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Erwin König Was a sniper supposedly killed by Vasily Zaytsev in the Battle of Stalingrad. The diary of Vasily Zaytsev mentions killing Erwin Konig, and there is a sniper scope in Russia, but there is no record of Erwin in Germany.

Now the conspiracy theory: (from Erwin Konig's wiki page)

Since the German Army has no record of a Maj. Erwin König it is possible that the German Army destroyed any record of König after learning of his possible death at the hands of Zaytsev. The defeat of the German forces by the Soviet forces in the Battle of Stalingrad was a major blow to German morale and according to many historians, was the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. This explains one possible motive for the German military to destroy records of König, as König's death at the hands of a "sub-human" Russian Communist would add to the humiliating defeat of the German forces at Stalingrad....

At the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow there is a rifle scope that supposedly belonged to a Wehrmacht sniper called Erwin König. In a post-war visit to Berlin, Zaytsev was allegedly confronted by a woman who told him she was König's daughter, with Soviet authorities quickly evacuating Zaytsev to avoid any confrontation.

Oh the other hand, Soviet propaganda was rife with fictitious stories to boost morale during a time when the war was so uncertain.

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I asked this on skeptics.se 6 months ago without reply: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/10474/… –  JoeHobbit Feb 11 '13 at 3:29
Hmmm, hard to tell. I found this page where it's discussed forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&p=1329007 but the conclusions do not seem to be definitive. The best way to research it seems to start with the fact that Konig was alleged by the Russians to be the head (or at least an instructor in) of the German Snipers School. Was there such an institution? The thread I posted seems to indicate that there was such an institution, but only organized after Stalingrad. But it's a thorny subject I do not presume to settle with this comment. –  Felix Goldberg Feb 11 '13 at 9:45
The name may not be correct, but there certainly were German snipers and there would have been several deployed in the area. Sniper duels make good propaganda for the winner, and the name would fit in perfectly with Soviet principles (the peasant killing the aristocrat, etc. etc.). –  jwenting Feb 11 '13 at 12:02
Couldn't the serial # of the scope be traced back to whom it was issued to? Germany was very meticulous about record-keeping....especially with property containing serial numbers. –  Ray Knutaen Aug 4 at 18:45
The name Erwin König would be more likely to be Prussian or Austrian, not German. Also, if he existed, he could have been a Hungarian or Romanian national, who was an immigrant. On the other hand, snipers were not officers in the Wehrmacht, and certainly not majors. It's probably a bunch of Soviet poppycock. –  Tyler Durden Aug 4 at 19:13

1 Answer 1

up vote -1 down vote accepted

In "The Battle For Stalingrad," the Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov refers to a "Major Konings" as a "Nazi supersniper." (page 142). He assigns the task of finding and killing him to the sharpshooters of Lt. Colonel Nikolai Filippovich Batyuk's 284th Siberian division. These were a group of snipers led by Vasiliy Zaitsev. On pages 143-145 of his book, Chuikov include's Zaitsev's own account of the "hunt." "Konings" reportedly kills or wounds two of Zaitsev's better students and a political agitator, but reveals his position to Zaitsev in the process, allowing Zaitsev to shoot him.

Incidentally, Batuk is an example of Russian "underpromotion" of their officers.

During the battle of Stalingrad, he gets two promotions to Colonel and Major General (the Russian army has no brigadier generals), finally achieve a rank commensurate with his status as division commander.

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wouldn't call it "underpromotion" so much as in the rush to get new units formed pushing experienced officers into command roles they wouldn't normally have the seniority to carry. –  jwenting Mar 9 '13 at 5:01
This doesn't, IMO, answer the question (even if the answer has been accepted by the questioner!). The USSR's claim about König is known. What isn't know is if such a German actually existed as none of his German military or other records have been found. –  coleopterist Mar 9 '13 at 7:24
Sorry, I downvote. As @Coleopterist has pointed out, the answer does not add new information. Since the whole point of the question was to seek independent conformation of the standard account, I feel thath the answer is not helpful. –  Felix Goldberg Mar 10 '13 at 11:47

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