Sniper

Chip Greene By Chip Greene, 28th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

A short treatise on snipers, their history and the modern sniper.

The sniper

The verb, "to snipe," originated in the 1770's among soldiers in British India where a hunter skilled enough to kill the elusive, "snipe," was dubbed a, "sniper."
A sniper is a highly trained marksman who operates alone, in a pair or with a sniper team. He maintains close visual contact with his target from a concealed position. Sniper teams operate independently with little support from their parent units. The sniper uses a high precision/special application rifle and optics. In addition to marksmanship and long-range shooting they are trained in camouflage, field craft, infiltration and special reconnaissance and observation, surveillance and target acquisition.

Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle, a U.S. Navy Seal is the most lethal sniper in U.S. history. He is credited with 160 confirmed kills. He wrote his autobiography, American Sniper, in 2012. The film American Sniper was released in December of 2014. Directed by Clint Eastwood it has earned over $300 million at the box office and was nominated for several Academy Awards.
Kyle served four tours in the Iraq war. He received two Silver Star medals, five Bronze Star medals, one Navy and one Marine Corps achievement medal and numerous other unit and personal awards. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009. On February 2, 2013 he and friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed. The man accused of killing them was found guilty of both murders on 02/02/2015..

Rifling

Sniping wasn't effective until the development of rifling. Rifling is the engraved twisting grooves on the inside of a rifle barrel. This imparts spin on the projectile. In the 1770's rifles were smooth bored. With the advent of rifling they became much more accurate.
Timothy Murphy shot and killed Gen. Simon Fraser of Balrain on October 7, 1777 at a distance of 400 yards.
At the Battle of Brandywine, Capt. Patrick Ferguson had a tall distinguished American officer in his rifles' iron sights. He didn't take the shot as the officer had his back to him. Later, Ferguson learned that it had probably been George Washington.

The first sniper rifle

The Whitworth rifle was arguably the first long-range sniper rifle. In 1857 the Whitworth rifle was tested and found capable of hitting a target at 2000 yards. The British Army did not adopt it however. The French and the American Confederacy did. During the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse on 05/09/1864 Union general John Sedgewick was killed at a range of about 1000 yards after saying, "The enemy couldn't hit an elephant at this distance." Snipers have been employed in every war since.

Police sniper

Modern police departments employ snipers now. They are usually deployed in hostage situations. They are trained to shoot only as a last resort where there is a direct threat to life. The police sharpshooter has a well-known rule: "Be prepared to take a life to save a life." Not all of these sniper's shots are kill shots. Mike Plumb, a SWAT sniper in Columbus, Ohio prevented a suicide by shooting a revolver out of the individuals hand, leaving him unharmed.

The ultimate kill shot

Today's snipers depend upon their spotters, accuracy and camouflage. Snipers often dress in a Gilley suit. This suit makes him look like a bush or a pile of leaves. One American sniper spent days slowly getting into position to take a shot at a notorious North Vietnamese Colonel The Colonel was heavily guarded by numerous patrols in the jungle around his cabana. One patrolling soldier almost stepped on the American sniper's hand as he walked past him. He never knew he was there and the sniper eventually successfully completed his mission.
Another American sniper faced off against his North Vietnamese counterpart. Each knew the other was out there somewhere in the jungle. They maneuvered for days but, never were able to catch even a glimpse of each other. Then the American sniper caught a glint of light, a reflection, coming from the jungle. He fired at the glint sending a bullet through the front lens of his opponents rifle scope striking him in the eye and killing him.
The longest confirmed sniper kill in combat was achieved by Craig Harrison a Corporal of Horse in the Blues and Royals RHG/D of the British Army. In November of 2009 he shot and killed two Taliban machine gunners consecutively in Afghanistan. The distance to his targets was 2707 yards.

Reference links

Sniper

Chris Kyle

Photo credits

Sniper
www.cybersniper.com

Chris Kyle
nypost.com

George Washington
pocanticohills.org

Sniper rifles
www.mossinagant.net

Police sniper
en.wikipedia.org

Gilley suit
www.hdwallpaperscool.com

Tags

American Sniper, Chris Kyle, George Washington, Gilley Suit, Kill Shots, Snipers

Meet the author

author avatar Chip Greene
I am a retired police officer, baseball enthusiast, political junkie, and published writer.
My articles will focus on crime, politics, and baseball.

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Comments

author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
1st Mar 2015 (#)

Chip, thanks for sharing such a great article. I really enjoyed reading it and I loved the pictures. Congratulations on being author of the day! You are the best!

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author avatar Chip Greene
1st Mar 2015 (#)

Thanks Nancy. My first one!

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
1st Mar 2015 (#)

Awesome!

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author avatar Retired
1st Mar 2015 (#)

Well written and researched article. Informative and factual.

It seems that not only extraordinary skill is required for sniping but also surprise.

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author avatar Dawn143
5th Mar 2015 (#)

I had a great great grandfather I think who was a sniper in one of the wars. It's difficult to imagine, how hard psychologically that must be. Skill and a lot of self-control I'm thinking! nice informative post!

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