“They say of a sniper’s bullet that it if you hear it, then you are safe because it will already have passed safely by. It is the ones that you don’t hear that do for you” -Sohni
Snipers are easily the most feared soldiers on a battlefield wielding much more training and far advanced equipment compared to an average warfighter, targeting at much farther ranges and not only serve as a Battlefield Asset but also as an Unconventional Asset on a Battlefields as Snipers play an important role in Psychological Warfare and Asymmetric warfare. Here I will discuss some 15 Mind-Blowing Facts about Snipers around the world which I think might interest you a lot :
A. Longest Sniper Shot:
The Longest recorded Sniper Kill is to the name of a JTF-2 Sniper (Canadian Special Operations Sniper) who used a McMillan TAC-50 Sniper Rifle chambered for a .50 BMG round to achieve a target kill at 3,540 m during the Iraq Civil War. This record is followed by Corporal of Horse (CoH) Craig Harrison’s record of achieving a Sniper Kill at a distance of 2,475 m using an L115A3 Sniper Rifle chambered for a .338 Lapua Magnum Round.
B. Cost Effective Assets on the Battlefield:
Snipers are usually regarded as a Cost-Effective Asset on the Battlefield through the training procedure for a Sniper and equipment and assets are given to him is quite high compared to an Infantry Soldier. However, the money spent on training and equipping a Sniper helps the sniper to make every shot count. During the infamous Vietnam War, almost 50,000 rounds were used by Infantry Soldiers to make a single kill while snipers used just 1.3 rounds on an average per kill. This reduces the expense quite effectively on the battlefield.
C. Kill one man, terrorize a thousand:
These same words are etched on the plaque that hangs on the wall of U.S. Marine Sniper School at Camp Pendleton and this principle is what snipers around the world adhere to. Snipers are perfect agents of chaos on the battlefield because if you are stuck up in a Sniper Fire, you will hardly know where the Sniper has prepared his crow nest and keeping an eye on you. This exactly makes the Sniper the most feared soldier on the Battlefield ( besides a simple Radio Operator as he is just simply more dangerous than anyone ) and are the reason why they are immediately executed by the enemy if caught.
D. Ghillie Suits:
Most of the Snipers and Marksman around the world utilize Ghillie Suits to blend in the background and reduce the chances of being spotted at the first glance. These Ghillie Suits were first implemented by Scottish Game Wardens to catch poachers and this idea was later implemented in the Second Boer War by the British. Snipers specialize in blending to the environment and camouflage which increases their survivability manifold on the Battlefield.
E. Sharpshooters and Snipers:
Sharpshooters preceded the Snipers as they were implemented by Hiram Berdan and Robert E. Lee during American Civil War to carry out precision shooting using their Sharps Rifle which utilized a .52-Caliber Round. They were required to lay down accurate fire on enemy targets at ranges beyond the reach of standard rifles or carbines and with much more precision. The Whitworth rifle was used by Confederates during American Civil War and can be considered as the first sniper rifle since it was able to hit targets at 1,280 m.
F. Sniper Rifle without a Scope:
Simo Häyhä, a Finnish Sniper has been credited to be the most successful sniper in the entire history as he made more than 500 kills during the Winter War between Soviet Russia and Finland. However, he preferred to use the in-built Iron Sights on his M/28-30 rifle and KP-31 which he used for his sniping missions against the Red Army.
G. Zhang Taofang:
Another of the most successful sniper of modern times is Zhang Taofang of PLA as he made 214 confirmed kills in just 32 days during Korean War. He was first issued a Soviet Mosin Nagant with which he waited for 18 days before he got his first chance to prove himself. He was a part of the 8th company, 214th Regiment of PLA and conducted many Sniper Missions on Triangle Hill.
H. Francis Pegahmagabow:
He was the most successful Sniper during World War-1 as he made almost 378 Confirmed Kills during the course of the Great War. His Kill Count was greater than the total number of kills made by US, UK and Australian Army combined.
I. Sniper Caliber:
Most of the Snipers earlier used a Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle chambered for a popular 7.62x51mm round. These were specialized sniper-grade round which featured better penetration capabilities and is lesser affected by variable factors like wind and humidity. In Soviet Russia and most of the Eastern Bloc Countries, the 7.62x54mmR was utilized as a Sniper-Grade Ammunition by Snipers in their Rifles like the popular SVD Dragunov. With the advent of art of modern warfare, newer and more powerful calibers are being used like .50 BMG by M107 and .338 Lapua Magnum by Arctic Warfare Magnum. The philosophy behind using different calibers for sniping purpose is due to the fact that an Assault Rifle or Battle Rifle, has a sufficiently lesser range and penetration capabilities and hence Sniper Grade Ammo with a Match Grade Barrel is more preferred for long range sniping.
J. Variable Factors:
Snipers are quite affected by Variable Factors like Wind, Humidity and more as they can disturb the accuracy of the sniper at longer ranges where these factors play quite an important part. If these factors are not sufficiently considered, the snipers may miss their perfect shot and the cover on them might get blown. In 2003 a Royal Marine sniper named Matt Hughes, took out an Iraqi Soldier by pointing his gun some 56 feet left and 38 feet high so that he can compensate for the environmental factors and managed to get a perfect shot.
K. One Shot, Six Kills:
A British Sniper in Kakaran, equipped with L115A3 Sniper Rifle chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum once managed to get six kills after his bullet managed to trigger the switch of a suicide bomber accompanying them which instantly killed the suicide group. The kill was achieved at some 850 metres and the sniper also had previously to his name another kill at 1,340m when he took out a Taliban Machine Gunner.
L. World War-2 Snipers:
“CAMOUFLAGE 10 times-SHOOT ONCE”, was the motto of German Snipers during World War-2 as they fielded better Sniping Equipment compared to their counterparts and hence enjoyed more kills on the battlefield. Matthias Hetzenauer, a German Sniper during World War-2 managed to get 345 Confirmed Kills during his years with 3rd Mountain Division. Another popular Sniper of his time is Vassili Zaitsev who was a Soviet Sniper and the most valued sniper from the Soviet Side as he alone made some 225 Sniper Kills during the Battle of Stalingrad. Soviet Russia also started fielding Sniper Pairs and Female Snipers during the course of Battle. Another popular sniper of Soviet Russia was Ivan Mikhaylovich Sidorenko credited with 500 kills during World War-2.
M. Head Shots or Chest Shots?
Many people have the misconception that snipers usually take headshots. Sounds way more awesome, isn’t it? But that is not always the case. HeadShots are only taken off when you want an ensured kill at intermediate ranges. At Long ranges, Snipers usually aim for the chest region which potentially gives a more target area compared to a head. Chest Shots might not result in instant death like Head Shots but it can cause severe blood loss, shock and awe, and organ damage.
N. Psychological Warfare:
Snipers play an important part in Psychological Warfare and Asymmetric Warfare as their actions play an important part in creating chaos and confusion in enemy lines and also plays the role of active deterrent and de-moralizer for the enemy. Most of the times they target Commanders and High-Ranking Officers on the Battlefield or sometimes even Medics and Engineers to jeopardize the entire moral of the enemy. During the 26th of July Movement , Castro Rebels used to kill the foremost man in a group of soldiers under President Fulgencio Batista who used to search for rebels in the high mountains. Another way was to kill the second man as the other soldiers would have a deep impact and will not be willing to follow their group leader.
O. Achieving a Sniper Shot with a Machine Gun:
Sounds awful, isn’t it ? Not so much as Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock serving with US Marine Corps actually achieved a kill with a M2 Browning Heavy Machine Gun. He utilized the heavy hitting power of .50 BMG utilized by the M2 (also used by many modern sniper rifles now) coupled with a 8x scope and a tripod mounting which helped him achieve a shot at 2,286 m during Vietnam War in 1967. This heavily modified gun , known as “Ma Duece” and this record made by Hathcock was unbroken for 35 years.
Snipers for the time and in the art of modern warfare are highly respected and feared soldiers on a battlefield as they lurk behind the shadows, keeping themselves away from the active combat but are an all-seeing eye on the battlefield. And this is why, Snipers carry a fearsome reputation around them for being one of the most cost effective yet deadly soldiers gaining more active kills thanks to their specialized equipment and training they sport.
Harsh B Mishra is a writer on DefenceLover, he also loves to write on Quora. You can follow him on Quora for more interesting knowledge about special forces.
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