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“The military sniper dates back to the time of the Revolutionary War, and has been employed in every war and country since then. Program presents an overview of military snipers in past conflicts. Describes the functions, training and employment of sniper teams within units. Points out that the role of the modern sniper team is to enhance and augment means of eliminating the enemy. Also discusses the sniper sustainment training program.”
US Army Training Film TVT-7-33
Public domain film from the US National Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
A sniper is a highly trained marksman who operates alone, in a pair, or with a sniper team to maintain close visual contact with the enemy and engage targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the detection capabilities of enemy personnel. These sniper teams operate independently, with little combat asset support from their parent units. Snipers typically have highly selective and specialized training and use high-precision/special application rifles and optics, and often have sophisticated communication assets…
In addition to marksmanship, military snipers are trained in camouflage, field craft, infiltration, special reconnaissance and observation, surveillance and target acquisition…
The verb “to snipe” originated in the 1770s among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive snipe was dubbed a “sniper”. The term sniper was first attested in 1824 in the sense of the word “sharpshooter”.
Another term, “sharp shooter” was in use in British newspapers as early as 1801… The term appears even earlier, around 1781, in Continental Europe.
Different countries use different military doctrines regarding snipers in military units, settings, and tactics.
Generally, a sniper’s primary function in modern warfare is to provide detailed reconnaissance from a concealed position and, if necessary, to reduce the enemy’s fighting ability by neutralizing high value targets (especially officers and other key personnel) and in the process pinning down and demoralizing the enemy. Typical sniper missions include managing intelligence information they gather during reconnaissance and surveillance, target acquisition for air-strikes and artillery, assist employed combat force with fire support and counter-sniper tactics, killing enemy commanders, selecting targets of opportunity, and even destruction of military equipment, which tend to require use of anti-materiel rifles in the larger calibers such as the .50 BMG, like the Barrett M82, McMillan Tac-50, and Denel NTW-20.
Soviet Russian and derived military doctrines include squad-level snipers. Snipers have increasingly been demonstrated as being useful by US and UK forces in the recent Iraq campaign in a fire support role to cover the movement of infantry, especially in urban areas.
Military snipers from the US, UK, and other countries that adopt their military doctrine are typically deployed in two-man sniper teams consisting of a shooter and spotter. A common practice is for a shooter and a spotter to take turns in order to avoid eye fatigue. In most recent combat operations occurring in large densely populated towns such as Fallujah, Iraq, two teams would be deployed together to increase their security and effectiveness in an urban environment. A sniper team would be armed with their long range weapon, and a shorter ranged weapon to engage and protect the team should enemies come in close contact…
The longest confirmed sniper kill in combat was achieved by Craig Harrison, a Corporal of Horse (CoH) in the Blues and Royals RHG/D of the British Army. In November 2009, Harrison struck two Taliban machine gunners consecutively south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province in Afghanistan at a range of 2,475 m (2,707 yd) using a L115A3 Long Range Rifle. The QTU Lapua external ballistics software, using continuous doppler drag coefficient (Cd) data provided by Lapua, predicts that such shots traveling 2,475 m (2,707 yd) would likely have struck their targets after nearly 6.0 seconds of flight time, having lost 93% of their kinetic energy, retaining 255 m/s (840 ft/s) of their original 936 m/s (3,070 ft/s) velocity, and having dropped 121.39 m (398 ft 3 in) or 2.8° from the original bore line. Due to the extreme distances and travel time involved, even a light cross-breeze of 2.7 m/s (6.0 mph) would have diverted such shots 9.2 m (360 in) off target, which would have required compensation…