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Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

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mundaire
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Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby mundaire » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:22 pm

This is what happens when you disarm an entire nation for such a long period of time! The average citizen who signs up for the military gets his first exposure to firearms only at the time of commencement of military training. There is no mass culture of marksmanship, unlike say Switzerland where the entire country is obsessed with precision shooting sports.

There's an anecdote that comes to mind. Many years ago, a fellow IFG member and I had gone to meet a senior researcher from the Small Arms Survey (based out of Geneva). He was in Delhi for a brief time and wished to understand gun ownership in India, so had asked for the meeting. During the course of the meeting it transpired that in his younger days, he had served in the US Army, as a military intelligence officer. So I asked him about his shooting experiences. What he told me really puts the following article in perspective.

He said, (quoting from memory) "I was OK, not a talented shot at all. I mean, I could shoot targets out to 300 yards, but beyond that I was no good."

Now this was said by him in all humility! What struck me was that our troops seldom even train for ranges beyond 100 yards, and here he was telling me that he was a mediocre shot because he was "no good beyond 300 yards"!!

That my friends is the difference between a "shooting nation" and a "disarmed nation". :evil:

Source: http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Arti ... 017004043#


Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!
Lt Gen H S PANAG
Image
It is empirical military wisdom that more than the gun, it is the man behind the gun that matters. Implying that human re source development matters more in the military than in any other field. A highly motivated, well trained and highly skilled soldier with an inferior weapon will get the better of an adversary with a better weapon, but inferior motivation, training and skills.

The word “sniper“ owes its origin to the British Indian Army of late18th century. A snipe is a migratory water bird which has become rare these days. The snipe was an elusive bird which was difficult to shoot both on the ground and on the wing due to its alertness and a dodgy, ever-changing flight.To shoot a snipe on the ground or on the wing, extraordinary skills of field craft and marksmanship were required. A soldier who was good at snipe shooting was called a “sniper“.

Universally all armies maintain sniper squads in Infantry and Special Forces (SF) units. “Sniping“ is a specialized task. A sniper has to be physically fit, mentally robust and skilled at field craft, particularly stalking, and an exceptional marksman. He has to have the patience to wait or stalk for hours at end to get one shot which has to be a sure shot. Snipers are very effective in conventional and counter insurgency (CI) operations where enemy soldiers, commanders and terrorists, based on intelligence and ob servation, are killed at ranges of 2,000 metres plus. Snipers are also used to shoot terrorists in crowds, in hostage situations and during a fire fight where the sniper is in over watch position.Since the snipers are highly skilled, they make ever shot count. In Vietnam War 50,000 rounds were fired to kill one enemy soldier. The statistics are not known for our army but a rough check done by me in CI operations in J&K found that 5,000 round were used to kill one terrorist. Snipers on the other hand take only 1.3 rounds to achieve a kill. Most armies appreciate the worth of snipers and employ elaborate training methods to develop this resource. Very stringent qualification and validation tests are laid out. Only a few make the grade.

In the Indian Army up to late 50s there used to be Sniper Section of 10 men, in each infantry battalion, that operated directly under the Commanding Officer. The weapon authorized was the Lee Enfield .303 No. 4 Mark 1(T) Rifle considered one of the greatest sniper rifles and had earned a name for itself during the Second World War. A very tough sniper course was also run at the Infantry School up to l970. When we switched over to semi-automatic 7.62 mm Rifle in the 60s, no replacement was found for the old sniper rifle. Both the sniper rifle and the sniper section just disappeared from the Army for 30 years.

Image

In the 90s, the Dragunov SVDN Sniper Rifle with range of 1,300 meters was introduced into the Army. India has approximately 360 Infantry battalions, 50 Assam Rifles battalions and 62 Rashtriya Rifles battalions, ie, a total 472 battalions. Each battalion is authorized 10 sniper rifles. Thus, the Indian Army has 4,720 sniper rifles.There is no military trade of “sniper“ but any soldier with limited training mans the sniper rifle. Generally, two snipers are trained in each of the four rifle companies and two are part of the Ghatak Platoon. Sniper rifles are also authorized to SF units.

The sniper course was restarted but remains a poor cousin of the former course. The Indian Army's strength is the regimental ethos and elan. The skill levels are average and assumed to be compensated by motivation and ethos. Adequate attention is not paid to selection, training and sustainment of specialists like the snipers. Indian Infantry does not follow the specialist trade system and a jack of all trades is just not good enough for specialist tasks.

The universal test of a sniper is to score a first shot “head shot“ at 600 meters and first shot “body (chest) shot“ at 1,000 meters and that too after an indefinite wait in a hide. If a sniper cannot pass this test, he cannot be called a sniper and remains a marksman or a sharp shooter. To the best of my knowledge no “sniper“ of the Indian Army can pass this test. If there are a few exceptions they will only prove the rule.

The irony is that we gave the word “sniper“ to the military world, we have 4,700 very effective if not the best, Draugnov Sniper Rifles, but we do not have enough snipers. More so, when the snipers are most effective in CI operations and Line of Control Warfare.

(The writer is former Army commander, Northern and Central Command)


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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby AgentDoubleS » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:42 pm

Thanks for sharing the wonderful article.

Of all the shooting I have done I've found long distance rifle shooting the most exhilarating. The misleading simplicity of a long range shot and the mastery over so many different skills required to hit the target Are often under rated. Naturally, after shooting .22 Brnos I reached out to cousins, uncles and anyone and everyone who was in the army to shoot bigger bores and longer distances. I got the bigger bores but the distances remained elusive. The NSG as an e.g stated that they don't have practical use of sniping under urban conditions!!? So despite having the rifle it's not a highly used tactic. Despite the space no long ranges exist. The army doesn't have enough ranges (at least around Delhi). Kadapur is the only range that exists (300mts?) but never managed to find anyone who could get me access to it for pleasure shooting. Of all the army stories I have heard, not one has been about sniping. The army was probably the last hope for this dying art and skill, the common man stands no chance.

Eerily, as I write this, House of Cards S5 E1 plays on the TV and the president walks out to this balcony and talks to a marksman with a sniping rifle in hand and asks him to lend him the scope!

Cheers,
SS



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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby Biren » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:52 am

Till some years back, frontier villagers were trained in rifle use. It use to be basic course where soldiers from SSB camped next to village and all able bodied men & women were asked to join. One month an hr training every day involved handling weapon, maintenance and basic shooting skills. Last day was when makeshift targets were set and trainee rated. It used to be fun, some discipline and familiarity with weapon ammo. Rile was 303 and 10 rounds each were issued. Attended one of such training program long ago but memories are still fresh.

The training program was started after Chinease aggression and purpose of such program was to train locals so that they could assist GOV. Taking clue from such program Gov should let train its citizens in weapon use atleast those who are interested. We Indians have long tradition where weapon and farming implements are kept side by side.

I agree with SS that noting beats pleasure of shooting big bore.... its pure delight... possibly becoz lesser opportunity to shoot big bore... but still whenever there is chance.. its g8 feeling.

Cheers
Biren



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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby nitroex700 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:38 pm

I wonder about the intentions of the 3 star general turned politician behind this - he is a member of particularly honest common man's party.. Of late this gent has been going all out against the army in the media for all the wrong reasons.. I don't know him personally but friends who worked under him know him as a pretty ill-tempered chap! I personally have a strong dislike for soldiers tarnishing the image of their organisations in public - I wonder what he did with all that brass on his shoulders during his tenure if not to teach the poor Indian faujis the fine art of long distance marksmanship which I sincerely hope he has mastered himself in order to discredit his entire organisation? (He seems to believe that the Dragunov's 7.62x54 will reach out to 1300m or the rifle will shoot accurately to that distance...)

I wonder why this gent wouldn't talk of our skills in mountain, jungle and desert warfare? I wonder why he wouldn't talk about the skills of our tank men that are among the best in the world? Or talk about how we have managed the near explosive situations in our insurgency affected areas? Practically every country has assed up in the extreme environments we have managed to master...

Agreed that we are short in certain areas of combat effectiveness, but that is also the case with absolutely every professional army in the world.. In most cases, our forces see the enemy eyeball to eyeball - we barely need beyond the capabilities of the Dragunov in most cases. So I wonder what this nonsensical irrelevant propaganda is really all about...



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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby mundaire » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:34 pm

As far as I can see, he's calling it like it is. If you step back from political affiliations and other irrelevant things and simply see the facts for what they are, you'll see that he is pointing out an important failing. The first step to fixing something is to recognise that something needs fixing! Chest thumping and glossing over problems does no good, only harm.

I can point you to an example (of lack of long distance marksmanship skills) that I'm familiar with myself. The 2010 commonwealth games were the first time in long years that Indian shooters competed in 1,000 yard rifle shooting.

For this event, a world class range was built at Kadarpur and specialised rifles were imported for our best long range shooters (all from the military). While they were all familiar with and good at shooting out to 300m (as per ISSF rules), they had a hard time even zeroing in their rifles at 1,000 yards. Needless to say, their competition performance was less than inspiring.

Long range rifle shooting is a specialised skill and requires not just training in shooting, but also an interest in and knowledge of ballistics and physics.

Cheers!
Abhijeet


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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby nitroex700 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:02 pm

mundaire wrote:As far as I can see, he's calling it like it is. If you step back from political affiliations and other irrelevant things and simply see the facts for what they are, you'll see that he is pointing out an important failing. The first step to fixing something is to recognise that something needs fixing! Chest thumping and glossing over problems does no good, only harm.

I can point you to an example (of lack of long distance marksmanship skills) that I'm familiar with myself. The 2010 commonwealth games were the first time in long years that Indian shooters competed in 1,000 yard rifle shooting.

For this event, a world class range was built at Kadarpur and specialised rifles were imported for our best long range shooters (all from the military). While they were all familiar with and good at shooting out to 300m (as per ISSF rules), they had a hard time even zeroing in their rifles at 1,000 yards. Needless to say, their competition performance was less than inspiring.

Long range rifle shooting is a specialised skill and requires not just training in shooting, but also an interest in and knowledge of ballistics and physics.

Cheers!
Abhijeet

Abhijeet you need to understand the 'operational requirements' of the Indian Army... We're not fighting in Afghanistan where we need to make 2 mile shots! Most of our sniping activity takes place in cross border firings between our posts and that of the enemy which are in eyeball to eyeball contact... Most of the time this distance is less than a km! NSG, SPG etc are urban combat specialists and someone clearly pointed out, they do tactical sniping mostly. While we do need that occasional long shot capability, we do have specialized snipers for that, even if fewer in number than our enemies..

Secondly, as far as 'stalking' is concerned (critical part of sniper tradecraft), you can trust me when I say this that we are perhaps the best in jungle warfare. Our boys have actually 'stolen' ID tags from foreign spec op 'tangos' to win top places in international competitions.. In simple terms, you will be far less likely to see one of our snipers ever even if your life depended on it!

Our western enemy has the best German 338LM snipers, yet it is us who dominate them most of time. The crafty general wouldn't talk of this... I do agree we need to improve in that arena but projecting the entire army as an incompetent bunch of nincompoops for political mileage is something most unbecoming of ex army brass, and might I say, a mark of unprofessionalism...



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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby goodboy_mentor » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:57 am

nitroex700 your replies appear to be far away from the factual points discussed in the news item, appear to be clouded by your personal biases, prejudices and insecurities due to the following reasons -
nitroex700 wrote:I wonder about the intentions of the 3 star general turned politician behind this - he is a member of particularly honest common man's party.. Of late this gent has been going all out against the army in the media for all the wrong reasons..........personally have a strong dislike for soldiers tarnishing the image of their organisations in public
How does the question of "intention" come in if someone joins a political party that is legally recognized by Election Commission of India and large number of people have voted it to power in New Delhi, the Indian capital itself. Are you also doubting the "intentions" of these voters as well as Election Commission of India?

Yes he has spoken against use of innocent citizens being used as human shield by Indian Army in Kashmir. What is wrong in opposing an unlawful act of kidnapping and using a human shield?(unless you are one among those who support abhorrent, cowardly and criminal acts, thinks of army to be an occupying force above the rule of law) Nothing can justify such an abhorrent, cowardly and criminal act. It goes against the ethos and tradition of the army and rule of law. Such abhorrent, cowardly and criminal act brings discredit, ill repute and insult to the army. It tarnishes the image of the army.
nitroex700 wrote:the poor Indian faujis
Please do not call "the poor Indian fauji" because it is an insult to the soldier who is comparatively well fed and well paid when compared with his similar fellow citizens working in private sector. If you had called "the poor Indian citizens" it would have been far better.
nitroex700 wrote:I sincerely hope he has mastered himself in order to discredit his entire organisation?
If as per your personal thinking, speaking about facts and truth is discrediting an organization, then it must be spoken in interest of the organization.
nitroex700 wrote:I wonder why this gent wouldn't talk of our skills in mountain, jungle and desert warfare? I wonder why he wouldn't talk about the skills of our tank men that are among the best in the world? Or talk about how we have managed the near explosive situations in our insurgency affected areas?
Singing fake praises is the easiest, the most dishonest and immoral thing. Speaking about facts and truth to highlight shortcomings requires moral courage and honesty.
nitroex700 wrote:Practically every country has assed up in the extreme environments we have managed to master...
This is your personal view but facts are pretty much contrary to what you believe or like to believe. In following Youtube video, a British journalist Robert Fisk examines the real "extreme environments" that you are talking about and how these powers are trying to desperately save some particular political entities from being "assed up"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys_VujynDT8
nitroex700 wrote:Agreed that we are short in certain areas of combat effectiveness, but that is also the case with absolutely every professional army in the world.. In most cases, our forces see the enemy eyeball to eyeball - we barely need beyond the capabilities of the Dragunov in most cases. So I wonder what this nonsensical irrelevant propaganda is really all about...........you need to understand the 'operational requirements' of the Indian Army... We're not fighting in Afghanistan where we need to make 2 mile shots! Most of our sniping activity takes place in cross border firings between our posts and that of the enemy which are in eyeball to eyeball contact... Most of the time this distance is less than a km! NSG, SPG etc are urban combat specialists and someone clearly pointed out, they do tactical sniping mostly. While we do need that occasional long shot capability, we do have specialized snipers for that, even if fewer in number than our enemies..
Again this is your personal view that is at variance with the facts. Otherwise why is the army looking for new sniper rifles with more range? Read the following -
The Indian Army is hunting for a new sniper rifle for the infantry which will have considerably more range, fire power and accuracy than the existing inventory, giving soldiers on the borders an edge over the enemy.
Source http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/new ... 863126.cms
nitroex700 wrote:Secondly, as far as 'stalking' is concerned (critical part of sniper tradecraft), you can trust me when I say this that we are perhaps the best in jungle warfare. Our boys have actually 'stolen' ID tags from foreign spec op 'tangos' to win top places in international competitions.. In simple terms, you will be far less likely to see one of our snipers ever even if your life depended on it!
This is totally irrelevant. Nobody is talking about stalking skills of a few soldiers sent for some competition but total quantity of available snipers that satisfy a minimum required skill level for long range shooting.
nitroex700 wrote:Our western enemy has the best German 338LM snipers, yet it is us who dominate them most of time. The crafty general wouldn't talk of this... I do agree we need to improve in that arena but projecting the entire army as an incompetent bunch of nincompoops for political mileage is something most unbecoming of ex army brass, and might I say, a mark of unprofessionalism...
Again this is your personal biased and prejudiced view that is at variance with the facts. On the contrary he has illustrated the facts in a very professional manner. It is another matter that truth is bitter for some to swallow and feel upset about it.
Last edited by goodboy_mentor on Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.


All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche

nitroex700
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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby nitroex700 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:37 pm

@GBM:

I spoke from my own experience as well as that of many friends. I said what I thought is true according to most professional soldiers in the army, though there may be some bad eggs here and there like with every other army. You are welcome to have your own opinions about the same as well; the last thing I want to do right now is to get into an online argument.



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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby goodboy_mentor » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:51 pm

nitroex700 wrote:I spoke from my own experience as well as that of many friends. I said what I thought is true according to most professional soldiers in the army, though there may be some bad eggs here and there like with every other army. You are welcome to have your own opinions about the same as well; the last thing I want to do right now is to get into an online argument.
You may believe whatever you want to believe. About your "bad eggs", don't they get created by orders and encouragement from the top, otherwise how such "bad eggs" instead of being punished to the fullest extent as per law, get rewarded for their crimes by so called "professionals"?

You do not need a mirror to see what you wear on your wrist. Similarly facts and truth can stand on it's own. Similarly I have shown you the facts and truth, and not arguments or views. It is your choice to stand by the facts and truth or your own views.


All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche


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Re: Too Many Sniper Rifles, Not Enough Snipers!

Postby goodboy_mentor » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:05 pm

nitroex700 wrote:@GBM: You WIN!
It is not question of win or loose. It is question of what kind of ideas one supports and evaluates the facts.


All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. - Friedrich Nietzsche


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