48 Hours a Day
Chapter 72 - The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You
Chapter 72: The Mannerheim Line Welcomes You XV
The night went by peacefully.
On the afternoon of the second day, Simone found the footprints of Soviet soldiers. It seemed like they just passed here yesterday. According to the prints, there should be around 100 to 200 people. There were also tracks all over the ground left behind by wheels of some kind. It was a high possibility that they dragged along heavy machine guns with them..
After snowboarding for the entire afternoon, they finally got close to their targets just before sundown. It seemed that the Soviets moved at a snail’s pace. Considering that the snow on the ground was half a meter thick, it was extremely hard for soldiers and horses to move around as they pleased.
When the terrain got too tough, the soldiers would be forced to free the stuck carts, heaving and pushing with whatever little strength they had left. The combination of poor weather and bad news from the frontlines took a big hit on the soldiers’ morale. They were supposed to carry out the attack in 16 days, but had failed miserably in doing so. If Zhang Heng remembered correctly, most of the Soviet troops would be eventually eliminated by the Finnish guerillas.
Every single frontline soldier sent to Finland by the Soviets had been overwhelmed by fear. Typically, soldiers that left their homeland to fight a war abroad would be left with very low morale . Despite the Soviets’ best attempts to boost their spirits, the results turned out a lot worse than expected. After the purge, some experienced mid and high-ranking officers were either executed on the spot or sent to Siberian gulags.
Most of the young officers that were promoted had just graduated from military college. Their loyalty toward their homeland was unquestionable. Like brainwashed zombies, they had only one purpose, and that was to follow orders. These were perfect for battles that required cannon fodder, or ones that required little thinking but rather, a mass horde of killing machines. Right now, they were facing problems from all directions, with their young officers not knowing how to handle their dejected subordinates.
After checking the soldiers out with a pair of binoculars, Simone passed it to Zhang Heng. What she saw was a classic Soviet military formation. There were around 150 people in total, where the frontline was made up of three rows of foot soldiers equipped with 12 light machine guns, two heavy machine guns, and then, some grenade dischargers that looked like spades. Most were using the M1891 Mosin-Nagant. For a long time, this rifle was a signature weapon of the Soviets.
In terms of firepower, it was rather potent, especially the Maxim heavy machine gun. In theory, it could shoot up to 600 rounds per minute, powerful enough to shoot down flying airplanes.
Zhang Heng was worried that the reflection of the binoculars might give away their location, only taking short glances in between. Both him and the sniper decided it was best to retreat for now, only returning later that night. Simone had already started to bury herself with the snow around her. She then signaled him with her hand asking him to retreat first.
For the past week, they had been training together, and he thought that he knew how excellent her shooting skills were. He could not help but take a deep breath when he found out about her intentions. Seven hundred meters lay between them and the targets. If one used the sight bead to aim at a target three hundred meters away, the red dot in the scope would be larger than the target. Five hundred meters was considered the maximum distance a shooter could accurately discern it. It was practically impossible to take out a person that was 700 meters away! Zhang Heng had no idea what kind of sniper could achieve such a great feat.
The one thing he knew was that he had to trust his partner with everything he had, come what may. As he mulled over those thoughts in amazement, Zhang Heng carried both of their snowboards one mile from where Simone hid.
He heard a gunshot the moment he lay down. Right after that, loud chaos broke out among the Soviets! Although he could not see what had happened from his distance, he could imagine how terrifying a situation they must be in.
The first thing they would do was to lie flat on the ground and attempt to locate the sniper. Unfortunately, no one would have expected that shot actually came from 700 meters away! After a short back and forth of crossfire, the Soviets had enough. They loaded their Maxim heavy machine guns and grenade launchers at the same time. As the powerful cannon started its assault, the sound of the M28 was utterly drowned out. They would never be able to locate where Simone was.
This kind of battle had a significant impact on a soldier’s morale. Simone could only kill one person each time she fired, and the overpowered Soviets were enough to destroy the entire Milky Way. Despite having the big guns, despair eventually subjugated them. Their firepower was deemed useless when they faced an invisible sniper that was a good 700 meters away from them.
Like a rampant plague, fear had started to spread among the ranks of the Soviets.
The shooting finally came to a stop five minutes later. Some soldiers were still holding up their rifles, cautiously scanning their surroundings. The fear of dying at any moment began to fester in them. From the beginning till the end, they had not located the lone sniper. However, some stray bullets still landed at Simone’s hideout. Zhang Heng was incredibly worried that she might have been shot.
Thankfully, he soon saw Simone approaching him and was filled with relief.
Nothing had changed on Simone, except for her rapid breathing. She then spat out some snow from her mouth and drew the number ’12’ in the air with her finger. In total, Simone used 30 bullets, and she managed to kill one with every three shots. The kill count might not be impressive, but if one considered the fact that she killed enemies that were 700 meters away from her, it was nothing less than a miraculous feat. Her main target were the ones on the heavy machine guns, killing almost 7 out of the 14 gunners. She even managed to kill an officer right before he threw a grenade at her!
While the Soviets were blinded by chaos, Zhang Heng and Simone managed to increase the distance between them. And this was how Zhang Heng’s shootout ended. Throughout the entire stint, he did not fire a single bullet. He was just an observer, witnessing his partner killing their enemies. Simone, on the other hand, did not look too excited about her recent achievement.
There was still half an hour left before the sky turned dark. Simone had no plans to waste any second, so they quickly switched to another spot. She then carried on with the unfinished business, ticking off the rest of the enemies one after another. There was nothing the Soviets could do about her. They had the numbers, but if they deployed all 100 soldiers to search the forest, it would only be easier for Simone to pick them off one by one. Only a sniper could kill a sniper. A heavy machine gun was basically useless right now.
This was the problem that the Soviet commanders could never solve throughout the duration of the winter war. Unfortunately, they did not realize how valuable a sniper would be during that period. Thus, they paid the hefty price of hundreds of thousands of souls before they established their own sniper brigade.
Many years later, though, the Soviet Union would eventually become the country with the most snipers. In the battle with the Nazis, they had snipers deployed at every single, crevasse, rooftop, and ruin in the city.