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Thread: Snipers Sniping & Countering them

  1. #141
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Arrow Some insight taking from the German and Soviet interviews and Finnish observations

    If we look at the fundamentals I think we can draw several conclusions concerning effective long-range combat shooting against competent opponents.


    Some tentative insight:


    1) Only men which are not effectively suppressed can kill effectively over long distances (tautology alert)

    2) Only tactical skill, care, patience and camouflage can make detection and thus suppression or death difficult enough, but fierce battles and firefights help the sharpshooters to conceal themselves in the fury of battle (but put them at high HE risk).

    3) Only optics allow for effective observation and shooting at longer ranges and under difficult light situations. Binoculars are considered by experienced users essential (as well as NV for night combat). A good spotting scope can be of the greatest value and a periscopes a very useful supplement. (Thermal sights could greatly facilitate observation.)

    4) Only one or at the very most two shots are advisable (or possible before death) outside a (major) firefight when good true enemy snipers are on the battlefield. (Modern sound suppressors should make a huge difference. Mitigation of the thermal signature could also be of great importance)

    5) Only independent positioning and action allows for truly effective observation and rifle fire during "calm" periods and firefights. (This is linked to camouflage, detection and suppression. Sharpshooters who bunches up with a squad which blasts away can be suppressed with far greater ease than somebody working in front, the rear or on the flanks. )

    6) Only a team of sharpshooters can keep up a constant, high standard of observation and readiness over a long period of time and deliver effective rifle fire out to extreme ranges and in adverse conditions (changing side winds, etc.)

    ... Last but not least ...

    7) Only well trained and suited men and women with suitable equipment can be effective sharpshooters. Not too many can be trained for this task(s).


    Thoughts:

    For the reasons mentioned above, accurate long-range shooting might be delivered better by an independent section at platoon level or even company level or higher than by soldiers in a normal rifle squad. This doesn't mean that a "designated marksman" with a versatile weapon is futile at the squad level. Both the cost of the equipment and the training should be prohibitive...



    Firn

  2. #142
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    For me, Ken has broken this issue down into a basic capabilities statement, which is an excellent jumping off point.

    -What would we have a DM (or sharpshooter if you like) do in the performance of his duties? We've kicked this can around, but I rather prefer the simple ability to fire single shots or shots in rapid sequence (requiring a semi-auto) out to 800m with a 1/2 value wind blowing, and to have all shots impact within a 12-inch circle. The 12-inch circle equation has two components: a weapon that can hold all the rounds within that circumference once fired from a stable bipod or expedient benchrest position; and a shooter who is mentally and physically capable of wresting that performance out of the weapon.

    These two components of capable weapon and the dude capable of using it are inextricable. If you can't call wind and either employ a hold-off or adjust the dope on the weapon, you do not belong behind the weapon. I concur with Ken that we do not need to imbue a DM with the full range of sniping skills when all we want is for him to be capable of that 12-inch shot. I will offer, however, that in order to positively ID the target, the DM does need solid training in observation, range estimation and range card construction, engagement sequence techniquences, and a few others that don't exactly come to mind right now. Call these basic rifleman skills if you wish, but the DM must have them down cold.
    Against a competent enemy he needs to be also adept a camouflage (or not exposing himself) and be a patient observer.

    -Where does he need to be within an infantry organization to be useful? Ideas abound within this thread, but even if we each have our own burning desire to see DMs put HERE, or HERE, I think the beauty of modern military organization is that both the Army, the Marine Corps, and most friendly nations have the wherewithal to task-organize where appropriate. We could start off a particular type of campaign with DMs at the wrong level, but we are generally smart enough to figure out when we need to make a change.
    Agreed. Both the platoon and the squad can make sense in the current fight. In a long-range engagement it might make more sense that the squad supports the DM (and the heavier weapons) than the other other way around as well as the DM/LRR support the platoon.

    -What caliber weapon does he need? I still stick to the thought that 7.62x51 is fine. Even if there are "better" calibers out there, to what degree do we get an increase in capability? Is it so significant that we pour funding into the tests, re-tooling, re-packaging, etc., for a new round that may in fact offer only marginal increases? Give me a laser beam with a millisecond time of flight, and then you have my attention.


    -There is somewhat of a sideline truism to this discussion that I think impacts what folks believe is the right fit. At some point, TOO MANY WEAPONS is a bad thing, even if they mean you've covered all of the capability spectrum and can hit a wider array of targets at a longer range, and have better effects. We can easily reach some sort of capability saturation because we simply don't have the time to train our warriors to the training and readiness standards we have in place right now...what about all of the new-fangled stuff? A spin-off problem is that we eventually have untrained but well-intentioned Soldiers and Marines attempting operator-level maintenance on a system they are not proficient with. The result is that no one gets to check the better toy out of the armory because the company doesn't have a trained guy on deck. I grit my teeth about it, but that's one of the reasons why a new equipment training team has to provide training before a particular piece of gear is fielded to a unit. Them's the rules and they are there to protect ourselves from...ourselves.
    I think that there are very good arguments for an accurate, semi-automatic DM rifle in a decent caliber. The 7.62 is a good choice, very well supported and is available in many good potential DM rifles. A good, rugged scope, perhaps variable (3-9, 3-12, something like that), a good sound suppressor, a good, partly adjustable stock and cheek-rest and a good, practical bipod are much more important than pure bench-rest accuracy.

    Especially the sound suppressor seems to me of the greatest importances when having skilled enemy marksmen at the other side, at least this is what I take from the lessons learned by the interviews of the German, Russian and Finnish snipers of WWII. Masking the position was key to survival and the signature of the shot ( flash, sound, debris) were clear give-aways and made very often a second shot very risky or deadly. It strikes me as stupid to get highly skilled and valuable men killed because a relative cheap solution to a big problem was not purchased.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 03-14-2010 at 05:37 PM.

  3. #143
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Sniping posts copied to here

    Moderator's Note

    I have copied some of Firn's posts on sniping to this thread, as they are appropriate here and had originally been posted on an Afghan-related tactics thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9942
    davidbfpo

  4. #144
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    @david: I'm perfectly fine with that.

    Going through the articles and some other works I tried to find out what else compromised a sharpshooter's or sniper's location or cost him his live. Some give-aways are easily greatly mitigated.



    Eliminating the optic's shining or glare


    Modern optics provide many big advantages but they can easily give away the position of very well camouflaged soldier by the tell-tale glare.

    But the Germans also put a sniper to watch us. And so I was watching, observing during my shift (because the eyes would get tired), and Marusia said: "Let me take the watch now." She got up, it was a sunny day, and she apparently moved the lens. As soon as she got up, there was a shot, and she fell. Oh, how I cried! The German was 200 meters away from us. I screamed so loud it could be heard all over the trenches, soldiers ran out: "Quiet, quiet, or they'll open mortar fire!" But how could I be quiet? She was my best friend. We sat until the evening, and I kept crying all that time. Then we buried her. I remember there were many wildflowers. It was at Orsha, at the 3rd Belorussian Front. Later her grave was moved to Mogilev, that's where she had been born. Later Nadia Lugina was also wounded from among us. My second partner was also named Marusia, last name Guliakina.
    Glare often meant a sniper's death - they are often both hunter and hunted.


    There was another episode when we executed a specific task. A German sniper appeared at our sector of defense and started troubling us. Volodia and I used the same tactics of hunting. There was, however, only one difference (a helmet was used to bait a very skilled German machine-gunner who was the terror of the whole company): the day was sunny, therefore I slightly rocked my rifle with the optical sight over the parapet to motivate the German to fire.
    (In the last episode the second sniper of the "hunter pair" spotted the enemy MG gunner due to the shot (muzzle flash, movement, ..) and killed him. )


    Of course the very valuable periscopes and scissor telescopes were subject to close observation and targeting.

    At 200 to 400 yards several scissors telescopes and periscopes were smashed to pieces. One sniper shot down a small rock which had been placed in an observation slit three times in rapid succession.
    A very interesting episode of WWI (From sniping in France)

    Once the Germans startled a new and large form of periscope and we ceased destroying them at once the moment a clever observer found that with the telescope he could read the reflection of the numbers on the shoulder straps of the Germans who used them, thereby allowing us to identify the opposing unit with both comfort and ease.

    Interestingly rule 1 in the use of spotting scopes (telescopes) of the same book is:

    Rules for uses

    1. Always extend the sun-shade (more O.P. have been given away by the light shining upon the object-glass of telescopes than in any other way)


    ... also

    6. When looking into the sun make a sun-shade nine inches or a foot long to fit on the short sun-shade of the telescope. This will give you great assistance when the sun is over the German lines. This trick is borrowed from the chamois-hunters of the Pyrenees

    What can be done about it?

    - (Very) long sunshades
    - Little honey-combed "kill flash" covers
    - Using both togheter or separate, according to the specific needs

    Both solutions are pretty cheap. There should be easily money enough to prevent 95% of all shining reflections upon the ever more widely used optical devices. Every optic and every soldier behind it should protected by such a cheap and yet very effective solution.


    Firn


    P.S: Not only optics revealed the important targets:

    No, I didn't tell everything. That hill. We attacked. Then we got pinned down by that machine gun and the sniper. The regiment chief of staff Aleksei Kitaev was next to me. He had a cap with a bright band. They shot him from the beginning.
    Last edited by Firn; 03-15-2010 at 09:26 AM.

  5. #145
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Going through the articles and some other works I tried to find out what else compromised a sharpshooter's or sniper's location or cost him his live. Some give-aways are easily greatly mitigated.
    While this is all good stuff, and not to be forgotten, I think the performance of modern Electro-optics does need to be considered. Thermal Imagery and the much higher magnifications are all very real dangers when it comes to being detected.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  6. #146
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    Default Warning Armchair General'a opinion follows: Stryker Bn Snipers

    I have always thought that the sniper section attached to the Stryker Battalions adds a unique capability which would be better employed at coy level as precision HVT/long range engagement assets rather than as specialised "snipers". Each three man team includes an M24, a 12.7mm M107 and an M4/M203 combo. pool three or four such teams under a section leader and attached to the coy wpns platoon would be force multipliers to be reconed with especially in SBF situations or on defensive operations. They would even be valuable in patrols (assigned to recon elements) with their specialised observation skils as well as providing direct precision fires in MOUT/FIBUA (or FISH & CHIPS) situations esp. the M107 against machine gun/sniper positions for instance.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 03-15-2010 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Bloody title; what the hell is a General'a?

  7. #147
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Just my take on a few things, first of all, I am more than a little skeptical of anything that the Russian said. Much of it was vague but a few things stood out as extremely unlikely. The first has to do with range. When asked what range she engaged from in combat, she listed 1200 meters and 200 meters. She also stated that the rifles that they were standard issue rifles with optical sights. 1200 meters is a tough shot with modern purpose build sniper rifles with top of the line optics. I find it hard to believe that they were continuously, effectively engaging targets at this range with production rifles with what were likely substandard optics. In another part of the interview she also mentions that here first kill was at 1000 meters and that shot could be made at 2000 meters. 2000 meters? Really? I am not buying that one at all. I have serious trouble believing that a Russian wartime production rifle was that accurate, never mind the optics or the skills of the sniper.
    The other thing that gets my BS senses tingling is this

    A.D. So you're saying, you couldn't move the rifle?

    Absolutely no!

    A.D. So how did it lie? Simply against the shoulder?

    Against the shoulder and your finger was always on the trigger. Because you might've had to pull it at any moment. The sector of fire was 800 m. And so you would look, and suddenly a target would appear. When the target reached the crosshairs, then I fired. This means that the target walked into the shot on its own. And, of course, that spot would've been ranged.
    According to this she moved into position at night and placed the cross-hairs on a target that she could not see upwards of 800 meters away and then stayed there with the rifle on her shoulder and her finger on the trigger, not moving for the entire day? Plus she had to wait until the target moved in front of her sights before she engaged. Oh, and she could not fire two shots because the second one would give her position away and get her killed yet her partner, who was arms length away could fire. There are just too many questions raised by her story to take it seriously.

    The Germans, on the other hand, were much more believable.

    Another thing that I noticed, at least from my perspective, was how these snipers were employed. They are referred to as snipers throughout but they were actually being used more in the designated marksman type role. There is an important distinction to be made there, at least according to our doctrine as I understand it. When most people hear the word sniper, they automatically think of some guy in a guilly suit with a rifle making kills at extreme ranges. While that is part of what a sniper does, it is important to note that a sniper's ability to access a denied area and accurately observe and report on it is of much greater value than the ability to engage one target at range. I can remember, some years ago, when I was with the 25th ID in Hawaii, we were training to work with OH-58D helicopters. The majority of the training revolved around calling in targets for the OH-58s to engage and I can remember thinking that that was a waste of the asset. The OH-58D is lightly armed at best. Its real value lays its ability to spot targets with its thermals and also to call for accurate indirect fires. It is the same with a sniper. Certainly there are times when one well placed shot can wreck havoc with the enemy but more often I believe that greater value can be derived by having the sniper observe and report on enemy activity in an area where the enemy believes that they are safe from observation.

  8. #148
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    One comment, to Uboat509 "calling in targets". I speculate that using snipers ability to shoot sharpliy depends a lot of tactics of your unit and principle of "economy of force". If you can't call in targets because you just don't have anyone in the sky or behind the mountains, you use your rifle. If someone is answering your calls, you can bring in B-52. Other question is price of ordnance. Bad thing is that snipers are mostly associated with ability to destroy tiny targets, but they can scout and observe too. Already this book was called "With Notes on the Scientific Training of Scouts, Observers, and Snipers"

    http://www.archive.org/details/snipi...ncew00pricrich

    And this scouting/sniping/observing thread is already here:

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8165

  9. #149
    Council Member 82redleg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii View Post
    I have always thought that the sniper section attached to the Stryker Battalions adds a unique capability which would be better employed at coy level as precision HVT/long range engagement assets rather than as specialised "snipers". Each three man team includes an M24, a 12.7mm M107 and an M4/M203 combo. pool three or four such teams under a section leader and attached to the coy wpns platoon would be force multipliers to be reconed with especially in SBF situations or on defensive operations. They would even be valuable in patrols (assigned to recon elements) with their specialised observation skils as well as providing direct precision fires in MOUT/FIBUA (or FISH & CHIPS) situations esp. the M107 against machine gun/sniper positions for instance.
    In addition to the sniper squad in the battalion, each SBCT rifle company has a sniper team (the same 3-man team as in the battalion).

  10. #150
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    While this is all good stuff, and not to be forgotten, I think the performance of modern Electro-optics does need to be considered. Thermal Imagery and the much higher magnifications are all very real dangers when it comes to being detected.
    Indeed, but it cuts of course both ways. Take for example magnification. The interview of the German snipers, among them the two guys with the highest certified kills certainly appreciated the optics with higher magnification used by them in the field. Prichard does too, and the telescopes they used had often considerably higher ones. Modern quality spotting scopes offer a far superior picture even at very high (60x65) magnification and under difficult conditions and are available at decent prices. Said that both fixed 20 or 30x and variable (15-45, 20-60) eypieces have their values, but variables have become perhaps the better overall choices.

    Prichard has one example where two observers could distinguish French women cutting corn some 7000 yards away from German soldiers, but also underlines the importance of being able to observe minute details at much shorter ranges. Good spotting scopes make in my opinion in quite some environments a lot of sense for DM sections.


    Thermals open up a whole new world due to the new EO spectrum, and could be very valuable additions to sections . I think it is difficult to gauge already their effects on the whole observing and sniping game.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 03-15-2010 at 06:25 PM.

  11. #151
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Just my take on a few things, first of all, I am more than a little skeptical of anything that the Russian said. Much of it was vague but a few things stood out as extremely unlikely. The first has to do with range. When asked what range she engaged from in combat, she listed 1200 meters and 200 meters. She also stated that the rifles that they were standard issue rifles with optical sights. 1200 meters is a tough shot with modern purpose build sniper rifles with top of the line optics. I find it hard to believe that they were continuously, effectively engaging targets at this range with production rifles with what were likely substandard optics. In another part of the interview she also mentions that here first kill was at 1000 meters and that shot could be made at 2000 meters. 2000 meters? Really? I am not buying that one at all. I have serious trouble believing that a Russian wartime production rifle was that accurate, never mind the optics or the skills of the sniper.
    A.D. What was the standard distance from which you fired? Or an optimal one?

    Well, what's there to say? ]The rifle could shoot two kilometers in a straight line. But you could observe up to 800 meters. At the school we fired at 200, and 300. There was night target practice. Different kinds of shooting.
    I think this part is pretty consistent with the Finnish view on the Soviet snipers and the what the Germans said. The 2000 m are just theory, 1400 m was the highest range recorded by the Finns.


    A.D. But the sight doesn't have a good field of view?

    You could see 800 meters very well. You would sit there without moving, and if you moved, then you were noticed. A sniper would lie there quietly and see to the distance of two kilometers, 800 meters wide. He would observe everything. When I got tired, I would say "Marusia, I'm done," -- she would start observing. Because sniper's task was to eliminate commanders, machine gun emplacements, messengers that would be running around. They also had to be eliminated. Soldiers were not necessary, mostly -- officers, commanders.
    The part you quoted does indeed sound as it would make little sense, something could have been lost in translation and other things added. So for example the first phrase could simply mean that generally moving your rifle was a very bad thing, just as the other Soviets said. The "Field of fire/view" of 800 m seems to be the breath of the field of view at 2000 m.


    A.D. What was the usual distance you fired from?

    At the school or at the front?

    A.D. At the front.

    1200 meters, and 200 meters. Our lines were close. Once Germans attacked our trench and took some girls prisoner, and killed them there. They killed Klava Monakhova. Only one soldier survived, there was an abandoned dug-out, simply a hole in the soil covered with a ground-sheet with snow on top, he hid there. Germans held out for a day, so he spent the day there.

    See the Finnish view on the Soviet snipers:

    (4) Ranges and Performances

    Depending upon the distance between the lines, the ranges run from 100 to 900 yards, but occasionally enemy snipers have tried shots up to 1,400 yards. The usual and most effective distance is 200 to 400 yards, but even at 600 to 700 yards the accuracy of fire has been fairly satisfactory.

    The fire readiness and speed of fire have been good even on moving targets, a proof on the one hand of thorough training, and on the other of the indispensability of the telescopic sight.

    The speed and accuracy of fire gave rise to the suspicion that snipers posted in buildings made use of special aids. The accuracy of the fire may be illustrated by the following examples:

    A sniper was hit several times through an observation slit fashioned into the snow-wall with a stick. Various objects lifted by our men above the parapet, as a trial, were generally hit. It also happened that Finnish observers behind periscopes, were shot at through the snow wall

    The Germans

    B added: Absolutely positive hitting is possible only up to about 600 meters.


    6. What was the range of the furthest target you ever fired at, and what kind of target, size?

    A. About 1,000 meters. Standing soldier. Positive hitting not possible, but necessary under the circumstances in order to show enemy that he is not safe even at that distance! Or superior wanted to satisfy himself about capability.
    Her partner was usually roughly 20 m away and the importance of a single shot during sniper duels was underscored by the Germans too. I do think that the "hunting" in pairs had also the advantage that if the enemy sniper got one, he could have fallen to the bullet of the second Soviet which saw the signature.


    It seems that once in a while two snipers go after the same target, for it happened that two men walking side by side were hit almost at the same time. On another occasion, one of our [Finnish] snipers was taking aim at his opponent when another enemy sniper shot his rifle to pieces.
    This Finnish observation one is also interesting and consistent with the hunting methods of the male sniping pair.


    The sniper's mate not only takes care of the observation, but also the deception of the enemy. He tries by all conceivable means to lure lookouts and guards from their protective cover.
    A quick googling in youtube yielded some results:

    The counter-sniping and luring starts at 9:20

    This fits with what the German (Austrian mountain division) would say.

    16. What else is especially important in addition to excellent marksmanship?

    A: Besides the generally known quality of a sniper it is especially important to be able to outsit the enemy. The better "Tactician at detail" wins in combat against enemy snipes. The exemption from commitment to any other duties contributes essentially to the achievement of high scores.

    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 03-16-2010 at 05:44 AM.

  12. #152
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Another thing that I noticed, at least from my perspective, was how these snipers were employed. They are referred to as snipers throughout but they were actually being used more in the designated marksman type role. There is an important distinction to be made there, at least according to our doctrine as I understand it. When most people hear the word sniper, they automatically think of some guy in a guilly suit with a rifle making kills at extreme ranges. While that is part of what a sniper does, it is important to note that a sniper's ability to access a denied area and accurately observe and report on it is of much greater value than the ability to engage one target at range.

    It is the same with a sniper. Certainly there are times when one well placed shot can wreck havoc with the enemy but more often I believe that greater value can be derived by having the sniper observe and report on enemy activity in an area where the enemy believes that they are safe from observation.
    Interesting thoughts.

    It seems to me that this deep infiltration thing was not often done, at least not where those snipers served. This is the only thing I could find about it. Perhaps troop concentration was too high and one said had no technology advantage to better use the night.

    A added: In a few cases, I had to penetrate the enemies main line of resistance at night before our own attack. When our own artillery had opened fire, I had to shoot at enemy commanders and gunners because our own forces would have been too weak in number and ammunition without this support.[/U]
    The general rule on all sides was that the "true" snipers were simply too valuable to risk them easily (look at night fighting).

    Modern technology could have changed that, as calling in fire has certainly become far easier than during WWII.

    The invaluable value of the observation done by the snipers and spotters has already been testified during WWI, you just have to take a look at the "Sniping in France" of the archive.org. The author, who organized a great deal of the sniping and observation efforts of the BEF really liked to drive that point home. All in all to dominate the sniper's battle was highly benificial for excellent observation and the blinding of the enemy.


    Firn
    Last edited by Firn; 03-16-2010 at 06:11 AM.

  13. #153
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    I recently looked at some wartime manuals from the first and second world wars in respect to snipers/sharpshooters/designated marksmen. I will start with a German one.

    The German Manual "Vorläufige Richtlinien für Ausbilduvg und Kampf von Skitruppen (1942)" (Tentative Instructions for the Training and Tactics of Ski Troops) writes that it is desirable for raiding parties (Jagdkommandos?) to have as many telescopic sights as possible. The scopes should be mounted on semiautomatic rifles. Other than that:


    Weapons

    Maximum fire power and mobility are decisive factors in determining the type and number of weapons with which the individual ski trooper should be equipped. Therefore, the men must be equipped with the largest possible number of automatic weapons, rifles with telescopic sights, and a correspondingly large supply of ammunition. Half of the total personnel will be equipped with submachine guns and semiautomatic rifles.

    The number of heavy weapons to be taken along depends on the facilities for carrying sufficient ammunition. Fewer arms and plenty of ammunition should be the rule.
    The three large Jaeger squads (at least 1 scoped rifle each) should be supported by a heavy mortar squad and an pioneer detachment - the latter armed only with submachine guns and plenty of handgrenades.

    About the isolated firefight:

    Increasing the allotment of telescopic sights to riflemen strengthens the fire power of the squad and favors the more frequent firing of single shots. Concentration of the fire of all rifles with telescopic sights to overpower important single targets (enemy lead-
    ers, observation posts, and machine guns) can be of particular advantage before and during an attack, and also in defense. Because of the limitations of transportation in ski warfare the platoon or squad leader must control the use of ammunition.
    ...

    Training

    In training the individual rifleman, the most important thing is marksmanship. The various firing positions will be practiced with and without skis. Training as sharpshooters with rifles equipped with telescopic sights, and with semiautomatic rifles, will be particularly stressed. Every man must be trained in the use of the light machine gun and the submachine gun. A knowledge of the most common infantry weapons of the enemy is desirable.
    ...

    It seems that a great deal of German and Finnish (and likely indirect Soviet) experience went into this manual. It is interesting to see how the desirable "standard" squad was tweaked. The "ideal" strenght or equipment was in times of war usually just that, ideal.

    "Standard" Squad of 10:

    1 SQL, SMG, Field glasses
    1 MG Gunner, MG, Pistol
    1 MG Assistent, Pistol
    1 MG Ammunition-carrier, Pistol
    1 SIC, rifle
    4 Riflemen, rifle


    "Raiding Skisquad" (Jagdtrupp/Jagdgruppe) of 12:

    1 SQL, SMG, Field glasses
    1 SIC, SMG,
    1 MG Gunner, MG, Pistol
    1 MG Assistent, Pistol, Field Glasses (on of the three)
    1 MG Ammun.-carrier, Rifle
    3 Sharpshooter/Riflemen, Semiautomatic rifles with scopes
    2 Grenadiers, bolt-action rifle with grenade discharger - (the manual says "at least one")
    2 Riflemen, bolt-action rifles.

    (Two persons are needed to pull the weapon akja (handsled) with the GPMG)


    The mortar squad of 13 should also have a group of four sharpshooter/riflemen with scoped semi-automatic rifles, the crew of the mortar has pistols and 4 riflemen helping to draw the 5 akjas/sledges. The engineer/pioneer detachment has only submachine guns, special (explosive) equipment and many handgrenades.

    Changes in strength, composition, and equipment of the squad may be ordered to meet the requirements of the situation.
    Firn

    Original foreword:

    The manual Tentative Instructions for the Training and Tacties of Ski Troops is based on the experience gained from organizing, training, and employing ski battalions, raiding detachments, and improvised ski companies on the Eastern Front, as well as on knowledge gained from the Finnish Army.
    Last edited by Firn; 05-02-2010 at 07:44 PM.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    I recently looked at some wartime manuals from the first and second world wars in respect to snipers/sharpshooters/designated marksmen. I will start with a German one.

    The German Manual "Vorläufige Richtlinien für Ausbilduvg und Kampf von Skitruppen (1942)" (Tentative Instructions for the Training and Tactics of Ski Troops) writes that it is desirable for raiding parties (Jagdkommandos?) to have as many telescopic sights as possible. The scopes should be mounted on semiautomatic rifles.
    Good job. Keep it coming
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Default [/B]Warning Armchair Marksman's opinion follows:[B]

    I have a couple of opinions which may or not stand the test of time or criticism but occurred on air farce exercises I was involved with.

    Generally the best shots are your most valuable people and there being taking away to become a DM when pre-deployment training is about to start, can occur. This is an issue that needs to be looked at before a deployment but the best made plans.... Just in time training often isn't.

    Secondly being given a special weapon, different to the rest of the section whilst good for the individual does leave them singled out, making them a target if the other side has marksmen as well.

    Thirdly because of their skills they could be employed as a body guard for the OIC and not used in their proper role.

    In my case I was the most skilled and best shot with pistol or rifle out of three squads, so was used with the SNCO to provide fire as required. I had not done DM training but was the most experienced NCO. This is of course what the DM should be used for. I was strong enough in those days to shoot an L2 heavy barrel SLR (FN-HBAR) from the shoulder unassisted but was employed to fire single shots accurately with its bipod at longer ranges and on full automatic as a surprise.

    Later on everyone was issued the Steyr AUG. The Steyr AUG is easier and more accurate for the ladies to carry but not my preferred weapon.

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Default I will write a more in-depth comment later, for now I will just post "facts"

    I forgot to add the link, the very words led also to this one.

    Chances are high that a great deal of the German experience and writing came from the Austrian/German mountain divisions/training centers. The German mountain jaeger were also at least partly skimobile due to basic training in the Alpine environment and fought often in close cooperation with the Finns along the Northern Front (see also the second link). The password "Garmisch-Partenkirchen" denotes a town in the Bavarian Alps with one of the most important training centers of the Mountain Jaeger. Of course the Karelian forests were just one of the environments in which Skitroops fought. The Taiga for example also forced specific adaptions.

    The rifles:

    While the manual prefers to have the sights on semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles and scoped ones are often treated as different entities. This makes sense as most German and captured Soviet scoped rifles were operated by bolt-action. The preference to scope the semi-automatic rifles is interesting, perhaps they were simply in many circumstances the better compromise between accuracy and quick shooting (See also the interview of the Austrian snipers, which served also mostly in Mountain divisions IIRC).

    The training:

    In training the individual rifleman, the most important thingis marksmanship. The various firing positions will be practiced with and without skis. Training as sharpshooters with rifles equipped with telescopic sights, and with semiautomatic rifles, will
    be particularly stressed. Every man must be trained in the use of the light machine gun and the submachine gun. A knowledge of the most common infantry weapons of the enemy is desirable.
    I quoted this again as I missed the part which seems to indicate the better shots of the riflemen should get sharpshooter training and prefer (unscoped) semi-automatic rifles over (unscoped) standard ones. But there something might have been lost in translation as the Germans might have used different terms for the K98k ("Karabiner") and the Gewehr 43 ("Gewehr"). Anyway both would fit at the maxim to get most firepower with good mobility.

    The guiding factors in selecting personnel for these ski groups are aggressiveness, marksmanship, and proficiency in skiing.
    There are also many other interesting aspects detailed in this manual, from the importance of radio to the high need of much fieldcraft. To remain in the realm of firepower the light mortar often seems to have not been worth the weight - a single 81mm mortar with plenty of ammunition (4 akjas à 18 rounds, air-bursting grenades were often desirable, smoke was also carried) was prefered by larger raiding parties (roughly 60 men).

    I also forgot to add the second akja of the Squad, which was often pulled behind the rest of the squad (with the SIC tail). The weapons akja was in front. While rifle grenades are clearly included in the first part ("at least one grenade discharger per squad") they are not detailed in the second part. Maybe simply forgotten or sacrificed in larger raining parties for more heavy mortar bombs. With a sighting device with a small spirit bubble and new war-time fuzes the grenadier could engage indirect targets at 300 m (500 m with better quality HE-grenades which allowed for more propellant. The light German 2-inch mortar was of course a better indirect fire choice, but lacked the semidirect firepower of the rifle grenades and was overshadowed by the attached 81 cm.)


    Firn

    P.S: Of course weight was a big issue even back then - the worth of modern vehicles like the Bandvagn or the Nasu can not be overestimated. Who had the experiences of a long ski march uphill and a nice drive will know why

    In selecting equipment to be taken along, the aim must be to achieve the greatest possible economy in weight. The equipment which will permit the individual soldier to maintain his fighting strength must be based on the tactical requirements of the contemplated action.
    Quote Originally Posted by First joint Sissi patrol (forum link)
    For the first time in our life we (7. mountain division) saw the Finns' so-called Sissi combat and reconnaissance patrol food supplies which consisted - that being for us at that time completely new - to a large extent of concentrated food, which were easy to handle and also transport. Nescafe dried egg pulver, Special chocolate and similar things were given us by the Finns and the weight of our backpack was reduced at least around 2/3. It was interesting, that this food supply was almost exclusively of American origin.
    Additional German, British and Japanese WWII manuals are available here
    Last edited by Firn; 05-03-2010 at 10:20 AM. Reason: too long

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    From the manual „British commandos (1942)“. The quotes are from the Vaagso raid.

    The ANZAC independent company should have had according to this paper at that time 1 sniper rifle per section, in all 9. Of course this document alone gives as just a little hint on how they were organized. Binos and telescopes were also issued, and there was a special training session for use of the telescope.

    45. Group 2, from the start, encountered very stiff opposition, both from German infantry who fought to the last man in the buildings in which they were established, and from snipers, armed often with automatic rifles, who took up positions on the hillside west of the town where they were ery difficult to locate owing to the excellent natural cover.

    It must be emphasized that the opposition in South Vaagso was severe in degree and skillful in quality. It appears from the interrogation of prisoners that the garrison had been augmented by a detachment who had been moved into the town for Christmas, but, however that may be, there is no doubt that the fighting spirit, marksmanship, and efficiency of the enemy in this area was of a high order.
    The original troops of Group 2 had suffered heavy casualties and were operating in small parlties, very determinedly and
    often under the leadership of junior N. C. O.'s, but making only slow progress against the German infantry posts and snipers from the hillside.
    88. During this period Boarding Parties came under fire from snipers ashore and it is regretted that the stroke oar of Destroyer A's whaler was killed. The background of snow and black rock enabled the snipers to conceal their positions most successfully. Destroyer A, however, used her main armament, pom-porn and Oerlikons, at intervals to keep down the fire.
    93. While No. 5 Group were being re-embarked snipers were very troublesome. Their stronghold was bombarded and sprayed with all armaments from both destroyers, and as a result no further trouble was experienced from that quarter.
    Lessons learned in the Vaagso raid

    2. It is considered that where H. M. Ships are likely to enter fiords, snipers should be provided on the scale of two per destroyer, who should be marksmen and should be equipped with sniper's rifles (a long Lee-Enfield with telescopic sight is suggested). These ratings should have full authority to open fire without further orders whenever a target.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-04-2010 at 12:40 AM. Reason: Tidy up format

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    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

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    From kiwigrunts link -

    News of Harrison’s success comes amid concern over a rival insurgent sharpshooter who in a five-month spree has killed up to seven British soldiers, including a sniper, in and around the Taliban stronghold of Sangin.
    Sounds ominous. Apart from Valin's first link on the subject that mentioned an enemy 'sniper' being killed by a Jav, I haven't heard anything about the Taleban fielding snipers. To the contrary, all open source reports seem to indicate that the competent marksman is an exception amongst the insurgents. Hopefully the report is either erroneous or mistaken.
    '...the gods of war are capricious, and boldness often brings better results than reason would predict.'
    Donald Kagan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
    Sorry, I just do not believe it. Two shots a 2,470m+ with an 8.59mm round, using the L-115A3 setup? Confirmed?
    Considering how few British Army snipers believed the Canadian claim, this one stretching credibility almost too far.
    About a year ago, a very experienced Recce Platoon Colour Sergeant who was back from theatre told me that in his opinion 90% of the claimed Sniper kills were spurious.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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