Semyon Danilovich Nomokonov was a sniper in the Red Army during the Second World War. An ethnic
Evenk, he was born near Zabaykasky Krai in 1900. There isn’t much information on his early life, but he apparently lived a simple childhood taking up shooting for hunting at the age of seven while eventually taking up carpentry as a trade.
Shortly after the invasion he was drafted and was initially placed in a support regiment where he made crutches for the wounded. While how he became a sniper is debated, the most commonly told story is that while attempting to evacuate wounded he spotted a group of German soldiers taking aim at some of the men. He engaged them from a large distance and drove the group off, catching the attention of a superior officer who enrolled him in a sniper battalion.
As a sniper, he earned the name “Taiga shaman” from his enemies and is accredited with 367 kills, most of which he marked on his smoking pipe. Lines for rank and file soldiers, crosses for officers. He was also known for his clever use of camouflage.
“He went on a mission with a rope and shards of mirrors. On his feet he had brodni shoes, woven from horsehair. Brodni made his steps silent, and with the mirror and rope he lured the enemy’s shot, like a puppeteer.. None of his platoon could beat him in the art of camouflage.”
Nomokonov’s weapon of choice was the famous Mosin-Nagant 91/30 which he preferred to use without an optic. Similar to Simo Häyhä, or the “White Death”, of the Finnish army with 505 confirmed kills.
He went on to serve in the Valdai Heights, Karelian Isthmus, Ukraine, in Lithuania, East Prussia, and then during the Soviet-Japanese war in Manchuria. Earning two Orders of the Red Star, Order of the Red Banner, Order of Lenin and various other medals.
Nomokonov survived the war despite eight injuries and went on to train over 150 soldiers to be snipers. He eventually returned home and took up carpentry again, eventually passing in 1973. He left behind nine children and 49 grand children.
Stills from one more great Soviet war film - “The Ascent” (directed by Larisa Shepitko)
Larisa Shepitko was one of the few Soviet female movie directors. “The Ascent” is regarded as her best film. In such traditionally “masculine” field as Great Patriotic War, Shepitko succeed to create one of the most prominent pictures.
The film is based on a novel “Sotnikov” by Vasil Bykov, and tells not only the war-story, but also a story of the existential conflict in depths of a human soul.
( And I should say, that “The Ascent” is a totally must-see. A great film)