One of the best World War II films in recent years was unquestionably “Enemy at the Gates” (2001), wherein an ongoing sniper duel between Russian sharpshooter Vasily Zaytsev (Jude Law) and German Major Erwin König (Ed Harris) was vividly and beautifully orchestrated. The author has the good luck to be friends with the film’s producer, John D. Schofield, and was invited to Germany to observe them shoot several scenes.
Walking around the massive Stalingrad set in Babelsburg was eerie and evocative in the extreme. I had plenty of time to check out all the guns, uniforms, etc. Everything was done beautifully thanks in large part to Schofield’s insistence on authenticity, being a gun collector and World War II militaria buff himself.
The gun we’re looking at here is the principal Mosin-Nagant Model 1891/30 sniper rifle used by Jude Law’s character. Unfortunately, it had to be deactivated to allow its importation into the United States, but it’s still a fascinating artifact of a truly thrilling film. Courtesy National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, Virginia.