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Vaclav Jezek is a point of view character from Harry Turtledove's The War That Came Early series of alternate history novels. He is an accomplished Czech sniper known for using a modified antique anti-tank gun as a sniper rifle and having killed multiple high-value targets during the Second World War.

After the fall of Czechoslovakia, Jezek was forced to flee to France and joined up with the French Army. At some point, he found an abandoned anti-tank gun and repurposed it to be a sniper rifle that became his trademark weapon. He had enough skill with it to be famous on both sides of the lines. During the armistice with Germany, Jezek joined the rest of his regiment in the Spanish Civil War, where he continued to kill high-value targets. He rejoins the French Army after the armistice with Germany is broken, and successfully fights in the war until Adolf Hitler's assassination.

After the war's official end, Jezek finds himself stranded without options, as the Nazis still hold parts of Czechoslovakia. He then takes up his rifle again, planning to utilize his experiences to start a guerilla war against the German occupiers to save his homeland.

Battle vs. Simo Häyhä (by Leolab)[]

This warrior won a Battle of the Month Award

The Czech unit of the French army is sitting around at camp, since they’re all on leave. Vaclav Jezek is stripping and cleaning his anti-tank rifle. “I bet the Boches are mighty thankful you’re not shooting at them right now,” one of the French officers commented. Vaclav silently ignores him and continues his work, paying attention to the war news on the radio. “Finland has joined with our Fascist enemies, and has repelled the Soviet Union from its borders!” The announcer says, sounding more mildly annoyed than concerned, “Our heroic troops, fresh from victories along the German front, will be moved to cripple Finland’s military capabilities…” “In other words, we invade,” the same officer says, “And your regiment will be going in. There is a Finnish sniper, Simo Häyhä, who will seriously hamper our effort. Since you’re our best sniper – and we’ll need the best we have to take him down, believe me – we’re sending your unit in to take him out. I’ll be going with you, to provide intel on what you will be facing.”

Simo Häyhä, being called back to the army after successfully fending off Russia, is getting together his usual materials: one day’s rations, some water to freeze up the snow, a clip of ammunition, and the mask he uses so that his breath isn’t visible. He looks at the dispatch sent to his house, recommending him to look out for a “bastard with an elephant gun” who will most likely be brought in to counter-snipe.


Simo treks up one of the mountain passes, having picked up extra rations and ammo before starting out. He decided to make the counter-sniper a top priority, and has prepared for a long fight. He builds a small wall out of snow to hide his face, and puts snow in his mouth. He then puts his mask on, and pours water over the snow to freeze it. Now undetectable he goes prone and takes aim with his bayoneted Sako M2/28-30. Scanning the valley, he spots an enemy encampment. He draws a bead on what appears to be the ranking officer, as best he can tell from this distance. He pulls the trigger, and sees the snow turn pink. Smiling to himself, he slips away to prepare other sniping positions.

Vaclav was sent up into the mountains as soon as the officer who accompanied his unit was shot. He finds a good vantage point in the mountains, and attaches the scope to his rifle. He brought a standard-issue helmet and a stick, as well as the massive ammo for his rifle. He looks through the sight, trying in vain to spot the Finnish sniper. He sees another sniping spot near his position, so he sets up the helmet on a stick. He then levels the anti-tank gun, and pops a shot off at random. He then quickly runs over to his new position and watches the other side of the valley.

A bullet slams into a tree near Simo’s position, making a loud crack and shattering the tree. Simo, having seen the muzzle flash, turns his Sako towards it. Looking through his iron sights, however, he distinctly spots two helmets that match the description given to him. The sun is almost behind the mountains, so he can’t see a scope to determine which one is the sniper and which is his spotter. He picks one, aims, and fires.

Vaclav hears the bullet hitting his decoy, but he can’t locate the sound of the shot, nor the muzzle flash. He looks at the helmet, and realizes that the shot must have come from the valley floor. He quickly scans, but sees only white. There wasn’t even a patch of disturbed snow. Realizing now why the Russians nicknamed his opponent “White Death”, he wearily makes camp in the shelter of a cave, trying to keep out of the cold and the sniper’s sights.

Likewise, Simo is making camp in a cave on the cliff just above where he sniped what he now knows was a decoy. He crawls out to the ledge, where he can see the French/Czech camp. He takes aim, and fires a shot. He crawls back into his cave, careful to avoid being noticed.


Vaclav wakes up to a radio call from his camp. His opponent had shot one of his commanding officers in the head. He was ordered to assist and provide cover in a ground search for the sniper, after returning to camp to coordinate.

Simo also woke up, and used some time to heat his rations. After he finished eating, he decided to see if the other sniper – and a damn good one – was still hunting him. He almost reached the mouth of his cave when he hears the screaming of falling artillery shells, a familiar sound after the Russians decided he was worth the same treatment. He retreated just a bit into the cave, keeping his Sako handy in case he has to run out to avoid a cave-in. Once the shelling stops, he peeks outside. He sees a soldier in a Czech uniform, and lines him up in his sights. He fires.

Vaclav heard the shot and a shout of shock, and saw one of his fellow countrymen bleeding out in the snow. He hadn’t seen a muzzle flash, and the acoustics of the valley make it appear like the sound is coming from all over the place. He hears the crack of the rifle a couple more times, and two more members of the scouting party fall down. Using their bodies to find the general direction of the bullets, he traces what he believes is the line of sight of his enemy to a small mound of snow in front of a cave. The rifle cracks again, but the mound is not disturbed. Vaclav decides to send a shot over the top anyway, figuring that the sniper would jump if a round passed over his head.

Simo hears the round go by, the massive anti-tank slug making a rather large hole in the cave wall behind him. He fires a shot at the last Czech soldier, all five of the soldiers sent to draw him out now lying dead in the snow. He carefully crawls out of his space, trying not to alert the sniper on the opposite end of the valley. It’s now midday, so Simo carefully makes his way back to his cave for lunch.

Vaclav is also eating his rations, grumbling about how much worse they taste frozen. When he finishes swallowing the frozen chunks of … something, he loads a new clip into his anti-tank rifle and rests it on a rock when a radio call comes in. His new CO – Häyhä had shot another officer during lunch – had decided to send out three more men, but after that Vaclav would be on his own. Vaclav cursed, and then asked if they could shell the area intermittently during the night, if he wasn’t successful this time. “I think a lack of sleep for him would do wonders for me,” he said, “it’ll make him sloppy, and maybe I can hit the bastard.” As if in protest, he heard the all-to familiar crack of the Sako. Looking at where he had rest his rifle, he saw that the round had missed his scope, but hit the rock behind it right where his head would have been.

Simo chambered another round, and crawled towards a snow bank. He poured some water over a patch of snow, freezing it so that it wouldn’t give his position away, positioned so that he could see both the ridge where the Czech sniper seemed to be camping and the camp full of other Czechs and Frenchmen who were intent on invading his country. Glancing at the latter, he saw a patrol of three soldiers leaving, entering the valley through a narrow pass. The first two are already in the valley and spread out, and he draws a bead on the third as he exits the pass. He fires, and scores another kill. As the soldier drops, bleeding, he aims and fires and the next soldier. The third member seems to have more of a survival instinct that the other two, and drops to the ground. Simo crawls back to a higher vantage point as the soldier advances.

Vaclav saw the first two soldiers fall, and scanned the area for the Finnish sniper. He is unable to locate him, and only hears two cracks as the third man fires and falls. Now extremely irritated, he sets up his decoy again and unloads his entire clip at the valley floor. He moves to a vantage point to try and spot his enemy when he next fires. He sees nothing but powdered craters, and two spots where his shell hit a chunk of frozen-over snow. Seeing nothing, he decides to take a peek at one of the frozen areas on a hunch. Looking through his scope, he sees that the snow was frozen so that it would both make a good platform – ideal for sniping – and so that it would not fly up and reveal a sniper’s position. He radios this information to his CO, who has taken a lesson from the previous nights’ killings and is bunkered in a communications trench. He receives information that Finland’s armed forces are making camp in another section of the valley. The artillery bombardment of the valley would commence as Vaclav had requested, but he himself would be repaying the visits Häyhä paid his camp.

Vaclav crawls towards a vantage point, spotting the Finnish camp. He spots a figure, one who seemed to be important. He set up his decoy and raised the anti-tank rifle to his shoulder. He pulled the trigger, and an officer’s head explodes. He quickly gets another in his sights, and fires. He then moves to another position nearby, and watches for any Finns who wish to counter-snipe. He sees three muzzle flashes, and takes aim at the first, and fires. He tracks to the second one and kills him, and then ducks down. He crawls to another ledge, and takes aim with his scope. The Finn, obviously an amateur, walks back to his camp, resting the sniper rifle on his shoulder. He goes inside a tent, and comes out with an officer. Vaclav takes two shots, killing both of them, and makes camp in a secluded area.


Vaclav crawls wearily back to the valley where he has been dueling Simo Häyhä for the past two days. He sets up camp in a shell crater, and eats a tin of rations for breakfast. He does his usual setup of the decoy, and sets down with his rifle in a different crater, after building the snow into a natural-looking bank and froze it over with some water.

Simo, finishing his rations after a mostly sleepless night, loads his last clip into his Sako and scans the mountain where the Czech sniper had been shooting from. He notices two helmets, and, since he has the advantage of the sun to his back, looks at both of them carefully. He sees what he was looking for: a glint off of a rifle scope. He pulls the trigger, and the Sako M2/28-30 kicks as the round is propelled out of the barrel, across the valley, and into Vaclav Jezek’s head.

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