Infantry: July 28, 2005

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Once more, the U.S. Army is adopting a successful combat practice from the U.S. Marine Corps. In this case, the army is training additional snipers, so that army units will have more than three times as many as they do now. Which is about the same number of snipers the marines have had for a long time. 

To do make this happen, the army is tripping the output of its sniper schools. The army has a five week sniper course, while the marines have a ten week course that is considered one of the best in the world. These schools turn out professional snipers who know how to operate independently in two man teams.

Marine regiments (about the same size as army brigades) now have about three times as many snipers per battalion as do army units. Currently, army only has six or eight snipers per infantry battalion. In the future, there will be one sniper in each infantry squad. There are 27 squads in an infantry battalion. 

But both the army and the marines are taking advantage of the greater number of veteran troops in their combat units, and the fact that just about every soldier has a rifle with a scope, and has a lot of target practice behind them. In the past, infantry commanders were encouraged to find and designate about ten percent of their men as sharpshooters (sort of sniper lite) and make use of these guys to take out enemy troops at a distance, and with single shots. This is a trend that has been growing for over a decade, but has now become a major feature of American infantry tactics. These sharpshooters, especially the ones with combat experience, are the prime candidates for sniper school.  The trained snipers, however, also have the special skills required to find the best shooting position, and how to stay hidden, and get out of harms way if discovered. Trained snipers have proved to be a powerful weapon in the kinds of battles encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq. The enemy fighters greatly fear the snipers, and the presence of snipers restricts the mobility of enemy gunmen. 

 


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