|Born||September 12, 1919|
|Years of service||1939–1945|
|Unit||1st Baltic Front, 1122nd Rifle Regiment|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards|| Hero of the Soviet Union|
Ivan Mikhaylovich Sidorenko (Russian: Ива́н Миха́йлович Сидоре́нко) (September 12, 1919) was a Red Army officer who served during World War II. He was one of the top Soviet snipers in the war, with over five hundred confirmed kills. Though a number of other Red Army snipers recorded nearly as many kills, Sidorenko was particularly prized by his superiors for his skill in training others in marksmanship. Like many Soviet snipers of the war, Sidorenko's weapon of choice was the Mosin-Nagant rifle equipped with a telescopic sight.
Born a peasant in Chantsovo, Russia, Sidorenko attended ten grades of school and later studied at the Penza Art College. In 1939, he dropped out of college and was conscripted into the Red Army, receiving training at the Simferopol Military Infantry School in the Crimea.
In 1941, Sidorenko participated at the Battle of Moscow as a Junior Lieutenant of a mortar company. During the battle, he spent a considerable amount of time teaching himself to snipe. His hunts for enemy soldiers were highly successful, prompting Sidorenko's commanders to assign him to train others, who were chosen for their eyesight, weapons knowledge, and endurance. Sidorenko first taught them tactical theory, and then slowly took his pupils on combat missions with him. The Germans, threatened by their consistent losses, soon began fielding snipers of their own in Sidorenko's area of operation to counter the threat posed by him and his men.
Sidorenko became assistant commander of the Headquarters of the 1122nd Rifle Regiment, fighting as part of the 1st Baltic Front. Though his primary role remained one of instruction, he occasionally fought in battles to provide his trainees with additional combat experience. In one of these excursions, he destroyed a tank and three tractors using incendiary bullets. These scouting missions also placed him in the line of fire, however, and he was wounded several times, most seriously in Estonia in 1944. This injury kept Sidorenko hospitalized until the end of the war. On June 4, 1944, while still recuperating, he was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. After this, Sidorenko was prohibited from directly engaging the enemy in combat by his superiors due to his value as a sniper trainer.
By the end of the war, Sidorenko was credited with about five hundred confirmed kills, and had additionally trained over two hundred and fifty snipers. He achieved the rank of Major and was otherwise highly decorated in recognition of his having been the most successful Soviet sniper of the war.
After the war ended, Sidorenko retired from the Red Army and settled in Chelyabinsk Oblast in the Ural Mountains, where he worked as the foreman of a coal mine. In 1974, he moved to the Republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus.
- ^ a b c d e f Sakaida, Henry (2004). Heroes of the Soviet Union: 1941–1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 1-84176-769-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=Y3UbdijeLssC&printsec=frontcover&client=firefox-a#PPA18,M1.
- ^ Haskew, Michael E. (2005). The Sniper at War: From the American Revolutionary War to the Present Day. Macmillan Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 0-312-33651-9. http://books.google.com/books?id=QnmyjViuPrUC&printsec=frontcover&client=firefox-a#PPA74,M1.
- ^ Pat Farey; Mark Spicer (5 May 2009). Sniping: An Illustrated History. MBI Publishing Company. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-7603-3717-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=l1a-kB-1MMAC. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- ^ a b Westwood, David (2005). Rifles: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 212. ISBN 1-85109-401-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=hLBTkNZ8U44C&printsec=frontcover#PPA212,M1.
- ^ Ridder, Williem (2007). Countdown to Freedom. AuthorHouse. p. 352. ISBN 1-4343-1229-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=vgsYNtvg8ngC&printsec=frontcover#PPA352,M1.
- ^ "WW2 Snipers". http://www.wio.ru/galgrnd/sniper/sniper.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- ^ "Snipers". http://www.snipercentral.com/snipers.htm#WWII. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- ^ Ridder, Willem (2007). Countdown to Freedom. AuthorHouse. p. 352. ISBN 1-4343-1229-1. http://books.google.com/books?id=vgsYNtvg8ngC&printsec=frontcover&client=firefox-a#PPA352,M1.