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Sniper: The World Of Combat Sniping

by bg Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 6:02 PM

Book Review.

Sniper: The World Of Combat Sniping--The Skills, the Weapons, The Experiences
Adrian Gilbert, St. Martins Press, Sidgwick and Jackson, London. Published 1994.

The average rounds expended per kill with the M16 in Vietnam was 50,000. Snipers averaged 1.3 rounds (per kill). The cost difference was $2300.00 (per kill) versus 27 cents (per kill). SIGN AT MARINE CORPS SCOUT SNIPER SCHOOL, QUANTICO, VIRGINIA.

Sniper: The World Of Combat Sniping, by Adrian Gilbert, is well researched and easy to read. The pages fly by as the reader quickly becomes engrossed in the information. Combat on the personal level is revealed graphically, with many first-hand accounts by some of the worlds most successful gunmen. Acting alone, or with a solitary team member, these super shooters have many times changed the outcome of battles, and even wars, with a single well-placed shot.
At one time sniper activity was considered to be a minor contribution to success in warfare, and in spite of great evidence to the contrary, it seems that most nations must relearn the value of a sniper corp with each new war. According to Adrian Gilbert, this is a primary blind spot among the worlds military forces, and though a lot of effort has gone into changing this attitude, many of the worlds military still relegate sniping to special circumstance, or as a technique deployed only in extremis.
This book illustrates the fallacy of that mindset, in no uncertain terms. A good sniper many times possesses the power to pin down or destroy the leadership of entire batallions, and the examples of this are rather common in warfare history.
The optimum use of snipers is dual. Advance harassment and removal of key personnel is primary, though this is seconded closely by their role as intelligence gatherers; many are the times a sniper has called in an artillery or air strike which has wreaked havoc and destruction on the enemy.
Mr. Gilbert, in his role as military historian, has achieved a true objectivity allowing him to assimilate and judge the various aspects of modern warfare, while considering always the various applications as to their true effectiveness in battle, and their cost effectiveness as well. There is a real problem in the world today, and not just in warfare, where quantity is preferred over quality, though in warfare this misconception is driven home more quickly, as necessity has a way of immediately illuminating the menial, thereby highlighting the substantial.
One interesting aspect of sniping, noted by me after reading this book, is this: It seems the true value of sniping, as information, is controversial and volatile, perhaps even discouraged, except to The States warriors, and only during wartime. The reason for the discouragement of this information stems from the fact that knowledge of sniping informs anyone who would know, that nothing can beat a guerilla force on their home territory, if their will is strong. That is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this book. At the beginning of Part Three in the book, Carlos Hathcock, an extremely successful and famous sniper from the United States is quoted by the Chicago Tribune (7 Sept 1986):
“People....think you go out and hide and blow everybody asunder. We don’t do that. We pick our targets -- leaders, operators of crucial weapons, communications people. We don’t go out and indiscriminately kill.”
It is no wonder the activity of sniping is left alone most of the time. It must make certain types of people, especially people with a lot to hide, extremely nervous. Sniping is a powerful deterrent to tyranny of all types, and there are a lot of would-be tyrants in this world. Add to this the fact that not only are good snipers usually successful, the majority of them escape detection forever, then you can see why sniping information is not broadcast far and wide, and again why the book is more than a just a useful read. Insights to the minds that run this world for their own good, and piss on the people, are rife here, and that is information you only find ever so often.
For the most part, snipers are the product of military training, although great effort is made by the military to recruit people with a background of hunting, and familiarity with firearms. The training and selection processes of the military sniper is ongoing and intense, but the basics of sniping entail a few basic factors such as camoflage, Navigation, accuracy with a weapon, and the psychological make-up necessary to withstand privation, while remaining focused for long periods of time on a target, before finally depressing the trigger.
Anyone interested in the way the world really operates will like this book. Murder is not civilized. And the criminal gang representing the monied interests of this world are not now, and never have been, civilized either.
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