Semyon Danilovich Nomokonov (12 August 1900 – 12 June or 15 July 1973) was a Soviet sniper during World War II, credited with 367 kills, recorded in his sniper log.[a] An ethnic Buryat-Mongolian Hamnigan Evenk,[b] Nomokonov was among the indigenous peoples of Russia who fought in the war. He received the nickname Taiga Shaman from the enemies.
Nomokonov was born in the settlement of Delyun in Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia (then Russian Empire), in a poor family of hunters, and from childhood lived in taiga. Nomokonov took the rifle for the first time at the age of seven. He hunted sable, Manchurian wapiti and elk, and was nicknamed Eye of the Kite. Nomokonov was baptized at the age of 15 and received the name Semyon. In 1928 Nomokonov moved to the settlement of Nizhny Stan in the Russian Shilkinsky District. He continued hunting and carpentered.
Nomokonov started his military service in August 1941, initially in a subsistence farm of a regiment. Then he made crutches for the wounded. Nomokonov became a sniper by chance. In the fall of 1941 he was evacuating one of the wounded, when he noticed a German, aiming at him. Nomokonov killed him with his own rifle. According to another version, in October 1941 Nomokonov received a rifle and decided to test it. To avoid wasting the rounds, Nomokonov tested the rifle on a German, who was moving along the wooded lake shore, bending down. After that Nomokonov was transferred to a sniper platoon. He started to shoot from a Mosin–Nagant rifle without a telescopic sight. Nomokonov fought at the Valdai Heights, Karelian Isthmus, Ukraine, Lithuania, East Prussia and then in Manchuria. He initially marked the number of kills on his smoking pipe. Nomokonov was wounded eight times and suffered a blast injury twice.
As a sniper instructor, Nomokonov trained over 150 soldiers.
After the war
Nomokonov returned home on a horse. He continued carpentering at Nizhny Stan, but then moved to the settlement of Zugalay, where his elder sons were living. He built a house and continued hunting during free time. In the fall of 1945 Nomokonov received a horse, binoculars and a rifle no. 24638 for his military service. According to Nomokonov's daughter Zoya Babuyeva, he was a taciturn person and did not like to talk much about the war.
Nomokonov left nine children and 49 grandchildren.