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Old 08-22-2009   #41
Rifleman
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Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
True, many times today, in US practice, a Rifle squad or more is sent with the Snipers for that reason.
In the '80s the only information we really had to work with, employment wise, was the 9th Infantry Division's Vietnam experience. I never heard an instructor at the XVIII Airborne Corps AMTU school say word one about WWII, Korea, or anything the USMC was doing.

9th ID SOP called for the sniper team to be secured by a fire team to squad size element. The SOP acually reads four to eight men. I have no idea where those exact numbers come from since they don't match any official unit size from that era. Probably the 9th's understrength rifle squads were within that number range?

And it wasn't like the security element was in the same hide site as the sniper team. Just close enough to support by fire.

Quote:
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.
That's where I was coming from with my idea to have all company snipers/DMs in one squad in a rifle company's weapons platoon. I believe in battalion level snipers too.

Quote:
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.
Understood. And there's certainly advantages and disadvantages to each approach. All things considered, I believe in a spotter and I look at the team as a "crew" of sorts the same as an MG or anti-armor team.
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Old 08-22-2009   #42
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Default JCUSTIS hit a real need...

"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. "

I had an honest-to-God US Army school-trained sniper in one of my attached infantry platoons. He had no real advice on how to employ his capabilities. Certainly Iraq was not the best environment for their use, but a commander will have a hard time coming up with sound uses without a proper grounding in their capabilities and limitations.

Perhaps this is then partly leading to the issue of where to locate the sniper - at battalion, where a more experienced leader can decide where/how to employ them, or at the company, where they will probably do more good? Or is this a chicken/egg problem?

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Old 08-22-2009   #43
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Hmmm, good points indeed Jcustis and Tankersteve.
That lack of direction and understanding from outside the ‘sniper community’ may be largely responsible for the myth as well….or at least for creating or allowing an environment for it….


And on that myth and acronyms, I’m starting to get the feeling that the myth is associated more with the word ‘sniper’, rather that the job. Now what if sniper wasn’t a word but an acronym:
SNIPER -- Special Needs Individual Precious Expert Rifleman.

We’ve had these so far:
BADASS -- Better than Average Destroyer And Sharp Shooter
EDM -- Exceptional Designated Marksmen
DIM -- Dedicated Intelligent Marksman
DIMWITS -- Dedicated Intelligent Marksmen With Incredible Tactical Skills.
KAUR -- Kinetic Assault Ultra Range
Keep’m comin’


Ken:
Quote:
True, many times today, in US practice, a Rifle squad or more is sent with the Snipers for that reason.
Would that not negate the individual/stealth/blahblah aspect of a sniper? This seems a scenario where a DM is sufficient.


Ken
Quote:
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.

Thanks for all the points you made in that post Ken.
Now this goes back to the bean counter aspect. How much effect ‘should’ a small (but relatively expensive to train) team as part of an 800 or so strong unit have to justify its existence? For instance, how much effect does a 51 mm platoon mortar man have on the overall effect of a war? (I’m not suggesting to scrap platoon mortars, and realise this is not apples/apples.)
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Old 08-22-2009   #44
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jcustis:
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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.
I'd be willing to bet that the training of prospective commander on the Machine Gun barely scratches the surface. They teach the use of the Clinometer? I'm not at all sure that training or the employment of snipers is a glaring shortfall -- or even a minor oversight. It would seem to me that an Officer or Senior NCO would dig into the capabilities and the employment of elements he might have access to on his or her own. Many will say they should not have to do that and while there's some truth there, I doubt it's possible to adequately cover all the possibilities in any training -- and I'm probably the loudest guy on this board about more and better training...

That said, I don't dispute the fact that some sort of capability outlay is needed but I believe it should be in the book of war (the FM / FMFM for one's particular unit type) because any School education or training is going to have a shelf life and is going to be placed in the users own priority for recall and use.

One of the problems with snipers, discussed above, is that they have little to no value in some kinds of warfare, only moderate value in others and are a highly situational dependent asset. That leads to neglect until they appear and in a situation where the skills are pretty important.

Rifleman:
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I never heard an instructor at the XVIII Airborne Corps AMTU school say word one about WWII, Korea, or anything the USMC was doing.
Parochialsim is the American way. In the mid 90s, my son was doing the obligatory earthling tour in the 25th, in a Scout Platoon and was sent to the Marine Sniper School at Kaneohe (LINK). They trained Scouts as well so he came back with all sorts of good ideas (like not wearing the Kevlar on the range... ) and virtually everything he suggested that he thought the Marines were doing better was roundly rejected as not being the Army way and the rejection was usually pretty derogatory. In Germany he went to the NATO LRRS School for several courses, brought back good ideas and all were rejected because the US Army didn't do it that way. True -- and an amazing number of Armies do a lot of things better than we do...

Earlier, I had been an Instructional Branch Chief at the Armor School. I spent a lot of Kitchen Table time developing some really good lesson plans. Not sure why I bothered because I knew at the time that all the NCO instructors would watch someone else teach a class, pattern their own class after it and would ignore the lesson plan. I even put trick sentences in a couple to see if they'd catch them. They did not. (so I had to resort to deceit and treachery to force them to think -- they mostly did pretty well but did I assist few in finding other employment. ).

The point of all that is that your comment doesn't surprise me a bit -- and I think that all three items are a major smack at the 'selection' of instructors (there isn't any, most are pipeline feeds or self selected folks that want to hide from TOE units; curiosity about what they're going is not an issue), the training of instructors (abysmal, too much on tasks etc. and counseling) and the parochial "It wasn't invented here" syndrome (which is everywhere. Unfortunately. It is dangerous.).
Quote:
And it wasn't like the security element was in the same hide site as the sniper team. Just close enough to support by fire.
True, many miss that aspect -- and that goes back to my comment to jcustis -- people have to think and the old METT-TC thing makes every situation different. Many want nice pat book solution -- no one on this board, of course but others -- however there aren't any that will work reliably in all situations. Life is easy if you can do what those NCO Instructors at Knox did and just follow the example of others. Those Instructors you mention should've dug a little deeper, there are some great good and bad sniper actions out of WW II and Korea. Like this: LINK. That's been here before...
Quote:
Understood. And there's certainly advantages and disadvantages to each approach. All things considered, I believe in a spotter and I look at the team as a "crew" of sorts the same as an MG or anti-armor team.
I can take that or leave it, some people work better alone and I think if you know your people and you have one of those, he should be allowed to go out singly. Varies from unit to unit. That's with respect to the sniper -- on the DM, he's a part of a Squad, has no spotter -- and should not IMO -- so I'm inclined to make the system work rather than adjust to cope because it doesn't want to do the right thing 'cause it's too hard...

Tankersteve:
Quote:
I had an honest-to-God US Army school-trained sniper in one of my attached infantry platoons. He had no real advice on how to employ his capabilities. Certainly Iraq was not the best environment for their use, but a commander will have a hard time coming up with sound uses without a proper grounding in their capabilities and limitations.
Thus you'll probably disagree with my comment to jcustis above. That's fine but my observation has been that new capabilities get introduced in every war (or, like snipers, old ones are reinvented) and I'm not sure the training system can cope with every need. Some stuff you just have to pick up on the fly...

I know no one here is guilty of it (or they wouldn't be here) but there are many out there -- and we've all known a couple -- who take the line that "Every Officer and NCO is responsible for his or her own professional development." to mean solely selecting future assignments and doing all the important things that get noticed Many forget or would like to forget that it also means they have a responsibility to spend some of their own time learning the trade and that may mean that other, more personally intiguing things have to be foregone occasionally.

On Iraq, perhaps it depended on where one was and what was being done. I've talked to several who are convinced that the snipers in the last couple of years had a great deal to do with taking out a lot of the IED pizzazz by making planting a very risky occupation. Not to even go into the counter sniper effort.
Quote:
Perhaps this is then partly leading to the issue of where to locate the sniper - at battalion, where a more experienced leader can decide where/how to employ them, or at the company, where they will probably do more good? Or is this a chicken/egg problem?
My perception is that they are best employed at and by the Company in most cases where they are of value but due to the points you, jon and rifleman have all mentioned, they are located Bn. That's part administrative and training ease in peacetime or garrison but mostly human factors related; the S2 or S3 should be better able to employ them; they're a body of people all in one place for training; and they don't have to cope with personalities of 1SGs who don't like 'special' people or a Co Cdr who's too busy with 180 other things to use them properly (very difficult when there may be at the time, no real employment -- which is another sniper problem). The down side of that is more reluctance to employ them occasionally as that mean placing them in some company's AO. Sometimes, that Co doesn't want the hassle of "Bn's snipers." Lot of interesting sidelights and perambulations to the issue.....

A recurring mention or implication by many is snipers out running loose with no command supervision. Well, yes -- that sort of goes with the territory. Reluctance of some to accept that responsibility (with concurrent inability to personally affect it...) is part of the sniper problem. And the sniper myth doe not lead to dispelling that. Also mildly problematical when they're at Co level is the unit that insists on sending a support and cover party with them -- that can have an adverse affect on the sniper himself as well as the mission.

Due to all that they're tightening the criteria for selection for the Sniper School. With the right people selected, that ''no command supervision' isn't a problem (except for the few commanders or 3s who will make it so due to a lack of self confidence -- or CSMs / 1SGs who are overprotective of their Boss...) and the problem you had in Iraq should disappear. Well, be ameliorated a bit, anyway...
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Old 08-23-2009   #45
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Maybe a bit war experience from wars with 'peer' powers:
The infantry hated snipers unless they were sent to counter-snipe.
Sniper action provoked enemy sniping and indirect counterfires, and the infantry got hit in return for the sniper's actions. Infantrymen with scope scratch marks on their rifles got killed upon capture for being alleged snipers.

Snipers were dead if captured and really hated (even by their own infantry) in both World War's stationary phases. Exceptions prove the rule.


There are really a lot of factors that play into the sniping issue simply because snipers usually work detached from infantry formations/positions without needing a force concentration to be effective (that's a difference to AT units, for example).

My preference is a platoon at Bn level that trains snipers and forms sniper teams. The snipers can then be tasked with missions (support defence, support offence, surveillance, counter-sniping, free hunt). A loss of a sniper team (or something simple like sickness) wouldn't take away snipers from a Plt or Coy simply because the Bn level sniper Plt sergeant could send a ready replacement team.
An additional need for snipers in offensive actions or to counter enemy sniping could be met as well.
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Old 08-23-2009   #46
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Maybe a bit war experience from wars with 'peer' powers:
Peer power has little to do with it. It's the type of warfare and the degree, if any, of hatred of the opponents.
Quote:
The infantry hated snipers unless they were sent to counter-snipe.
Sniper action provoked enemy sniping and indirect counterfires, and the infantry got hit in return for the sniper's actions.
In Korea, during the static phase, both the Chinese and the US were generally too smart to fall into the trap of over responding to sniper. Both tended to deploy a countersniper and not lose a lot sleep over it because only rarely did a truly deadly sniper appear. Nobody got particuarly irate at snipers because they didn't do much damage.

US line infantry in Koreas later stages did hate Tank which would crawl up a hill, fire a couple of rounds across the valley and leave rapidly before the 82, 76, 122 and 152 rain came --as it always did.

Minor off the wall comment; the Chinese and North Koreans could put a mortar round in your hip pocket but they were not good rifle shots. Their snipers were only so-so at best. In Viet Nam, the VC were good with neither but the North Viet Namese Army while poor with mortars, artillery and rockets were good rifle shots out to a hundred or so meters and particularly if armed with the SKS, however, their Snipers were not particularly good at any range over a couple of hundred meters.

In the pacific in WW II both the US and the Japanese made fairly extensive use of snipers generally without the actions you note; though they all are certainly valid for Europe and particularly the Eastern Front.
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Old 08-23-2009   #47
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I stand corrected. During ground intelligence officers course, our ground intel 2ndLts undergo 2 weeks of employment training. How well they recommend use of snipers when they are called on to develop R&S plans for infantry battalion ops is a different animal.

This makes me think back to a point. I was trained as a DM by USMC school-trained snipers who held the MOS. They used the terms R&S for about everything that required effort. I realize now that they really meant more along the lines of surveillance, and less along the lines of recce, since we were never trained in any reporting techniques, learning only how to draft observation sketches. Misuse of the term indeed...
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Old 08-23-2009   #48
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Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
How well they recommend use of snipers when they are called on to develop R&S plans for infantry battalion ops is a different animal.
I realize I'm a Dinosaur and things may have changed a great deal but in my day a LT S2 and or a LT Scout Plt Ldr w/ Sniper Teams would've been asked about employment but given but given the slightest suspicion they might not understand all they know about what they think they're saying, El Commandante woulda said "Where's SSG Phugabosky?" Then when the Sniper Boss appeared, one of those lovely and enjoyable learning experiences could take place and probably the next time or certainly the time after that both LTs would know answers and forcefully state a position, just about guaranteed.

No one reports into any place knowing all the aspects of the job -- that's why training is an ongoing effort for everyone, in combat or out. IET needs to be improved but it will never be able to get all the job knowledge crammed into craniums; some if it is too experience related and too esoteric to translate at all well into books or instruction. Lot of cogntiive skills that simply take practice.

If someone cannot do something they should be able to do, someone has to train them. I'm not criticizing here, I'm looking for info. I get an impression -- and that's all it is, an impression -- from a lot of posts here from a number of serving people in the Army, Marines and AF that such training, mentoring, whatever you call it is far more rare than it used to be. It seems that the not fully competent tend to just be left alone while folks turn to the competent workhorses and over use them. That's one of many problems with oversize Staffs today, there are enough folks to let a poor performer slide because someone can cover it...
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Old 08-23-2009   #49
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If someone cannot do something they should be able to do, someone has to train them. I'm not criticizing here, I'm looking for info. I get an impression -- and that's all it is, an impression -- from a lot of posts here from a number of serving people in the Army, Marines and AF that such training, mentoring, whatever you call it is far more rare than it used to be. It seems that the not fully competent tend to just be left alone while folks turn to the competent workhorses and over use them. That's one of many problems with oversize Staffs today, there are enough folks to let a poor performer slide because someone can cover it...
Ken, once again you are absolutely right, and it doesn't even have to be with an over-sized staff. I'd argue that the clutches of pre-deployment training regimens has done this too us, or at least made us think we are too busy to do the work of staff planning training.
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Old 08-23-2009   #50
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.....The infantry hated snipers unless they were sent to counter-snipe....Snipers were dead if captured and really hated (even by their own infantry) in both World War's stationary phases. Exceptions prove the rule....
This was a common feeling on both sides during the War of Northern Aggression.

One account from the war says that there was an unwritten rule that you didn't bother a man when he "goes out to do his business in the morning" but that "these sharpshooting brutes are always violating that."

And artillery officers of that war are on record making quaint statements in their offical reports like, "We were a good deal annoyed by sharpshooters." The guncrew members worded things a little differently: one artilleryman said, "We went in a battery and came out a wreck!"
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Old 08-23-2009   #51
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kiwigrunt said:

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And on that myth and acronyms, I’m starting to get the feeling that the myth is associated more with the word ‘sniper’, rather that the job.
If you go back to the roots of the word "sniper", then every good shot can be sniper. You just have to be able to hit this bird called snipe



As I understand in US SOF there is only one sniper in squad and no spotter. He should be able to accomplish following tasks.

Quote:
• Employ gas-operated sniper
systems (SR-25/M-110 SASS), both
day and night and in rural and urban
environments, while engaging stationary
targets, moving targets and targets
with limited exposure times. (Note: the
M-24 Sniper Weapon System is still
the primary weapon system employed
during SFSC.)
• Employ the Barrett M-107 sniper
weapon, both day and night.
• Conduct technical-surveillance
familiarization.
• Familiarize students with current
tactical reconnaissance kit.
• Employ the tactical reconnaissance
kit and equipment.
• Select urban surveillance/firing
positions and construct urban hide
sites.
• Conduct urban stalking.
• Learn building-climbing techniques
(ascending and descending).
• Collect and manage information.
• Operate a tactical information
center.
• Learn collection methods
and techniques.
• Conduct close-target
reconnaissance.
• Conduct long-range, standoff
observation.
• Learn vehicle-reconnaissance
tactics, techniques and procedures, or
TTP.
• Learn walk-by TTP.
• Learn to operate manned and
unmanned remote sites.
• Demonstrate planning considerations
for sniper operations.
• Plan urban and rural operations.
• Conduct time-sensitive planning.
• Develop target stand-alone products
for near- and long-term use.
• Develop RECCE concept of
operation.
• Learn to shoot from aerial platforms
(familiarization only).
• Spend two additional days of sniper
and field-shoot marksmanship events
in preparation for must-pass exams.
Look at page 30 http://www.soc.mil/swcs/swmag/08May.pdf

As far as I understand (with my limited knowledge about topic), the only difference between sniper and scout is former's skills to shoot precisely further. SOF sniper should be able like scout infiltrate and exfiltrate. Action in final firing position is similar to observation post procedures (except shooting act). This additional skill could be really demanding for the whole team. I'm glad if Infanteer will correct me, but if I remember correctly Canadian sniper team consists already of four snipers. The reasons are security, huge load of equipment (several SWS with different ammo from 5,56 to 12,7 calibre) and possibilty to man position 24h. It seems that it's easier for organisation to train all scouts like snipers, than to add to sniper pairs just security element. USMC has choosen this path.

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Old 08-24-2009   #52
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In his 2002 book “Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife” (a title drawn from T.E. Lawrence's “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, describing the messiness of waging “war upon rebellion”), John Nagl, an American lieutenant-colonel, concluded that Americans in Vietnam remained wedded to “unrestrained and uncontrolled firepower”,

According to Mao's well-worn dictum, guerrillas must be like fish swimming in the “water” of the general population. T.E. Lawrence, helping to stir up the Arab revolt against Turkish rule during the First World War, described regular armies as plants, “immobile, firm-rooted, and nourished through long stems to the head”. Guerrillas, on the other hand, were like “a vapour”. A soldier, he said, was “helpless without a target, owning only what he sat on, and subjugating only what, by order, he could poke his rifle at”.

Even if America cannot imagine fighting another Iraq or Afghanistan, extremists round the world have seen mighty America's vulnerability to the rocket-propelled grenade, the AK-47 and the suicide-bomber.

The U.S. Army has just ordered another 1,095 Boomerang Sniper Detection Systems, and 2,195 vehicle installation kits. For decades, sniper detectors were theoretical darlings of military R&D geeks. But now, with lots of need, better technology and money to quickly buy several generations of a system, the devices are actually making themselves useful. Not all units have officers or troops who can make the most of sniper detection systems. But those that do, are hell on the local sniper population.

The Chechens made extensive and effective use of snipers. Snipers fired from well inside rooms versus near window openings, as well as, from rooftops and basements. The Russians lacked an effective sniper and counter-sniper capability of their own. (Lessons Learned from Russian Military Operations in Chechnya 1994-1996)

Well!! The long prelude is to highlight the following:

1. “unrestrained and uncontrolled firepower” is no guarantee of mil success.
2. Unconventional wars leave the conventional soldier “helpless without a target, owning only what he sat on, and subjugating only what, by order, he could poke his rifle at”.
3. Chechens made extensive and effective use of snipers while Russians lacked an effective sniper and counter-sniper capability of their own.
4. Boomerang Sniper Detection Systems are in demand with US Forces.

Hence the Snipers shall continue their "usefulness" for opposing forces as "Force Multipliers".
Recon missions would be relevant at the lowest end of technological spectrum due to need of Human Psyche for "Feeling the Ground" or "Seeing it first hand". The "eye for the ground" is the cause of all Recon activity. If UAV tends to replace the "Recon Soldier" then Armed Drones should replace the "Fighting Soldier".

Bottomline: When all fails the Human spirit prevails.
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Old 08-24-2009   #53
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1 "old" proposal by LtCol Jeffery E. Dearolph

Quote:
Conclusion

The proposed solution involves creating a division-level sniper company to engage effectively the enemy’s urban target set. Research shows that potential adversaries will seek to offset U. S. strengths by operating in urbanized terrain. Primarily designed to achieve maximum effectiveness in open terrain, U. S. weapons suffer from degraded effectiveness in urban areas. The presence of civilians further complicates fighting in cities due to constraints designed to limit collateral damage and non-combatant casualties. The enemy operates in a dispersed pattern versus concentrated pattern in order to avoid U. S. firepower. This dispersed pattern manifests
itself in an urban target set consisting of enemy combatants mixing with non-combatants, enemy snipers, and enemy SPTs. Given the limitations of U. S. weapon systems in attempting to minimize collateral damage, this urban target set presents a dilemma for commanders fighting in cities. However, research indicates that U. S. Army and Marine Corps snipers can effectively
engage the elements of the enemy’s urban target set without incurring civilian casualties.
Although U. S. snipers possess the weapons, equipment and training required to engage the urban target set, they do not possess the number of snipers to cover effectively the large urban areas where the enemy operates. Located only at the infantry battalion-level, U.S. snipers, provide
support only to those organizations. In order to provide the coverage necessary in urbanized terrain, the creation of a division-level sniper company must occur. Consisting of thirty-two more sniper teams for the division, the sniper company provides the division with the capability to engage the enemy’s urban target set in large cities. The requirement exists and research shows that the proposed division sniper company satisfies the feasibility, acceptability, and suitability criteria. Therefore, the U. S. Army and Marine Corps can create sniper companies in order to engage effectively the enemy’s urban target set.
http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc...c=GetTRDoc.pdf
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Old 08-24-2009   #54
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Consisting of thirty-two more sniper teams for the division, the sniper company provides the division with the capability to engage the enemy’s urban target set in large cities. The requirement exists and research shows that the proposed division sniper company satisfies the feasibility, acceptability, and suitability criteria. Therefore, the U. S. Army and Marine Corps can create sniper companies in order to engage effectively the enemy’s urban target set.
Empire building? That makes no sense that I can see, unless these "sniper teams" have the support, communications, sensors and weapons to make the investment worthwhile.
How many Helicopter hours would that little "empire" drag away from rifle companies?
I'd be really interested to know if the"research" is in reality just a set of opinions. Not much "urban" in A'Stan for example, and there is no evidence that snipers are actually decisive, as a function of their numbers.
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Old 08-24-2009   #55
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The U.S. Army has just ordered another 1,095 Boomerang Sniper Detection Systems, and 2,195 vehicle installation kits. For decades, sniper detectors were theoretical darlings of military R&D geeks. But now, with lots of need, better technology and money to quickly buy several generations of a system, the devices are actually making themselves useful. Not all units have officers or troops who can make the most of sniper detection systems. But those that do, are hell on the local sniper population.

Most systems rely on the supersonic crack created by the bullet.
That supersonic crack is not being caused by subsonic bullets, which can be powerful nevertheless by being heavy.

Look at this, for example:
http://world.guns.ru/sniper/sn72-e.htm
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Old 08-24-2009   #56
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Fuch mentioned silenced Russian rifle - i remembered killing of Dagestan interior minister with silenced rifle - i remembered killing of US soldiers in Iraqi urban check points - John West has written book about those kind of action and this is called "Art of urban sniping". This book and everyday life in some violent urban centers has spoiled one more time the definition of sniper. In western sniper community the sniper is man who can achieve 1st shot hits in very long distance. In Iraq the distance is sometimes 50 meters. This difference is very well covered by Greg Roberts in the article "Insurgency sniping" in "Combat and Survival" magasine. This fact makes me come back to Spicers definition:

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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. Conversely, if the sniper is able to conceal himself and endage successfully at close range, then that is also sniping.
If we talk about such short distances, then every scout can be sniper. Here couple German snipers talk about distances during II WW.

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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.

B. 400 to 700 meters.

C. About 600 meters, rarely more. I usually waited until target approached further for better chance of hitting. Also confirmation of successful hit was easier. Used G43 only to about 500 meters because of poor ballistics.
http://www.snipersparadise.com/history/german.htm

I speculate that for average scout those distances are not hard to achive. Today the sniper community is pushing the distance limits via what they define their professional skills. When Canadians achieved record shot in Afgansitan, then everyone is trying to copy this (German spotting scopes, Swiss range finders, expencive rifles etc). For average scout this is too much. In Afganistan with huge terrain with open fields of fire, this need is understood, but in a lot of other places?

This is nice article by Michael Haugen that talks about calibres and distances.

http://www.remingtonmilitary.com/art...02005.05MH.pdf

Last edited by kaur; 08-24-2009 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 08-24-2009   #57
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The need for expensive rifles is gone. There's a sub-MOA rifle in 7.62mm available on the civilian U.S. market for less than 500 US-$. The scope would be separate, but doesn't need to be more expensive either.
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Old 08-24-2009   #58
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Default Returning to argument

Returning to the original argument: Snipers are valid in the Infantry Battalions for following reasons:
1. Surveillance at ranges beyond that of Rifleman.
2. Target Acquisition for crew served weapons at the "Area of Interest" boundary.
3. Target engagement with a view to put caution in the minds of the enemy and delay his move for own forces to be ready to engage from a position of tactical advantage.
4. Cause harassment and make enemy deploy a part of reserves to deal with the unseen threat much earlier than "contact ranges".
5. Cause disarray by knocking the heads off i.e. "Kill the Commanders".
6. Must operate in buddy pairs for inherent "continued surveillance" and "local protection" at the lowest level.
7. The highest level could go upto a squad or platoon where they can be grouped with dedicated Recon Platoons/Companies.
8. They have proved their worth in Urban Warfare as also in Counter Terrorist operations where collateral damage is to be avoided.

Recon capability is mission essential requirement. At the Infantry Battalion level it can be foot based or vehicle based but must not be seen as "armed recon". It must remain "silent recon" with integral SATA/ISTAR Equipment including Micro UAVs when available. Human angle is important for "feel of the ground" and "natural awareness" besides "experiential analysis" of situation.
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Old 08-24-2009   #59
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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.
Wilf, I agree that a "sniper" (or whatever the heck else you want to call him) does provide neccessary fire support (espicially against enemy csw), but the scout and information aspect is certainly there. You are the one that helped me verbilize my thoughts that rifle optics are valuable more as a "sensor" then as a firepower multiplier, why would the same not be true for your LRM or a sniper?
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This truly is the bike helmet generation.
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Old 08-24-2009   #60
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Wilf, I agree that a "sniper" (or whatever the heck else you want to call him) does provide neccessary fire support (espicially against enemy csw), but the scout and information aspect is certainly there. You are the one that helped me verbilize my thoughts that rifle optics are valuable more as a "sensor" then as a firepower multiplier, why would the same not be true for your LRM or a sniper?
Reed
Yes, a sniper, with a radio, can go and find things and conduct surveillance. That he can does not mean he should. The primary issue here is one of a division of labour, or rather tasking. I want to differentiate the "fire support task" from the STA task. They are not one and the same, even though one skill set might combine them.
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