With the creation of modern warfare, it’s easier than ever to kill enemy soldiers. Yet, as analysts like Steven Pinker are keen to remind us, this era is the most peaceful in recorded history. This is quite possibly down to the fundamental deterrent to violence inherent in the fact that, with humanity’s new age weapons, war could now mean the end of the entire planet.
However, there was a time in the not-so-distant past that widespread war was deemed necessary and widespread destruction was the inevitable consequence.
The following list includes those individuals – from current and wars past – who have proven themselves the most effective, deadly human tools in war. Some have been responsible for hand-to-hand combat, while others have killed from a distance. Regardless, all the individuals on this list have earned the title of some of the deadliest warriors in human history.
8. Chris Kyle: American Sniper ‘Legend’
The subject of one of this year’s most popular Oscar bait movies, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Kyle was an American Navy SEAL. He has been named the most notorious and deadliest sniper in the history of the American military.
Kyle served in Iraq over four tours, winning numerous awards throughout his military career including two Silver Star medals and five Bronze Star models.
Known as ‘Legend’ among the SEALs, Kyle was shot and killed in 2013 by a Marine Corps veteran who allegedly suffered from PTSD.
7. Dipprasad Pun: Over 30 Enemy Soldiers Killed
More than thirty soldiers were killed by Pun single-handedly. He was fighting the Taliban at the checkpoint by Babaji and needed to prevent enemy takeover. The Gurkha soldier launched 17 grenades, fired 400 rounds and detonated a mine – all to stop the Taliban attack. This is why the number is actually greater than 30.
His story becomes even more interesting after the fact though; when he had used all available ammunition, Pun used the tripod of his machine gun to hit a Taliban soldier climbing the walls. All together, he was able to kill over 30 enemy soldiers and prevent the Taliban assault from working.
He was given a medal of honor by the Queen of England in recognition of his bravery. Though he had not killed the largest amount of soldiers in history, he definitely earns a spot as one of the deadliest soldiers for his single-handed combat.
6. Miyamoto Musashi: Over 60 Duels Won
Over the course of his lifetime, Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai from Japan, defeated over 60 people in life-or-death duels. These duels were all against highly skilled warriors, and there could only be one left alive at the end of each battle. His first duel was perhaps the most remarkable, as he won it at the mere age of twelve. His opponent was an adult, highly trained samurai. To make the story even more interesting, the adult samurai had a sharpened blade, while Musashi held only a stick.
From that point on, until he was twenty-nine years old, he fought in over 60 more duels to the death and fought in six wars, often leading his men into battle. This is why, although the number of duels fought was 60, his total number of enemy kills is most likely much, much higher. During all of this, he never received more than a scratch.
5. Carlos Norman Hathcock II: 93 Confirmed Kills
Known as “Gunny” to his fellow soldiers, Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock II has over ninety confirmed kills during the Vietnam War. A sniper, he was extremely skilled in anticipating enemy movement and advances. Although he has 93 confirmed kills, the actual number is most likely much higher, with many believing the number to over 300. Nicknamed “white feather” for the feather in his hat, he had a large bounty placed on his head.
However, when someone tried to collect it, “Gunny” shot the man first, without actually having seen him first. He instead saw a glint of light in the trees, and chose to shoot what he thought was an enemy soldier. This famous shot has been glorified in movies such as The Sniper and Saving Private Ryan.
4. Klaudia Kalugina: 257 Axis Soldiers Killed
During World War II, the Soviet Union was looking for female snipers. Many believed that women actually made better snipers than men did, and when looking at some of them from the time, the claim seems to be pretty supported.
Klaudia was one such woman, who volunteered to fight for Russia against Axis forces at the age of 17. Of all the 2,000 female snipers that Russia had, Klaudia was one of the very best.
Shortly after joining the war, her best friend Marusia Chikhvintseva was killed by a German sniper, which may have pushed Klaudia into a killing frenzy. She had a reported 257 Axis kills. For comparison, the US’ best sniper, Chris Kyle, claimed to have 225 kills.
3. Simo Hayha- 705 Kills
Simo Häyhä, a Finnish sniper who fought against the Red Army during the Battle of Kollaa, is said to be the best sniper to have ever lived, according to his kill count. His unprecedented tactics gave him an edge over enemy soldiers.
He would dress in all white to blend in with the snow, never used scopes (as the glare may give him away) and even kept snow in his mouth so that his breath would not show. He was named “The White Death” by the Soviet enemies, as he had over 700 kills in total.
His life has been idealized and idolized since his involvement in the war, and to date, there nobody has surpassed him as a sniper.
2. Female Snipers: 775 Total Kills
The Soviet Union boasted many female snipers during WW11, as the extra manpower was sorely needed. These female snipers were largely seen as an excellent contribution to the war. By utilizing a large percentage of previously unattainable warriors, the Soviet power was able to better protect itself.
Rather than listing each one individually, we can view this historically unique group as a whole. After looking at the picture of the women together, it is clear to see that the female snipers during the time were close knit as well as formidable. The snipers pictured above, sourced from RareHistoricalPhotos, are as follows:
1st row – Guard Staff Sergeant, VN Stepanov: 20 kills. Guard Sgt JP Belousov: 80 kills. Guard Sgt AE Vinogradov: 83 kills.
2nd row – Guard Lieutenant EK Zhibovskaya: 24 kills. Guard Sgt KF Marinkin: 79 kills. Guard Sgt OS Marenkina: 70 kills.
3rd row – Guard Lieutenant NP Belobrova: 70 kills. Lieutenant N. Lobkovsky: 89 kills. Guard Lieutenant VI Artamonov: 89 kills. Guard Staff Sergeant MG Zubchenko: 83 kills.
4th row – Guard Sergeant, NP Obukhov: 64 kills. Guard Sergeant, AR Belyakov 24 kills.
All together, these women had over 775 confirmed kills, much more than most male snipers in the history of war. For women snipers in total during the war, over 12,000 kills were confirmed.
1. Sgt Dillard Johnson: 2,746 enemy combatants
Sergeant Dillard Johnson has been all over the news due to his alarmingly high reported kill count during combat in Iraq. If the reports are true, he is the deadliest soldier in US history, and in the history of modern warfare.
He has claimed to have killed 2,746 enemy soldiers during his time in the Middle East. 121 of these are said to be via sniping. He would count each person downed from their rifles sticking up and the visible bodies.
There has been speculation as to the accuracy of these numbers, however; a lot coming from fellow soldiers who question his legitimacy. For instance, some of his kills may have been counted among suicide attacks. Regardless, the US soldier has seemingly unquestionably killed many, many enemies.