SCOUT SNIPERS One Shot, One Kill by tak20026


One Shot, One Kill
by First Lieutenant Eric J. Teegerstrom

  “All the sniper feels when he fires is   less skillful dismounted patrols would       cellent tool, but increase the possibil-
the recoil o his rifle. One shot. One
             f                             not be able to reach. Once on the site,      ity of detection.
kill. ” (unknown)                          the sniper scout can provide accurate          In area or zone reconnaissance mis-
                                           reporting, calls for indirect fire sup-      sions, the snipers are a valuable asset
                                           port, or with the proper target of op-       to the scouts as a local security and
  These are exciting times in the          portunity, his own accurate and              small arms cover. If the mission plan-
world of scouts. These soldiers have       deadly direct fire. These additional         ning and execution time allows for the
traditionally represented the greatest     observation posts increase the 10-ve-        snipers to infiltrate the area, or when
degree of versatility in the Amy. To-      hicle platoon’s ability to handle a          air assets are available to insert, they
day, this tradition continues. The de-     front as wide as 4 to 6 kilometers.          provide the scouts with early observa-
ployment of the 10-vehicle scout pla-      Terrain in Korea is especially condu-        tion of key points, to include bridges,
toon (HMMWV) Korea has signifi-
                    to                     cive to this use of the sniper teams         NAIs specified by the battalion, obsta-
cantly increased the accuracy and          due to the readily available high            cles, likely ambush sites, or at the in-
amount of information the commander        ground. The key problem that occurs          famous rock drops of the Korean
of the mechanized infantry, armor, or      with the use of sniper teams is their        roadways. The scout vehicles may
task force organized battalion re-         extraction if the enemy forces friendly      also deploy the teams in order to
ceives. This is especially due to the      units to relocate to their rear. The re-     move to local key terrain for security
addition of a sniper section to the        positioning will place the sniper teams      and small arms cover. This use is very
MTOE. The abilities of the platoon         too deep into enemy territory to be of       flexible and allows for quick insertion
and the information it can provide to      any great value to the commander,            and extraction.
the battalion commander is signifi-        and generally results in their loss. The
cantly enhanced by these soldiers.         use of air assets to infiltrate and ex-         Another mission where snipers are a
They provide an excellent tool for the     tract snipers is highly effective, but        tremendous combat multiplier is the
scouts to utilize in every conventional    this also tips the enemy off to the           security and protection of the battal-
mission. This article provides some         sniper’s approximate location.               ion support area or the battalion tacti-
valuable information about the sniper                                                    cal operations center in the tactical as-
section and its use.                         Route reconnaissance missions pre-          sembly area. Their ability to detect
                                           sent a greater challenge to both the          and eliminate enemy snipers or
  The normal MTOE for the sniper           sniper teams and their leadership. The
section is one E-6 11B sniper, one E-5                                                   counter special operations forces dis-
                                           planning and execution of the sniper          rupting friendly missions is invalu-
 11B sniper, and two E-3/4 19D Spot-       missions must be planned and exe-
ters. A sniper team, or ‘Hawk Team’                                                      able. The support units of the average
                                           cuted well in advance of both the bat-        tank battalion are usually stretched to
as it is appropriately named, consists     talion’s movement and the scout pla-
of one sniper and one spotter. The                                                       their limits in their role of repairing
                                           toon’s. Commanders must keep in               and resupplying. The security that
 sniper’s weapon is the M24 rifle with     mind that snipers are only capable of
 match-grade barrel, and 3 x 10 scope.                                                   they can provide for themselves in the
                                           moving 500 to lo00 meters an hour in          TAA is limited and they are not gen-
The only ammunition these weapons          dense terrain. If they are moving into
 can use is the M118 7.62 match-                                                         erally trained well enough to detect
                                           a position or stalking, this speed is re-     and eliminate an enemy sniper. The
 grade cartridge. (The use of other am-    duced even more. During the route re-
 munition on this weapon will cause                                                      stalking and tracking abilities of the
                                           con mission, teams will infiltrate and        sniper team greatly enhance the abil-
 damage to both the barrel and the         develop positions where they may be
 bolt.) The sniper team also will need                                                   ity of the battalion to protect its sup-
                                           used in several ways. T the scouts            port assets in the BSA and the key
 at least a pair of M22 binoculars or      and the battalion, they serve as early
 the M49 20-power observation scope,                                                     leaders within the TOC. The use of
                                           warning of enemy activity and loca-           snipers in counter-sniper operations
 two ghillie suits, one M16A2, one M9      tion, use indirect or direct fue to har-
 pistol, one manpack radio, weapons                                                      reduces the requirement for regular in-
                                           ass the enemy, and possibly provide           fantry units to assume this mission
 drag bag, rations, water, and PVS-7B      some small arms cover to the scouts
 night vision device.                                                                    within a task force.
                                           as they move forward. The extraction
   The sniper’s special capabilities are   of sniper teams is more easily accom-           Certain limitations come with the
 especially evident in screening mis-       plished because the forward move-             use of sniper teams. The sniper team
 sions. Sniper teams give the scout pla-    ment of the scout platoon and the bat-        cannot conduct sustained operations
 toon the ability to place observation      talion facilitate the pick up. If plan-       over an extended period. They should
 posts on key and dominant terrain that     ning time is short, air assets are an ex-     only be deployed as the need arises or

 20                                                                                     ARMOR      - July-AugUSt 7994

                                                                                             Georgia. The 26 Infantry Division also
                                                                                             has an excellent course that provides
                                                                                             snipers to the units in Korea. They ac-
                                                                                             cept 19Ds into this school, and the
                                                                                             tankers have repeatedly proven them-
                                                                                             selves worthy of the task. The gradu-
                                                                                             ating class in July 1993 contained two
                                                                                             19Ds from my platoon. They were
                                                                                             recognized by the sniper school as the
                                                                                             top team in stalking, tracking, identi-
                                                                                             fying, and engaging targets at un-
                                                                                             known distances. One of the scouts
                                                                                             was recognized for finishing second in
                                                                                             the ‘Top Gun’ competition. Scouts are
                                                                                             a natural for this course, and I would
                                                                                             advocate the allotment of more slots
                                                                                            for them.
                                                                                               The sniper section increases the abil-
                                                                                            ity of the 10-HMMWV scout platoon
                                                                                            to perform any mission it is given.
                                                                                            The snipers’ abilities to range out and
                                                                                            cover key terrain can put more depth
                                                                                            and observation in screen lines. The
                                                                                            harassment they provide, and their
                                                                                            ability to provide early warning in-
                                                                                            crease the effectiveness of scouts dur-
                                                                                            ing route reconnaissance. Their ability
                                                                                            to provide local security and small
                                                                                            arms cover reduces the risk to scouts
                                                                                            performing a point reconnaissance.
                                                                                            The ability to detect and eliminate en-
                                                                                            emy personnel facilitates the execu-
                                                                                            tion of the support unit’s mission in
                                                                                            the BSA, in addition to defending key
                                                                                            leaders in the TOC. It is important as
                                                                                            leaders that we recognize these spe-
                                                                                            cial skills and don’t misuse them.
                                                                                            Training programs must be developed
                                                                                            to build their skill, and also to educate
                                                                                            their leaders on the best methods to
                                                                                            deploy them. Scout snipers also are an
Using the cover of darkness to infiltrate and proper camouflage, a scout sniper team is     excellent asset to teach other soldiers
almost undetectable even in an open area.                                                   in platoon marksmanship and use of
                                                                                            cover, concealment, and camouflage.
the enemy situation dictates. A sleep            within l’/z to 2 kilometers. Snipers       These specially skilled soldiers will
plan is essential to keep them combat            must be trained in the construction of     long serve as an excellent addition to
effective. I have found that the sniper          field expedient antennas to improve        the scout community.
teams can provide excellent informa-             range, although this option is limited
tion during both day and night opera-            by the sniper’s ability to conceal it.
tions, as well as during inclement               Exposure to the cold or heat can be-
weather. Scout sniper teams are not de-          come a problem because of the lim-
signed to infiltrate for long distances          ited supplies a sniper can carry.               First Lieutenant Eric Teeg-
deep into enemy temtory; their de-               Movement is generally slow and de-            erstrom was commissioned
ployment should be within the com-               liberate. In extreme cold or wet
munication range of the scout platoon.           weather, frostbite or hyperthemia are         through ROTC at the Univer-
This augments the scout’s ability to             quite possible. Intense heat greatly en-      sity of Nebraska. He has
provide early warning to the battalion           hances the possibility of heat exhaus-        completed AOBC, Airborne,
and disrupt enemy activities. Commu-             tion or heat stroke due to a limited          and SPLC. He sewed as a
nications is a limiting factor in this           water supply.                                 tank platoon leader with B
mission. Secure radio systems add ex-              A sniper section has a psychologi-
cess weight and bulk. Smaller systems            cally demoralizing effect upon the en-        Company, 2/72 Armor, and
reduce bulk, but sacrifice some range            emy, while it provides excellent infor-       as the scout platoon leader
and the secure mode. The secure sys-             mation and reduces an enemy’s com-            for 2/72 Armor. He is cur-
tem with a new battery may be effec-             bat effectiveness. Currently, the only        rently a platoon leader with A
tive over a range of 2-3 kilometers;             Department of the Army certified              Troop, 1/1 Cav in Germany.
the smaller systems are effective only           school for snipers is at Fort Benning,


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