Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Sniper's Lot

 A typical sniper.

The movie American Sniper is out and causing controversy, that's because while it's acceptable to support our troops, we don't like to think of them actually killing anyone. When I say 'we' I obviously mean civvie liberals who have never even been in a fight in their lives or have little practical life experience but will give their opinion based on rainbows and how things should be.

Old Knudsen is unlike those libbies as he likes to think about people dying all the time, sometimes it's the only way to get a happy ending when the strangle porn becomes boring.

Periscopes attached to rifles to shoot over the trenches.  

Sniping comes from the hunting of a small bird called a Snipe by British soldiers in India. The art of concealed, distance shooting against people had a stigma because it just wasn't a gentlemanly thing to do in war. There still is a stigma attached to it by many.

Mostly from fat, hairy faced civvies who think that getting shot in the front is better than the back. There is a reason why the enemy is killed at whatever opportunity and that is because if you leave them to live they will kill you or yer friends.
In war you make sure the enemy was dead or they'd shoot you in the back themselves after you have stepped over them.  

When the musket first came out, war was still 2 armies facing each other, blowing bits off each other, the polite way. Very brave huh? .... very dumb if you ask me.

During the American war of independence that changed, also Muskets then became rifles which added to their accuracy.
The Americans (well technically still British then) were faced with a well trained army that had been fighting all over Europe and they were huntsmen rather than soldiers fighting a guerrilla war. Their tactic was to hide and shoot the ranks, officers first then NCO's etc to cause the most panic.  

At the Battle of Saratoga  sniper Timothy Murphy shot and killed General Simon Fraser of the British army in 1777.
Murphy was a rifleman in Morgan's Kentucky Riflemen, and hit the General at 500 yards using one of the long-barreled Kentucky rifles.

The face of war changed even more during WWI and the Brits were still reluctant to embrace sniping but they needed them. 

Sniping is now a science with complicated math to allow for wind speed, alleviation and movement, you can't just point, pray and shot anymore... Or is that just me?  Even temperature is an issue, a bullet can zip through the air on a hot day but when it's cold the denser colder air adds drag to the round. It can be done with one or two people, a spotter and a shooter. You don't sit at a window with yer muzzle sticking out like in the movies .... unless yer suicidal or have no choice. You never want to give away yer position. 

The spotter identifies targets and confirms the shot, the high caliber rounds can leave a vapour trail and spotters are able to follow the tragedy of the bullet from that. Two pairs of eyes are better than one and the spotter usually has an assault rifle in case things go south as a sniper rifle isn't designed for full on combat.  

Unlike the movies a sniper will take a chest shot, if a 30 cal hits you it will create a big hole and a 50 cal .... well that can stop a truck.

Soviet sniper Roza Shanina.

Snipers are not always just out for a specific target, they are mostly used in support roles, they go into an over watch position which means they have a clear view of the battlefield, from there they take out any enemy that is a danger to their advancing platoon.
Or in a blocking action that helps defend their platoon once they have taken an area.

It's not just people that snipers shoot at, they can also target generators, radios, vehicles, water and fuel supplies .... anything that helps their side.

Targets of opportunity mostly and still just like the revolutionaries they target officers, also lower ranks, drivers, pilots and guards. Reading body language is pretty important, you can tell a grunt from and officer if you pay attention to how they move and if an officer gets saluted by a newbie it's goodnight sir.  

Snipers are usually a small team that can do great damage to a larger force, they can demolish the enemies morale and keep them pinned down and slowed up.

The thing is that soldiers are trained to kill, that is the purpose of their primary training, even cooks are trained to kill, sure not as much as an infantry soldier. You don't join the military to make the world a better place, most join because it's a job.

It's so hot up here but if you fuck it up you'll be feeling even more heat ..... Why are you here? It certainly isn't to keep my morale up.

I watched the movie American sniper just after I wrote this post. The director Clint Eastwood is not the most imaginative of people and is a practical no frills director. Already people are tweeting 'I wanna kill ragheads after watching that' well what can you expect? After watching 300 who didn't want to get naked, oil up and work out with like minded buddies ? .... oh, just me then.

To me it was cliched and dull which is a shame as I bet Kyle was a lot more interesting.

It was a protect god and country  affair that claimed the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya were his motivation to join up but they weren't, and he was 24 not 30 as stated in the movie, even the bounty put on his head by Al Qaeda was exaggerated.

I really doubt that Kyle's spotter lay there without a scope just rolling his eyes and making up shit about how if Kyle shoots the wrong person he'll be arrested and fried .... that doesn't happen. Snipers even take turns using the spotting scope to avoid eye strain but he didn't have a spotting scope.
That spotter would have gotten his ass kicked for not keeping a look out and keeping the Marines on the street safe, why was he even there then?

I would have preferred that the story was kept more realistic but that's Hollywood.     

There is more to snipers than the assassins shown in movies, they are like yer guardian angel on the battlefield and are just as brave as anyone. They just happen to be very good at the job they chose to be in, no shame in that. 



Stephen Barnes said...

Gotta agree with you on that one Soren.

I had the good luck to shoot 10 rounds from a Remington 700 sniper rifle down at Ballykinler during the WPFG. I was out at 300m and managed all 10 within the diameter of a 50p coin. Not bad for a first timer, but then it's no different really than shooting sharp photographs.

Then one of the experts showed us how it was done. 2000m, 10 rounds, all within the size of a 1p. He was also doing it on the 'big range' with crosswinds.


Old Knudsen said...

A grouping anyone would be proud of, the next time they call me for one of those humorously named "suicide missions" I'll give you a call.