Zaytsev served in the Soviet Navy as a clerk in Vladivostok. When Nazi forces invaded the Soviet Union, Zaytsev, like many of his comrades, volunteered to be transferred to the front line. At the time he had already reached the rank of Sergeant Major. On 22 September 1942, Zaytsev crossed the Volga River and joined the 1047th Rifle Regiment of the 284th Rifle Division of the 62nd Army, headed by General Nikolai Batyuk. One day, Zaytsev’s commanding officer called him up and pointed at an enemy soldier in a window 800 meters away. Zaytsev took aim from his standard-issue Mosin-Nagant rifle, and with one shot, the soldier was down. In less than a few moments, two other German soldiers appeared in the window, checking their fallen officer. Vasily fired two more shots, and they were killed. For this, together with the Medal for Valor, Vasily was also awarded a sniper rifle. He is notable for having been elevated by propaganda to a virtual status of hero and served as an example and inspiration to other soldiers. His skill as a sniper allowed him to establish and run a snipers’ training school in the Metiz factory. Zaytsev-trained apprentices were nicknamed zaichata, meaning “leverets” (baby hares). Antony Beevor wrote in Stalingrad that this was the start of the “sniper movement” in the 62nd Army. Conferences were arranged to spread the doctrine of “sniperism” and exchange ideas on technique and principles that were not limited to marksmanship skills. It is estimated that snipers trained by Zaytsev killed more than 6000 enemy soldiers during World War II.