Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam
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"The American sniper could be regarded as the greatest all-around rifleman the world has ever known. . . ."
At the start of the war in Vietnam, the United States had no snipers; by the end of the war, Marine and army precision marksmen had killed more than 10,000 NVA and VC soldiers--the equivalent of an entire division--at the cost of under 20,000 bullets, proving that long-range shooters still had a place in the battlefield. Now noted military historian Michael Lee Lanning shows how U.S. snipers in Vietnam--combining modern technology in weapons, ammunition, and telescopes--used the experience and traditions of centuries of expert shooters to perfect their craft.
To provide insight into the use of American snipers in Vietnam, Lanning interviewed men with combat trigger time, as well as their instructors, the founders of the Marine and U.S. Army sniper programs, and the generals to whom they reported. Backed by hard information and firsthand accounts, the author demonstrates how the skills these one-shot killers honed in the jungles of Vietnam provided an indelible legacy that helped save American lives in Grenada, the Gulf War, and Somalia and continues to this day with American troops in Bosnia.
worked in two-man teams using elaborate personal camouflage and sandbagged, steel-plated “sniper hides.” The armored “hides” protected the British marksmen from observation and from the enemy’s snipers—the most common countersniper tactic—and from concentrated infantry and artillery fire. Americans entered World War I late but fairly well prepared in individual sniper equipment. During the decade following the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps conducted numerous
armored cavalry battalion. At its peak, Thailand had more than 11,500 combat troops in Vietnam. Early plans called for the United States to issue 1,000 M16s per month from March through June 1967 to the Thai infantry in Vietnam. Theoretically, it would have been more effective to have issued the rifles to the Thai infantrymen for training before their deployment to Vietnam. However, U.S. logistic officers knew that any M16s delivered to Thailand tended to remain there to combat an insurgency in
“Sniping,” and the army’s Training Circular (TC) 23-14, “Sniper Training and Employment,” both published in 1969. Under sections labeled “Personnel Selection,” both manuals emphasize the importance of marksmanship, physical stamina, and mental condition of potential snipers. “The sniper trainee,” begins the selection requirements, “must be an expert marksman.” In addition to requiring the candidate to fire expert with military weapons, the criteria stress the importance of “an extensive hunting
Model 70s, they never considered reverting to standard-issue cartridges. Instead they added match ammo to resupply requests. Because of the small number of snipers and the small number of rounds they fired, ammunition sources in the States had no problem keeping up with demand. The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, manufactured the match ammunition used in Vietnam. Built during World War II, the plant operated under management by the Remington Arms Company through a
3. Returnee Nguyen Van Sinh states that local guerrillas in South Vietnam are being instructed by NVA snipers in the use of the K44 sniper rifle. It is possible that training courses for snipers are being conducted in South Vietnam. Recently found caches of undistributed K44 sniper rifles and friendly encounters with accurate sniper fire in areas where VC units are located indicate the presence of trained snipers. The K44 rifle with scope is the 7.62-mm Mosin Nagant Model 1891/30 with scope. Its