The event that gave birth to the world’s deadliest sniper was a short but bloody conflict that Josef Stalin initiated on November 30, 1939, and concluded on March 13, 1940. Known as the Russo-Finnish War, or Winter War, the goal was to reclaim territory lost in the Russian civil war of 1917.

Convinced the territory was necessary for the protection of Leningrad, Stalin sent over 450,000 men across the border, with the intention of conquering the entire country after the Finns refused to back down. Headstrong and arrogant, the Soviet dictator knew he possessed quantitative advantages in men and material, and he expected to win the day in short order.

Yet, due to his paranoia, the Soviet military entered into the war lacking the one element capable of seeing Stalin’s vision through. Competent leadership. A problem created by Stalin himself.

He had purged most of the officer corps in the late 1930s, suspecting them of disloyalty. The few not executed found themselves staring between bars of a gulag in Siberia, as their commands were taken over by nervous inexperienced hands under control of political commissars. And as the invasion started, this unknown situation would sorely test Lenin’s adage that “quantity has a quality all its own” in the most brutal of ways.