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Thread: Snipers Sniping & Countering them

  1. #161
    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    But.....but....but...its in a newspaper....it must be true.

    I don't know whether to believe it or not. It does appear a bit too good to be true.

    Oh, and you forgot the third shot, where he kills the gun.
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

  2. #162
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I won't secondguess it from my save desk, but just post some interesting bits.

    1) It is possible that the shooter had a 5-25x56 scope on his L115A3. Keep in mind that you can count with a good 30x spotting scope a cock's tailfeathers 1800 m even on an overcast day. (Just did that 5 min ago ). So on this bright Afghan day the shooter could easily have got a lot of detail even at that range, even spotting the targets himself.

    2) This link has quite some detail about the external ballistics of the Lapua Scenar GB528 19.44 g coming out of a (standard barrel - 60 cm?) .338 LM rifle. At standard conditions the bullet would take almost 6 seconds to reach the targets and hit them with 260 m/s, the hot and high conditions of the specific area would have reduced the flight time somewhat. At this distances and with that bullet speed the second men could have no idea about what hit them. The total drop of the bullet should have been over 110 m (high and hot).

    3) There must have been practically no wind along the whole path of the bullet as just the slightest breeze some 1500m away would have driven the bullet far away.

    4) The MOA of the bullet-rifle combination must be truly excellent.

    5) A lot still to add but I will leave it there.


    Firn

  3. #163
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    But.....but....but...its in a newspaper....it must be true.

    I don't know whether to believe it or not. It does appear a bit too good to be true.

    Oh, and you forgot the third shot, where he kills the gun.
    It's like one man writing his own citation... put them on a polygraph!

  4. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valin View Post
    Daily Express
    8/9/09

    A SCOTTISH soldier has been praised for making the longest recorded kill in Afghanistan after shooting a top Taliban fighter from almost a mile away.
    Corporal Christopher Reynolds took out the Afghan drug lord during some of the hardest fighting of the war so far.

    The 25-year-old, of 3 Scots, The Black Watch, kept watch on a shop rooftop for three days to eliminate the target.
    But he admitted the top-level Taliban fighter – known as Musa – was so far away it took him a couple of attempts to get the aim right.

    Initially Musa, who was with four men, did not even realise he was being shot at........
    Why not take the guess work out of this and issue snipers with Laser Target pointers/designators for air strikes?

    Oh silly me... by the time the 10 levels of authority for the air strike are obtained the Taliban would be long gone.

  5. #165
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    Default SDM's

    I've trained SDM's at a school house for a bit. In the US Army the proponent for all things marksmanship is the US Army Infantry School (USAIS). Our Program of Instruction (POI) was submitted to USAIS for approval as THE SDM POI. There are always things in the works. I suspect it wont be too long before the next Marksmanship FM comes out.

    As we teach it, the SDM is responsible for those targets from 300 to 600 meters, at ranges beyond that the targets belong to Snipers (doctrinally speaking). Extensive research conducted by the USMC Warfighter Lab had other quantifiable and interesting findings on the efficacy, use, tactics, purpose and role of the DM. This research is referenced in current training.

    The SDM program found in the back of the current FM, suggests a 5 day training plan. This is too short, simply because a great deal of US Army units do not follow the marksmanship training strategy as outlined by the USAIS. Conflicting reference materials directing army marksmanship training, have resulted in units choosing the path of least resistance (i.e., DA PAM 385-38 STRAC). The STRAC is a peacetime guide, we havent been at peace in quite some time, but that is the reference that nearly every unit uses.

    We could effectively implement a 5 day SDM course if the Army instead followed the training strategy outlined by USAIS which is PMI (12hrs), Simulators 1 day, grouping fire 1 day, zero 1 day, KD fam fire & qual 1 day, Pop up fam fire & qual 1 day. This concludes BRM. This is supposed to happen at least twice a year.

    ********************
    SDM Weapon.
    95% of the time, if not more than that, the SDM is just another guy in the squad. So why would you issue him a special weapon when his primary mission and responsibility rest with the squad? His weapon must be suitable for his primary mission. Many are quick to say that that SDM needs an M14! Or some other such weapon... TRIPE. What we have suggested to the Army is to accurize the M16A4 with parts already in inventory.

    These parts already on hand are:

    Free Float Hanguards (either KAC or ARMS, both are NSN items)

    Match Trigger (NSN)

    New Barrel (NSN)

    There are comments in this thread that SDM's don't need no fancy free float tube, or words to that effect. What information is that based off of? That is like saying the SDM needs to be only so accurate.

    Do this for me; take an M16 or M4, put it in some sort of fabricated vise that securely holds the weapon, so long as NOTHING touches the weapon from the slip ring forward. With the weapon so secured, insert a laser borelight into the bore. Aim the weapon at a wall 10 m or so distant, turn on the laser, mark the wall where the laser strikes. Then "place" your hand anywhere along the weapon forward of the slip ring and watch the laser dot move off of the mark. Now imagine you were actually applying force on the weapon, like applying pressure with a sling, or holding firm with a sandbag. You get the idea.

    This for the unschooled, is why you need a free floating handguard if you want to be accurate (head size accurate) to 600 meters. This is also why those in the know do not use those idiotic grip/bipods, Gucci kit to be sure; enhancing accuracy? Not so much.

    The requirement for the SDM is to engage targets with well aimed fire to 600 meters. Keep that in mind.

    *******************
    AMMO.
    The M855 62 gr. green tip does not perform as well as other 5.56 mm ammunition both in terms of external and terminal ballistics. Since the SDM is a member of the squad, there still exists in the squad the capability to penetrate barrier material with the SAW firing M855 ammo. The Mk 262 varieties are better choices for the SDM and frankly for all of the riflemen in the squad in terms of the ballistics, external and terminal.

    ***************

    Additional pieces of kit:

    SDM's can be task organized to peform supporting roles in defense and in UO. Studies have shown a significant decrease in the amount of casualties in terms of fratricide and enemy fire, when the SDM is in overwatch supporting the movement of the fire team or squad.

    To aid the SDM in this role two pieces of kit will help, a light weight laser range finder, and the HBL-S bipod with ARMS #32 mount.

    ...

    In closing, the SDM IS NOT a sniper. He is an assaulter, with a good deal of additional marksmanship training. How good he is depends upon the quality of the initial training, the frequency and quality of the sustainment training, and the character of the individual Soldier. In the counter insurgency fight, civilian casualties are especially a bad thing. With highly trained riflemen we can dramatically improve our first round hit probability and the decrease the use of supporting arms which are far more likely to produce unintended consequences.

  6. #166
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soldier_X View Post
    In closing, the SDM IS NOT a sniper. He is an assaulter, with a good deal of additional marksmanship training. How good he is depends upon the quality of the initial training, the frequency and quality of the sustainment training, and the character of the individual Soldier. In the counter insurgency fight, civilian casualties are especially a bad thing. With highly trained riflemen we can dramatically improve our first round hit probability and the decrease the use of supporting arms which are far more likely to produce unintended consequences.
    The squad sharpshooters (trained as "sharpshooters") of this raiding parties on skies seem to have been based on a pretty intensive amount of German, Finnish and Soviet experience. In short according to the tentative doctrine the best shots of the units should have got the individual weapons with the highest degree of long-range firepower and the so important telescopic sights with considerable training on their use.

    In this case the raiding parties could often not rely on supporting arms, albeight for different reasons, and had to win the firefight on their own, often against superior numbers. For this very reasons semi-automatic weapons were scoped instead of the usual bolt-action ones.

    I will continue later.

    Firn

  7. #167
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Sorry for delaying my response a bit.

    I think we covered overall the training, doctrine, weapons and calibers pretty well. The different approaches have different merits, for example the US Army one seems to be pretty much low-risk training and doctrine wise, while it still reaps considerable benefits.

    Perhaps we discussed optics in less detail. I already wrote that not just the author of the last paper does time and time again note the importance of good optics. The quantity and quality of them made quite an impact on the battlefields of WWII and nobody seemed to get enough of them. German plans to equip large numbers of semi-automatic and assault rifles with telescopic sights failed for obvious reasons. In the current conflicts this old idea has become pretty much standard in Western forces, even if in different forms.

    --------------------------------

    OPTICS


    Telescopic Sights:

    While the DM is not a sniper and often uses a modified version of the standard rifle he could make good use of a "sniper scope". A quality tactical, rugged, variable power scope with a good compromise between low (1.5 - 3?) and high (6-12) magnification could allow him to handle both the standard duties as "assaulter" and the additional ones as sharpshooter. Quality, high magnification facilitates especially at longer ranges target detection and identification. The choice of the reticle and the FP is of very considerable importance and not an easy one. The scope has of course to be compatible with the standard NV equipment.


    Additional pieces of kit:

    SDM's can be task organized to peform supporting roles in defense and in UO. Studies have shown a significant decrease in the amount of casualties in terms of fratricide and enemy fire, when the SDM is in overwatch supporting the movement of the fire team or squad.

    To aid the SDM in this role two pieces of kit will help, a light weight laser range finder, and the HBL-S bipod with ARMS #32 mount.
    An ever growing numbers of (for military standards) cheap but high quality, light range finders come with a ballistic calculator which covers more and more of the important variables for long-range shooting. Tools like that take a lot of science out of the art of war, as long as they work that is.


    10 Years of the Leica CRF Rangefinder – Now with Integrated Measurement of Angle of Elevation/Declination, Temperature and Barometric Pressure. The new Leica Rangemaster 1600 offers:

    • In addition to the standard ballistic trajectory, its Leica microcomputer also integrates the angle of elevation/declination, the temperature and the barometric pressure in its calculations. This brings an invaluable benefit for hunters, as it displays the point of aim in less than 0.3 seconds without any need to study ballistic tables and without laborious measuring procedures. Hunters can react rapidly and accurately and get their shots right on target in even the most difficult situations.

    • A further improvement offered by the new Leica Rangefinder 1600 is its extended range of 1500 meters (1600 yards), and the rejection of measured distances below ten meters. This aspect of its measuring behavior is particularly important for hunters and makes the Leica Rangefinder ideal for use from cover Bushes, brush and grass at close range can now no longer influence its measuring performance. All measuring results are analyzed electronically and deliver only unambiguous and accurate values.
    A light and compact 20-60 or 15-45 spotting scope with a light, low tripod and a light mount (the rucksack works or a bean bag work well too if one wants to reduce the load) could be a great addition at the squad/platoon level. Of course it is not essential for every mission and terrain, but it can greatly aid target detection and ID when used from the overwatch position.

    For COIN operations and not only a commercial digiscoping equipment suitable for a commercial digital camera might make a lot of sense too.


    Firn

  8. #168
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Firn,

    I don't recall you ever making the statement out loud, but are you a trained sniper or SDM? Your posts lead me to believe that you are.

  9. #169
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Firn,

    I don't recall you ever making the statement out loud, but are you a trained sniper or SDM? Your posts lead me to believe that you are.
    No, during my military service (Alpini) I did neither got trained as a SDM or sharpshooter nor I trained others in this regard. This is the very reason why I always tried to reference my comments in this thread and to provide links to the wartime sources from which I have drawn said tentative conclusions.

    My paternal grandfather on the other hand worked as a forest guard in a small private hunting estate before he got drafted late 1943 into the German armed forces (4. mountain division) and served as one of those informal company/platoon sharpshooters the German snipers refered to. He considered himselve a very lucky man to make it back home. (My maternal grandfather had pretty much the full program with the 2. and later the 4. mountain division from 1939-1945, on of the very few NCO who served so long and got home in one piece. Ironically he was partly responsible of the skitraining behind the frontlines, as he was a very fine skier and mountaineer. They organized ski competitions too, I still have on of his invitational flyers. He was also shortly attached to Finnish units to get a deeper grasp of the Finnish way of war. From late 1943 and Kuban onwards he served in the 4. )

    Currently I'm working for the forest departement (studied biology besides political science) with a focus on wildlife/predator management, which is a hot topic due to the new ever increasing presence of Bears and Wolves. (Even Golden Jackals, Enok and Raccoon are joining in. It isn't about shooting btw). Spotting scopes used now also for digiscoping have proven to be excellent ways to study wildlife (Chamoix, Ibex, also Eagles, even Lammergeiers ) above the tree line, on openings and in the air. I'm also partly responsible ( it rotates) for the shooting part of the hunting exams which are held twice a year. (Worked as a hunting guard) Sadly most people (guys and girls) without military training (the conscription ended some years ago) are overall doing there almost as well as the guys with it.


    Firn

    P.S: Maybe parts of it should get moved into my introduction post. The moderators should do what they deem best.
    Last edited by Firn; 05-27-2010 at 07:21 PM. Reason: spelling

  10. #170
    Council Member Kiwigrunt's Avatar
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    A high techno scope is on its way. (Retrieved through this site.)
    Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. (Christopher Columbus)

    All great truth passes through three stages: first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
    (Arthur Schopenhauer)

    ONWARD

  11. #171
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Counter sniper issue resurfaces

    Bill Moore has posted this on SWJ and this thread has been created in response:
    We need to resurface our counter sniper discussion to present our men and women dealing with this serious threat some viable options. The best defense against a sniper is a sniper, but we all know that only goes so far, and screening only works at fixed facilities, not when they're on patrol. We have a lot of experience (old and new) collectively, so let's start posting on this topic in the council.
    Please note re-surface and I will try to identify previous thread(s) in a moment. A reminder: we are seeking experience to help those in the field, so OPSEC has some impact here and if necessary or demand requires it this thread can be moved to a secure place.

    Possible, previous threads are:

    Sharpshooter/DM employment:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4575

    Are snipers and recon still valid in infantry battalions?:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8165

    I know sniping appears in several historical threads and more recently their role in the Finnish context.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-16-2011 at 12:53 PM.
    davidbfpo

  12. #172
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    David, good to see you direct some traffic on this. Some of the practical things I've learned (old and new) are:

    -You can assume that you are always under observation. That's the very first rule.
    -Snipers, both ours and theirs are trained to "burn through" their concealment with the optics they apply. As a result, they often fire from more than one terrain feature or layer of concealment away. Patrols employing guardian angels would do well to direct their focus to these areas, not just the line of trees across the field.
    -Patrols that employ travelling and/or bounding overwatch are less likely to be surprised. This is a basic TTP that I think has been allowed to go fallow because of the threat of IEDs and limited resources in terms of detection equipment and personnel.
    -Patrols that pay attention to using angles, shadow, and other naturally occuring features fare better too.
    -All around observation skills are so easy to be taught that it is laughable, but if not done, or not done to standard it limits every members ability to "scan wide and focus small" when tgt indicators are afoot.

    I'll for sure think of a few more while I am looking at RVs today, but these come to mind the quickest.

  13. #173
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    # Is the 'nervous' sniper 'dance' in use with sentries?

    # Did PsyOps try to mislead OPFOR riflemen, trying things such as a rumour that body armour is weakest in centre, or horror rumours about retaliation against snipers?

    # Are trench scopes in use?

    # Why do things such as this happen if OPFOR riflemen are to be taken seriously?

    # Are periscopes in use?

  14. #174
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Fuchs,

    I don't know if your points are comments on my points, in part I think because of language misunderstanding.

    I'm scratching my head about your periscope comment. I know you advocate them, but at least in the Afghanistan context, they aren't a player as one might think.
    Last edited by jcustis; 07-16-2011 at 07:29 PM.

  15. #175
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Well, let's think about a typical rifleman contact (I don't call them "sniper") of a patrol. /afaik

    They get shot at, they dash to cover. Now they need to gain orientation (and if there's anything like a mortar threat, get moving again).
    The classic combination for this is AFAIK a decoy plus observation periscopes.
    Last edited by Fuchs; 07-16-2011 at 07:36 PM.

  16. #176
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Well, let's think about a typical rifleman contact (I don't call them "sniper") of a patrol.

    They get shot at, they dash to cover. Now they need to gain orientation (and if there's anything like a mortar threat, get moving again).
    The classic combination for this is AFAIK a decoy plus observation periscopes.
    The Afghans are typically gone, after having first their burt for Allah, by that point.

    Conventional peer-to-peer combat?...er, maybe.

  17. #177
    Council Member Chris jM's Avatar
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    I can't add anything more to specific anti-sniper techniques, but I think this is a symptom of a problem rather than a problem in itself. I would suggest a combined arms approach to the enemy is needed to deal with any enemy and tactical band-aids, such as MRAPs and EW at the tactical level for the IED case-study, will just force the enemy to evolve to the next most rewarding means of killing - in this case snipers/sharpshooters. To an extent this is inevitable and even desirable, as it shows we are adapting and defeating his last tactical iteration. The alarming thing I see personally is that everyone relies on the system to solve these problems rather than having the formations innovate and evolve themselves.

    If your rifle section/platoon/company is properly trained, equipped and led (as well as being enabled by policy and doctrine) to patrol effectively then the appearance of an enemy 'trend' in targeting should be dealt with by tactical innovation and evolution as dictated by the situation and campaign objectives.
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

  18. #178
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Chris, I really agree with your point re: symptom vs. problem. It is predominantly a training issue.

  19. #179
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post, Chris jM...

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris jM View Post
    ...I think this is a symptom of a problem rather than a problem in itself...The alarming thing I see personally is that everyone relies on the system to solve these problems rather than having the formations innovate and evolve themselves...then the appearance of an enemy 'trend' in targeting should be dealt with by tactical innovation and evolution as dictated by the situation and campaign objectives.
    All true.

    Snipers, true, well trained and / or experienced snipers as opposed to the occasional better than average shots -- or lucky shots -- are really sort of rare. They can do great damage occasionally, usually they're only a minor impediment. Normal TTP are adequate for dealing with everything from the lucky shot to the true but rare 'deadly' sniper (Hollywood has much to answer for...).

    The best way to deal with a really good opposing Sniper is to bring in one of your own who's better and turn him loose (without a Security Platoon along to make him nearly totally ineffective). Since those really good guys are rare, one should not have to do that often. The better than average marksman can best be handled by moving in on his position, however, as JCustis mentioned, many of those guys will pop a cap or two and depart just to make you waste the time and effort trying to work him out. Thus often its best to either pop a 40mm in or near the likely location or just ignore them and press on. Same old METT-TC stuff.

    Don't waste ammunition, effort and time trying to do a Recon by Fire, it'll be ineffective against anyone with even a little experience and will only serve to show the bad guys that their effort is having an effect and we're excessively nervous. There's a place for Recon by Fire but this isn't it. There's no place for the 'Mad Minute' bit...

    Hopefully, US elms are using their ANA and ANP counterparts who have local sensitivity and better eyes for spotting bad guys in the rocks but we do have the advantage of being able to do a map recon -- assuming enough folks know how -- and deducing likely sniper and ambush locations on a route so that actions and reactions can be anticipated. One can only do so much with a given piece of terrain and even in Afghanistan good, clear 300m or so fields of fire with decent concealment and / or cover plus a withdrawal route at the other end can usually be picked out with a good map search. Don't mark the map, that will psych you into believing the marked spots are the only danger areas and don't try to recon an entire route, just check from SP to the first CP, then to the next CP and so forth. Yes, that means not paying too much attention to your GPS which, neat though it is, cannot give you an appreciation for the terrain. A Map can...

    Surely every elm in country is doing their best to avoid establishing ANY pattern, are using different routes out and back EVERY time and know that any habitation will contain observers who report our movements, as possibly will any otherwise innocent who happen to see us. We will never match the locals in terrain knowledge or in patience but we can use their terrain to our advantage and negate their patience advantage by doing the unexpected -- always.

    I suspect that the rediscovery by the bad guys in the 'Stan that the SMLE / Dragunoiv or whatever is a good stand off effort is aimed precisely at doing what it appears to be doing -- make people excessively nervous for no real benefit. The Troops will work it out if their Bosses do not over worry it.

    One of the likely problems, I'm inclined to believe, is that some current technology allows one to 'fix' the location of a distant shooter. That can and likely does cause target fixation on the part of the Boomerang or other techno gadget owner which can lead to a lot of effort being expended to chase a ghost.

    OTOH, if you have a bad shooter nearby, one who fires at you but hits nothing, best to leave him alone lest he be replaced by someone who does better. Seriously. I've seen that happen several times, once to include Gunships and an air strike on a guy who had hit no one in two days. Go getters sometimes go and get the wrong things...

    Life is simpler in a conventional war, one just drops a round or two from nearby Arty or Mortars.

    ADDED: Jcustis snuck in on me -- he and Chris are both right,the 'solution' is simply better training.
    Last edited by Ken White; 07-17-2011 at 02:28 AM. Reason: Addendum

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    Chris M.

    I agree with your points, and most of what Ken wrote, but if the article was accurate that described the sniper threat, I don't think we're dealing and father and son teams taking random pot shots at our guys. That has been going on since we first got there. However, if the article is correct the game is changing, and I don't think a squad/platoon firing back with M-4's at ghost they can't see will be that effective against the well trained/equipped sniper:

    Toolan, who runs NATO’s Regional Command Southwest, said many of the snipers attacking his troops speak Farsi or Arabic, meaning that the fighters likely come from Iran and other neighboring countries. Other U.S. officials in Afghanistan say Iran has significantly escalated its support for militants there, providing long-range rockets, money, and technical assistance. Tehran denies the charges, but Toolan said some of the snipers appear to have been trained outside of Afghanistan.
    Still agree that units must adjust their TTPs, which is why I asked folks to post their ideas here. It doesn't help the kids much telling them they weren't well trained, what they need now is some ideas that they can consider and adapt if they think it they're appropriate. Part of that adapting is equipping, and that may mean bring a couple of long guns per platoon, etc... I suspect we have enough snipers to present a credible counter sniper threat, but getting them to the right places (detaching and attaching) will take some effort, hopefully an effort no one is opposed to.

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