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HistoryEdit

World War IEdit

During World War I, snipers appeared as deadly sharpshooters in the trenches. At the start of the war, only Imperial Germany had troops that were issued scoped sniper rifles. Although sharpshooters existed on all sides, the Germans specially equipped some of their soldiers with scoped rifles that could pick off enemy soldiers revealing themseves out of their trenches at a safe distance. At first the French and British believed such hits to be coincidental hits, until the German scoped rifles were discovered. During World War I, the Germans received a reputation for the deadliness and efficiency of their snipers, partly because of the high-quality lenses that only the Germans could be able to manufacture at that. During that time, an Australian sniper aims a periscope-equipped rifle at Gallipoli in 1915. The spotter beside him helps to find targets with his own periscopeas shown in a photo by Ernest Brooks. Soon the British army began to train their own snipers in specialized sniper schools. Major Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard was given formal permission to begin sniper training in 1915, and founded the First Army School of Sniping, Observation, and Scouting at Linghem in France in 1916. In 1920, he wrote his account of his war time activities in his book Sniping in France, which is still referenced by modern authors on the subject to this day. Hesketh-Prichard developed many techniques in sniping, including the use of spotting scopes and working in pairs, and using Kim's Game to train observational skills. Both British and German sniper teams operated in pairs, with one sniper and one spotter. On the Eastern Front, Imperial Russia never introduced specialized sharpshooters or snipers till' later on the years, allowing the German snipers to pick off their targets without danger from counter-snipers. The British did use papier-mâché figures painted to resemble soldiers to draw sniper fire. Some were equipped with rubber surgical tubing so the dummy could "smoke" a cigarette and thus appear realistic. Holes punched in the dummy by enemy sniper bullets then could be used for triangulation purposes to determine the position of the enemy sniper, who could then be attacked with artillery fire.

World War IIEdit

During World War II, snipers reappeared as an even important factor on the battlefield and became even more deadly because of new type of warfares suceeding the trench warfare. During the interbellum, most nations dropped their specialized sniper units, notably the Germans who had such a reputation during World War I. However, during the Spanish Civil War, the effectiveness and dangers of snipers once again came to the fore. The only nation that had specially trained sniper units during the 1930s was the Soviet Union. Soviet snipers were trained in their skills as marksmen with a new revolutionary marksman sniper rifle known as the Mosin-Nagant, in using the terrain to hide themselves from the enemy and the ability to work alongside regular forces. This made the Soviet sniper training focus more on "normal" combat situations than those of other nations. During the 1940 campaigns of Germany, it appeared to the Soviets that lone, well hidden snipers could halt the German advance for a significant amount of time. For example during the close-in on Dunkirk, British snipers were able to significantly delay German infantry trying to reach Dunkirk. This prompted the British to once again upscale their training of specialized sniper units. British snipers were trained in the obvious marksmanship skills and taught to blend in with the environment, often by using special headgear that concealed them. However, the British Army offered sniper training exclusively to officers and non-commissioned officers, which reduced their effectiveness considerably. In the Battle of Stalingrad, which is one of the best known battles involving snipers, due to so much sniper activity in almost every corner of the city, the Germans reinstated their specialized sniper training. Their defensive position inside a city filled with rubble meant that Soviet snipers were able to inflict significant casualties on the German Wehrmacht. Because of the urban nature of fighting, snipers were very hard to spot and seriously dented the morale of the German attackers. The best known of these snipers was probably Vassili Zaitsev, immortalized in the novel War of the Rats, and the subsequent film Enemy At The Gates, who killed more than 500 German counter-snipers with his Mosin-Nagant. Though German sharpshooters appeared spontaneously, often armed with captured scoped Mosin-Nagant rifles, Germany re-established its own sniping school and set out to reclaim its reputation of the First World War. Germany drastically increased the number of snipers per unit. German training emphasized shooting at long-range targets to deliver a feeling of insecurity to the enemy, the ability to creep up on enemies and remain hidden with enemies nearby, plus especially good camouflaging. Germany evolved the most efficient ways of camouflaging, both by using the environment (branches etc.) and by the development of specially designed, reversible camouflage clothing(known in the modern times as the Ghillie suit). German snipers were also issued with special shovels and knives to create the best possible hiding places and shelters. As they had done during the First World War, German snipers also changed location after a few shots to further reduce their chances of being spotted.

Pacific TheatreEdit

In the Pacific Theatre, the Empire of Japan also trained snipers using their well known sniper rifle named as the Arisaka. In the jungles of Asia and the Pacific Islands, snipers posed a serious threat to the U.S, British, Canadian, and Australian troops. Japanese snipers were specially trained to use the environment to conceal themselves. Japanese snipers used foliage on their uniforms and dug well-concealed hide-outs that were often connected with small trenches. There was no need for long range accuracy, because most combat in the jungle took place within a few hundred meters. Japanese snipers were known for their patience and ability to remain hidden for long periods. They almost never left their carefully camouflaged hiding spots. This meant that whenever a sniper was in the area, the location of the sniper could be determined after the sniper had fired a few shots. The Allies also used their own snipers in the Pacific, notably the US Marines, who used M1903 Springfield rifles.

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