ŠĒ• USA Today
A great article about the force multiplying effect of quality sniper teams:
US Marine Corps Designated Marksman, armed with the Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR), derived from an M14 rifle with a telescopic sight. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Iraq the value of snipers was clear from the beginning. When Marine officers were negotiating with insurgents holed up in Fallujah in 2004, the enemy’s first request was that Marines withdraw snipers who ringed the city and were targeting insurgents.
Fallujah had become a symbol of insurgent resistance after four U.S. security contractors were killed in an ambush and the charred remains of two were strung from a bridge over the Euphrates.
“They weren’t concerned with the tanks or the battalions in there,” Armstrong said. “They wanted the snipers removed.”
Marine officers refused. Within days, the insurgents met the Marines’ initial conditions.
“They’re a small niche that can really wreak havoc on the enemy,” said Clarke Lethin, a retired Marine officer who was on the staff of the unit that conducted the negotiations in Fallujah. “Our snipers were very effective when we were trying to bring terrorists to the table.”
There’s a personal element to snipers that is hard to quantify but has an impact on the enemy.
When an insurgent is killed by an unseen drone strike, “the enemy sort of absorbs that,” dismissing it as superior American technology, Armstrong said.
They have a different reaction to sniper kills. “When a sniper shoots them ‚Ä¶ it translates to, ‘I just went to a fight man-on-man and I was bested by another man,’ ” Armstrong said. “That is the psychological impact of scout snipers on the battlefield.”
The enemy also understood the psychological potency of an unseen enemy that can strike at any time. Starting in 2005, insurgents released a series of videos showing U.S. soldiers being shot, claiming it was the work of a single sniper who was stalking Baghdad. The video was an effort to strike fear into American troops by raising the specter of an unseen gunman preying on U.S. troops.
The U.S. military denied that any one insurgent marksman was responsible for the killings and dismissed the video as propaganda. Military analysts say insurgent marksmen lack advanced training and equipment that would allow them to take long-range shots at night.