A sniper is a specialised military/paramilitary person who is skilled in precision shooting of high value targets. Snipers receive specialised training and are equipped with high precision rifles and high-magnification optics. Their main line of work includes killing enemy commanders, target acquisition for airstrikes, managing intelligence information gathered during reconnaissance and surveillance, destroying enemy’s military equipment and selecting targets of opportunity. Although we know the basic information about snipers, there are various interesting facts that most of us are unaware of.
We have complied a list of such facts about snipers which are lesser known to the outside world.
1. Snipers work in a team
Snipers usually work in a pair i.e. in a team of two people, one is the shooter and the other is a spotter.
2. History behind the name
The name ‘sniper’ dates back to the 1770s when ‘to snipe’ meant shooting snipes which was a highly challenging game bird for hunters. In 1824, the term ‘sniper’ got attested for the first time.
3. In various places the snipers are trained to shoot between heartbeats as blood flow can effect fingers while shooting
Other factors like wind speed, humidity, temperature are kept in mind while shooting.
4. Highest number of kills
Finnish Lance Corporal Somi Hayha, also known as the ‘white death’ holds the title of the most effective sniper with 505 sniper kills in less than 100 days.
5. Longest kill with a distance of 1.54 miles
The longest recorded and confirmed kills by any sniper in the history were made by British Army CoH Craig Harrison of the Household Cavalry in Afghanistan in 2009.
6. Best female sniper
Soviet sniper Lieutenant Lyudmila Pavlichneko is known to be the most successful female sniper with 309 confirmed kills.
7. Ghillie suits are the outfits used by snipers to camouflage themselves with the surroundings in order to stay hidden
8. It is believed that the Soviet Union employed over 2000 female snipers during the World War 2
10. Army sniper duo
In US, a sniper team also consists of a flanker who observes the areas not immediately visible to the sniper/spotter.
12. Role of a spotter
The spotters are also required to calculate distances and shooting angles and make corrections for atmospheric conditions. For these purposes, spotters are also required to carry a notepad or even a laptop at times.
11. A spotter uses objects like spotting scope and rangefinder which reads wind and the mirage caused by the heat on the ground
9. Usually, in the team of two, the shooter and the spotter take turns in order to avoid eye fatigue
13. Snipers are trained to utilise their weapons and ammunition accurately and wisely under varying conditions
14. Snipers wait for a tank shell or an artillery to fire
As the sniper guns are very powerful and hence very loud. A shot can give away the position of the sniper. That’s why a snipers usually shoot only when other shots are fired. These sounds could be from air bursts of artillery shells or thunder.
15. If a sniper is caught by the enemy, in all likelihood he will be executed
Therefore, if a sniper feels he is in imminent danger, he will discard all those things which indicate that he is a sniper, in order to escape being captured/face execution.
16. When snipers prevented suicide
ASWAT sniper in Columbus, Ohio, Mike Plumb, is known to have prevented a suicide by shooting the revolver out of the person’s hand without any harm done.
17. Snipers have to learn to stalk their target patiently
A sniper needs to have a great level of patience to sit at one place for hours and to remain hidden for long periods of time. Their single muscle move can become reason of their death.
19. Snipers use baits like food parcel, medicine kits etc.
And when the enemy comes to take it they shoot.
20. Snipers are very cost effective as they use much less ammunition per kill
21. The primary purpose of a sniper is to target high ranking commanders
That will lead to demoralisation of the enemy.
22. Most of the snipers pick their one favorite rifle and stick with it throughout
23. When a causality is done by sniper people around the target will never actually hear the gun being shot.
These amazing facts uncover the truth behind this dangerous job. While you do not want to miss out on the target, you ought to be sure that it did minimum harm to surroundings or other people. At the same time, you carefully have to dodge every attempt of being captured by the enemy. A high-risk occupation, it requires extensive and specialised training and a great deal of focus, zeal, accuracy and patience.