Allied Snipers

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts.' started by canuck, May 16, 2009.

  1. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial

    Maybe Sapper or Tom Canning can weigh in on this:

    Throughout Allied combat accounts, you hear of extensive German sniper activity and obviously the resulting casualties. I don't recall many veterans not making at least some passing reference to sniping or in fact describing it as a big problem.

    What I'm curious about is just how effective, if at all, were the snipers in British, Canadian, American and Commonwealth forces? I've seen very few Allied snipers tell their stories. I also don't recall German accounts ever mentioning Allied sniping or describing casualties. Was it a priority and actively conducted in most Allied infantry units? If so, were they less effective than German sharpshooters?

    Any idea of how many dedicated snipers were in any given infantry company or regiment?
     
    marcus69x likes this.
  2. Elven6

    Elven6 Discharged

    The Russians had some really famous snipers, the most famous is probably Vasily Zaytsev. The Wiki has more info,

    Sniper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    From what I've read it seems the Russians had people dedicated to sniping while other Allied nations did after the start of the war when seeing the success of the sniper.
     
  3. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Tim - I interviewed one of our fellows who was with the Irish Regiment who identified his military occupation as that of a sniper. I will ask him your questions and see what he has to say.

    cheers,
    phil
     
  4. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial

    The Russians had some really famous snipers, the most famous is probably Vasily Zaytsev. The Wiki has more info,

    Sniper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    From what I've read it seems the Russians had people dedicated to sniping while other Allied nations did after the start of the war when seeing the success of the sniper.

    Russian sniper exploits are quite well known but I suspect as much due to Communist propaganda as real achievements. Can you readily name an Allied sniper?
     
  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Canuk -
    The question actually belongs with the Infantry as both Tank man and Sappers rarely were called upon to shoot anyone - and most unlikely could hit the broad side of a barn - we had training on pistol and Tommy Gun shooting - but this could not be termed sniper actions.

    One day we spotted a PG with a Panzershriek waitng fo the next Tank to rioll by - so the Gunner was ordered to employ the "besa PG 400yds to the right -"ON" - fire "!

    I watched his hand move from the besa trigger to the main gun ?

    We finally got up there and found this PG with a five inch hole in his chest - that was sniper fire ! Harry was a great gunner whose Test and Adjustment skills(T&A) were excellent....

    Cheers
     
    Owen likes this.
  6. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Guess he was dead then Tom? Nice shot!!

    Good question Canuck. Apart from characters in the movies, I've never heard of an honoured Allied sniper either.

    Anybody know the true story of that Shifty Powers from Easy Company?
    He was supposed to have been a crack shot. Why didn't they make him a sniper?
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The US Army and Marines had a very much on off Sniper training programme between the the two world wars and after. I believe the US Army didn't have a dedicated peace time training programme until Vietnam.

    I would say it's fair to say that the Allies didn't really appreciate the value of sniping as soon as Germany and the Soviet Union although American origins can be traced back to the militia/skirmishers fighting the British in the 1700's.

    The British traditions of sniping come from Scotland that have connections with the poaching and gamekeeping communities...So much so the Ghillie suit originates from there.

    Some further info:

    Snipers in History

    Sniper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





    Cheers
    Andy
     
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Drew -

    The Americans had many crack shots - all the way back to Tom Mix -Audie Murphy John Wayne - Henry Fonda - Jimmy Stewart - there were dozens of them ...

    Cheers
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I don't doubt that Tom, my point though was the Americans didn't take it serious enough as they did not have a peace time sniper school until around the time of the Vietnam conflict.

    Here you go:
    Although the US Army set up an advanced marksmanship course at Camp Perry, Ohio, the Army had no official sniper course during WWII. Between wars, the USMC sustained limited sniper training but not enough to compete with other countries during WWII.

    Infact it appears to be later than the 60's:

    The US Army Sniper School was established in 1987, at the Infantry Center at Fort Benning, GA, and continues to produce top-notch snipers today.

    Army Sniper Association History

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  10. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    Drew -

    The Americans had many crack shots - all the way back to Tom Mix -Audie Murphy John Wayne - Henry Fonda - Jimmy Stewart - there were dozens of them ...

    Cheers


    You forgot Gary Cooper
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    jugs -
    I knew there was another - just couldn't think of him in High Noon etc

    Cheers
     
  12. Formerjughead

    Formerjughead Senior Member

    jugs -
    I knew there was another - just couldn't think of him in High Noon etc

    Cheers

    Right guy, wrong movie............I was in reference to "Sgt York" gobble gobble

    I just watched a show in the Military Channel and a portion was about the Marines, US Marines that is, at the battle of "Belleau Wood". They were dropping the German defenders from 800+ meters with 1903 Springfields and iron sights.
     
  13. Auditman

    Auditman Senior Member

    Its been some time since I read it but I seem to recall that Dennis Edwards, of Pegasus Bridge fame, talks about his own sniping activities in the days following D-Day in his book "The Devils Own Luck".
    Jim
     
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Some pictures of British Snipers from the IWM archive, there are more, I won't post all of them.

    [​IMG]

    DESCRIPTION: A sniper applying camouflage face cream at a sniper school in a Normandy village, 27 July 1944.


    This one is wearing an SS camo-smock

    [​IMG]

    DESCRIPTION: A sniper demonstrates his camouflage at a sniper school in a French village, 27 July 1944.


    [​IMG]

    DESCRIPTION: A sniper demonstrates the superior 'Hawkins' prone firing position (right) next to another in the standard position, at the 21st Army Group sniping school near Eindhoven, 15 October 1944.

    [​IMG]

    DESCRIPTION: Private J Donald, a sniper with 'C' Company, 4th King's Own Scottish Borderers, Holland, 11 December 1944.
     
  15. deadb_tch

    deadb_tch the deadliest b#tch ever

    [​IMG]

    Soviet snipers after returning from 'hunt', left one shows number of killed enemies.

    EDIT: These ones showing us one kind of soviet snipers - people from small native population of some part of USSR that were using rifles to hunt for animals to survive, for example natives from Siberia. Those ones were already good shooters and were used as instructors and snipers on front.
     
  16. deadb_tch

    deadb_tch the deadliest b#tch ever

    Owen asked me what about soviet snipers and I can tell the following on basis of Battle Of Stalingrad. There was an order of Stalingrad Front HQ dated 29 october 1942: "1. Each unit should have sniper team gathered for training and action during fights. 2. Each platoon should have at least 2-3 snipers. 3. Popularize actions of snipers, each good shot have to be widely known in masses." (that's a free translation of an order by me).
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Some info from present day sniper training that is relevent to WW2.
    British Sniper Training - The Basic Cadre

    The basic Sniper cadre has changed little since WW2; only weapons and optics have changed. A cadre ideally lasts a minimum of six weeks and is conducted at the Bn level.


    the unconventional sitting position. Butt of rifle is rested on knee, stock is locked against lower leg, Sniper leans back. So long as crosshair is on target and the shadow around the sight picture is even it will produce good results.
    ....It was developed by a WW2 British Sniper

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    [​IMG]
    Corporal G.E. Mallery covering other members of the Scout Platoon, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, advancing towards Fort de Brasschaet. October 9, 1944.
     
  20. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    Canadian snipers of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. These men have killed 101 of the enemy through sniper operations.

    Camp de Brasschaet, Belgium 9 October 1944.
     

Share This Page