Tuesday 16 January 2018

Sharpshooters on the Eastern Front

"Experience of using snipers in combat in the 289th Red Banner Rifle Division

1. The current organisation of rifle units and formations does not define requirements for either sniper teams or lone snipers, so snipers are chosen by commanders at regimental and divisional levels.

Depending on the number of reinforcements that arrive during battle, the distribution of snipers varies, and usually consists of 1-2 men per platoon.

Snipers are chosen from the best riflemen, who are revealed during beginner rifle training #1 and #2 with the 3-line rifle. The little time allotted for training does not allow for special sniper training, and therefore we must limit ourselves to cultivating excellent marksmanship characteristics: precision of fire, ability to find a target, rangefinding, and courage.

An individual rifleman is equipped with the 3-line rifle with an open sight, up to 200 rounds of ammunition (regular and armour piercing) and 4 hand grenades.

During offensive and defense battle, it was discovered that range is often limited to 300-400 meters. The most effective fire was at targets that were 300 meters away.

Excellent marksmen are given the following objectives during an offensive: destruction of enemy officers, machinegun crews, and direct fire gun crews. Excellent marksmen are located among infantry, and fight alongside infantry squads. As experience shows, many of them become casualties during the attack, after which the effectiveness of sniper fire drops. 

The effectiveness of fire by excellent marksmen is reduced due to poor preparedness in picking positions, consideration of external factors, a lack of optical sights. Mostly, the riflemen cannot fire at moving targets located over 400 meters away.

Conclusions: insufficient sniper fire is caused by:
  1. A lack of sniper rifles and trained snipers.
  2. Frequent transitions from offensive to defensive battles and vice versa (excellent marksmen are disabled in offensive battles, and it is not always possible to pick them from remaining personnel on the defensive).
2. Due to significant losses in infantry, the enemy's use of sniper teams dropped significantly. However, occasionally, infantry battalions still have individual snipers, whose duties involve tracking movement on our side and destroying targets either from past his own lines or among them.

The main traits of enemy snipers include: observation of their object, precise fire, and thorough camouflage. The enemy sniper is armed with a carbine and an optical sight. Equipment: pouches for 80 rounds of ammunition, gas mask, glasses, compass, watch.

Conclusions: while observing, the enemy sniper does not reveal his position, but uses all possible means for camouflage, opens fire only at well visible targets (especially officers).

Chief of Staff of the 239th Rifle Division, Colonel Kostkin
Operational Department Chief, Major Koloditskiy"

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