Stalkers and Shooters: A History of Snipers

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These warriors were loved by their compatriots — but despised by their enemies — because they could inflict many casualties from great distances. When they were captured, they often had their middle finger amputated before they were exchanged so that they could not use the bow with such deadly efficiency ever again.

Sniper School: All About Their Kit And Weapons

Then they would in unison let fly a deadly volley. This is a legend, not a proven fact, but an interesting legend nonetheless. The birth of the modern sniper occurred in our own Revolutionary War. Timothy Murphy was a sniper who changed history. The distance was estimated by some to be yards. Murphy fired and Fraser dropped from his horse.

He shot him from his horse also. These impossible shots deeply demoralized the enemy and helped lead to an American victory, which convinced the French to enter the war on the side of the Americans. During the Civil War, Hiram Berdan recruited a regiment of sharpshooters who were selected for their extraordinary skills.

These soldiers were issued Whitworth or Sharps rifles equipped with scopes. They dressed in green for camouflage. They developed the ability to secretly move into tactical positions of advantage. These soldiers were able to hit targets with great precision from great distances. The most deadly of these snipers was a Russian, Vasily Zaytsev , who helped turn the tide of the war in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Police history: How snipers became part of policing

During the war, he was credited with killing 3, of his enemies. She was particularly effective at stalking and is credited with killing 36 Nazi snipers.

Land recruited and trained men like Chuck Mawhinney who had confirmed kills, and another probable kills. In Vietnam, Hathcock was known not only for his 93 confirmed kills, but his ability to apply sniper-craft to achieve success in the framework of missions. Hathcock was often sent in after high-value targets and succeeded in eliminating them time and time again while avoiding detection by the enemy. The attempt by the North Vietnamese to eliminate Carlos led to his making the most famous sniper shot in modern history. Carlos went out after the Cobra and the deadly dance commenced.

As the maneuvering progressed, Carlos finally spotted the glint of glass in the sunshine. The occurrence of sniper warfare has led to the evolution of counter-sniper tactics.

Such tactics aim to reduce the damage caused by a sniper to a fighting force, which can often be harmful to both fighting capabilities and morale. During the stalking phase of their attack, a sniper will, if time allows, try to identify high-value targets, such as senior officers or senior NCOs.

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They will do this by closely observing the behavior of the people in front of them. The intention is to identify who is in charge and then prepare to fire at them. It naturally follows that leaders should attempt to blend into the background by avoiding anything that distinguishes them from the most junior soldiers and attracts the interest of a sniper.

In order to reduce a sniper's ability to damage the chain of command, doctrine and equipment need to prevent any observable "leadership" behaviors and signs.

Stalkers and Shooters: A History of Snipers by Kevin Dockery (Paperback, 2007)

Insignia, e. Additionally, other acts such as looking at maps, using a radio, pointing authoritatively, abstaining from menial tasks and other forms of body language can betray an officer's rank. When manufactured correctly, the suit will move in the wind in the same way as surrounding foliage. Some ghillie suits are made with light and breathable material that allows a person to wear a shirt underneath.

A well-made ghillie suit is extremely effective in camouflaging its wearer. A ghillie-suited soldier sitting perfectly still with local flora attached to their webbing is nearly impossible to detect visually, even at close range. However the suit does nothing to prevent thermal detection using technologies such as FLIR.

In fact, the warmth of the heavy suit can make a wearer stand out more than a standard soldier when viewed using these methods. The word ghillie is a reference to Ghillie Dhu , a fairy clothed in leaves and moss in Scottish mythology.

The Lovat Scouts , a Scottish Highland regiment formed by Simon Fraser, 14th Lord Lovat during the Second Boer War , is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits and in went on to become the British Army's first sniper unit. Similar sniper outfits in the Australian Army are nicknamed "yowie suit", named for their resemblance to the Yowie , a mythical hominid similar to the Yeti and Bigfoot which is said to live in the Australian wilderness. High-quality ghillie suits are made by hand; most military snipers generally construct their own unique suits.

Manufactured ghillie suits can be assembled from up to six pieces.

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Proper camouflage requires the use of natural materials present in the environment in which a sniper will operate. Making a ghillie suit from scratch is time-consuming, and a detailed, high-quality suit can take weeks or even months to manufacture and season. Ghillie suits can be constructed in several different ways. Some military services make them of rough burlap flaps or jute twine attached to a poncho.

Hunting ghillie suits can be made of nylon and other artificial materials as well as the ones listed before. United States military ghillie suits are often built using either a battle dress uniform BDU , or a pilot's flight suit or some other one-piece coverall as the base. On the base, rough webbing made of durable, stainable fabric like burlap is attached. A nearly invisible material like fishing line can be used to sew each knot of net to the fabric often with a drop of glue for additional strength.