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Red Sniper on the Eastern Front (Hardback)

The Memoirs of Joseph Pilyushin

WWII Military Biography Snipers

By Joseph Pilyushin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781848841208
Published: 6th April 2010



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Joseph Pilyushin, a top Red Army sniper in the ruthless fight against the Germans on the Eastern Front, was an exceptional soldier and he has a remarkable story to tell. His first-hand account of his wartime service gives a graphic insight into his lethal skill with a rifle and into the desperate fight put up by Soviet forces to defend Leningrad. He also records how, during the three-year siege, close members of this family died, including his wife and two sons, as well as many of his comrades in arms. He describes these often-terrible events with such honesty and clarity that his memoir is remarkable.
Piluyshin, who lived in Leningrad with his family, was already 35 years old when the war broke out and he was drafted. He started in the Red Army as a scout, but once he had demonstrated his marksmanship and steady nerve, he became a sniper. He served throughout the Leningrad siege, from the late 1941 when the Wehrmacht's advance was halted just short of the city to its liberation during the Soviet offensive of 1944. His descriptions of gruelling front-line life, of his fellow soldiers and of his sniping missions are balanced by his vivid recollections of the protracted suffering of Leningrad's imprisoned population and of the grief that was visited upon him and his family.
His gripping narrative will be fascinating reading for any one who is keen to learn about the role and technique of the sniper during the Second World War. It is also a memorable eyewitness account of one man's experience on the Eastern Front.

Joseph Pilyushin was a married man of 35 when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941. He joined the Red Army, serving in 14th Rifle Regiment of the 21st Division of the NKVD which later became the 602nd Rifle Regiment of 109th Rifle Division. He took part in defensive battles around Leningrad from July 1941 till January 1944, and his unit was involved in the Leningrad-Novgorod offensive of 1944 as part of the 42nd Army. Near Gdov he was severely wounded and he was eventually discharged. He lost his first wife and two sons during the conflict. His wartime memoir At the Gates of Leningrad was first published in Russian in 1965.

Joseph Pilyushin was a prolific Russian sniper who was credited with 136 kills during the Siege of Leningrad. His memoir vividly documents this truly epic encounter, which resulted in a combined 3.5 million casualties, from its encirclement in 1941 to its relief three years later. Initially serving as an ordinary infantryman, he was badly wounded during the first months and lost his dominant eye, yet remarkably he quickly taught himself to shoot left-handed and went on to become a leading sniper. Amongst the unending routine of holding the line, raiding and sniping, Pilyushin takes time to describe the many personalities he encountered, in which we see the humour, determination and comradeship of the Red Army soldier, yet the toll on human life is quite evident as few of these make it to the end. He also dwells on the desperate plight of the starving civilian population, and he was not immune to this tale of human suffering as his wife and two sons lived in the city and were killed in bombing raids. The story culminates in the end of the siege and the attacks to drive the Germans back, during which he was again badly wounded and ultimately discharged from the army.

Pegasus Archive, Mark Hickman

This book should be read right next Chris Kyle’s story to show the contrast between American and Russian ways of war.

Modern War Institute

This book is thankfully not preoccupied with sniper's art but records in detail the ferocious close-quarter fighting against a relentless and courageous enemy for possession of the city. The translation is excellent and the narrative flows well. The author avoids communist rhetoric and provides a stimulating account of a bitter struggle for survival from a rare perspective.

Soldier Magazine - March 2011

Joseph Pilyushin, a top Red Army sniper of the Eastern Front, was an exceptional soldier with a remarkable story to tell. His first-hand account of his wartime service gives a graphic insight into his lethal skill with a rifle and into the desperate fight put up by Soviet forces to defend Leningrad. He describes often-terrible events with such honesty and clarity that his memoir is remarkable.

reenacting ww2

This is quite possibly my second favorite book right next to Sniper on the Eastern Front. The book is entertaining, gripping, and has a surprising absence of Soviet propaganda. Pilyushin is not a well known sniper, but he most definitely should be. I would honestly recommend this book to ANYONE who has even the slightest love of history, especially WWII. The book is absolutely amazing.

Zachary Meiselbach
Perfect Partner

Sniper on the Eastern Front (Paperback)

This book is a rare first-hand account by a ruthlessly efficient German sniper of life and death during the bitter conflict that followed the Nazi invasion of Russia. Josef 'Sepp' Allerberger was an Austrian conscript who qualified as a Wehrmacht machine-gunner and was drafted to the Southern sector of the Front in July 1942. After being wounded at Voroshilovsk, he experimented successfully with a captured Russian sniper-rifle while convalescing and returned to his unit as his regiment's only sniper specialist. In the gruelling months that followed, as the German Army was forced to withdraw under…

By Albrecht Wacker

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