SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Trigger Puller

Trigger Puller Boots on the ground, steel on target -- the pointy end of the spear.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-20-2009   #21
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Spicer, Plaster and others helped...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaur View Post
I think that this is more appropriate to define designated marksman. I'd like to borrow sniper's definition from Mark Spicer's book "Illustrated manual of sniper skills."
You're right on that being the Designated Marksman (DM). I tend to agree with Wilf that the term Sniper is subject to misuse. For example, Spicer's definition you supplied:
Quote:
"Sniping is the employment of individual shooters from concealed positions with no warning, from any distance, depending on the range of the weapon. This is not to say, of course, that to maximize the chances of sniper surviving to fight again, the longer the distance between him and the victim the better (1). Conversely, if the sniper is able to conceal himself and engage successfully at close range, then that is also sniping (2)." (Notes added / kw)
shows the problem; in the first place 'no warning' is not necessarily always correct or necessary and the distance or range is subject to a great many tactical and terrain variables. In the second case the shooter is doing the same thing any DM does. So While I made my definition mostly as a joke, I think it might really be more accurate than the 'Expert's' serious attempt at a definition.

Wilf's point that the term 'Sniper' suffers from the baggage of the trenches here in the west and from a lot myths worldwide is correct I think.

"Sniper' has been and is misused, Designated Marksman is unwieldy and Sharpshooter has bad connotations. I was also joking about thinking up a new acronym but maybe I really ought to do that. How about 'Better than Average Destroyer And Sharp Shooter' (BADASS). Hmm. Maybe not. Needs more work. I'll see what I can come up with...

On the civilian assist in small arms training -- true. There are a lot of sport shooters here that concentrate on long distance shooting. That kind of shooting got to be a lost skill in the Army with the departure of the M1 so to build the skill for a lot of people rapidly, the Shooting Clubs pitched in to help -- as they have in every war we've been in since the 19th Century.
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2009   #22
Kiwigrunt
Council Member
 
Kiwigrunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 464
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
How about 'Better than Average Destroyer And Sharp Shooter' (BADASS).
love it
__________________
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
Kiwigrunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2009   #23
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Wink We can disagree but the why we do may have a bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
...The strength of a sniper is in the "individual" aspect of his capabilities, supported by his much advanced field-craft skills as compared to average rifleman. A DM is an average rifleman with exceptional shooting skills (I think).
If I understand what you wrote, then a 'sniper' is just an average DM with exceptional capabilities...

I have a three fold question. What are these exceptional capabilities really; why are they necessary or desirable; and what are they to be used to accomplish?
Quote:
...But I still can see a potential use for the combination of these exceptional shooting skills and exceptional field craft skills, resulting in the ‘sniper’.
To do what? ' Snipe' is not a good answer:

LINK.
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #24
Infanteer
Council Member
 
Infanteer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 347
Default

In our Army, Infantry battalions have a Recce Platoon which is made up of specially trained infantryman. We also have a Sniper Cell, under the administrative command of the Recce Platoon Commander, which is in reality overseen by the Unit Master Sniper (a Warrant Officer). Recent experience has seen us aim to grow the Sniper Cell into something bordering on Platoon strength, with the potential for an Officer to command it simply to keep the UMS out of the CP to do his job.

Our Armoured Regiments have mechanized Recce Squadrons and Troops. They are currently armed with the Coyote (LAV 25) although the government is looking at some sort of JLTV to replace them, which may cause a bit of a debate as we've become used to a decent fighting vehicle in the Armoured Recce Role.

Infantry Recce Platoons focus on Close Recce while Armoured Recce works on the medium recce. They can both do either, but really excel at one or the other. They both are pretty good at Combat Recce and work in conjunction with the Snipers to develop and prosecute targets.

Designated Marksman are something we are wrestling with at the moment - the idea hasn't been fully grounded yet. These are essentially "Sniper-lite" soldiers who recieve extra training on marksmanship.

At various times, different operations have seen these organizations under various command relationships with eachother (all grouped together, all seperate, etc, etc); I've heard various reports about both - I'd venture that personalities, more than anything else, make or break an effective combination of these various assets.

Our military has just released a new PAM entitled Ground Manoeuvre Recconaisance which rolls all of these into one and is actually quite good.

Last edited by Infanteer; 08-21-2009 at 02:19 AM.
Infanteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #25
Kiwigrunt
Council Member
 
Kiwigrunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 464
Default

From Ken:
Quote:
To do what? ' Snipe' is not a good answer:
Bummer, back to the drawing board.


Ken:
Quote:
If I understand what you wrote, then a 'sniper' is just an average DM with exceptional capabilities...
Correct, and that would be the point. Just like with your battalion level scouts regarding recon.


Ken:
Quote:
I have a three fold question. What are these exceptional capabilities really; why are they necessary or desirable;
They would be referring to (apart from ‘sharp shooting’) field craft, as taught to all infantry, but to much higher standards (again, similar to your scouts).

Snipers are capable of operating unseen, behind enemy lines, in small teams (typically of two) to engage the enemy. This in contrast to scouts who avoid any contact.

I see a DM (what’s with the ‘D’ anyway, why not just M?) as integral to the unit, be that squad, platoon or company. As such his rifle can essentially be seen as a support weapon. I don’t see a DM as someone who is likely to move far from said unit.

A sniper works directly for battalion (or whatever) and can operate independently, behind enemy lines at great distances from anyone else. His rifle, which may be the exact same, would be an IW (for him).


Ken:
Quote:
and what are they to be used to accomplish?
To take out high value targets
To take out targets of opportunity
To lay forward- or flanking screens
Ambush – or cut off to ambush
Area denial /covering terrain
Blocking positions
Harass the enemy
Counter sniping and counter recon.
And, if necessary, recon or assistance to recon.

(I pulled some of these points straight out of Mark Spicer’s book)
And again, potentially all behind enemy lines and in very small teams (stealth and economy of force). And there, I think, lies the difference between a sniper and a DM.

Also from the book:
Page 17
Quote:
The British army definitions: The sniper is a selected soldier who is a trained marksman and observer, who can locate and report on an enemy, however well concealed, who can stalk or lie in wait unseen and kill with one shot. The marksman/sharpshooter is a soldier who consistently achieves a high standard of shooting and who is trained to inflict casualties on opportunity targets using the standard individual weapon.
I think we have pretty much moved beyond the standard IW, although....nah, different discussion.

And more:
Page 18
Quote:
Firepower usually means an increased number of misses per minute. Fifty misses are not firepower. One hit is firepower.
This is also nicely applicable to our conversations on firepower and suppressive fire….


And:
Page 47
Quote:
Close target reconnaissance is usually carried out by the dedicated recce troops of a unit and wherever possible, it should be left to them. But the sniper should still be able to carry out this task both to assist where needed, and to recce likely sniper and hide locations as a part of his own operational deployment. The similarities between the sniper’s role and that of the recce soldier are often confused. The sniper does not necessarily make a good recce soldier. Likewise the recce soldier does not necessarily make a good sniper. However, they complement each other when deployed correctly.

One more:
Page 115
Quote:
A role that usually gets overlooked whenever people think of snipers is that of observation and reporting. This role is usually coupled to the sniper’s main role of killing selected enemy personnel. It requires him to have the ability to read the overall battle plan of his commanders, and to know when to shoot and when to report in order to assist his commander’s plan and to not compromise it. Much of the sniper’s time is spent observing the battlefield, looking for anything unusual that will lead him to his quarry. He is therefore the ideal man to assist and complement the recce troops.


And I do agree with Ken for the need for a battalion recon (okay, I keep calling it that, call it scout or whatever) unit, be that a squad or a platoon. Note that usually the platoons are actually not all that large anyway.
I support that with Ken’s words:

Ken:
Quote:
It's not that the Rifle Cos can't / aren't patrolling and plunking in beaucoup Intel, the reasons for a Bn Scout section are to avoid having to task a Co to provide a patrol that would take people away from their Sector or Zone for those EEI that the S2 identifies that do not fall clearly in the areas assigned to a Co; to provide some Intel trained eyes that can notice things that the Co patrols might miss due to personnel turbulence, casualties/replacements, etc.; Provide people that can give a good full bore report -- a trained observer and reporter is better than a good one. It allows for special training in forensic examination, document review, Rifle Co Recon Patrol debriefs and other good stuff without having to cull from the Cos some who might have had such training -- I can go on for another hour.


from Infanteer:
Quote:
We also have a Sniper Cell, under the administrative command of the Recce Platoon Commander
I can see the logic in that, from an admin perspective. I just hope that that won’t draw the snipers unnecessarily close to the recon camp.
__________________
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
Kiwigrunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #26
Infanteer
Council Member
 
Infanteer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 347
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
I can see the logic in that, from an admin perspective. I just hope that that won’t draw the snipers unnecessarily close to the recon camp.
Nope - they work in different areas and both the Recce Pl Comd and the UMS report to the CO and receive their tasks from him.
Infanteer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #27
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default I guess I need to get the book and read it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
Correct, and that would be the point. Just like with your battalion level scouts regarding recon.
Then we could call them EDM -- Exceptional Designated Marksmen -- right?
Quote:
They would be referring to (apart from ‘sharp shooting’) field craft, as taught to all infantry, but to much higher standards (again, similar to your scouts).

Snipers are capable of operating unseen, behind enemy lines, in small teams (typically of two) to engage the enemy. This in contrast to scouts who avoid any contact.

I see a DM (what’s with the ‘D’ anyway, why not just M?) as integral to the unit, be that squad, platoon or company. As such his rifle can essentially be seen as a support weapon. I don’t see a DM as someone who is likely to move far from said unit.

A sniper works directly for battalion (or whatever) and can operate independently, behind enemy lines at great distances from anyone else. His rifle, which may be the exact same, would be an IW (for him).
In stability operations and in mobile warfare, there are no enemy lines to speak of -- that's always subject to modification based on the METT-TC of the war or a particular period in a war. If there is a degree of stasis, is this sniper team restricted to the Battalion zone and if so, how far out in front of the BN FLOT / FEBA / MLR or whatever we call it today can they be expected to go?
Quote:
To take out high value targets
To take out targets of opportunity
To lay forward- or flanking screens *
Ambush – or cut off to ambush *
Area denial /covering terrain *
Blocking positions *
Harass the enemy
Counter sniping and counter recon.
And, if necessary, recon or assistance to recon.(asterisks added /kw)
No sniper team or collection of sniper teams is going to do those things I placed an asterisk by. They can try but they will not be able to do any significant damage in such missions. You may not agree and if it's important, perhaps you could give me some examples of such actions. Taking just one example, in the area denial mission or the screening mission against marginal opponent, I believe that if one were to try that against a mediocre or even a poor Rifle Co they'd eat your lunch in about 30 minutes. You might get a few but your survival expectation would be quite low...

While I see some counter recon value, a DM ( LDM, Lowly DM ??? ) can do that job and I do not agree on using shooters for recon or scouting -- wrong mentality.

So what you're left with is HVTs (perhaps if the fates smile), targets of opportunity, harassment, counter sniping and some counter recon. Is the cost and effort to train compensated by that?
Quote:
(I pulled some of these points straight out of Mark Spicer’s book) And again, potentially all behind enemy lines and in very small teams (stealth and economy of force). And there, I think, lies the difference between a sniper and a DM.
Presuming there is an enemy line, what precisely is the sniper to do behind them? He can get off a good shot or two but then he's going to have to move thus decreasing his 'unseen' quotient. He may kill an opposing Brigade Commander -- but that is unlikely to even slow the Brigade, much less stop it. I think I see far more myth than reality here -- but I have not read the book, so I'll get hold of a copy and see what Brother Spicer has to say. Then I'll return to this sub thread.

Last edited by Ken White; 08-21-2009 at 05:30 AM.
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #28
Kiwigrunt
Council Member
 
Kiwigrunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 464
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
I have not read the book, so I'll get hold of a copy and see what Brother Spicer has to say. Then I'll return to this sub thread.
Do prepare yourself for a bit of sniper-myth chest-beating
__________________
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
Kiwigrunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #29
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaur View Post
Wilf, could you elaborate your this thought in this thread context.


Quote:
PBID essentially suggests that you train, organize, and operate light infantry in a way that best utilizes their inherent strengths. In practice, this means that you train infantry to accomplish two basic tasks, these being a reconnaissance patrol and an observation post. These two core skills are built on a high level of individually developed field-craft skills. In simplistic but easily understood terms, you train Soldiers as snipers and then train them as a recce platoon.
Quote:
Why? Surely this is completely against the teaching that only the brightest, best, and most experienced of infantry unit Soldiers become snipers and members of the recce platoons.
Ahhhh.... well spotted. Yes I do have to explain this. What I was intending to outline was training ALL soldiers in a high degree of individual skills, and using the acknowledged basics of sniping and scouting as a base from which to start. I have since dropped this as when I presented it at RUSI, there was outrage from the UK sniper community - albeit for mostly inexplicable and entirely emotional reasons.
__________________
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
William F. Owen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #30
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
And here lies of course the attraction/risk of having snipers used for the scouting/recon role, which is probably understandable but not necessarily advisable. Conversely that doesn’t mean that there should be a law against it either, IMO.
I wouldn't want to outlaw it either, but some of the issues it raises strike to heart of what you want folks to do, why and how much time and money you wish to expend doing it.

The real danger is "drift." You start with good intentions and end up with something other than what you intended. Some clear definitions and carefully explained doctrine is the best way to prevent this/that.
__________________
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
William F. Owen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #31
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 10,637
Default BADASS becomes DIM?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White
How about 'Better than Average Destroyer And Sharp Shooter' (BADASS).
How about Dedicated Intelligent Marksman? DIM.

Couldn't resist this, sorry for increasing the tone and vigour here.

davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #32
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default The really good ones could become DIMWITS

Dedicated Intelligent Marksmen With Incredible Tactical Skills.

There was a time when I qualified for the job -- still qualify for the acronym...
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #33
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
If I understand what you wrote, then a 'sniper' is just an average DM with exceptional capabilities...

I have a three fold question. What are these exceptional capabilities really; why are they necessary or desirable; and what are they to be used to accomplish?To do what? ' Snipe' is not a good answer:
The differences between snipers and designated marksmen (it's about time to call the latter riflemen in my opinion) are useful and clear.

DM:
Is an infantryman with a rifle meant to enable well-aimed, longer-range shots. The DM is part of the infantry and has additional shooting and counter-sniping expertise.

Sniper:
Meant to work in teams of two or three, usually separated from infantry (except movement to and from missions). Relies more on concealment and camouflage, less on cover or body armour for survivability than DM.
Extreme single shot long-range capability (training+hardware) and long-range observation capability (spotting scope). Low mobility, but extraordinary patience and endurance.


Their survivability concept allows completely different missions and tactics.
A sniper team in an infantry platoon would be mostly wasted, it would have much less choice of positions and much less surprise opportunities.
A DM is neither prepared nor meant to leave his platoon and go stalking in isolation.

The niches are simply different ones, and both are well-justified.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2009   #34
Kiwigrunt
Council Member
 
Kiwigrunt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 464
Default

Thanks Fuchs, you made the points a bit clearer and more concise than I managed.


Ken:
Quote:
Then we could call them EDM -- Exceptional Designated Marksmen -- right?
We could. And we could call a scout an Exceptional Designated Find Function Rifleman.


Ken:
Quote:
In stability operations and in mobile warfare, there are no enemy lines to speak of.
Sure, but there could still be something that we might call ‘bandit country’.


Ken:
Quote:
…that's always subject to modification based on the METT-TC of the war or a particular period in a war. If there is a degree of stasis, is this sniper team restricted to the Battalion zone and if so, how far out in front of the BN FLOT / FEBA / MLR or whatever we call it today can they be expected to go?
I think your first sentence answers the second. (I’ve gota be careful here.)
I have no idea of how they typically operate but I might imagine that, METT-TC dependant, they could be pooled together at brigade level. Or perhaps uses to operate alongside SF if it is deemed that their potential effect there is greater than within the battalion structure….ohh…I’m stabbing here.


Ken:
Quote:
No sniper team or collection of sniper teams is going to do those things I placed an asterisk by. They can try but they will not be able to do any significant damage in such missions. You may not agree and if it's important, perhaps you could give me some examples of such actions. Taking just one example, in the area denial mission or the screening mission against marginal opponent, I believe that if one were to try that against a mediocre or even a poor Rifle Co they'd eat your lunch in about 30 minutes. You might get a few but your survival expectation would be quite low...
Point taken. In fact, I would pretty much be inclined to agree. Those were a few points that I pulled out of the book where warning bells were ringing in my head as well. I imagine that in those scenarios they would only be used for reasons of force economy in areas where enemy action is not anticipated but surveillance is still required. So, where the battalion commander simply can’t afford to drop a rifle coy. So here surveillance may be the main effort with shooting being a tool to just buy a little time, hopefully enough for the CO to react……….blah blah blah.


Ken:
Quote:
While I see some counter recon value, a DM ( LDM, Lowly DM ??? ) can do that job and I do not agree on using shooters for recon or scouting -- wrong mentality.
Does that mean that riflemen have the wrong mentality for the find function? If that’s so than we may want quite a few recon platoons to a battalion.


Ken:
Quote:
So what you're left with is HVTs (perhaps if the fates smile), targets of opportunity, harassment, counter sniping and some counter recon. Is the cost and effort to train compensated by that?
And that would be the crucial question. Part of that equation would be, what might it potentially ‘cost’ the battalion if snipers were not fulfilling those tasks, even if they are only marginally effective. And I certainly cannot answer that.


Ken:
Quote:
Presuming there is an enemy line, what precisely is the sniper to do behind them? He can get off a good shot or two but then he's going to have to move thus decreasing his 'unseen' quotient. He may kill an opposing Brigade Commander -- but that is unlikely to even slow the Brigade, much less stop it. I think I see far more myth than reality here
Concur. And that is what I’m digging at. I know everything that there is to know about snipers…..because I’ve read the book. And from a professional perspective, I can only support that with relatively limited infantry/rifleman/mortar handler experience. I’m really just trying to get to the bottom of this ‘myth’ and to understand it better.

So, who we gonna call…….myth busters!
__________________
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

Last edited by Kiwigrunt; 08-21-2009 at 11:08 PM.
Kiwigrunt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #35
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default Yeth, Myth ith the right word, Thir...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwigrunt View Post
Thanks Fuchs, you made the points a bit clearer and more concise than I managed.
Yes, he did. In fact, he went where I was trying to get -- which is away from the sniper myth and into reality. Good job, Fuchs.
Quote:
Sure, but there could still be something that we might call ‘bandit country’.
Yep -- and that's a very different thing than 'behind enemy lines.' Neutral ground may have good guys or bad guys in varying amounts and decently trained troops can operate there in small numbers with a little stealth or in large numbers without it. Behind enemy lines implies that the Enemy occupies the territory in numbers enough that you are not there -- it's a question of opponent density.
Quote:
Does that mean that riflemen have the wrong mentality for the find function? If that’s so than we may want quite a few recon platoons to a battalion.
Yes and no. Depends on a lot of things like age, maturity (those two are not the same thing), experience, physical condition and other things. The basic problem is that if you have offensively oriented folks (snipers, DM, average rifleman) they do not comfortably ignore small batches of opponents and they do not have the training (nor should they) to classify a bridge, collect soil samples, determine load bearing surface capability, determine locations for river crossings or drop zones, and they are not specifically trained to observe and report. They can do a Recon patrol to find enemy formations or positions, provide local security or to select movement routes but the detailed stuff requires more than most infantrymen will be able to provide. It does take a different guy to lay still in a hide and let bad guys step on his hand.
Quote:
And that would be the crucial question. Part of that equation would be, what might it potentially ‘cost’ the battalion if snipers were not fulfilling those tasks, even if they are only marginally effective. And I certainly cannot answer that.
Old METT-TC again but having operated as one -- plus later in units in combat with and without snipers -- I'd say most Bns most of the time can get by without them but if present they provide a capability that can enhance that Bns combat power slightly in some types of warfare and significantly in stability ops.

I carried a Scoped '03 during part of the moving war in Korea, I got some good shots and know others that did also -- but we admitted we did little real damage and had no significant effect. OTOH, a couple of years later when it was a static war of trenches and outposts, snipers had a ball and countersniping was in and some did some good stuff.

Snipers in Viet Nam did some legendary stuff, Carlos Hathcock for example -- but they didn't really have much effect on the war. The biggest complaint I've heard from Desert Storm snipers is that they didn't get to fire a shot.

Yet, today in both Afghanistan and Iraq, snipers have been extremely effective. Far more so than most realize or makes the news. So; lot of variables and the key, I think, is that in stability ops or a static warfare situation, they're generally more valuable than in mobile warfare.

All that said, the skill is important and needs to be maintained because in some situations, it is extremely valuable.
Quote:
. I’m really just trying to get to the bottom of this ‘myth’ and to understand it better.
Aren't we all...

Where to put them? Rifleman has a point with a Bn cell -- that occurs because it simply makes the training easier to manage in garrison -- and because if you put them in the Co (where in both our current theaters, they really should be) you have the human factor problem of disinterested or lazy NCOs or Officers that will interfere with the training and / or the employment. Bde's probably too high; Bn and Co are about right but the factors mentioned mitigate for a Bn cell. Right now in the US Army they're in the Bn Scout Platoon, I don't think they should be but the US army is reluctant to do what the Commonwealth Armies do and trust things like that to a WO or NCO.
Quote:
So, who we gonna call…….myth busters!
True dat. Myths abound about all things but the snipers, parachutists and SF have some real whoppers. Been all those and learned believing the myths can get you killed and / or embarrassed...
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #36
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
True dat. Myths abound about all things but the snipers, parachutists and SF have some real whoppers. Been all those and learned believing the myths can get you killed and / or embarrassed...
...and worrying, when it appears that most "sniper history" and thus "sniper doctrine" is built on myths and very little evidence to support how and why.

My point: Very good shots, with very good rifles are an essential infantry capability (75% still air hits on a 1 x 0.5m tgt at 800m?). That does not necessarily describe, or justify the "snipers" of popular imagination.
__________________
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
William F. Owen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #37
kaur
Council Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,004
Default

Ken's argument:

Quote:
Not a frontage issue in all cases but it can be -- it is a depth issue in the sense that the Rifle Co Recon (Combat patrols are a separate animal and they belong to the Cos and not to the Scout sect) Patrols should normally go out no more than 10-15 km, max, generally less -- and METT-TC dependent -- so they run about 4 hours out and 4 back, max (with 4-6 total being better and with no overnight stays) the Scout Sec, OTOH should be prepared for three to five day patrols in bad guy territory or up to about 30 km out. Not everyone grooves on that-- or can do it. Div Recon should be used for the stuff from 30-100km out while Force Recon can do the strategic stuff beyond 100km.
plus Wilf's patrol based infantry doctrine and I'm close to throwin word "Sniper" to dustpin

kiwigrunt cited Spence's book missions:

Quote:
To take out high value targets
To take out targets of opportunity
To lay forward- or flanking screens *
Ambush – or cut off to ambush *
Area denial /covering terrain *
Blocking positions *
Harass the enemy
Counter sniping and counter recon.
And, if necessary, recon or assistance to recon.(asterisks added /kw)
Fuchs added his definition:

Quote:
Meant to work in teams of two or three, usually separated from infantry (except movement to and from missions). Relies more on concealment and camouflage, less on cover or body armour for survivability than DM.
Extreme single shot long-range capability (training+hardware) and long-range observation capability (spotting scope). Low mobility, but extraordinary patience and endurance.
I agree with Ken White that snipers (DM's) can't accomplish those missions alone. They do need security componet close. They can act like in movie "Sniper", but in real life this is really risky (if this is even the right word) business

If you give to soldier who is trained according to Wilf's doctrine semi-auto .338 rifle, then most of the missions should be accomplised.
If squad DM is trained in a week to hit human targets in 500m distance with 5,56x45 ammo (without spotter, without LRF), I think this is really possible that the same soldier can hit targets with .338 in 800m (or even further) distance. If USA Army will find themselves new assault rifle via competition, maybe they should add that contenders (Colt, FN, HK etc) should add semi-auto .338 to their family of weapons. Armalite already has http://www.armalite.com/ItemForm.asp...0-49488ec48776
If .338 is chosen, who get's those M110 rifles? Another question is on what level this DM should be located. Platoon level, like Wilf has proposed?

Just one comment to Ken White's post:

Quote:
That crew is the squad so that's where he or she should be. The training issue in garrison is easily solved by scheduling the DM sustainment training so that they all get together under the senior Co (or Bn) DM / Sniper. In my view, you'd have two Sniper * tms at Co, a DM in every squad and the senior Sniper becomes the Co DM trainer. if there's also a Bn Sniper Tm or section, the leader becomes the Bn Master Shooter and oversees training.
Isn't this structure close to your thought, except the "Sniper" word

http://www.scribd.com/doc/18522946/S...nated-Marksmen

Last edited by kaur; 08-22-2009 at 08:19 AM.
kaur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #38
William F. Owen
Council Member
 
William F. Owen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean
Posts: 3,947
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaur View Post
If you give to soldier who is trained according to Wilf's doctrine semi-auto .338 rifle, then most of the missions should be accomplised.
I suppose I had better put some meat on these bones, before others do!

My "Long Range Rifleman" works in the Platoon as part of the fire support effort. His mission is to deliver precision fires out to X-range (800m).
I envisage him using an 8.59mm Lapua, bolt action rifle with an scope for daylight and TI or II for night-time (300m?).

The 2 week unit-level training course is aimed at getting him to hit a target, by correctly judging distance and environmental conditions, so that he can gain a first round hit on a man-sized target, under operational conditions.
__________________
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
William F. Owen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #39
jcustis
Council Member
 
jcustis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: SOCAL
Posts: 2,142
Default

Quote:
All that said, the skill is important and needs to be maintained because in some situations, it is extremely valuable.
Absolutely. I fear, however, that with the likes of pre-deployment training going on, and the sense of urgency that precludes professional development training for leaders, we are doing the process an injustice. Specifically, snipers continue to be screened, selected, and trained, but we (and this includes the USMC) are probably not continuing along with good sniper EMPLOYMENT training that allows us to maximize their potential. That is the key, since (unless their commander is totally incompetent) snipers should not be writing their own mission task and moving about will-nilly with no control. Thus the need for good training in appropriate employment.

I'll be the first to argue that you cannot get such training from the snipers themselves from within the unit. That just leads to all sorts of problems.
jcustis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2009   #40
Ken White
Council Member
 
Ken White's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,060
Default How about replacing the word 'sniper' with KAUR -- Kinetic Assault Ultra Range???

I'm still working on that acronym...
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaur View Post
...plus Wilf's patrol based infantry doctrine and I'm close to throwin word "Sniper" to dustpin
I'm inclined to agree on the word -- but the concept is still viable. There's a need in many circumstances, it's just important that the capabilities and limitations be understood.
Quote:
...They do need security componet close. They can act like in movie "Sniper", but in real life this is really risky (if this is even the right word) business
True, many times today, in US practice, a Rifle squad or more is sent with the Snipers for that reason.
Quote:
Isn't this structure close to your thought, except the "Sniper" word
Yes -- and in fairness, the US Army essentially considers the Sniper and his Spotter as a crew and the Sniper rifle as a crew served weapon. Having done the job with no spotter, being a bit of a loner and vaguely anti-social plus believing it is easier to hide one man than two, I don't -- but then I'm not in charge.
Ken White is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9. ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation