German cross in Gold". Himmler's announcement is translated into English as it appearded [in German of course] in the "Divisional newspaper, 17. SS-Panzer-Grnadier-Div Gotz von Berlichinen, 'Die Eiserne Faust", February 1945".