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.
1936. Early general study of available rifle telescopes. —–. Telescopic Rifle Sights. Plantersville, S.C.: Samworth Books, 1944. A revised and updated version of the 1936 edition; includes World War II sniper scopes. —–. Fundamentals of Scope Sights. Washington, D.C.: National Rifle Association, 1952. Contains information on more advancements in telescopes. Wilber, Martin. The History of the Crossbow. Seattle: Shorey Book Store, 1982. Reprint of a 1936 Smithsonian Institution report on the
shooting units and their long-range skills was Chief Warrant Officer Arthur Terry, a member of the Marine Shooting Team in Hawaii. In Marine Sniper, Henderson quotes Terry as saying to Officer-in-Charge Lieutenant Jim Land, “If we don’t provide a service as a rifle and pistol team, we’re going to wind up losing our happy home. They’re not going to pay for us to run around the country and shoot—we have to deliver something worth the money … we might give the team a new meaning by pushing the
one end of the country to the other. Once operations began, the two Force Reconnaissance Companies and the two Division Reconnaissance Battalions made quick adjustments in “outguerrillaing the guerrillas” by conducting small patrols and adopting many of the enemy’s own tactics. Along with the regular infantry companies, the recon units relied heavily on artillery and airpower to support their operations and to engage enemy targets beyond the range of their organic small arms. Only when the VC
hour taking turns on the scope or Starlight with your partner. Sometimes one shot, one kill. At other times you spot so many of the bad guys that you have to call in artillery and air support while you just watch and direct the show. Then you pick up and go home, only to go out on another mission and then another. Sniping in Vietnam was not always a perfect science. Charlie would show you a different face every time—the man who was best prepared and had the best all-round weapon won, and that is
wrote, “closure must be executed with speed and aggressiveness for the sniper is usually prepared to escape on preplanned routes. Thus fire and maneuver come into play—fire to pin the sniper in place while the maneuver element closes to destroy him. Grenade launchers should be used to the utmost, their fires concentrated on trees and other suspected sniper locations.” The former platoon leader added that artillery and mortar fire support could also be used to directly engage the enemy marksmen