|Born||4 January 1907|
Georgia, then part of Imperial Russia
|Died||9 February 1950 (aged 43)|
Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Unit||259th Infantry Regiment of the 179th Infantry Division, Soviet 43rd army|
|Commands held||forward observer unit, sniper unit|
|Battles/wars||World War II:|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union|
Vasily Shalvovich Kvachantiradze (Georgian: ვასილ შალვას ძე კვაჭანტირაძე, Russian: Василий Шалвович Квачантирадзе; 4 January 1907 – 9 February 1950) was a top Soviet sniper during World War II. He entered Red Army service in 1941 and is credited with confirmed kills numbering at least 215 officers and soldiers of the German Wehrmacht during the Vitebsk-Orsha Offensive, and around 534 confirmed kills total during Operation Bagration or during the war.
Kvachantiradze was born in a village in the Georgian region of Guria and grew up within a peasant family. He spent time working and assisting on the farm of his parents until he became a member of the Communist Party of Georgia which brought him good chances for further educating himself on the matters of agriculture. However, his idea of travelling to Moscow for starting up a business career fell short when the war started.
During the war
In 1941 Kvachantiradze joined the Red Army. At the beginning, he was sent into a lead forward observer unit of the Soviet 43rd Army, 179th Infantry Division and quickly proved himself to be an extraordinary marksman with simple ironsighted rifles. Soon he was sent in as a sniper of the same detachment's 259th infantry Regiment and scored his first kills. Like Zaytsev, Kvachantiradze initially paired with another famous Soviet sniper, Fyodor Okhlopkov and they quickly became the deadliest sniper team in the Soviet Union with a total of 644 kills. During the entire period from 1941 to 1945, Kvachantiradze personally scored a total of 534 kills, of which 215 were made during a single Soviet campaign while working together with Okhlopkov. He got wounded in combat a total of five times. His victims were mainly officers but also soldiers, including enemy sharpshooters and snipers. During the Soviet offensive at Vitebsk in 1944, Kvachantiradze's detachment was encircled by counterattacking German units in the village of Shumilino and temporarily cut off from the rest of the regiment. The sniper managed to improvise traps and ambushes without exposing his position a single time. The Germans were held down by accurate sniper fire. In that period alone, Kvachantiradze is claimed to have killed up to 44 enemy soldiers. Due to the continuous harassment and resistance, the German infantry was not able to capture the village which was considered important for creating a defensive line. A combined Soviet infantry and mechanized assault was able to break the encirclement and defeat the Germans.
For his formidable efforts during the war, Kvachantiradze was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, Order of Lenin twice gold star medal, Order of the Red Banner twice, Order of the Patriotic War twice and the Order of the Red Star.
After the war
Kvachantiradze left the army in 1945 and became a head of a Kolkhoz. Vasilij Shalvovich Kvachantiradze died on February 9, 1950 at the age of 43.
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