Modern Sniper

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Modern Sniper

Post by jimothy_183 » Fri May 18, 2012 2:55 pm

Below here is an excellent 4 part series on the modern sniper that explores how the role of the sniper has evolved over time.

Episode 1: Army: Snipers today face challenges and missions that their predecessors could have only dreamed of. As warfare and technology advances, the tools, tactics, and techniques of the sniper must follow.

Episode 2: Marines: Delve into what it takes to be one of the top tier snipers in the Marine Corps, focusing on land navigation/camouflage, stalking techniques, weapons/marksmanship and most importantly, surveillance.

Episode 3: Coast Guard: Modern Sniper Coast Guard explores the role of the famous HITRON UNIT and their duty to stop the flow of illegal drugs into America one sniper shot at a time.

Episode 4: Advanced Sniper: The definition of a Sniper is: "A skilled military shooter detailed to spot and pick off enemy soldiers from a concealed place." Look at the advanced training techniques that transform these ordinary men into smart, inventive soldiers.







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Re: Modern Sniper

Post by jimothy_183 » Fri May 18, 2012 3:47 pm

The 6 man team (featured in-depth in episode 4) had apparently come into wide usage from around 2004 IIRC. I have a vague memory of a another documentary (either "Surviving the Cut" or "Top Sniper 2") US Marine who mentioned that it was from around 2004 that they started to experiment with the 6 man team to "bring more firepower".

The 6 man sniper team is usually composed of the following (according to episode 4 @ 6:10):
  • Team Leader - Bolt gun
  • Assistant Team Leader - Semi auto precision rifle
  • Security Element (2 men) - Assault rifle
  • RTO - Assault rifle
  • Point Man - Assault rifle
note: Most assault rifles will come with a grenade launcher attachment.

Here is a post from a thread from another forum:
RamZar wrote: The "Advanced Sniper" episode of "Modern Sniper" should have been called "Advanced Sniper Team". This is mostly a six man team comprising of the Team Leader (primary sniper), Assistant Team Leader, Point Man, 2-man Security Team and Radio Telephone Operator. They are an incredible force and the best eyes on the battlefield. As the show said: "They are changing the way modern warfare is fought". I'd say that and drones. They use advanced skill sets and tactics: marksmanship, observation, demolition, camo (great use of chicken wire), high angle shooting (used a lot in Afghanistan mountains), calling for air support, etc. They are adept at urban warfare skills and CQB like breaching methods mostly using explosives and house/room clearing (mostly soft clear at night using NVG/IR). They train along with police SWAT teams. Most of their M4s come with the M203 grenade launcher but they also use a lot of hand grenades as well as smoke grenades. When moving in the open they try to look like an infantry unit so as not to attract undue attention. Their real-time intel capabilities include GPS, imagery (digital still and video cameras), etc. and most of these are passed on to commanders via MAGTF Secondary Imaging Dissemination System (MSIDS) and Tactical Chat (Tac Chat for short is like Instant Messaging - IM).
I would like to discuss how these changes have impacted conventional and special operations in terms of potentially taking away missions from the Soldiers/Marines/Operators who do the work that they normally do.

My answer is that it doesn't really change the jobs of the other units and how they do it since the sniper team's general mission is still primarily to act as a surveillance unit and also to eliminate a specific target with precision.

A sniper team is still a lot like a scalpel, small and precise but harder to "manufacture" and therefore less expendable. Then you have your more conventional assests such as a rifle platoon (or a special ops unit conducting a direct action mission to sabotage for example) which is like a hatchet, inflicts more damage but less precise.

Discuss?
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Re: Modern Sniper

Post by Ryan » Tue May 22, 2012 12:26 pm

I suppose they may impact some mission types, depending on criterea - look at Carlos Hathcock in Vietnam, doing a mission by himself to assasinate a VC Commanding General. That traditionally would of needed a squad plus of Special Forces troops and numerous assets just to get the intelligence on the Officer, nevermind the attack (unless opportunistic of course). It was totally unconventional, and best of all it worked.

Because he was on his own he was able to evade a very large force and not leave a big footprint, doing this with a squad size would probably get you into contact.


Snipers were, and still are, in great need within Afghanistan due to the terrain. Special Teams broke them out all over the country. Iraq was the same. You have to remember even our Special Forces ratios - 1 out of 3 are trained snipers. All members of a Special Ops Team are very accurate and well educated to begin with - I bet most could use a sniper rifle pretty effectively.

Sniper Teams are very highly skilled. You have to be a great infantryman before even attempting the selection course. I've heard a few times, including on Australian Special Forces books and documentaries, that snipers... especially experienced, combat-proven ones... are in big demand within Special Units.

I suppose there will always be a scuffle between units. An A10 can do a platoons job but it doesn't offer men on the ground. A sniper could do a Special Operation Teams job, but only to a certain degree. Working together is the main thing - they're not supersoldiers.
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Re: Modern Sniper

Post by jimothy_183 » Tue May 22, 2012 2:16 pm

Ryan wrote: I suppose there will always be a scuffle between units. An A10 can do a platoons job but it doesn't offer men on the ground. A sniper could do a Special Operation Teams job, but only to a certain degree. Working together is the main thing - they're not supersoldiers.
Well that pretty much agrees with what I said.

I guess that it can be concluded that the modern snipers are really just another tool in the toolbox for commanders and that they will not completely replace special ops units as they are. Although the snipers will inevitably take away missions that would have been done by conventional or special units if it wern't for the advancements made by the snipers.
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